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Perspectives: Compass – Navigating Whole School Wellbeing

Using a framework from the Association of Independent Schools NSW (AISNSW), St Columba will support wellbeing outcomes in Kindergarten to Year 12 by reviewing and renewing our whole-school approach to wellbeing to ensure that our school is a highly safe, supportive and respectful environment in which each individual student can thrive.

This year the school has embarked on the Compass Project, which involves AIS consultants working with the school using a collaborative action model to develop a whole-school Wellbeing Framework (an example of such a framework is pictured below). The AIS will help the school navigate and strengthen foundational elements of whole-school wellbeing based on our contextual needs here in Port Macquarie.

AIS will support the school to:

  • review current practices, identify strengths and develop wellbeing goals
  • co-design an evidence-based, proactive whole-school approach to wellbeing
  • implement context-specific initiatives and strategies
  • engage in ongoing evaluation and reflection to ensure sustainability

As part of the Compass Project, the AIS is providing professional learning (face-to-face and online) targeted at wellbeing leaders and school staff to engage the school community, including students and families, in whole-school wellbeing approaches. There are opportunities to connect with 25 other schools, both city and rural, through networked learning communities so that learnings and best practice in wellbeing can be shared. The Compass project draws on the AIS evidence-based Wellbeing Literature Review and internationally respected academics provide expert input at school network meetings. An annual evaluation of the project provides objective and timely feedback about the implementation and impact of the project over time.

A Compass team made up of Primary and Secondary School wellbeing leaders has been established at the school to steer the project. Staff have been informed about the project, they have provided feedback on the school’s strengths across the factors contributing to whole-school wellbeing (pictured below) and assessed our current wellbeing approach. Professional development ranging from social and emotional learning and respectful relationships to the use of student voice and student circles has been provided to all staff. The Compass team has attended two networking days with other schools, from the current and previous Compass projects to share ideas and learn from each other. This term, the project will forge ahead with a focus on establishing a wellbeing definition through consultation with a range of stakeholders in the school community, mapping staff feedback to the PDHPE curriculum as part of the review process, and further school networking opportunities.

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