At St Andrew’s Cathedral School, we take a comprehensive approach to student wellbeing, ensuring every student is valued, known and supported. Our unique character education programme goes hand-in-hand with our wellbeing initiatives and activities, and provides students with the tools and experiences to enable them to flourish individually, in community and in society.
Character education – it’s at the core of what we do
We teach character both explicitly and implicitly through habits and routines, role-modelling, service opportunities, leadership, awards and relationships. The development of character is fundamental to our pursuit of academic excellence and is also at the heart of our teaching and pastoral care approach, taught in tutor groups and in classes across the school, as a part of our structured wellbeing programme.
By teaching ‘character in action’ we create an environment for students to grow morally, spiritually and intellectually, so they can flourish individually, in community and in society.
We want our students to be people who make a difference by being other-centred. We’re also aware of the need to prepare our students to thrive in a complex, uncertain and ever-changing world.
As an International Baccalaureate World School, approaches to learning skills (ATL) and IB learning dispositions have been incorporated into the school’s Character Strengths, backed by research and Christian perspectives.
We have two dedicated staff members overseeing the Student Wellbeing and Character Education programmes in the School: Mr Brad Swibel in the Secondary School and Mrs Bronwyn Wake in the Junior School and Gawura, who appears in the launch video of our Character Education programme (see below).
Our approach integrates character development and service with a strong curriculum, including high expectations of student’s learning, student leadership opportunities, a wide variety of challenging co-curricular including world class performing arts and outdoor education activities, and comprehensive pastoral care and programmes which explore Christianity and other world views. We also focus on the early identification of student giftedness and learning needs to enable all students to experience successful learning in school. All aspects of our integrated approach contribute to high levels of student engagement, resilience, positive self-belief and a strong sense of belonging and personal responsibility.
Character education equips young people to grow in wisdom and hope, so they can use their developing knowledge and expertise in ways that positively impact society.
Central to character development is growth. At St Andrew’s Cathedral School we don’t just accept our character, we seek to grow it. Growing comes from a range of successful evidence-based strategies, programmes and practices. These are integrated throughout the pastoral, academic and co-curricular parts of the school. Character growth comes from role modelling, relationships, service and leadership.
Our 15 Character Strengths are a key part of our approach to Character Education. Our Character Strengths are based on, and mapped to, the VIA Character Strengths. Character Strengths are the positive parts of an individual personality that impact how you think, feel and behave. Our students complete a character survey to discover their unique Character Strengths and develop an individual profile. Following this, they consider their individual and group strengths, and how they can apply them across a number of contexts in our school community, such as service, leadership and social responsibility.
Helping others creates connection, community and humility.
Self-control is a mindset super power.
Show the way through empathy, kindness and compassion.
There is strength in knowing yourself.
Be anchored in something bigger than yourself.
If you fail, learn from your mistake and try again.
Close your mouth, grow your ears and open your heart to what someone has to say.
Lifes greatest gems are found through curiosity and perseverance.
Appreciate the little things because one day you may look back and realise they were big things.
Know what to hold on to and when to let go.
Be thoughtful and kind, and love generously.
Fear is often our greatest teacher – be brave.
Knowledge is the wondrous art of expanding your mind.
A heart filled with hope has lots to look forward to.
Dwell on noble things and be wise.
Character education equips young people to grow in wisdom and hope, so they can learn to use their developing knowledge and expertise in ways that positively impact those around them.
Strategies we use to build character at St Andrew’s Cathedral School:
- Making Character Strengths visible and accessible throughout the school – they are displayed in classrooms, hallways and recreation areas to build within students a sense of understanding and familiarity with the Strengths
- Running Character Strengths surveys and developing related tutor tasks
- Incorporating reflections in Chapel, Christian Development and service learning activities
- Engaging students on character and virtues, and encouraging character-in-action, via classroom and tutor group lessons, student research and seeking out character role models and exemplars.
The School’s student wellbeing programmes work hand-in-hand with our Character Education programme.
Our current programmes are cohesive, sequential and contextually relevant for each Year group. Students engage with activities that are diverse and informed by a range of sources that are appropriated for our school context and are, therefore, authentically Christian. We have a focus on Character and Positive Education, including many programs that are developed in house, and also utilise resources from external partnerships and professionals. A key focus is to build positive and respectful relationships amongst students and staff across year groups and divisions within our School.
Tying in with our Character Education programme, our student wellbeing initiatives address emotional management; attention and awareness; relationships; coping; and habits and goals. These concepts are explicitly taught through our classroom-based Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEW) lessons as well as reinforced through broader activities outside of the classroom, such as in chapel, assemblies and the playground. An outline of our current Junior School wellbeing programme can be viewed here:
The wellbeing programme in our Secondary School provides students with the skills and protective factors they need to thrive and flourish as learners and young people. Our Flourishing Research strategy includes student voice and gives us key insights into our students’ wellbeing needs and ensures that we are engaging them with relevant and evidence-based interventions. This includes a range of external professionals who run seminars with our students across the year groups on topics such as consent, cyber safety, the harms of pornography, mental health, and the value of the human person.
An outline of our current evidenced-based Middle School and Senior College tutorial programme topics and seminars can be seen at the links here: