Focus on Strengths


A key part of the College’s Student Wellbeing Vision is the focus on student strengths. In doing this, we seek to create an environment where student strengths are referenced regularly and our students are encouraged to use these strengths to thrive within the school community but also to call on them to push through challenging times. These aims illuminate perhaps the most important word in education: encouragement. A community which encourages is one where the pursuit of improvement and excellence are likely to be foundational traits. Further, the community will be a warm and welcoming one where students feel supported to try new activities and, as a result, really connect and thrive.


We have established a Commendation Structure to drive encouragement and better allow students to acknowledge their strengths and positive contributions. Once a student receives one commendation, they are given a certificate and a Bronze Badge. If they garner five commendations, in a range of categories (there are 12 to choose from), they are eligible for a Silver Badge to be presented at a year-level assembly. If they reach 10, they receive a Gold Badge, which is presented in front of the whole school community.


Thus far, we have issued over 200 Commendations. I am noticing a number of Bronze Badges adorning blazers. Some students are on the cusp of making it to silver. Please enquire with your son/daughter if they know about the process and if they have been awarded any certificates. 


Hopefully, you will a Bronze Badge appearing on the blazer in the not-too-distant future!



Director of Students  | Chris Pye

Dealing with difficult news items in the media

There have been a number of students who have spoken about how confronting the news is at the moment. In particular, they cite Ukraine and the war with Russia. The images of lines of refugees fleeing their homeland and the bombed shells of buildings, can be very distressing.


Such news items can lead us to feel overwhelmed, anxious, sad, worried, helpless and possibly depressed. Psychologists suggest a number of ways to deal with such distressing news items.


Firstly, learn to switch off from social media and the news. Only look at the news for a set time each day and for the other times when you might be looking at social media, go for a walk, read a book or listen to music.


Secondly, choose your news sources carefully. Avoid sensational snippets designed to get you in and cause an emotional response. Seek out news sources that are based on truth, are independent, accountable and fair. If there are still parts of these news items that cause distress, switch them off.


Thirdly, consider why the news is so upsetting to you personally. It can be very triggering if it reminds you of past experiences or causes flashbacks from traumatic events. In such instances, it is best to talk to someone about these upsetting emotions.


Finally, avoid looking at the news or current affair shows entirely, if you know they are going to be upsetting. Tell your family members that this is your plan and keep to it.


If we keep to these suggestions and take control of our viewing, we may not find such news items so distressing.


Student Counsellor | Catherine McMahon