Principal's Message

Dear Parents & Carers

On Monday 13th November, Mrs Mellissa Bell (Learning Support Coordinator) and I attended the Combined Secondary School Association Forum on ‘Promoting Wellbeing, Child Safe Schools and Learning Cultures. The presenters included Andrew Johnson, NSW Advocate for Children and Young People; Anita Yates, Senior Inspector, NESA and Jacqueline Van Velsen, CEO of WISA Wellbeing in Schools Australia.


Andrew Johnson presented the findings from the NSW Strategic Plan for Children and Young People ( To develop this plan, the SCYP surveyed over 4000 children and young people about their lives and the lives of all children and young people in NSW. The first two questions asked were about what is working well and what is not working well for children and young people. The responses are shown below:


The fact that education is number one for both what is working well and what is not, highlights the need for educators to constantly reflect on what we are doing to enhance the learning for all our students. It also highlights the importance children and young people place on education. The main areas that children and young people identified as not working are areas that result in high levels of stress such as HSC, ATAR and tests. They also identified lack of resourcing and poor internet access.


At O’Connor, we are working with our students to support their learning to minimise the stress they feel when approaching exam situations. We say often ‘everybody can learn, not at the same time or in the same way’. By working with students to set ‘stretch’ goals for their learning we can work together so that every student achieves at least a year’s growth in their learning for every year at school.

The final session of the day was presented by Jacqueline Van Velsen, CEO WISA Wellbeing in Schools Australia. Jacqueline presented on ‘Linking Wellbeing and Learning:  the evidence’. Jacqueline presented the research in regards to role of schools and teachers in the wellbeing area. ‘Wellbeing has been identified as both an outcome and a process that facilitates children's progression towards learning and development outcomes.’ Students with high levels of wellbeing are more likely to achieve high academically and complete school, have better health, and have greater participation in the workforce.

Wellbeing is everyone’s business.


Pastoral Academic Care

O’Connor’s Pastoral Academic Care program is based on this evidence that learning and wellbeing are inextricably linked. This year our Pastoral Program has been enhanced to include learning conversations and goal setting. The PAC teacher plays a very important role in monitoring and building wellbeing. The Student Diary is based on a strengths based approach. It emphasises the strengths that people have and how they build their strengths in other areas. The key elements of the student diary are: Positive Engagement; Meaning and Purpose; Skills and Achievement; Relationship and Optimism; Strengths and Emotions; and Exercise and Health. These are the key elements needed to strive, thrive and flourish. Students often don’t bring their diaries to school and it would be great if you could help support us with this. Ask your daughter/son to look at their diary and see some of the activities we do during this time

School Advisory Council

We held our AGM for the School Advisory Council for 2018. Our new School Advisory Council consists of Vernon Crew (Chair), Tracey McLauchlin (Secretary), Amber Fernandez, Peter Lye, Jason Lincoln (Members), Simon Fleming (Staff Member), Dale Wicks, David Steller (Co-opted Members) and Fr Francis Afu and myself (ex-Officio). Wendy Warner will be standing down after 10 years work and I’d like to thank Wendy Warner for all her work on the O’Connor Board and in particular as Chair of the Board. I’d also like to thank Cathy Ible from the Catholic Schools Office who ran the School Advisory Council Training.


What new learning will you undertake this week to build your wellbeing?


Regina Menz