This Week's Message from the Secondary Division

AISHK Aviation Club

Year 10 student Howard Lau gave a very good presentation in assembly this week promoting the AISHK Aviation Club, a new ECA he will lead from Term 4.

Howard spoke with great passion and knowledge, as a well-experienced pilot with 38 hours of flight time; and it was a good occasion for fellow students to see what one of their own can achieve from an early age, when one follows their dream.

Keep an eye out in the Term 4 ECA brochure for the Aviation Club and see or email Howard Lau to find out more about this great student-led opportunity.

As our school continues to grow and mature, I see increasingly complex and diverse activities and tasks being lead and initiated by students. Ultimately this, in my view, is a sign of success because our girls and boys feel enabled and confident enough to establish their place and make their mark in the life of the school, which indeed prepares them for the wider world as well. Indeed some of their initiatives, such as the YES Club, require them to engage directly with the wider community.

We will continue to foster and prosper our students’ engagement in a range of opportunities which strengthen their leadership, initiative and learning potential.

Howard West | Assistant Principal, Secondary

Safe and Well Online

At the recent Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia Annual Conference which I attended in Adelaide, Australia, keynote speaker Dr Barbara Spears spoke on the topic of school-based interventions designed to foster student wellbeing and academic performance. Dr Spears is a former primary school teacher and currently the senior research academic and Director of the Wellbeing Research Group in the Centre for Research in Education at UniSA and the Hawke Research Institute. She leads the national Safe and Well Online study and has been a chief investigator and consultant on the Cyberbullying, Sexting and the Law project for the Department of Education and Child Development.

In her address, Dr Spears spoke of the high prevalence worldwide of depression among young people, the small rise in life satisfaction, and the synergy between learning and positive emotion. She cited evidence from school-based positive psychology interventions that indicated that using a strength-based approach with students can form the basis of increased resilience, positive emotion, engagement, and meaning. Indeed, there is a body of evidence from controlled studies that clearly show that these are skills that can be taught to schoolchildren.

Dr Spears suggested that it is adults who are routinely positioned as the experts and, hence, are the designers of programs aimed at enhancing student wellbeing. She argued, however, that a more effective approach is to place the student at the center of any such programs and involve them as ‘co-researchers’ and ‘change partners’. We need to embrace the wisdom and insight they possess in order to develop a shared mission.

Dr Spears emphasised the importance of not merely informing students of the range of approaches available to ensure that they remain safe online but, crucially, of the need to be consulted and involved in policy decisions. In her work in Australian schools on the Safe and Well Online project, Dr. Spears identified differing perceptions between adults and students. While the tendency among adults was to see the issue be addressed as cyberbullying, the students viewed the matter as one of respect. In her keynote address, Dr Spears concluded that the key challenge for schools is to “disrupt the power relationship” so that students are active participants in the design process.

More information on the Safe and Well Online project can be found at

Chris McCorkell | Dean of Studies, Secondary