I hope this newsletter finds you well. Year 7 has experienced so many positive things this term, which I will update you on soon. However, I want to focus this newsletter on something that is very important to us – student wellbeing and our community.
The Year 7 staff team has worked very hard to make our community a comfortable and safe place for our students. It is important that students have a sense of belonging and are supported. Academic achievement is second to that, as students who are confident and happy achieve better results. Therefore it was one of my goals as Head of Year 7 to establish a kind and caring community where students can flourish.
Unfortunately, this term our Year 7 community has suffered an outbreak of mean behaviour that has made some of our students feel excluded and low. This is not acceptable. We have been very open with students regarding our expectations on behaviour, socialising, and use of social media. A big issue is that much of this this mean behaviour is stealthy; this means that students behave negatively towards others in ways that are invisible to adults.
It is important to end this behaviour now, as the culture we set in Year 7 will follow students throughout their secondary school career. Aside from the normal day to day discussions regarding our expectations on behaviour and individual interventions by Year 7 staff, there are other activities that we are putting into place.
- We will continue to celebrate and encourage student leaders who contribute positively to our community (I will publish a list of our amazing student leaders in my end of term newsletter)
- I have spoken clearly to the whole Year 7 group regarding expectations and their responsibilities
- I have involved Year 12 students to advise year 7s on their experiences and what is appropriate and inappropriate
- We will be discussing unpleasant behaviours with all students, in regards to rudeness, meanness, and bullying
- We have involved the School Psychologist, Mrs. Pamela Dusting, to help us deliver a programme on the above next term
- We will continue to drive home points about social media use, particularly what happens in WhatsApp/chat groups
- We will reinforce the process of telling an adult and seeking help if there are issues
- A student-lead social group will be started next term (safe space)
- A student-lead survey will seek to find more specific examples of what is happening behind the scenes so that we can be more focused and targeted in our approach
I ask that parents continue this conversation at home during the holidays, particularly in regards to social exclusion and their use of social media. Our team recommends an excellent resource for parents, which can be found here: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/bullying_teenagers.html
Should you have any questions or concerns about this, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I take the wellbeing of our students seriously, and I hope by working together as a united front, students will understand the importance of kindness and community.
Christina Carini | Head of Year 7