Glenmore State High School has always been a school that prides itself on caring for its students. The Education Queensland Junior Secondary Agenda 2012-2015 presented a focus to which we could tie some of our wellbeing initiatives into. Highlighting this was Glenmore SHS’s recognition as State winners of the Queensland’s Showcase Awards for Excellence in Schools, 2014, Junior Secondary. Throughout this phase a number of successes were: improved A-E data, improved NAPLAN data and improved student engagement.


Despite successes, a number of initiatives taken to reach these outcomes have caused a massive cultural shift, and unfortunately led to change-fatigue within staff. Paired with this, our wellbeing program, SW@G, had reached a peak and needed a shift in focus to continue its growth.


To move forward, a team was developed to research and design the future direction of our wellbeing programs. It was decided that before we could improve our student wellbeing we needed to focus on staff wellbeing. 


In this workshop, Matthew will discuss the Positive Psychology and strength based approach undertaken and implemented to improve staff morale in 2015. Matthew will also discuss the challenges in improving staff wellbeing and knowledge of their mental health, and their plan to use similar approaches to encourage a resurgence in student wellbeing in 2016.


About Matthew

Matthew is the deputy principal at Glenmore State High School in Rockhampton. His colleagues describe him as motivated and enthusiastic. As someone who is creative in their approach to problem solving and always keen to go an extra mile to help and encourage others. 

Among his many achievements, Matthew has led the development of an individualized tracking system that ensures that all students are supported appropriately.

Matt is currently leading a team to implement a positive education framework within the school. This will include a full program of activities and actions for 2016 and beyond. He has actively sought evidence based wellbeing programs that benefit individual students and groups.  He has led the redevelopment of the student wellbeing program which has helped students embrace school life and move successfully to high school. 

Five reviews by the Office of Auditor General showed that in Western Australian public schools a majority of teachers were unhappy with the staffing process. One of the most stressful events in a person’s life after death and moving house is finding a suitable job.  Teachers find the system for selecting a person in WA public school education difficult to comprehend.  It leaves people stressed, losing self-esteem or trying for years to be appointed in a full-time job. Some job seekers are single parents who need a full-time job.  Lionel Cranenburgh did research to identify factors that would enable people to use strategies and make it easier for them to be selected for a position in schools, from teacher to principal. These strategies, that he calls “Cracking the Code,” have made it easier to understand some of the factors that influence selection panels.  It makes people more positive about their chances when they know what they need to do to win a position and can prepare to make a difference in their lives. It led him to help hundreds of primary and secondary teachers, heads of departments, deputy principals and principals to achieve success in their chosen career.  


About Lionel

Lionel has many years of experience in various backgrounds, including journalism, educators, career advisor, trainer and mediator. Among his many achievements, he was Foundation Member starting the Gifted and Talented Children's Association in WA. Lional is the only Australian educator to write articles for Education World, India to help Indian students and was on its National Board. His Classroom Press student magazine at Lesmurdie Senior High School enabled him to individually coach students to write and publish their work as journalists do.

When we see our students, what is it that we truly see? How do we really know what we are providing for their education will develop them holistically? How can we be sure we are giving them the skills to become positive contributors to society?

As an education system, the time is now to focus on the whole child. It is now that we can inspire and ignite the desire within students to grow and develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually to make this world a better place.


At Malvern Central School we have been traversing the path of Positive Education for a few years. As a Government school, committed to the education of the whole child, we focus on how we can instill values and behaviours that positively impact our students. We enact this through learning focused on character strengths, growth mindsets, mindfulness, appreciative inquiry and emotional literacy.


This workshop will provide educators with an overview of implementing and planning for Positive Education in Government schools, making explicit connections to the F-10 Victorian Curriculum’s Personal and Social Capabilities curriculum framework. Participants will engage in experiences, activities and techniques designed to build positive classroom environments. The workshop will also draw on evidence that shows the impact of the program and improved student wellbeing, engagement and learning outcomes.


About Sapna

Sapna is the Wellbeing Committee Convenor and Year One teacher at Malvern Central School. Her commitment and dedication to her students and the broader school cohort of students is evident in her actions and the support she provides colleagues to build their capacity to apply positive education concepts and knowledge with their students.

Through her convening role of the Wellbeing Committee, Sapna has been involved in conducting a range of professional learning sessions specific to character strengths, growth mindset and appreciative inquiry. Her work with her colleagues has resulted in a positive impact on the entire school community.

Sapna has also been undertaking research (teacher-led research) in building her own and her colleagues’ knowledge in the area of positive education. She has built a teaching resource that has been trialed across 5 home groups of year 3 / 4 students. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

At the 2015 Positive Schools conference I was drawn to the PROSPER acronym developed by Dr Toni Noble and Dr Helen McGrath and their 'roadmap for schools'. The authors define 'prosper' to mean to thrive and succeed in a healthy way; to flourish.


The St John's and NEGS focus on student wellbeing and student engagement in learning, is well in hand due to the work of our Director of Wellbeing, Mrs Angela Sole. Our aim is to build a school that is a safe and supportive learning community for our staff, parents and students.


Wellbeing is the driver for decision making in terms of incursions, tutor time, Service-Learning and curriculum planning in Personal Development, Health and PE. It is also how we monitor and develop pastoral care programs and build relationships with our extended community. In other words, it underpins all that we do at St John's and NEGS. Dr Noble's presentation caused me to consider in what ways our school is PROSPERing and what intentional actions would be a priority for 2016.


About Shannon

Shannon is the head of St John’s Junior School, part of the New England Girls School in Armidale, NSW. She has always been a keen supporter in the development of the Junior School Wellbeing Program, and has been involved in teaching the wellbeing program and finding new ways to develop the program further.

In addition to successfully bringing MindMatters to the school, Shannon has also developed many great initiatives of her own to keep students happy and healthy at recess and lunchtimes when incidents can occur more often. For example, she designed and organised the implementation of a school bike track and bike riding program, a child size chess set on the playground and a special 'code club' for students at lunch.

Shannon approaches everyone with a positive and happy attitude which makes all staff feel comfortable and therefore happy in the work environment. She is considered to be a fabulous role model for all.