Newcastle Grammar School’s approach to pastoral care is what truly sets us apart. Our current students, staff and wider community say we do it well.

Research in Wellbeing Science shows a clear connection between a student’s wellbeing and their educational outcome. We believe in creating a safe space, understanding that wellbeing is a fundamental principle that underpins all areas of excellence and performance.

At Newcastle Grammar School, pastoral care is delivered through a Positive Education program and Visible Wellbeing™ approach, utilising a range of pathways known collectively as the SEARCH Framework. The School has also incorporated relevant aspects from alternative Wellbeing Science frameworks, ensuring we are at the forefront of the latest wellbeing research and best practice teaching.

The Visible Wellbeing approach is evidence-based. It includes activities and resources that give members of our community a language and framework that is seen, heard and felt to ensure they understand and recognise wellbeing in themselves and others.

Positive Education is the application of the science of wellbeing (positive psychology), through programs and practices, to give students and staff the skills required for wellbeing and improved engagement. Principles of the philosophy include growth mindset, gratitude, resilience, grit, deliberate practice, flow and mindfulness.

In addition, all students engage in Chapel services which offer opportunities for personal reflection and gratitude, and have access to a prayer room and psychology services.

Our approach brings together best practice teaching and learning to develop in students the skills and mindsets to flourish as adaptable, resilient and confident global citizens.

Positive Education and wellbeing principles at NGS permeate our teaching practice from Kindergarten through to Year 12, with URSTRONG lessons in Primary, structured wellbeing sessions during Mentor time at Hill Campus and the Positive Education program for Years 7 and 8 as the formal vessels through which these principles are taught. Essentially, these principles need to be incorporated into our daily interactions with our students inside and outside of the classroom.

Much evidence exists linking heightened student wellbeing to improved academic outcomes and success, however that may be defined and measured. Through continuing to develop a growth mindset and enhancing student wellbeing, greater levels of school engagement will result. Enhanced wellbeing leads to improved school engagement, and improved school engagement leads to enhanced academic outcomes (Ross, Bathurst, & Jarden, 2012). Through a research project examining the relationship between positive effect (i.e. happiness or wellbeing) and the achievement of successful outcomes in life, Lyubomirsky and her colleagues (2005) find that positive effect precedes successful outcomes, that is happiness comes before success.

— Dr Alan Parsons, Deputy Head of School

In the community

Newcastle Grammar School also continues to engage with the wider community to share the NGS whole school wellbeing approach.

Our Wellbeing for Breakfast events, with over 500 people attending the five breakfasts that were held over an 18 month period, offered ideas around how workplaces and families can move from functioning to flourishing. It was also an honour to be invited to present a workshop at the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA) National Wellbeing in Education Conference, as well as the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) World Congress in Vancouver, Canada. Our NGS wellbeing approach was also featured on the international Challenges That Change Us podcast and the PESA Spotlight Series. Furthermore, we also offer a weekly Visible Wellbeing blog covering a range of positive psychology topics.