Retired School Principal Lindy Hunt who is overseeing the Student Leadership programmes for Where there’s a Will has provided the following overview of the work that has happened over the past 12 months to develop students who are able to drive Positive Education within their schools:

“In February 2017 we took a group of 18 students from across the 5 secondary schools across the Upper Hunter to the national Student Leadership Conference in Adelaide. Hosted by St Peters School the Upper Hunter students interacted with over 120 students from schools across Australia to complete a wide range leadership and initiative training opportunities.

Upon return to the Upper Hunter the students worked as a team to design and deliver a similar course, appropriate to the context of the Upper Hunter, to 110 students from the five Upper Hunter Schools. They also invited some primary school leaders to investigate the possibility of adapting the program to meet the needs of primary aged students.

The result of this highly successful leadership workshop, which was evaluated highly by those who attended has been a very close-knit group of leaders who have taken their new skills and applied them to their own schools.

For example, Muswellbrook High School leaders, accompanied their principal and ran an appreciative enquiry process with their teachers to arrive at their strategic directions for 2018 – 2021. Later this year they also used their skills to facilitate a Student Representative Council Leadership planning day. They developed plans for 2018 in line with the school’s strategic directions and to meet the needs of students at their school.

Merriwa Central School SRC are currently involved in planning a similar day to run at the beginning of 2018. Scone Grammar School have similar plans.

St Joseph’s High school leaders have presented to the teaching staff and to personnel within the catholic education system about their thoughts of using the processes they learnt in Adelaide to enrich not only their own school but also other catholic Schools in the area. The school has subsequently held a number of wellbeing days and has implemented wellbeing leaders who work with and support younger students to develop their skills and understanding on a weekly basis.

The Scone High School Leadership program with Year 5 students from feeder schools was revamped as a result of attendance at the Adelaide conference. The leaders made recommendations for new inclusions in the program, taken from both the Adelaide conference and Burn Bright program.

Burn Bright was conducted for 150 Year 8 – 10 students from across the five Upper Hunter Secondary schools. Conducted by a team of external, young people, it was an amazing day of leadership development. Again, a small group of Primary schools were represented on the day, to assess the suitability for primary aged students. All those who attended have recommended that more young people be exposed to this program in 2018.”