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first taste of secondary life was a friendly and welcoming

one. Providing opportunities of this nature to a wider range

of students has gone a long way towards the

democratisation of leadership roles within the School,

embedding the notion that all have something to contribute.

Year 7 and 8 students were encouraged to become more

responsible, empathetic and inclusive in their interactions

under the nurturing influence of the Year 11 and 12 student

leaders.Working with High Resolves, an external

organisation focused on developing global citizens and

leaders to act in the long-term collective interest of

humanity, reinforced these leadership goals and their

programmes proved an outstanding success.

As girls progress into Years 9 and 10, the focus shifts to

leadership within groups, such as the Student Representative

Council, the Sustainability Committee and the Community

Service Committee.The key focus of the Community Service

programme was fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis

Foundation and Destiny Rescue, which aims to end child

sexual exploitation and slavery in developing countries.

Funds also went to both the Collingwood Language School

and The School of St Jude’s in Tanzania.

With service to others being at the forefront of our

leadership programmes the Year 9 girls prepared food for

Melbourne’s homeless through FareShare while the Year 10

girls hosted an annual picnic and raised money for the

Bulleen Heights School. Many girls supportedWorld Vision

through the 40-hour famine and raised $3300 for Oxfam’s

Nepal Response. Finally, theWesley Mission food-drive

delivered non-perishable food for families in need.Whole

school campaigns have also included the UNWalk for

Women and fundraising for the victims of the Nepal

Earthquake. A passion for environmental advocacy has

continued to be promoted through the leadership of the

Sustainability Captain in the Senior School and in the Junior

School by the Green Team.

The format of the Year 11 Leadership Camp programme was

redeveloped to provide appropriate training in problem-

solving and interpersonal skills for those about to embrace

whole school leadership roles.The reintroduced Citizenship

Awards continued to extend their profile within Senior School,

acknowledging and commending those who lead by example

and make a difference for others through their actions.

While each leadership initiative is small when considered in

isolation, like a tsunami that is barely discernible offshore,

we believe something big is building which will come rolling

in over successive years.

Ruyton is proud of its caring and collaborative community, in

which we aim to equip the girls with the skills, motivation

and confidence to face challenges in our complex world today

and to equip them to become accomplished global citizens.

Our girls have immersed themselves in real world issues and

recognised that students – no matter their race, religion,

culture or sexual orientation – should feel they are

appreciated and respected.This premise has been the basis

for a number of wellbeing initiatives undertaken this year.

We have continued to build upon a culture of tolerance and

inclusion. At special Junior School and Senior School

Assemblies early in the year student leaders rose from their

seats to make a pledge,

‘Inclusion begins with me. I commit to

… ’

until the entire School stood as one, united in its

determination to continue to stamp out behaviours that

undermine the cohesion of a school community.

The Junior School Counsellor, Dr Evie Bowtell, has led our

exploration of Mindfulness across the whole School,

involving staff, students and parents, a key component of our

wellbeing strategy throughout the course of this year.The

trialling of new programmes in some Junior and Senior years,

along with the maintenance of already successful practices

in other year levels, has created a dialogue that has

deepened our knowledge and provided strong foundations

for our future direction.Throughout the year a team of

Junior School teachers has been engaged in developing and

contributing to the review of a new programme called Five

Ways toWellbeing, which incorporates Mindfulness, health

and digital literacy.

A review of transition programmes, especially at the Prep

level, has enabled a smoother transition for girls moving

from the Early Learning to Prep.This has included the

introduction of an annual picnic where the current Prep

students create a gift for the new Preps, providing themwith

all of the information that a new Prep girl will require, from

the perspective of six year old. Early Learning students have

made visits to the Prep classrooms in Term 4 where they

observed similarities and differences between their own

learning environment and the Prep’s space.

The growth in independence and social skill development of

the girls through the Year 4 South House programme, in its

second year of operation, has been notable.This programme

equips the girls with the skills to negotiate challenges and

manage relationships that are positive and mutually

beneficial. It has also challenged us to rethink the

experiences and opportunities for girls in Years 5 and 6.

Student Wellbeing

Annual Report 2015