Dr Helen Street’s “Contextual Wellbeing: Creating Positive Schools From the Inside Out.”

Summer Reading

Over summer we’ve enjoyed reading Dr Helen Street’s “Contextual Wellbeing: Creating Positive Schools From the Inside Out.” She considers the social side of wellbeing, which has not necessarily received the attention that it needs in order to truly allow our young people and communities to flourish.

Dr Street challenges educators with the observation that our schools, their practices, policies and environments are not always set up in ways that actually enable the development of the social cohesion needed for genuine individual flourishing.

Her review of research highlights the importance of programs that work to shape school context through the development of positive relationships across the whole school population. “Equity, cohesion and creativity… along with opportunities for learning through collaboration and play, underlie the development of positive relationships and an overall sense of belonging within the school community.” (p.110)

“Equity, cohesion and creativity… along with opportunities for learning through collaboration and play, underlie the development of positive relationships and an overall sense of belonging within the school community.”

We’re proud that Peer Support programs have been enabling schools with the processes and content to help develop cohesion and belonging for over 40 years.

Our programs involve the whole school population in primary schools, and over a few years of operation in a secondary school, every student will also have been involved. This is a key factor for the effectiveness of a wellbeing program, and has a powerful impact on the development of equity and cohesion. (p. 27)

Is your school ready for a positive start to 2019?  How cohesive is your school community?


You can buy Dr Helen Street’s ‘Contextual Wellbeing’ here.
(please note we are not affiliated with Dr Helen Street in any way)

Cairns State High School’s Peer Support Program

School Spotlight

Cairns State High School

Cairns State High School launched the Peer Support Program at the start of 2018. The Executive Principal, Chris Zilm, was aware of the impact of the program in other schools and was keen to embed it into the fabric of Cairns State High School.

peer leader students

The Peer Leaders were very enthusiastic about the roles they had taken on and felt that the skills of leadership and facilitation they had learnt and used during the process would also support them with other areas of their lives inside and outside of school. The school’s coordinators noted that this was the first time that some of the students involved had engaged in leadership, and the program’s structure enabled them to experience great success in their roles.

peer leader group of students with coordinators

Cairns State High will continue to implement Peer Support in 2019 after having critically evaluated their first year. Anecdotally, schools have a greater chance of success in keeping The Peer Support Program alive if more staff at the school are trained and involved. Cairns State High School have recently trained another two additional teachers to work alongside the coordinators.

The positive experiences of the students at Cairns State High School have been shared with neighbouring schools, and several of them will also be adopting The Peer Support Program in 2019.