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Caring for the whole student at HRS

Wellbeing is at the front and centre of life at HRS every day

NEWS 26 Mar 2024

There’s no other school quite like Haileybury Rendall School in the Northern Territory. With over 1,000 students including more than 100 Indigenous, domestic and international boarders, and day students from across the Darwin area, the school classrooms are different from any other school in the Top End.

Each student brings their own personality, life experience, values, strengths and interests inside and outside the classroom. Taking good care of every student, no matter who they are, where they call home, and what their passions, is a priority at HRS and a far-reaching wellbeing program is part of daily life for students, teachers and a team of in-house staff and external experts.

From Homeroom Teachers, Year Level Coordinators and Heads and Deputy Heads of School to the Head of Student Wellbeing and Head of Indigenous Wellbeing – someone, somewhere at HRS is always thinking about each student’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

“Homeroom time each morning allows teachers to check in with students in their class to see how they are going. If any young person is facing some challenges, teachers can refer them to the counselling team for an additional layer of support,” says Wendy Pickering-Tyers, Deputy Principal – Wellbeing.

HRS is one of few schools in the NT to organise a dedicated Wellbeing Week. Last year, Wellbeing Week included workshops with Man Cave, Flourish Girl and Headspace who spoke to students about managing friendships, anxiety and stress.

House and whole school events that bring together young people from different year levels are also an important part of the wellbeing puzzle at HRS. Students take part in the weekly football games before school on Friday mornings, culminating in the annual tradition of the Staff v Students AFL Clontarf Cup.

Students proudly wear their House colours in the highly competitive House Sports competitions and take to the stage in some impressive music and drama performances, too. There are many other House dates in the busy HRS calendar, too, such as Debating. Each of these events is a way for students to strengthen friendships, connections and a sense of belonging.

HRS also has close links to families and honest partnerships between home and school underpin student wellbeing.

“Staff and students constantly think about what we do, and we evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of everything we try as part of the Wellbeing Program,” says Wendy.

“We are building something very powerful for our students and we are always exploring different ideas to ensure we stretch ourselves, use best practice and adapt to the needs of our students”
Wendy Pickering-Tyers, Deputy Principal, Wellbeing

Wellbeing is also high on the agenda of HRS’s Director of Boarding, Harry Hildebrand. Respectful and inclusive relationships are an integral part of the boarding culture with boarders assigned ‘buddies’ whom they get to know well, share experiences with and can ask for help when needed.

Each day, HRS staff check in with boarders and all staff are trained in areas such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander cultural safety and Mental Health First Aid. Birthdays and special cultural days are celebrated for each boarder by the close-knit boarding community at the school.

“During the year, boarding offers young people close to 50 recreational activities and each weekend there is something on offer to suit the many different students who board with us,” says Harry.

“One weekend might bring a trip to a water park or a game of laser tag, another weekend students can join a beach walk, a shopping excursion, an excursion to a National Park or a game of ten-pin bowling. We also encourage students to join clubs outside the school – from yoga to football. All of these bits of the puzzle help students make new friends and balances their physical, emotional and mental health.”

Students are in safe hands at Haileybury Rendall School, a place where the School principle of ‘every student matters every day’ is lived and breathed.