Building Resilience in a Changing World

Building Resilience in a Changing World


Staff, students, and families at the Berwick Campus, which celebrated 30 years in 2019, have maintained its high academic standards while keeping student wellbeing front and centre.

This has always been the case at Edrington, which has made its mark as a school large enough to offer world class facilities and programs but small enough to individually nurture every student.

Online Learning Success

When Victorian schools learned online during Term 2, Haileybury quickly pivoted to virtual classrooms using Zoom sessions that maintained its small class sizes from Prep to Year 12.

Staff and students were also quick to adjust when online learning was required in Term 3.

Staff showed great agility while incorporating programs such as HaileyburyX, which offers online courses, and Curious Minds, which encourages entrepreneurship.

Students thrived and maintained their academic progress. They also enjoyed PE, Music Drama, Languages and Science via Zoom and extra classes before and after school with activities such as cooking and animal care. Parents enjoyed sharing their children’s learning at home and organised Zoom coffee catch ups.

“Everybody has shown great resilience,” says Head of Campus Mrs Jeanette Rawlings. “We have also managed to run our regular learning program with regular timetable.

“Teachers have taught every period that they would normally teach, but on Zoom instead. They’ve been brilliant. It really has been a team effort.”

Mrs Rawlings also taught Science online. “When you teach a child you really get to know them,” she says. “This was a wonderful opportunity to work with the students and support my staff.”

Mrs Rawlings’ virtual classes featured mealworms and goggles made of bits and pieces students found around their homes. She also hosted virtual assemblies with 300 students.

“What a great opportunity for me to teach in a completely different way,” she says. “It was absolutely amazing.”

Nurturing a Youthful Spirit

The School community effort has reflected Edrington’s spirit as a relatively young campus that has taken the best of Haileybury’s programs while maintaining its own identity.

Based on 27 beautifully landscaped hectares, its 830 students enjoy numerous sporting fields and a 25-metre indoor heated swimming pool.

The Arts Centre’s main foyer doubles as a gallery space and the John Twist Hall, named after the first Head of Campus, hosts assemblies, concerts, musicals, plays and functions.

All Junior classrooms open out onto a large quadrangle area where students spend their recess and lunchtimes.

Year 9 girls and boys have their own dedicated Pre-Senior centres, which allow them to have their own space and promote independence and resilience.

Most important, however, are education and pastoral care programs with a strong focus on developing high achievers who contribute to their local and wider communities.

Every possible support has also been made available during online learning.

The Benefits of Parallel Education

It all starts at the ELC with comprehensive learning and social programs. In Junior School, Haileybury’s unique Explicit Teaching Model maximises learning in all subjects.

“It’s a highly planned program to make sure that every foundation skill is covered,” Mrs Rawlings explains. “Nothing is missed and no child falls through the gaps.

“The children love it because they feel so successful. We generally find that our children read 18 months to two years ahead of the benchmark.”

The Parallel Education Model that Haileybury helped to pioneer further enhances learning by combining co-education and single gender schooling.

Students from ELC to Year 4 attend co-educational classes. From the Middle School (Years 5 – 8) and into Senior School (Years 9 – 12) they mostly learn in single gender classes.

Mrs Rawlings says this allows students to thrive and teachers to tailor lessons and topics. All genders mix outside class, as they would in real life.

“It’s different to having an all-girls school and an all-boys school because they’re on the same campus and in the same space,” she says. “It actually works brilliantly.”

Meeting 21st Century Challenges

Mrs Rawlings, who joined Haileybury in 2016, has extensive experience in school leadership, teaching and learning and pastoral care.

She and her family lived in Tonga for four years as volunteers, helping to educate students in a village secondary school.

At Haileybury, Mrs Rawlings has built upon the School’s culture of academic excellence and pastoral care that fosters wellbeing and develops character and integrity in students.

She recruits great teachers and nurtures a strong feeling of community where each child feels cared about, valued, respected and known. Families are also made to feel welcome.

Most importantly, Mrs Rawlings wants to develop students of character who are ready for life in uncertain times.

As part of this, she will continue to build the trust she has developed with families and expand the range of real-life and entrepreneurial opportunities for students.

“We want children to be well rounded people who can think critically and creatively and have the ability to adapt in this rapidly changing world,” she says.