Teachers from Hastings Secondary College undertook a one-day Secondary School Peer Support Implementation Workshop where they learned about the implementation, resources, and benefits of the Peer Support Program. The workshop prepared teacher participants to implement an effective Peer Support Program and learn ways to increase well-being and create a positive campus culture.

Hastings Secondary College Peer Support Program have run the Peer Support Program for a number years under the facilitation of Peer Support Coordinators. The program is a peer-led, skills-based, experiential learning program. It encourages peer connections throughout the campuses and assists students in developing practical skills to enhance social and emotional wellbeing.

The College Peer Support Program integrates leadership training and learning materials to assist the campuses in achieving and maintaining a positive campus culture. It empowers young people to support each other and contribute positively to their campus community.

At the completion of the implementation workshop, participates were able to articulate the principles and concepts of the Peer Support Program, understand the links to the curriculum and other student wellbeing initiatives and outline steps for implementing an effective Peer Support Program at their campuses.

Teachers learned about different leadership styles and strengths, making connections and working with others regardless of different leadership styles and characteristics. Each group had to dress one person in the newspaper following a theme and there were some pretty spectacular results. A fabulous day was had by all.

Teacher Peer Leaders

Teachers Mr Hastings, Mr Godson, Mrs Bone and Mrs Underwood (facilitator)

Under the supervision of facilitator Ms Underwood and trained teachers, Year 10 students ran peer support training sessions for Year 9. Year 9 Peer Leaders will work with our new intake of Year 7 students in 2019 for day in a one-day session and for a further 8 weeks throughout term 1 and 2 to assist their transition into high school, focussing on resilience and problem-solving.

The Secondary School Peer Support Program seeks to increase connections for Year 7 students as they transition to Secondary School. This allows students to form relationships and develop empathy and a sense of responsibility towards students they might not typically engage with. While working within these structured groups, older students lead younger students through activities that explore social and emotional skills focusing on resilience, values, and anti-bullying.

Our approach empowers student representatives with the skills needed to act as leaders within their campus, influencing and contributing to policies, and to promote civic participation amongst students, their parents and the broader community.

The participating Year 9 students realised the significant outcomes of the program, including better connectedness, improved resilience, positive relationships, sense of self, a responsibility for others and a greater sense of possibility and the establishment of a shared language across the College community..

Teachers will continue to offer students ongoing training and support through group sessions through debriefs and further upskilling and training throughout 2019.