Wellbeing at Ivanhoe

At Ivanhoe Grammar School, community and caring for others is paramount. We have a strong focus on student and staff wellbeing, supported by a shared set of values and programs in order for everyone to feel safe, valued and well cared for throughout their school years and beyond.

Feeling comfortable at school and being happy and healthy has a direct impact on each student’s capacity for optimal learning - and for them to be the best they can be in their chosen field. Equally, enjoying school and being engaged in learning influences a student’s wellbeing – in particular their confidence and resilience. The relationship between wellbeing and learning, therefore, is critical to the development of the whole person. This is why, at Ivanhoe Grammar School, we focus on the social, emotional, psychological, spiritual, moral and intellectual development of our students. Our students are supported and motivated to develop their strengths, to grow and learn from challenges and complexities, and to develop positive relationships as their foundation for learning.


The Wellbeing Team

Positive Education

Personalised Mentoring

Staff Wellbeing and Positive Education 


The Wellbeing Team

A commitment to prevention and intervention underpins Wellbeing at Ivanhoe. Teachers and student support services staff work together to help students learn effectively and develop positive attitudes and behaviours.

To ensure that our students are well supported and cared for throughout their school life they are supported by dedicated teachers, wellbeing pastoral teams,  chaplains, school counsellors, career guidance, peer support and transition programs.

The Student Wellbeing Team consisting of:

• Head of Campus and Deputy Heads

• Child Safety Officer

• Head of Middle Years, Senior Years and House

• Level Manager

• Student Wellbeing Coordinator

• Director of Educational Support

• School Nurse and Psychologist.

Dedicated Wellbeing Staff 

Developing and fostering wellbeing is the ultimate deliverable that comes with the privilege of working with children and young people at Ivanhoe Grammar School.

Kathy Li - Psychologist - The Ridgeway Campus

Laura Punaro - Psychologist  – The Ridgeway Campus

Clare Tighe  – Psychologist - Plenty Campus

Helen Page-Wood  – Student Wellbeing Coordinator – Buckley House

Additional to having a dedicated team, our Wellbeing approach involves all staff and aims to engage parents and students in a genuine partnership to ensure every student has the opportunity to flourish.

Positive Education

As part of our student wellbeing program we embrace the ideas and practices of Positive Education.

Positive education works on the principle that the skills and mindsets that promote positive emotions, engagement, relationships and accomplishment, ultimately promotes learning and academic success.

Our key aims are to:

engage students in meaningful activities promoting wellbeing, resilience and optimism in the face of adversity

celebrate character and achievement through a strength based approach 

embed mindfulness practice and a growth mindset as key strategies to promote student wellbeing and learning

promote protective behaviours around healthy/respectful relationships (including sexual) -  and resilience and child harm awareness and prevention

encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning and behaviour

develop leadership skills and learn to build positive relationships

challenge each student to reach their full potential spiritually, emotionally and academically, socially and intellectually 

increase awareness and understanding around the needs of others and a respect for their differences, individuality and diversity

nurture students’ sense of personal worth through positive reinforcement and by celebrating individual achievements within curricular and co-curricular areas.

The Wellbeing Curriculum is delivered through Primary, Middle and Senior Years - as well as through an academic subject in Middle Years called Faith, Ethics and Attitudes. This subject educates and informs students in order to involve and empower them, equipping students with the skills, values, knowledge and attitudes that are essential to active participation in the global community of the 21st century.

A Personalised Approach

At Ivanhoe Grammar School there has been a long tradition of pastoral care and a commitment to cater and support the individual needs of each student, while encouraging them to achieve their personal best.

We are currently rolling out a new model of personalised mentoring for students in Years 7 -12, which continues the tradition of linking wellbeing to effective learning. Through this new initiative secondary students work closely with a selected mentor to develop their own wellbeing, academic and futures plan.

A key dimension of personalised mentoring is the proactive process for developing wellbeing in every student. It involves each student reflecting on their personal strengths and putting in place development goals. Taking on board a strengths-based approach and integrating the principles of a growth-mindset, students implement concrete strategies to further develop their character strengths and effective learning tactics.

Staff Wellbeing and Positive Education

Our approach to wellbeing encompasses the entire organisation and includes ongoing training of staff. All staff across all campuses have received training in Positive Psychology in the form of keynote addresses from Professor Lea Waters, workshops and the opportunity to attending positive education conferences. In addition, 35 members of staff have been trained as Key Change Agents, receiving modules of training in Positive Psychology; a Steering Committee has been established to assist and oversee work in Positive Psychology at Ivanhoe; and the Wellbeing Department is available to provide hands on assistance with the implementation of Positive Psychology initiatives.


Professor Lea Waters

To assist us on our journey of embedding Positive Psychology in all aspects of school life, we are fortunate to have the ongoing assistance of Professor Lea Waters from the University of Melbourne. Professor Waters is a registered psychologist and is currently the Director of the Gerry Higgins Chair of Positive Psychology at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. 

Read a paper by Lea Waters on school-based Positive Psychology interventions