Community Partnerships

Positive Education Day-Respectful Relationships

On behalf of the Respectful Relationships Focus Group and the Wellbeing Team, I would like to thank all the guest speakers and community groups for making today such a positive day.

Today, Wirreanda Secondary School conducted a whole day of focus and awareness around resilience, respectful relationships, conflict resolution strategies and mindfulness to help raise awareness around Respectful Relationships and to support White Ribbon Day.

This has included:

  • Targeted workshop sessions with the objective of raising  awareness around Respectful Relationships.
  • Fostering a sense of belonging within our community.
  • Facilitating learning programs that focus on responsibility to connect with, and care for others to boost confidence.

The long term outcome of these sessions as part of White Ribbon Day is to continue to develop skills and knowledge in resilience, respectful relationships, and conflict resolution strategies. We hope that this will aid in enhancing our interactions with our school community, and develop meaningful life-skills for our students. Wirreanda Secondary School has committed to the White Ribbon: “Breaking the Silence” schools programs as part of the primary prevention of violence against women. We recognise that the primary prevention of violence against women is an important first step to use an educational setting as a platform to raise awareness and build a culture of respectful relationships.
Our lunchtime community event showcased our school’s commitment and awareness of White Ribbon Day. Our students had access to a live DJ, activities from the Onkaparinga Council, henna tattoo artists, a staff vs student Netball event and and a visit from Port Adelaide Football Club. We also held a donation drive to assist St Vincent de Paul with donations for their Women’s Shelter. Again – Wirreanda demonstrated its commitment to helping others in our community.

Throughout the year, we have actively celebrated the diversity of our school community and promoted positive wellbeing strategies to all students and staff. Events such as today are the embodiment of our safe school policy, inclusivity strategies and programs in which all members of Wirreanda Secondary School have:

  • The right to be included and have respect from others
  • The right to learn or to be taught
  • The right to feel safe and secure in their school environment

We acknowledge that Wirreanda Secondary School is a White Ribbon and Safe School Coalition site and promotes respectful relationships amongst all members of the community, to improve the wellbeing of all students and staff.
On a personal note this was my last Wellbeing event at Wirreanda, it has been the journey of a lifetime and I am beyond thankful for my time here.

Teresa Bruno



Be Bold Body Image Workshop

Friday the 28th of July, saw the first Be Bold Body Image Workshop offered to our year 8 and 9 girls on behalf of Centacare Family Services.

The facilitators from Centacare along with the assistance of Eliza Farrell our Re-engage youth worker,  guided the group of young women through the ins and outs of the importance of self-esteem, how media and people in our lives influence body image and the harm of their expectations on us.

Students were shown how social media can be used to set unrealistic expectations, through manipulated images, Photoshop and models posing in particular way to enhance images.

A number of students left the session with a clearer understanding of “the norm” and stepped out of their comfort zones sharing stories with the group about  times when they have felt  “not good enough” about their bodies.

Some student feedback:

“It brought me out of my comfort zone and made me realise other people feel the same way. We are made a certain way, that way is just for you and that’s okay”.

Below is an outline of what information is being delivered in sessions :

Session 1: Body image and media

-Why body image is important to self-esteem

-How professional and social media influence body image

-How media images are manipulated and unrealistic

-Why comparison is unhelpful and contributes to poor body image and low self-esteem

Session 2: Redefining beauty and developing a healthy focus

-How beauty is defined by culture and over time

-What makes someone beautiful – not just appearance

-Why dieting is unhelpful

-How to focus on health rather than appearance

Session 3: Self-esteem and resilience

-Why self-esteem is important

-How to practice self-acceptance

-How to challenge negative self-talk and develop positive self-talk

-How to develop resilience and self-confidence



Jamie Maniero – Student Counsellor

White Ribbon Ambassador

Positive Behaviours and Respectful Relationships

Parents in Education week 2017

Parents in education week

Parents in Education week promotes and highlights the importance of parents being engaged in their child’s learning and education from birth through school, and to provide practical advice for parents on how to support their child’s learning.

In 2017 Parents in Education week will be held from Monday 18 to Friday 22 September.

View the map of event locations and partnerships.

Register to participate by clicking on the session topics of your choice in the program below. All events are free.


This year a 3-day speakers program will be delivered each evening from Tuesday 19 to Thursday 21 September. The Minister for Education and Child Development will chair a panel, and keynote speakers will present at the Star Room, Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

Program session Date Speakers
An evening with Minister Susan Close and guests discussing the 21st Century child 19 September 2017
7.00pm to 8.45pm
Dr Kristin Alford
Niki Buchan
Jodie Benveniste
Unlocking your child’s potential and learning through strength-based parenting” 20 September 2017
7.00pm to 8.45pm
Professor Lea Waters
9 Ways to a Resilient Child 21 September 2017
7.00pm to 8.45pm
Dr Justin Coulson



Teresa Bruno

Senior Leader-Learner  Wellbeing

Wirreanda Learner Wellbeing- Positive Education- PERMA +



Today staff were fortunate enough to have Annette Bulling present on PERMA +, Annette is Project Lead – Education from the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre at SAHMRI ( The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute- which is an independent health and medical research institute in Adelaide ) . Annette has a background in education – worked in schools sites, regional office and central office. She spent time working for Mindmatters and Australian Childhood Foundation promoting mental health, wellbeing and trauma-informed practice.

The purpose of Positive Psychology and PERMA + at Wirreanda Secondary School is to encourage and support a  flourishing school community that focuses on POSITIVES that contribute to the wider population and in doing so help a greater percentage of people to live well and build resilience.

“PERMA” stands for the five essential elements that should be in place for us to experience lasting well-being. These are:

  1. Positive Emotion (P)

For us to experience well-being, we need positive emotion in our lives. Any positive emotion like peace, gratitude, satisfaction, pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity, or love falls into this category – and the message is that it’s really important to enjoy yourself in the here and now, just as long as the other elements of PERMA are in place.

  1. Engagement (E)

When we’re truly engaged in a situation, task, or project, we experience a state of flow: time seems to stop, we lose our sense of self, and we concentrate intensely on the present.

This feels really good! The more we experience this type of engagement, the more likely we are to experience well-being.

  1. Positive Relationships (R)

As humans, we are “social beings,” and good relationships are core to our well-being. Time-and-again, we see that people who have meaningful, positive relationships with others are happier than those who do not. Relationships really do matter!

  1. Meaning (M)

Meaning comes from serving a cause bigger than ourselves. Whether this is a specific deity or religion, or a cause that helps humanity in some way, we all need meaning in our lives to have a sense of well-being.

  1. Accomplishment/ Achievement (A)

Many of us strive to better ourselves in some way, whether we’re seeking to master a skill, achieve a valuable goal, or win in some competitive event. As such, accomplishment is another important thing that contributes to our ability to flourish.

We look forward to working further with Annette and SAHMRI in the future with our goal of building resilience in our community.


Mindfulness is a secular and scientific approach to increasing resilience and positive emotions. It teaches students to not be overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions. Students learn a range of breathing techniques which can be used in a variety of settings to improve concentration, such as before tests and exams, sport and performances, also to assist sleep.

This year, we are lucky to be working again with Catherine Johnson, studying a PHD through Flinders University on the impact of Mindfulness to build resilience in adolescents. In 2014 & 2015, Catherine conducted eight week Mindfulness program with two year 8 classes. This program was based on a UK model .b (Stop and breathe). Whilst the program is excellent in curriculum content, there was insufficient data to support that the curriculum has contributed to reducing the effects of depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

This year, Catherine is trialling a Mindfulness Curriculum from Belgium, where there is quality data supporting that it has reduced incidents of depression, and anxiety, therefore increasing resilience in young people.

We are into our second week of the eight week program with a class of Year 8 and 10 students. The Mindfulness curriculum is part of their Health program. Teachers of these classes Wayne Olifent and Ralf Pirone, are participants with the class, as well as myself.

We have learnt short breathing meditations and more recently, a 20 minute body scan. This was the most challenging of the meditations, teaching us to pay attention to the present moment for an extended period of time. We were extremely impressed by students participation and respect through this exercise.

With perseverance and daily practice, Mindfulness enables us to retrain our brains to lead a more positive and resilient life. Our school Executive staff are into their second year of starting each meeting with 5 minute breathing meditation to assist focus and productivity.

Should anyone wish to contact the school for further information, please call.

Kadri Auväärt

Counsellor/ Community Connections

8329 7200

Valuing Diversity and Promoting Inclusivity Focus Day

Today, on May 17th, our school celebrated IDAHOT day.  IDAHOT day is the International Day against Homophobia, and Transphobia. It was a day filled with moving speeches, inspirational groups, motivational guest speakers, and fun filled activities.

We celebrate this day to promote resilience, respectful relationships, conflict resolution strategies and mindfulness, also to help value diversity and promote inclusivity.

The year 12 health class ran focus groups/activities on seeking refuge, challenging stereotypes, charity work, being a better ally, living with disabilities and the importance of diversity. Thank you to Ms Dean for her support of the students and for all her efforts.

“ It was such a wonderful experience to see everyone enjoying themselves, and bonding over such a magnificent day. I’m really proud of everyone for opening up about their sexuality and being a straight ally. Im also so proud of Ms Parker and Ms Bruno for following through with this day, and making it the best day possible. “ -Charlotte King

“ I found it great that people were so accepting and congratulating me once I spoke about my bisexuality and how the GSA has made school a safe environment for myself and others like myself. “- Mikayla Maenpaa

Lunchtime events included cupcake making, rainbow wool craft, face painting and Ms Walton, one of our parents doing Henna tattoos.

Wirreanda demonstrated today and everyday that all members of Wirreanda Secondary School have the right to be included and have respect from others, the right to learn or to be taught, and a right to feel safe and secure in their school environment. The school strives to acknowledge that Wirreanda Secondary School is a White Ribbon and Safe School Coalition site and promotes respectful relationships amongst all members of the community.


Charlotte King and Mikayla Maenpaa

Take a Stand

On Friday the 17th of  March 2017, Wirreanda Secondary School conducted a whole day of focus and awareness around resilience, respectful relationships, conflict resolution strategies and mindfulness, to help ‘ take a stand together’ and support BULLY NO WAY!

This included;

Morning sessions:

Teachers booked their classes into morning sessions with key guests including , focus leaders and student leaders who have made areas of resilience, respectful relationships, mindfulness and conflict resolution.

Mid afternoon session:

A mid-afternoon to lunchtime walkthrough information session, in which students completed a ‘resilience walk’, through various community groups and service providers gathering key information, justifying their emotional responses, expressing their opinions, beliefs, questions and choices, in order to build and modify safety strategies.

Lunchtime Event

A lunchtime school community event, showcasing our school’s commitment and awareness of BULLY NO WAY, with school bands performing songs of hope and encouragement, food and more information displays and workshops.

And finally two afternoon sessions:

One with a key guest speaker discussing their own battle with life setbacks, how to evaluate/rethink and refine life after unexpected or difficult situations and self-discipline strategies and personal experiences.

And the other with Helen Sleeman our Wellbeing Officer and Nick Jackson discussing Digital Citizenship with our learners parents .

This in turn further supported our safe school policy, strategy and programs in which;

All members of Wirreanda Secondary school have the right to be included and have respect from others, the right to learn or to be taught, and a right to feel safe and secure in their school environment.

Acknowledges that Wirreanda Secondary School is a White Ribbon and Safe School Coalition site and promotes respectful relationships amongst all members of the community.

The Wellbeing Team


New Staff in the LWC in 2017


In 2017 we welcome placement students from the Australian College of Applied Psychology, Flinders University Social Work and the Flinders Medical school. Each placement at Wirreanda is aimed to assist in building resilience and positive relationships for our students.

Eliza Farrell joins us from re-engage as our new Youth Worker, her focus in 2017 will be around running the breakfast club on Wednesdays,assisting local families and need, lunchtime programs and case management of students.

Hi all, I am really happy to be given the opportunity to fulfill my counselling placement at Wirreanda Secondary School.  I come from an Italian background and I am the proud mother of three beautiful children, one precious granddaughter and a 14-year-old pet dog called Molly.I have chosen the counselling pathway in recent years, as I know I have the passion and determination to support young people with respect, understanding and integrity. My dedication to supporting people at risk extends to my service in volunteering for lifeline. I am able to develop the use of self-awareness and mindfulness through the tools of meditation and visualization.I look forward to working with the teachers, parents, the community and students.Thank you for making me feel welcomed.  I would love to make myself accessible to provide the students with my counselling skills and my nurturing manner. Looking forward to working with you all.


Hi my name is Bec & I will be working here at Wirreanda as a student Placement counsellor for the next 6 months. I am a mother to two young children & a small business owner. I am passionate about working with young people & I really look forward to working alongside some of the students here to help set & achieve your future goals. Thank you for making me feel so welcome!

My name is Eliza Farrell, I am the new Youth Worker at school, I’m around the place on Mondays and Wednesday, you can find me in the Wellbeing Hub. My hobbies include spending time at the beach with my family and friends and attending music festivals. My motto in life is to make the most of every day.Im keen to get to know you all and learn your likes and interests.Feel free to come in and say hello and share your ideas with me.


Hello my name is Helen Sleeman, I am a Social Worker who will be spending some time at Wirreanda Secondary School working in the role of Child Wellbeing Practitioner. I will be working across four schools in the southern region. My role is to offer support to families who may be facing some challenges and to link them to suitable services within their community. The Child Wellbeing Program is run by the Education Department and has been created as an extra resource to work with schools and families, to offer support and assistance in an early intervention approach where a young person’s wellbeing may be of concern. The school leadership team is a good place to start if you would like to know more about my role. I look forward to continuing to work as a supportive part of the school community.

We warmly welcome all new staff and student placements at Wirreanda.






Operations Flinders

Designed to mentally, physically and emotionally challenge, Operation Flinders is a South Australian based charitable organisation that runs a world leading wilderness adventure program for young people at risk in the picturesque Flinders Ranges.

For the first time, Wirreanda Secondary School was extended an invitation to send a ‘team, which comprised of 10 students with mixed ages, genders and year levels. Participants were recommended to partake in the exercise, based on a number of aspects ranging from disengagement with school to an identified need to develop leadership qualities.

Over the 8 days, participants travelled 90km all over Yankaninna station on foot, carrying with them rucksacks full of all their vital equipment, bedding, food and water. Whilst the days were spent hiking mountains, abseiling, managing blisters and complaining about what they missed from home,  evenings were spent around the campfire, completing jobs and reflecting on the things important to them and the changes they wish to make in their lives.

Students were broken and challenged, but with no option other than to suck it up and persevere, they did it! As a supporting teacher, I cannot begin to describe the pride and admiration I have for those who participated and supported us. No doubt this has been a life changing experience for all involved and one that I hope all our participating students can look back on and recognise as a major accomplishment in their lives.
Alicia Dean

Health and Physical Education/VET Sport and Recreation /Specialist Sport Course


Thanks to Shane Cunningham , Nick Jackson and Leah Muirhead who made donations of bottles and toys for our upcoming orphanage visit during our Wirreanda Cambodia Project.

Just over a week to go , we are getting very excited !!

Thanks to Leah who brought in her beautiful Pug ” Cannon Ball ” to the Learner Wellbeing Centre as part of ” International  bring your dog to work day ” .

Ms Parker and Mr Maniero did some role plays around how they will utilize the puppets in Cambodia.

Thanks to Leanne Bell and her daughter who made beautiful dresses for the Cambodian community .

We have started putting together our workbooks for our teaching and learning component for our trip, thank you to Craig Dunstan from Hewlett-Packard Australia who donated all the printing of the booklets .booklets

Anticipation is rising and we cannot wait to commence our journey .