Brisbane Boys’ College profile

  • established in 1902
  • Iocated in Toowong – 6km from Brisbane’s CBD
  • a day and boarding school from Prep to Year 12
  • enrols 391 boys in the Junior School

The context of KidsMatter at the College

student at Brisbane Boys' CollegeBrisbane Boys College (BBC) began piloting KidsMatter Primary in 2013.
 
The framework strongly aligned with its approach to boys’ education and its guiding philosophy outlined in the College manifesto: 
 
We will inspire you, back you, nurture you, care for you and about you. We will help you develop and evolve to find your special place in the world.
Excerpt from BBC Manifesto, 2015, ‘All About the Boy’ 
Teachers are focused on educating boys for the world in which they will live and they see learning as part of the experience of childhood development. They agreed to be involved with the pilot of the new KidsMatter portal, and embarked on a two-year journey to develop and implement changes relating to wellbeing. 
 
At BBC kids have always mattered; yet we saw this an opportunity to formally embed a range of initiatives focused on cultivation of healthy young minds and wellbeing. 
Mark Griffith, Deputy Head of Junior School

A focus on social and emotional learning

The membership of the KidsMatter Action Team represented different parts of the school community: the Deputy Head of Junior School, the School Counsellor, a learning support teacher, teaching staff from all year levels, and a parent. The goal was to implement change that would add value to existing structures and to encourage boys and the community to invest in their own wellbeing. This led to the creation of a Social and Emotional (SEL) program designed specifically for boys, and in support of the Junior School’s current pastoral care curriculum. 
 
During 2013 and 2014, following a series of professional development sessions, staff mapped out social and emotional competencies for each year level in the Junior School to inform the development of the SEL program. 
 
Boys now participate in timetabled SEL classes on a weekly basis. The lessons specifically develop skills such as self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making and relationship skills. They are held at the beginning of each week so that concepts can be reviewed in the following days. The SEL classes have had a positive impact on students. Staff have observed boys being more adept in managing conflict, showing confidence in trying new things and generally feeling positive about themselves and the community.  

Relationships: the foundation for learning

student drawingThe Action Team conducted a survey within the Junior School community in the initial pilot stages. While survey data supported an already vibrant and positive school community, the Action Team wanted to increase the experience of welcome and safety for families. 
 
We wanted to enhance boys’ self-belief. We believe that everything starts with relationships, and so we focused on authentic relationships and building an ‘emotional bank account’ with every boy so that he feels valued and worthwhile.
Hazel Raymond, School Counsellor
Extending the connections between staff and parents was another important goal in 2014. An innovation was achieved with the development of two distinct drop-off zones that enable parents to leave their children in the care of another adult who greets and welcomes them to the Junior School. 

Parenting support and education

Providing information and supporting parents in their son’s social and emotional development is also considered a priority within the Junior School. Parents are encouraged to play an active role in their son’s learning and to get involved with the community. All parents are invited to assist with learning and reading groups and the Junior School offers free seminars to assist the partnership of parents and teachers in areas related to the education of boys. 
 
A creative way of building links with parents was introduced in 2015 with the ‘Classroom Café’ initiative. This provides parents with an opportunity to have afternoon tea and spend time seeing the ways that their son contributes to, and learns in, the classroom environment. 

National recognition

Through their involvement with KidsMatter, the Junior School has been able to make a direct and substantial contribution to the improvement agenda of the National Early Childhood Development Strategy. Staff have dedicated extensive energy and resources, and implemented a range of strategies to improve the wellbeing of the school community over two years. Brisbane Boys’ College completed all four components of KidsMatter and received national recognition in 2015. 
 
KidsMatter has made a significant difference to staff and students in the Junior School at Brisbane Boys’ College. Implementing social and emotional learning (SEL) into our curriculum means that we share a common goal and can continue to improve outcomes for our students and their families.
Gary Musson, Head of Junior School
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