Congratulations to the SACE Drama class on the production of Angela Betzien’s play, Girl Who Cried Wolf. We look forward to seeing what you create for your devised performance coming up in Term 3.
Performance rights for Girl Who Cried Wolf are exclusively licensed by Yellow Creative Management 1/348 Darling St, Balmain, NSW, 2041, www.yellowcreativemanagement.com
Fight With All Your Might The Zombies of Tonight
Year 9 Playwriting and Performance, 8.1 Drama and 8.2 Drama invite you to attend their production of Fight With All Your Might The Zombies of Tonight by Matthew Whittet on 31 May in Helen Reid Hall.
Alex Tracks has noticed all the kids in her neighbourhood have started walking to the beat of the same drum. When she discovers the reason why, she must draw on the skills of her quirky friends to save her town. Fight With All Your Might The Zombies of Tonight is a light hearted play that celebrates diversity and reminds us that if we bravely use our voice to stand up for what is right, anything is possible.
“It is a tale of zombies and bullies, portals and magic mirrors, helpful wolves that yell instructions and evil cats that steel tongues,” (Narrator, Fight With All Your Might The Zombies of Tonight, p.15).
If you haven’t already had a look at the season of work being presented by Walford Drama students in 2023, make sure you take a moment to watch the trailer and mark the dates in your diaries so don’t miss out.
It was a joy see our students enliven our campus when they returned last week. It was also exciting to launch the 2023-2025 Strategic Plan with our community, which builds on Walford’s legacy of providing an outstanding, forward-thinking education for girls and young women, in a close-knit environment of moral courage, deep care and appropriate challenge. On Monday 24 April, staff began work on planning the implementation of the four strategic pillars of Big Hearts, Bright Minds, Bespoke Pathways, and Bold Futures, so that we can support each student to achieve her best, her way.
We welcomed teachers Gabriel Azpilcueta, Wendy Dowd, Duncan Fairweather, Emma Gibson and Lauren Rulfs, and new Chef Manager Anthoney Bignell-Burge; and we farewelled staff member Hayley Youels who has taken up the role of Enrolments Registrar at St Dominic’s Priory College.
On Anzac Day I attended the Unley RSL Anzac Day Dawn Service, accompanied by Head of Senior School Ms Georgie West and our School Captains. Captain Lara read the Lord’s Prayer and was later joined by Vice Captain Ava to lay a wreath on behalf of the School. Last Thursday we were able to honour Anzac Day in a whole school service.
Congratulations to the Student Council who raised $2745.85 for the GO Foundation through their Lent Campaign. They are additionally asking for gold coin donations to see if they can top this amount up to over $3000, which would provide scholarships for the primary schooling of two Indigenous students.
My best wishes go to the 41 students and four staff attending Generations in Jazz to compete in the Division 2 competition this weekend, and to our Year 10s who are on camp next week.
I look forward to connecting with our community at various times during this term’s event-packed calendar.
As we continually review our communications as a school, we are moving towards using the Walford app as the one source of truth and information for our parent community. Newsletter items have been appearing both in the emailed Newsletter link, and on the ‘News’ section of the app.
This will be the last Newsletter emailed to our community. In future, parents will receive both News (Newsletter style items) and Notices (information specific to their groups, such as children’s year levels) through the app, on a rolling basis.
While the Walford app enables the school to send push notifications to your phone, the style and frequency of these notifications is up to you. For more information about how to configure your notifications preferences, see this helpdesk article.
The Junior School will additionally continue to use Seesaw for communications with families, which can also be accessed via the SeeSaw app. For more information on how to get this setup please see the Seesaw section under School Services within the Walford app.
We will additionally publish news and articles on the website on a News webpage, for community and public audiences.
We are thrilled to let you know that we will commence works on Stages 2 and 3 of The Heart of Walford, commencing in December 2023. Take a look at this video showing a preview of the new development, which will extend the internal oasis we are creating in our urban campus. We are most grateful to the Walford community, the Parent-Teacher Association, Walford Old Scholars’ Association and the Walford Foundation for their support of the Walford Giving Days which have contributed towards Stages 1 and 2 of The Heart of Walford.
The results of last term’s uniform survey are in. More than 70% of respondents think our academic uniform would benefit from review, and 60% of respondents think our sports uniform would benefit from review.
Aesthetics and practicality were the top two criteria valued by those who responded, reflected in one respondent’s comment that the uniform should be “stylish but practical”. Practicality was commented on as practical for washing, ironing and care, and also for activities such as play, movement, and to address sensory needs. One student commented that the uniform “could be more comfortable for girls that are all shapes and sizes, and more modern so girls don’t always have to sit with their legs crossed.” There were several suggestions made for options of shorts and culottes.
Lemon yellow shirts, PE shorts and itchy fabrics emerged through the survey comments as things respondent do not like about our uniform. Ties and tartan were divisive, with some in favour of these, and others not. The Walford crest and palette of Walford blues, including royal blue and pale blue, were commented on regularly as a positive aspect of the uniform.
Several people commented that they would prefer a ‘mix and match’ uniform that students could choose from regardless of term or season, allowing flexibility of student choice. Cost also came up, with the suggestion that a streamlined transeasonal wardrobe would allow parents to purchase fewer items. One parent commented that the uniform should be “a more modern reflection of what smartly dressed young women wear in everyday life” and another suggested that the uniform be “modern and empowering”.
Thank you to the 348 people who responded to the survey. These results mean that we will progress to a review of the school uniform. We will engage a supplier to work alongside us to review our uniform history and design possible options informed by tradition and ongoing community feedback. The process of design, prototyping and consultation will include the formation of a Uniform Review Committee and the use of focus groups to generate feedback along the way.
Our hope would be that a new uniform would be launched around Term 3 of 2024, with a staged rollout process for current students to begin from 2025.
Term 2 is well underway and we are all working very hard in our units of inquiry. The Junior School students are learning within many of the transdisciplinary themes this term, including Where we are in place and time, How the world works and Sharing the planet. It has been wonderful to see provocation tables in Years 1 and 2, experiencing an amazing Year 5 camp in Sovereign Hill and wonderful transdisciplinary links from our specialist areas.
This year we have been working as a Junior School to prepare the documentation for our International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme evaluation which will be occurring in Term 3. This will be a virtual visit from the IB over 3 days, 21 – 23 August and provides an important opportunity for us to showcase our learning in the ELC and Junior School, and to reflect on best practice within the framework.
As part of this process, I welcome Walford parents to join a small working party to discuss the IB PYP framework and its implementation in the Junior School. We will meet once this term – date and time to be confirmed. I would welcome anyone who is interested in being part of this conversation to join in.
Please send me an email if you would be willing to be part of this discussion.
As a Junior School staff, we have been working on further developing our assessment and reporting process, including digital portfolios and our semester reports. We will soon be consulting with the parent community to receive feedback about this.
Walford’s recently-launched Strategic Plan includes four key pillars, one of which is Bespoke Pathways. Walford is committed to facilitating student voice, choice and agency, and in doing so providing every girl with the opportunity to strive for personalised excellence. For us, Bespoke Pathways means that from early learning through to senior secondary, and beyond, Walford students are supported to co-design their own trajectory and experiences in ways that best suit them, to achieve that to which they each aspire.
Walford students are supported in carving their own paths at a time when young people are being met with the most significant disruption since the industrial revolution, facing a time of unprecedented challenge environmentally, economically, socially and emotionally. Rapid change is being driven by accelerating globalisation and exponential advancements in technology. KnowledgeWorks (as cited by Hannon & Temperley, 2022) are forecasting that we will become so inextricably linked with digital devices that we will live as partners in code, leading the next generation into a phase of human digital co-evolution. As educators, the key will be empowering young people to use technology so that it leverages their capacity to make unique contributions.
At Walford, we are tasked with preparing students for jobs that are yet to exist, using technologies that have not been invented, to solve problems that are yet to fully materialise. This makes education exciting and also poses important questions about how we set about developing the capabilities of students and the contexts in which this development occurs. The OECD has forecast four scenarios for schooling:
Schools as learning hubs
One very clear lesson learned throughout Covid was that young people crave belonging to their school communities for the sense of wellbeing, care and connection schools provide. This is an important indicator that schools as institutions remain important as hubs for children and adolescents, providing the training ground in preparing them as future ready agents of their own learning. A strong body of research indicates that there are two important things schools can do to ensure students are future ready:
Build a solid foundation. Literacy and numeracy remain crucial as key elements in a learner’s journey, providing the passport to access all other learning opportunities.
Provide personalised learning environments. This will enable students to identify interests, nurture passions, make connections between different learning experiences and design their own learning projects in collaboration with others, developing students as agile and dynamic agents capable of navigating complexity.
Bespoke Pathways is about providing a highly agile, responsive, challenging and flexible schooling environment that honours the needs of students to use their voice, exercise choice and draw upon agency. In practical terms, this is about enabling students to select learning experiences that reflect their interests including our interdisciplinary short course electives, enabling students to engage their teachers in co-design of learning experiences and at the senior level of schooling, supporting students to map their own curriculum pathway including early entry in SACE subjects, being accredited for experiences beyond school such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award (Bronze, Silver or Gold), vocational learning and for those who are ready to extend themselves, early university study.
In addition, the Future Curriculum Working Party is a team of interdisciplinary teachers across the Junior, Middle and Senior Schools. It is our aim to draw on a blend of futures thinking, robust evidence and practical experimentation in learning contexts, ensuring we deliver learning experiences that position our students as principled agents of their own futures. Drawing on the work of Hannon and Temperley (2022), we believe that learning ought to be technology enhanced and we are therefore looking to ensure we sequence learning experiences across the whole school that expose students to robotics and computer science (particularly as code will be increasingly significant in our lives), mixed media such as filmmaking and podcasting, digital design with industrial applications including fashion design, architecture, visual art and design and engineering with a focus on the prototype process where students can engage in ‘fail forward’ learning – drawing from failure to improve design.
This is such an exciting time to lead and learn at Walford. Our students will graduate as future ready young women who know how to learn, possess awareness of and the ability to use their strengths, can readily identify and seize emerging opportunities; are good at being human (can empathise and connect positively with others) and can mobilise their knowledge, skills, experiences and values to successfully navigate complexity.
Ms Georgina West Head of Senior School
Hannon, V & Temperley, J, 2022,, FutureSchool: How Schools Around the World Are Applying Learning Design Principles for a New Era, Taylor & Francis Group, Milton, doi: 10.4324/9781003244172.
OECD (2020), Back to the Future of Education: Four OECD Scenarios for Schooling, Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing, Paris https://doi.org/10.1787/178ef527-en
A Remarkable Woman and a Life-changing Scholarship
On Thursday 25 May, Walford Anglican School for Girls hosted an Evening with the Governor. Our special guests were Her Excellency, The Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia, and her husband Mr Rod Bunten. In attendance were Mr Peter Hastings Chair of the Walford Council of Governors, members of the School Council, old scholars, parents, staff, friends of Walford, and Walford students.
In Walford’s 130th birthday year, we enjoyed welcoming Her Excellency back to her school. I am new to South Australia, having arrived here from Western Australia in January, and I have quickly become inspired by and, in fact, in awe of, Her Excellency – the Governor of South Australia, and a Walford old scholar who completed Year 12 at Walford in 1978, graduating as Science Dux and Vice-President of the Student Representative Council. Her Excellency’s mother, the Honourable Jennifer Cashmore, former South Australian Liberal MP, Minister for Tourism, and Minister for Health—was also a Walford old scholar only the third woman in the state to be elected to the House of Assembly.
Her Excellency was repeatedly ranked as one of South Australia’s most influential people before her appointment as the 36th Governor of South Australia. During her Bachelor of Economics, she was the University of Adelaide’s first female captain of the boat club in its 103-year history and went on to join the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs. She worked as a Foreign Diplomat in Hong Kong, headed the Australian Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei, and later served as Australia’s Ambassador to China. Earlier in her career she served twice in the Australian High Commission in London. In 2016, Her Excellency was appointed Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has also been International Adviser to the Prime Minister and Chief of Staff to the Foreign Minister and Defence Minister. She is clearly a remarkable woman, exemplary leader, and an inspiration.
I particularly admire Her Excellency’s service to international diplomacy and democracy; her commitment to excellence and equity in education for all; and her deep respect for Kaurna language, people and country, and other South Australian Aboriginal lands. In many of her roles she has been the first woman, a literal trail blazer who has created a path along which others might follow, or she has opened a door for the first time so that other women may later more easily walk through it. I think of our, and the kind of courage and truth it must take to forge such a career grounded in deep service, while also living a rich family life.
An Evening with the Governor included an Acknowledgement of Country by Junior School leader Phoebe, a brief video showcasing our school, and a superb violin solo by Annabelle (accompanied by Jamie Cock). Her Excellency addressed the audience, after which I was privileged to have an informal conversation with Her Excellency during which she answered questions from me and from the audience, including from students. The Governor spoke about her experience of the Coronation of His Majesty Charles III, and how Walford crossed her mind as she sat in Westminster Abbey; about the resonance of the Walford School motto, Virtute et Veritate (With Moral Courage and Truth), throughout her life and career; and about the importance of inclusion, social justice, and gender equity. It was interesting to hear about challenges she has faced, inspiration she has drawn, and that there is a distant family connection between Her Excellency’s family of Adamsons, and Lydia Adamson, the founding Principal of Walford. The Vote of Thanks was given by our School Captain Lara and Vice Captain Ava, who escorted Her Excellency and the official party to and from the event.
This event is one that reflects our School – while it was a formal and important occasion, it was also intimate, personal, and shared with our close-knit community. The buzz in the room after the event was testament to how energising it was for the audience to hear from Her Excellency. Our students, inspired, were flocking around the Governor to speak with and thank her during the reception that followed.
I was thrilled during the evening to announce, alongside Her Excellency, the establishment of a transformational scholarship. In this 130th year of our school, we are launching the establishment of a scholarship to which Her Excellency has generously offered her name: the Frances Adamson Scholarship. This scholarship—which has social justice, integrity and the empowerment of young women at its heart—will provide the dream of a Walford education, to courageous and compassionate young women, for whom this would otherwise not be possible. Applications will be invited from students who would not otherwise be able to attend Walford, including from students identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and of refugee status.
The scholarship will be open for applications in 2024 for commencement in 2025, for students entering the School in Years 9, 10 or 11. It is part of a suite of actions the School is taking as part of its Reconciliation Action Plan and the 2023-2025 Strategic Plan, focused on the strategic pillars of:
Big Hearts: ensuring the wellbeing and belonging of all students in an inclusive diverse, connected community.
Bright Minds: engaging all students through future-ready learning and teaching that inspires and empowers.
Bespoke Pathways: enabling personalised excellence by supporting each student to achieve her best, her way.
Bold Futures: ensured through opportunities to learn, lead, serve, and be the change we want to see in the world.
We will soon be able to share more details about this transformational scholarship, and how you might contribute. We are hoping to change some lives.
Our Walford teaching team had a productive start to Term 3, working collaboratively on our recently updated Walford Learning Principles.
Displayed prominently around the school, our Walford Learning Principles are a consistent reminder to our community of the type of learners we strive to be:
We are thinkers.
We are accountable.
We are global learners.
We are curious.
We are collaborators.
We are communicators.
On our Professional Development Day, teachers worked in small focus teams on a Learning Principle of their choice. Accessing a range of contemporary research including case studies, academic readings and podcasts, teams of teachers discussed and designed an ongoing project which will be explored throughout the semester. As lifelong learners, professional growth is valued at Walford, and teachers will look forward to discussing and showcasing their work with a learning gallery at the end of the year.
This week at Walford Anglican School for Girls we engaged with National Reconciliation Week and its 2023 theme ‘Be a Voice for Generations’. Students participated in a suite of impactful activities and experiences, reflecting on the rich history, culture, language and ongoing contributions of our First Nations peoples, especially the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains on whose land we live and learn.
As a school, we engage in Reconciliation through our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Committee and related actions. The RAP Committee is a large group made up of 29 students and eight staff from across the school who meet regularly to plan and propel tangible action on Reconciliation. The Committee’s previous work includes the Junior School mural, and its current project is planning an Indigenous garden in collaboration with local Indigenous experts. An Acknowledgement of Country appears on both our email signature and our website, as well as at the beginning of meetings and events.
This week, the school community from ELC to Year 12 have been learning a Kaurna word each day, including words from our School motto, Pulthawilta (Courage) and Tiyati warra(Truth). Middle and Senior School students attended an interactive dance performance by contemporary dance collective Of Desert and Sea. Dr Cornelia Koch from the University of Adelaide’s Law School spoke to our Year 9-12 students around the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, Uluru Statement from the Heart, Makarrata and Australia’s Constitutional history. Principal Dr Deborah Netolicky enjoyed reading Back on Country, a book by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing, to the Year 4s, and chatting with them about Reconciliation. Ngarrindjeri artist Amanda Westley worked with our ELC and Junior School students to share the colours of Ngarrindjeri Country and facilitate painting workshops creating Yarluwar (Ocean) as part of our Year 3 students’ signature relationship with the south coast of South Australia.
A special whole school assembly was organised by the RAP Committee, and included a Welcome to Country and truth telling by Aunty Elaine Magias. Aunty Elaine has strong ancestral links to Kaurna of the Adelaide Plains, Narangga from Yorke Peninsula and Ngadjuri from the mid north-east of South Australia. We are humbled and honoured that she generously shared with us the story of her mother who was a member of the Stolen Generation, revealing the importance of access to Elders and the importance of passing rich culture and stories down between generations. The ELC sang their daily ‘Nina Marni’ song, and student members of the RAP Committee spoke about the meaning and impact of Reconciliation, and the upcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament.
This week’s activities have been a powerful reminder of the importance of coming together as an inclusive, welcoming community, of being a voice for positive change, and also of making space for the voices, stories, and cultures of others. We have been reminded of our school values of Courage and Community, and our school motto Virtute et Veritate, Moral Courage and Truth.
Walford School Holiday Netball Clinic facilitated by Adelaide Thunderbirds players
Our 2023 Walford Netball Clinics will be facilitated by current Adelaide Thunderbirds players, including their current Captain Hannah Petty. These clinics will provide all students the opportunity to develop their netball skills and enjoy some school holiday fun with their peers at Walford. These clinics vary depending on the age and skills of the players but aim to increase all students level of competency, whilst doing so with high enjoyment and the opportunity to meet Adelaide Thunderbirds players.
Tuesday 18 July and Wednesday 19 July Walford Sports Centre
$50 per student per clinic includes photography/autograph opportunities after their session.
$90 per student for the two day clinic includes photography/autograph opportunities after their session.
When booking please be careful to select the correct session time and ticket options
Walford was thrilled at this term’s An Evening with the Governor to announce a new scholarship: the Frances Adamson Scholarship, named after one of our most eminent old scholars, Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia.
Our community can be part of bringing this life-changing scholarship, which will provide the opportunity of a Walford education to a student for whom this would not otherwise be possible, to life by contributing a tax deductible donation to the Walford Foundation Scholarship Fund.
I am so proud of our students and teachers for their passion, creativity and engaging approach to teaching, learning, activities, enrichment, care and support, which we do so well in Mathematics here at Walford. A fantastic example of this is having our very own Ms Joanne Maratos recognised in the Sunday Mail feature Australia’s Best Teachers – Congratulations Ms Maratos!
The following students are to be commended for their exceptional achievement in the Mathematical Association of South Australia Hamann School Mathematics Competition. This is a competition open to all
students in South Australia and is widely regarded as one of the most challenging competitions of the year. The following students will be presented with their awards at a special ceremony on 9th May. Congratulations!
At a recent presentation on Thriving in the Middle School, Sheridan Cox and I shared strategies for supporting adolescents as well as insights to support our parent community to understand the challenges faced by students in this key development phase. Here, I summarise some of the take-home points from that presentation.
What does thriving look like?
Thriving, often referred to in positive psychology as flourishing, means the capacity to live a fulfilled, happy life while facing challenges with resilience and feeling belonging, meaning and connectedness.
Thriving in the middle years looks like:
A strong sense of self – values and self esteem.
Working well to achieve goals – doing her best!
Reliable and functional friendships – respectfully solving problems as they arise.
Involvement in a variety of interests – sport, music and mind.
Being physically and mentally healthy.
Most of our girls are thriving daily in the Walford Middle School. We see it daily in their eager participation, their resilience in their learning, their bonds with peers and their smiling faces in the yard. We understand that there are challenges that can occur during adolescent years and the support provided both at School and at home are critical to supporting each student in our Middle School to be Her Best. Our recent community survey revealed that most of our girls have excellent mental wellbeing, are flourishing and enjoy the positive impact they have on others.
What challenges do our students face?
Given the reported challenges associated with schoolwork and the emerging context of generative artificial intelligence good study habits and approaches to learning are more important than ever. Adolescents need to develop effective study habits as these are established in Middle School. This includes having spaces and processes conducive to study, but also the resilience to work through academic challenges with buoyancy. Students need to develop academic buoyancy, the ability to recognise academic challenges, adjust their thinking and deal with the challenge. Then identify the success achieved and continue (Martin and Marsh, 2020). It is normal for students to feel challenged by school. If they are not challenged then we as teachers are not doing our job!
Friendships are central in the girl world. Friends can be a source of joy and enrichment, adventure and support. When friendships change, which they often do in Middle School, or there is conflict, our girls can feel like their world is caving in. Rebecca Sparrow has some excellent guidance for parents and teenagers faced with friendship conflicts and dramas. She guides our girls to avoid drama cyclones and to address friendship issues directly with the other person. When conflict arises, she poses the question “is the friendship bigger than the fight?” a great way to get a challenge in to perspective and start the path towards resolution.
At his recent presentation at the Asia Pacific Summit on Girls’ Education in Hobart, Professor Pasi Sahlberg reflected on the state of play for our young people. He noted the rise of sedentary time and the decline of wellbeing and health, also seemingly correlated with a culture that is submerged in an online world of instant messaging and sharing of a curated highlights reel. The Mission Australia Youth Survey 2022 reports on key issues concerning young people and highlighted mental health and relationship challenges of key concern, but both of these challenges were surpassed by those relating to school.
We see these concerns emerging with our students at Walford, too.
What do we do at Walford to help students to thrive?
Our focus at Walford is ensuring each student achieves Her Best, Her Way. To achieve this we need to balance both wellbeing and academic care. Our pastoral and academic care structures ensure that each student has a carefully-designed network of teachers and peer mentors to whom she can turn, both for celebrating her achievements and for seeking support when needed.
Our bespoke WEB (Wellbeing, Engagement and Belonging) program includes a range of both education and activities to support wellbeing, engagement and belonging. As well as the explicit teaching of social emotional skills, such as problem solving and communication, there is support from her Mentor not only for one-on-one catch ups for both progress checking and celebration of achievements, but also for support in challenging times. We know that positive relationships with teachers, getting help with schoolwork and talking with parents are key factors that are correlated with girls’ wellbeing.
At Walford we respond to concerns as they arise, and are proactive in getting ahead of issues by teaching key social and emotional skills that equip our students to prepare for life’s challenges. We encourage students to recognise the difference between finding something challenging and being anxious.We use restorative justice practices to help coach students through conflict resolution, a process that not only restores but builds students capabilities social and emotional interactions.
What can parents do?
Parents and caregivers can support their daughters by engaging in co-regulation. This means being the steady presence that helps them to be calm and approach the stressor with an open mind for resolution.
Parents can offer support and coaching to their daughters through active listening and asking questions such as, “Do you just need an ear, or do you want some advice?” or “What are your options?”, allowing the girl to talk through her ideas. Parents can also validate their daughter’s feelings without agreeing, through language such as “That sounds hard” or “That must have been frustrating.” Listening to challenges rather than fixing or rescuing allows girls to own and solve their own problems, and to build these skills for life.
There are other simple things parents can do to support the wellbeing of their daughters. These include:
Ensuring she gets a good night’s sleep, with no devices in the bedroom.
Shoulder to shoulder talking, such as in the car or in the great outdoors (just 20 minutes a day has a positive effect on wellbeing).
Connecting with friends outside of school.
Preserving family time such as dinner.
Encouraging a growth mindset and using growth language (“I can’t do that….yet!”) to help her to take on challenges.
Ensuring that school attendance is maintained.
Seeking professional advice if a diagnostic assessment is needed.
Want to know more?
My go to list of experts on supporting our girls through the middle years includes work by Madonna King, Rebecca Sparrow, Lisa Damour and Maggie Dent.
There is no question Middle School is a time of challenge and change for young people. But it is also a time of discovery and identity development, of joy and friendship building. At Walford it is our privilege to partner with parents and caregivers to support students through their middle years, in order to set them up for future happiness and success.
This year a number of girls entered the IPSHA Poetry Recital, with a Preliminary Final held here at Walford. Year 4 student Hanna and Year 5 student Indi won the first round and moved through to the finals. Competing at St Peter’s College, the girls recited two poems in front of a large audience, and each received a certificate for their participation. Congratulations to both Indi and Hanna!
Thank you to very proud mentors Mary Smith and Pam Davidson, who assisted with the coaching of the girls.
Year 10 students study sonnets and then write their own as part of a competition to honour Old Scholar Eleanor Wells, from the Class of 1939. Her family continues to generously donate a cash prize in memory of Eleanor.
The sonnets are judged on the success of the 14-line sonnet structure, accurate use of iambic pentameter, language choice and of course, flair and engagement.
This year’s winner is Niamh. Students who received a Highly Commended were Emily W, Sophie, Diana, Laela, Annabelle F, and Sophia F.
Kerri Proctor Head of English
Forest of Grief
As I wandered through the forest deep, The leaves above did whisper with a chill, For sadness seemed to linger, and to keep Mine heart in sorry, and crushed is my will.
The branches of the trees, so bare and stark, A haunting beauty, yet so full of gloom, Stood tall and silent in the misty dark, And lingered like a foreboding doom.
The brook flowed with a gentle, mournful sound, As if it too had felt the weight of grief, It echoed with a sadness so profound, And wept in sorrow, without any relief.
But in the calm and stillness, there lies hope, A chance to heal, to find the strength to cope.
If your daughter isn’t attending these yet, she may well be in the future. Celebrating and spending time with friends is fun, and these social events are part of many of our lives. These events are more fun for parents when the teenagers socialising do so safely.
Centred around their harm minimisation approach, Encounter Youth delivered a considered and informative session on drug and alcohol safety for young people at Walford last week. Their key takeaway message to our daughters was: “Look after yourself. Look after your mates. It’s your choice”. The students were educated about the risks associated with alcohol consumption as well as e-cigarettes or vapes. The presenters also shared some statistics about alcohol consumption in young people, noting that healthy lifestyle trends have contributed to lowered consumption rates in adolescents, thus prompting use of the terms “your choice”, as many young people are choosing not to drink.
The seminar for Year 9 students, “Know your limits”, covered the developing identities of adolescents, the choices they may be faced with, and what actions to take if there is an emergency.
At the parent information session that evening, the following suggested actions for parents were discussed:
Talk to your daughter. What is she worried about? What are you worried about? How can you work together to agree on an approach?
Educate yourself. Again, talk to your daughter about what she knows about drugs, vapes and alcohol. What are the laws? What are the risks?
Support your daughter to develop “graceful exits” to use in situations that may arise. What strategies can she use to keep safe and exit situations in which she feels uncomfortable?
Benefits of a Walford Education for Girls and Young Women
Walford Anglican School for Girls is a school designed intentionally for girls and young women. It was founded in 1893 by a pioneering suffragette and entrepreneur—Miss Lydia Adamson—who aimed to educate girls in ways beyond the gendered practices of education of the time. Miss Adamson taught her students French, Latin, mathematics, botany and physiology, introducing them to the world of science with her microscope. In 1917, the School motto Virtute et Veritate was developed. It was described in the 1917 School magazine as “by moral courage and truthfulness – the spirit in which all Walford girls are called upon to tackle the problems and difficulties of life, both at school and in the after days.” The themes of girls and women in STEM, and girls and women of courage and principle, are golden threads that have woven through the history of our school since its inception.
While we might feel like gender should not be a barrier to success in 2023, the fact is that girls and women remain disadvantaged. This year, Australia’s national gender pay gap is 13.3%, with the average weekly full-time earnings of a woman in Australia $253.50 lower per week than the equivalent for men. The recently released United Nations Gender Social Norms Index reveals that gender biases remain a global issue. The Index report states that:
Almost nine out of ten men and women worldwide still report holding gender biases against women.
Nearly half the world’s people believe that men make better political leaders than women do.
Two out of five people believe that men make better business executives than women do.
The share of heads of state or government who are women has remained around 10% worldwide since 1995.
Women hold just over a quarter of parliament seats globally.
Women leaders are often judged more harshly than their male counterparts.
These biases exist across regions, income levels and cultures, and are deeply embedded in society.
In the Australian context, a recently-released research report by the Liptember Foundation found that approximately 1 in 2 Australian women today are experiencing mental health issues, with the five most prevalent being depression (45%), anxiety and generalised anxiety disorders (44%), body image issues (34%), psychological distress (16%), and post-traumatic stress disorder (14%).
Single sex girls’ schools such as Walford are an antidote that can counteract existing gender biases and the persistent challenges facing girls and young women. Benefits for girls of single-sex education include better mental health, more confident sense of self, greater life satisfaction, higher academic results, and greater participation and success in subjects such as advanced mathematics, science, and robotics. A 2020 analysis of Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) data from 2015-2018 found that girls at single sex schools outperformed those at co-educational schools, including in all academic measures of science, mathematics and literacy. It additionally found that classrooms in all-girls schools are less disruptive, leading to more positive and productive learning environments, and that girls-only classes help diminish gender stereotypes and enhance the self-assurance and self-confidence of girls. These research findings affirm what we see each day at Walford: that girls in a single-sex environment are provided a safe, supportive, and inclusive space to thrive.
At Walford, gendered assumptions and pressures are stripped away, allowing our students to flourish, to challenge themselves, and to build sisterhood solidarity with their peers who cheer them on and celebrate their successes. Our students tell us that they feel confident to participate in a range of subjects, activities and experiences. For Walford students, leadership, advocacy and ambition are normalised, fostered and celebrated. Students are supported throughout their schooling by expert teachers committed to girls’ education. They leave their school years having experienced success and having participated fully in rigorous learning in an environment of high care and high expectations. They have been seen, heard, known and valued for who they are, and supported to reach for and beyond the perceived limits of their potential.
Student agency and autonomy are cornerstones of the Walford student experience. This includes opportunities from Early Learning to Year 12 for students to be owners and co-designers of their learning. Initiatives such as design thinking in the Junior School, Walford’s Festival of Ideas, exciting real-world career-taster Year 10 elective subjects, and our High Performance Academy for athletes, are examples of the varied opportunities Walford students have to be educated in an environment without gender bias and in which a girl or young woman can be whoever she aims to be, in ways that best suits her.
A significant number of our Walford graduates go on to careers in science, engineering, mathematics, medicine and law. Our Old Scholars are exemplars of their Walford education, going out into the world to be the change they want to see. They tell us the confidence they gained from their Walford education, their gratitude for the opportunities they experienced, the values and skills they have taken out into the world, and the lifelong friendships they maintain from their school years.
All at Walford live our vision to be a flourishing, connected learning community that enables each student to achieve her best, her way. Walford continues to provide outstanding academic education and pastoral care to support girls and young women to live as compassionate and courageous women who live with meaning, purpose and principle, during and beyond their school years.
Walford Principal One of Australia’s Most Influential Educators
Principal of Walford Anglican School for Girls, Dr Deborah Netolicky, has been recognised as one of Australia’s Most Influential Educators 2023 by The Educator Australia. She is one of 45 professionals being acknowledged for their significant impact on and contribution to students, school communities and the field of education in Australia.
Deb is an award-winning educator who was listed on The Educator Australia’s 2022 lists of Australia’s Most Influential Educators and the ‘Hot List’ of Innovative Australian Educators. As the new Principal of Walford, Deb has worked to get to know the school community, launched a new Strategic Plan, refreshed the School’s values through consultation with students and staff, and instigated a new scholarship.
Beyond Walford, Deb is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at University of Adelaide, member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Professional Capital and Community, and until the end of 2022 served as Chair of the Karrinyup Primary School Board. With a PhD in effective school change, she is the author of education books and peer reviewed journal articles. Deb’s well-established blog theeduflaneuse.com is read in 120 countries, and her The Edu Salon podcast features conversations with global education leaders from around the country and the world.
So far this year Deb has presented an invited keynote at the National Summit for Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers, a Hot Topic Evening presentation for the Australian Council of Educational Leaders (ACEL) South Australia, and a seminar for aspirant principals for the Association of Heads of Independent Schools Australia (AHISA).
Exercise and Sports Science is one of the new term electives offered to Year 10 students in 2023. Across the term, the students experience what it’s like to be an Exercise and Sports Scientist and the importance of collecting data to ultimately improve an athlete’s performance. The students have been utilising a range of new testing equipment, that targets their muscular strength and power output. The battery of fitness tests included an adduction squeeze, squat and counter movement jump and an isometric mid-thigh pull. The students will use this data to analyse their own performance and then apply this understanding when evaluating the demands of netball and football at an elite level.
Learning Leader; Health and Physical Education
During the past term in Science lessons the Year 5 students have been fortunate enough to have Ms Caruso lead us in some specific investigations and demonstrations that have highlighted the properties of light. The lessons are an important part of the Year 5 Australian Curriculum Physical Sciences, where we identify sources of light, recognise that light travels in a straight path and describes how shadows are formed and light can be reflected and refracted.
These lessons take place in the Ellen Benham Science Centre, so students have access and use of specialised equipment, under the guidance of Ms Caruso and Mrs Zirkel.
So far, the girls have investigated the physical science of light using ray boxes to see how light travels and is transmitted and reflected. Students also observed a demonstration using a Helium-Neon laser.
Our investigations will continue this term with the aim of designing and creating our own personalised lamp, using our knowledge of light and its properties.
Kathrin Zirkel (Year 5 Teacher) Maria Caruso (Head of Science)
On Tuesday 4 April Year 10 Geography students enjoyed a field trip to investigate the nature and value of urban wetlands. To further the students’ knowledge and understanding of these ecosystems they undertook fieldwork in two wetland areas; Urrbrae Wetlands in Mitcham and Oaklands Wetlands and Reserve in Marion. A tour of the Urrbrae Wetlands by scientist and former Walford parent, Vanessa Greenslade, was an excellent opportunity to consolidate the girls’ understanding of the role of wetlands in purifying water and flood mitigation. Our first task was to collect water samples across the wetlands and test them for temperature, turbidity, salinity, phosphates, nitrates, pH and oxygen levels. Our aim was to determine if the wetlands were cleaning the stormwater from the local catchment area. Our second task was to examine the biodiversity of the aquatic macro-invertebrates in the ponds. Using nets, girls worked to collect samples before investigating them under microscopes and recording species and density data. At Oaklands, they had a tour and learnt about the cultural importance of wetlands for Indigenous people and how the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains utilised the area, then how, with the arrival of the Europeans land use has changed over the past two centuries. These critical ecosystems are under pressure globally and it is estimated that since European arrival in South Australia we have lost up to 70% of our wetlands. It is experiences like these that stay with students for many years and excursions provide them with opportunities to immerse themselves into a variety of environments, the conservation of which will be crucial, not only to human well-being, but the life of the planet itself.
Year 10 student and talented ballet dancer Laela performed as part of the South Australian Children’s Ballet Company’s production of Aladdin and the Genie of Unlimited Wishes in the Adelaide Fringe. It was an amazing experience for me and all those involved. The show required months of preparation, including learning the choreography, costume fittings and technical rehearsals, spending many hours perfecting the details in dances and story. The show’s costumes, music and set were fantastic, making it a joy to perform each day. The backstage and front of house crew, committee, rehearsal director, technical director and artistic director all worked incredibly hard to organise and establish the show and create opportunity for the dancers to each showcase their skills. Being a lead in the ballet was an experience that I will always cherish and I am grateful to have been a part of the show.
The Year 8 Digital and Design Technologies classes have been researching different cultural good luck symbols from around the world. Their job was to design a cookie cutter that represented their chosen good luck symbol from around the world and create a cookie box for them to go in.
We trialled the cookie cutters with different types of cookie dough and found sugar cookies worked best for the detailed designs that they created. Here, Maddie, Harriet and Micaela are pictured with their final products!
Charlie Zammit Year 8 Digital and Design Technologies Teacher