Wellbeing is a core aspect of Discovery College’s holistic education, thus enabling everyone to be the best they can be. As a foundational Visible Wellbeing SchoolTM and under the guidance of Professor Lea Waters, Discovery College is equipping and enabling students to ‘flourish’ in all areas of their lives through the six pathways to wellbeing: Strengths, Emotional Management, Attention and Awareness, Relationships, Coping, and Habits & Goals.
Using the Visible Wellbeing Framework, the development of student wellbeing is fostered across the College through a considered and aligned programme. All students from Year 1 to Year 13 are involved in a comprehensive wellbeing programme delivered by classroom teachers, Learning Advisers and outside providers.
The Primary Years Programme prepares students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others.
Curriculum opportunities, whereby the Physical, Social, Emotional and Health Education (PSEHE) curriculum is embedded into Units of Inquiry, allow children to develop greater awareness, understanding and practices related to their own, and others’, wellbeing.
In addition, a range of teaching practices and programmes are used in Primary to support and develop wellbeing across the six pathways, such as:
Explicit teaching of social & emotional skills
The DC Secondary Wellbeing Programme is a specific and planned means of helping students to value themselves and others, and to provide the tools to assist them to contribute to the world around them.
There is dedicated learning team time of 10 minutes each morning and one teaching block per week.
All students are in one of six learning teams in their year group (D S C V R Y) through which the programme is delivered by the Learning Advisor and Dean. It is a planned and responsive spiral curriculum that the Deans co-construct with Learning Advisors, Vice Principals and student voice.
The units of work for Years 7-13 are as follows:
Student support is integral to the College’s values and principles in that we are individually and collectively responsible, in partnership with the family, for the wellbeing of every student. We recognise that the family is the primary caregiver and holds the responsibility for the wellbeing of the child. In light of this, we seek to support and work collaboratively with the family to enhance wellbeing in a thoughtful and appropriate manner.
Parents and students are encouraged to talk with any member of the staff if they have concerns. We provide a coordinated structure of care for every child to ensure they are effectively supported by a network of staff. By talking about issues at the early stages
with the class teacher or Learning Advisor, or trusted adult at school, many situations and issues can be alleviated and solutions found quickly. When necessary, there may be more targeted intervention by different professionals within the school community such as the Student Counsellor or Social Worker (see below), Higher Education Counsellor (see HEO), Classroom Teacher, LDT teacher, EA, Secondary Dean, Primary Team Leader, VP and so forth.
At Discovery College there are two Student Counsellors available, both of whom are trained teachers and counsellors. Ms Michaela Byrne is available predominantly for the secondary students and their families and can be located on the 4/F as part of the DC Guidance Centre. Ms Jordana Velasco is available predominantly for the primary students and
their families and her office is located on the LG/F.
The Student Counsellors, along with the HK government-funded Social Workers, operate as a close team providing student support across the school community. Students can access the counselling service through self-referrals (i.e. emailing the counsellors directly, filling out an appointment slip, or visiting the counsellors in person). Parents can access the service for their children, or seek support for their parenting, by phone or by requesting an appointment with either Michaela or Jordana. At times a teacher may refer a student to counselling due to an ongoing issue that has not been resolved through other avenues.
The Student Counsellors work in a range of different ways including providing therapeutic counselling, skills building, advocacy work, group process and in-class support through class conferences. They work with a wide range of issues such as self-esteem, depression, anxiety, self-harm, abuse, eating disorders, family relationship issues, suicide ideation, anger, boundaries, and parenting challenges. Both counsellors operate in a wider network of Hong Kong professionals and are able to refer individuals and their families to wider support and help if needed or requested.
Kate Tse and Kyo Wong are Discovery College’s HK government-funded Secondary School Social Workers. Kate and Kyo work closely with the Student Counsellors and teachers to facilitate group work and workshops to alleviate factors that may be interfering with a student’s learning. Both work with individuals and groups around issues such as resilience, self-esteem, and social skills, and are available through self-referrals, teacher referrals, and parent referrals. The service may involve long or short-term intervention plans according to the student’s needs, together with social and emotional factors. Kate and Kyo also liaise with other agencies to develop programmes to increase the range of support available.
Discovery College is committed to Safeguarding, which is “the process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.” (UK Government)
Discovery College has four Child Protection Officers (two Primary, two Secondary) who work to ensure the wellbeing of students by monitoring incidences of suspected abuse or neglect, convening teams of relevant colleagues to make decisions about student welfare and making referrals, internally and externally, to specialist colleagues in order to support students who are in need.
Any member of the school community with a Safeguarding / Child Protection concern should contact the below colleagues.
Relationship management policy
At Discovery College, the quality of relationships across our school community is a strong determinant of our overall success. The interrelationships between students, staff (teaching and nonteaching), and parents must be open, honest, and respectful and have the wellbeing of all parties at their core.
All parties, including students, staff (teaching and nonteaching), and parents must accept they have a role to play in the development and maintenance of these relationships. The quality of these relationships will be reflected in the academic and overall wellbeing outcomes for students.
All staff is responsible for managing behaviour for all students. Students must understand that all staff (EAs, support staff, and teachers) have the right to question them about any behaviour/actions that are inappropriate.
Restorative practices procedures
We use Restorative Practices to restore relationships at Discovery College with the intention of resolving issues through a no-blame approach. Restorative Practices means that for any situation requiring the intervention of staff and/or student mediators we are working to ensure that all parties:
1. Acknowledge their role in the incident
2. Take responsibility for their actions
3. Understand the impact of their actions
4. Be part of the solution (where possible)
Bullying is the abuse of a relationship.
Bullying is a type of behaviour that needs to be changed.
Bullying is ongoing, unwanted behaviour on the part of the victim.
It can take a variety of forms - verbal, physical and cyber, therefore, Restorative Practice is appropriate in that we seek the same outcomes as for other behaviour management, through a similar line of questioning.
A DC Restorative Practice information booklet is made available to all parents. Please contact the College if you need a replacement.
Positive health and good nutrition
Eating well is good for your mental as well as your physical health. Discovery College promotes the serving of healthy whole foods to our students to support life-long healthy eating habits, increase energy levels for study and help reduce the chances of potentially disabling diseases including tooth decay, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) “Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health.” The WHO recommends a reduction in our intake of sugar, unhealthy fat and salt. “Evidence indicates the intake of free sugars should be reduced to less than 10% of total energy intake and that a reduction to less than 5% of total energy intake provides additional health benefits. Free sugars are all sugars added to foods or drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.” World Health Organisation
We encourage students to bring ‘Brain Food’ to eat at school. This is whole food that will help nourish minds and bodies. Research indicates that eating fruits and vegetables and healthy snacks throughout the day isn’t simply good for the body, it’s also beneficial for the mind.
Examples of ‘Brain Food’ includes:
whole fresh fruits e.g. bananas, grapes, berries, apples, kiwi, lychees, oranges
nuts (note our no peanut policy). Almonds make a great snack
wholegrain crackers and bread with savoury fillings
wholemeal homemade pizza
wholegrain noodles or rice tossed with vegetables
whole wheat pitas with hummus
boiled eggs – a great protein source
seeds e.g. sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
homemade trail mix
brown rice crackers
avocado dip with vegetable sticks
natural Greek yoghurt with chopped fruit
popcorn (popped from the kernel – NOT the microwave type)
homemade oat cookies
Drinks and Food
To maintain concentration, energy levels and aid digestion it is essential to maintain our fluid intake. The healthiest way to do this is with water.
Discovery College has many chilled and filtered water fountains located on various levels around the school that can be used to refill water bottles. The use of reusable drinking bottles is also an important step in protecting our environment from unwanted packaged drink containers and disposable plastic bottles. Avoiding packaged processed food is also helpful in protecting our environment.
Discovery College does not support high sugar treats in our school for both health and medical reasons. We actively discourage the bringing of cakes and lolly/candy/sweets bags for all students at times of birthdays and celebrations. More suitable options include fruit platters, vegetable sticks and dips, craft and activity packs. We ask that you be mindful of other family’s food choices. Whole food choices support our children to develop healthy lifelong eating habits and support learning. Please contact your child’s teacher / Learning Advisor prior to organising food or treats for anyone other than your own child.