Santa Maria College Wins Innovation Award – Jennifer Oaten

The Educator magazine’s fifth annual Innovative Schools list has today revealed the schools at the cutting edge of change and innovation in Australia. Santa Maria College is one of 40 schools nation-wide to receive an award and one of only 5 Western Australian schools to be recognised. The Santa Maria College process for establishing our Mental Health Strategy was acknowledged in the following way:

“Mental health is problematic because it means different things to different parties. There is incomplete, or contradictory, knowledge around cause and response and this is complicated by the associated problems that may stem from countless social, genetic and environmental factors.

The innovation demonstrated by Santa Maria College was not in approaching mental health, but rather the way they coordinated the development of their strategy. It demonstrated rigorous attention to process and the inclusion of parties often left behind in this sort of initiative.

In order to create a strategy based on insight and understanding, the College chose a co-design process that engaged students, parents and staff in a range of conversations and data-gathering opportunities. The goal was to understand the context of mental health at Santa Maria before considering solutions, thus, avoiding the age-old trap of operating from a base of assumptions. Santa Maria College now faces 2020 with a clear, strategic roadmap for addressing mental health in a way that is intelligent and reflective of the community it serves.”

We are delighted that the work of our staff, our student ambassadors and parents who participated, has been recognised. We now look forward to implementing many of the actions outlined in our strategy and hope that it will continue to be student-led under the leadership of our inaugural Year 12 Wellbeing Captain, Charlotte Scurry.

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