Parents often find themselves weighing up the pros and cons of private, independent education compared to the more affordable public school options. If you are swayed in the direction of private schooling the next question will inevitably be same-sex or co-ed? We chat to Kate Barber, Head of Junior School at Walford Anglican School for Girls, about the benefits of girls-only education and more.
What are the advantages of girls-only education?
Girls’ education emphasises a robust sense of belonging and a strong culture of uniquely engaging girls as they embrace a range of academic and co-curricular opportunities. At Walford, we don’t just want our girls to experience a range of curriculum areas such as Humanities, STEM and The Arts, we want them to pursue as many of them as they can! It’s exciting to know that the girls we teach now will work in a range of industries across their careers and we are here to prepare them for this. This will be the generation that ensures girls and women are equally represented in the areas of Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technologies.
And digital literacies are no doubt equally as important…
Our girls come to Walford engaged by worlds of digital storylands, QR codes, virtual learning, videography, emojis, podcasting, coding and augmented creation. These are now non-negotiable inclusions of both the Early Learning and Primary school day. Our programs embed digital literacies and are continually progressing with technologies that help us to learn and create. Walford year five girls are each exhibiting their Unit of Inquiry via TED talk this term. This is what we’re about. It doesn’t mean replacing traditional academics such as Mathematics and English, it’s about using multimodal texts creatively, and to our advantage. Curriculum areas are no longer linear and stand alone.
Mental wellbeing is also a key part of the teachings and learnings at Walford, how important is this for girls?
Walford facilitates a tailored Wellbeing, Engagement and Belonging (WEB) program across the school. I’m an advocate for the explicit instruction of growth mindset, positive wellbeing and navigating relationships from our three-year-old program. It builds identity and the capacity for managing interpersonal interactions. In the Junior School, we identify and acknowledge that the middle primary years, the ‘tweens’, is an evolving and complex wellbeing space.
When our girls are in years four and five, this time can be unpredictable for relationships, as the pressure of school, hormones and friendships begin to heighten. We tailor our WEB curriculum to flexibly address the needs of individual girls, class groups and year level experiences to support this.
Ultimately girls respond well to good role models – how and why are you a good role model for students?
I see myself as much as a ‘lead learner’ as I do a ‘leader’. The Walford Junior School staff are an incredibly experienced team, with the warmest hearts. I’m here to role model the well-established values that shape our school and drive forward advancement as we continue the future Walford journey together.
A role model should be the type of leader that consults and collaborates, yet also self-advocates. It’s essential for our girls to have a nurturing and safe place to learn, and they should also be taken out of their comfort zones. Unpredictable curveballs are part of life’s journey and by genuinely sharing how I learn from my own challenges along the way, I intend to inspire our Junior School girls to be resilient and to navigate through changing times, as both thriving learners and courageous young women.
Walford Anglican School for Girls
316 Unley Road, Hyde Park
08 8272 6555