Life and learning go hand in hand at St Hilda’s.
First, we want girls to make friends and participate in a range of cocurricular activities either during the school day or out of school hours. When they are feeling ‘at home’ and connected with the school community, it is time to think more seriously about our academic program and how they can make the most of their learning journey.
We connect girls with their passions
Our range of subjects is extensive and we believe that this breadth enables girls to study something they really love doing. We increase their choice of subjects as they move through the School.
We challenge girls in their learning
Our students are hardworking and we set our standards high. We want them to be challenged, to question ideas, to think for themselves, to be confident and to be empowered as a result of their learning experience. We want our students to leave school thinking about solutions rather than problems and obstacles.
We support girls in their learning
Learning something new, whether it is cocurricular or academic, requires small steps before girls can become experts. Our teachers know this and our teaching is carefully scaffolded to lead girls to become proficient and experienced. We offer support though:
- Differentiated programs which include extension and extra help
- The Tutoring Centre for students from Years 7 to 12
- Extended opening hours for the Library and Technology Centre
- Online access through our learning portal
- Our pastoral care, where students from Years 7 to 12 have a tutor and a Head of Year, in addition to their subject teachers
We move girls seamlessly through school
Our programs are Kindergarten to Year 12: our Junior School is Junior Kindergarten to Year 6 and our Senior School is Year 7 to 12. Without a middle school our academic progress is smooth, with Year 12 teachers overseeing the curriculum design and teaching Year 7 students.
St Hilda's Senior School begins in Year 7. Staff recognise that Year 7 students require specialised learning and leadership opportunities as they become more independent. The School's structure, in terms of physical and human resources, is designed to meet their needs in the best possible way. Some girls have studied at St Hilda's previously and, in Year 7, they are joined by new students to the School.
Students have a designated tutor who has a special pastoral care role in supporting each girl's development, understanding her special needs, interests and future pathways for academic, social and spiritual learning. In addition, girls are members of different groups that comprise students from other Year 7 classes. This increases a girl's friendship base and the number of learning groups in which she participates. Students participate in many collaborative experiences and are encouraged to work cooperatively and independently. Girls are also encouraged to take responsibility for the development of life skills such as problem solving and creative and critical thinking.
Naomi Bryant - Head of Year 7
In Year 8 students build on their Year 7 experiences to grow in confidence as active, engaging young people who have a great deal to contribute to and benefit from St Hilda’s.
Students experience a broader range of subjects and begin to make connections between how and what they learn. They are encouraged to be critical thinkers and active problem solvers, and to take responsibility for their learning. Students are encouraged to access the Tutoring Centre and attend Study Buddies to complete homework in an inclusive and welcoming environment with their peers.
The Year 8 Tutorial Program involves students in a range of activities to develop their team building skills and widen their social groups. Students are encouraged to be involved in cocurricular activities and to be Respectful, Inclusive and Organised (RIO).
The Year 8 camp, held in Term 1, is a wonderful opportunity for students to connect with each other and with staff. The 5 day camp promotes personal and social development and the development of friendships. Girls are introduced to camping techniques, outdoor skills and activities such as surfing, abseiling, caving and team building games. Students discover more about themselves and make new friends.
Sophie McCann - Head of Year 8
Students are encouraged to extend their friendship groups and their skills by participating in a range of cocurricular activities such as sport, the Arts Festival, Drama, Music, school clubs and outdoor pursuits programs.
The academic program builds on the work covered in Year 8. Optional subjects are introduced and students can select two subjects of their choice. Increasingly, girls are expected to be active and independent learners. They are confident to seek additional help from their teachers and to attend the Tutoring Centre for extra assistance.
The year has several highlights. During Term 4, the Year 9 camp is held in Walpole. This includes an expedition and many other exciting outdoor activities. The camp is part of a wider program of Tutorial and Year group activities which are designed to develop strategies for increasing resilience. Girls learn how to adopt positive coping strategies as they are challenged by new experiences both in and out of school. The Year 9s focus on the three Rs: resilience, responsibility and reflection.
Michael O'Sullivan - Head of Year 9
Year 10 students can look forward to an exciting and challenging year during which they will experience the pleasures and demands of their outdoor education camp, work experience and course information sessions in preparation for Year 11.
Year 10 is filled with opportunities for social growth and academic achievement. There are many activities in the main stream of school life as well as in cocurricular areas. Girls are encouraged to follow their interests and become involved in all aspects of school life.
As part of a supportive pastoral program, tutors work with their tutor groups to monitor student progress and guide and assist girls throughout the year. Girls have the benefit of interesting visiting speakers who address them on pertinent issues such as health and drug education. They also learn about safety in the cyber world, friendships, community awareness and a variety of life skills.
Craig Doyle - Head of Year 10
Year 11 has a strong academic focus with girls choosing courses of interest.
The pastoral care sessions address the transition from Year 10 and reflect the changing world of a Year 11 student in today's society. The main aim of the Year 11 program is to enable the girls to achieve academic and personal success. Guest speakers and presentations are designed to assist girls with study skills, goal setting, leadership, health and wellbeing.
Special events include the Year 11 Dance, ski trip and the election of Year 12 Officials for the following year.
The academic program includes examinations in Term 2 and Term 4. Progress reports in Term 1 are followed by a Parent/Teacher evening and full course reports are issued at the end of Semester 1 and Semester 2.
Tammy Sewell - Head of Year 11
Year 12 is a special year which is reflected in the general program. As senior students the girls lead the study body in a variety of House and School activities. These include sporting events, House meetings, Arts Festival events, musical groups, dramatic performances and as older “House Sisters” to all Year 7 students.
As an outward sign of their status, the girls wear a Year 12 tie and blue leavers' jumper. Special events during the year include the Induction Service, Year 12 Ball, Mothering Sunday Service, Father-Daughter Dinner, St Hilda's Day, Year 12 Boarders’ Farwell Dinner, Sports Assembly, Concerto Concert, Year 12 Activity Day and the Year 12 Graduation and Awards Ceremony.
The Pastoral Care Program addresses study skills, leadership talks, general WACE instructions, University application as well as looking at issues which may impact on students' lives such as women's health, drugs and alcohol, exchange programs, awareness of one's rights in the workplace and safe driving.
There are two sets of examinations before the WACE: the mid-year exams and the trial tertiary entrance exams. Specific dates are advised well in advance. Progress reports are followed by a Parent/Teacher meeting at the end of Term 1. A full course report is given in Term 2 and a statement of results in Term 4 will be issued. Students also receive a reference at the end of the year. The Parent Portal is a valuable tool parents can use to track all assessment results for each course.
Staff aim to support each Year 12 through their busy academic and cocurricular program and ensure they celebrate their final year at St Hilda’s.
Jo Swain - Head of Year 12
The Dean of Students is responsible for the welfare of all students and the organisation and monitoring of the pastoral care system. She works closely with the Heads of Year, tutors, House Coordinators, academic and counselling staff and students. While each member of staff is committed to providing pastoral care to all students, small tutor groups enable the students to develop a close relationship with the tutor who sees the girls daily. The House system, led by House Coordinators, allows senior students to take an active role in the welfare of the younger girls and to be positive role models.
All aspects of the Pastoral Care System are closely woven into the rich fabric of school life, which makes up an intrinsic part of the daily functioning of the student in her relationship with self and others.
A mentor program operates in the Boarding House with selected Year 11 students responsible for the care of younger girls while Year 10 students, in a buddy program, pair with students in Years 7 and 8 to offer guidance and support.
Pastoral staff work with staff, girls and parents focusing on the academic, social and emotional needs of the students. They are proactive in their approach and work hard to resolve issues using the many resources and staff expertise at their disposal. Other staff who provide pastoral care are the Principal, Dean of Curriculum, Head of Boarding, the School Chaplain, School Psychologists and Health Centre staff.
Specific pastoral care initiatives which are designed to cater for students’ individual and developmental needs run in conjunction with the School’s Health and Career Education programs. Guest speakers and parent workshops are also provided to compliment the work covered in these programs.
Students are nurtured and encouraged to develop as individuals and they leave St Hilda’s with a strong sense of purpose in life, well equipped to make their place in society.
In quality education, expectations are set at a healthy high and St Hilda’s has numerous strategies in place to support the girls to meet their academic goals. The Tutoring Centre is an innovative hub of academic support for students in Years 7 to 12 who are welcome to attend as often as the need arises.
Three afternoons each week from 3:30pm, specialist teachers from all subject areas are available for one-on-one or small group teaching and learning. Students may need to clarify a concept taught in class, or may be seeking extension work to improve their marks. Individualised instruction helps girls to reach their academic goals and take charge of their learning.
The Centre’s Coordinator, Vicki McAlinden, teaches students how to maximise exam time and study and research effectively. She is available each day at lunchtime and after school to assist with essay writing, time management and study skills.
Differentiated programs of study are devised for girls who require adjusted timetables due to illness, elite sport commitments or particular circumstances.