Hills International College puts your child’s wellbeing first
Promoted by Hills International College

Hills International College puts your child’s wellbeing first

Giving children the support and the right tools to become the best version of themselves takes a team of trained, specialised educators. At Hills International College, everyone from administrators and teachers to staff and a dedicated Wellbeing team are committed to this mission. And that starts by making this co-educational, Prep to Year 12 Independent International school in Jimboomba “a place to belong”; an environment where language, culture and activities are shared.

Source: Hills International College

“We use the Australian curriculum in our teaching, but we make sure that we are focusing on the global perspective,” says Vanessa Newbery, Head of International Programs. “Our mottos is that we are educating global citizens, so we really want to make sure that we’re standing by that and fostering citizenship in our students.”

Newbery has about 30 years of experience teaching. Previously a French and English teacher as well as a Director of Studies, she’s now responsible for the academic progress and wellbeing of international students, from the initial enrolment enquiry through to graduation. She also oversees Hills Language College, an English learning centre for secondary students.

With over 30 nationalities represented in the student body, Newbery is not lacking in events to organise. Culture Club celebrates many ethnicities, traditions, and foods. Harmony Week, a government initiative, raises awareness, appreciation, and understanding by bringing different people together. Other than the Harmony Day free dress day, what the school does differently from other institutions is that it encourages students to bring a gold coin to donate to a local refugee group. “Compassion is a key driver behind anything we do, and that includes working with people in our local community,” says Newbery.

Source: Hills International College

Newbery runs a homestay program as well, connecting local families with international or interstate students. She coordinates short-stay visitors, i.e. students who come for a week to a term to sample an Australian education. Her many roles amalgamate into one aim: to help students have all they need to succeed.

Like many leaders in the school, Newbery is on the wellbeing committee, which specifically looks after international and visiting students. “We use a program called Wellio in conjunction with our own wellbeing program, to support students, provide them with resources, and connect them with our school counsellor,” she says. “We have a full-time school counsellor and resources both in the local area and online that can also help them with their wellbeing.”

The College Counsellor covers a wide range of support, including pathways to university and future careers. Newbery mentions that the counsellor works closely with Year 11 and 12 students, but the university process starts as early as Year 10. “We get the Year 10s with their parents, either in person or through Zoom if they’re overseas, and we talk to the students about what their end goal is and then bring it back to their subject selection for Years 11 and 12,” she says.

Another highlight of the wellbeing program is Connection Time. Each day is assigned a specific topic, and there is a guided discussion for about 20 minutes every morning. For instance, Tuesday is News Day when students pick a topic from the news to talk about, and teachers aid their understanding and help them get through any big feelings that might come up. Wednesdays are Wellio days, and Fridays are dubbed “Friyay” for fun activities. “Each morning and Connection Time has a focus,” says Newbery. “It’s a really nice way to start the day with some reflection, strategies, and awareness of who they are at school and their place in the wider world.”

Visit campus on any given week and you may come across a feature few other schools offer: therapy dogs. They were introduced to the College after Principal Kevin Lynch conducted some research on the effectiveness and benefits of having therapy dogs in a school environment, particularly in reducing stress and anxiety, and helping improve classroom attendance.

“Rosie, May and Skye have been bred and trained to work in a school environment to provide wellbeing to students, staff, and the Hills community,” says Ben Pope, Head of Wellbeing.  “They provide regular support to students who struggle with anxiety, whether from school or home conditions, or as a result of exam stress.”

Source: Hills International College

Partnerships with other schools and organisations provide another layer of opportunities for Hills students. There are exchange trips with sister schools in Japan. Griffith University, University of Queensland, and Queensland University of Technology offer scholarships for students at the end of Year 12. Working closely with the Australian Defence Force translates to a bursary for worthy Hills International College students.

Whichever university they go to, a Hills graduate is confident and ready to make a positive impact. “We want to make sure our students are ready for life outside our compassionate little bubble, because we are a really quiet, safe little part of the world,” says Newbery. “So when they take that next step to go to, for example, a US college, we want to know that these students are good people. That they are good communicators who have a broad, open mind for whatever they will face in that next step in the world.”

Apply to Hills International College now.

Follow Hills International College on Facebook and Instagram, or email vanessa.newbery@hills.qld.edu.au directly for a personalised approach to international education.