We want all students to have effective tools to support themselves with self-care, learn how to support others, and be active servants in our community.

Building Character

We can train to improve our mental fitness the same way that we can train to improve our physical fitness.

The wellbeing program at Newington is a collaborative program between parents, teachers and students.

We consider good mental health and wellbeing to be of the utmost importance and a priority. Through a multitude of evidenced based programs, we strive to inform, and up-skill our students to be mentally strong, skilled in self-care, resilient and persistent in their lives at the College and beyond. We measure our success on the person that they become as a partner, parent, and community member, as they progress into and throughout adulthood.

We want to teach our students:

  • to know and care for themselves, others and their communities
  • how to be vulnerable to have an honest conversation about mental and emotional health
  • to learn lifelong tools for mental and emotional flexibility and endurance
  • to understand and develop good character traits and servant leadership skills
  • to develop empathy, resilience and persistence.

Transitioning into Year 7

The Year 7 wellbeing program is centred on the notion of ‘transition’ and aims to improve students’ experiences as they move to high school. The program starts with activities that allow students to familiarise themselves with their ‘mentor’ and the new school – including an orientation camp – with a lens to develop relationships and their support network.

The Pursuit of Happiness in Year 8

The theme for Year 8 is from Aristotle’s teaching – 'happiness depends on ourselves.' One of the most difficult realities for many to grasp is that thoughts and actions directly determine our own happiness. Students explore themes related to bullying, put downs, how to build long lasting friendships and manage disagreements as well as how to build perseverance, generosity and forgiveness.

Year 9s Take Control

Through mentor group discussions and Year group meetings we explore how students will be challenged, not by the things that happen to them but by the attitudes that can develop from those events. We aim to nurture a positive open mindset so the students embrace rather than avoid challenges.

Year 10 is all about taking responsibility

Students are encouraged to take responsibility for all areas of their lives, at school and at home. This includes how they present themselves, how they interact with and influence their peers, how they learn from challenges and mistakes, how they study and how they organise their lives. The program builds towards helping students make informed decisions about their pathway for Years 11 and 12 in all area – academic, co-curricular, service and leadership. They are given opportunities to research, discuss and evaluate these possibilities and develop the skills to make the most of their senior years.

Taking the Lead in Year 11

The 'Taking the Lead' program assists students to transition into Senior school and prepares them for leadership positions. All Year 11 students are given the opportunity to take up the role of Acting House Prefect and receive training. To help students manage their increasing responsibilities and commitments we hold regular mentor group discussions and presentations from external speakers and specialist teaching staff throughout the year.

Leaders in Year 12

In Year 12, the focus is on leadership, time management, motivation, goal setting and relationship skills. Year 12s explore the meaning of success and what to expect after they leave the College.

The House System

The Newington College House system provides students with an excellent network of peers and mentors.

Its underlying purpose is to facilitate educational, cultural and social development. Houses are structured in a ‘vertical’ manner, where older students act as peer support leaders for our younger cohorts. As they get older, our young students develop into leaders themselves and take on the same roles as those that they looked up to in their early years.

There are 16 Houses, and this structures whole school activities such as Inter-House Competition Days.

Benefits of the House System

The benefit of our House system is two-fold – young students are inspired by their elders while the older students have the opportunity to serve as role models. Supporting this fluid framework of peer support learning is a network of dedicated teacher-mentors as well as one Head of House for each of the College’s 16 Houses. The structure offers all students a positive support network of teachers and peers of which they can be a part. Throughout the year, various activities and House competition days help students build friendships outside of the classroom.

The Houses

  • Bavin – Sir Thomas Rainsford Bavin, (Old Boy and Premier of New South Wales)
  • Clunies Ross – Sir (William) Ian Clunies Ross 1899–1959 (Old Boy and Chairman of the CSIRO)
  • CooperSr Margaret Cooper, appointed 1958 until her death in1981 (Wyvern House matron)
  • Fletcher – Rev JH Fletcher 1865–1887 (President of the College)
  • GilliganAnnie Gilligan, appointed 1863 (First female member of staff) 
  • Johnstone – Headmaster T Johnston 1864–1866
  • Kelynack – Rev Dr W Kelynack 1887–1891 (President of the College)
  • Le Couteur – Headmaster PR Le Couteur 1931–1948
  • Mackay Sir Iven Giffard Mackay, 1882–1966 (Newington’s highest ranking soldier)
  • Manton – Rev JA Manton 1863–1864 (President of the College)
  • Metcalfe – Headmaster G Metcalfe 1867–1869 (President of the College)
  • Morrison Jan Morrison, appointed 1978 (Head of the Library and Resources Centre)
  • Moulton – Headmaster Rev DR JE Moulton 1863
  • Prescott – Headmaster Rev Dr CJ Prescott 1900–1931
  • WhitakerEdith Whitaker, appointed 1942 (First female subject head)
  • Tupou – King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV, 1918–2006 (the College’s only Old Boy head of state)

Role of the Mentor

The vertical House structure permits important relationships to be forged between younger and older students.

Each student has a mentor, whose responsibility is to get to know your child and to know them well. The mentor is the primary carer for your child while at the College and will guide them in all aspects of College life – from support with executive functioning skills, through to facilitating and navigating difficult social and emotional circumstances.

As your child moves from Year 7 to Year 12, their mentor stays with them. Often at the end of his time at Newington, your child will find that they have a strong support network amongst all their teachers, and a close bond with their Mentor forged over six years of shared experiences.

Mentor periods

During Mentor periods, your child’s mentor will discuss and explore key themes in the Wellbeing program with your child. They hold discussions among the 14-17 students in mentor groups regarding these themes. Lifelong friendships often emerge within Mentor groups as they fulfil leadership, Service Learning and House duties together.


The senior campus' registered psychologists specialise in educational psychology.

The senior campus’ registered psychologists specialise in educational psychology.

Our school counsellors are a vital component of the wellbeing program. We have three educational psychologists on campus to help students and parents deal with personal, emotional, educational and family issues. Specifically, the counsellors spend time helping students to:

  • Develop lifelong skills to help them succeed interpersonally and academically so that they are prepared for obstacles that they may face.
  • To actualise their potential and understand that their personal wellbeing and happiness is paramount in their lives
  • Gain a better understanding of the relationships between their own abilities, achievements, interests and opportunities
  • Gain a sense of personal worth, develop an accompanying trust and acceptance of others and develop responsibility for their choices and behaviours.

“The high prevalence worldwide of depression among young people, the small rise in life satisfaction, and the synergy between learning and positive emotion all argue that the skills for happiness should be taught in school.” – RM Ernest, J Gillham, M Linkins, K Reivich and MEP Seligman, Oxford Review of Education Vol. 35, No. 3 (2009) 293-311.

Leaders at Newington

Leadership is not something that can be taught explicitly, and is something that is modelled and mentored from a very early age at Newington. Leadership is about knowing when to step up, and stand up for what you believe in, even when it may be uncomfortable or unpopular amongst your peers. It deepens the conversation about citizenship, social responsibility and community-mindedness. At Newington we support the students in their search for a style of personal leadership that also encourages trust and respect through various opportunities.


Student Leadership Initiatives

When students reach Year 10 they are presented with a more formal program for learning about and demonstrating leadership which includes social and personal presentation workshops, the Year 10 leadership program, Cadets and outdoor education programs like the Newington Challenge. Volunteering in community outreach programs and being a peer support leader are other paths that students can take to hone their leadership skills.

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Service Learning

Our extensive wellbeing program works hand in hand with our Service Learning program, which encourages students to care for others within our immediate and wider community. On top of the leadership opportunities and the peer support opportunities, all students are encouraged to involve themselves in care programs for those in need.

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