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Nurture WORKS Conference


Nurture - at the heart of social and emotional wellbeing for children

For school admin, pastoral care, social and emotional wellbeing, behaviour management staff is schools, teachers, chaplains and school psychologists.



Dr Helen Street



What is the single best thing we can do in schools to support student wellbeing?


Answers to this question have certainly changed over the years.  Back in the 1970s, western schools around the world attempted to increase student self-esteem with praise and positive reinforcement.  By the time the 1990s had arrived, we turned our attentions to helping young people build resiliency and deal more effectively with failure. Now in 2016, schools everywhere are embracing ideas about ‘positive education’ with a focus on developing character and mindfulness.


The wellbeing times are certainly changing, but why? Is this constant transition from one focus to another, a sign of a changing culture and the changing issues that young people face? Or is the repeated changing of our approach to improving wellbeing, a signal that we are repeatedly getting the answers wrong?


Originally from the UK, Dr Helen Street has worked extensively in Australian schools since 1999. Her work exploring wellbeing, engagement and motivation in young people has been presented internationally in academic journals and in the popular media. Helen’s ideas have been met with international acclaim and have been endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and 'brown eyes blue eyes' creator Jane Elliott, among many others.

Helen has a background in applied social psychology and youth mental health. She is an adjunct research consultant for the health department of WA's Centre for Clinical Interventions and an Honorary Research Fellow with the School of Graduate Education at The University of Western Australia. Helen is the author of several books and book chapters. Most recently, she co-edited with Neil Porter the Positive Schools first book, ‘Better Than OK’. Helen also writes regularly for Educational publications including Western Teacher magazine and The Positive Times (

Helen is one of the original creators of The Positive Schools conferences. The incredible success of the events is a satisfying reflection of her passion to bring positive education to all Australian schools.


Clara Deans



Practical Research In schools to Measure the Effectiveness of BUZ


Why do kids and teachers love BUZ? Since 2001 the Nurture Works Foundation has taken its BUZ initiatives to over 200 schools in WA, giving more than 30,000 children, their families and communities the benefit of participating in a BUZ program in their school.  Until now there has been limited research undertaken to validate or evidence base the positive work of BUZ.


The ultimate goal of the BUZ PRIME Project is to gather and evidence best practice of BUZ Life skills programs for schools. The initial completed study comprises of 115 Year 2 to 5 students in a school where BUZ was to be introduced. Students were assessed using The ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research) SEW (Social and Emotional Wellbeing) survey. The survey was implemented pre and post BUZ programs and results were compared to the national cohort. 

Summary of whole school SEW for Pre BUZ survey showed that there was minimal difference between the national mean of 118.5 and school mean of 118.6. Post BUZ survey result was more positive as there was a significant increase in the school mean as compared to national mean. These findings suggest that the BUZ effects on SEW were evident in the short term period.

Future directions for BUZ research will include completion of the remaining analysis of over 1000 students from 5 different schools. This includes 3 more studies, one being a control study with a school that has never done BUZ and a similar school having included BUZ Schools Programs for more than 5 years.


In this session Clara will deliver her paper on our evidence best practice to advocate for and promote BUZ life Skills programs for schools for the purpose of enriching their contribution for building the social and emotional wellbeing of children in our schools and helping schools become friendlier and more cooperative environments.


Clara has worked as an educationalist for over 35 years and has extensive experience in liaising with community stakeholders in a range of educational settings including schools, community organisations and tertiary institutions.


Clara has coordinated courses and lectured at Edith Cowan University and The University of Notre Dame, conducted research for the Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre (ECU) and managed a variety of education and health related projects, including managing the Values Education Project for the Department of Education and Training (DET). 


Clara hopes to leave a legacy for the future by contributing to the empowerment of children through social and emotional wellbeing. Passionate about preventing children from experiencing the harmful effects of social and emotional abuse her focus has always been on developing and building the personal capabilities of individuals whether with students, staff and parents, or the broader community.


Board member of ACHPER WA (Australian Council for Health and Physical Education and Recreation, Western Australia) and PTCWA (Professional Teaching Council of Western Australia).


Stephen Macdonald



Educators notoriously are other centered and make great sacrifices to ensure that the students they work with are provided the best emotional care that is possible. Whilst this is a noble purpose and one arguably that should be more widespread it also often leads to burn-out. An effective healthy nurturer who is able to do so for the long term is one who understands the value of nurturing their own emotional health and wellbeing.


This keynote session will challenge some preconceptions about wellbeing, provoke thought about behaviours we consider normal and hopefully inspire rituals that ensure both a healthy carer and emotionally resilient students.

Stephen Macdonald M Psych (UWA) B Ed (ECU); Director Kaya

Steve has spent a number of years working in and around schools in a variety of leadership roles ranging from pastoral care positions, external educational consultancy and leadership coaching. Stephen is an Industrial Organisational Psychologist with a focus on workplace wellbeing and leadership practices that lead to organisational effectiveness and wellness.

Due to his experience working on national wellbeing projects over the last 5 years he has a particular interest in working with school staff to assist them with their own wellbeing – the often forgotten factor in creating mentally healthy schools


Steve Heron

'Getting the Balance Right -

Well Behaved Vs Wellbeing'


A well behaved child doesn’t guarantee a happy child, but a happy child is certainly more likely to behave well.


Could schools be holding the wrong end of the stick when it comes to behaviour management?


Generally, educators would agree that a compliant child is easier to teach than a non-compliant one. But compliance doesn’t guarantee effective learning, neither does it guarantee a ‘well’ or ‘happy’ child. In contrast, wellbeing provides a firm foundation for both positive behaviour and engagement in life-long learning.

Correcting the scales of the balance of behaviour management and social and emotional wellbeing.


When we are happy, we are always good, but when we are good, we are not always happy. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray


Steve is the founder of ‘Nurture Works’ and developer of ‘BUZ - Build Up Zone’. Steve has 40 years of experience working in pastoral care with children in schools, families, camps and the community. Author of the positive books ‘BUZOLOGY – Powering Hope in Children’ and ‘Bully Proofing – The Art of Social Confidence in Children’, Steve is also a children's book author, a program creator and innovator in his field.

Steve has been described as an ‘affirmative vandal’ because of his positive approach to making the world a better place for children.

A BUZologist is a good word to describe Steve who is passionate about powering hope in children, building children up and creating positive child friendly environments that grow children’s confidence.

Steve was a finalist in the 2015 Australian of the Year for WA in the Local Hero section and finalist for 2015 Western Australian of the Year Awards in the Community Category.

He received an Order of Australian Medal in the 2016 Queen's birthday honours for his services to the social and emotional wellbeing of childre.

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