Culture circle at CYGA - Health and Wellbeing

EP 14 Prioritising Health and Wellbeing in Education | Cape York Girl Academy

Why should schools prioritise the health and wellbeing of their students? How can this be achieved? For Indigenous Australian students, are there unique cultural considerations? And what does it mean to feel culturally safe?

“The students are the center of our care, so it’s really important to focus on what the students’ needs are. Not only their academic needs, but more importantly their social and emotional wellbeing.” – Karen Wilson, Cape York Girl Academy Head of Wellbeing.


On this week’s episode of Time to Listen, we speak with Karen Wilson and Chaseley Walker, two health and wellbeing support staff at the Cape York Girl Academy (CYGA). Every day, their paramount concern is ensuring that the CYGA students feel safe – physically, emotionally and culturally. They aim to meet the students base level needs – physiological, safety, and love and belonging – which will ensure, in turn, that the students feel most ready and able to engage in their education.

After outlining their roles, Karen and Chaseley outline the cultural backgrounds of the CYGA students. They clarify the trauma that has played a part in the lives of the students and has, ultimately, been a motivating factor in their enrolment to CYGA. They then explain why the Support and Wellbeing program is such a vital component of CYGA’s operations.

Karen and Chaseley clarify what constitutes positive outcomes pertaining to their Indigenous students’ wellbeing. They then evaluate the success of the CYGA Support and Wellbeing program by providing examples of these outcomes. They also explain what it is to create a learning environment that is culturally safe.

We conclude the episode by addressing the financial assistance provided by the Our Sisters campaign. Along with other areas, the campaign raises funds for CYGA’s Support and Wellbeing program. Karen and Chaseley explain how the program, and the Indigenous girls who are uplifted by it, can and will benefit from further funding support.

Thank you for taking the time to listen.

Have you listened to the special ‘Or Sisters’ episode of Time to Listen? You can find it


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