Character and Well-Being Development at Prince Alfred College.

Author: Dr. John Kinniburgh. PAC Head of Secondary School & Deputy Headmaster.

Given the challenges relating to mental health, academic pressures, social engagement and personal healthy, it is certainly not easy being a young person today. As a result, few would contest the notion that the role of a contemporary independent school is to equip young people with the skills to succeed in a world that is complicated, unpredictable and challenging, even for the most able.

At Prince Alfred College our belief is that a child’s education should focus on developing the holistic needs of the individual and the skills that they need to thrive, and ultimately be successful in life. We want all boys who attend Princes to extend themselves and to develop the confidence to judge risk, explore the unknown and have the courage to persist with an idea that just might make a difference to themselves and others. It is also important for boys to be self-reflective about moving beyond their comfort zone and extending themselves.

A core underpinning of a boy’s education at Prince Alfred College is to focus on the development of character and this is reflected in our core beliefs that guide our actions as a school. These values outline our intent and desire to develop ‘Princes Men’; men who know how to act ethically, and that doing so for the right reasons is essential if they are to become autonomous and successful. We believe this approach prepares them to respond well and appropriately when faced with challenges, be able to live, cooperate and learn with others, and perform in whatever area they choose. By focusing on these core beliefs and the notion of character in all aspects of school life, we can help our young Princes Men to be more aware of what it takes to flourish in life and regulate their own wellbeing. This is a key focus for us and is part of the broader narrative that focuses on preparing boys to flourish in life.

We understand boys and we have a strong sense of what parents hope for their sons as well including being independent, feeling secure and supported as an individual, and being able to respond well to challenging situations. Boys need to show resilience and learn from their mistakes, develop a moral and social conscience that enables them to make a positive, and valuable contribution to society in the future. We encourage our boys to act in accordance with one’s deeply held values that contribute to the greater good via experiences that benefit the individual.

Our emphasis is on building men  of character and our expectation is that our Princes Men know and model key virtues including gratitude, courage, integrity and wisdom. These are some of the foundational components that underpin the ‘Princes Man’ and when practiced and challenged each day, they can help our young men to flourish as human beings.

Character is, however, both ‘caught’ and ‘taught’ at Princes. It is caught through the interactions with all students and in the language, that we use with them. It is also ‘taught’ through our ‘Princes Man Program’, which is an explicitly delivered wellbeing course that all students in Years 7 to 12 undertake during timetabled lessons. The program is one aspect of the broader Pastoral Care offering at the College and this year it has been re-developed to focus on the explicit teaching of virtues; virtues that help our young men to be ‘of good character’.

The Princes Man Program is an inclusive model as every boy is different and their own journey is personal, as they seek to shape their experiences now and in the future. Each tutor at the College spends one lesson per week delivering the course and the timing of this lesson is the same for the whole school, irrespective of the year level. Tutors are encouraged to adapt and modify their approach to suit their own pedagogical style and the needs of the students in their tutor group. Each year level follows a specific  curriculum overseen by the Year Level Coordinator under the direction of the Dean of Students and Head of Secondary School. Each lesson is grouped under four wellbeing themes:

1 Character and Manhood

2 Health Safety and Risk

3 Learning Performance

4 Connections and Community

The development of the ‘Princes Man’ is a core focus for Prince Alfred College and this has always been a priority throughout the College’s history. What is unique today is that we are actively teaching boys about how to be a young man ‘of good character’. We believe that this can be achieved via a taught wellbeing curriculum underpinned by a virtues-based character education, and enhanced through various pastoral, academic and co-curricular experiences.  Sewing these seeds through this approach helps our young  men learn the skills to flourish in life. This includes being able to regulate their own emotions, be independent, respond to challenges and manage their own wellbeing. This is a life-long journey but one that is essential to develop Princes Men who have the qualities to accept challenges in life, perform at his best and contribute to a cause larger than himself.

Dr. John Kinniburgh
Head of Secondary School & Deputy Headmaster.



Thanking Scholarship Donors

Author: David Cornish, Executive Officer, Prince Alfred College Foundation.

For a decade the College’s Foundation has operated the PAC Foundation Scholarship Fund.  This fund is the vehicle for philanthropic donations, and which are used exclusively to provide scholarships to boys who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to attend the College.  These scholarships are in addition to those offered by the College.

Annually all donors to the Scholarship Fund are invited to a morning tea at the College, where they enjoy the opportunity to meet with recipients, the Headmaster, and President of the PAC Foundation.  It is a pleasure to see the students and donors interact, and they often have common links which ensures the conversation flows freely.

Formalities are brief.  Firstly, the Headmaster provides an overview of the College’s scholarship program.  He is followed by a recipient who gives a personal insight into the meaning of receiving a scholarship, what they are achieving at the College, and their aspirations for the future.  The Foundation President concludes the event with his perspective on being involved in the delivery of the Fund’s scholarship program.

Philanthropy at Prince Alfred College for Scholarships has grown exponentially over the last decade. This growth, combined with seeing students prosper and the enjoyment donors receive from seeing their gifts at work, has been the highlight of my professional career in philanthropy at Prince Alfred College.

My personal giving, and in time my bequest, will go to the PAC Foundation Scholarship Fund.  I invite you to join me in helping to provide a life changing opportunity for a young man.

David Cornish
Executive Officer
PAC Foundation, Prince Alfred College.

Wilderness School and Prince Alfred College Join Forces.

Extracts in this article are provided by 2017 PAC College Captain, Nick Demianyk.

The Student Representative Council from Wilderness School and Prince Alfred College Prefects have combined to form a partnership to deal with issues that are most prevalent in today’s society.

“Respectful Relationships”, is an initiative which addresses issues most prevalent in today’s society, prescribed gender roles, the pay gap, sexual harassment, and domestic violence.

A reflection held at Prince Alfred College on Wednesday 27 September 2017, by PAC Prefects and Wilderness School SRC, was led by PAC College Captain, Nick Demianyk, who detailed the initiative taken up by student leaders at both schools who were keen to partner up and tackle some of the issues concerning young people, stating “These issues primarily revolved around identity, gender, discrimination and prejudices, but our main goal was to try to reduce the severity of any inequalities.”

Nick went on to say, “After some initial research, and having our eyes opened outside our sheltered bubble, many boys that I was working with, including myself, realised that perhaps we weren’t as spotless as we thought, and quite often we would unknowingly be perpetuating some of the things we were aiming to abolish. This then brought about an epiphany that many of the boys and girls at school may be clueless as to how rude or disrespectful they are being, and many students at school may be unaware that the way they are being treated is unacceptable.”

In his speech, Nick went on to say, “From here we thought that one of the most powerful things that we could do was simply educate people on how actions are perceived and what we believe is and is not okay. It was Martin Luther King who claimed, “there is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance.” “I do not aim to imply that all men are constantly sexually harassing people, nor do I wish to imply that sexual harassment is a one-way street. But, I feel that often the actions and choices made by some young men and women are unflattering, merely because we are ignorant of their potentially, negative ramifications.”

“With that in mind, a team of four boys and four girls from Princes and Wildy, went about making a video that we thought would open up young people to sexual harassment, generating conversation about all its forms. We were hoping that at the very least, this would reduce the frequency of sexual harassment incidences in and around our schools, to make us all feel safer, and better about ourselves.” Nick Demianyk, PAC College Captain.

We wish to thank PAC College Captain Nick Demianyk for providing content from his speech at the presentation, the young ladies of the Student Representative Council from Wilderness School and the Prince Alfred College Prefects, for sharing this inspiring, educational initiative.