The school is midway through what it is calling the ‘Master Plan’, a series of campus redevelopments that started in 2017.
Walford now boasts a dedicated STEAM space, built into a refurbished and updated heritage-listed building in their junior school.
Principal Rebecca Clarke says that 2018 was a time for Walford to reflect on the past, but also to look to the future.
“This school started in a family home 125 years ago, in Miss Adamson’s family home, and even though it’s a lot bigger than it was and it’s moved sites, that family ethos, that nurturing environment and strong sense of values remains an important part of the school...” she says.
“Engaging young people, empowering girls to be their best are essential elements of our school so we’re looking forward, beyond 125 years to growing and nurturing that in the future.”
As well as being the school’s 125th year, 2018 was the centenary of its Old Scholars’ Association.
“It’s been a pivotal year, because lots of new things are happening at the school, and then of course later this month we start our second project in the Master Plan, which is the complete refurbishment of our science centre, which is exciting too,” Clarke says.
Walford’s International Baccalaureate programme also underwent some changes this year.
“We are the only girls’ school in Australia that offers the Continuum Programme, which means that we offer the Primary Years Programme, the Middle Years Programme and then the Diploma Programme as a pathway in Year 11 and 12,” Clarke says.
“We have remained committed to that programme ... but what we have done, is we have made a change that now sees the Middle Years Programme finish at Year 9 instead of Year 10, and that culminates in this really exciting community project where students have the opportunity to either work on their own or in groups to identify a community, identify a need within that community and then take action to either advocate for the community, improve or solve the problem...
“It’s the first year that we’ve run it this year, the girls have really enjoyed the subject, they’ve been engaged, they’ve given selflessly to the communities that they’re serving and we’re looking forward to seeing that improve again next year as the programme grows.”
Although Walford enjoys a long track record of academic success, Clarke says that it’s important not to focus too heavily on ATAR results.
“We’re saying to students all the time ‘try a range of options, work hard, push yourselves to excel but don’t forget that important in that is your own self-regulation, self-care and care for others, then the outcomes will come’,” she says.
“But if we are going to define a student’s success at our school by her ATAR, then you’ve missed all of those other valuable opportunities along the way to develop the character of young people and find out what it is that she actually enjoys in learning as well, because she’s going to be a lifelong learner...
“That the values, the culture, the ethos of the school continues to raise girls up, to help them know that they are capable of whatever they put their mind to and will be supported in that, they’re the important values that we don’t expect to change, the outcomes that we don’t expect to change that we’re going to value moving forward.”