Community and connection at Braemar College

Braemar College Year 9 students engaging in community service at the Watarrka School in the Northern Territory. (Supplied)

Braemar College is a Year 5 to 12 co-eduactional, indepentent School in the Macedon Ranges.

The College has two campuses. The Woodend Campus is located in learning hubs and is home to middle school students. This campus was recognised in 2018 in the Architectural Awards, winning the educational section. These impressive buildings reside within the 320-acre property, which retains its farming roots with agriculture and horticulture practices being undertaken, as was the case for the past 100 years.

The college’s senior school uses the historic and beautiful Braemar House, made famous as the fictitious school Appleyard College in Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. Embedded in the forests of Mt Macedon’s northern face, the young people on this campus engage in their educational journey in a peaceful environment often visited by the native wildlife that frequent the grounds and trees.

While both campuses offer idyllic surroundings, in 2023 the college is focused on community, connection and being the best staff and students can be. Over the past couple of years, the disruption has brought into sharp focus the need for people-centric activities.

In the past years, the buildings and the surroundings were still there, but what was missing were the students, staff and parents being able to make genuine connections. In 2023, there are many plans to address that, from the leaders to students. The board has a clear plan that focuses on community and connection. College leaders and teachers have plans to re-engage and bring back energy to the community.

The college aims to build that energy through engagement with activities at all levels. Students, in 2023, are re-engaging with a revamped House System. The appointment of staff house leaders on both campuses means that smaller student groups can lead and engage in many activities.

Through the EXEAT and interstate and overseas programs, the senior school students are re-engaging with the community in Victoria, interstate and internationally. One of these trips recommencing in 2023 includes the Yr 12 Schoolies Alternative Program, which has seen Year 12s working with Nepalese communities since 2013 rather than attending other schoolies activities.

The connections started this week on campus, with over 1100 students returning to the classrooms. They engaged in many activities to encourage them to be comfortable at school and also to engage with their learning and their peers.

Schools and their communities have faced challenges over the past years. The ability for students to be guided by peers and leaders and to connect with their community will provide a sound base to build upon for the ’23 Braemarians.