Marnie Thomas | Head of Positive Education
Newcastle Grammar School

Marnie Thomas, Head of Positive Education, Newcastle Grammar School

  Marnie Thomas is the Head of Positive Education at Newcastle Grammar School. She is a passionate educator, utilising her Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP, University of Melbourne) to support her community to thrive. Her signature strengths are Love, Social Intelligence, Perseverance, Kindness, and Zest. In 2021 she was presented with the Top Visible Wellbeing Teacher Award in a K-12 School at The Global Visible Wellbeing Summit and in 2023 she was invited to offer a workshop on her “Wellbeing for Breakfast” series at the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) World Congress in Vancouver, Canada. Marnie deeply believes in a whole school approach that draws upon wellbeing science to build wellbeing literacy and a shared language to flourish. She regularly shares her wellbeing approach with the PESA (Positive Education School’s Association) community and loves to support others to bring wellbeing to life in their context.  


Day 2 @ 12:30

PANEL - Relationships matter: Growing student belonging to cultivate a connected school community

Research shows the pivotal role that belonging plays in overall wellbeing and academic outcomes.  Cultivating a culture of empathy, support, and encouragement within the school community creates an environment where students feel valued, understood, and empowered to thrive across the many layers of their learning journey.

As educators, we recognise the profound impact that a strong sense of belonging can have on student application to learning and engagement in classroom practice, which has the capacity to significantly enhance academic performance. By exploring the intersection between resilience and student belonging, we recognise resilience as a key factor in navigating challenges and building strong connected communities. We also see belonging as a protective factor for things such as school absences, school refusal, and behaviours that are not compatible with successful academic outcomes. So, what can schools do to foster a greater sense of belonging?


This panel brings together thought leaders in the field of wellbeing education, who will discuss ways to cultivate belonging and connection in a school environment.

Audience takeaways:

  • The significance of fostering a sense of belonging in schools.
  • The consequences associated with a lack of school belonging.
  • Strategies for facilitating a stronger connection between students and their school.



last published: 21/Apr/24 11:05 GMT

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