InsideR’s Captains of Education Series – Part 3
The Robina area is home to some of the Gold Coast’s leading schools and educational institutions. InsideR is pleased to share with you a series, profiling a selection of key educational game-changers, who have our children’s futures in their hands.
This month, insideR spoke to Robina State High School’s Principal, Julie Warwick, about the importance of embracing local community, while also giving students an appreciation of ‘the world outside the school gates’.
At Robina State High, the world is their classroom
As Principal at Robina State High School for the past six years, Julie Warwick’s daily modus operandi has been ‘future-proofing’ every student who marches through the school gates.
For Julie, ‘future-proofing’ isn’t just a catch phrase. It underpins everything she and her staff aim to achieve at the school – a holistic approach to education that involves promoting excellence in academia, sport and other character-building co-curricular activities.
Julie firmly believes, though, that there’s more to education than books, sports and debating. She aims to instill in her students an understanding and appreciation of their local Robina community, and the many and varied people and places that make up the real world.
“As Principal, I’m fortunate to do a lot of work around what we like to call ‘globalising’ our kids,” says Julie.
“Looking at our programs and curriculum, our students get plenty of opportunities to become what we call ‘future-proofed’. That’s not only academia, sport and looking after their general wellbeing – we take a holistic approach and make sure students have a real sense of what’s going on around them; a sense of, ‘it’s a big world out there’.”
One of the many ways Robina State High is globalising its students is through a well-respected international program – underpinned by its signature Japanese immersion curriculum. Finishing touches that give the school a real ‘international feel’ include a classroom that’s been converted into a traditional Japanese ‘tatami’ room, with a red ‘torii’ gate symbolising the entrance to a sacred place.
Julie says around 60 of the school’s 1500-strong student body are international students – many of whom have chosen Robina State High School specifically for their studies abroad.
“We’re an inclusive school and welcome all students to Robina State High School – we have a really good reputation globally, with students coming from all over the world to learn at our school,” she says.
“My background and passion is studying languages.
“I have spent quite a bit of time studying the amazing language and culture in Japan. Our school has always had a really great reputation for its language and international program, and an opportunity to nurture a strong languages curriculum is one of the main reasons I came on board as Principal.”
A Varsity Lakes resident, Julie believes her school community is ‘very fortunate’ to benefit from its location in the heart of CBDRobina – a renowned education hub.
“We are a school, but we also see ourselves as a community hub – working with our community to build opportunities for our kids,” she says.
“I think students really benefit from our central Robina location because they have so many opportunities at their doorstep in terms of local businesses and other organisations that can value-add to their education.
“That whole notion of being a productive citizen who contributes to society is really important for us. We also regularly teach our students about the importance of giving back and serving our community.”
Robina State High School is fortunate to be located on Investigator Drive, in the heart of Robina’s hospital and health precinct – ideal positioning for its students who may be doctors, nurses and health industry specialists in the making.
“We’re slam-dunk in the middle of a Robina’s impressive health and medical precinct, and we really capitalise on that with a strong allied health program,” Julie says.
“We also give back to Robina Hospital by providing teachers to what is known as the hospital school – for students who are unable to attend school because they have been admitted to hospital, but still need to continue learning while they are receiving medical care.”
With decades of experience educating students in Australia and abroad, Julie says she couldn’t be happier that she found her way to Robina.
“I’m really proud of this school and love working here,” she says.
“We have really high-performing staff, supportive families and the kids are just wonderful.
“We are quite a big campus, but because of our numbers and independent public school status, we can offer a lot of breadth and flexibility in terms of the curriculum and still keep that family feel.
“Being part of one big family really helps us ensure every student is known, valued and feels as though they are part of a community.”
Be sure to check out our previous issues of insideR where we spoke to:
- Somerset College Headmaster of 10 years, Craig Bassingthwaighte; and
- All Saints Anglican College Headmaster of 17 years, Patrick Wallas – both of whom call Robina home.
Subscribe to insideR and receive our full series profiling the Gold Coast’s top education influencers, direct to your inbox over the coming months.