In this week's episode of The Learning Network's Community & Family Studies Podcast I share some resources to help you share your love of CAFS!

I have updated the free "Tools to Promote CAFS" resource on The Learning Network homepage so you have all you need to let the students at your school know just how great CAFS is! 

With information on the course modules, content, learning opportunities & career options, this is the perfect resource to give students as they decide on their subject choices for stage 6! Hang the pages up as posters or use it as a hand out & share your love of CAFS! 

So click the button below to check out the FREE Tools to Promote CAFS resource! 


Show Notes 


Join me and my expert guest panel for a day to CHANGE the way you mark & teach Community & Family Studies. 



Looking for CAFS resources to help you & your CAFS crew thrive this term? Check out my Groups in Context resource booklets & other CAFS resources below!


CAFS Resources

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The Learning Network

Since 2004 I have been teaching PDHPE and Community & Family Studies. I love learning. It lights me up. I am so passionate about supporting you to be the best educator you can be.

My Purpose
To grow a lively and connected community, where Community & Family Studies teachers can network, learn and share with each other.

My Mission
To build on the knowledge, understanding and skills of Community & Family Studies teachers to set their students up for success with confidence.



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Show Transcription

Podcast Intro:

Hey, I'm Kelly Bell. Welcome to The Learning Network Podcast. I guide Community and Family Studies teachers, newbies and experienced, through best practice to improve knowledge, increase empowerment and alleviate stress, to help you and your students to make meaningful connections across the course. I will share strategic and purposeful applications from my 16 years experience in the classroom that I have adopted to increase student motivation, enjoyment, engagement and results. Together, we will grow and transform your CAFS crew to the next level without impacting your sleep and wellbeing process. To join my free how to improve writing and fast track results webinar, head to So tune in, get inspired and let's connect, learn and grow together. 

Episode intro:

Hey everyone and strapping for another amazing episode. In this episode, we're going to chat about what you can do to really share your love, absolute love of community and family studies. 



 So if you haven't already worked out, I love CAFS. I love this subject and I fell in love with it back in 2004 I don't really know why or how I can put this into words, but I just love that energy. I just love how it connects to life. I love the conversations that are had in the classroom. And if I'm really honest, I think that's what I miss most about the classroom is having those rich and meaningful conversations with our students about how they can make our world our communities and our families so much better. And I think look, you know, when you so many people say to me what is CAFS? CAFS or CAFS Coach? I'm like, yeah, like I'm a Community & Family Studies teacher that teaches teachers how to strategize and improve what they do. And I think you know, this course, is so different to any other course that you'll ever, ever teach. And I think once the kids get that, you know, in your level, it's a bit sketchy. They're like, Oh, I'm not sure what this means. But when they really get to see at the end, they graduate, they say, thank you so much. I've learned so much about myself so much about my family, so much about my community and what I can do to either leave a legacy or make a bigger difference.

And look, that's why I love CAFS. That's literally why I love this beautiful course. So I'm going to share with you guys today a few things that you can implement into your school into your classes to really improve what you're doing to promote CAFS. So the first thing I want to share with you guys is to make your experiences memorable. And that goes without saying, be a good person be you and give all of yourself to your students. The kids gonna work with you and for you, if you show them yourself and show you show them their true you. If you show them an insight into your life, if you give of yourself a tiny little bit, obviously no personal details where you live, you know, any of that sort of stuff. But you know, the fact that you have two children, two children, or you play netball, this is what my examples, by the way, play, you know, touch football, that your parents got divorced when you're 18. Those are the things that can connect you to the real person that can connect you to the your real life is going to definitely enhance your relationships. And obviously building building on those relationships is highly essential for your students to really trust you.

And I don't know just work with you and for you. I've said it and I'll say it again, you can be the most amazing teacher in the world and your kids can be the most amazing students. But if you can't connect with them, you've got no hope. So if you want them to work with you, and for you, open up and be yourself and have those really great connections filtering through. I think when I kind of think back and before us preparing for this episode, I was trying to think of what makes me different to you guys. Nothing, absolutely nothing. I've had similar experiences to you. I'm nothing, you know, I'm no different to you know, each and every one of the community family studies teachers who teaching yourself across New South Wales. I think what sets me apart though, is that I have strategy, I have purpose, and there's always an intention behind my behaviour or my decisions. And when I first started teaching CAFS, I started to realise that I want more of this. And I become a little bit obsessed with things. So I don't know I become attached to things and people so watch out. But I just I just fell in love with things once I really get to know them. And I become all encompassing. And that's what I've done with Community and Family Studies. I know, like the, you know, inside and out. I know every little facet of it. And it just absolutely lights me up. So I think one of the keys to my success in CAFS and I and I've said this before, I did have the most amazing kids in the world, the most amazing students. I didn't work at a selective school. But my kids got the results and I think they got the results because of my passion, but also the strategy that I provided my classroom.

So what I started to do, as I started to fall in love deeply in love with CAFS is I started to realise that I needed to talk about it from the early days. I'm talking about your seven year a you know, those little tiny conversations that you have with your students in the junior years really set you up for success with having big numbers in your CAFS classroom. So I would do things like have posters around my room. I would have acronyms in the big Flora letter saying CAFS, I would talk about our in in CAFS. So in community family studies we actually talk to spoke about this today we talk about this concept called wellbeing. It's like the dimensions of health or when we're looking at communication or decision making in you know, seven to 10 pe it Talk about those things. I actually embed our concepts throughout you seven to 10. And what that does is allows the students to get an insight into what it's like. In stage six CAFS, what I also tried to do with my kids was, I don't know involve my community Family Studies, girls. So it's an all girls school school for 14 years. I worked at a Sony campus with two. So it was mainly at Nagle that I did this, but I got my senior students to come into my classes and help me out with different things. So I would have my CAFS classes, helping me with Pink Ribbon Day. Oh, that's our CAFS class. The CAFS class are doing that today or you know as a CAFS class we're putting on this initiative, or they're helping the younger students, those sorts of things is what I started to do. But I did have my students, you know, talk and be present in my classroom, like, you know, in during breaks, or if I was, you know, finishing your living, I would let my juniors and seniors conversations and see how I would talk to my seniors, and how it might have been a little bit different to how I was with my junior students. So excuse me, essentially, I was promoting the course from within my own students from my own classes.

Now, I would do that consistently across the years and look our courses built from one class when I first started 2004 to four CAFS classes when I left Sydney and moved to the Central Coast. Admittedly, we did have a few other teachers in there who did HSC marking who loved CAFS, just like me. But I became the CAFS queen in inverted commas not self proclaiming, but this is something that you guys told me that I am. So should I just own the title? I don't know. That, you know, because I just loved, loved, loved, loved it, lived and breathed it but also had those really strong relationships with my students made it present within my own class. And yeah, like physical presence as in my students conversations, posters around my class, and you know, just made that CAFS space really, really special. So probably wasn't until maybe just before I went on maternity leave in 2010 with care so elders that I started to really take ownership of my classroom. It was a shared class back then. So I think maybe two or three PE teachers would share that room but I kind of had a CAFS corner. And in that CAFS corner I'll put out acronyms, I'll put posters, I'd put our syllabus, I would put some cushions like a bit of a chill out space minute mindfulness space. I had little things happening in our room that was like, this is our space. This is a little space for our CAFS students to kind of like it was home. When I then moved to a room with just two colleagues, just two of us are sharing the classroom. I made the classroom pretty much a CAFS space, posters, decorations, cushions, quote all around the classroom to kind of have not my stamp but to have CAFS really visible. And so my students really felt welcome in the classroom as well. When I moved to the Central Coast and had my own classroom, that was you know, I went even bigger.

So I had literally it was like CAFS classroom. I had multiple little spaces in the room. I was able to grab some standup desks because we had some budget leftover at the end of one year and I had standup desks my class, which then had all different decorations and little things around the classroom again quotes, salt lamp, little space where the kids could put their work or our white mini whiteboards big stationery cupboard with some textbooks and Cambridge checkpointing CAFS books. Literally I made it my own. So people would say oh, is it the CAFS classroom. I'm like, No, this is just Kelly Bell is classroom but it is like the CAFS classroom. So I taught my PE class in there are PE classes in there and also my SLR boys in that classroom, but people kind of knew that it was just my space. I made it very CAFS here, and even back then my two favourite colours if you haven't realised that aqua and pink, although it was meant to be a rose kind of corally pink but it's turned into a pink pink, dusty pink but I would have those colours very present in my classroom even back in those days, which have now become my brand colours. So they are some of the physical things like the actual practical things that I would do with my calf students.

And in terms of promoting CAFS, as I mentioned old promoted from within seven to 10 pe. So what that looked like was when I got a pass class and you nan 10 I will definitely try to filtering concepts from your 1112 CAFS into the past course. Now I know that pass is very different to CAFS, but where I could see those connections. I would talk about that. You know, this is what we do in CAFS. This is you know what it looks like on my CAFS students And I wasn't being salesy, but I was embedding that and showing the kids that, you know, once you reach that senior level, it's very different. And look, as I mentioned, we went from one to four classes. I think even in the year that we had to pass PE classes, having those rich conversations, we then had two PE classes, which was the first time ever Nagel had to PHP classes because we had to pass classes in U turn nine in term, just building those relationships seriously, it's all about those relationships, building relationships in seven to 10, especially nine and 10. And then once the students kind of know that it's a great course they they like what they see, they also enjoy the company of that teacher. Of course, you're gonna take CAFS, it's a no brainer. In terms of other practical things that we did, at subjects election night, again, we will kind of filter those conversations through. And we will talk about castriota classes PE as well, obviously, as well as AC back in the day, we didn't have SLR at our school, but did at the senior campus. But having those, you know, small little conversation with the students about all those senior courses, while they're in the seven to 10, especially nine and 10 will give you so much success.

So in terms of promo at subjects selection, we always had lots of I suppose visuals to help the students to kind of get an idea of what the course was like. So they could easily see us visually, but also have those really good conversations with you know, with us as teachers, on paper, kids look at CAFS and go What the hell is it? But you know, you talk about I say it's like sociology. So if I was talking to parents, I would say it's like sociology, you're learning about life. You're learning about how you can function in your family, and how you can function in the community and the wider world. And teachers parents are like, Oh, I can't get it like this. It's like, you know, you know, it's like a bit of health promotion. It's a bit of, you know, nursing or teaching. I'm like, Yeah, that's exactly right. Like what it is, it is about life and being in the community.

Now if you want to head over to I have some posters for you which are which are literally called CAFS is life and they were never intended to be like that like CAFS is about life. It's CAFS his life. That would be a very common thing that we would say in class or miss CAFS his life it just relates to everything. CAFS his life in love CAFS, so I know some of you guys do that too. And I've seen keel over I'm thinking about you with your jersey here but your CAFS is life at the back of your jersey your kids gave to you one year. You know I'm thinking of that type of thing, but my posters are provided to you guys in this download below. forward slash promote CAFS. I really practically just things that you can put up in your classroom to really promote community and family studies. One of our beautiful CAFS collective teachers who is part of our CAFS membership. Jess George-Loulach has actually tried this out with her students. So she's printed everything off really quickly, the other week, and she has posted these in her classroom to make it really invisible, like what can you Family Studies is and create like a little corner for her students to kind of be aware of and also then promoted that within her own peer class. Now just works in all boys school.

And we know that it's very small percentage of our CAFS cohort is male so 3% the state only a very small percentage about around 300 Boys males. Take CAFS now. It's not just for females who were born female. It is for everybody. And it's an all teachers can teach Community and Family Studies. We have some amazing CAFS teachers who are male out there. Dom I'm thinking of you Craig and thinking of you, Michael, you're new to CAFS. A huge welcome to you. These guys are part of my CAFS membership. And I think, you know, alongside Russell, we also have about four or five males inside the membership and look that that number is continuing to grow. And I would love to see more male teachers teach our course as well as males take care and family studies. So I always say to the kids like bodies CAFS So, kind of a bit of a spiel. I say that CAFS is like explores a number of different issues around people around families and around communities. It looks at how we can manage our needs and how and our resources to satisfy our well being. It helps us to investigate a variety of different groups within our community and the impact that those people can have on the groups as well as you know how we can advocate for those groups and make make life so amazing. So I think that's something that you can kind of say that you know, CAFS is going to have an impact on lots of students lives. So the benefits are extensive.

We know that Um, you know, being an effective committee member and being an effective family member is really important. But the kids can also gain valuable research skills to defer, like further develop their skills, post school career pathways, and literally what we learned in CAFS can be taken through all parts of our life. I know that my students have come back into school and to our Miss like we did you know, we we did our literature review for uni or we learned about Maslow's hierarchy hierarchy of needs, or we learned about, you know, different styles of leadership or whatever. At uni. I'm Michael grey that you learn that I'm in CAFS, that's excellent. And I think I'm having that connection to careers is really important. So in our download to the Learn forward slash, promote CAFS is where you go, we show how this course is a category A ATAR course. Now recent recent notice has been made by Nyssa. That we're no longer going to have the Category A and Category B Courses. So keep an eye out for that. Obviously, at the moment it contributes to university entrance. So we do have a HSC exam or three or HSC paper that the kids actually set and I say that out loud.

You know that there is a HSC exam there is an extended response. It is an essay at the end in your option. If you don't like writing essays, CAFS isn't for you. And I know that an unmonitored is out loud. I know that school say CAFS is a dumb version of PE. It's not. CAFS is really hard. And you probably would have seen some of our results. And it is very hard to get a band five and six and CAFS because the kids have to write extensively in the option, but they often also have to write really explicitly in our short answer. So skills like managing our resources, problem solving, conflict resolution, decision making, planning, goal setting Leadership, Research, a whole lot of research, empathy, building advocacy, and using safe using technology safely, are all skills that we can work on with our kids. So there's lots of different opportunities for learning. You know, those soft skills that we always talk about those key competencies are very, very big in Community and Family Studies. The course is for everybody. It doesn't matter. You know, what sort of student you are, we have our life skills and CAFS course as well. So it caters for so many students that we that's in front of us. Typical future pathways that I often share with the kids are things like sociology, psychology, counselling, teaching, nursing, child care, policing, health, promotion, politics, social work, welfare, and welfare, jobs, community service, parenting, caring, many of us want to be a parent, or many of us will care for our aged parents at some point, or maybe a dependent. You know, it's suitable for everybody. And there's so many different career pathways that that our course very much links to. So you guys know that we have three units, three core units in your 11. And then we have our three core units in you 12 as well as one option.

So there are lots of different things that we can promote with our students. But I think one of the biggest things is just being yourself, being you and really showing the kids that you know, if you want to effectively communicate in your family, if you want to be an advocate if you want to support other people, then CAFS is the way to go. And I think the biggest thing that you can do with your students to promote CAFS is connect to them and their life. So improve those relationships with those with your students showing genuine interest in their life. Use them in your examples, use the kids in your you know discussions in class make it really rich. And of course, we know now as a result of taking CAFS for so long and teaching it that it definitely links so many different ideas and skills across the core. So trying to have those really great connections in there. So look, CAFS is my absolute absolute favourite thing to teach. That's why I left the classroom. And now I have a business that supports Community and Family Studies teachers across New South Wales, to be more strategic to be more purposeful and to make those beautiful kids that have that you have in front of you really happy and love coming back to and trust me when I say this that once you start to implement some of these little strategies that I've shared with you guys today, you will see your classes grow and flourish from one class to two from two to three and then potentially three to four. And what that does is you get to build your PE faculty. You get to build your tears faculty and create this amazing empire in inverted commas empire that you absolutely love and it obviously it creates more opportunities for staff and that's what it did at Nagel, definitely creating more opportunities for staff to come into the faculty, which is always a great thing giving back to our profession, so head over to the low forward slash promote CAFS. This is where you can grab your download with all the posters and all the details around how you can promote CAFS from year after year to have some really great students take your course.  


Thanks for joining The Learning Network, I'd love to hear what connected with you most about today's episode. Take a screenshot and tag me on Instagram and Facebook, @thelearnnet. If you'd like to know more about my courses, MasterClasses, Coaching and Mentoring and Membership, you can DM me over on Facebook or Instagram or head to Don't forget to stay connected by subscribing to Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and if you love today's episode, I would be so honoured if you could please leave me a review. See you again next week. Let's continue to connect, grow and learn together to make a huge impact on the students we teach. 

Want to work with me one on one?

In my CAFS Coaching and Mentoring, I develop a session or series of sessions that are created with the unique needs of your school and context in mind that are completely tailored based on your experience, stage and journey in
Community and Family Studies.

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I acknowledge and pay my respects to the
traditional custodians on whose land I walk, work & live.
This land was and always will be the land of the First Nations People.