Richard Pedley-Smith began his career as a classroom teacher and outdoor education coordinator for an Emotional & Behavioural Disorder Unit in West London and for the past 15 years has worked at one of Sydney’s largest high schools teaching Senior PDHPE.
In the course of his work he became concerned about the level of educational disengagement and emotional detachment in some boys and began looking for ways to address this issue. He established and coordinates the successful Rite of Passage Boys’ Program within the school which aims to re-engage and support at-risk boys. Now in its fourth year the program includes overnight camps, treks and Challenges to help develop resilience, self-esteem and encourage positive masculinity. The program runs physical challenges that last between six to twenty-four hours with ex-special forces operatives to develop self-awareness in the boys. Through this he established a parent/student dinner where the students in the program cook a full three-course dinner for parents, senior exec and members of the P&C where they then sit and converse with the adults.
He has implemented numerous welfare and whole school initiatives that have led the school community to raise over $19,000 for the Commando Welfare Trust and for villages along the Kokoda Track.
Richard presents to both parents and schools on how to engage and communicate effectively with teenage boys.
Richard was Highly Commended in the Henry Dunant Humanitarian Award. This is the highest award of the Red Cross Movement and recognises outstanding service and acts of great devotion.