From the Head of the Preparatory Schooldeveloper
School Officers’ Induction
This morning, we inducted the 2022 School Officers into their leadership roles at a Chapel Service. Over the course of the last few weeks myself and Mr Lever have had a number of conversations about leadership with all of the Year 6 boys. This morning I reminded the boys accepting positions of responsibility of a number of key messages about leadership that may be somewhat countercultural when compared with the messages we receive through the media.
- Service not status
- Others before ourselves
- Being driven but not always the driver
These themes are confirmed through the example and words of Jesus as captured in the Bible, and as evidenced through his willingness to sacrifice himself on the cross for the salvation of the world.
At the service we listened to the Micah song which reflects on God’s call to his people to ‘act justly’, ‘love mercy’ to ‘walk humbly’. It is my prayer for the student leaders that they will lead in this way in 2022 and that through their leadership, the School community will increasingly become a place of respect, positivity and care.
Whilst we highlighted the formal leadership roles in our School, it is important to also acknowledge the general leadership that will be shown by all of our Year 6 students this year as they set the standards for all of our boys. One of the greatest acts of leadership they have will be with their Kindergarten buddies as they form special relationships throughout the year that are mutually beneficial. Our Year 6 boys also play a key role in setting the tone for our School; something that is very important to us at the Preparatory School.
Earlier this week we gathered at the Centenary Pool at Summer Hill for our annual Swimming Carnival. Despite the restrictions placed on the students due to COVID, the day was a great success with the boys demonstrating tremendous team spirit and participation across the day. After a year where many students haven’t swum as much as normal, I was particularly impressed with some of our less confident swimmers who embraced the smaller 25 metre pool and the less competitive events with great enthusiasm. As always, the relays were the highlight of the day with some very closely contested races. We even managed to squeeze in the Staff v Student relay which the teachers managed to triumph. The one disappointment was the absence of parents who offer a lot to events like this by providing additional atmosphere and support. We hope that this might be possible again later in the year.
Congratulations to the following boys who were awarded Age Champions for their all-round performances on the day; Under 8 – Athan Ferizis (Sc), Under 9 – Daniel Jin (He), Under 10 – Aris Ferizis (Sc), Under 11 – Harris Yang (Hi) and Opens – Christopher Ong (He).
I am also pleased to be able to announce the House Champions were School House, followed by Henderson, Archer and Hilliard.
Congratulations to all of the boys on a fabulous day!
Year 3 Sport
This afternoon is the beginning of the Year 3 Sport programme for 2022. Today is the first of five sessions for the term held at Summer Hill. This term’s programme focus is Football. Every Thursday, during Sport time, the boys focus on skill development and increasing their game awareness. On Friday afternoons, the focus turns to small-sided games where the students have the opportunity to play against teams from across both campuses.
Year 5 and 6 Digital Citizenship session
On Wednesday evening, we remotely hosted a Digital Citizenship session with parents and students from Year 5 and new to Year 6. The focus of the session was beginning conversations about responsible use of technology and the internet, and supporting parents to develop safe and realistic expectations for this in the home. As parents, this is something that should be on our radar at all times.
In the session I used learning to drive a car as an analogy for the way we should approach technology use. A 12-year-old has the physical capacity to learn to drive a car, however, they clearly lack the cognitive capacity and maturity to be able to do so safely. As a result, we simply don’t let 12-year-old drive cars. The same could be said about 12-year-olds using technology. Whilst they have no issue managing devices and accessing the internet, it is highly questionable whether they have the maturity and cognitive capacity at that age to cope with the possibilities and content that becomes available to them. They need our support!
I encourage parents to engage with this from an early age as it is always easier to develop positive habits and behaviours from a young age, rather than trying to correct them when boys get older. If you need support with this, please reach out. We are always willing to provide guidance in this area.
Learning more about our students – Allwell Testing
The collection of learning data on our students is a critical exercise that supports the effective planning of teaching and learning experiences. Today students in Years 3 and 5 participated in a series of short assessments conducted by Academic Assessment Services. These tests provide a diagnostic measure in Reading, Writing and Numeracy. Boys have not been pre-warned about this as preparation is completely unnecessary.
Ongoing School-based assessment remains our principal way of reporting student achievement. However, the additional information gained through these assessments, will contribute to our broad academic profile of each boy, enhancing our ability to map their learning growth, and ensuring we continue to meet their learning needs. Results will be provided to parents when they are available. Teachers will be reviewing the results and will be pleased to discuss them with parents as appropriate.
Motivation and Engagement – Parent session – Monday 28th February
One of our annual practices is to gather data about our students’ wellbeing. Late last year our Year 5 (2021) students completed the Motivation and Engagement survey. This is a research-based self-assessment instrument that provides valuable information that can support goal setting with students and parents for next year. On the evening of Monday 28th February, we have invited Dr Andrew Martin, the researcher behind the survey, to speak with parents about the survey, how to interpret the results and what steps can be taken to improve wellbeing. Parents will receive their son’s result at this time. Further details about the session will be sent home in the coming week, however, I encourage Year 6 parents to save the date in the calendar. The presentation will take place virtually.
Gluten free options at the Canteen
At last week’s Auxiliary meeting a question was raised about providing gluten free options at the Canteen. We are always open to this type of feedback and the Auxiliary meeting is a perfect vehicle for this.
I am pleased to report that we will be embarking on a trial to see what the appetite for gluten free products is. Gluten free sausage rolls and pizza have been added to the Canteen menu. Please be aware that the items are more expensive than the other products as they are more expensive to source. Mary Saba, our Canteen manager, will be keeping an eye on sales and if appropriate will look to expand the offering.
Chris Wyatt | Head of the Preparatory School
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28