From the Head of the Junior School

From the Head of the Junior School

Dear Parents and Friends of the Junior School,

It has been a delight to be with Year 6 as the boys have represented the Junior School in Canberra over the last three days. Canberra is a different kind of school trip, more of a sight-seeing and educational tour than the activity camps which we often undertake. In many ways it is more tiring and demanding of students and staff, as they are always on show, across many venues, and need to be engaged throughout. The boys have done magnificently. They attracted positive comments wherever they visited, often from staff at venues who see many school students. I admired the thoughtful and sensible manner in which this cohort conducted themselves throughout, even when out of the public eye, and their teachers appreciated their cooperation. Many boys also dealt with the unease of being away from home after two years of missed camps when they would ordinarily have become more accustomed to the challenges of travel. In short, Year 6 has displayed great maturity and Year 6 parents can be very proud of their sons. Special appreciation is extended to Mrs Tredinnick, Mr Hoare, Mr Cha, Mrs Katay and Mr Larkin for leaving their own families to take great care of the boys.    

We have seen a considerable increase in absences amongst students and staff this week, thankfully not COVID-19 related but mostly with cold and flu symptoms, bearing truth to the warnings from medical experts about the changing season and our susceptibility to forms of ‘the lurgie’ following two years of hygiene and hibernation. Please look after our community by keeping your son home from school when he displays symptoms of any illness that can be easily transmitted to other community members.  

I also make a polite but firm request for greater attention to punctuality. The trigger for my request is partly Mr Robinson’s recent repeated requests to parents and boys to be on time to sport, but also from my own observation of an increased number of students registering for late arrival on school mornings. There are natural consequences for lateness: boys often feel uneasy, unready or embarrassed when entering class or a team after the start; or they miss important messages, learning or opportunities. Lateness also impacts others: teachers and lessons are disrupted when a late student needs individual attention to settle or catch-up; and Mr Robinson has written about the impact on teams and coaches, especially how warm-up activities are made very difficult. We perfectly understand that there are legitimate reasons for occasional lateness; it is any regular pattern of tardiness that needs to be addressed, especially when this is caused by an absence of planning or neglecting to leave home on time. The oft-used excuse of ‘traffic’ does not hold up when offered regularly or when the rest of the school or team manage to arrive on time! Should lateness become persistent on weekdays or Saturdays it may become necessary to sanction students, a step always taken with some reluctance as at this age it is often not boys but parents who bear responsibility. All of this is to say, please make it a habit to have your son where he needs to be on time.

Unfortunately, our debaters finished second in last Friday’s elimination final despite one of their best team performances of the season, making a strong, articulate and consistent argument of their affirmative side of a complex topic. Well done, boys, Mr Becarovski and Mrs Taylor on a wonderful season. Debating will continue with a fortnightly in-school IPSHA competition involving a wider selection of boys, and Friday afternoon inter-school competition continues with two Junior School Chess Teams competing each week.

We enjoyed another excellent weekend of sport last Saturday with wins, losses, draws and valuable lessons in skills, teamwork and sportsmanship across all codes. I particularly commend our 1st XV Rugby boys for their victory against Scots on Saturday on the rare occasion of a primary game on Number 1 Oval. Scots had the better of the clash when these two teams met last year and won convincingly when they first played in Year 4. Saturday’s match, won 26-5 by Trinity, was a highly skilful game that showcased many wonderful aspects of the game of rugby. It also highlighted the steady growth of individual players and this team over two years. Most pleasingly, there is a manner in which our boys now play the game and conduct themselves before, during and afterwards that is testament to their standards, maturity and the influence of their coaches, Mr Niulala, Miss Cross and Mr Buchanan.  

Inevitably, some dates in the Record Book (which is always finalised in Term 3) require amendment as the circumstances of each year unfold. I advise parents that students will return to school for Term 3 on Wednesday 20th July, a day later than advertised in the Record Book. This change will allow the primary school teachers to undertake some further training in assessment techniques and bring the attendance of Junior and Preparatory School students into line with classes in the Middle and Senior Schools.

Year 3 will enjoy their first taste of basketball competition this afternoon as Friday Afternoon Sport sessions re-commence. The programme runs for five weeks and it is the expectation that all Year 3 students attend. We focus on a different sport each term to provide the boys with exposure to a wider variety of sports, specific skills and the opportunity to participate in modified game situations. Parents are reminded to be punctual for pick-up in the carpark. Boys booked into OSH Club can still go to OSH at the conclusion of the session.

Mark Dunn | Head of the Junior School

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

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