From the Head Master

From the Head Master

On a number of occasions, I have commented in the Bulletin that the experiences during the pandemic have given us confidence that the School community can execute significant changes at short notice when required. The pivots to remote learning, the adoption of COVID-19 protocols, and the removal of the academic rollover for Years 7 to 12 spring to mind as examples of our collective efficacy in times of change. These changes were usually required of us by circumstances beyond our control and that we did not welcome. Nonetheless, we had to find the best way forward.

Unfortunately, we are facing a situation that will require us to demonstrate this flexibility once again.

It has to do with Speech Day 2022. For the first time in many years, we have planned to hold the celebratory end-of-year events for each of the Preparatory School, the Junior School and the Middle and Senior Schools on the same day. We have booked Sydney Town Hall for Friday 2 December 2022 and are planning to run three full-scale events on that date.

However, in the last week we have been made aware that industrial action is planned for Friday 2 December that will entail the cancellation of all train services across Sydney on that day. The absence of train services will pose significant challenges for our current plans to move two thousand students, hundreds of staff and hundreds of family members and friends in and out of the city.

Consequently, the School is developing two plans for Speech Day; these are creatively known as Plan A and Plan B! The decision as to which Plan will apply will be made on Friday 25 November 2022, which will allow the School enough time to plan and execute. (Unfortunately, if the strike is cancelled after our decision point, we will not be able to change course at that point.)  In broad outline, the Plans are as follows:

Plan A (If the trains are running):

  • Junior School:
9:00am Sydney Town Hall
  • Preparatory School:
11:30am Sydney Town Hall
  • Middle and Senior Schools:
3:00pm Sydney Town Hall

 

This plan requires students and families to make their own way to and from the relevant events at Town Hall.

Plan B (If the trains are not running):

  • Junior School:
9:00am Preparatory School, Strathfield
  • Preparatory School:
11:30am Preparatory School, Strathfield
  • Middle and Senior Schools:
10:30am Sydney Town Hall

 

This plan requires Preparatory and Junior School students and families to make their own way to and from the Preparatory School campus at Strathfield. However, Middle and Senior School students and staff will be bussed en masse to and from Town Hall from the Summer Hill campus, having made their way to school at the usual time. Middle and Senior School families will make their own way to and from Town Hall.

Plan B obviously entails a number of compromises to our original plans. However, in consideration of all the circumstances, it seems to be the best way to enable us to hold formal celebrations of the efforts and achievements of the year.

You will appreciate that there are lots of details and issues that are still being considered as each of the Plans is finalised. More communication will be provided in due course.

However, I do want to emphasise that attendance at the relevant event is mandatory for students. We strongly encourage families to consider attending as well. We have not been able to gather the community for these end of year celebrations since 2019 and it would be a great shame not to make a priority of doing so this year.

The situation does provide a valuable learning opportunity for our boys. During the formative years of their childhood and adolescence, they learn how to respond to frustration and disappointment. The examples provided to them by their families are powerfully formative. They will learn from us. I am thankful to be in a community that has consistently demonstrated its collective ability to cope with unwanted circumstances.

Detur gloria soli Deo

Tim Bowden | Head Master

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