Dear Parents and Carers,
It was good to welcome our new students to the School on Monday for their morning of induction designed to help their transition into the life of the School. All seemed to go well, and the start of the term for the whole School seems to have gone equally smoothly. I am pleased that we have the numbers we expected for the year.
As we start the new year, a few reminders, if I may, to help the transition back to School in the first week or so.
It was a pleasure to welcome new colleagues to the School:
Ms Tian Della Vedova re-joins us (having been here last year on her final student-teacher practicum) on a part-time basis to teach health and P.E. and to act as an Advisory Tutor.
Mrs Shirelea Garvey joins us to teach HASS and English and to act as an Advisory Tutor.
Mrs Hillary Macmillan has taken on the teaching of science and mathematics and will act as an Advisory Tutor.
McVay House has welcomed Mrs Dorothy Henderson as a Resident Tutor, and Joe Clarke-Jervoise and Tyra Woods join us as gappies from the UK and South Africa respectively. Mrs Johanna Wright is also now resident in the House in her role as House Mother.
The Car Park
The parking area in front of the School is primarily for the use of visitors and parents, as well as for buses to drop-off and collect students. The use of this car park has been successful but our risk assessment has identified one or two points which would merit attention and with which I need your help.
Speed limit – vehicles should limit speeds to walking pace (as per the signs) to make stopping easier in the event of children running into the car park
Timing – the buses tend to arrive in the morning between 0835 and 0845 so if drop-off by car can be arranged outside of these times it would ease congestion.
At the end of the day the buses arrive from 1445 and depart at 1500 – if at all possible please do not arrive before these times. Students who are not on buses are not released until 1500 so there is no need to be here earlier.
No-parking areas – to allow safe bus access the entire area in front of the Dempster building is zoned for no-parking between 0835 and 0845, and 1445 and 1505. Please do not park in this area during these times.
Pedestrians – students have been told not to cross the car park whilst the buses are present. When crossing the car park they have been be told to show good sense and look, listen and proceed with caution.
Reversing – please reverse with care and check your mirrors or reversing camera.
Students who are licensed to drive are allowed to use mopeds or cars to travel to and from the School provided they have completed the necessary permission forms (obtainable from Reception). Mopeds and cars are to be parked in the designated area in the Flinders car park on the access road to McVay House.
Early Departure from School
No student may leave the School during the School day without being signed-out by their parent or carer. Year 11 and 12 students, in particular, are not allowed out of the School during study periods and cannot sign-out themselves. The School has a duty-of-care during the School day, acting in loco parentis, so we cannot let students off-campus without supervision.
Just a reminder that students in Years 7 and 8 have the opportunity of attending an adventure camp at Margaret River from Monday 8th to Friday 12th April. Year 8s will not simply be repeating what they experienced last year but will have a programme which challenges them appropriately, and develops skills. Certainly the Year 8 students who attended last year loved the experience. Year 9s have their Canberra Camp in the first week of Term 3. We do recognise that the cost of these camps is not insignificant and so we are quite willing to make payment plans to ease the burden – please contact Reception about this. Full details of all camps will be made available in due course but if a student is not able to attend because of cost we do plan to arrange an alternative programme.
Sundowner for New Parents/Carers
I have sent an invitation to all parents/carers about the sundowner (only for parents/carers) to be held from 5.30pm to 7.00pm on Wednesday 13th February, at the School. Members of staff and the School Council will also be in attendance. Please make a note in your diaries and ensure that you have returned the attendance slip by Monday 11th February. This event is always a most convivial occasion and I encourage you to attend.
It is quite normal for new students to feel a little overwhelmed by homework in the first few days and weeks. We do recommend a maximum of 45 minutes per evening for Year 7 students, and we are planning to refrain from issuing homework which is due the following day. It is also our intention to make the activities authentic and purposeful learning experiences. Of course, if homework does pose issues please contact, in the first instance, your child’s subject teacher.
Whilst on the subject of making contact we seek to communicate with parents and carers as efficiently as possible. Our calendar is updated regularly and is available through SEQTA and on the website.
To assist with communications, we have produced a Parent Information Handbook, a copy of which was given to your child to pass on to you; if you have not received a copy please contact Reception for one.
We will, again, be running a series of seminars for all students on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th February to hone their skills in studying effectively. This Elevate programme builds on the work done in Advisory Groups, and on the start we made last year on a whole-school programme. Our experience last year confirmed the quality and value of the programme, and we hope to hold a session for parents too.
Inevitably, from time-to-time, students will ‘misplace’ items of personal property; if these are found lying around they are put into a large box in Doug Murray Place to be retrieved. Of course it helps hugely, in the repatriation process, if all articles are named.
Although details are in the calendar you might like additional notification of the following events:
Saturday 9th to Sunday 10th February – Boarding Camp for McVay House on Woody Island
Monday 11th – 0845 Chapel service and Commissioning of Prefects
Wednesday 13th – 1730 Sundowner at the School - Big Picture learning plan meetings (an invitation has been sent to those involved)
Friday 15th – 0900 Talk by Olympic swimmer Tommaso D'Orsogna (Years 9 and 10)
Tuesday 19th – 1715 PFA Meeting at the School in Dempster 2
Wednesday 27th – Thursday 28th – ‘Elevate’ study skills programme
I hope this information will ensure that we have a smooth start to the year. As many of you know I write each week with similar information to keep all of the community informed and supplement this with my ‘Brekkie Bytes’ each morning but, as always, I look forward to working with you all for the benefit of our young people.
With all good wishes.
P. Kerr Fulton-Peebles