I have just come from the end of Term Principal’s Assembly on Torrens Park Campus, backing up from yesterday’s Mitcham Campus Leadership Induction Assembly. They have been wonderful opportunities to celebrate the past semester and reflect a little prior to some time away from school for all of our students.
There were some strong key themes from both those events from both staff and students. The importance of gratitude was overt in today’s assembly, challenging students not to, (as I paraphrase Mrs Grave a little), be thankful but do thankful. The difference between our intent and acting on it in our relationships with others was clear, and is a challenge she set for us all as we head into the break.
I am mourning the loss of the vibrant yellows and oranges on the trees of recent months, the sight bare branches is nowhere near as captivating. As we head into the depths of winter, we are conscious of the impact that illness (and the still circulating Covid) has on families and communities. Thank you for the way that you have supported us when managing sickness of your children, and the patience that you have shown when staff are unavoidably absent – it has been appreciated.
I am constantly amazed by the generosity of families here and their willingness to give their time and energy to support the things that our students do. Be it cooking bacon and egg rolls after an early morning training, supporting the logistics of a Saturday sport fixture, being behind the scenes in our performing arts rehearsals and productions or just ferrying children around it all has a real impact on the experiences student have here. I value and am appreciative of all you do, and as staff we are grateful for your support.
Celebrating Outstanding Leadership
I had the pleasure of attending the SA Awards Night for the Australian Council of Educational Leaders this week with both the SA Minister of Education and Deputy Opposition Leader. I was proud to see two Scotch leaders recognised by the peers from across the educational sector.
Emma Grave, the Head of Torrens Park Campus, was awarded a Fellowship that recognised her long term impact on educational thinking both locally and nationally as a member of the national Board of the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA), the peak body for the development of proactive wellbeing programs.
Teresa Hanel, our Deputy Principal, received the SA Educational Leadership Medal, recognising her impact on teaching and learning both within Scotch and across South Australian educational communities. Teresa has been influential in not only leading our programs here, but across the development of curriculum more broadly in the state, and the medal was well deserved recognition.
Across the past two terms I have spoken with a breadth of parents, Old Collegians and the broader community about the Scotch of today and tomorrow. The senior leadership and our Council have been working on our strategic direction, to be discussed openly next Term. I look forward to sharing it with you.
By the end of the year the school will have farewelled two long-serving Deputy Principals within twelve months for all the best reasons. In past weeks Teresa Hanel announced her plans to retire at the end of this year, leaving Scotch after 27 years. This is in addition to Dale Bennett’s departure to be Headmaster at Launceston Church Grammar late last year, with Emma Grave stepping into the role as Head of Torrens Park Campus in an acting capacity for this year.
As I am sure that you can imagine, in recent weeks there has been considerable time and thought put into planning for our leadership for the years ahead and in how we will replace the significant expertise and experience that Teresa and Dale take with them.
Part of our approach will involve the appointment of a single Deputy Principal for the College, to commence at the beginning of 2024. With some responsibilities across the leadership of our Torren Park Campus, the Deputy Principal will be a key leader for Scotch across ELC – 12 in turning our aspirational strategic intentions into action and in helping us manage the complexity that will always be found in a school that is restless about how it builds extraordinary outcomes for the students in its care.
We will begin advertising for this role shortly. Our search for our next senior leaders of Teaching and Learning will follow in the first part of next Term – I will share those plans with all in the community next Term.
The Gift of Scholarship
Our 2023 Annual Appeal has focused on how we can share the benefits of a Scotch education. In an increasingly challenging, complex and unpredictable world, Scotch’s commitment to providing increased needs-based scholarship opportunities remains a priority. Not only do these scholarships open up enormous opportunities and possibilities for students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access a Scotch College education, but they also contribute to the rich and diverse educational experience of the entire student body, bringing different perspectives, different backgrounds and different ways of thinking to College life.
I encourage all members of our community to support the opportunities of others; the details about the 2023 Annual Appeal can be found here.
Parent Feedback Survey
As we head into next Term I will be contact with families with a request to provide feedback in a College-wide survey.
I appreciate that feedback and surveys fill our inboxes, in almost every area of our life and each time I select Buy Now online I seem to be asked how I felt about my experience.
This is different, and important to us as a school. It will be a way that we can understand your perceptions around all the things your children are involved in, and how their experience meets your expectations. It is important in informing the way we work and the programs we implement, and I ask that you look out for our contact with you next term.
School Performance Report
As all South Australian schools will do each year, our 2022 School Performance Report is available on the College website. It gives a sense of the scope and success of school life, and while a statutory requirement provides real insight into Scotch. The report is available here.
I hope that all our students can use the break to rest, recharge and reset ahead of Term 3. I look forward to taking my seat at both Moana and Footloose, and being courtside and on the boundary line of the second half of the winter sport season. I look forward to crossing paths with you there.