Building personal capacity outside the classroom

Dear St Andrew’s community,

A key pillar of our strategic plan is Building Personal Capacity.  The College Council meets every month and regularly wrestles with what this looks like at our College. Ms Lauren Norbury heads up the project team for exploring building personal capacity in our students. This team questions what we do and how we measure personal capacity in our students.  We have spent a lot of time analysing how we teach, model and embed the skills set out in our strategic objective. Our aim is to develop:

  • Independent and resilient students who demonstrate persistence and can recover from difficulty.
  • Students who have vision and the ability to set achievable goals.
  • Students who have an understanding of the importance of commitment and accountability.
  • Adaptability to cope with change.

These are four of the seven objectives.  As we explore these skills, primarily we realise so often they are learned, honed and modelled in situations outside the classroom.  As the project team has noted, they are also developed in the company of others: teams, ensembles, challenges and so on.

This weekend around 150 students and 36 staff are participating in the Kokoda challenge in Brisbane in either a 15, 30 or 48km trek.  As I undertake my 5th Kokoda challenge in a team with St Andrew’s students, I am once again at the nervous energy stage in the hours before we set off. Why do I do it?  Yes, it gives me an excuse to endeavour to get fit again, but more importantly, it is an event, like so many other opportunities that allow students to learn about themselves, to learn how to reach their limits and push through them, learn to work together in a team, to commit to personal goals, to be accountable to a team and to push themselves both physical and emotionally. 

Of course the Kokoda challenge is one event, in a calendar full of many. Each one here at St Andrew’s is offered at the highest level of engagement in order to fulfil our objectives of Building Personal Capacity in every student. Some may choose the musical, others sporting challenges, and others will excel at the highest level of music performance. Just this week we ranked second in the State level of the DaVinci Decathlon competition on the Gold Coast.

Many schools advertise the programs they offer, particularly around sport and music, but I don’t think many can claim the breadth of opportunity and more importantly the depth of experience that St Andrew’s offers. Learning for every student doesn’t happen when only a few are chosen.   Our aim at St Andrew’s is for all of our students to be involved in an activity outside the classroom.  Not so we can boast about success or numbers, but because it is in these situations that students truly learn and grow.  That is how Independent Schools set themselves apart, not just by offering something at a superficial level for a few students, but by offering programs of depth and integrity, aimed at including all students. 

College Fair

From all accounts, everyone enjoyed the fun and festivities of the Fair last Saturday.  Despite the intermittent rain, there were large crowds throughout the day and a great time was enjoyed by all!  A big thanks to all the helpers but especially the St Andrew’s team of Sue Sagar, Mike Keily and Tania Lee, along with their wonderful Fair committee for overseeing another great event. Final fundraising dollars are not yet available, but I’m sure we will have a generous contribution to our Aquatic Centre.

As parents will be aware, we commence construction of our Aquatic Centre in a couple of weeks. This is exciting!  However with a 56-week build, the Fair committee will be considering the impact of this on possible options for our 2019 Fair.

We have been made aware of an incident at one of the rides late in the day. Please know that we are investigating this and have reported it to Workplace Health & Safety. 

Thanks to all members of the St Andrew’s family who were able to both attend and assist with the Fair.  We will communicate the final funds raised to you in the coming weeks.


Jill Kath, our First Aid Officer, has advised that she has secured work with the Queensland Ambulance Service and so we farewelled Jill last week.  We are so fortunate to have our Nurse, Bec Adamson, returning to the role and she started earlier this week.

Best wishes,

Reverend Chris Ivey