Dear St Andrew’s community,
At the end of 2017 St Andrew's took the opportunity to survey our Year 7 students and graduating Year 12 students. As I shared with our community, the results were incredibly positive and our ‘success rate’ was over 85% which was above most other Independent Schools across the nation who undertake similar components of this survey.
However, like all that we do, we aren’t simply interested in the here and now. We are interested to see if our Strategic Intent - enabling students to move confidently into their futures - has an impact once our students have departed. While it is easy to see this in some of our graduates who return, particularly as we reflect on the words from Sam Johnson, College Captain from 2011, who spoke at our Foundation Day, it is important to see how other students are moving forward. Sam spoke with such passion about the way in which the staff here encouraged him to think outside of himself, to achieve his personal best and use this in ways to serve others. He is someone who epitomises all that we hope for our graduating students.
As part of the St Andrew's Personal Capacity Project, the College is embarking on a number of initiatives to endeavour to measure the success or otherwise of all that we do to educate a child here at the College. As I shared in a recent article, we know through both research and anecdotal evidence that involvement in the total life of our College at so many levels provides unique opportunities for students to learn skills that we simply can’t teach in the classroom. Skills such as resilience, teamwork, leadership, patience and persistence, just to name a few. The question is: how can we be sure the impact of these activities continues on after they leave our College? Are there things we do that have a greater impact on the development of our students than others? In order to explore this, we are looking at a couple of areas.
We are asking all our past graduates to complete a survey that drills down into these very questions. We know from conversations we have at reunions how our past students moved into their futures; however, our survey goes deeper as we ask them to reflect on the impact of their experiences at St Andrew’s.
I have spoken to Universities about the possibilities of partnering with them on a Well-being project. Essentially, Universities, like schools, are concerned about the well-being of their students. I posed the question recently: what if we could work together to see the areas in which students flourish post-secondary education and those areas where they flounder? The prime focus is to then reflect on our own practice, hone what we do to ensure our students flourish and thrive as they leave St Andrew’s. This is a really important area to focus on, how to best support our students as they move beyond the supportive and organised environment of school.
I am keen to assist our teachers in being more skilled in this area. They do a fantastic job of providing the opportunities in which students can learn and grow; however, a lot of the research undertaken in this space explains that there are times when teachers need to be direct, intentional and explicit during the experience, allowing students to identify what has happened and what has been learned. As a consequence, a first step is to begin to explore ways in which we can encourage reflection from students after involvement in activities here at the College. In other words, challenging them to consider what they learned about themselves and others and how this will influence them in the future.
For me, our aim is to ensure that we don’t simply say that our students move confidently into their futures, but to ensure we are doing the best we can to prepare them for that. Our College Council and staff are committed to this goal. Yes, we want our students to have the best possible options through quality teaching and learning opportunities, but we also want them to thrive and flourish as they leave, move into their future and become their very best.
I am looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the College on Monday. Arrival and departures will be a little different with our Aquatic Centre well underway; notes about changes to access and parking can be found in the bulletin.
As we commence a new term, can I ask all families to take the time to ensure that uniforms and accessories are all as we would expect from a St Andrew’s student. In particular, I have spoken to many girls on a number of occasions about the appropriate length of the skirt. It needs to be on the knee, not 10cm above or 15cm above, but on the knee. It would be helpful if parents could check this and action it before Monday. I have also spoken to both boys and girls about hair. For boys it must be above, not on, the collar and most importantly it needs to be neat. For girls, long hair needs to be tied back with a St Andrew’s ribbon or College colours. If I or any member of staff ask students to attend to matters relating to the uniform, we do expect absolute full support from both students and parents. We have a very smart uniform and our expectation is that it is worn correctly at all times. It is a standard that we expect, to teach a simple lesson to students about meeting expectations set by others. This is a life skill.
I trust everyone has a great start to the new term.
Reverend Chris Ivey