June 2, 2021

Senior School Update

Dear Families, Students and Community Members,

It goes without saying that the current situation we find ourselves in is nothing less than uncertain. While we all consider ourselves experts in the world of online learning, we continue to be hopeful that the current lockdown will indeed be brief and we can get back to seeing our colleagues and our amazing students in person again very soon.

In response to the current restrictions, we have had to make some very quick decisions about important events in the Senior School calendar such as Year 10 and 11 exams, and the subject selection and course counselling process for all students who will be in Senior School in 2022.

Exams have been postponed in the first instance until the week beginning Monday 7 June and, while we place high value on students experiencing exams in a large venue such as the gym, our focus at this time has shifted somewhat to ensure that we minimise any pressure some students might feel when it comes to exams. For this reason, we have decided that they will run in classrooms, with the usual class teacher present. A timetable has been sent out to parents and students in Years 10 and 11. In addition, as students will have been at home doing remote learning through the previous week, we will be running normal classes throughout the exam period as we feel that school connectedness is of paramount importance and more time at home could, for some, have an impact on this.

We informed students and parents earlier in the week of our changed approach to our VCE and VCAL Subject Information Evening, which is scheduled for Monday 7 June. We have taken the decision to put plans in place for the event to run remotely as it is highly unlikely that visitors to school will be permitted, even if we do return to onsite learning on Friday. Teachers will be running 1:1 Google Meets to allow students and their parents to sign up to find out more about the Year 10 and VCE subjects on offer, as well as the VCAL program and VET offerings. All subjects will be represented by teachers and our Careers and Pathways Coordinators will also be available for consultation. There will be two presentations for students and parents; at 6 pm for Year 9 and at 6.30 pm for Year 10. At these, we will outline the timeline for subject selection and explain how course counselling will run at the start of Term 3. We hope all students and parents will be able to attend these presentations to ensure they are fully informed.

At this stage, the GAT is scheduled for Wednesday 9 June at 10am. This is compulsory for all students completing a unit 3&4 subject this year.

We are aiming to keep our senior students on track with their learning throughout this period of time, encouraging them to do their best to stay focused. However, we are keen to remind them that their wellbeing is also extremely important and that taking the time to go outside, breathe in the fresh air and hopefully get some exercise should be, where possible, at the top of their list of priorities. 

The message to our Year 12 students in particular, is that we know from the experience of 2020, that minimising screen time is key to staying on track. Finding ways to study which don’t involve this is important – particularly if we find ourselves at home for a longer period. We are also encouraging students to let someone know if they are finding lockdown challenging in any way and to contact a member of the Senior School team  as soon as possible – even if the challenge may appear small. We are here to help.

We remain positive and committed to supporting our students, whatever 2021 may have in store for us.

Joanne Greenhalgh

Director of Senior School