May 20, 2020

Update from Senior School Director

Dear Families, Students and Community Members

As we approach the end of this period of remote learning, many of us find ourselves at a point of reflection. Over the past five weeks, most of us have been on a learning journey, which is likely to have a significant impact on our future. In Senior School, we have seen many changes to the way we have had to teach and the way students have had to learn – and it has been really interesting to watch some students thrive in the remote setting, finding skills and attributes they perhaps didn’t know they possessed! It is hoped that when we return next week, we will be able to continue to provide opportunities for students to work more independently alongside the support and guidance that only comes with face to face teaching and learning so that all needs and learning styles are met and everyone is able to achieve their personal best.

The Senior Students have been quite remarkable over the past five weeks, demonstrating their resilience and adaptability as well as a level of maturity which has impressed us all. I truly wish to congratulate each and every one of them on how they have taken things in their stride and embraced the situation as fully as possible. I have no doubt that while most students will be pleased to be returning to school either next week or in week 9, there will be a great deal of personal learning that will stay with them forever as a result of their recent experiences.

Our student leadership team have redefined some of their goals in response to the changes to which are all having to adapt. Some are organising online competitions and support networks whilst others are still hoping that important events on the Year 12 calendar will still be able to go ahead later in the year.

For the Year 10s and 11s, they will return to school to prepare for exam week which will look very different this semester, with tests and assessments of various types being run in classrooms and most being just one hour in length. ‘Subject Selection and Course Counselling’ is also on the horizon and we will be working closely with students and parents to ensure we can create an effective online system for supporting and advising all students in Years 9- 11 with their programs for 2021.

For the Year 12s, while I know they are keen to reconnect with each other and their teachers,  I believe the highlight of returning to school will be the opportunity to collect their Year 12 jumpers!

We have started our program of tutoring whilst we have been working from home; six of our highest performing ex-students from the past two years have been available to work with our Year 12 students after school each afternoon. I really encourage students studying a Year 12 subject to sign up for this invaluable support as sometimes, working with someone close in age and experience can be extremely helpful.

The rest of the semester will be another learning curve for all of us in Senior School as we re-engage with our program of face to face learning. Our priority, alongside teaching and learning, will be to ensure everyone feels safe and happy in the school setting so that we can resume some kind of normality as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Jo Greenhalgh

Director of Senior School