From the Principal – 26 July 2019

Welcome Back
I hope all families had a chance to relax and regroup over the break. Much happened during the break and I am delighted to share that Ms Lauren Cook, Head of Senior Boys’ Wellbeing was honoured by the Australian Council of Educational Leaders with a New Voice Award. Such an award recognises an educator’s contributions to education beyond their school. Lauren’s research work through the International Boys’ School Coalition as well as her extensive online writings and communications regarding wellbeing and boys’ education do indeed reflect her ‘voice of education’ status.

I am also delighted to share the results of the ELC review by the Quality Assessment and Regulation Division of Early Childhood Education, Department of Education and Training , Victoria. For every measure the School received the highest ranking possible. I know all will join me in congratulating Mrs Sue Eden, Ms Louise Sayar and their teams.

These developments, along with the recent publication of excellent NAPLAN results and the shortlisting for the Australian Educator Awards, continue to reflect the outstanding work done by teachers and others at St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School.

International Mindedness
In the break I went to Iran and my experience was one of humility, humanity and emotion. I was not sure what to expect and confess I was taken aback by the warmth and generosity of the people in the street. I lost count of how many times our small group was stopped by passers-by to say ‘Welcome to Persia’ and asking for photos with us. One young man stopped us in Tehran just before we left and after the usual pleasantries, said “please tell the world we are not terrorists”. This was not what I was expecting. While I am no expert in diplomatic relations, I was made acutely aware that the way forward is so often based on the person to person relationships. This enables us to come out of the cultural bubble that so often tourists inhabit.  The bubble that unfortunately secures a person from any influence that may cause us to learn and change the way we think. Relationships with those that are different to us empower us to ask the difficult questions, to open our minds to new ways of knowing and being and ultimately to refine our thinking and learn from and with others. I have certainly returned a more thoughtful person, feeling less sure about so many things but also knowing more about myself.

In a related sphere, 2019 NAIDOC Week whose theme was ‘Voice. Treaty.Truth: Together we can’ led to many of us considering ways of knowing and being that may be different from ours. We can only be better people for considering different perspectives.

I know that the 15 or so students from Year 8 – 12 undertaking the Certificate of Global Responsibility will hopefully have an opportunity to develop their critical thinking and international mindedness so they really may trigger in themselves and others the deep reflection, self-awareness and knowledge and understanding that may lead to actions that make the world a better place.

Parent Code of Conduct
New regulations come into place in 2019 from the VRQA (Victorian Regulations and Qualification Authority) that emphasise the importance of clarity and transparency regarding aspects of enrolment, assessment and other key areas of operation. A key part of the requirements is the inclusion of a Parent Code of Conduct in School documentation and I am keen to involve parents in the evolution of our version. Please be alert to opportunities to contribute or feel free to approach me directly should you wish to be involved in the evolution of the Code. A draft version of the Parent Code of Conduct is available on the website and Childsafe Policies.

Ms Annette Rome