Building Connections

Chris Ivey / Wellbeing

We have had a very interesting start to the year

06 February 2020

Building Connections

Dear St Andrew’s community

We have had a very interesting start to the year with the challenges of losing all our ICT infrastructure after a cyber attack.  Having said that, it has been wonderful to see so many of our staff and students embracing the need for flexibility and patience. I would like to commend the outstanding problem solving abilities of many of our staff, and the positive can-do attitude of our community in challenging times!

2019 Surveys

Each year the College undertakes detailed surveys of our Year 7 and Year 12 parents and students.  These are invaluable forms of data for us and we take the results very seriously.  There is a lot of data, if you would like to see it or discuss further with me, please let me know. In 2019, we received another great set of results, with our overall satisfaction on or above the benchmark of similar Independent schools.  It was pleasing to see some areas of growth, particularly around academic engagement and communication which we had as areas for improvement throughout 2019.  At the same time, we will take on board the feedback around the balance of our co-curricular offerings.  There were lots of different opinions about whether we have too much or too little in some areas and requests to have more of this or less of that.  It was great to be able to chat with our Year 12s before they left last year to drill down on why this area was rated a little lower than other areas and to talk through the breadth of opportunities in co-curricular we have here at the College.  It is a continuing theme in many schools to please everybody with the balance of music/ arts/ sport/science/technology and very difficult to reach perfection. We also responded to the feedback around some students feeling as though they didn’t experience a sense of fully belonging, which is why I introduced the focus for 2020 being, 'know the child to grow the child'.  I am looking forward to hearing how this focus plays out over the months ahead and as always, I would appreciate your feedback as parents.  

Building Connections across our College is one of our core values.  Surveys are a great way for us to strengthen the feedback and connection between the College and home.  Whilst I appreciate the feedback we receive through our surveys, we also learn a great deal in our face to face interactions or an email and so I want to continue to encourage this as a means of communication and connectedness. Like myself, our staff are available on email,  visible around our campus and happy to meet with parents.

As I shared with students at the beginning of the year,  we all have capacity to hold opinions and thoughts that are different to others and yet sadly many are not able to talk about them and actively listen to others in ways that are respectful.  Building connections and building respectful relationship is a key part to enabling our students to have conversations with staff about a variety of situations including challenges with classwork, different ways of teaching or learning, questions about assessment and so on.  I encouraged the students in secondary school to begin to take more active responsibility for what happens along their educational journey, to practice talking to others by asking them about their opinions and carefully listening to the answers, trying to reflect upon different viewpoints.

However, if this is important and most would agree, parents need to model the same.  Your children watch and learn from conversations in the home. Encourage curiosity, questioning, different opinions and looking for a positive viewpoint.  Here at St Andrew’s we hold true to our values around respectful relationships. Why, because we can all learn from each other and we can build a strong and safe community for our students.

As I finish, I want to make it very clear to parents that I expect our students and our parents to conduct all their communications with the College in ways that are respectful and supportive of what the College is endeavoring to achieve.  We can all have different opinions however as a College we won’t accept disrespectful conversations either face to face, in emails or online.  I want to thank our community for their commitment to this goal.

Car Parking

The continual conversations around car parking at St Andrew’s remain a great source of ‘round robin’ type enjoyment and exasperation for all.  Can I make the following helpful observations?

  • Secondary parents who pick up their children down toward Little Saints within the car park, often by doing their own stop and pick up without pulling into a car park; this is both dangerous and actually counterproductive.  In waiting for children, parents hold up traffic and without knowing, wait longer for their children to walk down than those who drive through the main drop off/pick up especially when the lanes are completely empty.
  • Please don’t park or wait on Yarran Drive, off the roundabout, near the entrance to Aveo.  The residents are starting to photograph number plates and are well within their rights to forward these on to the police.
  • Secondary/ Upper Primary parents, please don’t park in the car park around 3pm or before and wait for your children.  Please leave our car park for parents of younger students. These parents often have toddlers and babies and deserve priority at this time.
  • Parents of older children there are two excellent options
    • Wait until 3.20pm and you can enter the College from the Little Saints roundabout, by this time there are 20 more car spaces right opposite the Aquatic Centre.  Your children can then walk over to you.
    • Wait until 3.25pm and you can enter from the western end and drive straight in to pick up without any delays.

Thanks as always for your patience

Author Profile

Chris Ivey

In his own words, Chris “enables things to happen” at St Andrew’s. As Principal of the College, he leads the development and progression of St Andrew’s by enabling staff and students to achieve their personal best. Chris is a Reverend and has been the Principal of St Andrew’s for more that 15 years. He also represents and advocates for Independent schools across Australia as the National Chair of AHISA (Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Australia).

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