10 September 2018

From the Head of Senior School

Year 9 Focus

Thank you to all the parents who attended the Year 9 Parent and House Head Dinner on Tuesday. It was lovely to have the opportunity to meet with parents in such a forum. Our House Heads also appreciated the opportunity to share a meal and many friendly discussions with those present.

The evening gave us the opportunity to discuss many topical issues facing Year 9 students. I mentioned in my address the challenge of Year 9, a time characterised by inner turmoil, both in regards to the physical and chemical changes in their bodies and beginning to question where they fit in the world. In addition, distractions abound due to students being bombarded by social media and the boys living in an online world. I suggested the key to navigating this period being clear expectations, a willingness to negotiate, on occasion, and developing protective factors in our boys such as connections to community and a combined, supportive approach from families and schools.

A strength to our sub-school structure is making the Year 9 students the focus of attention when transitioning into the Senior School. At many other schools the students have been in high school for two years and are very comfortable with the systems, Year 9 is an in-between year. Our welcoming Senior School environment is new and different to Middle School and offers the students a fresh start at a time where, in other schools, students can become complacent in their environment. Year 9 students are the focus of attention as they move into their new House and the older students are charged with leading and transitioning them in the Senior School. Our House Heads and Tutors actively engage in getting to know the boy through various wellbeing and House activities as well as spending four days away with the boys at Rottnest, getting to know the boy outside the constraints of the classroom. The Rottnest Camp is a special programme. Each and every House Head spoke of the wonderful opportunity it provides for both them and the boys in their House to come together and begin to develop their House identity.

A very important three-way partnership exists between parents, the College and your son. While some may think this sounds a little cliché, experience tells me when parents, teachers and students are working together the outcome is invariably richer. An important aim in Year 9 is the development of a solid, consistent work ethic and the ability to persevere in the face of adversity. I believe these attributes combine well with the message of personal excellence and I have discussed this concept in a recent Thistle article. Being focused on the amount of growth you make rather than attaching yourself simply to the outcome or comparing yourself to the person sitting next to you. Your level of personal excellence is measured against your growth, your improvement, not somebody else's. Experiencing success on the back of hard work is something that helps students develop the self-belief to persevere.

Thank you to the Scotch Parents for their terrific work in organising the evening, in particular to Catherine Watters for her coordination of the event, and to Lucia Barrett and Dina Le Page for their help and support. Thank you also to all the volunteers who helped to set up and pack up the event. The success of evenings such as this cannot occur without your support. Thank you also to the wonderful catering staff for the magnificent job they always do at our College functions.

It has a very busy Summer Term and I would like to wish you all a Happy Easter and hope you enjoy the Easter Long Weekend with family and friends.

Mr Dean Shadgett
Head of Senior School