A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school on Kaurna Country, Adelaide, South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Principal - Edition 10 - 2021

We have certainly finished Term 2 on a high with Sing Sing Sing, our largest concert before a live audience in over 18 months, with fantastic performances from choirs, vocal ensembles and soloists from across the School. Then later in the same week, our bands performed with great skill and enthusiasm at the Winter Solstice Bandstand in front of another large, appreciative audience. In between, we held our successful Giving Day on Thursday 17 June, which involved an online audience to help us achieve our $1 million goal for our Next60 campaign. On behalf of the School and our community, a huge thank you to everyone who supported Giving Day. The generosity of our community never ceases to amaze and when the opportunity arises to help make our School better for all students, we embrace it.

We now have a three-week break and I sense that families are still planning to make the most of this time for some rest and relaxation, even if there are some movement restrictions still in place. Normally, we would use this extended period for a variety of School trips. While circumstances are somewhat less severe than this time last year, we still need to be aware of the guidelines around travel. This week, border movements between SA and NSW have been affected, so much so that we will not be participating in the Australian Secondary Schools Teams Racing Championships in Sydney, as planned. While there are still testing/quarantining/high risk setting restrictions involving Greater Melbourne, regional Victoria has none. Consequently, two trips are still proceeding at this time - a cross country ski trip to Falls Creek and a downhill ski trip to Mt Hotham. We are very hopeful that our students will have the chance to enjoy these amazing co-curricular opportunities but mindful that both remain subject to prevailing SA Health guidelines. Our staff are prepared and I will be visiting both the Victorian trips and be close at hand if assistance is needed. If you have a child on these School trips, please check your emails for communication from the School or organising staff to stay informed.

At any time, particularly if circumstances are evolving rapidly, please refer to SA Health for any latest interstate and intrastate restrictions; this link specifically assists with border crossings.

I am also using this eNews, the last for Term 2, as a bridge into Term 3 and with great hope, ask for your assistance with this next matter. On Wednesday, many parents driving into School may have seen me wearing my kilt. No bagpipes were being played and it wasn’t a casuals day. Instead, I was trying to lead by example. Winter uniform at Westminster includes skirts and many would refer, inaccurately, to a kilt as a skirt for Scotsman or piper. However, in wanting to create a ‘do as I do’, rather than a ‘do as I say’, learning situation, I donned the kilt to demonstrate the appropriate length that a skirt/kilt should be worn. We seem to have different interpretations of skirt length at School and this is being addressed for the start of next term. If your child wears a skirt to School, we would be most appreciative that, as a minimum, you please ensure the hem of the skirt touches the top of their kneecaps while standing up straight. This was demonstrated to Senior School students at Assembly, who were told very clearly that this will be enforced from Term 3.

And speaking of next term, we have our Old Scholars’ Day, the Green and White Formal and Intercol to look forward to, amongst many great events and activities planned. We look forward to sharing more news about these when we are again underway.

Lastly, I am pleased to advise that we have appointed a new Director of Corporate Services from a strong field of applicants. Mr Neal Matotek has accepted the role and we are looking forward to him starting with us early next term. A chartered accountant with years of experience, Neal joins us from the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) where he has worked for 11 years, initially as the Chief Financial Officer before becoming the General Manager of Commercial Operations. His expertise and skills will be a valuable addition to our School’s leadership team. Neal is delighted to be joining Westminster and I know that you will welcome him into our School community.

I feel that’s a wrap for Term 2 and we are set to embrace Term 3. If you still want to experience the rush of football on our Main Oval, join our Westminster Old Scholars’ Dragons for their Indigenous Round Home Match on Saturday 3 July, complete with a supporters’ lunch in the Thomas Pavilion (see the Old Scholars’ article to book). In the meantime, have a fantastic break and keep safe and healthy during this time. As you know, life at Westminster continues every day as we use holidays effectively for maintenance and, of course, this year for the ongoing construction of our Cultural Precinct. But the campus is never the same without the presence and energy of our students. We look forward to seeing them, our families and staff back at Westminster next term, recharged and ready for the second semester of our 60th Anniversary Year.

Simon Shepherd