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

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Principal - Edition 4 - 2021

We are now at the end of Term 1 Week 8 and it is very hard to work out where the term has gone. They say time flies when you are having fun. Term 1 has certainly lived up to this adage. Our last Westventure camp for 2021 is underway; School of Rock, our sensational School musical, is in the final stages of rehearsals; we are heading into trial games for our winter sport; then, on Sunday 21 March, we are holding our inaugural WestFest. Nearly 1000 people have booked to fill our COVID check-in event so Westminster is clearly the place to be this weekend!

Next week, we have our Sports Days for both Preparatory and Senior Schools and, in a very exciting move, our Grounds Team has repositioned the running track so that the 100-metre race finishes in front of the Thomas Pavilion. Finally, we have our traditional Holy Week as we approach Easter.

Is it any wonder that we question how many hours we have available in the day to live our lives with purpose?

Our students have many commitments at School with activities, training and rehearsals taking place before and after the school day and on weekends. The opportunities are rich and diverse, even during holidays. Meanwhile, parents and carers are having to work more varied hours, especially with the impact of COVID. On top of all this, city traffic continues to steadily build and the 20-minute Adelaide ‘rush hour’ has now expanded in some areas to over 45 minutes. Demands on all of us have squeezed family time, spare time and, in some cases, even homework time – there’s a lot of juggling taking place!

At Westminster, we are constantly looking for ways to help families manage their children’s busy and productive lives. Consequently, with areas of the campus undergoing a major overhaul, we are making plans to extend our services to care for students. We are hoping that we can help take some of the pressure off families around the basics of life, such as meals. Some well-resourced schools interstate and overseas currently offer services like this and we are confident Westminster will be as well-placed as any school anywhere to introduce these services too.

Westminster was established as a boarding school to provide education and care to students from regional and rural South Australia (and beyond), as well as serving local families and day students. Having upheld this commitment through the past 60 years and taking into account what will be ready for next year, we are preparing for the provision of extended support to help families manage their lives in an increasingly busy world. Some of these we will trial in 2021 with the aim to have a comprehensive program ready for 2022, which will include breakfast, lunches, dinners in the Dining Hall, short stay and long day boarding, as well as supervised homework sessions and tuition.

In this eNews, you will find a more detailed article about flexible Boarding as a starting point, which may be of interest to your family at some stage while at Westminster. We would welcome your expression of interest and value your input so that we can work together as these new programs are shaped.

Of course, central to our ongoing plans will be the new cultural centre behind the Michael Murray Centre for Performing Arts, to be ready for 2022. When the new Dining Hall and Library in this centre become operational, we will have a whole new world opened to our community in terms of being able to offer meals and longer day support for students. We want to provide these to help with your balance of life while still allowing your children to fulfil their potential, achieving more than they thought possible, through the exceptional opportunities offered in a Westminster education.

Simon Shepherd