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

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Principal - Edition 8 - 2021

Stories involving Westminster and our community have featured in the media quite a lot recently: a major official opening; announcement regarding the next stage of the Campus Masterplan; a special field trip to Broken Hill; state swimming events; an Old Scholar winning the women’s title of the Stawell Gift, to name just some. But of particular note was an article about our School in the Financial Review, where our Pedagogy Coach, Angela Phillips, was interviewed about her role at Westminster and the impact she is having. Our students have always enjoyed engaged, professional and committed teachers. Teaching today is different compared to the past and teachers today accept far more responsibility than merely teaching their specialist subject field. Over the last four years, our teachers have shown tremendous commitment and embraced the coaching that Angela has been offering. In doing so, our teachers are ensuring that they are being the best teachers they can be. Many of our teachers are working their way through the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership qualifications as Highly Accomplished Teachers and Lead Teachers (HALT). All of this is self-driven by our teachers and facilitated by Angela. Educational theorists expound that teachers should know their impact. By knowing this, they can be better at their jobs and offer students a better education. There is no doubt that our teachers are aware of their impact and meaningfully strive to make it long-lasting and positive.

Just as our teachers make an impact, so do our facilities. Professional, engaged and aware teachers, working in outstanding educational facilities, will deliver an outstanding education. Westminster’s Campus Masterplan is facilitating this and on Tuesday 18 May, we were, at last, able to ceremoniously open our amazing Inquiry and Innovation Hub. Even though the Hub itself has been operational for eight months, the COVID-driven delay serendipitously allowed us to include the refurbished Carter Wing and Boomsma Plaza, completing the southern end of our STEAM Precinct. We were joined by His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia, our Council and Life Members, special guests, Old Scholars and other community members to celebrate the official opening of these facilities. In addition to the Hub, the new Carter Wing impressed our guests with its Art and Media studios and STRETCH centre. Seeing students enjoy lessons and activities, our guests commented on the high level of engagement they witnessed and the sense of genuine enthusiasm they felt. In all, it was a milestone event and wonderful to finally share this with so many friends of Westminster.

Furthermore, we announced the name of the new cultural centre being built in the centre of our School. It is to be known as the Forder Centre, after our founding Headmaster, Douglas Forder, who was, in so many ways, at the heart of our founding community. From all accounts, Doug nurtured the Westminster spirit that we can still be proud of today. However, Westminster is not just the work of one, but many over 60 years, who genuinely passed down their strong belief in the School’s future. We are grateful to our founders and former community for building a school that proudly provides students with an exceptional education. Equally, in our dynamic and growing community, we can thank those who, more recently, have contributed to Westminster’s success. Within our School Leadership team, Tania Sargent, Director of Corporate Services, has tendered her resignation. Tania developed, led and implemented significant change at Westminster, and we will miss her tremendous work ethic and willingness to help. We are about to commence our recruitment drive to fill this position and look forward to welcoming a successful candidate, ready to make a positive impact on the School.

Of course, just as our teachers, staff and buildings all have an enormous impact on our students and School, you can too. I hope you will embrace the opportunity to be a part of our now-launched Next60 campaign, leading to our Giving Day on Thursday 17 June. We will continue to construct the Forder Centre, develop the Cultural Precinct, as well as build on our excellent cohort of quality staff to make Westminster the best it can be for our current students and families, and those yet to come.

Simon Shepherd