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

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Senior School - Edition 4 - 2022

Student Leadership

Since the beginning of the year, we have been holding Senior School Assemblies online with students watching from their Tutor rooms with their Tutors. The first couple were very much information giving events but now we are having student presentations, music items and presentations of a variety of awards.

I continue to be proud of the way our students show courage and leadership within the school and provide examples to others on how to show gratitude and empathy. At these Assemblies, we have had Year 12 students speak to the Senior School about their personal experiences around medical issues and how their lives have been impacted and how they have coped. We have also had students speak about service activities they are involved in and the benefits that come from looking outside of themselves and helping others.

This week the School was challenged to provide support to the families who have lost their homes and other possessions due to the floods in Queensland and New South Wales. I have been impressed by the way they have tried to show the plight of so many people who have been impacted and the challenge to provide as much support as they can through their donations on Friday with students being able to wear casual clothes in the state colours of either Queensland or New South Wales.

This term has not included all the activities that normally make up Term 1 such as House Swimming and Athletics carnivals, however, the Leaders have come up with alternative competitions which have involved many of the students in the Houses. So far there has been the Frisbee Competition earlier in the term and currently, the Mario Kart competition is happening. This activity was chosen with the hope that it would encourage students whose interest is not sporting to be confident enough to become involved and receive the support of other House members. From what I have seen so far this week that is exactly what has happened. All of these competitions will contribute to the overall House Cup Trophy.

The focus of the Senior students to look at what they can do rather than what they can’t is a positive message to the rest of the School and one that has become common amongst the student body over the past three years. In my view, all of the above are examples of student leadership in action influencing others.

Student Achievements

As you will notice in previous editions of the eNews we acknowledge the achievements of our students both in school activities and also in their activities outside of school. For families new to the school please contact me, Marianne Collier or your child’s Head of Year/Head of House with the details and we will acknowledge them at an assembly and also in the eNews.

Cancellation of Term 1 Events

Following on from SA Health Dept modelling that suggests an increase in COVID-19 cases over the coming weeks, schools have been asked to minimise situations that unnecessarily bring students together outside of their normal year group. Unfortunately, this means we have had to rethink some of our larger events planned before the end of Term 1 - the Autumn Gala Music concert, the Gather community picnic and Tenebrae. There will be more information released from various areas of the School in relation to these changes. We know how disappointing these updates are for students and families, as well as staff but will do our best to reschedule or modify them to suit.

Close Contacts and Teaching Staff

Under very strict conditions involving testing, masking and overall wellbeing, we have been able to secure SA Health exemptions for some staff classified as close contacts but deemed to be critical workers. This has meant they could return to School for teaching and then return home at the end of the school day to isolate for the required time. Following on from some student and parent enquiries, please note that this process of exemption only applies to staff and not students.

COVID-19 Reporting

As from Monday 28 March, we will no longer send individual emails to all students and families considered to be classroom contacts. Instead, we will place an update report in SEQTA notices around lunchtime each school day, which will show from ELC to Year 12 the number of new cases across year levels we have recorded in a day. With a steady number of cases being recorded, the ‘golden rule’ is if a student does not feel well, please do not come to School and take a test (RAT or PCR).

Classroom Contacts

SA Health has advised that if the cases in a particular class or cohort reach five, they would like families to take their child in that class/cohort for a PCR test. Again under advice, there will most likely then a circuit breaker where that class will stay away for a few days to reduce the risk of case numbers escalating within that class. We have had to do this already in the Preparatory School where students tend to stay in their classes but it hasn’t been required yet in the Senior School, where students are spread across many different cohorts determined by their timetables. Should this arise again, we will continue to handle our communication directly with the students and families impacted.

Concrete Pour

As a heads-up, on Thursday 31 March, it is planned that the concrete will be poured for the Michael Murray Centre for Performing Arts foyer. This will mean that the Chapel Road will be closed from early hours until the pour is finished. At this stage, the pour is booked for most of the school day but the gates being re-opened will indicate when the compound roadway between the Chapel and Murray Centre is open for traffic. We strongly encourage you not to use the Main Gates roadway next Thursday but if you need to, then you will cross to the exit road via the paved Chapel roadway to make a right turn towards the Main Gates exit. If using Gate 4, please be mindful that there will be a number of cement mixers entering the School grounds via that road to wait in the construction site between the Murray Centre/Forder Centre and Main Oval.

David Wallage
Head of Senior School