Headmaster’s Message – July 27, 2018

July 26, 2018

Dear Parents, Carers, Staff and Students of St Patrick’s College,

It is with great pleasure that I formally welcome all students back to school for Term 3. As always, this is a most significant term for all students, most notably our Year 12 cohort who are now moving closer to their final examinations. I have said on many occasions it is essential for all Year 12 students to be exceptionally well organised in their homework routines and to ensure consistency of effort across the entire week as opposed to working in short sporadic bursts. As we progress through the colder months of winter, and as the term moves on, it is particularly important for students to maintain their focus on their academic studies as a priority in order to put themselves in the best position to achieve their goals at the end of the year.

Over the past nine months, members of the College community including staff, students and parents have contributed greatly to the formation of our new Strategic Plan: 2019-2021. Part of this work has been to discern our Foundational Statements – those proclamations which define who we are as a Catholic school for boys in the Edmund Rice Tradition. These statements will help to guide the establishment of set goals we intend to put our energies towards achieving over the next three years across a number of areas of College life including Learning and Teaching, Wellbeing, Mission and Finance, Facilities and Resources. I look forward to presenting these Foundational Statements and our new Strategic Plan to the community, together with our intended goals, towards the end of Term 3.

One of those Foundational Statements I would like to share with the community now, which is relevant to the dimension of Learning and Teaching, speaks of the desire to encourage all boys to reach their potential as learners.

We encourage our boys to embrace wonder and discernment, hard work and perseverance in their learning.

In recognising fully that each boy’s potential will be different, and in celebrating the unique qualities and gifts of every boy in our care, it is clear that our community desires to see each student engaged with their learning and be open to constantly challenging themselves to reach their full potential.

In seeking to further strengthen our learning culture the College as outlined in this Foundational Statement there are a number of new initiatives currently being pursued, or planned for, to which I would like to draw your attention.

Most significantly the College staff, under the direction of Deputy Headmaster Learning and Teaching Mr Stephen Hill, – have been working hard to determine a number of actions to focus our attention on authentically living this Foundational Statement. – One of these will be a continued commitment on the part of staff to self-reflection and the exploration of best-practice in our classrooms.

Another major development will see the College creating a new position in Learning and Teaching to support Mr Hill from the commencement of the 2019 school year. The Director of Studies role will be a senior leadership position, working to support Faculty Heads and teachers in the planning and delivery of curriculum, amongst other significant functions.

As you may be aware, I have moved my office into the main corridor of the O’Malley Wing from the beginning of this term. This location provides a unique opportunity to interact with students in one of the busiest locations of the College.- As I have explained to the boys, the purpose of this move is to set aside time each week in my schedule to actively support them in their learning, as well as to support our dedicated teachers in their commitment to the use of best practice in the classroom. The time allocated to this endeavour will be spent across a number of varied activities including conversations with students about how they are actively engaging in their learning, visiting classes to learn about the curriculum being explored, team teaching and working with the Directors of Schools to support those students who, from time to time, may be disengaged with the learning journey.

Also of interest, the College has established a formal Headmaster’s Twitter account which seeks to engage the community in conversations around learning and teaching. I encourage all parents and carers to follow this page: @HeadmasterSPC.

From the beginning of Week 4, the College will introduce formal supervised study sessions for Year 12 students- in the former boarders Dining Room, as well as continuing to provide the opportunity for students to study in the KRC. This decision has been made to best support our Year 12 students in their journey towards their final examinations.

In supporting all students to develop an increased level of engagement with their academic studies it is important that parents and carers remain aware of the essential role you play.- This includes ensuring that your son sets aside an appropriate amount of time each night for homework, encouraging them to remove distractions when completing homework sessions such as social media, mobile phones and television, providing quiet locations where they can focus their attention on their homework and taking a strong interest in all of our information evenings. Each of these are important steps parents and carers can implement to support their son in establishing strong homework practices. For your information, the College sets the following guidelines as regards the number of hours recommended for homework and study each night:

Years 7 & 8 – – – – – – – 1 – 1.5 hours per night (5 nights per week)- – – – – – – – – – – – – 1 -“ 1.5 hours per weekend

Year 9 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 1.5 – 2 hours per night (5 nights per week) – – – – – – – – – – – – 1.5 -“ 2 hours per weekend

Year 10- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 1.5 – 2 hours per night (5 nights per week)- – – – – – – – – – – – 1.5 -“ 2 hours per weekend

Year 11– – – – – – – – – – – – – – 2 -“ 3 hours per night- – – (5 nights per week)- – – – – – – – – – – – – 2 -“ 3 hours per weekend

Year 12– – – – – – – – – – – – – – 3 hours per night- – – – – – – – – (5 nights per week)- – – – – – – – – – – – – – 3 hours per weekend

Finally, I want to emphasise the importance of parents and carers working in association with teachers as a significant factor in seeking to strengthen the learning and teaching culture within our community. I would encourage parents to contact teachers in the first instance if there are concerns with your son’s learning in a particular class. Directors of Schools are also available to assist parents and carers with issues involving learning and teaching.

Finally, I look forward to providing additional details around our new- Strategic Plan over the coming few months and wish all students the very best as they enter another busy term full of wonderful learning opportunities.

Yours Sincerely

Mr John Crowley