April 29, 2021
by Principal, Mr Steven O’Connor
Welcome to Term 2. This term promises to be a very busy term and I am pleased that the boys and staff have hit the ground running from last week. I wish all members of the College community the very best for the term and encourage all boys to strive for their very best in everything that they do – inside and out of the classroom. It appears that the cold weather has arrived in a rush and at this time, all boys should be wearing the correct and full winter uniform each day.
I welcome the following staff members to the College:
- Mr David Ellis who has taken up a role as one of our Boarding Housemasters
- Ms Melinda Cameron, who has commenced in a new role as a Tutor Supporting Student Learning
- Ms Jennifer Casey, who has also commenced in a Tutor Support role
- Ms Karla Strambini and Ms Annette Clark, who have returned from long service leave
On Friday, 23 April the College gathered in the O’Malley Gymnasium to reflect on the significance of ANZAC Day and in particular, the incredible efforts and sacrifice of all service men and women in WWI and across all modern conflicts. The tone and themes of the assembly were really well presented and received. Mr Shane Murphy presented beautifully the story of Captain Joseph ‘Joe’ Fogarty (SPC 1901-1902). The story of Joe Fogarty was very powerful and his selfless and courageous service led to the conferring of the Military Cross ‘in recognition of his gallantry and devotion to duty under heavy fire from 29 July to 24 August 1916 at Pozieres when he carried out his work as RMO among the wounded with utter disregard to this own personal safety’. Following the end of WWI, the then Major Fogarty was further recognised in 1919 as an Officer of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the order of King George V.
The assembly was led beautifully by the College Captain and Vice Captains and the procession and recession of the students in the College Marching Band was exceptional.
I was very proud of all students at this assembly. I thank all staff and students involved in preparing and presenting such a fitting and memorable assembly for ANZAC Day.
Students are very much at the centre of a St Patrick’s education. At the whole College assembly this week I outlined to students my eagerness to engage with them and to hear from them their ideas and thoughts across a range of areas. It is clear to me and I’m sure to anyone who has had any connection with St Pat’s, that one of its strengths is the positive connection that the majority of students have to the school and the pride they have in the place. It is important in my view, that students are provided with appropriate opportunity to express their views, make suggestions and present ideas around a range of issues and ideas about their educational experience and setting.
I have asked Mr Silcock, the Director of Students, to lead a process and to work with me in engaging with the boys about the development of a Code of Conduct for Students. This document will be in many ways, a charter or road map for students as they make their way through the years or grades at the College. Any school has any number of policies and procedures, rules and regulations to ensure that the learning environment and experience is safe, productive and engaging for its students, staff and other members of the community. A Student Code of Conduct should provide students with a document which captures the key elements of the key policies and procedures which are central to their schooling experience being constructive, positive and enjoyable.
The workshops with the boys will provide them with many opportunities to articulate their views on a range of issues and to share with us their lived experience as students at the College. I look forward to listening to the boys in these sessions and learning more from them as part of this.
As staff at St Patrick’s our daily conversations and meetings are dominated by themes around how best we can guide and support our boys as they make their way through each year. I have stated on many occasions that schools exist to provide the best possible education for students and to guide and support them along this journey. A really important element of this is the partnership that schools develop with parents and carers of students.
Students at St Pat’s are incredibly well supported in their holistic educational journey at the College. Our programs and approaches across the academic, pastoral, cultural, sporting, spiritual and religious dimensions of a St Patrick’s education are well resourced and the commitment to them is unwavering. As a school we strive for continual improvement in everything we do with and for our boys.
A St Patrick’s education is framed beautifully and strongly guided by the Four Touchstones: Liberating Education, Gospel Spirituality, Inclusive Community and Justice and Solidarity. Further to this, the long established pillars of the College: Faith, Tradition, Excellence and Relationships continue to inspire and inform our community and the work that we do with and for our boys.
Communicating clearly and proactively is of course, a part of the important partnership between home and school. In this, I ask that parents please approach the College should any issues arise which impact on your son’s time at the College or if alternative pathways, such as an offer of work or apprenticeships are being considered. As professionals we will often bring much to the conversation about what may or may not be the best option for each boy moving forward. As a school community constantly striving for improvement, we are open to constructive feedback and are keen to consider various ways of addressing and resolving any issues or problems. As teachers we recognise that sometimes it is a really good option for a boy to take up an offer of an apprenticeship. Sometimes however, we see significant benefit and value in the boys staying on at school, completing his formal studies in Year 12 and then taking up an apprenticeship. There are often really important educational and social reasons why this is a better option.
I encourage parents to make contact with staff – your son’s Pastoral Care Teacher, the relevant Year Level Coordinator and/or Director of School – to discuss any issues or alternatives which impact on your son’s routine and journey at St Pat’s. Engaging with staff will, I believe, provide an opportunity for constructive dialogue around the issue and will hopefully lead to the best outcome for each boy.