Senior School Report

August 20, 2021

by Director of the Senior School, Mr Hamish McCrum

Unfortunately, we were unable to hold our Academic Assembly in our normal way this semester.  However, we did present our young men with various academic awards this week: Chris Nolan Certificates for Academic Achievement, Unit Three (Year 12) Awards to students who were leading at the half-way mark in each subject, and this year we introduced the Endeavour Awards for students with the best work habits.  There was significant overlap, many students who have excellent work habits are also performing well academically – no surprises there.  Congratulations to these students.  Some students received an Endeavour but missed out on a Chris Nolan Award on this occasion.  Well done, your effort is what you have most control over.  The improvements you make through your efforts will continue to compound over time.  You are likely to do well in many areas of life, including your studies.  However, some students received a Chris Nolan but did not receive an Endeavour Award.  This is of concern for such students, because this suggests they are not meeting their potential.  Unless something changes, and they take up the help that is offered and develop a better work-ethic, they will be overtaken by those coming behind them.

This week I have had the pleasure of being involved in the selection of our school leaders for 2022.  I thank those Year 11 boys who have taken the time to write applications and attend interviews.  The task of selecting a leadership group is made more difficult by the high calibre of the applicants.  They are all capable of providing quality leadership in 2022.  They appear to have taken on the core-values and are already developing the necessary skills to be morally rich and effective leaders.  Young men who know that leading can be about doing what you know to be right even when you know it is not going to be popular.  All of these young men have values, skills and confidence that have been nurtured and taught from the cradle until now. There are obviously some excellent mothers, fathers, coaches and other mentors who have played a part in their development. They are very fortunate young men as are those around them.  I am always in awe of the confidence and capacity displayed by the best of them at the age of 16 or 17.  Some will get a badge and some formal leadership opportunities, but all students have informal opportunities to step-up and be leaders at various times each term.

It was a pleasant surprise that the regions came out of “Lockdown 6” earlier than expected.  It has been fantastic to have the students back on campus.  Teaching and learning is more effective and the social interaction is far better for our mental health.  We are not designed to look into computer screens all day.  Teachers and students are very aware that the next lockdown could happen at any time, and so we are trying to get as much done as is reasonable while being face-to-face.  Students will have had many assessments, however this will relieve stress in the long run.  I am grateful to the teachers who have run extra classes to allow various Year 12 project work to be progressed at pace, and encourage the boys to continue taking up these opportunities.  Staying with the peloton is much easier in cycling and in education than dropping behind and working by yourself.  If you find yourself falling behind, it is well worth the effort to catch-up sooner rather than later.

Unit 3/4 Trial exams take place on September 28, 29 and 30 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the second week of the holidays).  All students doing a scored Unit 3/4 Study are expected to attend (Year 11s will be required on any one of the days if doing a Unit 3/4).  Sitting and learning from practice exams is known to be the best way of improving exam scores and Study Scores.  The efforts students make at this time can very significantly alter their ATAR.

Our Year 12 students should by now be putting their preferences into VTAC for tertiary education for 2022.  Preferences can be changed many times from now until a couple of days after VCE results come out.  However, if interviews are part of the selection process, then it is best to have those courses selected by September 30.  If students believe at this stage they are going to take a gap year or go directly into the workforce, they are still encouraged to put in a VTAC application.  For the cost of $42 for timely applications (by 5pm September 30), they can reserve a place for 2022 (and  defer and have this available for 2023).  This could be a very handy plan B.  Special Entry and Access Schemes (SEAS) applications are due by 5pm October 8 and are also done through VTAC.  SEAS applications may relate to hardship experienced in your Year 12 year or they may relate to scholarships that some institutions offer. Please see Mr Meehan if you require further information. Some VTAC applications and some SEAS applications require specific documentation; it is recommended you try to complete these applications before the end of Term 3.  Late SEAS applications are not accepted.  “Late” and “very late” VTAC applications are accepted however the application price increases faster than the number of COVID-19 infections in Sydney.

Take care and God Bless,

Mr Hamish McCrum