Senior School Report

February 4, 2022

by Director of the Senior School, Mr Hamish McCrum

It was fabulous to welcome the students back in person to school this week.  While vigilance is still required regarding Covid, it has been very positive for staff and students to enjoy face-to-face teaching and learning.  On Monday our Year 12s came together for their Retreat.   Steve Lawrence (Hawthorn Footballer 1988 -1998) told them some powerful stories from his own life that will hopefully help them grow in character and encourage them to find the courage to do what they know to be right in big and small ways.

Yesterday the below link was emailed to parents of Year 12s to a pre-recorded video in lieu of our Year 12 Information Night.

Year 12 Information Evening February 2022.mp4

This provides some information regarding the machinations and requirements of the VCE as well as some suggestions and expectations to help students achieve highly and enjoy the year.  If parents of Year 12 have not yet viewed the recorded session I encourage them to do so over the next few days.

The start of each school year provides us all with the opportunity to continue as we were, or to make some changes.  In all aspects of our lives, be that our learning or relationships, we will achieve more if we put in more effort.  We all know that students who put in the time and effort with their mathematics for a particular topic always score more highly on the assessments than they would have had they not put in the effort.  What many people fail to realise is that when a student has done this they have also improved their ability in mathematics, and after a number of improved scores, they and others will view their abilities as greater than they did previously.  So it is with all things, our abilities are not fixed, and through application they can be grown, and grown again.

We know high (and realistic) parental expectations of student’s performance lead to higher performance by students.  So we need to dare to expect our students to do as well as is realistic for each of them.  In many cases this is higher than people might think.  With this expectation then comes the expectation that they will apply themselves while at school and with their homework.

Typically, a Year 10 would average 7.5 hours of homework per week, a Year 11 would average 10 hours per week and a Year 12 15 hours per week– some will do much more than this.  Study is more effective when it is done in many small blocks rather than trying to do 7.5 hours of homework in one day.  Busy students who do well tend to use every spare 20-minute block of time to get something done.  For many students, setting them up for homework where they can be passively supervised (e.g. kitchen table) may result in more effective learning than if they are hidden in their bedroom with phones and computers.  Please encourage students to place their phones in another room while studying.  The constant interruptions from these are very detrimental when students are trying to learn.  Students (and the rest of us) tend to under-estimate how long tasks will take, so it is a good idea to start early.

Most adolescents require nine hours of sleep per night.  Being tired before learning or missing sleep after learning both reduce memory.  If you want to protect your son’s mental health and improve academic results, keep their phones and computers etc out of their bedrooms.  Many bad habits were formed in lockdown.

Part-time jobs tend to be good for students, however exceeding seven hours per week is not advised during term.  Some businesses will roster students on for up to 15 hours per week but this may be better for the business than the student.

Some sport is beneficial, but playing in three teams each week and the practice that goes with this can also be a limiting life choice in the long run.

Socialising is also healthy, but saying no to some parties depending on other time constraints may be required (ideal if the student can say no, but sometimes it will be the parent’s role).

Please name all items: clothing, calculators etc. This will enable the prompt return of misplaced items.

Once again, welcome back and I look forward to seeing you all involved in the many different aspects of College life.