Senior School Report

March 19, 2020

by Hamish McCrum, Director of Senior School

We find ourselves living in “interesting times”. This is not good. Our boys have coped well with many activities and some trips are cancelled – all prudent measures. Many were even excited/hopeful about schools being shut down early for holidays and returning late from holidays, without necessarily comprehending the seriousness of the issue. These things are still possibilities; it may still be that some or all of the College is shut down for part of next week, and quite probable that when the politicians (State and Federal) get their heads around what exponential growth means, we will be shut down for a considerable amount of Term 2.

In the event of an early shut down, or at the end of term, it is important that students take home their laptops, chargers and all school materials. Working from home will not be easy for students or teachers and is not likely to be as effective as face-to face. If it was, we would already be doing it. It is also important for students to be as up-to-date as possible at all times with assessments, particularly at Unit 3/4 level. For authentication reasons, there are no plans to send these tasks home to be completed so tasks missed now will need to be completed on a student’s return – which might be some time away. I am aware of some students who will work from home next week and will only attend to complete Unit 3/4 SACs, so as not to be faced with catching these tasks up in Term Two.

In the event of a shutdown where students are asked to work from home, student learning will be supported by their teachers through use of SIMON/Learning Areas, email, Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, One Note, Edrolo and other platforms. This has placed some of us, me included, on a steep learning curve. It is important students check their emails frequently. Students will need to be disciplined and where possible, stick to their timetables in terms of completing work and tuning in to what online support teachers may be delivering. Some work on every subject every day is recommended. It will be a challenge for all students to keep up. It is probable that by November the VCAA exams will run as normal. Those students who manage to stick to their programs and who utilise the online assistance from teachers and other resources will be well placed. The potential for some to fall behind is concerning. At Years Ten and Eleven similar discipline is required.

Over this Easter break, I invite you to reflect on the gift and joy of the crucifixion and resurrection. I also encourage you to do those things that are within your control and have become more important now and will remain important for many months: wash hands with soap regularly, avoid touching things when out in public, eat healthily and get plenty of sleep. Significantly reduce your socialising and that of your children, avoid crowded places where possible.

Finally, I would like to thank the Senior School staff for their efforts this term, and particularly for their efforts in preparing for the changes that are likely in Term 2. God Bless and take care.

Wishing you a healthy Easter. (And enough toilet paper.)

Mr Hamish McCrum

Director of the Senior School