Senior School Report

May 8, 2020

by Hamish McCrum, Director of Senior School

Last week we lost a very good man in Gerard Sullivan His contributions in various conversations were always insightful and thought provoking. He was passionate about education and was always striving to find ways in which teaching could be made more effective. These things were good enough. But in sitting down to eat in the staff lunchroom with him on many occasions, it became very clear that he was a man who walked his talk. He was always prepared to accept responsibility for his actions. When things did not go his way, he was always gracious. He was prepared to stand-up in support of those who could not support themselves, and he appeared always ready to forgive and move forward. His understanding of why his faith mattered to him, and why having faith mattered for others was second to none. His faith in many ways defined him and was the reason he could make it appear that values such as “Do unto others as you would like done to you” seem intrinsic to who he was. He endured his illness with a grace and acceptance that was humbling for anybody who witnessed it. Even while losing his battle with cancer, he was still teaching us how to live. I will miss Gerard, men of his calibre are rare. My thoughts and prayers go to his much adored Suzie, Ella and Lucinda. I can only imagine how your hearts must be breaking at this time. I hope you can find some comfort in knowing that others could also see how good a man he was. May he rest in peace.

We have now had four weeks of remote learning, and it would be fair to say that it is no longer fun (if it ever was). Teachers and students alike are finding it challenging and tiring. Staring into a computer screen for too many hours a day is not too good for anyone, but we must persist for a while yet. Hopefully COVID 19 numbers will stay low and we will be back in class next term or earlier. Please ensure your son joins online for the commencement of each class. Almost every student is doing this, but those who do not do this tend to be the students who are not getting the work done, and are being left behind. Students studying a Year 12 subject are reminded that they do not know whether they will be required back at school before the end of term, so they need to ensure they stay up to date in case they are called in to school to do assessments before the end of term.

Last week VCAA released modifications to all of the Study Designs for Unit 4, and for some Unit 3 Studies (Units 3/4 are Year 12). Typically, most studies had some content removed from Unit 4 for this year, which in conjunction with shifting back the Year 12 exams will ease some time pressures when we do eventually return. This week VCAA are meeting with the other agencies to see what if any changes can be made to the VET requirements for this year. These will hopefully be communicated to us in the next few days. At some stage this month VCAA will also release the 2020 exam timetable and we will then have some certainty around when we will finish. Those marking exams this year may be doing it over Christmas lunch. Keep up the good work and the hygiene.