High Notes, Vol 19 No 11, April 13 2018

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From the Principal

Term 1 Ends

As the term winds down I would like to express my thanks and congratulations to all staff, students, coaches, parents and Old Boy volunteers for their efforts this term. It has been productive, rewarding and convivial. The school is undergoing a major maintenance program, replacing carpet in nearly every teaching space, common area and staff room. Everybody has been very cooperative and understanding about the interruptions inevitably caused during such a refit. Thank you all. Have a well-earned break!

The School Plan 2018-2020 – Part 2

What are some practical things we plan to do to achieve the goal of greater engagement and meaning at school.

  • Lessons that focus on skill development.
  • Teaching practice that centres on future focussed earning skills.
  • An annual review of teaching programmes across all KLAs. Autonomy to be embedded in all teaching and learning programmes.
  • Fostering better motivation with more tasks that have complexity and autonomy.
  • Create experiences that develop character by promoting mindfulness (self-regulation and behaviour), curiosity, courage, resilience, ethics and leadership that benefits our students.
  • Scaffolding student success – creating hierarchies of student success and broadening the meaning of success
  • Broadening the practice of dispositional teaching. We need to operationalise the aspirational. Thinking routines and personalised learning help to grow learner engagement and confidence. We know what works and what to do. It is now up to us to work with each other and the students to do it.

Lighting up literacy is our second major goal. Our boys need to read and write with more confidence, sophistication and skill. Our boys need to develop stronger, more confident voices as writers. They need more discernment so that they don’t overwrite responses. They need to be pertinent and succinct according to context. We are commencing with a school wide focus on audience – writing with the intended audience in mind. Teachers will emphasise the necessity of developing an individual ‘voice’ in all our boys. They need to be trained to write their personal responses to questions and to give their considered interpretations or evaluations. There will be a school wide emphasis on the explicit teaching of grammar, using booklets or other means. Teachers will have a literacy focus in one of their observation lessons. Faculties have agreed to set an oracy task to build self-confidence and skill among our boys called on to speak in front of their peers. The idea of ‘lighting up literacy’ works hand in hand with the dispositional teaching practices that we are employing.

2017 Budget Summary

The total income from DoE, school and community sources was $5,643,030 (2016- $5,077,782). Within that amount, Grants and Contributions were $1,247,462 (2016- $1,387,296). Global Funds from DoE were $454,459. Tied funds from DoE were $415,532 (2016 -$314,853) reflecting the inclusion of community engagement, school chaplain and beginning teacher payments and increased targeted equity funding. Interest earned was $24,793 (2016-$16,162). Trust receipts were $615,467 (2016-$782,166). Total funds available were $5,643,030 (2016-$5,683,521). Total payments rose to $5,583,950 (2016- $5,001,545) but there were thirteen months in the budget as we change over to LMBR. Key Learning Area expenditure was $365,736. Excursion expenditures were $298,674. Extra-curricular payments were $1,149,415 (2016- $1,956,000). Trust payments were $616,422. Utilities costs were $93,834. Administration and Office expenses (excluding GST paid)  were $363,208. Maintenance costs were $101,461. Capital program expenditure was higher $218,512 (2016- $132,701). Overall, payments as a percentage of funds available are better at 84.42% (2016- 88.0%; 88.34% -2015). At High, the reliability of our income flows from parents has allowed this very high expenditure percentage to be maintained for 19 years. Your support by paying your invoices helps us to maintain what we have and improve where we can.

Anzac Day Assembly

We had an early Anzac Day assembly again this year. It is an important date on the DoE calendar. Schools see this assembly as a rite of passage and an opportunity to inculcate Australian values. My speech to the assembly is reprinted below:

"Distinguished guests: Colonel Brendan Casey, Commander NSW Australian Army Cadets, Lt-Col Michael Sommer, Commanding Officer- UNSW Regiment and Mr Barry Collins OAM, President Coogee-Randwick RSL Sub-Branch welcome to High. A special welcome is extended to our Old Boy guests: Commander Andrew Dale RFD RANR, Ross Whittle (Treasurer, Maroubra RSL), Alf Tremain, Ian Devereaux and Fred Kaad. Guests, staff and students, welcome to our Anzac Day Assembly. This is our last opportunity before April 25th to commemorate our important national day. On this special occasion, we remember the sacrifice of our soldiers in World War 1, particularly in the Gallipoli campaign. Also, it is appropriate at this time of year to acknowledge and applaud the work of our service personnel in harm’s way. Operation SLIPPER is continuing as Australia's military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, maritime security in the Middle East Area of Operations and countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden. Some 1550 ADF personnel are based within Afghanistan as part of Operation SLIPPER, another 830 personnel are deployed across the broader Middle East Area of Operations. Australia continues to have a presence in East Timor with 390 personnel serving as members of the International Stabilisation Force.

"This morning I want to take you back one hundred years to Northern France. It was a critical stage of the war in the Spring of 1918. USA’s massive deployment of troops to France would tip the balance unless a major offensive pre-empted their influence. At 0440 on March 21, General Ludendorff launched Operation Michael on a 50 mile front between Arras and St Quentin. He sent in 70 divisions supported by a creeping barrage fired from 6,400 guns.  New tactics were employed.  Intense artillery for 5 hours along with infiltration by infantry.  No more straight lines, no more being held up by strong points.  The aim was to bypass obstructions and keep moving forward.  The strategy was to break through the British lines, split the British and French and turn right to attack the channel ports to the north.

"After one day, the Germans had taken 98 square miles and captured 21,000 prisoners.  The British divisions withdrew and Field Marshall Haig correctly, if belatedly, perceived the depth of the crisis. Uncharacteristically, he made one of his best decisions of the war and appointed General Foch to take command of all forces in the area – British as well as French.  Foch got the defence organised.

"An important objective for the Germans was Amiens.  If they could take it they could swing north and drive to the sea.  Standing in their way were the Australians at Villers-Bretonneux.  The Germans broke through at first but the Australians re-grouped and counter attacked.  The German advance was halted at a critical place where Australians made history.

"By April 5, 1918, Operation Michael ran out of momentum.  Despite capturing 75,000 prisoners and taking 1,000 square miles of territory, the campaign ended in failure for the Germans.  They didn’t achieve the objective that may have won them the war.  The Allies lost 240,000 men but the Germans lost 250,000.  With the Americans arriving in large numbers every week, the Allied armies could be replenished with fighting men, whereas Germany was running out of replacements.

"As we celebrate the centenary of World War I, we should remember how close the contest was and how important were the actions of individual military leaders to the outcomes of battles. Australians fought at strategically important places such as Ypres and Villers-Bretonneux.  Their bravery, initiative and self-belief had considerable impact on military outcomes.

"At this time of year as we commemorate Anzac Day, our feelings are often ambivalent. We are struck by the horror and waste of human life that war produces, but simultaneously, we are inspired and impressed by individual acts of human courage, stoicism and self-sacrifice.

"National days are important because they offer opportunities for collective reflection on human nature at its best and worst. It is a chance to reaffirm our values, to consider what binds us as a society. On Anzac Day, even though this year it is still 12 days away, take the time for individual and family reflection. We live in a democratic society with the rule of law, separation of powers and a strong system of social justice.  Be grateful for these benefits and thoughtful about those who died to defend our cherished way of life."
Dr K A Jaggar
Principal

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