High Notes, Vol 17 No 5, March 04 2016

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From the Principal

High Talent
Congratulations to Tully Moffat (12M) on his selection in the combined GPS cricket team. At the recent Roberta Nutt Individual Fencing Competition Lachlan Ho (Year 8) won Bronze in the U13 Foil category; William Zeng (Year 10) won Gold and Matthew Pellen (Year 8) won Bronze in the U15 Epée category. Well done, boys!

Premier’s Priorities
The Premier wants to increase the percentage of all students in the top two NAPLAN bands for reading and numeracy by 8% by 2019. We have in our School Plan the goal of increasing our conversion statistics from Year 7 Band 9 to Year 9 Band 10. Last year our Year 7 intake had 66.9%. At High we don’t teach explicitly to the NAPLAN tests. It’s up to the boys to perform wholeheartedly and to monitor their own growth in these important skills. We have incentivised NAPLAN through offering performance bonuses in the Student Awards Scheme. Teachers have been asked to analyse NAPLAN results diagnostically to identify areas of skills weakness. There may be a need to modify some teaching programs to include explicit teaching of deficient skills.

For example, in 2015 Year 7 writing results were 7.5% below our medium term average for Band 9 and the reading results were -2.4% on the average scores 2010-15. Spelling was -1.3% but grammar and punctuation were promising at +7.5%. Numeracy was just below average at 98.9% in Band 9. In order for acceptable progress to be achieved, we need to convert Year 7 Band 9s into Year 9 Band 10s. In Year 9 there were only 22.6% of writers in Band 10, a loss of 2.9% compared to Year 7. In Year 9 spelling 60.1% of boys were in Band 10, compared to 80.3% in Band 9 in Year 7. In grammar and punctuation only 36.1% of boys scored Band 10, a worrying decline from 81.5% in Band 9 in Year 7. Naturally, the boys in each of the tested groups are different, but the school achievement patterns are exhibiting similar trends. Plainly, we have to intervene across the curriculum in order to raise the conversion rate from Year 7 to Year 9 in these key areas of personal expression. Explicit teaching of concepts and skills will be required.

Trusts for the Benefit of High Boys
The Sydney High School Foundation holds trusts for the benefit of the school.  Accounts for our trusts show that as of December, 2015 balances were:  $108,858 for the Ethel Killip Memorial Trust; $100,709 for the Prizes Trust; $83,884 for the Phil Day Memorial Scholarship Trust; $42,169 for the Student Support Trust Fund and $7,853 for the Mitchell Seow Memorial Prize Trust. Usually, half of the interest earned on these Trusts is donated to the School for uses determined by the Trust Deeds. However, due to recent very low interest rates, interest has been retained (2014-15) in the interests of maintaining the real capital value of the trusts, given that inflation is running at 2.5%. The Seow Trust funds a specific prize. The Student Support Trust supplements the Student Equity Funds with direct financial help to students in necessitous circumstances. The Phil Day Trust funds an annual scholarship worth $1,500. The Prizes Trust helps to pay for some of the $32,000 worth of prizes awarded each year to students. The Ethel Killip Memorial Trust pays for the replacement and upkeep of honour boards, memorabilia of Old Boys, photographs on walls and the school artworks collection. Last year we spent $16,000 on establishing our indigenous art collection in McDonald Wing. As well as being a pleasant adornment to McDonald Wing, we hope it will become a teaching collection for local schools.

Driving on School Grounds
Students move around inside the school grounds very frequently, presuming they are safe. They frequently do not attend well to their surroundings, being distracted by their friends or technology. They may run out from behind a parked car or across a driveway.  In the area in front of the UTS gymnasium there is a great deal of pedestrian and vehicular traffic

Several cars driven by parents have been observed travelling towards the school building at speeds well in excess of 10km/hr. They also execute three point turns in the bus bay area where visibility down the hill is poor. Parking is always requested to be rear to wall or rear to fence to maximise driver views of the roadway. There have been several tragedies involving SUVs and small children in recent years in schools. In the interests of providing the maximum possible safety for our students, staff and visitors, please be careful and drive slowly in school grounds. Try to enter by gate 1 and exit by gate 2.

Summer Sport Co-Payments
The rolls for summer sports and activities have now been finalised. In many activities co-payments are levied for the season, so boys in Years 8-12 continuing in a summer sport will have paid their co-payments already. If they have not, I urge them to do so. However, for Year 7 and recently enrolled students, one term of summer sport will be levied. Also, a few activities have term-by-term co-payments. These are due now. For 2016 the agreed figure for Term 1 only co-payment is $74. Certain Supporters Groups, with agreement from parents, decide upon higher co-payments for some expensive to run sports, such as rowing ($250 per term), sailing ($305) and rifle shooting ($165 small bore, $190 full bore). For winter sports the agreed base co-payment will be $148. Individual Supporter Groups need to advise the Principal before the end of term 1 what adjustments they may have made for the upcoming winter season. Co-payments are generated from a central spreadsheet controlled by the School Administration Manager. MICs and Supporters Groups cannot vary co-payments without the permission of the Principal in writing. The SAM adjusts the spreadsheet when notified by the Principal but only before the season starts.
Dr K A Jaggar

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