High Notes, Vol 18 No 6, March 10 2017

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From the Principal

High Talent

In a first for High, five tennis players were named in the CHS NSW first team – Stevie Young, Matthew O’Sullivan, André Putilin, Samuel Yu and Antonio Li. Congratulations to the boys for their fine individual performances. Hugh Bartley (12R) has qualified for the regional final for the Lions Youth of the Year Program.  It was gratifying to receive a congratulatory email from Abbotsleigh School after their recent Q & A on Mental Health. Our boys were described as well-groomed and were judged as impeccable speakers. Congratulations to attendees Danny Nguyen, Wanyu Tang, Nigel Zhang, Pai Yu, Desmond Ho and Hugh Bartley. Congratulations also to all our fencers who won the Roberta Nutt Shield as the school with the highest point score in this prestigious competition.

Tell Them From Me Survey

The Learning Bar works with the Department of Education in NSW to provide the TTFM survey, platform, training and helpdesk support to members in government schools across NSW who are taking part in the survey.  Sydney Boys High School has signed up again for the upcoming first snapshot of the Tell Them From Me (TTFM) student survey, Monday 13 March – Friday 7 April. We are surveying Year 7 – 11 students.  Year 12 students have their own exit survey later in the year. This year we have added some extra questions about matters of interest to our school in particular.

We ask for your participation in the TTFM survey. Parents and students are reminded that is a voluntary survey and that logging on by students implies parental consent to engage in the survey. Information given is confidential and will not be used in any way that identifies a person or the school. The data from the TTFM reports have been useful for the school executive as sources of student and community voice on matters affecting experiences at or with SBHS. It helped us considerably during our external validation in 2016. Additional information for parents, including translated consent forms and parent FAQs, can also be found on the CESE website at: http://surveys.cese.nsw.gov.au/information-for-parents. The permission note for parents is on the parent’s portal. If you DO NOT want your son to be involved, please download and complete the form and send it to school with your son.

Students who participate will be rewarded with Student Award Scheme points. For students, the process is the same as for previous surveys.

  1. Log into the Student Portal
  2. Click the “Student Survey 2017: Tell Them From Me” link in the Portal Services menu
  3. Click the “Access the Survey” button to start the survey

Invoices for Summer Activities Co-payments

Families in Year 7 and later year enrolments, have had invoices posted for term 1 activities. Despite these charges, most activities are also heavily subsidised from school funds, particularly in direct grants from school funds (general service contributions), provision of MICs, teacher supervision, WHS compliance costs and first aid costs (co-curricular supervision levy) and parking allocation support. Co-payments are used primarily for the provision of coaching. In basketball alone, a team of over 50 people deliver the program! We have staff, students, Old Boys, parents and volunteers working to make your son’s school experiences more enjoyable. It would be appreciated if you could make your co-payments promptly. Thank you.

International Women’s Day Assembly

This week High hosted the Honourable Tanya Plibersek, Member for Sydney, at a special International Women’s  Day Assembly. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition spoke eloquently about gender inequality in Australian society, citing a number of statistics to illustrate her argument that women are treated differentially in many contexts by men and suffer as a result. She really enjoyed the video screened at the assembly. It set a great tone to start a week of activities to celebrate women’s achievements .My speech to the assembly is reprinted below:

"Special Guest the Honourable Tanya Plibersek, Member for Sydney and Jansson Antmann (SHS-1992), staff and students welcome to the International Women’s Day Assembly. It is important for us to recognise this international day because we have the development of respectful relationships as an element in our school plan. We can play our part if 1200 young men leave our school and become respectful partners, husbands and fathers. I applaud the initiative of the student leadership group to make this a week of awareness raising about inequality.

"The concept of International Women’s Day sprang from the feminist protest movement of the first decade of the twentieth century.  The most glaring form of inequality is in citizenship.  The initial focus of female protest was enfranchisement.  Gaining the right to vote was a critical first step on what was, and remains, a complicated and incremental journey towards equality for women.

"The first truly international day of celebration and aspiration for women was held in four European countries on 19 March 1911.  By agreement in 1913, International Women’s Day was held on 8 March, where it remains.  The day has always had a twin purpose.  It functioned as a clarion call for gender parity.  It was also a collective day of global celebration.  Then, as now, women (and men who believed in equality) are asked to stand together, to celebrate the achievements of women, to reflect upon the condition of contemporary society and to take action where possible to lessen inequality.

"In 1975, the United Nations sanctioned the celebration as an official event.  Its recognition was past due.  In 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, in Sri Lanka, made history as the first female elected Premier Minister.  Isabel Peron succeeded her husband and became the first female head of state, as President of Argentina, in 1974.  Since that time, 70 countries have had a female President or Prime Minister.

"On the face of it, equality should have been achieved in a society, if a political leader can be and is chosen from either gender.  However, there remain lagging inequalities, even in a comparatively enlightened society like Australia, which remains gendered in many ways, despite a century of international awareness raising and action. Women suffer the discrimination of a pay gap, even where they perform identical work to men.  Women are still under-represented in political parties and on boards of public companies.  Women are still not treated equally in some contexts within health and education provision.

"The most startling evidence of enduring gender inequality can be found in suburban and rural homes throughout our country.  In 2015, 80 women in NSW died violently.  Of these, some 80% died at the hands of an intimate partner.  These cases are the tip of a very large iceberg.  From assaults, to verbal abuse, from physical intimidation to imprisonment by withdrawal of finance, men are making the lives of many women intolerable. The way men treat women needs to change.  The change starts with aware boys becoming respectful men behaving appropriately.  Attitudes can be formed or modified by cultures in schools. Let’s work to create the right culture for respectful relationships based on equality to flourish.

"Today, we commence a week of positive celebrations of women’s achievement at High.  This assembly allows us an opportunity to welcome back to High the Honourable Tanya Plibersek MP for Sydney and Deputy Leader of the Opposition.  High was previously in her electorate before the latest redistribution determined that the eastern suburbs really do begin at South Dowling Street and surrendered us to the tender mercies of the Member for Wentworth.

"Ms Plibersek is a former Minister for the status of women and serves as an impressive role model for high achievement in a relentlessly unforgiving and patriarchal profession.  Today, we also will introduce and recognise our Student Equality Committee, whose aim is to promote amongst our wider school community and greater sensitivity to societal issues of diversity and welfare. It promises to be an interesting week of activities.  I am pleased that the initiative to make a significant event out of International Women’s Day has come from our student leaders.  Events like these mould character and modify culture. Let us celebrate how far we have come as a society and be mindful of the task that still lies ahead – equality for all."
Dr K A Jaggar


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