High Notes, Vol 19 No 20, June 29 2018

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From the Relieving Principal

High Achievers

Congratulations to Jack Keating who came third in Year 8 philosophy at NSW Philosothon. The judges were impressed by his maturity and even more so when they realised that he was new to the program. At the NSW Volleyball All Schools tournament held at Olympic Park the SBHS Under 17’s won the Open Division Gold Medal and the SBHS Under 16’s took the Silver medal (It was an all High final). Additionally, High won the Under 15 division defeating Blakehurst in the final. Well done boys. Congratulations also to Eric Holmstron, Vishesh Sarda, Thomas Schanzer, David Tsai, Matthew Moloney, Rhys Shariff and Kane Shields who have qualified to compete at the NSWCHSSA Cross Country Championships this coming July at Eastern Creek.

Report Season

Term 2 is notoriously stressful for teaching staff. There are exams to mark, reports to write and parent- teacher interviews to conduct. I would like to thank staff for their excellent efforts in achieving all these tasks in the required time frame. Having read all the report comments for Year 7, 8 and 10, I can safely say that students and parents who read the report comments are able, for the most part, to see an individual, detailed comment on progress with a specific focus on one or more targets for improvement over the next semester. Students who take the time and effort to heed the advice of their teachers are much more likely to improve their results than students who don’t.

Year 7 and 8 Report Interviews

During my report interviews with Year 7 and Year 8, I have been asking them for their favourite and least favourite aspects of Sydney Boys High School. The speed and confidence with which they gave their answers – especially when they were telling me what they liked about High was very pleasing to hear. Furthermore, I was genuinely impressed with the thoughtfulness of many of the answers and my one word responses (limited due to time) do not reflect the depth of evaluative thought that the students gave to the process.

Year 7 Favourite Aspect Of High
The students responses to their favourite aspect of High can be categorised as follows: sport and co-curricular, academic and social.

Sport: 40% boys told me that sport was the best things about High with a further 10% sighting a specific sport. 10% talked about the extracurricular activities on offer and a further 5% referring to specific activities that they enjoyed. 2% of them said that that they enjoyed the opportunities that High has provided.

Academic: 9% mentioned specific subjects that they liked and 2% said they like the diversity of subjects and 6% of students discussed the culture at High and 3% mentioned nice teachers and people who are willing to help.  2% enjoyed moving from class to class and one student told me “it gives us the tools to do better.”

Social: 5% liked making friends and socialising including one student who enjoyed doing that on the train and another who liked playing basketball at lunch. 2% of the boys said that Camp was their best experience at High.

Other: 2% students mentioned physical facilities including sporting facilities and the Junior Quad.

Year 7 Least Favourite Part Of High
Pleasingly 24% reported that there was nothing that they did not like about High.

There were a range of academic concerns: 19% highlighted specific subjects that they did not like; 15% complained generally about work e.g. exams, homework or the amount of work that they had to do;  3% did not like particular teachers; 4% spoke about the unfair nature of class detentions, 3% did not like the academic pressure although most of them felt that they put the pressure on themselves and 1 student did not like teachers being away.

11% highlighted transport issues – usually the distance and the time taken which was tiring, but also the bus lines at Central. 8% said they did not like sport either because it was after school or on a Saturday or they did not like the competitive nature of it. 3% said they did not like the first few days because they worried about getting lost. One student highlighted older students unintentionally being intimidating and another mentioned bullies. 3% talked about facilities and specifically the lack of aircon/heating.

Additional Individual concerns brought up by one student were not liking signing in every day; lack of information given to his class, moving around school; SAD system and one student did not like some of his peer’s attitudes especially swearing.

Year 8 Favourite Aspect of High
45% of students told me that sport was their favourite aspect of High, with an additional 4% naming specific sports that they liked. 11% said they like the co-curricular activities in general including some specific references to activities that they liked. 10% talked about liking the other students – either for friendship or because they were like minded.

9% said that it was the range of subjects or specific subjects that they liked. 8% liked their teachers either for being supportive or for being good at their job.

A single student highlighted one of the following: atmosphere of inclusiveness, competition facilities and organisation. One student said they liked ‘everything’

Year 8 Least Favourite Part of High
47% of students told me that they did not dislike anything. 19% did not like the travel and/or early start. 11% complained about academic issues eg the workload, the competitive nature of High – although some of them actually admitted that the pressure they felt was self-imposed. 11% named particular subjects that they did not like. 4% did not like sport – mostly because it is time consuming.

A single student highlighted one of the following: teachers, uniform, weight of school bag, not teaching enough real world skills, wet weather arrangements and when the scanners don’t work.
Rachel Powell
Relieving Principal

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