High Notes, Vol 20 No 2, February 08 2019

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to the second grade tennis team for their big win against Newington (8-0). Well done to Kieran Guan (11R) who represented Australia at the recent International Skating Union Junior World Short Track Speed Skating Championship, held in Montreal, Canada, 25 - 27 January 2019. Kieran  competed in all three individual events (500m, 1000m and 1500m) and the team relay, achieving a personal best performance at 500 metres (44.476 sec), ranking 36 out of 79 skaters.

Governors Centre Funding Agreement

On Monday this week, Carrie Waring (SBHS Director of Governors Centre Ltd) and Quinn Sloan (SGHS Director of Governors Centre Ltd), signed the Funding and Priority Use Agreement. For DoE, the signatory was Anthony Manning (CEO) on behalf of School Infrastructure NSW. The next step was for the members who comprise Governors Centre Ltd (Sydney High School Foundation & Sydney Girls High School P & C Association) to also approve the Agreement. This was done by circulatory resolution by the Sydney High School Foundation and by the executive of the SGHS P & C. Once the members of the company had signed off on the Agreement, funds are capable of being released for the project.

Under the terms of the agreement, the total funds described in the Funding Agreement ($10.6 million), must be paid to the Department of Education by 25 February. Once the funds are secured, the Department of Education can go to tender. This process is likely to commence in early March and extend for six weeks approximately. All going well, construction will commence sometime in May, with completion to lock up stage by Q4 2020.

The original tender will not include a complete fit-out of the building. The two schools will still need to raise significant funds for the interior to be completed according to the design vision. There are critical milestones during construction when, if funds are available, nominated parts of the design can be included as the project continues, rather than being retrofitted once the structure is built at most likely greater cost. To get a high quality finished product, we are going to need the ongoing financial support of parents, Old Boys and friends of High.

As soon as the Funding and Priority Use Agreement was signed, the Principals, Ms Connell and I, signed the Joint Use Agreement, covering the operational phase of the project. The day-to- day management of the completed building will become the function of the Operating Committee, to be chaired by the director educational Leadership. It will comprise an equal number of the executive team or teaching staff of each school.

On behalf of the High community, I would like to thank the people who made these agreements possible. Old Boys, John Taylor, Angus Dawson and Paul Almond, devoted a mountain of their time to the negotiations with DoE officials. Chris Graham-White (SGHS parent) committed a great deal of his time to re-working the design and costing to bring the project in at the nominated cap of $10.6 million. Quinn Sloan also played a major part in the successful negotiations.

It is a goal of mine to use this joint project as a catalyst for cooperation between our two schools to enhance the learning experiences of our students.

New Parents Welcome Evening

Last Tuesday, the P & C hosted a welcome evening for more than 100 parents new to High. Managers in Charge of sports and activities were on hand to provide information and advice. The Sailing Committee supplied the supper, carried around by members of our sailing squad. The speeches were pared down, so that by 6:30 parents had time to mingle with each other, ask questions of MICs, or talk informally to staff. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. My speech to new parents is reprinted below:

"On behalf of the High community, I extend a warm welcome to all new parents to High. The purpose of this evening is for us to get to know each other better and for you to gain an understanding of the school and its culture. We would like you to feel that your family has now become part of our School Family. Just as we want your son to engage with the academic and co-curricular life of the school, we also hope that you will too. We want to persuade you to get involved in the life of the school. It is a mutually rewarding experience.

"Ours is a great school with a well-deserved reputation for academic excellence, co-curricular achievement, leadership development and involvement in community service and social justice programs. It has always been an individual, unique, state school.  We have been nurturing scholar-sportsmen since 1883. We prepare boys for university and nurture them as sportsmen, individuals and citizens. We are proudly a state school operating in a market dominated by private schools.

"High has been resilient for so long because of the strength of its partnerships. The school has been a self-help institution for extra-curricular activities since 1886 when its students organised an athletics carnival at the SCG. The boys originally organised activities for themselves as teachers were forbidden to help in its early years. Since then, parents and Old boys have joined with students and MICs in Support Groups to organise the great variety of co-curricular activities on offer here at High. Old Boys have influenced the development of the school significantly, through the Old Boys Union and as individuals.

"Since June 11, 1925 the school has also relied heavily on its Parents and Citizens Association to provide assets and equipment not supplied by the Education Department. Since 1951, The Sydney High School Council has supported the school in asset acquisition and maintenance. The Sydney High School Foundation Inc was incorporated in 1986. Its committee comprises representatives of the P & C and Old Boys as well as the Principal. The Foundation took over the assets of the Trust that used to be vested in the Principal and two Old Boys as well as the Sydney High School Council. The Foundation owns the Outterside Centre, maintains the Fairland Pavilion, holds money in trust for the school and manages access to playing fields in Centennial Parklands. The Foundation also runs the High Store and the Tennis Courts under Deeds of Licence and shares management of the COLA and the Great Hall. Most of the important initiatives taken by this school over the 136 years of its existence have come about through the establishment of partnerships of parents and Old Boys. Our Joint Project to establish the Governors Centre is the latest example. You have the opportunity to see this vision a reality within the next couple of years. I do hope you will get behind this once in a generation project.

"We are driven by our need to compete with Independent Schools in the GPS since 1906 – a unique feature of High’s history as a state school. In addition, as a founding member of the CHSSA in 1913, High has competed in various CHSSA competitions. We need access to playing fields, facilities and expert coaching in depth, in order to compete in the GPS. We are serious about sport and all the other co-curricular activities. Each year we need parent volunteers to give of their time.

"It is always saddening to me when I see great achievements by individuals on the sporting fields or in co-curricular activities, pass unwitnessed by members of the student’s family. It seems to me that the High experience is heightened for both student and parents, when parent spectators attend fixtures. I was speaking to one of our very high achieving all-rounders some years ago. During the conversation, it emerged that neither of his parents had ever seen him in any of his school activities during six years of school. I urge you not to let that happen to your sons. I exhort you to make an effort to be at events that your son participates in on Saturday or on Friday nights.

"I warmly welcome you tonight and hope that you and your sons get involved in many of our activities and derive the same satisfaction and enjoyment from school life, which the staff and generations of active students and their parents have enjoyed."

Traffic Movement on School Grounds 

Staff members complain that car spaces in the Cleveland Street car parking area are unavailable in the mornings due to parents occupying the spaces waiting in their cars or parents blocking access to spaces. School policy is that parents are asked to enter from Cleveland St. via gate one and drop off boys at the end of the tennis courts and then proceed out through gate two. Cars driving through the car park and doing three-point turns near the bus bay and driving out again cause congestion and can prove hazardous to pedestrian traffic through the area. The safety of our students is paramount. Parents are asked to try to stay out of the car park area around the gym and to observe school policy concerning dropping off students.

Early Bird Discount ends Thursday 28 February

In order to help all areas of the school we offer a substantial discount to parents who pay their complete invoices before 28 February. Having substantial funds early in the year allows us to make sure that orders are made promptly and that the boys get the maximum benefit out of equipment and services deployed for them. Capital for the Building Fund can be invested to earn interest for longer. Our aim is to encourage at least 55% of parents to make this financial commitment to the school early in the year. Please support us as we carry on High’s self-help culture to put our fundraising money to work as soon as possible!
Dr K A Jaggar

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