From the Principal 21 February
As we approach the end of Week 3 of the term, I am pleased to report that all sections of the College are in full swing, with many of the new staff and students stating that they have settled well and are already feeling very much at home. When I visited the Year 11 camp at Greenhills on Thursday, I was particularly pleased to see how well the new Year 11 students have settled into Radford's routines. The entire cohort appeared to be thoroughly enjoying the team-building activities and information sessions about life in the Senior School.
As I move about the School, I am really pleased to witness the positive manner in which the students are approaching their work and the inclusive way new students are being involved in the life of the College. At a Secondary School assembly today, I congratulated the students on making a great start to the year and encouraged them to continue this trend.
Last weekend was an unusually busy one as we not only enjoyed our usual full round of summer sporting fixtures, but we came together on Friday night for the annual P&F Welcome Barbeque and Movie Night, which this year enjoyed good attendances from a wide range of year levels. Sunday afternoon saw the staging of a wonderful Music Concert to conclude the Music Camp. I would like to thank all of the staff, students and parent volunteers who helped make both the P&F Barbeque and the Music Camp great successes.
As we look ahead, we wish our male rowers well as they prepare for the Schoolboys Head of the River this weekend. I am looking forward to heading up to Penrith to cheer them on. The Schoolgirls Head of the River will follow on a week later and, after the Senior Schoolgirls A Quad (Nicola Greenland, Annie Creer, Jacinta Buckman, Lily Smith-Saarinen, with coxswain Spencer Burns) won the NSW Championship last weekend, soundly beating the top Victorian school in the process, we are looking forward to more great results.
Our Year 7 students are making final preparations for their five-day camp, which begins next Monday. They will leave Radford bright and early on Monday morning and head up to the Outdoor Education Group (OEG) Camp Biloela, which is adjacent to the Belanglo Forest and about 20 minutes from Bowral. Over the next five days they will take part in a range of activities including raft-making, canoeing, mountain bike riding, abseiling, bushwalking, and a mini Olympics competition. The students stay in open cabins and tents, and they prepare all their food for the week. It is always a wonderful way for our Year 7s to start their year, making many new friendships and often testing their resilience and resolve.
An update on the implementation of the IB DP
The College is continuing to make preparations for a panel visit, scheduled to take place on 5 and 6 June, which will determine whether we will be authorised to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP), from the start of next year.
Our IB DP Coordinator, Ms Lindy Braithwaite, has been working alongside an external IB-appointed consultant who has been providing advice and guidance about work to be done to ensure we gain the expected authorisation. At the end of last year, the consultant visited Radford for a couple of days and later prepared a report detailing our readiness to take on the IB DP. The report gave much positive feedback and indicated that we were ‘on track’ to gain authorisation after the panel visit.
At the end of last year, we internally appointed three other staff to leadership positions within the IB DP, to assist Ms Braithwaite in the coordination and implementation of the program. Ms Ailsa Mackerras has been appointed to the role of Creative, Action, Service (CAS) Coordinator, Ms Thea Aquilina to the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Coordinator’s role, and Ms Angelina Browning will take on the Extended Essay (EE) Coordinator position. These three teachers will now undertake training in each of their relevant areas, along with a handful of other teachers who still require Category 1 training for their subject area.
The application process requires the development of a draft timetable to iron out any potential issues. Also, a number of policies including admissions, languages and academic honesty are now in the final stage of redrafting, following on from our consultant’s feedback.
The Communications Department of the College is currently working on some resources to help students and parents decide which of the three programs of study (IB DP, BSSS T package or BSSS A package/ASBA) they will opt to study in the final two years of school. These resources will be uploaded onto both Radford Online and the website.
A parent and student IB DP information evening will be held tonight, starting at 6.00 pm in the TB Millar Hall, with sessions to include information from former Principal of Pembroke School, Mr Malcolm Lamb; IB Coordinator, Ms Lindy Braithwaite; student graduates; and guest presenter, Ms Briony Morath. The evening will conclude with a Q&A session.
Traffic issues around the campus
We are aware that a large number of Secondary School parents are dropping off their children inside the campus near the tennis courts and gymnasium. To help alleviate the congestion in this area of the campus, we ask that all Secondary School students use the 'Kiss and Drop' area in College Street. The 'Kiss and Drop' area is easily accessible during the mornings and this will significantly improve traffic congestion and, most importantly, safety on the campus. We ask parents using this 'Kiss and Drop' area to move as far forward as possible before allowing your children to exit the car.
Students have now been told that they are not to ride their bikes on campus and must demount from their bikes on entry to the College grounds. Riding on campus is dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists.
There will be no parking at the Junior School and Learning Commons construction sites from today as hoarding will be installed around these areas.
College Street Entrance closure
From Monday 26 February, the College will be closing the College Street entrance between 10.30 am – 2 pm. This will provide safe access for Junior School students to cross to the ovals. All visitors to the College will need to enter the campus via Haydon Drive during these times.
Electronic Communications Group
The Senior Executive met for a two-day retreat at the College during the summer holiday period. It was an excellent opportunity to review our strategic plan, examine our school improvement plan, review our plans for ICT and examine the results of the most recent MMG survey.
Mr Tony Pfeiffer, Managing Director of MMG, guided us through the results of the survey, highlighting other schools against which we are benchmarked and areas where we scored well and areas we need to work towards improvements.
Again, last year, Communications, in particular Radford Online (ROL), did not fare well in the survey. In particular, the open-ended responses highlighted parent frustration at using ROL, despite the fact that we had attempted to make some improvement over the course of 2017.
As a result of this feedback, it has been decided that the College will now set up a review of electronic communications within the College. The electronic communications group (ECG) will be chaired by Simon Wallace and will include Junior School and Secondary School leaders, Tracey Markovic and Bill Weigall, as well as people whose portfolio is spread across the College, including Lisa Plenty, Carl Flanagan, Mick Bunworth and Susan Davenport.
The group's threefold charter is:
- What is the most appropriate platform/s for electronic communication?
- What information is provided where?
- Who is responsible for making sure the information is up-to-date and easily navigable?
I will inform the wider community as details of this group’s work comes to hand.
Radford Foundation Scholarship
The Radford Foundation opened applications for its inaugural student scholarship on Monday.
The first two-year scholarship will be offered to one new student commencing Year 11 in 2019.
The Foundation Scholarship will be awarded to a new student who demonstrates outstanding achievement and whose financial circumstances prevent them from enrolling at the College.
Further details are available here and I encourage Radford community members to spread the word about this initiative. Applications close at 4 pm on Wednesday 14 March 2018.
Radford 35th Anniversary Ball
A reminder that tickets are on sale for the P&F 35th Anniversary Ball on 7 April 2018. It should be a wonderful community event and I hope to see many of you there on the night. Click for invitation and booking details.
2017 Year 12 results publication
In December, the College released a publication celebrating the Year 12 results for the Class of 2017.
That publication has been updated with further data that recently became available and you can read it here.