From the Principal 6 Sept 2017
It was very heartening to welcome some spring-like weather last weekend, even though the respite was short-lived and we are now well and truly back into the depth of winter. However, with longer days and blossom on the trees, we are reminded that the warmer weather is not too far away.
Winter Sports - end of season events
At school, the start of September means the winter sports season is drawing to an end, colloquially often referred to as ‘the business end of the season’. Two weekends ago, our Under 16 and First XV Rugby teams played in their semi-final matches but unfortunately both were unsuccessful. The Under 16s were defeated by the Young, while our First XV team went down to St Edmund’s in a very tight and competitive game.
Semi-finals of netball were played last weekend, with Radford Dolphins and Purple progressing straight through to the Grand Final, while Radford While and Silver will play in the preliminary final this weekend. We wish all those teams well.
This weekend will be the final round of Football (Soccer) fixtures, as there are no finals played in this competition. We enter the round with seven teams guaranteed of finishing either champions or runners-up in their age group. The girls Under 12 Div 2, and the boys Under 16 Div 2 will definitely be champions, while girls Under 16 Div 2A, girls Under 18 Div 1, girls Under 18 Div 3, boys Under 12 Div 2 and boys Under 18 Div 1 are all guaranteed to finish runners-up or take out the championship.
Basketball also starts finals this weekend with a large number of Radford teams playing off in semi-finals. We are confident that are large proportion of those teams should be fighting it out in grand finals.
Year 9 Campers return
Last Friday our Year 9 students returned from their week-long camp, tired but extremely positive about the experience. Over the weekend, I spoke with a number of parents whose children had been involved in the camp and without exception, the students had all spoken glowingly about the things they had learnt, the friendships made, and the challenges they had overcome.
This is the first year we have run the sequential camping program from Years 7 – 10, and this is also our first year of working with our outdoor education providers, OEG (Outdoor Education Group). In a small window of opportunity last Monday, I drove up to the camp, located in the Kangaroo Valley, to observe OEG in action first-hand. On this camp, the OEG team was made up of 15 staff, in 7 vehicles, transporting a large amount of food and equipment across a large area of land. They led 14 Radford staff and approximately 170 students in an array of physically challenging activities including hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, caving and abseiling. All of this combined, creates a logistical jigsaw which needs to be carefully managed and strategically designed, where risk is mitigated but adventure is maximised. I am very pleased to report, that from my observations, the OEG team were highly professional and incredibly organised.
The benefits of a well-run outdoor education program are well documented. We know it provides students with a range of activities outside their usual environment, so that they learn to face challenges in an atmosphere which requires self-reliance and independence. As students work in small groups they also further develop their co-operative group skills and tolerance. The activities undertaken encourage them to use their initiative and to take responsibility for their own and the group's actions.
In addition to the pastoral benefits, an outdoor education program allows students to integrate the outdoors with what they learn in the classroom. Students have opportunities to undertake scientific research, they can put map-reading skills into practice (which the Year 9s were required to do last week) and the natural environment can provide a stimulus for creative writing and artworks.
Through an outdoor education program, students learn first-hand about the environment. Familiarity with our natural world often leads young people to a commitment to protect and enhance the wilderness, leading to a lifetime passion for environmental sustainability. And finally, outdoor education programs provide young people with the opportunity to perform sustained physical activity, engage in healthy eating and have a break from technology.
I would like to thank all the Radford staff who were involved with the Year 9 camp, in particular Ms Kath Notley, who put in countless hours of organisation prior to the group leaving. It is a very big undertaking for staff to be on duty 24 hours a day, in physically demanding conditions, and away from their own families and loved ones. However, they voluntarily get involved because they know there are great benefits for their students and appreciate the relationships that are established in environments of these sorts.
Changes to Second-Hand Uniform Sales
For some time now, the College has been in discussions with the P&F regarding the sale of second- hand uniforms. We have been looking at ways to increase the level of stock and simplify the process of buying and selling uniform.
As part of these negotiations, we have also been speaking with other schools about what they do in relation to second-hand uniform. Through these investigations, it has become very apparent that universally, the purchase and sale of second-hand uniform is problematic for schools. Some schools have in recent times, completely stopped selling second-hand uniform, expecting parents to purchase online, through sites such as Gumtree.
We have now come up with a solution we hope will address parent concerns. From the start of next year (exact date is yet to be determined), the P&F will take over the selling of second-hand uniform. They will employ a part-time employee to open a separate second-hand uniform shop, located adjacent to the Perm-A-Pleat shop.
All second-hand uniform, except blazers, will be donated to the P&F shop, and accordingly, these items will be sold at a reduced rate. However, because blazers are a more expensive item to purchase initially, a portion of the sale price of second-hand blazers will go back to the family providing it for sale. Profits from the sale of items will go towards to the second-hand uniform shop employee’s salary and any additional profits will flow directly to the P&F.
Second-hand uniform will continue to be sold from the Perm-A-Pleat shop for the remainder of the current year and parents are encouraged to continue to bring items of clothing into the store for sale. Transitional arrangements for second-hand clothing held by Perm-A-Pleat will be communicated to parents closer to the time of the changeover. Additionally, the P&F will be operating a second-hand uniform stall at the Fete this year. Again, items being sold will have been donated by parents. Further details of drop-off times and places will be provided by the P&F closer to the Fete.
As is always the case, any second-hand uniform that is donated for sale through the P&F, must be clean, folded and if necessary, dry cleaned. Ripped or stained clothing should not be presented for sale.