From the Principal
A very warm welcome to the start of the 2019 academic year to all members of the Radford community, especially those families who are new to the College. I hope all Radford families had an enjoyable and relaxing holiday period and that all students are ready for the challenges of a new school year. We also hope that the orientation programs, the Parent/Teacher sessions and the upcoming Parent/Tutor interviews, prove useful in answering some questions, alleviating concerns and lessening the nerves.
Across the school, we had 420 students who had their first full day at Radford today, and we hope that the settling-in process has begun successfully. We also hope every new child’s association with Radford College is long and fruitful. Our 2019 College Captains have recorded this video welcome to our new students and I'd encourage you to share it with them.
I am aware of the traffic issues around the campus this morning. I've recorded this short video regarding our efforts to remediate them.
Master Plan Update
School campuses are usually relatively quiet over the long summer vacation but that certainly was not the case at Radford over this Christmas holiday period. Work continued in earnest on our two major capital works projects over the holidays, with the Year 3/4 Building reaching practical completion this week and the Morison Centre gaining a certificate of occupancy for the ground floor yesterday.
As detailed in an email to parents over the holidays, the Morison Centre has suffered some significant delays in recent months and as a result we will only be able to use the ground floor classrooms, ‘break out’ space and Student Services area for the time being. We have been informed by the builders that we will have full access to the building by March 21. For the next couple of weeks, our Year 10 students will not have access to the kitchen area, located on the ground floor, as we are still awaiting glazing for some parts of that section of the building.
Whilst construction continues in the Morison Centre, the builders have erected secure hoarding preventing access by staff or students to any areas still being built. In addition, no ‘noisy work’ will be completed by the tradesmen during school hours, 8.30am - 3.30pm. Given that Level One of the Morison Centre will still be a construction zone, safety fencing will remain around the entire site until the project is completed. This means the new car park will not be accessible for staff or parents until mid-March.
While all this disruption is very disappointing, and certainly not the way we had hoped to start the new school year, it is better to make sure the building is constructed well and that the standards are not compromised for the sake of expediency. However, in the meantime, I do ask all parents to be patient, particularly when driving on the College campus. Large construction vehicles associated with the building works will hinder traffic flow and I urge you all to consider using the College Street ‘kiss and drop’ zone, rather than driving into the school grounds. I also encourage families to consider leaving home a little earlier in the mornings, to alleviate the stress of arriving late.
On a much happier note, it is wonderful to now see the new Year 3 and 4 building being occupied. I think it is a magnificent building, with beautiful classrooms, fabulous facilities and very generous ‘break out’ spaces. Over the next couple of weeks, we will see that project fully completed, with the erection of the playground behind the Specialist Building, on the western flank of the Junior School campus. Once the playground has been installed we will see the removal of the builders’ site sheds and the safety fencing. New black steel fencing (the same as is on the College St border of the campus) will also be installed in place of the safety fencing.
In addition to the work being done on these two major projects, we have also had other capital works projects happening over the holidays, which in any normal year would have been considered to be substantial.
We have continued the refurbishment of Secondary School classrooms, with another 8 classrooms completed over the holiday period. The refurbishments included new heating and cooling, roofing and insulation, carpets and blinds, painting, technology and, in time, new furniture. As has been the case in recent years, these refurbishments have made a massive difference to the older classrooms and have now made them more pleasant environments in which to teach and learn.
Other major capital works projects in the holiday period have included:
- the conversion of the Chaplains’ offices, the Counsellors’ offices and the Attendance Registrar’s office into a new IT Centre
- the conversion of the previous IT Hub into a classroom
- the conversion of the Year 5/6 Art Room into the new Year 5/6 staffroom
- the connection of new printers across the College
- the installation of solar panels on the Junior School roof
- the installation of 24 new ‘Com Boxes’ across the campus
- the installation of 150 new lockers across the Secondary School.
Even though the majority of our staff and students have been enjoying a well-earned break over the December/January recess, there have been a number of dedicated staff who have continued to support the educational program of the College and helped to prepare for the year ahead.
One of those staff members is George Huitker, who has spent the whole holidays writing the final chapters of the book that will soon be published to celebrate the College’s 35th anniversary in 2019. The book, titled 35 Years of Radford College: Foundations, Traditions, Inspirations, is a retrospective look at the things that have made Radford the great school that it is today. I know that many community members have already been interviewed or involved in the production of book, and as such, I am hoping that many people will come along to the book launch will be held on Wednesday 10 April, at 6.00pm in the new Morison Centre. This will not only be an opportunity to celebrate George’s great work but most importantly to recognise the College’s 35th milestone and reflect on all that has been achieved. I would ask you all to keep your diaries free on that date so that we can have a full house to launch a very important book in the history of Radford College. Information about how to purchase the book will be available closer to the launch.
We have also had two significant tours over the holiday period. Just after the 2018 school year finished, Mr Jeremy Hawkes and Ms Jennie Hitchen led a team of 20 senior students on an adventure tour to New Zealand. The tour included white water rafting, river jet riding, bungy jumping, kayaking, and abseiling into a cave.
In January, Duke of Edinburgh Award Coordinator, Ms Sue Hassall, led a 4-day training expedition into the New South Wales high country for a group of 10 students who are about to embark on their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, read Sue's article on the trip.
Ms Michele Sharp, Head of Languages, and I ventured to Chengdu in China, for a very short time over the holidays, to establish a new sister-school arrangement with the Chengdu Experimental Foreign Languages School (CEFLS). This school came highly recommended to us as a potential ‘sister-school’. The trip was incredibly successful one, which I am sure will result in a very mutually beneficial arrangement. Please refer to Ms Sharp’s article on the project, also in this edition of the Bulletin.
The Senior Executive and the Junior School leadership team ventured to Bowral in mid-January to spend some time examining what would be the important goals for 2019 through a newly constructed School Improvement Plan. The review involved examining those features of our current College Strategic Plan and School Improvement Plan that had either been ‘achieved’, ‘partially achieved’ or those that had ‘not been achieved at all’. Over two days we looked at the things we need to prioritise in 2019, and how we could make these things to come fruition. Over the coming weeks, I will report on these priorities and the associated action items we intend to implement, or which have been implemented, to meet our goals and priorities.
House Carnivals in 2019
In 2019 there will be a change to the order of the House sporting carnivals in the Secondary School. This year, the Secondary School Swimming Carnival will be held in Term 4 on Wednesday 23 October at CISAC. The Secondary School Athletics Carnival will now be in Term 1, on Tuesday 12 March at the AIS.
These changes will allow students to have an opportunity to trial for the ASC Athletics Carnival, which is on 2 May, through our own House Carnival. Additionally, we did not believe it was feasible to have two House Carnivals in Term 1, along with Foundation Day and the Public Holidays, which fall during this time. We always need to be mindful of not having too many disruptions to the teaching program in a short space of time.
The College will provide an opportunity for students who wish to trial for the ASC Swimming Carnival on Tuesday 5 March (Moderation Day) from 5pm to 8pm at the AIS. The times recorded at this carnival, in addition to times recorded from recognised national swim databases and the 2018 swim carnival times, will form the basis for selection in our ASC squad.
We will provide more information about these events to students and parents closer to the time.