From the Principal, 20 May 20
Fiona Godfrey – Principal
A Return to Face-to-Face Teaching
It is now a mere eight teaching days since the majority of our students returned to face-to-face teaching, and although things are not completely as they were before ‘the lockdown’, a great deal of normality has (thankfully) returned to the Radford campus. Having a number of co-curricular activities resuming this week has certainly assisted us in regaining many of our normal practices, and also helped to alleviate the traffic issues during the afternoon pick-up time. On that note, I would like to thank all parents for their patience and tolerance whilst we have put in place systems to deal with the increased traffic at the end of the day, due to limited co-curricular activities. I encourage parents to use the College Street "kiss and drop" zone, and students to return to using public transport from next week, where possible.
Over the last week or so, I have spent a great deal of time out and about in the school yard, speaking with students about their experiences whilst at home, learning online, and their return to face-to-face learning. Without exception, every student, regardless of age or gender, has told me that they were now incredibly happy to be back at school and particularly pleased to spend time with their friends again. What was surprising to me, many of them have also talked about how good it is to see their teacher/s again, many articulating the importance of the relationship with their teachers, particularly with respect to engagement, focus and inspiration.
As detailed in previous communications, we have in recent days, reviewed the arrangements where students in Years 7-10 have been attending every second day. With ongoing improvements in infection rates of COVID-19, both here in the ACT and nationwide, it has been decided that from Monday 25 May, all students in these year levels will attend full time.
Until the full resumption next Monday, we ask that all students in Years 7-10 attend on their designated day, and if, for some genuine reason (such as sickness or medical appointment) they are unable to attend, we would ask that parents contact Ms Nancy Bonham at email@example.com or on 61626204 to let her know the reason for your child/ren’s non-attendance.
Even though there will be an increased number of students in Year 7 – 10 classes from Monday 25 May, we will continue to ensure that AHPPC recommendations are observed. This includes frequent cleaning, regular hand sanitising and where possible, physical distancing.
Over the past week, we have also reviewed a number of other processes and procedures that were initially put in place for our Secondary School students as we returned to face-to-face teaching last week, to maximise hygiene and safety practices. As I am sure you would appreciate, some of these have proved either not practical or not enforceable, and therefore, we have made some modifications to these processes.
From the start of this week, all students across the Secondary School will again have access to their lockers. We will be asking the students to stagger access to their lockers in an attempt to maintain physical distancing. We would also ask parents to reinforce to their children the importance of physically distancing, particularly in close confines, as is the case around lockers. It will be a priority of our additional cleaners to make sure all locker areas are routinely cleaned and externally sanitised. We will also now make it optional as to whether students change into their full PE uniform, or just change their shoes, as was previously detailed.
There have also been some changes to the accessibility to the Secondary School Library, which affect all students from Years 5 to 12. When studying after school, only students in Years 5 – 9 can use the Secondary School Library until further notice. Students in Year 10 need to use the upper level of the Morison Centre, and Years 11 and 12 the upper level of the Morison Centre also, and/or Mackinnon to study. The Homework Hub will continue to operate its normal timetable and will operate from the Morison Centre rather than the Library.
Semester One Reports in 2020
One of the accountability requirements of Commonwealth funding for all schools is to produce academic reports twice a year using a five-point grading scale. Just over a week ago, the Federal Education Minister, Mr Dan Tehan announced that, given the disruption to schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools would not be required to use the five-point scale this semester.
The issue of whether to use a five-point scale this semester has now been thoroughly examined across the College, and while there will be no changes in the Secondary School, the Junior School has decided to modify its reporting, for this semester only.
In coming to this decision, the Junior School team has carefully considered the most authentic way to report on this disrupted semester of learning. The nature of teaching and learning in the Junior School is strongly hands-on, concrete, and relational. While remote learning has provided unique opportunities and learning experiences, it has also presented challenges to the usual assessment practices. It is important to honour the work of the Junior School teachers, and the learning of their students, by reporting meaningfully, while simultaneously acknowledging that the conditions for learning during this time have been markedly different.
The most significant modification to the Junior School reports is that there will not be an overall grade for each subject and subsequently a grade distribution, and the learning achievements within each subject will be reported through a three-point scale.
A Farewell to Bill Weigall
Earlier this year I announced that our Assistant Principal - Curriculum, Mr Bill Weigall, had accepted a promotional position as Deputy Principal at Rockhampton Grammar to take effect in early June. Sadly, that date is inching closer and Bill now has little time left at Radford. It is, therefore, fitting that we dedicate some time to reflect on his achievements over the past four and half years and thank him for the passion and energy he has devoted to the role.
Bill was appointed to the newly created role of Director of Assessment, Reporting and Curriculum (as it was known then) at the start of 2016 and very quickly demonstrated to the College the value of having a designated person overseeing these important roles within the Secondary School. Having worked with Bill previously at Canberra Girls’ Grammar (when I was Deputy Principal and Bill was Head of House), I knew he would bring intellect, proactivity and humour to the role, as well a highly sophisticated vocabulary that could convince people of his cause, within a few short sentences!
Over the time that Bill has been at Radford, he has certainly made his mark on the Secondary School. He has overseen the move to continuous reporting, has been instrumental in the rollout of SEQTA as our learning management system, has driven changes to the timetable which have optimised efficiencies, assisted Lindy Braithwaite with the introduction of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, initiated a range of external testing options, and has led the ongoing review of curriculum. However, in my view, Bill will be best remembered for the way he and Louise Wallace-Richards have worked as a team, giving direction and leadership to the Academic Executive, and for the invaluable advice and guidance he has contributed to the College’s Senior Executive group.
We wish Bill and his family the very best of luck as they transition back to their home state. I have no doubt that Rockhampton Grammar will be delighted with their new Deputy Principal.
Ms Lindy Braithwaite will be Acting Assistant Principal – Curriculum for the remainder of 2020, and Ms Michelle Guerrero will be filling Lindy’s role as Dean of Senior Studies. I have every confidence that both will do an outstanding job in these roles.