From the Principal, 5 Feb 2020
*Please also read the article about the College's response to Canberra's air quality.*
Start of a New School Year
A very warm welcome to the start of the 2020 academic year to all members of the Radford community, especially those families who are new to the College. I hope all Radford families had some opportunity to relax and unwind, despite the challenging summer we have endured, 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 to be useful in answering questions, alleviating concerns and lessening the nerves.
Across the school, we had 290 students who had their first full day at Radford yesterday, 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.
As well as being the first full day for all students, yesterday was also the official induction for our 2020 College Prefects. In a service which saw the Prefects collectively pledging to support the ethos of Radford College, lead through service and work, and participate fully in the life of the College, each of them then had their portfolios announced and their Prefect badges presented. The four Captains and Vice Captains (Gus Murray, Olivia Lloyd, Michael Troy and Grace Kuchlmayr) then made a similar pledge and were presented with their badges. They then together addressed the student body, outlining their hopes for the year and their aspirations for the College over the course of 2020.
L to R: Fiona Godfrey, Michael Troy (VC), Olivia Lloyd (C), Gus Murray (C), Grace Kuchlmayr (VC), Dr Adrian Johnson
In addition to the Prefect induction, yesterday’s Secondary School Service also included the awarding of the JA Mackinnon Dux prize for 2019. As previously detailed, this prize was won by Zachary Gan, who achieved the highest ATAR of his cohort last year, with an ATAR of 99.8. In awarding the prize, it was highlighted that Zac’s success over his 14 years at Radford was not just limited to academic attainment; he was heavily involved in both the College’s co-curricular music and the Service-Learning Program. Zac was a member of the Bernstein Symphonic Wind Orchestra, the Precision Percussion Ensemble, contributed to the Combined Schools Music Festivals and an array of other music recitals, and had ongoing involvement in a range of service learning activities.
Whilst the majority of students were free of Radford activities over the holidays, we did have a small number of students involved in two very different tours. The first group, comprised of Secondary School students, Collegians, parents and staff, travelled to Europe to explore ancient historical attractions and sites in Turkey, Greece and Italy. Despite being subjected to some fairly cold climatic conditions, the group had a fantastic time consolidating their growing interest and knowledge of ancient history. More information about the tour will appear in a future Bulletin article.
The second group of students travelled into country NSW to compete in the Orange U13 cricket carnival, supported by Darryle Macdonald (coach) and Greg Boorer (manager), and ably assisted by other Radford parents. The Orange Cricket Carnival consists of representative teams from all over NSW, representing the various cricket districts of NSW, both metro and country areas. It has been running every January for the last 25 years.
Normally Cricket ACT sends a representative team to this carnival, but when it was learned that they weren’t sending a team this year, Greg and Darryle jumped at the opportunity to enter a Radford team. The Radford team consisted of U11, U12 and U13 players and it was the only school team and the only non-representative team in the U13 carnival. The team won 2 of the 4 games they played, with narrow losses in the other 2 games. During the carnival, three Radford players were selected to play in a T20 City vs Country game under lights, in front of a huge crowd. For this game, it was great to see ‘Radford College’ on the team list that was distributed to the crowd and published in the local newspaper, and it was noted that Radford had more representatives than any other team or region at the carnival, which is very pleasing indeed!
Campus maintenance and improvements
As is routinely the case, a great deal of work happened on the campus over the holiday period. Some of this will be clearly obvious to parents when next on campus, whilst other work is less noticeable, but just as important.
In the Junior School, the following work has been completed:
- Junior School artificial grass below the Ridge Building
- New shade in the Gold quadrangle, the Kindergarten quadrangle, and the side of the Specialist Centre
- New furniture into 5/6 classrooms, and furniture and air conditioning in the 5/6 Staffroom
- Specialist Centre Art room upgrade to make it dedicated art space.
In the Secondary School, the following work has been completed:
- Expansion and upgrade of Leyshon Lecture Theatre
- New furniture in a variety of Secondary School classroom and staff rooms
- New air conditioners in a large number of staff rooms and classrooms
- Additional lockers and locker areas across the campus.
And across the whole of the campus, the following upgrades have been made:
- Change of many lights to LED type, under ACTEWAGL Big Business Light Switch program
- Painting various areas across the entire campus
- Upgrade of three main College maps
- IT cabling upgrade
- Addition of COMM boxes to various rooms.
The College is constantly reflecting on, and planning for, our future. Every five years, we formalise that process through the development of a new strategic plan. Given that the College’s current Strategic Plan: A Vision for the Future is to the end of this year, we will be spending most of the first half of 2020 collecting information, developing scenarios, listening to all sections of our community and then synthesising a new plan, which will be our blueprint for the next five years.
Over the holiday period, members of the Senior Executive group met with our recently appointed Strategic Plan Facilitator, Mr Andrew Simon from Yellow Edge, to start work on this process. Over the course of our day-long meeting, we decided on the process for collecting information and listening to people’s thoughts and ideas. In my view, this is one of the most critical elements of good strategic planning.
The other important factor is to get participants to work through the process in very strategic or high-level manner which does not get bogged down in the detail. In order to help those people wanting to be involved in the process, the Strategic Planning Steering Group (Senior Executive team plus a number of other key staff) developed some scenarios during our meeting, which will now be used by Andrew Simon at the focus groups, to keep the discussion and ideas at a very strategic level.
Focus groups meetings will take place with staff, students and parents as well as the College Board. Whilst the timing of those meetings is yet to be determined, I would encourage all parents to give some consideration in being involved in this process. Everyone’s thoughts and ideas about the future direction of the College would be greatly valued and strongly encouraged.
Dates and times for the meetings will be released soon. At this stage it is envisaged that we will have one parent focus group meeting in the morning, soon after drop-off time, and one later in the day to accommodate working parents.
Please keep an eye out for Strategic Plan updates in future Bulletins.
Speed limit inside the campus
A reminder that the speed limit when driving inside the campus is 10 kph at all times, not just during school hours. We have had reports of several incidents where our staff have asked drivers to slow down and the driver has responded in a rude and aggressive manner. This is not acceptable, especially when our staff are acting in the best interests of everyone using the campus. Please observe the speed limit, and all other road rules inside the campus, at all times, and if you are asked to slow down, please respect this request and the person making it.