Preparing our students to thrive

Lindy Braithwaite
Lindy Braithwaite

By Lindy Braithwaite, Assistant Principal Curriculum

Next week we farewell our Year 12 students and send them on to their next adventure. It is a time of mixed emotions for them and their families but also for their teachers and all the College services staff who have been a part of their lives in a myriad of ways over the past 2 or in some cases up to 13 years.

As a teacher of a Year 12 class, it is an added privilege to be there at the pointy end where all those little moments that might have inspired, shaped decisions or laid the foundations, culminate. Each year I get asked ‘are we your favourite class?’ and the answer is of course yes, and then we chuckle that I only teach one class. But the truth is, that yes, you naturally become attached to your class(es) and are genuinely intrigued about what they have planned for the future. I know that I hope, like their other teachers, that at some point down the track I will run into them in a shopping centre or the like and can catch up.

RC Learner Profile
The Secondary School Radford Learner

In the past week we have begun preparations for our Year 12 publication document that this year will be released in late January due to the COVID-related delay in results. As part of this, we reach out to some students who were the mentors for this year’s Year 12 back when they were in year 7 and fresh to Secondary School. After five years in the big wide world their stories are varied – some have gone in different directions to what they predicted, but all are doing interesting things. These Collegians, like others, will share their anecdotes and advice with the class of 2021, but the message to our new graduates is simple: it’s going to be okay even if you don’t get X result or get into X university, or even if you aren’t sure what you want to do. The message to the rest of us is that what matters is that we graduate students with the skills and attitudes to take on life’s challenges and thrive.

We have undertaken a reporting review over the course of this year, reflecting on our communication and feedback processes to ensure that the information that parents and students receive about their progress is timely, constructive and has the appropriate focus. The Reporting Review working party incorporated members of the leadership teams across the College, representing varied roles, viewpoints and experience. The working party have interrogated research, consulted with other successful schools across Australia and a variety of stakeholders, including students, as discussed at our recent Education Wellbeing Open Forum. While the recommendations are yet to be finalised, there has been an overwhelming consensus in the direction we take. Pleasingly everything we have read, heard and also gleaned from parents, students and staff fits well with our motto, vocation pledge and aforementioned, what it means to be part of the Radford community, that is, we value and care about the development of the ‘whole’ child.

In our pre-term January professional learning time for 2022, the Secondary School will be hearing from and working with Prof Martin Westwell (Flinders University, Chief Executive of SACE) and Dr Shyam Barr (University of Canberra as part of our self-regulation project). Both will be helping us to embed learning, meaningfully measure (assess) and report progress on student personal and social capabilities. In essence giving equal billing in our classroom learning to the skills and attitudes, or as we will refer to them ‘Approaches to Learning’, as we do the mainstream learning areas. You can expect that next year our ‘reports’ will look a little different and you will be hearing a lot more about your child’s progress in terms of their capabilities and approaches to learning. Because we all know this is so important for them to thrive.

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Alice Springs Education Declaration

An excerpt from the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration 2019

‘To achieve excellence, and for our system to be equitable, every student must develop strong literacy and numeracy skills in their earliest years of schooling, and go on to develop broad and deep knowledge across a range of curriculum areas.

However, our education system must do more than this – it must also prepare young people to thrive in a time of rapid social and technological change, and complex environmental, social and economic challenges. Education plays a vital role in promoting the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, moral, spiritual and aesthetic development and wellbeing of young Australians, and in ensuring the nation’s ongoing economic prosperity and social cohesion. They need to deal with information abundance, and navigate questions of trust and authenticity. They need flexibility, resilience, creativity, and the ability and drive to keep on learning throughout their lives.’

Full document is available HERE

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