From the Principal: 6 Oct 2021

By Fiona Godfrey, Principal

A very warm welcome back to all community members for the start of our final term for 2021 – a term that will no doubt have its challenges, but hopefully many rewards too. We are all desperately hoping the roadmap out of lockdown will be successful and that in a few short weeks we will have everyone back on campus, involved in the plethora of curricular and co-curricular options normally available.

Yesterday we welcomed our Year 12s back to face-to-face learning. It was an absolute delight to witness firsthand their genuine joy and excitement to be back together, and to observe the gratitude and appreciation they expressed to their teachers, with whom they have all worked very hard over the past few weeks whilst learning remotely.

Our attention will now turn to preparing for our Year 11s to return to face-to-face teaching in just under two weeks’ time, and the remainder of the College either one or two weeks after 18 October.

Preparations for the return to face-to-face teaching

Over the holiday period, the College’s Senior Executive team has been meeting regularly to make plans for the return to campus learning for all students. We have been reviewing all of the COVID health guidelines and advice provided by ACT Health, and have been liaising with Dr Nick Coatsworth, former Deputy Chief Health Officer, who has kindly been giving us a large amount of his time and advice. He has offered to continue to do so, if and when issues arise.

The main issues under consideration are:


ACT Health states that vaccination coverage is a key component of the safe return to face-to-face learning, and that high levels of vaccination combined with public health social measures are the best protections against COVID. At Radford, we strongly encourage staff and eligible students to have two doses of vaccine, however, we acknowledge that parents have the right to form their own view regarding the vaccination of their children and we respect that right.

The community is reminded that the vaccination of Secondary School students is not a necessary pre-condition for the return to school, and that other mitigation measures will be of use, provided they do not interfere with the child’s education (e.g., mask wearing).

Over the past two weeks we have been collecting data from teaching staff and Year 11 and 12 students regarding their vaccination status and the results have been outstanding. Almost without exception, every teacher and eligible student has chosen to take up the option of being vaccinated and are now either fully vaccinated or will be in the next week or so.


As per ACT Health advice, all staff and students in Years 7–12 will be asked to wear masks in the classroom and outside when in close contact with others, except when eating. Masks will not be required when students are involved in rigorous activity and some practical subjects.

The wearing of masks for our Junior School students will be at the discretion of the student and their parents/carer but is not recommended for the children in Pre-K through to Year 2. Teachers in the Junior School have been asked to monitor those students wearing masks, and if they feel their learning is being affected, then a conversation with the parents will take place.

Routine testing for COVID-19

At present, ACT Health is not recommending routine COVID-19 testing of children, young people and/or staff using rapid antigen testing. However, the College has purchased a limited supply of rapid antigen testing units, which are being held by the College nurse, Sophie Davis. They will only be used if the College nurse feels that a test is warranted, and only after parental permission has specifically been given for that particular scenario.


It is well known that indoor air quality can be associated with transmission of COVID-19. At Radford, we are cognisant that ventilation should be optimised in the learning environment to minimise transmission, and that outdoor learning should be encouraged and assisted where possible – balanced, of course, against sun safety and temperature considerations.

Over the holiday period, our Facilities Manager, Mr Craig Webber, has been working with an air quality expert to develop a roadmap towards better air quality across the campus. Whilst further information will follow over time, in the first instance, Craig and his team have developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for each classroom, which will act as a temporary measure to increase ventilation. Teachers have been asked to enact this SOP on their return to face-to-face teaching.

From the start of October, Craig and the team from AETOM Engineering Technologies will start capturing air-quality data from select classrooms on campus to establish baseline information. They will also assess the performance and capability of existing HVAC equipment on campus to provide adequate ventilation to occupants and implement higher-grade filtration throughout campus on all applicable HVAC equipment using ISO 16890. Once the data has been reviewed, meetings with the mechanical engineers on Heat Reclaim Ventilation feasibility, as well as other effective options, will be considered and costed. Craig has indicated that we will award works and begin block and stack HVAC upgrade across the campus in January.

Use of the Check In CBR app

All visitors, including parents, must check into the campus each time they arrive using the Check In CBR app. At the time of writing, staff are also being asked to check in using the app, however, this may change once all students return to face-to-face teaching.

Other issues under consideration

  • Staying home when sick. This applies to staff and students. If they attend while unwell, they must be sent home.
  • Hygiene: good hand and respiratory hygiene practices are vital to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Continuous environmental cleaning
  • Physical distancing: a range of strategies will again be implemented, including limiting the use of common social spaces, banning large gatherings (assemblies, chapels etc), increasing in-class distancing to the extent this is possible, encouraging children and young people to remain seated during classes, adapting activities that minimise the mixing of classes and years, and until further notice, cancelling close-contact activities such as indoor and contact sports, camps and excursions. Unfortunately, parents or carers must not enter the College campus (with the exception of ELC parents) other than to pick-up and drop-off their child, where a prior meeting has been scheduled, or in the case of an emergency.

Flexible options for our Year 12 students

In years to come, when we look back on the effects the pandemic has had on all of our students, it may well be our current Year 12 cohort we will deem to have been most adversely affected, given that they have had to suffer the worst (hopefully) of the restrictions in their two final years of schooling.

Given the exceptionally difficult time our Year 12 students and their families have had in recent times, we have been exploring mechanisms to make their final few weeks as enjoyable and worry-free as possible.

Students completing the International Baccalaureate in the November 2021 Diploma Programme session have been provided an adapted assessment model with a reduction in components for many subjects. They will still sit their examinations, whilst adhering to ACT Health guidelines, but the lead-up to the examinations will not be as frenetic as originally set down. Additionally, the IBO has informed us that they will consider the impact of the pandemic when awarding results for students this year. The IBO will do this by undertaking significant reviews of results at a country, school, subject and student level, to ensure that we can make allowances for the disruptions students have faced.

The IBO recognition teams are also communicating with universities globally to encourage the continued recognition of IB qualifications. Radford College and the IBO will do all we can to ensure that students receive results that are a fair reflection of their dedication and efforts during their learning journey. Please read this letter from our Dean of Senior Secondary Studies, Mr Nick Moss, to our IBDP students and their parents.

The ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS) has confirmed that the ACT Scaling Tests (ASTs) will occur on Tuesday, 12 October and Wednesday, 13 October. As such, all Year 12 students undertaking a Tertiary BSSS package will be required to sit the ASTs at Radford College on these dates. Please read this letter from our Dean of Senior Secondary Studies, Mr Nick Moss, to our BSSS students and their parents.

All of our Year 12 students (BSSS and IB) will have access to a number of other mechanisms to enter university, outside of the usual release of ATARS (which will occur on 20 January 2022) and subsequent university offers. Mechanisms like the Schools Recommendation Scheme and Educational Impact Statements (which form part of an Educational Access Scheme application) will be available to all our students, if applicable. More information will be made available to our students in the coming weeks.

Finally, Dr Adrian Johnson, Head of Secondary School, wrote a comprehensive letter to all Year 12 students prior to them returning to campus this week. He will write a similar letter to Year 11 students next week and the other Secondary year levels a week before they are due back on campus.

Years 10, 9 and 3 camps

The decision has now been made to cancel the Years 10, 9 and 3 camps for 2021. The accounts department will be in touch with parents shortly to inform them whether a refund or credit note will be issued.

Whilst we can appreciate that this is very disappointing news for students, staff and parents, given the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 situation, we felt it was best to make a decision now.

Master Plan update

As parents involved in the building industry would be acutely aware, the industry was forced to completely shut down during the first three weeks of the lockdown. This meant Stage 1 (the new carpark) of the Sports Precinct was significantly delayed and, at the same time, time-sensitive work associated with Stage 2 (the outside courts) had to follow the pre-lockdown time schedule.

All of this has meant we have had to bring forward the commencement of the outside courts, which started two weeks ago. Had we not agreed to this change of timing, we would not have had any outside courts for the majority of Term 1. However, these changes mean that until the new carpark has been completed – due on 9 November – we will not have a major carpark for use for staff and Year 12 students. Should all students resume face-to-face teaching on Monday, 1 November, we will have about seven school days with limited parking capacity.

In addition to Stages 1 and 2 that are now both underway, the works to expand the P&F Oval will also commence this week. These works will provide additional area for sporting programs, much-needed improvements to stormwater management issues around the oval, and a planting program of native trees in place of current pest species and other trees in difficult areas.

Site fencing will be erected around the outside areas of the P&F Oval as shown below.

Site fencing around the P&F Oval
Site fencing to be erected around the P&F Oval

Construction traffic will be entering through a gate at the ‘Kiss and Drop’ area. Construction traffic will be managed by accredited specialist traffic controllers so that interactions with pedestrian traffic are managed in a safe and appropriate manner. Staff and students can expect to see earthworks in this area, including the removal of trees ready for new plantings. An artist’s impression of the completed oval works is shown below.

Artist's impression – completed oval works
Artist's impression – completed oval works

School bus timetable

To align with the return to classroom learning in Term 4, Transport Canberra will resume all dedicated school bus services from 25 October 2021 (Week 4). This includes ‘S’ trips that divert into school grounds in both the morning and afternoon.

More details and updated school timetables will be available online one week before this is implemented. There will be some minor timing changes to services and as such families will need to review the timetables when they are available.

In Weeks 1–4, Years 11 and 12 students will be able to travel to school using the current interim network. They can plan their trips ahead of time using the Journey Planner at