What Is the Point of School?

By Mr Scott Corbett, Acting Assistant Principal Students

This is perhaps an odd question to see in a school newsletter and an even stranger question to ask of people attending or working in schools. However, I believe it is the central question we must keep asking ourselves. So, I pose it to you now: what is the point of school?

Our College purpose states that we develop young people to live truthfully, practise compassion and seek wisdom. When I'm asked this question, I always come back to the duty we have to "make great humans." How we define great humans requires a longer discussion than the word limit for this article permits, but I am confident that our College values are all essential to making great humans and, as such, become a central element of our curriculum. Whilst our semester reports reflect academic progress and approaches to learning, I see every interaction our students have whilst they are at Radford as a part of their education towards becoming great humans.

When asked about the purpose of school, Dr Valerie Hannon (a wonderful thought leader in the education sector) articulated in her Australian Learning Lecture that she believes "we need to see them as a fundamental element in the range of new solutions humankind must evolve, if we are to overcome and transcend the existential challenges that confront us." The opportunity to support our students with fostering their skills and capabilities, empowered by their values, is a great privilege. The role our graduates play in shaping the society around them should not be underestimated. Radford is a complex organisation that is significantly impacted by the choices and values of each of its members. The organisation also has an impact on the system of our society. What we value in schools, the capabilities we instil in our students, and the achievements we celebrate, make a significant impact on the future of our country.

Personally, I hope that the time each of our students spend at Radford empowers them to shape the world around them into a community they want to be a part of. This is why I will always encourage students to reach out and talk to me when they feel like Radford isn’t working for them. Change can take time, and not everything we want is possible, but it is important to be involved in the process, have a voice, and advocate for what you think is best. I think communities become better places when their members have a say and participate in collective decision-making with empathy and compassion.

For the time that you are a member of a school community, be that as a staff member, student, or family, you have a say in the way that schools shape our future. Get involved and use that opportunity to invest in making great humans – the world will surely be better for it.