Deputy Headmaster and Head of Preparatory School

Mr Jeff Symms


Congratulations all, for a terrific 2021

As this year school year draws to a close I just wanted to take the opportunity to pass on my thanks to parents and staff, for working together to create the best climate in which our boys can thrive.  The boys collectively, have done tremendously well this year and I am really very proud of their efforts.

During the past two years, with COVID-19 disruptions, the relationship between school and home has become even more important.  At times, parents became surrogate teachers, working to support their son(s) as the teacher guided remotely.   The needs of our boys emotionally, has at times been higher than normal, and our teachers have taken on a larger role in managing and supporting this need.   So there have been challenges.  But for the most part, the home/school relationship has become stronger, with greater understanding and communication.

At the recent end of year events we have seen so much of what our students can achieve.  I am very proud of the professional and polished nature of our major ceremonies, and proud too of the boys and the way they understand and appreciate the importance of such events and conduct themselves so well.   It is all part of the education of the whole boy that we talk about at TSS, not just teaching him to read, write and calculate, but also to reason, think creatively and analytically.  In addition, to be a good person. To look outside of themselves and develop empathy and understanding for others.

Our three core values – teamwork, scholarship and service enabled us to explore this further and I am excited by the conversations that staff and students are engaging in, every day on these topics.

Academically, TSS Preparatory School in 2021 continued to confirm its position as one of the state’s highest performing Primary Schools.

While new legislation makes it almost impossible to draw comparisons based upon NAPLAN data, through my network of contacts at schools across Queensland and Australia, I am able to verify that our 2022 results confirm TSS Prep as one of the state’s highest performing academic primary schools. Across all areas tested our boys achieved exceptionally well, in some strands over 65% of the cohort are achieving at the highest levels measured or above, which is a tremendous result.

The boys’ results also in International academic competitions in Mathematics, English, Writing, Spelling, and Reading have all yielded very high totals of Distinction and High Distinction awards which places our boys in the top percentile rankings of students from across the world and in a number of academic-based programs in which our boys have participated, not only their excellent results, but also their overt love of learning and perseverance has been noted.

But more pleasing than these statistics, which acknowledge our top performers is the data that is available regarding our value-add to the boys academic performance.  Year after year, the data reveals that the work undertaken by our teachers and boys together, results in a higher rate of growth when compared to students who commenced school with similar starting scores, and higher rates of growth when compared to students who attend similar schools. This is what all schools should be striving for.

Of course, it is a combination of factors that create the right environment in which our boys can thrive.

Dedicated and talented teachers, working within a well-resourced school and with engaged and motivated students, supported by invested parents who demonstrate a genuine interest in their son’s progress and who work hand-in-hand with his teachers to create an optimal learning environment, is the best recipe for success.

Our boys have also shone on the sporting fields, courts and tracks throughout the year, with even more and more choosing to take up either an individual or team sport and our 2021 sport tour to North Queensland was a great success.

Our Years 5A and 6A Basketball teams were named as the most successful TSS teams in the GPS competition for the past five years in a row – an incredible run.  The unbeaten Tennis season and Year 5 cricket success.  Our U11 rugby boys had a great season also.  We enjoyed seeing boys selected for representative teams in cricket, basketball and rugby – more selections than previously have occurred.  But most importantly we saw, week in and week out, boys enjoying participating with their mates in games that they love.

The chess and gymnastic boys performed with distinction and we saw a number of boys achieving exceptionally well in both.

On the cultural front, I think that a highlight for many may have been the community concert of Phantom of the Opera or perhaps the Celebration of the Arts festival at which we got to see the visual art talents of our boys profiled so magnificently.

Our instrumental and choral program continued to grow and truly shine, and parents have been rightly impressed by the performances at the Celebrations of Achievement ceremonies this week.  The 3-6  choir performance of World in Union was exceptional.

I truly could go on and on about the year’s highlights but suffice to say – the boys have achieved so much of which we can be truly proud.

I hope all families have an enjoyable summer break and Christmas.

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