Deputy Headmaster and Head of Preparatory School

Mr Jeff Symms

Return to school for Reception and Year 1

This week saw the boys in Reception and Year 1 return to full time schooling and I’m sure for both parents and teachers it has been welcomed.   The boys alighted out of cars with (mostly) smiles on their faces and eyes eagerly darting around trying to see if their mates had already arrived. Many barely had their backpack on before heading off to the classroom and it was terrific to see how they were genuinely relishing being back.

Of course many parents were also very happy to be retuning their little fellow back to school and for him to be regaining some normalcy and routine.  It was a busy first day, with lots of catching up being done both socially and academically and the Cribb precinct was humming with the noise of classes being conducted, lunch time conversation and playtime antics.  Just the way it should be.

A large part of this first week or so back will be the teachers undertaking assessments of where the boys currently sit with their learning.  While parents have done a great job supporting their son’s program at home, there is no doubt that some boys worked more consistently than others, and so the teachers will determine each boys’ needs and work him from that point.  With the amount of time the boys have spent away from school, we are all confident that any gaps that may have emerged during their time at home, can be remediated.

For those boys who, prior to the COVID19 school closure, already had  difficulty with their learning or an area of the curriculum which was presenting them with extra challenges, the road to catching them up is likely to be longer.  Our teachers and learning support staff will recalibrate each of these boys’ learning programs which continues the support program he was undertaking prior to the time spent away from school.  The key message is to be patient with him and understand that the team of teachers around him will be working hard to create a learning environment for him in which he feels secure and can build confidence again.

One of the things teachers are noticing for most boys, is that they are all needing a little bit of re-schooling with regard to classroom etiquette.  Waiting their turn, not calling out and staying on task are all behaviours that seem to need a little practising.   Perhaps because boys have been at home with more one-on-one support, or having been able to call on Mum or Dad or older sibling when they need to, and been the centre of attention for these weeks, they are not used to having to share the limelight.   For whatever reason, I have noticed lots more reminders around these topics than is normally required.

The teachers will have them back to their old selves in no time.

All in all, it has been great to see the boys back at school.

Return to school for boys in Years 2 – 6

At this stage all other boys – Years 2 to Year 6 are able to return to school after just one more week.  Monday May 25 is the date and until then, boys who are able to be supervised at home, should continue to engage with the online learning program.

The online learning environment will cease to operate from Friday May 22.  Boys whose parents prefer they continue to stay at home will have access to their school Mathletics and Literacy Planet accounts, Wushka and homework tasks set on Prepbook.  It is not possible for the teachers to continue to provide an online learning program as well as teach full classes and at this stage we are expecting nearly all boys to return to school at this time.

It is important that boys return to school any of their school equipment:-  books, pencil cases, glue sticks, scissors and readers.  These items will be needed for lessons from day one and so if parents could ensure that their son has these items with him on Monday 25th, that would be most helpful.

The school canteen will reopen also but it is important to note that this will be only for online orders lodged through FLEXISCHOOLS.  At this stage and for a few weeks yet, there will be no cash sales made at the TASTES Café and therefore no over the counter sales to boys at all.

At this stage, the co-curricular program will not restart as there are still requirements we need to meet regarding no large group activities.  So we are unable to recommence most sports and music ensembles, chess groups and the like.  As the rules are relaxed, we will re-instate each activity.  This may take some time to occur and it is likely that there will be few co-curricular activities conducted during Term 2.

Social Distancing

With the return to school, social distancing rules for children within classrooms and playgrounds no longer apply.  However, we are still required to limit the number of adults on campus. For this reason could I ask parents to assist by:-

  • dropping off and picking up their son in the drop off zones in the school car parks.
  • staying away from classrooms and general playground areas.  In the afternoon, please wait in the car park and let the boys come to you.
  • arranging to meet with teachers prior to your arrival so that they can ensure there is an appropriate venue for your meeting which enables social distancing.
  • not providing their son with money for the canteen.  As mentioned there is to be no over the counter sales for the next few weeks at least.

If parents could assist by following the above requests, we are able to meet our obligations to create a safe campus for the boys.

Pickup Time

During this period when after school cocurricular activities are not being conducted, the school car parks are going to be very busy at pick up time.  During normal school time, at least a quarter of the boys on each afternoon (except for Friday when few activities are scheduled), are engaged in rehearsals, trainings or clubs.  This effectively provides us each day with a staggered pick up time stretching from 3pm when our Reception and Year 1 boys are dismissed through to 5.00/5.30pm when the various activities conclude.

To help ease congestion we will make some changes to our pick up time arrangements and all families will receive a letter identifying for them their designated pick up location and the processes for each zone that should hopefully make pick up time a little easier.

In the meantime, families using the Cribb drive through (Reception and Year 1) please remember to use the designated lane and avoid crossing over from one side to the other.

Those using the Jordan pickup zone (years 2-6) should remember that if you wish to use the pick up drive through you should enter the school via Lupus Street, while those who wish to park their car in the car park should enter via Brolga Avenue.

No parents should use the Preschool car park (off Benowa Road) unless they are picking up a boy from the Preschool.

Hair Cuts

I have noticed that a number of boys in Reception and Year 1 have returned to school with hair that does not meet our uniform standards.  I understand that the relative short notice period for students returning may have caught some families off guard, I do also ask that parents attend to their son’s hair cut this weekend.   Boys hair is too long if his fringe reaches his eyebrows, covers his ears or sits over his collar at the back.  Also remember, no trax cut into hair or hair colour is permitted.

I appreciate you helping maintain our uniform standards.

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