Deputy Headmaster and Head of Preparatory School

Mr Jeff Symms

THRASS Information sessions

This week I conducted two parent information sessions on THRASS.  These provide parents with an overview of the rationale for teaching our core literacy from an orthographical (language structure) approach rather than through a traditional phonics approach, briefly examines the differences between the ways in which boys and girls approach and aquire literacy and, most importantly, teaches parents the basics so that they have an emerging understanding of the methodology and how they can support their son at home.

I am always encouraged by the numbers of parents who take time out of their busy week to attend these sessions, but no more so than this week, when we had significantly large numbers participate. (I think I need a bigger venue than the Stephenson Room).

Attendance at such events – Literacy and Numeracy nights, Year level Information Sessions, THRASS nights, Music concerts, evening Chapel services, sport coaching briefings, Friends of Prep activities, Parenting courses and Sex Education presentations really do help parents have a full understanding of their son’s educational program, and help them identify where they may be able to play a role in assisting in his development.

They also send a really powerful message to the boys:-

“My parents are interested in my education and take the time to understand what I am doing.”

Research has shown that children who have parents who take an active

interest in their education are more likely to succeed at school.

In fact, some studies have shown that the most accurate predictor of academic achievement is not socioeconomic status, nor how prestigious or well-resourced the school is. The best predictor of student success is the extent to which families encourage learning at home and involve themselves in their child’s education.

And interestingly,  the earlier parent engagement commences, the more effectiveit is in raising student performance. Parent partnerships formed during the Primary School years, especially from Preschool and Reception, build a strong foundation for student success and future performance.  It is an investment in your child.

‘Parental involvement and engagement in education is regrettably in decline.’

From 2016, research has shown a drop in parents who believe that close parent-teacher communication is important to them. Many parents now prefer remote methods of communication, like online student portals, emails or class newsletters, and they are now less likely to attend parent-teacher meetings, or other school activities. While digital tools can help families stay informed, it is the students who are missing out when parents don’t give of their time and support, to engage in what their child is doing.

Life is busy and time is always pressured, and so not all parents can attend all events.  But I would encourage all families to attend those that they think will send the strongest messages

Headmaster’s Commissioning Ceremony – 26 February.

Our Years 5 and 6 boys and Camarata Singers (boys in Years 4, 5 and 6), have been invited to attend this special ceremony which is being held in place of our regular assembly time on Friday 26 February, between 2.00pm and 3.15pm.

Boys are to wear full Chapel Dress (regular school shorts, socks and shoes – but with their long sleeve blue shirt and tie) to school on this day.  Swimming will be postponed.  No PE uniform to be worn by these boys on this day.

The boys will be bussed across to the Senior School campus prior to the ceremony, but will walk back under the supervision of their teachers, as school pick-up traffic around both campuses at that time of day, will make it impossible for the busses to reach the Preparatory School.

It is my suggestion that parents of boys in Years 5 and 6 and Camarata Singers, delay arriving at the school to collect their son until around 3.45pm, which should ensure that even if the ceremony runs slightly over time, the boys will be at the pick-up zone when you arrive.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions, parents are not able to attend this event.  Given the rarity of a Headmaster’s Commissioning, (Mr Hawkins is only the 9th Headmaster in our school’s history), the boys will, I’m sure, enjoy the opportunity to be part of the school’s history and also get to experience the new Annand Theatre, which is an extraordinary venue.

Pearce Theatre

Parents may have noticed that our Pearce Theatre has been out of action since school commenced.  This has been to enable the installation of air conditioning which is the final step in the upgrade project of this space.

In addition, over the holiday period, significant upgrades have been undertaken to the projection and sound systems, new screens added to enhance the viewing of the stage from the side (wing) seats and new stage lighting.   With air condititioning, the Pearce Theatre is now a first class venue for smaller to mid-size gatherings.

I thank the school council Building and Grounds committee for prioritising the completion of this project and to our Friends of Prep committee who partnered with the school to provide the funds.

Friends of Prep have, over the years, made significant contributions to the sporting, musical, cultural programs of the school whilst also helping to fund a number of infrastructure projects that create opportunities for our boys to learn in the very best of facilities.  Everytime you as a family, support a FOP function – attend an event, buy a raffle ticket, volunteer some of your time – you make it possible for them to provide for the boys.  100% of funds raised by FOP are returned to the boys through the many projects they support.

Covid Safe regulations

The health and safety of our students, staff and their families are a priority to our school. Our school continues to take advice from Queensland Health in making decisions regarding the operation of schools during Covid-19.

Any child who is showing signs of illness such as Covid-19 symptoms, or feeling unwell, must stay at home and get tested. If a student is unwell they must not attend school. As advised by Queensland Health, anyone who develops a fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath should contact their doctor or call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) and get tested .

If your child is showing signs of illness at school, the school will contact the parent or carer to collect them . If a Covid-19 test is recommended as your child is showing Covid-19 symptoms, he will not be able to return to school unless he has returned a NEGATIVE COVID-19 test and is feeling better in himself.

Parents must provide a copy of the Covid-19 negative test results to the school.

If your child is feeling sick:

  • Get tested today
  • Stay home and isolate until you get the results and your symptoms resolve.

If you have any of the following Covid-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested:

Fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or runny nose.

 

 

 

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