Deputy Headmaster – Head of Preparatory School

Mr Jeff Symms

End of Semester One!

How quickly this week has arrived.  The boys have completed a very successful Semester One overall, with great results across a whole range of endeavours.  They have been, in this last few weeks, undertaking summative assessments that have demonstrated their understandings of the work covered across the full 6 months of school.  This information is added to all of the formative assessments undertaken over the semester and the observations of the teachers of your son’s work habits, and presented to you, his parents, in the written progress report that will be issued at the end of this week.

I expect that reports will be mailed to families on Monday and so should be received early to mid next week.  Currently reports will not be available through parent lounge.

Parent teacher interviews will be conducted during weeks two and three next term and included with your son’s report will be details on how to book you interview with his teacher on line.

I know the boys have worked hard and that they are ready for a good break.  I look forward to seeing them back, refreshed for the second semester.

Real life Experience

Today I received a call from the boys in 6R to come and take a look at what they were doing.  Arriving at the classroom I was met with the sight of 23 boys dressed in surgical scrubs ready to dissect some hearts.

Parents Dr Mark Jackson and Abby Jackson (Oliver 6R) were on call, providing expert instruction, leading the boys through the dissection.  The boys loved it.  Lots of really great questions were being asked and interesting observations.

They were fascinated by the session and I thank the Jacksons for taking the time to share the experience with the boys.  Some budding surgeon’s born today?  Perhaps, but for all boys the experience of working with an actual heart and being able to delve deeply into how it works to serve our buddies was a great opportunity.

Real life, hands-on learning that will leave a lasting impression.

Tours and Trips

This holiday period we have boys off on the “Outback Music Tour” and the ski trip.

On Thursday this week 30 boys along with Ms Matthias, Mr Wyer and Mrs Kruger, Mrs Schroder and accompanist Susan Sands will head out to Stanthorpe for four days and three performances.  This tour is a great chance for them to experience the region and perform at local schools, churches and wineries.

The ski trip will see 20 boys heading off to Thredbo with Mr Wyer, Mrs Anderson and Mr Tones for 6 days of skiing/snow fun.

Both trips are always a highlight of the school calendar and the boys always have great tales to tell upon their return.

Mr Fellowes, Mrs Gippel, Mr Beecher, Mr Newton and I will be attending the International Boys School Coalition’s conference in Baltimore, USA this holiday period.  The IBSC conference is attended by educators of boys from around the world.  Teachers submit research study ideas to a panel, and if selected, then have a two year cycle of research and then presenting their findings to their colleagues from around the world.

Mr Fellowes and Mrs Gippel submitted a research proposal as a team as did Mr Beecher and Mr Newton and we were thrilled when both teams were accepted.  These teachers have been working on their research during the past 6 months and will continue through into next year.  In 2018 the IBSC conference is being held here at The Southport School and delegates from all over the world will attend.  These two teams of teachers will present the findings of their research to this audience.

I am looking forward to a very educationally rewarding visit to Baltimore with these staff and then sharing what we have learned upon our return with the wider teaching team at TSS Preparatory.

Fundraising and the Spirt of Generosity that Underpins our Community

While talking to the boys on assembly the other day about the Shepherd House cake stall which raised over $6000 for Alzheimer and Brain Cancer Research,  I reflected on the generosity of our school families.  Each House selects a charity each year and then the boys and their House Master plan and implement a fund raiser to support the work being undertaken.  Some Houses have long-standing relationships with particular charities and so support them each year, while others select a different charity each year.  Either way, the charities benefit from the work the boys undertake and the generosity of our whole community with the support that is shown.

Combined with our work as part of the Round Square international community of schools, the boys and their families of TSS Prep raise nearly $100,000 a year to support those less fortunate both in Australia and overseas.  This is a tremendous effort and makes me feel very proud to be part of such a caring community.

Schools like TSS can sometimes suffer criticism in the press for being ‘Elite’, ‘rich’ and at times ‘over funded’. What the wider community don’t see, however, is how much a school like ours gives back.  Money, time spent volunteering, and assistance with the programs of other groups like ‘clean up Australia and ‘shave for a cure’, are all tangible ways that our boys participate in making our world a better place.

On behalf of all groups whom we support, I extend my thanks to the wonderful TSS community.

How to Raise a Child to be a Giver

On this topic, our parenting guide Michael Grose has put together some ideas on how to raise your child to be a ‘giver’ not a ‘taker’.

We all know that young children are quite egocentric, that is, the world is all about them.  It’s about what they want, what they need and when they want it!  It takes time and guidance from parents to help them move to a position where they start to consider the needs and wants of others as well.

Sadly some children really struggle to move from a self-centered outlook to one of generosity and consideration for others.  They grow up as ‘takers’ with as Michael puts it, ‘an overinflated sense of entitlement’, which leads them to expect that the self focus of early childhood will continue indefinitely.  In fact, we have all probably met adults who have never developed past this stage!

Some blame the child’s ‘nature’, saying he was born this way.  But parenting here plays a huge role, just as it does in most other areas of personal development.

Michael shares with us five tips for helping us be good parents in this area and develop our children into givers:-

  1. Expect children to help.
  2. Think ‘gang’
  3. Don’t let them get away with meanness
  4. Develop a sense of other
  5. Encourage giving.

Michael points out that the skills that children need for future success may be changing such as greater facility with technology, greater flexibility and mobility, but the basic attitudes and character traits needed to succeed in life have not.  Most employers would hire a ‘giver’ over a ‘taker’ any day!

Click this link to read his full article and learn what each of the five tips can offer. Raise a Giver


Carpark and Brolga Avenue Entrance and Exit

This project seems to have been cursed!  What was going to be a relatively quick construction period, has through many complications, stretched out over what feels like an eternity.

However, we do seem to be on the home straight.  Parents will have noticed that the project has now moved to the landscaping stage with planting along the oval banks and in the new roundabout and around the large ‘bio-basin’ at the bottom of the carpark being undertaken last week.  The final laying of bitumen on Brolga Avenue and on the new entry to the school is scheduled for this week.

The current rain has again slowed things down, but we are still cautiously hopeful to have the new entry and exit open for the start of next term.

I will send home a map with instructions on how to best utilize this new entry and exit way, once we are certain we are going to be operational, but in short:-

  1. Parents planning to use the pick up zone alongside the shelter structure will enter from the Lupus Street entrance.
  2. Parents who park and pick up will enter from Brolga Avenue.
  3. All traffic will exit onto Brolga Avenue as there will be no exit back onto Lupus Street.

Parents who use the Cribb pickup driveway will enter as they do now from Lupus Street and exit back onto Lupus Street.


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