As the term ends, we can look back with pride on all that has been achieved. Our students have excelled in many pursuits and their engagement in their learning in all aspects of school life has been strong and well celebrated. Our leadership and staff have also been working hard doing the everyday business of School and importantly planning for 2024. I have been inspired by the initial planning for our next Strategic Plan, with the central idea being the Well-being of our people and their School. This encompasses and enhances our commitment to the timeless adage that it takes a village to raise a child. You will be able to read further about our initial preparation for achieving the plan in the upcoming News from Launceston Grammar.
In Sports, Senior Campus students reached finals in soccer, hockey, netball, football, and basketball. The thing that impresses me most about these achievements is not the final scoreline. Some went our way and unfortunately, some did not. It is the spirit of our sports program that shines. Our students support and encourage each other and play the game fairly. Our coaches create sports cultures where the game is valued, and life lessons are learned. Our Junior Campus student’s House spirit served them well at the annual athletics and despite the weather, the full program was able to be run over two days. In addition to school sports, many of our students play at various Clubs and such is the nature of our students’ commitment to sport in Launceston, we are well represented in a wide variety of sports and teams.
Some of the Performing Arts highlights that have enthralled and inspired me included the School Spring Concert and the Grade 5 Seussical the Musical! Others have been individual performances in the Chapel program or assembly. It was wonderful to have the Launceston Mens Choir perform for and with our students as part of the annual concert. The power of intergenerational learning can never be underestimated. Our music staff continue to create opportunities for our students to excel. I am pleased to note that in 2024 TCE students will be pursuing five different course offerings through the University College Programme. This programme allows students to access a variety of courses to extend their passion for music.
Our Junior students have also excelled in our House Public Speaking competition with 100% participation. Congratulations to the finalists from each Grade Level. Our Tournament of Minds Team from Junior School won the State Final – we have brilliant young minds at Grammar!
Under the leadership of Reverend Pickering our senior students have engaged with the local Bhutanese community. This service partnership has enabled students to develop a unique cultural understanding. We are also forging a relationship with the Cape Barron Island community and have reciprocated a visit by staff and students over the last week. The IB PYP and Australian Curriculum require schools to develop awareness and understanding of First Nations and other cultures. The approach used at Grammar is to explore the history and lived experience of these cultures so our students may develop perspective and appreciation. In nurturing open mindsets our students are enabled to question and seek understanding. The development of a strong critical thinking culture in our classrooms is important and as part of our Strategic Plan, we will be seeking to develop and enhance this aspect of our offering.
Academically our NAPLAN results across the School have been strong. I am particularly impressed with the results in Grades 3 and 5. Highlights include an impressive 93.1% of our Grade 3 students achieving a strong or exceeding rating in reading. The growth in grammar and punctuation among our Grade 5 students was strong with 90% of students achieving medium to high growth and 53% achieving high growth. In Grade 5 numeracy, an impressive 74% of students showed either medium or high growth rates, marking the most significant growth rate since 2015. We know there is work to be done in all areas but it is obvious that the value we place on the basics of and development of reading, writing and mathematics is working. Further up the school, I would note that our numeracy results remain strong, especially at Grade 9. The new format for the national testing has changed how we may measure comparable growth, but I would note overall that this year we are delivering well above the state average and compare favourably across Australia with like schools in most areas of testing.
As our TCE students prepare for examinations, the acknowledgement and celebration of “last time” for activities gain deeper significance. At the start of next term, I look forward to sharing the culmination of the amazing learning journey of our Grammar Graduates, the Class of 2023. I have particularly enjoyed the showcasing of our Grade 12 students and their message to their younger selves on social media. The maturity and wisdom our students develop through their schooling is a testament to them, their families and their teachers.
Over the last week, I have attended the Australian Boarding Schools Association national conference. It was great to fly the flag for Grammar as our Head of Boarding TJ Pieters and I engaged with colleagues from across Australia and New Zealand. The conference focused on the safety and engagement of students in boarding. Safety is paramount in all areas of our school, and we are necessarily strident in our approach in Hawkes Boarding. A safe culture begets an engaged and enhanced experience for all. Our goal for boarding is to reach our capacity of 65 boarders within two years. Boarding gives children the opportunity to grow independence and thrive in a networked community where relationships and social/emotional growth are supported and developed. It truly is life preparation. I am amazed by the value for money that our offering provides compared to the mainland-like schools. I extend an invitation to all current families who might be considering boarding as a weekly or part-time opportunity to support their children in making the most of their Grammar experience, to contact our Enrolments team for a conversation.
Enrolment for 2024 is going well with the Senior Campus numbers up on where we started this year. Having a full Grade 7 and Grade 9 for next year and strong interest for 2025 creates an opportunity for families to consider starting their Grammar journey earlier at our Grade 5 entry point. Having now witnessed 3 terms of what is on offer I can assure you that the investment in your child’s education will certainly reap lifelong rewards. I am pleased to see the growth in our intake at Kinder with the addition of a 3 day a week class. We have just 5 spots remaining in each class. We all agree that it is the foundation of learning opportunities that sets students up to experience a love of learning and social-emotional skills in this exciting and challenging world.
I hope this snapshot of our School provides some insight into what a wonderful place Grammar is and that is largely because of the wonderful people and programs we have in place or are developing. Thank you for your support of our endeavours, we do not take for granted the significant sacrifice that our families make to send their children to our School. Education is and always will be the key to life success and the best model for success is exactly what we have at Grammar – a partnership of families and schools working hard for a great future for our current and future generations.