Lately our staff have been actively involved in conversations and workshops on both campuses that help us to better understand the ways in which we work with students to strengthen our culture of care, consent and compassion. It is important to commence with the fundamentals of policy and process. We are reviewing our approaches to classroom culture, working with students on learning behaviours and how we best respond when things go wrong. By their very nature we understand a school is a place where things may not exactly go according to plan. Working with developing minds and their unique owners is one of the great joys of the profession. Creating environments where there is clarity and learning associated with mistakes is a challenge for any contemporary school. The traditional approaches of hard and fast rules to manage behaviour are fast becoming irrelevant and the evolution of relationships as key to success in learning changes how we go about our working with young people and their families. There will always be a place for addressing inappropriate behaviours with an appropriate consequence. Overlaying our approach with the lens of learning and wellbeing when dealing with behaviours ultimately helps us to create a safe and just environment.
Additionally, it is not just the practices of a school that determine its success. It is also the partnership we form with our families. As I write this newsletter I am travelling with Jane and our Head of Hawkes Boarding, Theunis (TJ) Pieters, through the North West of Tasmania, meeting current and prospective families. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to better understand the people of Grammar and of course develop insight into what makes Tasmania tick.
The other obvious delight is seeing this stunning Island in all its beauty in the winter months. It is apparent that there is no hibernation, rather this feels like an intense and productive time for many families. The purpose of these visits is threefold – strengthen current relationships, gain insights into what we can do better and to have our community work with prospective families to introduce them to our school. Word of mouth will always be a key determinant in how our school is perceived and I am conscious that if we do not have open and transparent feedback opportunities then we run the risk of families feeling they cannot express their concerns and small matters may become big matters. It is important for us to have a community where voices are heard, and we each have the opportunity participate in the conversation be it your child’s education or a broader concern with the school. Of course, feedback is one thing but unless we can proactively and constructively engage in follow up and action it is of little value. We are stronger if we open with each other and work together.
Recently a new look save the date was circulated for our upcoming Spring Cocktail Party. Hopefully you have all received these. If not, you will find a copy of it below. I would love to see you all there!