175th Gala Day and Dinner
Our 175th Anniversary celebrations continue with more exciting events planned for later this year. Save the date Saturday 16 October in your calendars as we will be hosting a special ‘Gala Day’ on the Senior Campus and a black-tie ‘Gala Evening’ at Albert Hall. Alumnus and prominent Australian journalist Pip Courtney will be our MC with other entertainment lined up for what should be a great night of celebration of our School’s heritage. Tickets will go on sale next week via the school website so be sure to book early (once the link is available) so as not to miss out. Stay tuned for more details about our Gala Day programme in the coming weeks.
Leadership Lunch with Grace Tame
Our next Leadership Lunch is being held on Thursday 2 September with Australian of the Year 2021, Grace Tame. All Senior Campus students will attend to hear from Grace and engage in a Q&A. Parents and alumni are welcome to attend a live stream of this Leadership Lunch on campus (12:30pm-1:30pm).
Grace is an inspiring young Australian who has spent the last 10 years turning her traumatic experience into advocacy for survivors of child sexual assault and a leader of positive change. She spent several months campaigning against the injustice of Tasmania’s gag order that prevented survivors from self-identifying publicly – the #LetHerSpeak campaign created by Nina Funnell gained national attention, and in 2019 she finally won the right to speak out under her own name. Her advocacy and courage are widely recognised and in 2021, she was named Australian of the Year.
For parents, carers or alumni who would like to attend, seating is limited and registration is free, which will include the provision of a boxed lunch. Registration will close on Monday 30 August.
Further booking information about the session will be sent to parents and carers next week including with whom to communicate in advance if you have any concerns with your child being engaged in this session.
Staff Culture Roadmap
At the start of term, we conducted with staff a brief ‘pulse’ survey to check in on the progress of the cultural change programme we commenced late last year with staff. Culture change takes time and we have embarked on a two-year journey to progress our staff culture to where we would like it to be. This survey was a check-in to see how we are progressing and identify any changes we may need to make to our programme.
We are pleased that most of the initial areas we prioritised (such as leadership, communication, vision and professional learning) have shown significant improvement. In fact, while it is still early in our change programme, and not all areas have been addressed yet, positive improvement was reported in 43 of the 54 areas measured. This is a very positive start to the programme and gives us confidence that we are on the right path.
The recent addition of our new Director of People and Culture, Melita Cornell, is a demonstration of the importance we place on our people and our culture and will undoubtedly expand our ongoing efforts to create the constructive and improvement focused culture we seek.
Later this term, as part of our continuous improvement process, an opportunity will be provided for parents (Early Learning to Grade 12) and students (Grades 5-12) to offer feedback relating to their views of the School across a wide range of areas.
The research is being conducted by MMG Education, a specialist education consultancy that works with schools across Australia and who have previously run surveys for the School.
To ensure confidentiality and to encourage frank and full expression of views:
- All responses will be de-identified
- The data will be reported back in aggregated form only
- All data collected by MMG Education will remain under its control and archived according to research protocols.
Further information about the survey will be shared in September and I look forward very much to the valuable contribution parents and carers will be making to this important project. In Term 4, the School will commence working with MMG on the development of an alumni survey to be conducted in 2022.
Earlier this year a survey of 1000 Australians of all ages found that on average Australians are spending 5.5 hours daily on their smartphone. This equates to 33% of their waking hours and works out at almost 17 years (or 145,800 hours) of our lives looking at our screens, checking social media, finding information, using apps, playing games, taking photos and consuming content. Increasingly, students and adults alike feel the need to be attached to their phone at all times, fall asleep with their phone in their hand and many social interactions are mediated via our phones.
Over the last 18 months Senior Campus staff have been working to make the campus a more phone-free environment. Some student leaders recently shared with me that they think the shift has been for the better. While I think this is true, we still have work ahead of us including ongoing education for our students and the community.
I am grateful to so many parents who each day work hard at home to put in place thoughtful and proactive guidelines and boundaries for their child on their use of devices and particularly of social media. As always in parenting, there are complications and sometimes we can sleepwalk into an unhealthy situation so our priority should be to heighten awareness before problems arise and prevent those habits forming.
Here are some practical suggestions:
- As a starting point, it is useful to get a sense of how you, as a family, are spending your time online. Screentime (Apple) and Digital Wellbeing (Android) give useful statistics: daily and weekly averages, increase/decrease over time and which apps claim most of our attention. You can see detailed patterns of usage e.g. showing number of ‘pickups’ daily, what app you first use after pickup, what times of day you are using your phone and how many notifications you receive in a day, and this can be quite revealing.
- Once you look, you might be surprised at your own habits, and I suspect there will be more surprises when you look at your children’s – but what a great way to start a conversation. If you are brave enough to share your own statistics with them, that would be an excellent opening to start a non-judgmental discussion about what we would all like our habits to be.
- There is some good basic advice for parents on the eSafety Commissioner website (eg on parental controls [https://www.esafety.gov.au/parents/skills-advice/taming-technology#built-into-mobile-devices) and time online (https://www.esafety.gov.au/parents/big-issues/time-online) which is particularly appropriate for younger girls. If family do use Apple devices then please do check out things like Family Sharing (https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT201088) and Guided Access (https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT202612).
- Older students may benefit from apps which raise their awareness about how they spend their time and help them set their own goals, such as more productive study times or more regular exercise. There are plenty of good apps for this of varying degrees of control (eg Flipd, Moment, Forest, Freedom) and even options such as the Selfcontrol app for blocking your own access to distracting websites.
If you are seeking out more resources to continue your learning as a parent about cybersersafety or other common parenting challenges, I encourage you to check out the resources available at SchoolTV (https://lcgs.tas.schooltv.me/ ) Also, if you are yet to watch The Social Dilemma (Netflix) with your teenager, this could be helpful in dramatically changing some habits at home. You can watch the trailer here ( https://www.netflix.com/au/title/81254224 ).