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Building our Culture

The College takes another significant step forward this week with two Orientation days for our new intake of 2017 students. Today we welcomed 112 new 2017 Year 4 students along with a small number of new Year 5 and 6 students. Tomorrow we are excited to welcome nearly 80 new Year 7 students. This will take our student population to almost 900 boys in 2017, with our biggest cohort of Year 7’s ever.

We embrace this growth with the wonderful addition to our community and celebrate the growth. We warmly welcome every new family and are blessed with all that they bring to our community. I love the mix of excitement and nervousness that comes with the boys and their parents. It is a significant step to come to somewhere new. For young and old there is that element of the unknown and excitement of what there is on offer.

Orientation days highlight the task we have of building and sharing our culture. It was fantastic to hear our current Year 4 boys, Michael, Sam and Hugo, speak so passionately and articulately about their first year at ATC. The boys spoke so well including the following phrases – “At our school we have 3 pillars that we focus on. Service, Learning and Leadership. We have come up with a list of things you will need to survive your first year here at ATC. First you are going to need a good attitude. You will be challenged. Challenged to achieve your best, both in and out of the classroom. A good attitude to give everything a go and achieve your personal excellence. ATC is all about getting your hands dirty. We are men of service, we don’t just say we help others we actually get in and do the hard work too”. It is extremely insightful to hear the reflections of young men after only nine months at ATC. The message to our new families is simple – get involved and do your best. Our experiences then demonstrate that boys enjoy school more, feel more comfortable, and achieve their personal best.

The pastoral care of students permeates all aspects of Ambrose Treacy College life. Our pastoral care framework strives to provide students with security and understanding and ensures that each boy feels valued and valuable. We recognise that each boy has innate gifts and unique strengths. In working with students across the curriculum, they are encouraged to develop self-discipline and a commitment to work, to set goals and to co-operate as a member of a caring Christian community. Deliberate efforts are made to nurture a family spirit within the school, so that each boy is welcomed, affirmed and supported.

Our boys spoke today about there being something at ATC for everyone. I believe that is true for students, staff and parents. We will continue to develop opportunities for everyone in this community and I encourage everyone to be actively involved in the journey.

Queensland Child Protection Week
At all times, Ambrose Treacy College is focused on providing a supporting, caring and faith-based environment for its wider community. Across Queensland Child Protection Week is acknowledged from 4 to 10 September. The theme is Protecting Children is everybody’s business. A component of this is to educate our boys of the various aspects of Child Protection and to raise their awareness. Adults are essential in ensuring children’s safety and well-being. The greatest support we can provide our boys is to listen to them and encourage a climate where they feel comfortable to talk. This strong relational focus across our College is intended to promote a high degree of communication. We also have nominated Child Protection Officers who play a specific role in the professional development of staff and training to equip them to best support the boys. The Child Protection Officers at ATC are Mr Finn, Ms Nankivell, Mrs Northcote, Mr Ribeiro, Mr Toon and Mr Warr.

The College adheres to a very precise Edmund Rice Education Australia Child Protection Policy that is available in the Parent Lounge in the ‘Documents’ section, under ‘Policies’. The focus over these two weeks with the students is the role they can play for each other. Peer support can be critical. We see the value of the boys supporting each other. This may be by listening and encouraging their mate to talk to the relevant people, staff and/or their parents. This work will be done in Formation classes following on from conversations with Home Room teachers. Young people are likely to stay quiet about abuse or harm, so we are proactive in creating a safe, supportive environment where the boys feel confident to report any issues. Research demonstrates that after telling one adult who does not listen children and young people most commonly shut down and stop speaking. Our best support as adults is to pay attention to children who speak out about abuse. Most children stay silent because the abuser has insisted they do so. Parents can help by maintaining open dialogue with their son about how he is going and how his week has been.

Parents and Friends
At ATC we see our role as working with parents to help form their sons into fine young men. We highly value the partnership we have with parents. The P & F Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday evening. I appreciate the demands on families in current times and hence highly value the input so many parents are able to provide to help make ATC a better place for parents and the boys. Our model of having class reps, smaller committees and leaders for a multitude of events, provides widespread opportunity for parents to have significant input without being too taxing time-wise. I would like to thank the 2016 P & F Executive for their commitment and leadership – President- Martin Bradshaw Vice President- Michele Johnson Secretary- Sharon Ward (Morley) Treasurer- Diana Taylor

Through the leadership of the Executive there has been a number of ‘friend raising’ events highlighted by the Welcome Night and the Trivia Night. Plus we have had numerous Year level functions, Care and Concern for a number of our families, working bees and many morning teas and welcome occasions. The AGM also elected a new Executive for 2017 and I congratulate our new and continuing P&F members for 2017-
President – Martin Bradshaw
Vice President – Brett and Judith Solomon
Secretary – TBC
Treasurer – TBC
The P&F are seeking parents to fill these last two roles on the Executive. Due to the College taking on the overall responsibility for the accounting of the P&F, the role of Treasurer is somewhat diminished in terms of the accounting aspect. Both roles requires a parent with a minor time commitment and basic organisational skills. Please contact the P&F if you require more information or to express your interest in taking in a role.
pandf@atc.qld.edu.au

Detention for Detention
Being a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition calls us to be committed to justice and peace for all. This is grounded in a spirituality of action and reflection that calls us to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalised. All EREA schools have developed opportunities for our students to be engaged in support of those marginalised. One activity is ERA for Change which provides some students the opportunity to display leadership across the student body. This group has called all of our students to be actively involved in ‘Detention for Detention’ this Friday. Students are invited to gather in the NJ Hall at second break, to sit in silence, to recognise all those children around the world who are not as fortunate as us and who are in some form of detention. It is not designed as any political statement but instead an opportunity to raise the awareness amongst our student body.

Mr David Gardiner, Acting Principal
gardinerd@atc.qld.edu.au