I warmly congratulate all award recipients as we celebrate achievements across our school life in the faith and mission, classroom, co-curricular activity and pastoral life of ATC. I congratulate the partnership of school and home which has supported these boys to do their best. I thank Mr David Gardiner and Mrs Tammy Sleeth in particular, for their organisation of the event, along with our Learning Team and all leaders of areas that bring together information, performances and people to make the event possible. Mr Matt Carpenter who films and edits our events has had a busy year and I thank him for his dedicated service along with Mrs Rhonnie Sparksman and Mr Jackson Hickey of the Communications Team who assist in bringing this project together. While we would prefer to all be together, this event is as meaningful and important as always and I thank everyone for their engagement and celebration of the year. The video recording of this event will be shared with the community next week.
Year 12 External Exams
Our Year 12 students have now concluded classes. For this year, we have a SwotVac period of a week where teachers remain available in lesson times to meet with students to support and prepare. It has been great to see so many of our Year 12 students here today doing preparation. We wish the students the very best for their upcoming exams and thank the teaching staff for their dedicated support of them. Like all schools, as we learn the new Senior School model, we will reflect on our approach and review for the future.
Preparing for 2021
Term 4 is always a busy time as schools engage in the routine activities, events and rituals while simultaneously preparing for the year ahead. This includes staff recruitment, timetabling, budgeting, new student orientation, new staff orientation and calendars among others.
Enrolments are, of course, a central platform of all planning. Our 2020 student population is 1295. In 2021, this will grow to between 1325 and 1340 which is near to our planned full size of 1350. We are yet to ‘flatten out’ into a pattern of 168 in each year level from Years 7 to 12 as we remain ‘bottom heavy’ but with smaller numbers still in the Senior School. Our Year 12 numbers in 2019 were 80 followed by 95 this year, 125 next year, 150 in 2022 and closer to 190 in 2023 to 2027, coming down to 168 in 2028 and consolidating at that level as it is planned for Year 7 from 2023. In 2021, we have strong enrolments in Years 5, 6 and 7 with a waiting list forming in Year 7. Our numbers in Year 4 stand at 80 as of this week with 3 classes for 2021. Our analysis of this change from 4 to 3 classes demonstrates that this is most likely a COVID related financial impact with approximately 25 families retaining their enrolment at ATC but deferring it to Year 7 2024.
I wanted to make the community aware of a few other projects presently underway:
1. We are renewing the College website for launch during 2021. This key platform will be streamlined and improved for use on a mobile phone. We are aiming to retain the central ideas of our present website and make our new one easier to navigate and integrated with our College App and social media.
2. We are reviewing our College Uniform, Hair and Grooming policy for relaunch in 2021. While I have ‘looked, listened and learned’ through 2020, it is clear to me that more detailed information regarding student hair expectations will be helpful for students, staff and parents. Throughout the remainder of this term, we will facilitate a process which enables student, parent and staff awareness for a renewal of policy and practice which is suitable to our context and clarifies the present policy in 2021. We will communicate further about this in the coming weeks.
3. Again, having ‘looked, listened and learned’, it is clear to me that as a College situated in the suburbs amongst a residential community that the management of student cars and drivers is going to be vital going forward. Of 200 students presently in Year 11 and 12, we have approximately 50 students driving to school and the surrounding nearby streets are full. By 2023, we will have approximately 385 students in Years 11 and 12 based on our current Middle School population. Simple maths suggests that we may soon have over 100 students driving in what is already a congested zone and seeking parking. Student presence and behaviour in cars is an important safety, management and community relations issue. With students now generally being older at graduation, there is a far greater ratio of them with licences in Year 11 and 12 than in the past. We will communicate with current Years 10 and 11 families in the coming weeks about this matter and our 2021 plans. These plans don’t include a ‘ban’ on driving or the like, more so a further articulation of our situation and need for us to work together on this. All existing arrangements remain in place for 2020.
4. An aspect of our budget planning for 2021 is the development of further play and lunch spaces for our boys in the Middle School. We are developing plans for the use of spaces behind the Edmund Rice Building and below the Callan Building to develop hand ball courts, decking and eating areas which will provide our Middle School boys with further options for mixing with friends and structured opportunities for play. Further, as a part of our ongoing master-planning project for capital works, the duplication of the St Francis Xavier Centre has been identified as a priority to be built in 2022. This will include this space doubling in size, enclosed on all sides and a gym being added to this multi-purpose resource that is used for sport activities, assemblies and community gatherings.
ATC’s Got Talent
Instead of the usual live performances of ATCs Got Talent, this year students were invited to video their performance and submit it online. I was impressed to see students sitting transfixed to the screen in their homerooms watching boys from all year levels perform. The result was over 1000 students saw the various performances and voted for their favourites. On Friday during a special College assembly, the winners were announced and I congratulate these students:
I would ask the community to please keep Ethan Postle (8 Nolan) in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of his Grandmother. We hope that the passage of time will help heal the pain of her passing. Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, may perpetual light shine upon her, may she rest in peace. Amen.