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Giving Students a Voice in Educational Change

From Wednesday to Saturday this week I am gathering with fellow Principals from our 55 Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice tradition throughout Australia. Our annual conference is being held here in Brisbane. I am looking forward to this occasion as it has been very rare to gather with colleagues external to the College for almost 18 months now.

One of the key foci for the conference is the challenge of teaching and learning in the 21st century and the theme of student voice. Students have rarely been involved in making significant changes to their learning. Education reforms have typically focused on curriculum, teachers and teaching, and assessment, but rarely about helping students to become owners of their learning and learning environments. Our keynote speaker and workshop leader, Professor Yong Zhao will explore the necessity of involving students as partners of educational change and owners of their learning. Professor Zhao is presently a leader at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and the School of Education at the University of Kansas. His primary area of research and interest is in the implications of globalisation and technology on education. Year 10 Students, Ethan Casey, Matthew Collins, and Matthew Perissinotto are joining me at the conference for some of the dialogue that Professor Zhao will lead, and I look forward to our reflections and discussion.

On the opening day of the conference, we have been invited to host afternoon tea and Year 8 students Charlie Hansford, Eric Ah-Fock, Harrison George, Sean Majendie, Elliot O’Kearney, Matthias Woodbridge are joining Mr Bernard Wong in leading the welcome to our guests throughout Australia. I thank these boys for their hospitality and service

Another aspect of the Principal’s Conference is a farewell celebration for Dr Wayne Tinsey, former Executive Director of Edmund Rice Education Australia, Brother Paul Oakley, former Chair of the EREA Council and Mr Geoff Doyle, former EREA Director of Stewardship. ATC has had the privilege of being invited to provide some music at this significant celebration and I take this opportunity to thank our Jazz musicians who are sharing their talents and the staff and parents who are supporting them. I will be very proud to have them with us at the conference.

Ministerial Designation Approval

Mrs Carmel Ellis, Director of the Indooroopilly Montessori Children’s House, our wonderful neighbours, rang me last week as she had been told that ATC was looking to build on her site! That was news to me! I recently shared with you the news that we have had approval over all of our site including Jack Bower’s Oval, for master planning development for the next decade. I will share information with the community as we progress but need to be clear that multiple building sites are not imminent and certainly not on the IMCH site! As a young school, currently still carrying debt from the establishment of our foundation buildings in the middle and senior schools, all future development is dependent on the availability of funds. Our first priority is the duplication and enclosing of the St Francis Xavier Centre (SFXC) which is our community gathering space and main indoor sport facility. Now that the MID has been approved, we are commencing planning for this project which we hope to complete in 2022 and at the latest, in 2023.

Enrolments for 2022

I ask that all current ATC families be mindful of making contact with our Enrolments Officer, Mrs Robyn Donaldson to ensure all siblings have enrolment applications submitted for 2022 and beyond. Our Year 7 entry point, especially in 2022, is now building a sizable waiting list and future projections indicate that Year 7 enrolments are strong. There remains significant interest in Years 4 and Year 5 as entry points and I predict that 2022 will see the College reach the 2015 goal set of 1350. Thank you to the parents and caregivers of our 2021 Year 6 cohort who have been in contact with Mrs Donaldson regarding their intentions for 2022. This has enabled us to do some preparation and planning as enrolment demand for Year 7 2022 is very high.


I ask the community to please keep Sam Parsonage (10U), his cousin Jack Neiland (8W) and their families in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of Sam’s mother. We hope that the passage of time will help heal the pain of their loss. Please also keep Scott Hewson (Classroom School Officer), his sons Jack Hewson (OB 2020) and Sam Hewson (11U) and their family in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of Scott’s Mother. We also offer our thoughts and prayers to Ignatius Dempsey (5N) and his family following the recent passing of his grandmother.

God bless

Chris Ryan