Cakes, cakes, cakes …. This week the school has been full of cakes (not that we have heard any complaints): cakes in the Staff Room, cakes in the office, cakes in the classrooms. This is, of course, the final echo of Open Day, and the Annual Cake Competition! We all agree – it was a wonderful event, well organised and well run, and everyone seemed to be relaxed and enjoying themselves. Many thanks to Lucy B and her team of tireless parents. One of the outstanding features of the day – besides the wonderful singing, the performances and the magnificent classrooms, was the behaviour of the children. Disciplined during the performances and beautifully behaved for the rest of the day: this is a tribute to the teachers and parents in the inculcation of the school values and the encouragement of self-discipline. The children have been congratulated, and very deservedly so. A mention should be given to the departure of two wonderful teachers who have made an enormous contribution to the school over many, many years. On Wednesday, the staff had a morning tea to say farewell and thank you to Judith Irvine and Ann Wakeford. Judith’s experience in and knowledge of the world of music was offered to students of the school to whom she taught music and choir: always to the highest standard. The brilliance of the present day choirs is attributable to her work, and also the work of Mrs. Sarah Mane. Mrs. Ann Wakeford has managed the Special Education facility at John Colet, also for many years. Her professionalism and caring approach have provided a great service to children in need of support or extension and also to their parents. Many thanks to both these ladies: Miss Irvine is moving to the United Kingdom, and Mrs. Wakeford will still be “on call” as a consultant, should she be needed. The coming week brings several events: John Colet Day Assembly on Monday – we are expecting some members of the Board of Governors and perhaps one or two other visitors. Also on Monday at 7.30 p.m. there will be a “State of the School” address given by the Headmaster, Mr. Gilbert Mane. Sanskrit is “in the air”, as the Sanskrit Competition is to be held on Thursday (heats on Tuesday). Our Guest of Honour will be the Vice-Consul for India. We trust that he will be “blown away” by the recitations! We always are. Our behaviour focus is Truthfulness, and we, teachers and children, have also been practising a threefold discipline: • become still, • focus, • then move into action as necessary, from that point. Try it – it’s a great way to begin anything!
We look pretty set for Open Day: stalls and stands are going up, classrooms are almost ready and rich with wonderful work, and the forecast for Sunday seems propitious for a wonderful day. Now we need the people …..Please be very mindful where you park. We have informed close neighbours of the event, but respecting the access to their homes is paramount.
We have been very lucky this term to have had the assistance of two “bright young things” from the U.K.: Joy Mendes da Costa has already been with us since mid-year 2013 and has made herself almost indispensable! Joy went to St. James School in London, our “mother school”, and when she leaves Australia early next month, she will firstly be going to Geneva to undertake an intensive 3-week French language course. After that she will be a volunteer pancake maker at “Art in Action”, a large and very successful annual event staged by the School of Philosophy (School of Economic Science in England) to host a wide range of artists who demonstrate their art and sell their wares. This event attracts around 45,000 from the U.K. and Europe. She’ll be an expert pancake maker by the end of it! Joy will then will go to the University of York to complete a four-year course in Education. Olivia Jones came at the beginning of Term 2, fresh from a month of volunteering at a school in Thailand, and before that, from four months as a nanny in the Cinque Terre, Italy. Olivia went to Bury Grammar School in Greater Manchester. In October this year she will begin her studies of Psychology at the University of Bristol.
They have immensely enjoyed their time in Australia, and our wonderful climate, the huge variety of landscapes so different from their own, and the richness and extent of what Sydney has to offer its residents and visitors. They found Australians to be open, friendly, generous and hospitable, and we won’t be too surprised if they return.
We mustn’t fail to mention that we have also been blessed with the presence this term of two Education students from Notre Dame University who are here for Professional Experience: Taylor Carmichael and Kristen Wilde. They too have been of great support and help, and hopefully are learning new skills on the job. Taylor and Kristen will be with us till the end of Term 2. Good wishes to all for Open Day: especially the teachers, the children performing and the P&F organisers.
On Tuesday morning the children seemed cheerful and confident as they prepared to write the first of the Naplan tests. We wished them good luck, knowing they would do their best and that is the most important thing. Very relevant here is the week’s practice for teachers and children which is to firstly become still, then focus and then do whatever is required by the situation. This is a skill for life, and is in fact the only reasonable way to approach whatever faces us.
Another outstanding event in our week was the performance of the John Colet Strings Ensemble at Monday’s Assembly, under the direction of Rosey Davidson. They played three pieces: it was delightful and it’s amazing to think that the Ensemble only came together last term. We look forward to regular future performances.
This weekend the parents of Cook House will come for Sunday morning to help prepare the school for Open Day; this is in tandem with the enormous effort put in by the teachers, children and especially the Art Department, not forgetting the P&F, to prepare the school for this annual event and to showcase the work and activities of John Colet School.
The weather seems to have preceded us in requiring warmer clothes. Week 3 and it’s into winter uniforms for those who haven’t already taken that step. The classrooms are already looking colourful as the teachers and children prepare to display their work so far this year. Our especial thanks to the Art Department – they produce and put up much of the work. Unfortunately the Cyber Safety and Stranger Danger talks for the children had to be postponed, due to the illness of one of the speakers. It will be re-scheduled – possibly after Open Day. The talk for parents and carers will still be held at John Colet School on Tuesday 13th at 7.00 p.m. This should be of great relevance to all of us, and we look forward to welcoming you to the school on that evening. Truthfulness this week has an emphasis on “telling the whole truth” – that is, when you complain about the behaviour of another child, you always mention the part that you played in the interchange, not just the negative behaviour that you received: tell the full story! A little self-examination goes a long way!
Our attention will be on Honesty which is how we practically apply the School Value of speaking the truth. This is a large part of the development of good character in the child, and the courage to own up and speak the truth should be supported in the child at every turn. All five of the school’s Values are for the building of a strong, mindful and upright person, and truthfulness, honesty and the ability to own up are very much at the core of this.
The term has begun well, and the children have settled quickly to work, especially so those who are preparing themselves for the NAPLAN tests in a few weeks. It’s a very short term, so we have to capitalise on every minute!
This term has seen the departure of Mrs. Ann Wakeford, head of the Special Education Dept. Mrs. Wakeford has been with the school for many years, and there is quite a group of parents and teachers who have been extremely grateful to her for her special skills and way in which she has supported children with needs. However, we do not need to mourn too deeply as Mrs. Wakeford will still be called on for consultation, and we hope to see her on a regular basis. She will be replaced by Mrs. Lucy Little, who is well known to all of us, and who has been working in this department for several years.
This week sees the end of the choice of uniform – summer/winter, and from Week 3, all children should be wearing their winter uniforms.
And finally, we launched a smart new website this week. Do visit it soon at
Easter approaches and the first term is behind us – a smooth but eventful Term 1.
We brought the term to an end with a strong Easter flavour: The Lower First had an Easter Bonnet Parade and delighted firstly their parents with their display of hats and their recitation, and then the whole school as they went from class to class. There were some amazing creations, and one is always surprised at the inventiveness of mothers and fathers. And don’t the children just love it.
The Easter service was beautiful and the wonderful, simple exposition of the Easter story given by the Headmaster, as the hymns, brought a tear to one or two eyes!
Now to the holidays – may the sun shine on us occasionally and may we all return safe and rested, ready for the next quarter of the year! Happy Easter.
This week we are considering the final part of the quartet covering the Responsibilities and Rights of the School, Staff and the Students: Responsibilities come first, as, through the exercise of our Responsibilities, we earn our Rights:
The students’ rights are: 1 To be aided in the remembrance of the Creator and His fine regulations and to be aided in their search to return to Him; 2 To be provided with an atmosphere which promotes self-discovery, peace and order; 3 To have the best available materials, such as Shakespeare, Mozart and Michelangelo, and appropriate curriculum made available to them; 4To be supported in learning and personal development; 5 To have the school rules clearly explained and justly and consistently applied.
One of the other aspects of this is the right of children to be heard, and also to have the opportunity to express themselves and their understandings as individuals in an appropriate forum. This of course includes all aspects of the curriculum: academic, artistic, philosophical and sporting: evidence of this is to be seen everywhere in the school.
In support of 6th Class’s training towards exercising their responsibilities as members of the community (both school and the wider world), they went this week to a Leadership Training course at Homebush. The speakers were Mike Martin, Executive Director of the Halogen Foundation; Bob Carr, politician; Ita Buttrose, Editor; Andy Griffiths, the author and Coen Ashton, a 16-year-old suffering from cystic fibrosis who had been expected to die, but who refused to submit to this. He had a double lung transplant, and is still leading a very useful life.
Mrs. Dunn remarked: “All the speakers were excellent, they offered great principles of leadership and shared some of their life experiences. A leader needs to earn respect through equity, care for others and enthusiasm. Qualities they embraced were empathy, perseverance, integrity, influence: “big things can start small”, “embrace change” and “never give up”.” Sounds like a useful bag of tricks!
Having over the past two weeks considered the Responsibilities of the Staff to the Students, and those of the Students themselves, we are now ready to consider Rights: firstly the rights of the School.
Our rights follow as a consequence of the fulfilment of our responsibilities. Having fulfilled our responsibilities, we are entitled to expect others to do likewise.
The school’s rights are: • Staff members have a right to be treated with respect by the students and other staff members, to be spoken to politely, courteously and truthfully by the students and other staff members and to enjoy a positive, friendly, cooperative and collegiate atmosphere at school. • The school has the right to expect students to care for school property and not to damage or destroy it. • To see that the school uniform is worn in accordance with the school uniform policy. • To see that the students’ behaviour enhances the school’s reputation both on and off school premises.
There are some simple behaviours around the school which will help to make the core values clear to ourselves and others, and to ensure that the above Rights are met, particularly in relation to respect and courtesy. Children should - 1 Stand for teachers and adults when they enter a room; 2 Address teachers and adults respectfully; 3 Stand back for teachers; 4 Exhibit good table manners and consideration for others at lunch; 5 Boys stand for girls when they enter a room; 6 Leave rooms in a tidy and neat condition; 7 Enter a classroom or other parts of the buildings during recesses only with a teacher’s permission; 8 Enter the staff work room only with a teacher’s permission.
There have been some changes in lunch arrangements, and Mrs. Moor has been working to encourage the eating of more salads! Infants: there is a daily service of yoghurt, and milk and bread continue to be offered at the table, along with the set meal. Primary: for children who wish to have extra salad and/or yoghurt, a side table has been set up and they may help themselves under supervision. Bread is also available every day, along with Vegemite and honey. The children all seem to be happy with the new arrangements. Last week we had a visit to follow up on the Health Department’s initiative Live Life Well @ School and Crunch@Sip. The Department’s representative said we ticked all the boxes, and she was impressed when she walked through the lunch room to have a look at the Gardening Club’s work!
This week we are following on from last week by setting out the responsibilities of the children at John Colet School, as enunciated in our Discipline Policy. Once again, these are based on the School values: Speak the Truth, Always give of your best, Serve all and everything and Work together with love, honour and respect for one another.
The students’ responsibilities are: 1 To be truthful in speech and action and to conduct themselves in an open-hearted, generous and dignified manner. To deal with others fairly, politely and with respect. To treat others as one would like to be treated: with understanding and sympathy, and to refrain from treating others in a way in which one would not like to be treated. 2 To respect the authority of the teachers and staff. To be well behaved in class and not disturb others. To keep up to date with class work and homework. To attend school regularly and to be punctual for school and classes. To present all work with the greatest care. 3 To care for the school environment, to keep it neat and clean. To respect the property of the school and others; not to steal, damage or destroy it; to ask permission before using it; and to take proper care of it. 4 To behave at school and in public so that the community will respect the school. To wear the proper school uniform neatly and correctly.
Next week we will look at the rights that follow on from the exercise of the responsibilities. Miss Cipollone and Mrs Dawson with the help of Miss Jackson, have put into the playground and organised the care thereof, the sport equipment that came from the Government’s Live Life Well at School initiative. Many thanks to them for hoops, ropes, various balls and a cricket set. 5th Class have been tasked with keeping it orderly! Everyone has benefited.
Following on from this, we look forward to a great outcome from the Walkathon, remembering that the funds raised will be used to introduce fitness stations in the playground. Many thanks to the organisers.
Also, 6th Class, by popular demand, has this term begun a Sewing Club during lunch break on Tuesdays, with Mrs. Layton and me. They have started by knitting a scarf and almost all of them have started on tapestry inserts for cushions. Look forward to some splendid results!
The girls (alack no boys this year) are thoroughly enjoying it and are very keen. Actual hand sewing such as sewing on buttons, seams, edging etc will follow! We hope to produce a few competent needlecrafters!
During this term at Staff Meetings the Mistresses and the Teachers have been reading through some of the School’s Policies – partly to refresh ourselves on their content, and also to see if they need updating in any way. One of the things that has stood out for us is the Discipline Policy (you can read it on our Website) which, amongst other things, sets out the Responsibilities and Rights of the school and staff, and also of the children. Responsibilities come first because when you exercise your responsibilities properly, you earn certain rights. This week we will concentrate on the Responsibilities of the School and Staff, and next week on the Responsibilities of the Students. Thereafter we will look at the Rights.
These Responsibilities are based on the School’s core values – Speak the Truth, Always give of your best, Serve all and everything, and Work together with love, honour and respect for one another.
School and Staff Responsibilities: 1. To aid the children in remembering the Creator, to live by the fine regulations of Creation, and to discover and unite with God. 2. To provide an atmosphere which promotes self-discovery, peace and order; 3. To expose the children to the best available materials, such as Shakespeare, Mozart and Michelangelo, and appropriate curriculum to meet the needs of each student; 4. To support children in achieving success in learning. 5. To develop a set of rules which are just, clear and consistently applied. 6. To comply with all school policies and procedures and any relevant legislation. As always, consistency at home and school make for a secure and conflict-free environment for children.
Last year’s participants in the Premier’s Reading Challenge have now received their certificates, and a hearty congratulations to the parents and children who actually saw this through. The Challenge requires the children to read a certain number of books in a given time, from a list of good quality titles. This year’s Challenge is now underway, and our thanks to Mrs. Cherry Hopley who is the force behind the Challenge.
This year the Challenge will be for 2nd Class, 3rd Class and 4th Class, and parents of children in those classes should by now have received an email and link. We look forward to a large number of children reading a large number of books!
Another triumph - Crunch&Sip® this has been very successfully and easily introduced and the playground is resonant with the sound of crunching! Once again, this initiative has received the full support of the parents. This is a very worthwhile move, helping children to strengthen their taste for fresh and healthy food. Many thanks to the parents and teachers.
Echoes of Shakespeare are beginning to whisper about the school – Zoe Emanuel will begin her weekly drama classes with the Infants this week. Plays have been chosen and the children will be initially prepared with voice and movement training, before “talent spotting” and casting begins. The Infants’ Festival is early in Term 3.
Friday evening last week saw a large gathering of parents “old” and “new” who attended an evening reception by the School’s Board of Governors. The purpose of this event was to greet new parents and to introduce them to the School Board and offer a chance to meet other families. Brief speeches were made by Philip Wolfers, Chairman of the Board, Simon Beissel, the Treasurer, the Headmaster, and by Indu Balachandran, this year’s President of the Parents and Friends Association. The food was a showcase of what the children eat, but “morphed” into canapé-style. And delicious it was too! The School’s Office Bearers from Sixth Class did a marvellous job in unobtrusively and happily serving the food. Most of the parents had attended class meetings beforehand. These were informative and successful, and thank you to those who attended. Lower First parents were introduced to the School’s values and heard about how they are implemented and practised on a daily basis. There was also a practice of the “pause and dedication”, which of course the children do many times a day. Phillip House had a working bee on Sunday under the care of the Tate family: there was a good attendance and lots was done. Very many thanks to all! Tuesday 4th March sees Phillip House hosting the Market Day. Unbelievably, we are already half way through the term, and the children are working beautifully.
From the Stage Coordinators, Mrs McKendrick and Mrs Donald
A busy week ahead, from the Primary children’s point of view, the most important event is the Swimming Carnival on Wednesday at 10.45 at the Killarney Swim Centre! The House Captains are very excited about the prospect – this is the first major event of their tenure. They and their assistants had a meeting with their respective houses to encourage them to show good sportsmanship and do their best. We hope to see many parents there – it is always a wonderful and exciting event. Also next week is the Reception given by the Board of Governors – we also encourage you to come to this to help welcome new parents and to meet members of the Board. This is in the MacLaren Hall from 7.30 to 9.00 p.m. and refreshments will be served: this is another occasion where Head Boy, Head Girl and House Captains can demonstrate their leadership and also have the opportunity to serve the school. Sunday 23rd is the Phillip House Working Bee – a wonderful day to get out of bed early and spend time with friends! Respect – our term’s focus in the practice of the School Values - this week concentrates on the question: “Is this action considerate of the happiness and comfort of others?”
At Assembly the Headmaster is talking to the children each week about some aspect of this Creed, and naturally, he began with God, giving a simple and delightful exposition. This Creed is designed to set the children to thinking about their lives in a larger context. Our practice of Respect follows on very readily from these considerations. This week we have been looking at Unity, as described last week, and now we will examine and practise the second aspect which is “Is this action safe for myself and others?” The children have been looking very smart in their uniforms, especially 5th Class, who are now in the senior uniform. Congratulations to the children, especially in having their sunhats for play!
From the Stage Coordinators, Mrs McKendrick and Mrs Donald
In the Vision, Mission and Values document of John Colet School, the practice of Respect, which is our practice this term, asks certain questions which are aimed at directing and guiding actions: Work together with love, honour and respect for one another. Practice: Respect 1. Does the action unify? 2. Is this safe for myself and others? 3. Is it considerate of the happiness and comfort of others? 4. Is it honourable, respectful and dignified? 5. Does this action reflect well on my nation, school, family and myself? These are very worthwhile considerations at any age or stage of life, and if we all asked ourselves these questions in the moments before actions and decisions – what a different place the world would be! Our responsibility is to put these considerations before the children, and help and encourage them to apply them to their actions. We will begin with the first question: Does the action unify? • Is it to the benefit of all involved? • Will it bring us together? • Does it exclude anyone? Home support on these questions is very valuable. Copy them and pin them up on the fridge! Our first event on the Calendar is the Primary Swimming Carnival in February: more information will be forthcoming. Lower First had a wonderful start to their school life. They all seemed very happy, settled and mature. In fact everyone has got off to a good, steady start and we are looking forward to a very rewarding and productive year.
John Colet Head Girl Jaanvi Khandhar with some of our Lower First students on their first day.