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Principal’s Message
01.09.21

Edmund Rice Education Australia Touchstones

Liberating Education

As a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition, we aim to encourage all members of the school community to work to the best of their ability

 

Continuation of Home-Based Learning into Term 4

The recent announcement by the NSW Government regarding the extension of Home-Based Learning into Term 4 will naturally be a cause of concern for parents, carers and students. Our greatest challenge with this announcement is ensuring that we can support our boys in maintaining motivation and remaining engaged in their learning and promoting positive wellbeing.

Our approach to Home-Based Learning has been designed to focus on developing learning skills that promote greater independence and autonomy in learning. Teachers have attempted to create learning activities for students in Years 7- 10 which maintain a balance between ensuring academic rigour, managing screen time and fun and enjoyment in learning. We believe this approach is critical in supporting students maintain their motivation but understand that there will be times that they will not feel engaged, especially considering the length of time that we have been in lockdown. While in the senior years our focus has been on completing the Preliminary and HSC courses and preparing students for their final assessment.

Throughout the term, teachers have been providing a range of opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning which may not be the traditional forms of assessment or exams. This approach has been deliberate and more appropriately suited to the Home Learning environment.

We are closely monitoring student attendance, level of engagement and completion of work and are extremely pleased with the commitment to learning demonstrated by the vast majority of boys. Understandably parents may have concerns about the impact of the extended period of lockdown on their son’s learning progression. I encourage parents not to worry about this. Our boys’ level of health and wellbeing is far more important at this stage. If they continue to commit to engaging in lessons and completing the learning activities planned, we are confident that students will establish a greater sense of responsibility for their own learning, which will be of benefit in the long term.

I encourage parents and carers to continue to engage in conversation with your sons about their learning. Ask questions about what they enjoy, what they find challenging and how they feel about home-based learning continuing into next term. Providing an opportunity for them to share their thinking is critical. If you are concerned about your son’s health and wellbeing and would like support, I encourage you to contact the College Parent Support Line.

We will be inviting families to complete a survey to provide feedback about Home-Based Learning. We have also scheduled an online information session for families in Year 7-10 in the first week of Term 4. The survey will also allow parents to ask questions that they would like answered at the information session and we will address these on the night.  Further details regarding the survey and the information session will be emailed to families next week.

Year 11 and 12 families will also be invited to participate in separate information webinars early in Term 4, with specific information for each year group presented. The Year 11 session will focus on the commencement of the HSC with advice about the HSC pattern of study, NESA rules and regulations and the reintegration to face-to-face plan. The Year 12 session will focus on the HSC examinations, the return to onsite learning on October 25, how we plan to support students in achieving their best possible results in the final exams and the end of year farewell celebrations planned. Families will be sent an invitation which will also provide an opportunity to ask questions prior to the webinars.

To conclude this week’s edition of Touchstones, I would like to share with you a message from the College Captain, Kai Wheelock, encouraging students to remain connected and engaged in their learning.

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