Edmund Rice Education Australia Touchstone
As a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition, our community is accepting and welcoming, fostering right relationships and committed to the common good, through the provision of an approach to pastoral care that nurtures the dignity of each person as uniquely reflecting the image of God.
Pastoral Care Review
Throughout 2019, the Pastoral Team led by Deputy Principal, Mr Jay Sutton and Director of Pastoral Care, Mr Paul English conducted a review of the Pastoral Care system to ensure that the strategies that we employ in this domain are grounded in current research and reflect the values and philosophy inherent in the Touchstones, Inclusive Community. The Pastoral Team explored current practice evidenced in other schools and other external research, and formulated a range of initiatives to be introduced in 2020, that are designed to meet the wellbeing needs of students in a deeper and contemporary manner.
Many new initiatives will be introduced to support the range of strategies that are currently implemented, with some of the current strategies modified and improved. At the centre of these new initiatives is an absolute commitment to providing the best possible care for our boys in an environment which is nurturing while challenging them to be the best they can be.
The following initiatives will be introduced in 2020:
- Positive Behaviour for Learning focus: Positive Behaviour for Learning is a framework for creating safe and orderly learning environments in schools, while improving the social-emotional outcomes for students. It is a proactive approach that relies on research-based practices, including developing clear behavioural expectations, teaching these expectations, acknowledging appropriate behaviour, consistently correcting inappropriate behaviour and using behavioural data to systematically solve problems.
- Wellbeing Program: The Wellbeing program has been created so that our students have a strong sense of connectedness through developing respectful relationships, as well as meeting the Emotional and Social Learning needs of all students at St Edward’s. The program consists of fortnightly Wellbeing lessons for all students in Years 7 to 9. These lessons are timetabled as Wellbeing and are taught by Wellbeing staff to ensure that students know that we take their wellbeing seriously and thoughtfully. In addition to the fortnightly program, each year group (Year 7 – 10) will rotate through an extended Wellbeing program each Friday afternoon. Throughout the year, Year 11 and Year 12 students will also be involved in health and wellbeing opportunities.
- Home Room: Home Room (previously known as Tutor) is the first point of contact between the College, the student and his family. It is here that significant relationships can be developed. Through these relationships, a student will gain a sense of belonging and connection to the College. The College will also be exploring Home Room team building activities in line with the Colour Houses to build a sense of belonging.
- Student Voice Committee: In 2020, a Student Voice Committee will be introduced. The goal of this committee is to improve the wellbeing for students, teachers and the school community, involve students in the future planning of the College, support the Prefect group, drive student engagement, create positive change that benefits the whole school community as well as have a different perspective and insight into the school environment, culture, and experience.
- Certificates of Merit: The Certificates of Merit system affirms students who strive to achieve personal excellence in College life. Merits are intended to recognise effort and may be given for high standards of behaviour and uniform. When students have received a certain number of certificates of merit they can apply to their Pastoral Leader for a Pastoral Leaders Award, which will be presented at a Year Assembly. Once a student has three Pastoral Leader Awards they may apply to Director of Pastoral Care for the Principal’s Award. At a whole school assembly, the student receiving the award will be presented to the Principal by their Pastoral Leader.
- Re-Structure of the Level System: The Level System is integral to St Edward’s Positive Behaviour for Learning program. It encourages students to be safe, be a learner and be respectful.
Change in Canteen Operations in 2020
St Edward’s College has been in a unique position for many years in the way in which the canteen has operated. Through the wonderful work of staff employed by the College in managing the canteen with the support of a large number of volunteers throughout the College history, the canteen has been able to provide an excellent quality of nutritious food to students. This form of canteen operation is not the norm in many high schools as many schools have not been able to rely on parent volunteers, which are crucial to ensuring that the service can be sustained.
The changing work life patterns of our own families however has resulted in a steady decline in the number of volunteers willing to commit to assisting in the canteen over recent years. We have now reached a stage whereby the number of volunteers has declined to a point that the current operational arrangements are no longer sustainable. On most days of the week, we have insufficient volunteers to ensure that all boys are served, without calling on other staff from across the school to assist, drawing them away from their own responsibilities or lunch break.
As a result of this changing trend, it is with mixed feelings that the decision has been made to outsource the operation of the canteen to a local company called Fresh Food Fast. I say with mixed feelings, as I am aware that volunteering in the canteen is one of the opportunities available for parents to engage with their son’s learning community. The canteen has provided parents and carers with a means of connecting with other families, teachers and students.
In making this decision, it was important to ensure that the quality of food, the service and affordability of food items matched the current canteen operations. These were key criteria in selecting Fresh Food Fast to take over the operations of the canteen. We are very confident that these criteria will not only be matched, but also will be built upon. The Flexischools payment system will continue to operate and a sample of the Term one menu is available at the following link.
I would like to thank the wonderful St Edward’s staff and the many volunteers who have been an integral part in the success of the canteen over many years. Without your support, the canteen would not have been able to operate as it has for as long as it did.
Staff Development Day
A reminder that a Staff Development Day has been scheduled for Friday November 22. This day will be devoted to teaching staff completing many of their mandatory hours of compliance training required for Teacher Accreditation with time also allocated to planning for the 2020 school year.
Outstanding Achievements by Year 11 Students
James Norman – International Powerlifting League World Champion
James Norman of Year 11 recently competed in the International Powerlifting League World Championships representing Australia in the under 75 kg Juniors, in Limerick Ireland. James participated in the Squat, Bench Press and Dead Lift events recording a personal best result in taking out the Gold Medal. In achieving this result, James holds the title of World Champion in his class. We congratulate James on this outstanding achievement.
Kai Darwin – Junior Australian Lifesaver of the Year
Congratulation to Kai Darwin of Year 11 who was recently awarded the Junior Australian Lifesaver of the Year at the National Awards Ceremony held on the Gold Coast. Kai has made an outstanding contribution to Life Saving on the Central Coast and across the country assisting with the organisation of National Tournaments. Kai balances this with his studies, volunteer work with the Emergency Services and the part time work and study through Newcastle TAFE in the field of nursing. An amazing achievement by a truly inspirational young man.
Outstanding Achievements in Virtual Debating
This year the College had two teams that participated in the National Virtual Debate Competition. This is a unique competition that allows schools from around the country to break away from a local geographic group of competitors and compete against opponents from all over Australia.
Our Year 9 and 10 Debating team are to be commended on their outstanding performances throughout the National Virtual Debate Competition. Ikey Allen, Jai Heaney, Jett Heaney, and Kai Wheelock were the only team to go into the grand final undefeated out of over 30 other teams nationwide. The boys debated some challenging topics including, The Fourth Estate Is Fundamental to Democracy, Climate Change Is the Cause of Extreme Weather Conditions in Australia, and that Drinking Water is a Human Right. Unfortunately, the team did not win the grand final this year, nonetheless the boys should be very proud of their accomplishments. Thank you to Mrs Katie Moon for her wonderful work in guiding these boys throughout this competition.
College Board Expressions of Interest
The St Edward’s College Board requests interested members of the community to submit an expression of interest to fulfil the role of Board member commencing in February 2020. School Board members are volunteers working collaboratively with the Principal in the stewardship of the College within the context of EREA. Members of School Boards are chosen to meet the expertise requirements of the Board, not as representatives of any body. Any person interested in being considered for a position on the St Edward’s College Board is asked to complete an expression of interest form, using the following link.
The expressions of interest should be addressed to the College Principal at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information regarding the design and functions of the College Board is available from:
College Old Boys Annual General Meeting
The Old Boys Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday December 2, commencing at 6.00pm in the College Board Room. The newly designed Old Boys Union Constitution will be discussed at this meeting with a view to accept the recommended changes. All Old Boys of the College are welcome to attend.