Message from the Principal

Thought for the week:

"Deep inside of you is more strength than you've ever known"

There is an ongoing debate in educational circles about "gifted and talented" students and this is just one more reason why I am so opposed to labelling students. The belief that intelligence resides within a brain which is situated within a limited body is what results in this limiting idea. When we consider Intelligence to be infinite and not limited to a person with this one having more and that one having less, we have to change our understanding of the role of the human brain. Rather than it being the seat of intelligence, it becomes a mechanism or muscle which facilitates the operation of the human body. Labelling students as "gifted" is as problematic as labelling them as having a learning disability. If we only subscribe to one label, that is that man is (in reality) an unlimited expression or reflection of divine Mind (infinite intelligence) and divine Love, we will replace limiting suggestions with the freeing idea of unlimited ability as a God given quality. I remember one of my educational guides saying "we are all geniuses waiting to be discovered … welcome to the journey". By labelling a few as gifted we are sending a message to the many that they are not. Everyone will discover their gift, their genius and their purpose at some point and our role is not to compartmentalise and to judge but to free everyone up to be all that they can be and to enjoy the journey of discovery.

Recently we received our NAPLAN results from the testing done earlier this year and generally our students have done very well. However, a note of caution when you look at the results of these tests. Firstly, these tests are only a snapshot of how your child performed on the day of the test in a particular test which may or may not test what is important for him or her to know. Secondly, this test result does not tell you about who your child is. It may indicate to us that we should give a bit of extra assistance with spelling, grammar or numeracy, but in no way does it tell us how magnificent your child is; how kind and how courageous they are. And finally, the over-testing of students does not improve national educational outcomes, rather, they stultify them by restricting what might be taught, by making schools focus on outcomes in a test rather than on growth, effort and the learning journey that each child is on.

When you see the press publish league tables of schools based on NAPLAN results, please read these with an awareness of what the tests actually are. I am extremely concerned about the government's intention to introduce NAPLAN testing as low as Grade One.

On Sunday 9 October between 2 and 4.30pm, we are holding a very special event to which all parents, students, friends and relatives are invited. We are holding "Arts in the Round" in the new Middle Years Centre (MYC) which will incorporate the official opening of this new centre. We will have music performances in the Music Centre and MYC; displays of student art work; Indonesian displays, Drama, Media, poetry and much more. The official opening is at 3pm. Our wonderful PTA will provide an afternoon tea. I look forward to seeing you all there.

We wish all those travelling to our sister school, Clairbourn a happy and enjoyable time.
For all those going on the Simunye Trip to South Africa, we wish you a successful and productive trip. I know that they will be doing so much good and will bring joy to countless young people and their families.

Sholto Bowen