Safeguarding Month and St. Paul’s

This month is identified as Safeguarding Month in the Diocese of Broken Bay. This was launched with a beautiful liturgy last Tuesday at the Cathedral at Waitara. 

St. Paul’s prides itself on being a safe school and I am wholeheartedly committed to ensuring that every young man at our college is safe. We are all acutely aware of the difficult times we are facing as a church in the face of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and its recommendations.

We are further encouaraged in our awareness by the history of some events that occurred in the college’s history thirty years ago or longer which have had a very significant impact on the lives of young people into adulthood. We need to respond very compassionately to them and ensure that such actions that have caused harm , even broken the law, must never happen again.

I worry that anyone’s perception or experince of the college over thirty years ago may colour their sense of us now.

It is clear too,  given media coverage,  that such actions haven’t been confined to religious schools and other social welfare organisations, religious and lay,  as now some public schools are under the spotlight for allegations in their history.

It is a shameful period of history in education and social welfare that much has been learnt from to safeguard our young people into the future. One posiutive to be thankful for.

It is useful to read the college policy on this whole area which I have included below and ask your forbearance in reading it. .

You should have every confidence we are a safe school, have procedures in place and training for all involved to maintain that and are wholeheartedly committed to remaining so. 

“All staff  at St. Paul’s  take our responsibility to protect children very seriously. All staff are expected to promote child safety by having a clear understanding of their legal child protection responsibilities and act in accordance with those responsibilities.

In particular the school will:

1. Maintain professionalism in our interactions with children at all times by exercising appropriate duty of care and maintaining appropriate professional boundaries.

2. Follow an established process to address allegations of inappropriate behaviour by staff towards children.

3. Ensure all people working in our school including parent volunteers, are appropriately screened for working with children.

4. Respond appropriately when we suspect a child is at risk of significant harm due to possible abuse or neglect by a parent/carer or other adult.

Maintaining Professionalism

All staff are expected to act professionally and in accordance with the school’s expectations regarding staff conduct toward children. Members of staff receive guidance and professional development in relation to appropriate interactions with students, how to exercise duty of care and how to maintain professional boundaries. We understand that staff have a duty of care to:

• Ensure no child is exposed to foreseeable risk of harm

• Take action to minimise risk

• Supervise actively and

• If we see others acting inappropriately with children, report concerns to the Principal or seek further advice

School staff also understand that they are in a position of trust, authority and influence in relation to children and that it is important that we do not take advantage of that position to mistreat or misguide students either intentionally or inadvertently.

Staff strive to:

• Demonstrate appropriate relationships with children that cannot be misinterpreted as overly personal or intimate;

• Remain within the responsibilities of their roles and allow those appropriately trained to deal with student welfare concerns;

• Minimise physical contact with children unless it is necessary to exercise appropriate duty of care;

• Follow the school’s policies and procedures relating to pastoral care and wellbeing including serious incidents and reporting risk of harm.

Addressing complaints of inappropriate behaviour by staff

We are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for both students and staff. This includes addressing complaints of inappropriate behaviour by staff towards any child or young person.

Such complaints are handled differently to other types of complaints which may arise in the school because of legal obligations established by the NSW Ombudsman Act 1974. The NSW Ombudsman is a government agency which requires schools and other organisations working with children to ensure systems are in place for recording and responding to all allegations of a child protection nature against staff.

You should be aware that ‘staff’ includes volunteer helpers as well as paid staff

If you have concerns about alleged inappropriate behaviour by a staff member towards any child or young person it is important that you discuss your concerns with the Principal who in turn will consult with the CSO’s Child Protection Team.

All complaints are investigated and resolved through a fair and confidential process which involves listening to ‘both sides of the story’ and giving all involved an opportunity to be heard. If the concerns involve alleged criminal behaviour they will be reported to the Police and the CSO will wait for the outcome of the Police investigation before continuing its own investigation.

At the end of an investigation a finding will be made and appropriate follow up determined. In relation to the staff member this may include no action, increased support, professional development, increased supervision/monitoring or disciplinary action, removal from duties or termination of employment. If harm has occurred to a child, counselling or other support will be offered to the child.

Parent Volunteers

Parent participation, involvement and help are welcome and appreciated for various activities both in school and on excursions. \It is important that all parent helpers / volunteers are aware that they are subject to child protection legislation. This means all volunteers must:

• not engage in any inappropriate behaviour towards any children. In particular although volunteers are technically not employed by the school, they are considered to be ‘staff’ for legal purposes and need to be aware that complaints about inappropriate behaviour towards any child or young person must be investigated.

• sign on at the front office, be inducted and get a visitors badge from the office as per school procedure.

• check with the school what the current legal requirements are for working with children.

Responding to risk of harm

All school staff are mandatory reporters. This means that if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is at risk of ‘significant harm’ from abuse or neglect, then a report must be made to the Community Services Child Protection Helpline (CP Helpline).

School staff are expected to inform the Principal if they are concerned that a child may be at risk. It is the role of the Principal (or delegate) to make the report to the CP Helpline.

In making a report the Principal will consider all of the information and seek appropriate advice from the CSO’s child protection team (CP team). Any information about a child at risk is kept confidentially by the Principal. In situations where a child is considered to be at risk the school will work with the child and family to assist them as much as possible.

If you have concerns about a child who you consider may be at risk, please discuss your concerns with the Principal as soon as possible and maintain confidentiality.

If you would like further information regarding any of the above please speak to your Principal first or feel free to contact the CSO Child Protection Team on: Phone: 9847 0618″

Thank you and God Bless.

Chris Browne

College Principal.

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The Importance of Fathers for our Sons.

With Fathers’ Day coming up this Sunday we send best wishes to all fathers and grandfathers and thank you for the critical influence you are in the lives of our young men. If your son doesnt have a father in his life then we know that it is vital that he have other significant males in his life to set the rules on how to behave and navigate life as a male.

Having the right guidance in his life for our young men can’t be underestimated. Adolescence is an important time to lay those foundations, to guide him on the right path to become the fine young men we hope they all become. School provides important role modelling but that has to occur in partnership with parenting that reinforces those messages, the programming if you like , that we are seeking to impart.

Celia Lashlie spoke of the Bridge of Adolescence:

Bridge of Adolescence

She emphasised that at this age it is important for mothers to step off the bridge and allow fathers to step up and walk their sons over the bridge into manhood. There are so many learnings our sons make from their father where words aren’t actually spoken, where they obeserve the heroes in their lives, where the look from Dad, the raised eyebrow, the crooked finger directing them can speak volumes in a language they understand.

As human beings, we grow up by imitating the behavior of those around us; that’s how we learn to function in the world. If a father is caring and treats people with respect, the young boy will grow up much the same.

If we consider the diagram above we can picture fathers stopping their sons fal linto bad habits at critical points by the appropriate guidance. Are mothers influential? Of course they are but we know that the teenage years are the important time for fathers to step up.

A parenting commentator Michael Grose has some useful suggestions also

This Friday we have our Year 7 Fathers day BBQ as well as it being Jersey Day in honour of Nathan Gremmo and in support of the Donate Life Network. We would encourage all boys, staff and parents to wear their favourite jersey on the day. We look forward to seing our Year 7 Dad’s for breakfast!

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In closing. again best wishes to all Dad’s, grandfathers and males who are significant to the young men in our college. Thank you for the enormous formative difference you make.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal

Others at our Centre-Drought Relief.

The efforts inspired by Jack Berne from St John the Baptist Primary School, Freshwater to raise money for drouight relief , the Fiver for a Farmer movement has seen an amazing response all over the country to the movement. Our own college came together and raised in one week over $4000 which was a great outcome in so short a period.

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I’ve encouraged the young men of our college many times that Blessed Edmund Rice’s example living today is to place others at our centre, not ourselves; the gospel message of Jesus,  in action. That our young men in very insular and selfish times, reflect on the gospel message of Jesus, who commaded us to loved one another, who placed himself with the poorest and most marginalised of his times, can reflect on this and act with the level of generosity they have, was wonderful to see.

We asked our men to give what they could. $5 was a general minimum but I’m always reminded of the story of the widow’s offering from the Gospel of Mark 12 :41-44:

” Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” “

Many gave much more than the minimum, some less and few, none at all. That always raises questions about whether they could afford it or were they not moved by the appeal at all or had they already given elsewhere. One can never assume and one must never judge. We hope the seed planted in them of the example of Jesus and Blessed Edmund  is growing well.

What was clear was that the community has been moved to respond and our young men outdid themselves. My hope is that they place the same priority in their minds of all the needy in our society as we should; those who live on the street, refugees whether they be those who come by plane, boat or however, the economic battlers, those with health issues whether it be physical or mental or any other sort of affliction.

It was great too to see the boys and staff respond so well to the suggestio of a mufti day and to show their empathy by dressing in a rural theme for the day.Y7 FFF

As we move through the year the young men of St.Paul’s and their families have been very generous. We have ongoing needs in our local and international communities that we can respond from but more importantly I beleive is that our young men are putting their learning into action, that they are changed as young people by the giving and that they are moved always in life to keep others at their centre.

God Bless.

Chris Browne

College Principal.

The Richness of the Life of a Great School – Part Two.

A browse through the college Facebook page over the past week has seen a number of aspects of the life of the college that mark us as a great school for young men. It is a place clearly where our young men receive a quality education provided by experienced and accomplished teachers, immersed in current best and emerging practice. It is a holistic education in an inclusive community founded in it’s Catholic traditions in the spirit of Blessed Edmund Rice.

We celebrate what we value is a notion I believe marks a school and we certainly try to recognise the many and varied talents our boys have, both in and out of the classroom, regardless of ability. As I’ve always said its about growth from one point to another and that is where the achievement lies; the notion of Personal Bests.

Our assembly this week showcased a rich tapestry of the life of the college. Our Prima Primum awards, various sport awards and a range of awards connected with the Waseda school visit to the college which concluded yesterday along with the report from our Cambodia Immersion team made for an inspiring experience of the college.

To quote from Mr Hutchinson’s preamble to the Prima Primum (First Things First) Awards;

“The Prima Primum Class Award acknowledges students who have been committed to their academic study. The recipient of this award has throughout the term worked with due diligence to achieve his best by always putting his learning first. He has shown a genuine engagement in whole-class, small group and individual activities, completed class tasks and home-study with interest and care, contributed positively to the learning environment and has been consistently organised and prepared for class.”

It was particularly pleasing to see the number of students who were receiving an award for the first time or the first for a significant period of time. They should be very proud of these awards which count towards consideration for the cumulative award at the end of the year. It was also pleasing to see those back for another one, term by term, showing the consistency of effort and attitude which is truly admirable.

A number of boys represented in snow sports over the holiday break on behalf of the college and it was terrific to see the scope and breadth of their involvement.

Our athletes from our Twilight Athletics carnival also were presented with their age championship medals. We further awarded the winner of the carnival which was for the second year in a row, Bourke House.

The past two weeks has seen the college host the Waseda School from Japan. We are very grateful to the families who hosted the boys, the great work doen by our staff Mrs Kibby and Mr Chaney and to the boys who worked as mentor coaches with their Japanese brethren, teaching them English. They in turn coached our boys in Japanese. The product of all this culminated in awards given at Assembly.

Our Cambodia Immersion team presented at assembly a video of the many experiences of the tour and spoke from the heart about the impact the tour has had. Our tradition encourages such a tour as the core business of any school with a spirit of Blessed Edmund Rice who encouraged us to ‘give to the poor in handfuls’, a call to liberation from poverty and hopelessness.

As Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, retired Bishop of Chiapas, the poorest Diocese in Mexico, once famously said: ‘The only question we will have to answer at the end of time is how we have treated the marginalised.’ (with thanks to Dr Wayne Tinsey for this quote)

I challenged the boys though to not see such experiences as disconnected from their daily lives and their call to be the face of Jesus to each other, lest they be considered hypocrites. Jesus did not give us dispensation for some days of the year or some people we don’t like ar for any other reason such as faith, background or even sexuality. We are all equal in the eyes of God.

God Bless

Chris Browne

College Principal

 

 

The Richness of the Life of a Great School.

As we near the end of this term this week has provided much inspiration for reflection on the richness of the life of a great school like St. Paul’s. With our assembly and the myriad of presentations and reflections, basketball finals, Year 12 Parent Teacher night, the Cambodia Immersion group departing, the College Twilight Athletics selection carnival , staff professional learning, staff – student European Handball, ongoing work with Year 12 projects, the list goes on; there is much to point to about the quality of our college and the diversity of experiences. Just one week should be multiplied by 40 to get a sense of the huge richness on offer. I am one very proud Principal!

Our College Assembly was opened by Dr. Tony Bracken, Assistant Director School Improvement and Chair of the CSO Review panel,  reflecting on the school review conducted by the Catholic Schools Office noting some key affirmations of the college that are summarised in this quote from the review report;

“The College is at an important educational point in its history as it continues to articulate and embed a vision of high quality contemporary boys’ education in a Catholic faith context on the lower northern beaches.

The panel’s consultation with students and parents confirms a loyalty and affection for the welcoming, inclusive and respectful environment at St Pauls.

The College leadership and staff reflect a commitment to the wellbeing of each boy and to the provision of educational opportunities that build authentic agency, confidence in learning and life-long competencies.

The College’s academic results over recent times point to an ongoing commitment to improving academic standards.”

Dr Bracken also spoke about three particular areas in response to our prayer inspired by the Cambodia Immersion namely the college’s comitment to social justice, its connection to parish through Wednesday morning masses and the improvement and innovation in learning that saw an increasing level of student independence in their learning.

From this the college sets to work on its next strategic plan.

It was a very positive start to our assembly which saw many awards such as Bronze and Silver Awards for effort in class, participation in the many peninsula cup teams including the presentation of jersey to First XI football and our First XV premiership winning rugby team, TAS awards for the bridge building competition, the House Film competition, all achieving house points.

Further we celebrated the House Battles last week and the contribution they made to the sopirit within the college. This culminated in an update of House points seeing Moran move to the lead for the moment.

What we have also seen this week has been three basketball finals, Year 7, 8 and 10 with two teams going close- the Year 7 and 10 teams. One step further next season.

Our Parent Teacher meetings saw many parents and their sons meet with Year 12 teachers for the final pieces of advice as they prepare for their trial HSC examinations after the holidays starting in week three. The Year 12’s were also working away on major projects to be able to take them home, supported by teachers putting in many hours outside of school time.

On a community level we had the staff student European Hndball game which was charcterised by not only a wonderful spirit but also great enthusiasm. That the staff won was immaterial but it was noted that playing older lads may have seen a different result.

This generosity of spirit and enthusiasm continued into the Twilight Athletics carnival on Wednesday evening. That so many staff gave of their time was wonderful tribute to the work done. There is a more detailed report in the next newsletter but there is some detail and photos on the facebook page.

Above all the Cambodia Immersion group that headed off on Tuesday night are in our thoughts. This trip goes to the heart of why a school like St. Paul’s exist. That we can plant the seed of care for the other in their lives, to stand with the poor as Blessed Edmund implored, is a wonderful gift. They will be the face of Jesus to those they meet. I would encourage you to follow the trip through the blog linked here . It is a life changing experience and we look forward to their safe return. Prima Primum!

As we head off to holidays we ask for the Lord’s blessing on all staff, parents and families and pray that all our boys return safely on Tuesday 24th July.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal

 

 

 

Role Modeling how to be a Man

I spent a very challenging time yesterday with all the Diocesan principals and priests listening to a presentation from Catholic Care Broken Bay on Domestic Violence. A key figure stood out which was that 95% of all domestic violence was perpetrated by men.

DV

 

Consequently the messages we give directly and indirectly by our behaviour and gender stereotyping at home make all the difference. The following clip for Our Watch is well worth your time in outlining this issue. The men in the lives of our sons need to be good role models if we are to break the cycle of Domestic Violence or ensure it never occurs. Catholic Care stand ready to suport families in need.

A very impactful point was the reality that a young person witnessing domestic violence has a similar impact to experiencing the violence themselves. That any young person faces such experiences is heart breaking but given that we know statistically that one in four 12-20 year-old Australians surveyed was aware of domestic violence against their mothers or step-mothers by their fathers or step-fathers. One quarter of a national survey of young people.

It raises questions for us too about how we respond to bullying. Gus Worland’s Man Up program that Year 11 experienced last year challenged us to focus on the need to allow our young men to be real , to not suppress their emotions, that expressing hurt isn’t feminine behaviour but is a normal human response. The notion of the ‘angry young man’ too is a result of years of experience.

Adolescence can be a turbulent time for parents but we know as Michael Carr-Gregg writes in ‘The Prince Boofhead Syndrome’, through a mixture of personality, temperament and good parenting, it is clear that the vast majority  of boys turn out to be fine, considerate, contributing and valuable members of society’. As we know the good parenting bit isn’t easy and requires day by day effort to give our young men the tools they need to manage their temperament.

We know too that our role modeling as males makes an enormous difference. Celia Lashlie in ‘He’ll Be Ok’ encouraged men to walk their sons across the bridge of adolescence, to step up, be involved in their lives, mould their sons into the fine young men we need them to be.

The college also stands ready to support you as we already do for so many.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal

 

 

Valuing Professional Learning- St.Paul’s a Learning Community.

Whilst many of our families head off on a four day long weekend (don’t forget double demerits!) the teaching staff of St. Pauls will be actively engaging in Professional Learning in support of the learning agenda of the college. The college is approaching its improvement in teaching in learning in a data informed way but also utilising the best practice advice around how to support teachers in their professional learning.

As is noted; ” Effective schools are learning communities, the core element of which is a culture of collaboration and collective responsibility for the development of effective teaching practices and improved student achievement.”

The college as part of the diocese has a responsibility also to support teachers in their learning as every teacher is now required to be accredited with the NSW Educational Standards Authority (NESA) and are required to maintain their accreditation through ongoing learning, updating if you like.

The day has been registered by NESA as accredited profesional learning which is testament to it being a quality day.

The day we have structured for us by Mr Hutchinson and Mrs McGregor sees staff working closely together, learning from each other with the goal of improving the learning of our young men.  A productive and rewarding day of learning. #PrimaPrimum.

The day is as follows:

Prayer All Staff –
Assessment tasks- how do we ensure that all students can access tasks and demonstrate achievement of outcomes at the appropriate level?
Using evidence to identify  with technology what students are ready to learn.

 

The whole school literacy approach.  
Morning Tea
Engaging with Accreditation (Mission and Secular)
Engaging with the Google suite, and the use of ICT in student learning.
Lunch
Using inquiry based learning to support student growth Flipping the classroom

 

Revisiting cultures of thinking 

Enjoy your break.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal.

Success, Pride and Motivation for all.

It is interesting watching the varying reactions of our young men as they come to the stage of the Waterford Hall to be congratulated for success whether it be in the classroom or the sporting field or community service. Our younger students enthusiastically present themselves for congratulations and proudly show their certificates to the audience. As they get older a reluctance creeps in which is understandable given the realities of adolescence, a code that says it isnt cool to succeed.

Not a new paradigm but certainly one we should challenge.

Individually they are quite proud of themselves but the last thing they are going to do is present as proud to their mates; that breaks the code. The trap for schools is to pander to this. Young men deserve to be congratulated for the success they achieve. We want them to be role models to their peers. The code needs to be challenged.

One of the measures of what a school values is what it celebrates. Our hope is that we highlight success for all our young men in all things they do. As part of our commitment to St. Pauls as a school committed to Positive Education, a distinct focus on the positive is a significant priority for us, keeping faith with the accepted thinking of Positive psychology to always be affirming much more than criticising.

We know in schools that ‘catching them doing it right’ and affirming that, as we actually target the praise for the actions,  is  a much more successful strategy with our young men than a disciplinary approach. As parents we know the strong motivating effect of praise and gratitude we direct to our children. Age makes no difference.

Our House Shield competition which is being led by our College Prefects is something we are using to motivate our young men, building on their sense of identity and pride, coupled with a healthy competitive spiruit is seeing , as each assembly occurs, is developing a more and more positive reponse . The audience is taking notice!

I have challenged our young men of St. Paul’s at the end of each assembly with the question,  “Why aren’t you up here receiving an award?” We know that the number is higher with younger students than older yet we also know that our seniors need such certificates and awards as part of a curriculum vitae they’ll require for employment and / or University / TAFE entrance .

Encouraging them to embrace positivity and recognition is something we as parents can helpo ouyr young men to do. We shouldn’t let them off the hook just because they are older.

We know that developing success is a great motivator, as much as informed feedback. That we learn as we go, motivated by small interactions that encourage our improving actions. Given we are a week or so along from Parent Teacher Student interviews now is a good time to ask our sons what has been positive for them since the PTS interviews? Praising the improvement they talk about is good but even better to praise that combined with them describing why?

Praise for praise’s sake is hollow and ineffective and as we know from the work of Carol Dweck around Growth Mindset and Praise  . we should be commending students for the processes they use – engagement, perseverance, strategies, improvement – fosters motivation, increased effort, willingness to take on new challenges, greater self-confidence, and a higher level of success.

The positivity needs to be intentional, purposeful and motivating.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal.

 

Why St. Paul’s? Why a Boys School?

In a very complex and dynamic educational environment it is useful to note some key characteristics of a boys’ school as compelling reasons for why a parent or a young man may choose St. Paul’s over another school or college. What is it about a boys school? Whether you are considering a school for your son for Year 7 or are reconsidering for Year 11 or 12 rest assured we are a high quality choice for your son.

St. Paul’s as a choice.

There is much written about what makes a good school and how to improve them; everyone has an opinion. What make s a good catholic school is a narower set of readings but the best of them in my exoperience is Educating Hearts – Seven Characteristics of a Good School by Anthony Maher and Bob Hanley.

Maher and Hanley.jpg

On all seven criteria I believe we present very well indeed and we hope that our families and young men can articulate that as their experience of us. However you dont hear much about this in the media. What you do hear about is results which are important but only reflect a narrow iamge of the holistic experience a school like St. Paul’s brings.

The following graphic of Risk Factors vs. Protective Factors is worth focusing on. When you look at the ‘service’ aspect which would refer to the school in this instance the college strives to be delivering well on all three aspects but of course we know we are always a work in progress and must always be working with a view to be the best of service to our young men and their families.

Risk Protective Factors

 

There is much research on Year 12 outcomes which point to clear gap between the achievement of boys in boys schools and boys in co-ed schools. I’ve spoken before about the perfomance of St. Paul’s by comparison with other schools in this region which bears this out. So I won’t labour the point but do ask you to please be swayed by fact not myth, folklore or old information that continues to judge unfairly a transforming school.

As parents we want the best option for our sons, not second best. We know that St. Paul’s has a higher success rate for boys at the top end than all government and Catholic schools in this region. 

Our value adding data indicates on a year to year improvement for all students across the range of ability fromn Years 9-12. The Gonski 2 report talks about such a notion as something desirable. Catholic schools through the analysis conducted by Dr John DeCourcy has been informing us of this since 2001.

To our Year 10 parents last night I spoke of the culture of Year 11 and 12 here at St. St. Paul’s with a broad curriculum and small class sizes where students are cared for and supported in their learning by a well qualified and dedicated staff who through the judicious use of technology anre supporting students to improve every day, evening, through holiday periods. There is a generosity which is admirable which quite franly you dont see in many schools.

With a developing leadership structure for our young men student voice is valued and contributes strongly to developing the culture of care and support we would expect in a catholic school with an Edmund Rice tradition. With the feast day of Blessed Edmund last weekend on 5th May,  our young men are reminded of his example of hope, that a problem can be identified and that we can step up and make a difference in our world for the betterment of others as he did, as Jesus called him to do.

Almost daily we see examples of our young men taking aprt in a rich co-curricular program with enormous pride and success. You only have to scroll through our college Facebook page to see the richness of the experience the boys have.

The care of our young men has been a hallmark of the college’s reputation for a long time. This tradition continues  and is augmented further by our membership of the Positive Education Schools Association and the development of programs drawing on the well of research around positive psychology led by Martin Seligman.

Why a Boy’s School? Beyond the academic perfomance question from Year 12 discussed above there are many compelling reasons to choose a boy’s school for our sons. Given I had my own sons educated in a catholic boys school I may be considered biased but I’m also someone driven by best evidence practice as anyone in the college or who follows my interests on Twitter.

A number of significant writers and rersearchers speak favourably of boys schools. The late great Celia Lashlie, herself a sociologist, researcher into boys schools in NZ and author of He’ll be OK. Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men, has this to say:

” I began a journey that has taught me much…left me with a strong sense of the magic about the schools where boys can just be boys and where the business of boys is the sole focus…By their very existence boys’ schools encourage a sense of pride in being male. In a world where there’s a great deal of discussion about the ansence of positive male role models and where much of the media focus is on the more negative aspects of young men, the ability of boys’ schools to provide an alternative view cannot be underestimated….The message in these schools is clear: it’s OK to be male.”

The INternational Boys School Coalition has published a list of six aspects in support of ‘Why choose a boys’ school?’ It identifies that they

  1. Understand and celebrate boys.
  2. Seek first to build good men.
  3. Know that boys develop and learn in different ways.
  4. Schools for boys teach in ways that boys learn best.
  5. Schools for boys help students discover and explore their full potential.
  6. Schools for boys foster brotherhood and lifelong friendships.

These are all aspects that St. Paul’s seeks to foster through the life of a young man in the college.

The American researcher Michael Gurian, author of a number of books on educating boys advoactes separating boys and girls on behaviour grounds; that in a co-educational context the discipline referrals of boys to girls is 10:1 which is attributed to what Dr Tim Hawkes, recently retired Headmaster of the Kings school and noted author on boys education as boys being viewed as toxic in classes because they are being boys- loud, smelly and disruptive- the toxic touich of testosterone.

From personal experience in co-educational schools, when boys are judged objectively differences disappear. The problem is they generally aren’t. Boys can articulate the inherent injustice coming out of primary schools. Boys need good teachers as Malcolm Slade in his seminal work, Listening to the Boys, points out and will flourish under such teachers.

William Pollock in his book, Real Boys, makes the point that schools need to be boy friendly and stimulating for the learnimng of boys, which St. Paul’s is.

Bringing them to a boys school like St. Paul’s allows them to be themselves, to not feel constrained, to be able to flourish. All the many different talents of our young men can be celebrated. Here we see the creative arts flourishing as a shining example of this issue. Whatever our young men aspire to be an education at St. Paul’s prepares them well for that.

As always I invite you come in and talk with me about your experince of the college. Any good school must be open to feedback and learn and plan accordingly in response. We are here for you and your son.

God Bless.

Chris Browne

College Principal

 

 

 

 

ANZAC Day and Holidays

After a long and busy term I want to thank all the staff who have so generously given of their time and effort, often at the expense of their own and family time, even overnight, to ensure the young men of St. Paul’s have a very rich educational experience. I asked the boys at assembly yesterday to take the time to thank a teacher who has given of themselves for them. Gratitude is important and should be expressed lest our young men be selfish. Rather than have a mindset that everything comes their way with nothing from them we should ensure our young men have a mindset of gratitude for the small and large things.

I’m conscious that three of our staff are taking a group away tomorrow morning to Europe, traveling through the UK and Italy. They are sacrificing their holidays to take these young men away, responsible for them 24/7 for the time they are away, not an un-heavy burden. I know the boys and their families are grateful and supportive and I add my own thanks for their efforts.

On ANZAC Day the boys will be in Rome , will attend ANZAC services and be hosted at the Australian Embassy.  Australian units were involved in the campaigns to defeat the Italian and German armies in Italy. The RAAF squadrons- 3, 450, 451 all flew raids in different parts of the peninsula. Australian soldiers are buried at the Rome War cemetery which our young men will visit and commemorate by their presence.

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We will have students and staff representing the college at local ANZAC ceremonies. I’ll be marching in the city to commemorate my own father’s contribution as a member of the 2/15th Field Artillery 8th Div. 2nd AIF who fought in Malaya, were captured , imprisoned at Changi, Burma / Thailand Railway and in Japan itself. That he returned at all is a miracle in itself but like many of the 8th Division he was self made man who married, raised three sons and was in a much better place than where he started. I know other staff will also be involved in other parts of Sydney commemorating their own loved ones’ contributions.

ANZAC Day provides us with an important moment to put our own faith into action by recognising the capacity and example of others to place others at their centre, even to the extent of dying for others. We should take the time to reflect on this, pray for them and for peace and be grateful.

In this spirit the college donated a class set of old laptops that have reached the end of their warrantied life here to Sacred Heart College in Tarawa Kiribati through Mrs Michelle Teys from St. Leo’s College Wahroonga who have a sister school relationship with this very poor and needy school run by the Sacred Heart Sisters.

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Kiribati is a nation very vulnerable to climate change through rising sea levels. The sisters are trying desperately to improve the education of local young people so they can leave and gain jobs in the region before their nation literally disappears in the decades ahead. More information here .

The college is in the process of planning its own immersion experience to Cambodia and is considering a number of options in the service learning area of college life to bring to reality our calling as a Catholic college with an Edmund Rice tradition.

We wish everyone a safe and restful holiday where hopefully our young men support their families with generosity and gratitude. Please take the time out as I discussed earlier to help them commemorate ANZAC Day also.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal