Dear parents,

As we gear up to the end of term, I can confirm it will be a well-deserved holiday that awaits both staff and students. As eventful as it has been, the endeavour shown by staff and the majority of students under difficult circumstances continue to astound me. To state the obvious, long stages of remote learning has brought its challenges. Keeping a strong work ethic and disciplined routine has not been an easy task and so we look forward to the break and the long-awaited announcement that all students can return to face to face teaching next term.

When life comes back to normal, it would be a good exercise to have a conversation with your children about their experiences of the lockout and what they learned through the experience. In a small reflection with some students that I teach, students overwhelmingly preferred onsite learning as opposed to online learning. I am certain that students’ views of school will have changed over the past few weeks which may augur well for the months/years ahead.

 

Mental health

We have made mention of mental health over the past few months given the dislocation that students may feel because of the change to their normal pattern of life. We also recognise that during the term break some students may feel further discomfort brought about by the separation from friends, from routine, from being busy, etc. The fears brought about COVID-19 can also have a bearing on the mental health of students. The support given by our Student Services team has been phenomenal over the past six months. As they retreat to their own families for the next two weeks and take a well-earned break from the pressures of their jobs, support for students can be accessed through the following agencies:

Kids Helpline. 1800 55 1800. Phone support is there all day, every day. Online support is open from 8am-midnight every day (AEST).

eHeadspace. 1800 650 890. Open 9am-1am daily (AEST).

Lifeline. 13 11 14. Phone support all day, every day. Online support 7pm-4am daily (AEST).

Beyondblue. 1300 22 4636. Phone support all day, every day. Online support 3pm-midnight every day.

 

Year 12

We wish our Year 12s every success as they prepare for their final term of formal secondary schooling. Year 12 students studying the VCE program will begin their formal preparation for the year’s end with Practice Exams to be held during the second week of the school holidays. These exams should be considered a serious exercise in preparing for the end of year exams. Students will be given further instructions re these exams on the last day of Term 3. The General Achievement Test will follow on the 7th October and students will return in the second week of the term. Please note that Year 12 students studying English will also be required at school on Friday 9th October for their final English SAC.

 

PTSPMs

As mentioned in Mr Caldow’s report, the final Parent Teacher Student Partnership Meetings for the year takes place online on Thursday 8th October. Given the circumstances of the year, it would be wise to touch base with your child’s teachers to assess progress but also to discuss the way forward. We hope that these PTSPMs have the same success rate as the one conducted earlier this term.

 

2021 Scholarships update

Whilst there has been a slight delay with the application forms for the various scholarships that are available for 2021, they are now available online and students will have received a notification via MyPenola sometime today. These application forms are due on the Monday 12th October and students are to follow the process noted on the submission page.

 

Best wishes to students, staff and parents for the next two weeks

Ernie Pisani

Deputy Principal: Head of Senior campus