With Week 2 of the term almost done we are well and truly into the swing of the second semester of our year. Our Year 12s presented their English orals and staff reported a high standard of performance from many of the students. I worked with the Year 12 VCAL class sharing with them my knowledge of Saltbush Balnarring, a Kildare Ministries Community Work as the class looked to commence a project in support of this wonderful organisation. Our focus on partnering with Saltbush is a practical example of our theme for 2022 ‘Connecting with Compassion’. I was so impressed by the enthusiasm, interest and creative thinking of the students as they begin their project. The team of staff working towards the introduction of our New Narrative for Learning at Year 7 in 2023 spent a morning this week workshopping feedback that our current Year 7s have shared in relation to their experiences of learning. I heard the teaching team discussing the students’ reflections on the power of feedback, the importance of relevance in their learning and the importance they place on wellbeing. And of course a further highlight to our week was celebrating the win of our intermediate football team who played against The Geelong College in the Herald Sun Shield semi final and now make their way into the grand final to be played in Melbourne next week. It was a great thrill to watch the girls play with heart, team spirit and determination to the very end. This showed in the final score line of 101 -8. We wish the team every success for next week as they not only represent the College but the strength of women’s’ football in Geelong.

The predicted impact of COVID-19 and the shortage of teachers have been prominent in many conversations over the past fortnight. We are taking a proactive approach in both cases. In terms of our COVID-19 response, we sent a letter to all families earlier this week communicating the strong recommendation for masks to be worn indoors. We have reviewed some of our meeting protocols as a staff and will continue to monitor each activity as it comes along. In all cases we have been advised to take a risk management approach and consider the number of cases we are experiencing, staffing numbers, social distancing capacity etc. We are aware that as we come towards the end of the term our senior students will be coming towards a critical point in their final studies and this will also factor into our planning and decision making. This week we advised the community of the cancellation of the Tri-UMPH festival. It was a very difficult decision to make as a group of Principals and I personally want to acknowledge the work of the students and staff from Clonard along with the other Colleges who had given so much to the planning. I will be meeting with our team next week to see what might be possible for us here at Clonard once we are through this next uncertain period of time.

 In response to the predicted staff shortages we have invited prospective staff to come to an Open Day at the College this weekend. We know from past experiences that sometimes people don’t know too much about us or where we are located. We have been overwhelmed by the response and received some very positive feedback about this initiative. As the subject selection process concludes for students we are able to move to drafting our staffing which will reveal where we may have future needs. We have already been able to secure some appointments of current contracted staff who have multiple methods and will be able to provide us with the increased capacity that may be required given the discussion around the reduction of scheduled class time for teachers in the new agreement currently being negotiated.

We have been thrilled by the response we have had to our parent workshop on attendance on which will be held on Monday evening and facilitated by Joanne Garfi . The evening will be held in the Kildare Theatre and parents are still welcome to register and join us. We know that attendance can be a really challenging issue for many families and we hope that this evening will help build shared understanding of how we can work together with families to support our young people. Thursday evening we welcome a number of parents who are joining us as Year 7 parents in 2023 as they begin a learning journey with us around our New Narrative for Learning.

Finally I draw our community’s attention to the implementation of Ministerial Order 1359 which relate to the 11 new Child Safeguarding Standards. This order came into effect from 1 July. Some changes to our website have been made to reflect these changes including some policy updates. This information can be found under the Wellbeing tab. The College has a Child Safeguarding team that meets each term and more frequently at his time as we work towards implementation of the new standards. Kildare Education Ministries, as our governing authority, has endorsed the use of Policy Connect for the development of policies and procedures that are required for compliance with these standards. We have been working to contextualize these to our setting. One of our next steps is to work to develop child friendly version of some key policies. Year Level Wellbeing and Community Leaders have nominated students who will support us in undertaking this process. Through this term we will continue to provide updates and information to our community around our implementation of the standards. The College will participate in an attestation and assurance process with Kildare Education Ministries later in August to provide our governors with an overview of our processes and culture in relation to child safety.