In the midst of the busyness of Term 4, the leadership team of John O’Sullivan Williams, Robert Nettleton, Simon Gipson and I have met with a significant number of staff from across the School. Our goal has been to listen keenly to their perspectives, their experiences, their passions and their priorities so that we can better appreciate the rich and unique culture of the School, its strengths and challenges, and identify the key priorities for investment and improvement over the short and medium term.
I am very grateful to the staff whom I have met with, as are the rest of the leadership team. I believe Mr Gipson has had individual discussions with over 60 staff from across the School. Unsurprisingly, there have been a number of common themes that have emerged from these conversations.
Perhaps most importantly is the commonly expressed belief that St Paul’s has a strong, vibrant and enduring culture which has student learning and wellbeing at its core. It is first and foremost a school that serves the needs of those who wish their sons and daughters to experience an advantaged education that adds value within a safe and well-ordered learning community. And, there is a shared, clear vision that when students graduate from St Paul’s they will do so well prepared for their next steps in their learning journey, equipped with the values and attributes that will enable them to make a positive mark on whatever communities they may live as adults, and understanding where their strengths, talents and abilities lie.
What assures the strength of this culture are the staff at St Paul’s. Dedicated professionals, they clearly care deeply about the school, their work and the students they see each and every day. They are the ones who sustain the culture.
In looking to 2024, as we continue to evolve as a school community, we need to ensure that the culture of St Paul’s also continues to be its bedrock. In order to do this, it is evident that we need to continue to strengthen our approaches to Wellbeing and Pastoral Care.
To enable this, a new position has been created: Head of Wellbeing. This role will be responsible for Wellbeing and Pastoral Care across the School and will lead the team of House Leaders and the Counselling and Psychology services, to ensure that we continue to stay abreast of leading and informed practice.
A further and critical addition to the leadership team will be the position of Deputy Principal who will lead and manage the Secondary School, support the Wellbeing team, and, importantly, assure the ongoing development of the extra-curricular program, from Sport to Drama. This role will also Deputise for the Principal should they be absent.
Like the best schools around Australia and the world, St Paul’s must build upon its strengths and seek continual growth and improvement, grounded in the best academic research, to ensure all the staff and students here are best equipped to thrive not only today but in the world of tomorrow.
I look forward to the end of year celebrations and our prayers are with all our students as they look towards the final few weeks of the term.