High Notes, Vol 16 No 35, November 06 2015

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From the Principal

High Talent
Congratulations to our students who were invited to attempt the Olympiad qualifying examinations. Aidan Karahasan – High Distinction in physics and chemistry; Tajwar Ali Khan – High Distinction in biology; and Dibyendu Roy – chemistry. These are great results! Well done to the first XI cricket team. They won the Joseph Coates Cup from Newington for the first time since its inception. 

Tell Them From Me Survey - Students: Academic Outcomes
The ‘Tell Them From Me’ survey of 228 boys included measures of academic outcomes.  Given that we are a selective school, the comparisons with NSW government norms are not very useful in our context except to say that the reported grades for all schools were quite high. State government school norms are reported in brackets. English average grades at High were: 80% (v 66%); mathematics 82% (v 67%) and science 80% (v 64%).  The survey tries to measure drivers of student outcomes.  ‘Effective learning time’:  important concepts are taught well, class time is used efficiently and homework and evaluations support class objectives.  Our rating was 7.2/10 (v 6.6).  ‘Relevance to everyday lives’ 6.6 (v 5.9).  ‘Rigour - instruction well-organised, with a clear purpose, with immediate and appropriate feedback that helps them learn’ 6.4 v (6.2).  For these measures the highest ratings are in Year 9 with a decline thereafter.  ‘Victims of bullying’ was 17% (v 24%). At High we are constantly working to reduce this statistic which is unacceptable at any level. ‘Advocacy – someone at school who consistently provides encouragement and can be turned to for advice’ 3.4/10 (3/10). We have more work to do to get our boys to be confident that advocacy is there for each one. We need to focus on lifting the advocacy rating even though the questions which are used to produce this outcome are confusing to respondents.   ‘Positive teacher-student relations – teachers responsive to student needs, encourage independence with a democratic approach’ 7.1/10 (6.1/10).  ‘Expectations for success – staff emphasises academic skills and hold high expectations for all students to succeed’ – 7.9/10 (v 7.1/10).  ‘Advocacy outside school’ – 5.5/10 (v 5.2/10).  Planning to finish Year 12 97% (81%); planning an apprenticeship or VET/TAFE course 11% (v 35%); and planning to go to university – 95% (v 61%).  In reality, nearly 100% of our students actually complete Year 12 and then go on to study at university.

The ‘Tell Them From Me’ survey contained several custom-measures.  The scale was - all, most, some, never.  How often do English lessons focus on improving your writing? - (a/m 55%)  How often do your maths lessons focus on how to explain your answers in writing? - (a/m 51%)  How often do your science lessons focus on how to write about scientific concepts?  (a/m 56%)  Student participation rates for extracurricular activities: more than half of the respondents were in clubs (chess, debating, environment) 147; community and support work at school 105 and band, orchestra, choir 89.  Students at High are very active across all seven categories of extracurricular activities.

Change in Classification for a Head Teacher Position
Under the staffing formula, SBHS is entitled to 12 Head Teachers. Eight of them must be curriculum Head Teachers and up to four can be educational support Head Teachers.  We currently have three - HT Administration (Mr Prorellis), HT Sport (Mr Pavone) and HT Welfare (Ms Chan). Ms Vozzo (HT Languages) is retiring at the end of 2015 as Head Teacher Languages. The Executive has agreed to apply to reclassify the position to Head Teacher – Teaching and Learning.  In 2016, in Year 12 there will be 13 students of languages in four classes. In Year 11 there will be 25 students in four classes. It is important for the future of languages at High that we match the teachers’ specialties to the languages demands of the students. There is an imperative for flexibility. It is likely that fluctuations in various languages will occur for some time. By merit selection, a panel cannot discriminate against an applicant on the grounds that the person was a specialist in an inconvenient language.

We could very likely have a staffing mix result that either forces boys to study a language they are not interested in or creates a nominated transfer for one of our permanently appointed teachers. To staff the languages needs projected for the next two years at least, we will need a 0.4 to 0.6FTE Latin teacher, preferably also with Classical Greek. Administration and advocacy for the Faculty will be managed by way of an appropriate allowance for a senior teacher of languages in 2016.

A compelling reason for reclassification is the need for whole school coordination of teaching and learning in response to the DoE’s 5P planning model, the school excellence framework and the RAM targeted funding protocols. We also have planned a culture shift towards more personalised learning, assessment and reporting which will require whole school coordination. Coordination of our co-curricular programs is a requirement also – both from a funding perspective and in terms of schoolwide delivery. In response to the need for a more complex interface with DoE and to free up DP Powell to oversee quality teaching, performance and development for all teachers after the demise of TARS, this year, the school has funded an above establishment HT position in Teaching/Planning/Co-curricular coordination.

As part of the approval process, staff and community consultation is required.  I welcome feedback from anyone via email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or telephone 96629320.

Student Award Scheme
The Student Award Scheme for points to be earned for this calendar year will close on Friday 27 November .  All students will have their points calculated as of this date. Year 11 Prefect Interns will have their final points calculated and must have qualified to continue as Interns by earning an award this year. Even if they have carry over points, they must earn 100 this year to stay as a Prefect. The 2016 Scheme commences on December 1. Boys who are close to getting an award should fire up now in parking, school working bees or volunteering to reach the threshold required.

Scholarships Offered at High
SBHS offers only two scholarships/bursaries – the Phillip Day Memorial Scholarship and the Sir Roden and Lady Cutler Foundation Scholarship. All enrolled or enrolling students are eligible to apply for the Phillip Day Memorial Scholarship. It is a one-year credit on the school account for $1,500. The selection criteria covers talented boys in an academic area or a co-curricular endeavour. Good all-rounders qualify as do students with special needs – financial or otherwise. There are many boys in the school who would make good candidates for this award. I urge them to take the trouble to download and complete the application form. The Sir Roden and Lady Cutler Foundation Inc Scholarship is a two-year award with a credit at the school account for $1,500 for each Year – 11 and 12. Only boys enrolled or enrolling in Year 11 are eligible to apply. The criteria for this scholarship are different. It has an emphasis on a prior record of service to others, to the school and / or the community. Boys with initiative, compassion and leadership skills are invited to apply.

Look for the details on the Sydney Boys High School website www.sydneyboyshigh.com/scholarships. Do not assume that you are not worthy or eligible. Applications close on November 27.
Dr K A Jaggar

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