The Principal’s Blog

Allan Shaw

Last semester a draft strategic intent document was introduced to parents and staff. Time pressures and the necessary focus on the important day to day issues precluded extensive consultation and opportunities for feedback with staff in 2016. There were a number of opportunities for parents to consult and provide feedback on the draft document in Semester Two, 2016. The feedback gained from parents via parental feedback to me, the independent facilitator and via parent focus group representatives was generally supportive at the conceptual level, with many questions and points of clarification at the detail level, and in particular: • how ... Read More
March 28, 2017barrye
Last year I was fortunate to listen to Professor Iven Mareels, Dean, Melbourne School of Engineering, University of Melbourne where he emphasised that he wanted equal numbers of girl and boy students entering his faculty and all of them need skills listed in the following order: Firstly, written and verbal communications skills; secondly, teamwork; and then Specialist Maths were his requirements. His emphasis on the first two priorities was very clear and somewhat of a surprise to some in the audience based on their sudden intake of breath. He went on to say that engineers spend much of ... Read More
March 23, 2017barrye


In my conversations with parents, staff meetings and addresses to groups, be they inside our school community or more distant, I often stress the importance of a positive and productive partnership between staff and parents. This partnership is the basis for the success of children in the school. I go on to say that as parents’ children, our students become older, the partnership increasingly moves from being a two-way partnership and becomes a three-way partnership, with the young person playing an important role. Partnerships occur in many aspects of the community life within this school and between the school ... Read More
March 7, 2017barrye
The key to choosing a school is to give yourself a little time to consider a few factors. There are two key questions to consider. • What are your key family needs, preferences and values? • What are the key elements to consider when researching a school? The alignment between the answers to these two key questions will provide good guidance in choosing a school. Family needs, preferences and values Glen Gerreyn (The Hopeful institute) in his article on this topic sums up the goal: Data is important, if I were raising a robot, this would be all I would need. However I ... Read More
February 24, 2017barrye
The 2016 school year ended well for The Knox School. Our annual Giving Tree Assembly saw over $16,000 in cash and kind handed over to the Salvation Army for distribution over Christmas. The Hon. Alan Tudge, our usual special guest, commented that it was one of the highlights of the local community. The commitment to the support for each other is palpable in this community. Our VCE results were a distinct improvement over recent years and congratulations to all concerned. Our median study score rose to 32; our percentage of study scores over 40 was back to historical average ... Read More
February 14, 2017barrye
Starting school or starting back at school is a busy time in many homes and can be a daunting task for young children and for some parents. I hope the following tips, based on my parenting experiences and nearly 40 years in schools might assist. At the very least they may assist you in framing up the questions you need to ask. Establish a positive routine Every family is different but a routine is vital. Set up what works for your family but then stick to it! Areas to consider: • Breakfast and getting to school on time are important... Read More
January 29, 2017barrye
There is much publicity generated through mainstream media comparing the three sectors of schooling in Australia. The majority of that information seems to paint independent schools in less than positive ways. Perhaps I am overly sensitive but…. This blog post by Mindy Laube is taken from I found it an interesting read and a welcome affirmation of the style of school we have here at The Knox School.That’s the silver lining on the grey cloud of data contained in the 2016 PISA report. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a global education benchmark ... Read More
January 25, 2017barrye
This year I commissioned an independent, confidential ‘experience’ survey of the 2016 Years 2, 5, 8 and 12 parents and Year 12 students as part of our commitment to continually monitor and improve the quality of education we provide to our students. We greatly value the views of parents and students. This information is most important for the School for our operational and strategic planning, as well as tracking changes in our performance. A total of 104 parents and 64 students completed the survey. We are most grateful to parents for their time and effort in assisting us ... Read More
December 5, 2016barrye

Interconnected Learning

Driving on country roads is enjoyable and can also provide time for some reflection. Such an opportunity this week allowed me to consider the learning my younger son has been undertaking in sitting his VCE exams and by extrapolation, the learning that our Year 12 students may also have been doing over the last week or so. The VCE exams are set by the State to test our students’ learning in their academic subjects. This is useful and an important task of itself and personal best academic results are our goal as individuals (students), our wish for our ... Read More
November 2, 2016barrye
Traditional, independent school values indicate that the best education is an education of the head, heart and soul. That is, the best education focuses on the whole person. This could be described as a strong academic education, supportive pastoral care building a strong sense of wellbeing and a rich, rewarding and cocurricular program, all operating within a positive and clear set of commonly held values. We take this rounded approach to a child’s education at The Knox School. To date we have done so based on tradition and insight: if a school focuses on student wellbeing, a good ... Read More
October 12, 2016barrye