The Principal’s Blog

Allan Shaw

Middle School students completed a range of surveys mid-year that gathered data on their levels of resilience, mental health and well-being, and levels of hope and optimism. The surveys used were scientifically validated, reliable and internationally accepted measures for data gathering in these areas. The data analysis was conducted by independent third party professionals at arm’s length from the school. All individual data was aggregated and disconnected from any individual identifying features. The adolescent years are a time of significant growth and change and thus can be problematic. As an experienced educator, I know that it is in these ... Read More
October 5, 2015barrye
Individual student NAPLAN results arrived home late last term and where applicable, I trust you have had an opportunity to consider them. These results provide a point in time (May 2015) result for one form of writing (persuasive), punctuation, grammar, spelling and numeracy. These are important and necessary aspects of a good education but insufficient to describe, measure or judge a great education. While you have had the individual results for a few weeks we have been carefully analysing overall results and reflecting on the result for each of the four year group cohorts that took the tests. I am ... Read More
October 5, 2015barrye

Term Four begins…

At the start of each term we hold an assembly for the whole school (with an exception made for the very young children). The start of term assembly this week was the last for the current Year 12 class. I spoke about them to the whole school. It is usual for the senior group in the school to be a major influence on the tone and culture of the school. I was pleased to be able to talk about this group positively. As a group they have led the school well. Their own leadership group has led by example ... Read More
October 5, 2015barrye
The last few weeks have been very busy and productive, which is normal in a strong independent school culture. I was very pleased to be able to announce to the school community the appointment of Ms Heather Ablett as the new Head of the Junior School. Ms Ablett, along with the previously announced appointment of Mr Cameron Bacholer as Vice Principal (Teaching and Learning), provides a powerful basis for the further development of The Knox School in the years to come; building on the strong foundations of focussed student academic growth that I see occur each day in ... Read More
August 31, 2015barrye
One year ago, I commenced as Principal at The Knox School and in some of my introductory comments I commented that I was proud to be associated with the School community and would strive to serve it well. That remains the case and if anything my pride in the School and its community has grown as I have come to know the School, the community and individuals, students, parents and staff. The School has a proud set of achievements in its relatively young history and we build upon the work of those who have preceded us in further ... Read More
July 20, 2015barrye
Positive habits for good learning, sleep patterns, nutrition and use of digital devices in the home At first thought these topics might not seem closely related but a holistic approach is needed in allowing your children, our students the best possible environment for success. While 95% of brain development has occurred by five years of age, the prefrontal cortex, the “rational thinking” part of the brain continues to develop through the adolescent years and is not fully developed until the early adult years (early 20s). Neural connections critical to intelligence, self-awareness and performance, grow with the stimulation of ... Read More
July 13, 2015barrye
Important points to remember:1. Take a common sense approach to the use of social media. Usage should not be excessive, nor interfere with other aspects of a well-balanced life, especially important aspects such as school work, sleep and exercise; 2. Remember when posting to social media sites that posts are public and the record is permanent; 3. Treat all your online relationships, photos and commentary as though they were face to face. If you would not show or tell your grandmother, then do not post it online. In other words, be polite, respect privacy (yours and others), don’t gossip and don’t ... Read More
June 24, 2015barrye
On June 17, about 70-80 parents gathered in the auditorium for the Term Two Community Consultation. At that time, I raised with the group several topics and parents raised with me a number of questions and other topics for consideration and comment. A healthy discussion on homework occurred with many astute questions and comments. The research on homework is now reasonably clear and a summary of this research in included in a previous blog entry (May 11 2015). In summary, homework and study is generally of considerable benefit to older students with the greatest benefit seen amongst senior secondary ... Read More
June 23, 2015barrye
The latest research by Dr Gary Marks was published yesterday in the Australian Journal of Education. Titled, ‘Do Catholic and independent schools “add-value” to students’ tertiary entrance performance? Evidence from longitudinal population data’, the research paper presents analysis of the academic performance of over 40,000 Victorian students. The analysis confirms that, yes, independent schools do add value – represented by an average gain of 8 ATARs over students in government schools. The gain is net of student SES, prior academic achievement, gender and language background. According to Dr Marks’ analysis, non-government schools increase students’ tertiary entrance performance net of ... Read More
June 3, 2015barrye


Over the weekend there was considerable press coverage of cybersafety issues for young people. The Weekend Australian’s front page led with the headline Click bait: kids at risk as sexualised behaviour becomes the ‘new normal’, with follow-up further in the newspaper. The catalyst for this commentary was a highly inappropriate ‘selfie’ by a 13 year old girl posted to Instagram. While the catalyst for the media ‘rush’ was an awful thing for a 13 year old girl to be associated with, we need to stop and consider the day-to-day reality that our children face. Our collective knowledge of the ... Read More
June 1, 2015barrye