The Principal’s Blog

Allan Shaw
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Over the last two years, I have written regularly in my blog and in other places of the growing rate of technological disruption that will forever change the nature of jobs, perhaps our way of life, and what that might mean for a high quality school education. In discussions with parents and in responses to my writing I regularly run into both agreement and a reluctance to acknowledge that we are in the midst of significant change and that the rate of change is accelerating. Yet in my reading, watching and listening to various media, indicators of the changes are becoming ... Read More
November 12, 2018barrye

Study Leave

I have recently returned from a range of extraordinary learning experiences undertaken in the form of study leave. The Board of The Knox School supported my plan to spend time with notable educators, discussing and learning world’s best practice in school education. The focus of the discussions was how best to address the learning needs of individuals, personalizing their learning in a world of rapidly changing economic and technological contexts, that then affect social, emotional, tertiary study and employment opportunities for young people. The study and discussions confirmed the efficacy of our school strategy to focus on the four pillars of ... Read More
September 3, 2018barrye
Economic and digital disruption is affecting jobs and work, and thus affecting the quality of life through the income and effort equation, as described by Bernard Salt, noted demographer. The old model of educational preparation for the adult world is under pressure. Twenty years ago, a degree from a university was enough to open a world of opportunity. Strong competition now exists in the job market: more people want the same jobs, whether it be here or overseas. Companies are now hiring not based entirely on what people know, or qualifications they hold, or experience; instead, they are hiring based ... Read More
May 9, 2018barrye
The release of the report authored by David Gonski and his committee, commonly referred to as Gonski 2 and actually named Through Growth to Achievement has unleashed a large number of media and social media reports, commentary and opinions. All types of media struggle in reporting on school education for a number of reasons. Firstly, school education is both complex and yet simple. It is simple in that most school operate in similar ways and we all know about school education as we all attended school or our children and grandchildren currently attend school. Yet schools are also complex. They ... Read More
May 7, 2018barrye
Personal connection with the experiences of family and friends is a powerful way to provoke learning that is not only remembered but is embedded in actions and attitudes. These rich sensory inputs engage with a student’s senses and resonate with experiences and relationships. Year 3 at The Knox School have had such experiences of late in a Humanities unit of study. The students investigated some of the significant cultural celebrations and festivals which take place around the world, reflecting the cultural backgrounds of the students in the class. Many of the festivals and celebrations relate to religious beliefs and practices, a ... Read More
April 10, 2018barrye
There is a growing (excuse the pun) body of evidence that a healthy diet can prevent or ameliorate depression. My mother making me eat my vegetables, yes, even Brussels Sprouts was correct. We know they are good for us physically but also contribute to our mental and emotional wellbeing. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and unprocessed lean red meat can prevent depression and once it has occurred can ameliorate its effects. And an unhealthy diet, high in processed and refined foods increases the risk in everyone, including children and teens. A team of researchers, led by Deakin ... Read More
April 6, 2018barrye
The following article is an interview between Allan Shaw and Melissa Heagney of The Weekly Review published on March 14.The education landscape in Australia is changing like never before. In fact, the way that teachers such as those at The Knox School are approaching how and what they are teaching is changing. It’s transforming from a type of “mass education” (teaching students the same thing at the same time in a classroom) into something that is personalised to the individual student. For The Knox School principal Allan Shaw, this new approach is empowering students of all year levels to take more ... Read More
March 15, 2018barrye
The Federal Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham is recently reported as suggesting that hard working teachers and principals should be supported by the banning of smartphones in class. Senator Birmingham said that smartphones in class are a distraction and a platform for bullying. The Senator was supported by Susan McLean, former member of the police force, who now advises parents and schools on cyber safety and the federal government as a member of its Cyber Safety Working Group. Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, who also sits on the federal government’s Cyber Safety Working Group said smartphones should be banned ... Read More
February 26, 2018barrye
The following article written by the Executive Directors of the Independent Schools Council of Australia (ISCA) is a wonderfully simple and clear piece of writing that explains some of the reality around independent schools In Australia.Written by Colette Colman How do we most often see “private schools” described by commentators? “Elite”? “Privileged”? Perhaps even, “ivory towers”? Is a 100 per cent Indigenous, outback school run by its local community “elite”? Is a special needs school caring for children with autism “privileged”? Is a special assistance school catering for at-risk and highly disadvantaged youth who have been excluded from mainstream schooling an “ivory tower”? Hardly. Yet ... Read More
February 14, 2018barrye

The start of a new year

The following comments are a written version of my comments to the Middle School and Senior School students at the opening assembly for the school year. Welcome back to the school – you are the school! A very special welcome to those of you for whom this is a start at a new school. This is a very friendly place and the students here look after each other well. To all the ‘old hands’, please look after our new people brilliantly. Last November on Remembrance Day, November 11 2017, we stood in the Courtyard Amphitheatre with 15 flags flying. Three are ... Read More
January 30, 2018barrye