The Principal’s Blog

Allan Shaw

The Board of Directors of The Knox School (TKS) at its last meeting in late August formally endorsed the model of Personalised Learning as the School’s long term strategy. This Strategy defines the focus and key priorities for the School over the coming years. Implementation shall be carefully researched, communicated and phased, building progressively towards the achievement of our core purpose. Grow and promote the learning and wellbeing of each student so they thrive and contribute in a complex and changing world: they become the ‘architects and advocates’ of and for their future. Students at The Knox School ACT ... Read More
September 13, 2017barrye
Creativity, design thinking, cross-age tutoring and a real life solution to be developed in designing the furniture for the new Junior School STEAM room (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths)A classroom abuzz with excitement and action! I have three Year 6 students advising me of their designs for custom made furniture for their STEAM room (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths). Their design includes the capacity for power outlets and storage, adjustable height for each workstation all set in a round design that allows conversations across the table as well as for those next to others. Other students are ... Read More
September 5, 2017barrye
There is no doubt we live in rapidly changing times. The smartphone was released just 9 years ago (July 2008) in Australia. It has had a huge impact on us all. We often think of smartphone use as something young people struggle to manage, but perhaps that is not a complete picture. Of all Australians over 18, 84% of us own or have ready access to a smartphone. This figure is likely to rise as the 2G network is turned off soon and all those with older phones have to upgrade or not use a mobile phone. 84% is ... Read More
August 23, 2017barrye
In the three years I have been Principal at The Knox School my pride in this young and developing School and its community has grown as I have come to know the School, the community and individuals, students, parents and staff. We are 35 years old this year! In human terms that is well into our adult years. In school terms, 35 remains a young and developing school, but it is also a juncture where a School has to commit to certain standards and directions in building upon the history and traditions that have been developed to date. ... Read More
August 9, 2017barrye
What an unusual headline! How might our school values connect to the development of entrepreneurial and innovative attitudes and skills? The connection is actually strong, though not necessarily obvious. We, along with many other schools enunciate a set, usually a handful of school values. Indeed, it is not uncommon for many businesses to also publish a set of values. Publishing a handful of values is one thing, having them acted out day by day by those who live, work or learn in that community is a much more complex step. The lived values of our school align well ... Read More
June 19, 2017barrye
I recently sat with parents of International Students over dinner in their own home cities. It was a wonderful experience to meet them and discuss the progress of their children and their hopes and fears for them. As parents we all want the best for our children and thus it was interesting to hear of these parents’ views of school in China and in Australia. These parents removed any doubt I may have had that children in China work hard and long at their school work. Malcolm Gladwell popularised the “10,000-hour rule” suggesting that success depends on the time ... Read More
May 24, 2017barrye
During 2016, a number of consultations and presentations associated with The Knox School’s strategic intent focussed on the clear indicators of a very different future jobs market and the pressure on the unwritten but well-known social contract that outlined a good school education led to a tertiary education and then a well-paid and secure career. Over recent months a number of mainstream media journalists and commentators have written articles that address these fast developing scenarios. Bernard Salt in The Weekend Australian (Saturday April 29 2017) and on a Fox network TV show of late has commented about education and ... Read More
May 1, 2017barrye
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