The Principal’s Blog

Allan Shaw
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Homework

The issues surrounding homework have been the subject of lively debate and discussion for many years. There are a multiplicity of views encompassing the full range across a spectrum from absolutely no homework to ‘the more the merrier’ where ‘time on task’ is regarded as the criteria of success. In our School community, parents and staff have high expectations for their children and want them to do well. All parents have their own school experiences that are drawn upon. Education/teaching is one of the few professions where nearly all those who deal with us, be they older children or ... Read More
The 60 Minutes program which went to air on Sunday April 19 had a section, titled Public vs Private. The segment focussed on a very complex area of decision making that many parents face: the choice of a school for their children. The segment tended to focus on two criteria only: money and academic results, and even the latter theme was mostly limited to NAPLAN results. The 60 Minutes segment is the latest in a number of media reports comparing the academic results of government and non-government schools. These reports cite research studies which purportedly show that non-government schools ... Read More

Welcome to Term Two

Welcome back to Term Two. I trust that you have enjoyed the time with your children that school holidays afford, even if that was confined to the Easter days as I know it likely to have been for some of you. For others who had longer, I hope the break has been rewarding and focussed on fun activities with family and friends. Thank you for your contributions as parents over Term One. Term One was short, only some 8 weeks, but we all packed a great deal into it. Teachers, and in many cases with the help of ... Read More
Digital devices proliferate throughout the lives of many, if not most, children, tweens, teenagers and young adults. The data for Australia shows: • 95% of 8 to 11 year olds had accessed the internet ‘in the last four weeks’. • 37% of 8 to 9 year olds and 51% of 10 to 11 year olds have accessed the internet via a handheld mobile device. • Mobile phone ‘ownership’ increases significantly with age with 11% of 8 to 9 year olds having their own mobile phone, increasing to 67% of 12 to 13 year olds. • 45% of 8 to 11 year olds ... Read More
On Thursday evening 26 February 2015, approximately seventy parents, a few prospective parents and a small number of staff attended the second Knox School Community Consultation. The evening commenced with some commentary on the end of 2014 and the commencement of 2015, in relation to School culture, expectations of students and staff and goals set under the new general banner of Growth and Improvement, Focus and Effort. After the introductory comments, there ensued a lively flow of questions, comments and answers on a range of topics until the formal component concluded at 9:00pm, two hours after commencement. Informally, an ... Read More

Changing our Mindset

Over the last few weeks there has been much discussion amongst staff on Carol Dweck’s research. Dweck is Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and her popular book, Mindset: The new psychology of success (2006) has created conversations amongst staff. In the introduction to the book, Dweck outlines that the field of psychology shows the power of people’s beliefs. She notes that these beliefs may be clear as conscious beliefs or beliefs we are unaware of, but either way they strongly affect what we want and whether we succeed at getting it. Psychology can also show how changing ... Read More
Welcome and welcome back! Welcome to all of you who are families new to the school. This is a friendly and caring school and I’m sure that your child(ren) will settle in and feel comfortable very soon. Please stay in touch with staff to ensure that this occurs. I know you will find them empathetic and supportive. Welcome back to all families who were members of the school community in 2014. I trust your school holiday period allowed for some refreshment, relaxation and good fun! A new school year allows for a new start! In our opening school assembly I asked ... Read More
As I sit to write for the last post for 2014 it is within a few days of five months since I first stepped into The Knox School as the new Principal. I have met many people since then, experiencing nearly half a School year of events for the first time and learning much about the School and its community. This is a good opportunity to reflect upon these last months, outlining some of my impressions of The Knox School. A new Principal is appointed by the Board of Directors and thus my very first impressions of The Knox School ... Read More

Community Consultation

Children flourish best when their parents and their teachers work in partnership with positive relationships linking them in their joint cause. Positive relationships and the trust that positive relationships entails take time and effort to build. They are best built with good and regular communication using gentle honesty and empathy for the other’s position. Endeavouring to ‘walk in the shoes of another’ usually allows for good knowledge, understanding and trust to develop. Wednesday night was a small but significant step in the development of a better working relationship between me and parents. A Community Consultation was held in our ... Read More

The Class Size Debate

The optimal class size is one of the most disputed topics in education. There is considerable divergence of views amongst researchers and academics, though most teachers and parents tend to anecdotally agree that smaller is better. On the other hand, politicians and policy makers tend to take the opposing view, citing the costs of smaller class size amongst other factors. In the following paragraphs an attempt has been made to summarise some of the research and views regarding class sizes, and touch upon the views of others such as teachers, politicians and policy makers. One of the most influential ... Read More