The Principal’s Blog

Allan Shaw

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


The following is the text of the short address given to most of the school (very young students were in class) on the first day of term four. I share it more widely as it contains some practical advice to promote wellbeing, this week (October 5-11) being Mental Health Week. I would like to welcome back the school! You, the students and staff are the school, so I welcome you back. To the students, I hope you are refreshed and ready to continue your school based learning. I hope year 12 are refreshed but also studied in the ... Read More

The end of a busy term

As my first term at The Knox School draws to a close, I have taken the opportunity to reflect upon the last weeks and relay to you my first impressions of the School. The Knox School is a significantly sized community, with around one thousand students and adults on site each day. The Knox School is a lively, positive and complex community, spanning children from three years of age through to highly respected grandparents. A review of my diary of the last two weeks gives a good insight into the rich tapestry of life at The Knox School. The ... Read More
NAPLAN has hit the media over the last few days as the group data has been released. Parents should expect to see their own children’s results in the coming weeks if their children are in Years 3, 5, 7 or 9. Data from NAPLAN tests provides a point in time result for students in four of the thirteen years of schooling. It is very useful data for parents and schools, though it is but a small part of the overall development of a child to adulthood through the school years. The tests conducted last May cover reading, one form ... Read More
I remember a time where it was thought that computers would replace handwriting. Thankfully that has not occurred at good schools such as The Knox School. Like me, I am sure some of you have been castigated for poor handwriting. For me, this advice came initially from my primary school and lower secondary school teachers as they endeavoured to have me slow down my handwriting and concentrate on forming my letters more carefully. As an adult, anyone who has had to try and read my handwriting has had some cause for concern as I try to have my handwriting ... Read More
It is no news that the rapid evolution of increasingly mobile digital technologies is challenging the form and even the function of schools. The equally rapid changes in our social and economic structures are also having a profound impact in every Australian classroom – and in every home. More than ever, to foster both student achievement and wellbeing, schools need to develop strong partnerships with parents. Students are not outside that partnership; they are at the very centre of it, both as a focus for school effort and as responsible partners in their own right. To experience ongoing ... Read More