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In The Falcon (June 3), I outlined the Safe, Happy and Fulfilling Pathways Framework that underpins the data we have gleaned from surveys taken by your children, our students in Years 5-12 earlier this year. This outline of the framework which might allow you to better understand what follows is available in two places: my blog site (http://www.knox.vic.edu.au/resilience or where copies of The Falcon are housed (http://www.knox.vic.edu.au/falcon).

In this post, I will focus on the results for upper primary school aged students (Years 5 & 6) and Middle School students in an upcoming edition of The Falcon later in Term 3.

In the responses from students, over 40% of items were rated at least 15 percentage points better than the national benchmarks! Most of the other results are discernibly better than benchmarks and only in a handful of instances are our results a cause for concern.

Areas of concern to us and which will be the focus of further follow up reflections and investigations follow:

39% of students are sending text messages between 10 pm and 6 am. This is an area of concern as health and wellbeing, appropriate growth and development, and academic results are all built of good sleep patterns. Digital devices should not be used at these times at night and should be out of temptation’s way, being left overnight in places other than bedrooms;
23% of year 5 and 6 students report they are doing more than 2 hours of homework per night. This is an unhealthy amount for this age group. Our recommendation, as per the Record Book is for 45 minutes per night. Please liaise with your daughter or son’s teacher if they are spending too much time on school work;
23% of students are losing sleep through worry and 20% feel they are constantly under strain (perhaps as a result of home work?). These may be a factor as to why 25% report they are unhappy. Yet 93% report they feel their parents are good at talking with them. This suggests that these issues of strain and losing sleep can be addressed. We will actively support, and assist where possible in partnership with you on these matters and report anything we notice at school.

While the positive items that follow are excellent results and reflect well on students, families and your children’s teachers, the items above are of concern. I understand the complexity in dealing with these issues both at home and at school.

For example, removing digital devices from bedrooms can be the cause of significant tension in the home and it is important as parents to work through these issues to avoid long term consequences, some of which can be seriously damaging. Using digital devices in the hours when sleep should be the focus, disrupts your daughter or son’s physical, emotional and intellectual development. These matters occur in the home and can only be addressed there by you in consultation with your son or daughter. We will actively support, provide advice and work in partnership with you.

The results of these surveys consist of many excellent, positive highlights, and some which are also strong relative to the benchmarks. You will enjoy reading of these far more than those already mentioned. Some of the positive highlights follow. There are other very positive highlights but these are indicative:

• 100% report they do not smoke and 100% report they do not drink alcohol;
• 98% of students care about school;
• 98% feel their school cares about them and encourages them;
• 98% feel they are connected to their school;
• 95% advise they are engaged in the learning process;
• 93% are motivated to learn;
• 93% report they feel their parents are good at talking with them;
• 93% feel the school enforces school rules fairly;
• 93% report they consider themselves to have good interpersonal skills;
• 93% consider it important to help others.
• 93% are getting 8 hours sleep a night. (Children this age should get at least 8 hours sleep per night and usually more.);
• 91% advise they have good adult role models;
• 91% keep physically fit;
• 91% of students are eager to achieve;
• 91% say teachers urge them to develop and achieve;
• 91% feel they have friends who set them a good example;
• 89% eat well to stay well;
• 89% feel the school sets clear school rules;

A few of these results provide us with a few challenges, however, the overall results are very positive. We must keep in mind that the upper primary years are times of continuing intellectual, physical, emotional and social development as our young people enter adolescence.

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