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In the last issue of 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.

In this edition, I will focus on the results for Senior College students (Years 10-12) and on groups of younger students in the early editions of The Falcon in Term 3.

Across the Senior College, students reported discernibly better results than the benchmarks on 50% of the items. Most of the other results are slightly better than benchmarks and in a few instances lower than benchmarks.
Areas of concern to us and which are the focus of further follow up with focus groups, reflections and investigations follow:

Just under 40% of students in the Senior College students report they are doing less than 2 hours of homework per night. Success at the VCE level is highly connected to how hard and how effectively students work and thus this response from students is of considerable concern. Our recommendations, as per the Record Book are for 2 hours per night and upwards for students in Senior College. When homework or an assignment is not set, then revision notes and practice tests should be the focus of work. The VCE/VCAL Administrative handbook 2016 makes clear that “(i)n addition, it is expected that students will undertake up to 50 hours of self-directed learning for each unit.”. We are working hard at school on building a better academic climate and culture. We are setting high expectations and look to you for support;>
Between 50-60% (depending upon the year group) are not getting 8 hours sleep per night. Health and wellbeing, appropriate growth and development and academic results are all built of good sleep patterns. Less than 8 hours per night for young people 16-18 is a risky behaviour and has compounding negative effects over time;
Between 80-85% of students are sending text messages between 10 pm and 6 am. Again, this is also an area of concern as health and wellbeing, appropriate growth and development, and academic results are all built of good sleep patterns. Less than 8 hours per night for young people 16-18 is risky behaviour. 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;

While the positive items that follow are excellent results and reflect well on students, families and your children’s teachers, the three major items above are of concern. As a person who still has one teenage son (the other is now an adult), I understand the complexity in dealing with these three issues. They 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. Getting less than 8 hours sleep per night and 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 are 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:

Across the entire Senior College;

The vast majority of students:

Feel safe and secure both at home and at school;
Have adults in their lives who they feel will listen to them;
Advise they have good adult role models;
Feel they have friends who set them a good example;
Demonstrate personal restraint;
Advise they are educationally engaged;
Feel they are connected to their school;
Feel the school sets clear school rules;

All but a few;

Feel they are encouraged by teachers;
Are engaged in the learning process;
Work at being honest;

Compared to the benchmarks, the Senior College at The Knox School has strong levels of;

Year 10;

Students feeling safe at school;
School belonging;
Community belonging;
Students setting a good example for them;
Students encouraged by teachers;
The school sets clear rules;
The school enforces rules fairly;
Adult and school connectedness;
‘Normal’ mental health;
Educational engagement and motivated to learn;

Year 11;

Student empowerment;
Appropriate boundaries and expectations;
Students encouraged by teachers;
Hope;
Educational engagement and motivated to learn;
School connectedness;
Students making good decisions;
Students with positive values;
Students work at being honest;<

Year 12;

Family belonging;
Adults who listen to them;
Students keeping physically fit;
Students who do not smoke;
Engagement in the learning process;
School connectedness;
Positive identity;

These results provide a few challenges for the students themselves, the adults at school and for some parents, however, the overall results are very positive. We must keep in mind that adolescence and young adulthood are times of continuing intellectual, physically, emotional and social development as the young person’s adult identity becomes established.

As Term 3 unfolds I will report on the Middle School and upper Junior School (Year 5 and 6) results.

I trust the coming school break will provide your family with some restful opportunities and a refreshing, positive time together and your children return refreshed and enthused for Term 3.

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