As the final days of 2023 draw to a close, we have taken the time to reflect on the year that was and all that was achieved. The theme for our Presentation Night event this year was, Dream, Believe, Achieve and I cannot think of a more fitting theme to sum up the accomplishments of this wonderful community in 2023.
In the final student assemblies this week, I have taken the time to explore the vast array of achievements, events, and initiatives with our TKS students as we look back on the year that was, as we head off into a well-deserved summer break.
Acknowledging that it is a mighty task to capture the attention of an auditorium of hundreds of students within the final moments of the school year, I decided to outline these aspects in a visual display. Forever the English Teacher, I wanted to tell them a story.
What began as a brief final address, quickly grew to over 100 slides! It turns out that there was simply so much to choose from, and the task of selecting was just too tricky!
I did manage, after much deliberation, to get the address and the presentation down to 10 minutes; 5 minutes over the time I was allotted by Ms Mathias… However, the multitude of events, achievements, and initiatives of this year, I believe showcase the many facets of TKS which demonstrate what a remarkable community we have and the many and varied significant achievements of such a young school.
2023 saw a pleasing growth within the school, starting the year with 778 students – an increase from 705 in 2022, representing a 10% growth; numbers we had last seen in 2013. With a confirmed headcount of over 800 for 2024, we are pleased to see a return to the larger cohorts in the Senior School and full cohorts across the Junior School and ELC.
The rising numbers in the School not only bring new members into the TKS community, but also provide opportunities for growth for the School and our students. Whilst we celebrate the expansion and this continued trajectory, we can wholeheartedly reassure our families that we will remain committed to our strategy of Personalised Learning within an environment of a small-medium sized school.
At TKS, we recognise the complexity and evolution of the world in which we live and understand the need to listen to the needs of community as we navigate the future. Throughout the year, we have worked with our students, staff, and parents as we consider the changing environment and the inherent role of education. The role of TKS.
In 2023, we undertook our largest parent, student and staff survey, this year opening the survey up to all year levels, providing channels for feedback and seeking to further understand what was of importance to our students and our parents and carers. I thank those of you who have taken the time to respond to this survey; the feedback is essential and helps us to frame our programs for 2024 and the future strategic vision for TKS.
For many of you who have been part of this community for some time, you will have noticed a change to the style of our annual survey. In 2023 we adopted the Independent School Victoria (ISV) LEAD Survey. Used by the majority of Independent Schools in Victoria, the survey not only provides insight into feedback from our own community, but moreover allows for us to benchmark data against other similar schools. The survey is standardised across all participating schools and thus provides a useful tool for monitoring our understanding of our local and regional environment within the sector overall.
At this stage, we have received some brief preliminary reports from ISV; more detailed reports to be delivered early in 2024. We will take time to unpack the data and understand the narrative of the survey, returning to you with some updates in Term 1.
Whilst only a small percentage of parents responded to the survey, we are hopeful that the feedback offered will provide opportunity for, not only reflection on what TKD does well, but also where we can add further value as we continue to review and evolve our TKS programs and structures.
In 2023, we introduced many expanded programs, structures, and co-curricular offerings to the students of TKS across ELC to Year 12. The 2023 offerings not only responded to feedback from our community, some of which was gained through previous surveys, but also aligned well with developments in the wider education context. Throughout the year, we have taken the opportunity to consult with our community, taking feedback on the various aspects of the programs as we endeavour to review and refine.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank families who have attended the consultation and engagement sessions throughout the year. Your input has helped us to shape many aspects of life here at TKS, from the Generative AI Policy to uniform design, traffic flow on campus and installation of parking stops in the parking bays. Whilst finding a time which works for all is no easy feat, we will continue to offer multiple options and formats as we work through 2024.
As we reflect on the year that was, we do not disregard any of the challenges or the struggle that we may have faced, collectively and individually; the world has been a very turbulent place in 2023 and our community has not been immune or indeed isolated from this wider experience. However, we focus on the vast array of accomplishments and the moments of joy that were captured along the way.
For the families that are departing TKS this year, I thank you for your contributions to this wonderful community and wish you well for the next chapter and new beginnings, wherever they may be.
This year, we bid farewell to some members of staff, their farewells are featured in the TKS Yearbook. The opening of a new chapter awaits, and new challenges lie ahead. We thank them all for their infinite contributions over the years and the difference they have made in the lives of our students.
For all that may be departing, I sincerely hope that the door does not close on your time at TKS.
TKS is a community in which you will always be welcome and there will always be a part of you within its fabric and narrative. You are a part of a story which is greater than yourself, a rich tapestry of collective community experience.
We hope that you will forever be proud to belong.
For the departing Year 12 cohort; I look forward to seeing you continue to be a part of our community, whether it is as a Sports Coach, Alumni Tutor, a member of the FPG or one of the other exciting initiatives on the horizon.
Finally, as we wave goodbye to our last remaining cohorts of 2023, on behalf of all at TKS, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support throughout the year. Thank you for your trust and your partnership as we work together to support our students, your children.
It has been a privilege to serve TKS as Principal in its 41st year. We are the current custodians of this wonderful community and as Principal, this is an honor and a responsibility that I take seriously.
Have a wonderful Summer Break, may you travel well, stay safe, rest and connect.
Ms Nikki Kirkup
Principal and Chief Executive