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The school year has started with a flurry; students and staff appreciating our ability to learn and work alongside one another. After all, it’s the social aspects of learning that schools provide, that allows the vast majority of students thrive more completely when able to be amongst their peers. Collaboration. Peer learning. Support. Friendship. Following the lead.

Certainly, TKS was outstanding in its readiness to deliver, and in the effectiveness of, the home campus model we seamlessly implemented in 2020. We remain ahead of the curve in our ability to flip into this mode as the need sporadically arises. However, it is the daily connection that occurs face-to-face that really sees our community flourish.

Our Senior School students are genuinely embracing the Flexible Learning Periods that are now a weekly staple of our program, using the full extent of their available resources. Whilst Alumni Tutors are available Tuesday afternoons for the regular after-school assistance, their presence every Thursday and Friday mornings, joining teachers to sit alongside students and work through learning areas is undeniably a boon. Student agency is alive and well!

At the start of a new school year it’s customary to look forward, imagining what we might want to achieve by it’s end. If the nervousness generated from last year is taking a toll, it may be contributing to an inability to easily identify a goal. Or perhaps a goal still exists, but it is too far into the future, disconnected from immediate actions. For anyone who finds themselves feeling anxious, or struggling for motivation, they can make immediate progress by looking for what is important now and acting consciously to achieve the most from each opportunity. We must acknowledge the ongoing toll that COVID-19 has taken and identify what we can control and identify when we may need help and reach out for assistance.

On that note, the School has welcomed our new psychologist, Mr Lucas Tuan-Mu, who has introduced himself to students in the Senior School at our Assemblies. He is available five days a week and can provide valuable advice and counselling for students.

Despite the year that was, the 2021 school year has begun with a real sense of possibility, hope and ambition. The students are rolling up their sleeves and participating in the myriad of opportunities and events on offer, as you will read in the School Captains’ report.

What makes me proud, though, is how the students are supporting each other and giving of themselves. The tone was set during the activities carefully crafted for our first two days together this year, and the attitude of “can do” persists.

Suzanne van Strien

Suzanne van Strien is Head of Senior School at The Knox School

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