In my conversations with parents, staff meetings and addresses to groups, be they inside our school community or more distant, I often stress the importance of a positive and productive partnership between staff and parents. This partnership is the basis for the success of children in the school. I go on to say that as parents’ children, our students become older, the partnership increasingly moves from being a two-way partnership and becomes a three-way partnership, with the young person playing an important role.

Partnerships occur in many aspects of the community life within this school and between the school and its broader community.

Over the past 12 months a number of research projects have been undertaken, investigating possible programs and people who might assist us in our continued growth and improvement. As a result of these research projects, a number of partnerships have been developed with universities in Melbourne.

We have been working with staff from the University of Melbourne to refine their Tuning into Teens program such that it works across the age range at The Knox School as Tuning into Kids. Dr Christiane Kehoe and our school psychologist, Maria Dhroso, along with our Wellbeing team have led this initiative. As a result, we have seen all teaching staff undertake training; some staff have been trained in depth and parent sessions have been conducted to provide a holistic approach to understanding the thinking and developmental needs of children at various ages.

This new link augments our ongoing membership of the Melbourne Schools’ Partnership International with the University of Melbourne, where high achieving Year 11 international students from partnership schools are guaranteed entry to the University of Melbourne Science Summer School and receive priority consideration for partial scholarships.

We value our ongoing relationship with the University of Melbourne.

Swinburne University’s Professor Con Stough, a Professor of Psychology, has spent many years of research and development to see the Aristotle Emotional Intelligence programs through to fruition. We have been accepted to be a part of these programs where we can access the resources to assist children to develop their emotional intelligence skills and assist Professor Stough with further research. We all know that emotional intelligence skills play a vital role in our day to day lives and we now know of the increasingly important influence emotional intelligence skills play in the successful pursuit of career options for all adults, young and older. We look forward to a strong working relationship with Swinburne University.

Professor John Loughran, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education at Monash University and a Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor, along with Dr Kathy Smith of Monash University are currently working with the staff of The Knox School. They are running focus groups with staff, exploring issues around the school’s draft strategic intent. Professor Loughran and I see these initial steps as the first in a longer journey where he and I are deeply and genuinely interested in working together to assist us in the development of our learning culture to maximise the benefits to your children and to develop the careers and satisfaction in teaching for the staff.

All three of these partnerships with universities are deliberate attempts on our part to bring some of the best intellectual capital existing in this country into our school, working with staff here to build a better school.

These three university partnerships augment and support the structures and work we are doing to enhance our partnerships with you and your children. It is our aim to ensure we can best connect with your children, work with you in shaping them into fine young adults, provoke their thinking and intellect, their care and empathy for others and thus position them for their futures.