Is it just me, or does it only feel like yesterday that I was writing to welcome you back to the start of the year? They old adage that time flies when you are having fun is perhaps quite the cliché these days, but with such action-packed agendas and a myriad of events, activities, and experiences to enjoy – rather than a cliché, this is the reality of a school such as TKS!

Term 1 2024 has seen The Knox School at its very best and the campus back in full swing with so many moments of joy, that it is hard to capture the highlight. From our community welcome events to the House competitions, Cultural Diversity Week to the Year 12 Formal last Friday; whilst each event is in itself unique, the unifying element is our community. Our students, our staff and our TKS families.
At TKS, we are blessed to have such a dedicated community and this term this has been showcased across all of our events. This morning I had the privilege of previewing the Term 1 edition of The Falcon. As you browse through this edition, take time to re-live some of the many events of the term, but also to marvel at the vast range of student achievement, skill, and talent we have on display here at TKS.

In 2023, we undertook our largest parent, student, and staff survey, 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. In a change to the previous survey providers, MMG, The Knox School participated in the annual satisfaction survey project conducted by Independent Schools Victoria.

Used by the majority of Independent Schools in Victoria, the LEAD 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.

Having had some time this term to unpack the results and focus on emerging trends with the School Leadership Team, we are eager to share and unpack these trends with the parent and student community. We will release our annual overview report in Term 2, and as we did last year, would appreciate the opportunity to discuss many aspects of these trends through forum discussions with our community.

Community engagement forums are off to a strong start in 2024 with a huge response to our Junior School Languages forums. With a high turnout of parents attending the three in-person forums and a huge response (over 100 respondents) to the online survey, the Junior School team were delighted with the level of engagement and support for the future of the Languages program in the Junior Years. The team are currently working through the data and will be returning to the community in Term 2 with some updates. On behalf of the team here at TKS, I take the opportunity to thank all who were involved for the giving of their time and their insights.

The recent success of the Parent Representatives over the last few years has seen the role evolve into the Parent Ambassador role, new for 2024. Whilst the role will retain some of the vital features of the Parent Rep, the evolution of this role extends to see the Parent Ambassadors taking an active role in the narrative, supporting, and enacting the vision of The Knox School.

Whilst communicating effectively with such a large community can be complex, we see the Parent Ambassadors will play a pivotal role in the effective communications between parents, staff, students, and the wider community.

Over the last few weeks, since the launch, our Head of People and Culture, Toni-Ann Bright has met with many who are interested in the role and has begun the process of setting up the group. We are excited to complete this process and return to you next term with further updates.

At the start of term, we were delighted to launch the first exciting iteration of our community café. As many of you will be aware, we are currently working through the process of design for an upgrade to the pavilion and the launch of a community café. Whilst a re-build will always take some time, we were eager to get things underway and so the TKS Coffee Van, ran by our friends at ALT/T Coffee came to the rescue. Open twice daily to all staff, TKS community members and students in Years 11 and 12, the coffee van has been a huge hit. It has been wonderful to see so many ‘regulars’ gathering each morning for coffee, croissants and catch ups! Whilst my daily treat is an almond flat white, I have it on good authority that they do a mean choc chai too!

As I write this piece today in my office, I can hear the sounds of the student bands rehearsing out in the Quad. With bands from Year 3 through to Year 12, and even a pop up appearance from some of our musically gifted staff, it is sure to be another memorable occasion.

As I sign off for the term, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and relaxing break. Like me, I am sure you are all looking forward to spending some time with loved ones and perhaps even some overseas travel. I thank you all for your ongoing support of our community and I look forward to welcoming you all back for, what I know will be, an exciting and action-packed Term 2. Adding a brief reminder that Term 2 begins Tuesday 16th April.

Nikki Kirkup