Despite the many challenges and hurdles that have been thrown our way throughout the first Semester, it has been wonderful to take a moment to reflect back on what we’ve managed to accomplish over the first half of this year. Our entire community has come together to support and provide a learning environment for our students that has enabled them to re-connect with each other, and to develop their interests and passions both within and outside of the classroom.
We have seen fantastic academic growth in our students through their subject classes, along with their involvement in other academic activities such as the many state and national competitions that are available, the strong co-curricular program available at Tintern and their involvement in opportunities such as our Tintern Grammar Enrichment Program (TGEP).
What has been equally important, and equally successful, has been the pastoral growth and development of our students across Year 7 to 12. What is absolutely certain with any student is that academic growth does not happen without a strong foundation of mental health and personal well-being. Our pastoral staff at Tintern, including the Pastoral Mentors and YLCs, have structured a sequenced program aimed at helping to build on the challenges our young people face today after the last few years. This includes an understanding in what our new Year 7s need to ensure they are ready for their secondary schooling both emotionally and educationally, and the fact that our current Year 9s have not spent one entire secondary term at school and have therefore missed a lot of the emotional and social education that comes with being in and around your peers through the time of adolescence. For our Senior College students, they are facing the most important years of their lives (especially our Year 12s) and have had such a disrupted lead in. For this reason, there has been a large focus on ensuring they are not just ready academically, but also from an emotional side of things in terms of dealing with the stressors and pressure that can come from doing VCE.
In our Senior College over the last two weeks, our pastoral staff have led reflections with our Year 10 and 11s on their recent examinations; how they approached these assessments, how they may do it differently next time. All aimed at preparing them for their Year 12 examinations in the coming years. They have also been provided with group lectures from our Heads of Department regarding how to move forward successfully in Semester 2 with each of their subjects.
Another key part of this year is the beginning of our subject selection process across the whole of secondary. Our Year 7 & 8 students are considering the electives they may wish to study next year, whilst our Year 9s are beginning their thoughts around what the Senior College may look like for them. This includes whether they wish to consider accelerating in a particular subject next year by selecting one of several Unit 1-2 subjects that will be on offer to them. On Wednesday 8 June we held our “Guiding Your Futures” evening for our Year 9 & 10 families where our Director or Curriculum, our Head of VCE/VET and our Head of Careers presented to all families around the key aspects of what VCE/VET is, how it works, the subject selection process plus more. This process continues early in Term 3 where we have our VCE/VET Subject Showcase Evening for Year’s 9 – 11 students and families to help them in their decision making around subjects and pathways for next year. Following this event students will be submitting their subject preferences for 2023.
Yr 12 – Toolbox Education
For our Year 12s the focus continues to be on ensuring they are best prepared for their current assessments and what also lies ahead for them over the remainder of this year. This includes being ready both academically and emotionally. To help with this, we organised a session with a group called Toolbox Education. This session focussed on providing them with skills and tips to use to help deal with the pressure and the workload of Year 12. How best to manage their time, to manage their mental health and their relationships, whilst always ensuring they are looking to perform at their best. Our Year 12s are working really well this year and we certainly wish them all the best for what lies ahead.
The Big Freeze
On Friday 10 June was our annual Big Freeze event at school aimed at helping to raise awareness of, and money towards, MND Foundation. The event included the sale of MND 8 beanies over the last few weeks as well as the opportunity to tip a bucket of ice and water over particular staff members. This year we had 14 staff volunteer themselves to be part of this event. They all went to a great effort to dress up in costume and to be willing participants for this great cause. Students purchased raffle tickets through the purchase of a beanie or by buying them separately and were selected from a draw to have the pleasure of tipping the bucket of ice-cold water over one of our staff.
Staff versus student goal kicking
As a continuation of The Big Freeze Day, lunch included a sausage sizzle and ice-cream van for everyone to purchase their food or snacks for the day. What also occurred at lunch was the staff versus student goal kicking competition. This is where 12 students (one from each gender and from each year level) took on 12 staff (6 female and 6 male) to see who the most accurate goal kickers in the school are. There were plenty of near misses and plenty of great goals; however, in the end it was the staff, led by our Vice Principal Mr McManus and our Assistant Principal Ms Constable, who finished in front at the end of the competition.
Dannielle Miller is the CEO of Enlighten Education – Australia’s leading provider of in-school workshops who has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to education and women. We were fortunate to have her present on GEM Day to the Yr 7 & 8 girls, where she addressed many of the issues facing our young people today.
A variety of activities were interwoven throughout the day, including a mindfulness session, practicing gratitude and breathing techniques, doing craftwork to make a journal, taking notes about how to solve friendship issues well and learning about how we should not be critical of ourselves, but rather be critical of what we look at. There was also a session where in their groups the girls shared their journals, giving and receiving positive messages and compliments to each other which was a highlight of the day. The girls came away with their own ‘showbag’ which included the diary they had made, and a number of cards to help remember key points from the day.
The final session included seeking and collecting feedback from the girls which has now been collated. The comments made by students are remarkably positive – all six pages of them! I have selected just a small number of statements made to help paint the picture of what an incredibly constructive and successful day we all had:
Today was incredible and I really enjoyed every activity we did! I loved the journal
making and the compliments, it was nice to have an opportunity to say stuff I
wouldn’t usually in such a nice, calming, and safe environment. I learnt that
gratitude has more benefits than I thought, how much models are photoshopped
and how happy gratitude makes people.
I thought that today was going to be boring, but it was actually so fun! It was
amazing listening to your experiences and stories! I learnt how to be respectful to
my friends, how to be grateful, how much editing is done on models and what
people think about me.
I really liked reading the cards and making the front cover for our diaries! I learnt
that gratitude makes me feel less pain, how to solve problems, to be more grateful
and to stop trying to compare myself to someone that’s not real. Thank you, this
meant more than you think!
Tintern Grammar Enrichment Program (TGEP)
After a hiatus due to COVID, Tintern Grammar Enrichment Program (TGEP) resumed this year. TGEP is a program offered to selected students from Years 5- 8, running alongside but separate to the Middle School syllabus. It is an enrichment opportunity open to our most able Middle School students, where intellectual nourishment and gaining an appreciation of areas of curiosity outside and in addition to the Australian Curriculum, can flourish.
Students involved in the program were offered a choice of 3 Units. In Term 2 the Units offered were:
Philosophy: Designing the Perfect Society. Exploring some of these big questions and using our newfound knowledge to construct a blueprint for our perception of a more perfect society.
Being successful on purpose – turning an idea into reality. Focusing on channeling your inner passion, or purpose, and the steps required to turn this into a unique product.
Idea Generator. Students work in groups to formulate provocative, thought-provoking questions and discussion, with the outcome being determined by the group.
TGEP continues again in Term 3, with different Units offered for students to select. By all reports, students have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, which finishes for the term this week.
I would like to wish our students a wonderful holiday in the coming weeks. I encourage them to read their school reports fully, to sit with family and discuss their results and feedback, and to set personal goals for the upcoming semester. I look forward to seeing all students returning to school on Tuesday 12 July.