My name is Catherine Spurritt, and I’m proud have taken on the role of Deputy Principal – Learning & Teaching in term 4 last year. As we begin a new year, I have had the privilege and opportunity to speak to many boys during the first two weeks of school. Conversations in the classroom and in the yard with students have been about how happy the boys were with their teachers and the learning experiences that were afforded to them. There is a wonderful sense that students across all year levels are working hard to improve themselves and their peers’, skills, knowledge and understanding.
I would like to acknowledge the important role that community plays in success in learning – whether your son has just started year 7 or is on a VCE or VCAL pathway. We know that parents are the first teachers of young people and the research base suggests that parental involvement in schooling is more strongly connected to educational attainment than the family’s socioeconomic background, ethnicity or family structure.
Our staff are also an important resource, for more than just their content expertise. Great teachers are great learners. I encourage our boys to draw upon the collective wisdom of their subject teachers, their pastoral care teachers, House Leaders and Senior College Leaders – these are people who have journeyed alongside literally thousands of young people over the years.
My message for all students is simple – we care about you and we have high hopes for you.
When it comes to the narrative of your son’s life at the College, Whitefriars Engage is vehicle for telling the story. I know how hard it can be to get concrete information about anything school related out of a teenager, so I’d encourage you to access this weekly to remain informed as to the goings-on of life at the College
Whitefriars Engage also gives you access to information relating to learning at the College. To support parent engagement in the learning cycle, you’ll be able to see feedback on assessment tasks throughout the semester, as they are undertaken. This will allow you as parents to have important conversations with him about his learning, organisation, improvement strategies and motivation.
Engage in conversations with your son about his learning as it is happening. Persist in your questioning of him as to how he approached the task, how he prepared himself for the task and what he is going to do to action the feedback that he has received from his teachers. Teacher feedback is only ever of use to a student when it “feeds forward” into future learning opportunities! If your son is unsure what he needs to do next to improve, please encourage him to reach out to the teacher for further clarification. Student Parent Teacher conferences will be held in term 1 this year, via Zoom, and this is a really important opportunity for our students to engage in a goal setting conversation with their teachers, so please ensure that you have reviewed the feedback on Whitefriars Engage prior to these meetings.
I wish your son all the best with his learning in 2022.
Mrs Catherine Spurritt
Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching