05 February 2024

From the Principal

Article by Mr. Michael Exton | Principal

From the Principal

Dear Parents & Carers,

Welcome to the new school year. I hope all families had a special Christmas celebration and a relaxing holiday break. I trust that all students have returned ready to make the most of the opportunities that will be available throughout this year. And a special welcome to families joining our Ignatian community for the first time. I wish your daughter or son all the best for their transition and hope your family will develop a deep affection for and connection to our school community.

We welcome 260 Year 7 students and 21 new students in other year levels. We have 1,450 students enrolled, up from 1,420 at this time last year. We also welcome many new staff to Saint Ignatius, who bring a wealth of experience and passion to our community.

I would like to express my gratitude to my dedicated colleagues who have been working diligently and enthusiastically to prepare for the return of our students this week. You can access the staff list (names and roles) by clicking on this link. As always, if there is any support we can provide you as we begin the academic year, I encourage you to reach out to relevant staff members.

The beginning of a new school year offers a chance for students to start fresh and improve their academic and personal growth. The 2023 Semester Two Reports, along with discussions with parents or guardians where their insights and support are crucial, and personal reflection, can help students identify areas where they can enhance their learning experience and take full advantage of the opportunities offered by our College.

I have high expectations for our students, and through their diligent application to their studies, that they will achieve solid gains in their level of learning and development again this year. I want to encourage a culture where students feel compelled and supported to high achievements.

Ignatian schools have gained worldwide recognition for their excellence in education over the past 500 years. At Saint Ignatius' College, we foster a culture of intellectual rigour and high academic standards. Our students are encouraged to be inquisitive, think critically, and practice kindness and inclusivity. Every day, we challenge our students to surpass their perceived potential.

An Ignatian education aims to develop the whole person. To support our holistic approach, we offer a variety of co-curricular programs such as sports, performing arts, community service, enrichment activities such as various competitions and activities, and camps, immersions and trips. Our students are encouraged to make the most of these valuable opportunities. As well as supporting their personal development, their involvement helps build their sense of belonging and connection to our school community.

I would like to express my gratitude to Parents and Carers for all you have done to set your daughter or son up for a good start to the year and in anticipation of your proactive efforts to help your child establish good routines, set boundaries that prioritize their education, and monitor their progress throughout the year.

Term 1 is a vibrant time at the College with many events, activities and celebrations. We look forward to engaging with our community and encourage you to refer to our College Calendar, which is available via our ‘Xuno’ Student Management System Parent Portal. You can also click on this link for a February calendar summary document.

To help our students prepare better for the upcoming academic year, we have commenced the academic year with a new program called "Connection Week." The program will include the regular Mentor periods, the start-of-the-year Mass and Academic Assembly, with additional year-level sessions that will focus on our Student Effective Learning Framework (SELF). These sessions will provide students with Ignatian formation, well-being information and strategies, academic strategies, and House activities. Additionally, the program includes ACER testing for students from Year 7 to Year 10. This will give us an instant snapshot of each student's numeracy and literacy levels. Furthermore, we have designed a special program for Year 7 students to help them settle in their new school. This program was conducted on the first day, and well done to our Year 12 students who were there to support them.

The ‘Beginning of the Year’ Full College assembly will be held in the Multipurpose Centre on Monday 5th February 2024 at 9.00 am. It will conclude at about 10.30 am. If you would like to attend, please report to the office at about 8.45 am on the day so that a seat can be arranged for you. The assembly is a formal occasion and a great way to celebrate many student achievements, reinforce values and positive messages and build our sense of community. I look forward to seeing as many parents and friends of the College as possible at this event. Coffee/tea will be available afterwards for parents.

I would like to alert you to an important change to our Student Use of Mobile Phone Policy that commences from the beginning of this year. The College has decided to implement a Mobile Phone Pouch Program. This program, which requires students to store their mobile phones in a secure pouch during school hours, is designed to support students in using mobile phones and related technology in a responsible and ethical manner. It provides a ‘phone-free’ space that encourages students to develop the skills to interact positively with their peers and teachers and to fully immerse themselves in the learning process.

We understand that mobile phones have become an essential communication tool in today's technology-rich world. However, research has shown that mobile phones can be disruptive and misused in classrooms. Their unregulated presence can negatively impact a student's learning as well as their ability to think, learn, remember, pay attention, and regulate their emotions. During recess and lunchtime, it's important for students to communicate face-to-face and engage in physical activities rather than being focused on their phones, especially while using social media.

Saint Ignatius College understands that students may choose to bring a personal mobile phone to school, particularly if they are travelling independently to and from school. Students who choose to bring mobile phones to school must have them switched off and securely stored in the mobile phone pouch provided and in their locked locker for the duration of the school day unless given explicit permission from their classroom teacher to take the pouch to class for educational purposes. Every student has access to a personal locker that must be secured with a combination lock (supplied by the student).

Exemptions and exceptions to this policy may be applied if certain conditions are met.

When emergencies occur, parents or carers should reach their child by calling the Administration Office on 52511136.

If a student needs to use a phone during the school day, they may do so via the school Administration Office or a member of the Student Wellbeing Team.

Phones not in the pouch during the school day will be confiscated and can only be collected from the office by the Parent or Carer after 3:05 pm. Parents or Carers will receive a notification via ‘Xuno’ that their daughter or son’s phone is available for collection by them from the office.

Could I please ask that you discuss this change of policy with your daughter or son and reinforce to them the positive impact that having “phone-free time” at school will have? Thank you in anticipation of your support for this initiative to improve the learning environment at school. Deputy Principal (Students) Michael Timms will provide more information about this change to Parents, Carers and Students.

New Canteen Service

The College is excited about providing a new Canteen service this year and has engaged “Hungry Hamper Catering Pty Ltd” (H & H Canteens) to run the canteen. H & H have been busy preparing to commence operations on Friday 2nd February.

There will be some changes and improvements to the Canteen operations. You can obtain information about the new H & H Canteen service, menu and online ordering details by clicking on this link.

We are looking forward to a rewarding year as we work together to nurture the growth and development of our students.

“Building community for better learning – belonging, connection & learning.”

Best wishes for 2024,

Michael Exton | Principal