01 April 2021

From the Principal

Article by Mr Michael Exton

From the Principal

Dear Saint Ignatius College community members,

Last week, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) provided advice to Catholic schools following the prominence in the media and community conversations of discussions about issues of consent, sexual assault and gender inequality. The highlighting of these issues reinforces the need to support students to build and manage safe and respectful relationships. I have used the CECV’s guidance notes to prepare the following information and offer support for our school community.

Respectful relationships are at the core of Catholic values and teachings and a necessary element of a properly functioning society. Developing young men and women who respect each other’s fundamental rights is central to our school community's aims.

Issues of consent, sexual assault and gender inequality are critically important. In partnership with parents, our school has an important role to play in addressing this significant social issue.

We stand against gendered violence. The testimonies provided by current and former school students across the country reinforce the need to support students to build and manage safe and respectful relationships.

Our school utilises a range of programs to help form appropriate interpersonal behaviours and respectful attitudes among the student cohort, as enshrined in gospel values.

We teach respectful relationships education as part of the Victorian Curriculum, which focuses on building students’ social and emotional skills by supporting them to recognise and regulate emotions, develop empathy for others, and build and manage safe and respectful relationships (including understanding consent). Our school provides sexuality education as part of the Health and Physical Education curriculum.

It is important to recognise that Consent Education is part of a bigger picture of respectful relationships education and cannot be just “ticked off” as part of a curriculum program. We aim to form the ‘whole person’, uphold Gospel values and strengthen our students’ moral compasses. In doing this, it is crucial we work in partnership with families.

This week, I, with College Executive members and a representative from the Student Wellbeing Office, met with senior (Yrs 10-12) female student leaders and then with senior male student leaders. We sought our senior student leaders’ thoughts about their experience of how the College has addressed the topic of Consent Education over the years. Our Student Leaders provided valuable feedback that will help the Executive and Student Wellbeing Team consider how well we address this area and where and what improvements can be made. This meeting with our student leaders was an important step of many steps that we may need to take.

Our school takes sexual assault allegations very seriously. We respond to any disclosures in an appropriate and supportive manner. Any allegations are acted upon quickly by following our procedures for responding to allegations of abuse and assault. We report allegations of sexual assault to Victoria Police and Child Protection in accordance with cross-sector education protocols documented within PROTECT: Four Critical Actions for Schools: Responding to Incidents, Disclosures and Suspicions of Child Abuse and PROTECT: Identifying and Responding to Student Sexual Offending.

We will provide support to any students who are victim-survivors of sexual assault. As you would be aware, students can receive support from our Student Wellbeing Office (E: studentwellbeing@ignatius.vic.edu.au)

If you have any questions or concerns, or wish to discuss something that has happened, please contact Deputy Principal (Students) Michael Timms at school (Ph. 03 5251 1136).

As a parent or carer, if you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault and needs support, please contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit https://1800respect.org.au.

You can also access help through:

on 13 22 89

on 13 11 14

Beyond Blue
on 1300 22 4636.

Students can access help through:

Kids Helpline
on 1800 55 1800


All of us, from parents as first educators, to school teachers and leaders, to system and sector leaders, must work together to do all we can to address this issue and prevent future harm to any young person.

Critically, we must empower the young people in our care to participate in what must become an ongoing conversation on the efficacy of existing school respectful relationships programs, and the priority they are given in schools and among school communities.

As a Catholic school, we take these matters extremely seriously and will work with students, parents and our local community to support education programs in this critical area of student safety.

Best wishes for a happy and holy Easter

Last Sunday, we celebrated Palm Sunday, the commencement of Holy Week. This special week is the final one in our journey through Lent. It is especially significant and sacred as it calls to mind for Christians the last week of Jesus’ life in preparation for his death and, most significantly, his resurrection.

On Tuesday, students gathered in their homeroom groups for an Easter Liturgy to reflect on this special week and help prepare our students for the celebration of Easter.

Holy Week, and indeed all other events and seasons in the Church’s year, leads up to the most important celebration of the year and at the very heart of our Christmas beliefs, Easter.

Easter is the high point of the Christian year – the most important of our celebrations. Please consider taking your family to one of the many Church services over the Easter break to support further your daughter or son’s faith development.


After three years and one term at our College, Music teacher Ms Veronica Marrie will be leaving at the end of this term. Ms Marrie has made a significant contribution to the development of the performing arts for our students. She is a talented musician, in particular as a flautist, and has led by example and with a vision for the development and flourishing of our College bands. Ms Marrie taught Years 7 and 9 Music, coordinated the Year 7 Music program and managed and conducted many performing groups. On behalf of our school community, I wish her all the best for her future.

Ms Tess Duddy has been employed to replace Ms Marrie for the remainder of the year and will commence duties at the beginning of next term.

I also thank Ms Hayley Livingston, who replaced Mr Peter Grull while he has been on leave this term. Ms Livingston enthusiastically embraced this task and, in particular, has helped settle her Year 7 Homeroom into their new school. Best wishes to Ms Livingston.

Commencement of Term 2

Please note that next term’s classes commence on Monday 19th April 2021. The teacher professional practice day scheduled for April 19 has been moved to Friday 23rd April 2021. This change was made because of the number of Mondays when regular classes had not occurred due to holidays or school events. Therefore students will not be required at school on April 23.

I wish our students and staff a very enjoyable and restful holiday break.

May Easter bring you and your family hope, peace and joy,

Michael Exton