September has arrived inspiring everyone with the sunshine and not so cold mornings. Term 3 has been hard in terms of weather and illness and like many workplaces a large number of our staff and students were impacted. I thank parents who informed us of student absences through our absence hotline and followed up with notes and medical certificates upon their return to school.
When students are absent for illness and are unable to complete work, it is important that extensions are applied for through the relevant subject teacher or in the case of a prolonged illness, having a conversation with the relevant year level coordinator.
We are pleased to announce that we have had a significant increase in enrolments for next year for Year 7 and enrolment requests are continuing to occur at other year levels. If you know of anyone who is still considering Scoresby Secondary College for next year, it is important that they complete an enrolment application to finalise our staffing numbers for 2017. I would also request that if anyone is moving out of the area or not returning next year to please contact the General Office. Student allocation to electives for years 9-10 and VCE subjects for Years 10 -12 is currently underway. All students will be notified of their subjects and materials charges in term four.
Doctors in School
Scoresby Secondary College’s purpose is to provide a safe, supportive and challenging learning environment that focusses on nurturing the whole person in order to develop active and self-aware contributors to our global community.
To achieve this we play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of our students to help guide them in the establishment of lifelong healthy behaviours. Research has shown that school health programs and effective health promotion by skilled staff can reduce the prevalence of health risk behaviours among students and have a positive effect on academic performance. It is easier and more effective for our students to develop healthy behaviours during their transition from childhood to adolescence, than trying to change unhealthy behaviours during adulthood.
Many articles have been written about the rise in numbers of adolescence experiencing mental health issues and participation in preventable health risk behaviours. Headspace is one agency that was established in Knox to provide early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds, along with assistance in promoting young peoples’ wellbeing, but as with other external agencies, the demand for such service is rising.
Scoresby Secondary College’s Head of Student Services, Mr Michael Alexis, leads our team of professionals and conducts weekly case management and referral in consultation with parents to the most appropriate external agencies. Our proactive approach to early intervention was therefore seen as a benefit to apply for the Doctors in Schools Program. To include a doctor to work alongside our regular wellbeing staff which include our chaplain, educational psychologist, social worker, integration staff and speech pathologists in addition to visiting teachers, speech pathologists and other professionals who are required from time to time could only facilitate more comprehensive wellbeing structures and support the promotion of access and equity for all students.
We were therefore pleased last week to be announced as one of the schools in Victoria to be allocated an adolescent health trained general practitioner (GP). The GP will attend Scoresby up to once a week and will provide: health support, support for staff coordination and access to specific program training.
The skilling up of staff will be an essential element of the program as it will expand the expertise of our staff. It will enable us to use the best strategies and programs to better support students who may be experiencing health and wellbeing conditions which in schools can range from mental health issues, unhealthy eating behaviours, inadequate physical activity, substance abuse or participating in behaviours that contribute to unintentional injury and violence.
Already we have many proactive health promotion programs in place, through our teaching and learning programs in health, physical education, food technology and science and through extra-curricular programs such as our respectful relationships program, antibullying and cybersafety programs, Keys Please (safer driving), information sessions on resilience, stress management, nutrition and many more.
Like many other schools we were disappointed that the media took the topic of contraception as the focus of this new initiative and did not report about the integrity required through the application process. In our application, we included how the doctor would be engaged in our case management and referral system.
In Term 4 we will be establishing a policy with the protocols for referral once the appointment of the doctor is made. All College policies are developed and approved by our Education Policy Committee (EPC) and then passed to College Council for final endorsement prior to publication. Both EPC and College Council have parent, student and community representation. If you would like to join EPC we welcome new members. The committee meet once two to three times a term.
College Council Uniform Committee have been conducting a full school uniform review for the past two years. We are very pleased with the fabrics, colours and styles for each of the items. The Year 7 students commencing in 2017, students changing from Junior School to Senior School and College Captains will be required to purchase the complete new uniform. There will be a two year phase in for all other students will all students from 2019 expected to be all new items. I thank parents, students and staff who responded to be part of the consultation for the work they have carried out on behalf of our community.
Education Support Staff Week
We recently held a morning tea to acknowledge the work of our education support staff and the important role they play in our College. I am sure the broader members of our community also appreciate the work they carry out on a daily basis in the office, finance, welfare, integration, information technology, science, food technology and facilities.
I wish all of our students, staff and families all the best for the school holidays. For those who will be working throughout the break, I thank you for putting in the hard work for our students. Some of our teaching staff are conducting revision sessions for Year 12 students; our facilities staff will be extremely busy carrying out work to further improve the environment; and many more staff will be preparing lessons for Term 4.
On Friday 26 August we said farewell to our International Student William (Chen) Li.
We wish William well as he returns home to China.