I was asked recently what the most enjoyable or rewarding aspect of my role is, as Principal of All Saints’ College, and two things came immediately to mind.
Firstly, I noted that it is obviously an enormous privilege to work alongside community members in order to contribute to the strategic direction of our College, building upon the wonderful work of those who came before us, and working – in partnership with families – to see our young people as well prepared as possible to lead happy and meaningful lives.
And secondly, I commented that one of the greatest joys of my role remains the opportunity to interact with our young people, whether that be teaching our Year 8 cohort each year, reading stories to the Junior School students, attending Student Council meetings and so on.
On this latter point, most recently I have been involved in a series of workshops with staff and students, facilitated by our new architectural partners, EIW and a consultancy firm, in order to further our thinking about the College’s teaching and learning spaces.
Our students’ participation in these workshops has been nothing short of impressive: whether from our younger year levels or our most senior years, the students have been thoughtful, articulate, mature and insightful, and I thank them for their contribution.
Excerpts from some of the students’ feedback following the workshops (below) highlight the thoughtful way in which they have responded to these opportunities. One student writes:
…Today was a wonderful opportunity for students to provide a voice and representation for the student body on their education. I am especially drawn by the fact that the College was able to connect innovative industry professionals, architects, staff and, most importantly, students.
For me particularly, I liked the fact that we incorporated new innovative thinking, channelling our College’s goal towards advancing into Enterprise. I was able to connect my passion for new educational forms and ideas with my passion for enterprise and my future pursuits in architecture.
For the whole student body, I think it was a great opportunity for students to voice their opinions, (which is happening often these days, particularly with my fascinating Enterprise excursion on Friday), and gain insight into how their own education is planned.
Finally, I think it was a great encouraging realisation for students, as they were able to see that the staff are trying their best to give us the best possible education and that they are taking into account our opinions and ideas.
Thank you very much for organising this event and giving us the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing project!
…Today was an absolutely fantastic experience. It was a pleasure to work alongside the Leadership Team and staff, and gain an insight into their experience of teaching and learning. It isn’t often that students and staff can work alongside like that.
The energy and ideas that [the facilitators] brought to the workshop made it very enjoyable and enlightening, and the feeling of being heard was invaluable.
I appreciate the feeling of being able to make a productive contribution and thank you for making this possible.
On this same topic, one of our Year 8s wrote:
I thought that the CDP workshop was a very valuable experience. I have noticed that I am becoming more and more confident in myself every day and I am extremely proud of myself for that. I was able to talk to staff confidently and effectively. If I had tried to take part last year, I would have definitely have hidden in the corner and tried to make myself invisible. I also believe I have become a bigger part of the ASC community and I have found my place at the College, and I believe I am growing as a community member as well as a student. This opportunity has helped me so much and has built a more confident me. I think this is because I have had to contribute and that makes me feel like I am making a change.
Our College exists for our young people, so it is vital that they have a voice in how best we facilitate their learning endeavours, and that they have a real sense of agency and empowerment – the capacity to contribute to, and to steer their learning as they strive for self-actualisation.