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Please be assured that your son is capable of really great things.

Not every student is a highflyer. Our priority as parents and educators should be on praising effort, acknowledging acts of good character and recognising personal bests in every setting. With service in mind, we should enquire or comment not on whether our son was the best player in the team, but if he was the best player for the team (and the concept of team is certainly broader than a sporting context). In contest with social media, we should resist comparison with others at every opportunity.

The really great things that I have seen over the past two weeks have not at all been a function of exceptional talent or ability, but simply the outcome of a positive attitude, good character and high effort, which are as accessible to your sons as to mine.

This week, I have seen a student take a stand against the poor conduct of an opposing team and write a letter to the CEO of the National Governing Body; another student who has used a passion and skillset developed in his Research Project to lead a team of students in review of school policy; I saw another student show great initiative in bringing an idea to life in the form of a school-wide Student Reconciliation Pledge. During National Boarding Week, two boarding students eloquently delivered powerful and inspiring speeches in Muster about their boarding journey and the ongoing impact of COVID-19. It was their courage to share their personal stories – as much as the stories themselves – that silenced Memorial Hall and offered a glimpse of how galvanised and connected our student body can be in support of each other.

There are, of course, many more examples of individuals doing really great things, and it would be fair to acknowledge the team that is often around these individuals that undoubtedly serves as inspiration and support in equal measure.

On a collective level, I was proud of all boys at the Swimming Carnival, not discounting that, for many, such an environment would have led them some way outside of their comfort zones, for all sorts of reasons. I was also proud of our Year 11 cohort, who represented the School and themselves admirably at the Healthy Relationships Day, exploring a number of important and intimate concepts with their peers from St Peter’s Girls, Walford and Wilderness. It was great to see them all socialising with each other, with ‘respect’ in the forefront of their minds. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the Under 16 Rugby team for the generosity of their spirit and support of each other in recent weeks, and for prioritising a training environment that puts the experience and wellbeing of their teammates above performance or results.

Clearly, I have seen some of the best that our student culture has to offer, but I do acknowledge that this may not be every student’s lived experience. Please continue to feel invited to provide feedback to me directly on your son’s experience at St Peter’s College.

Marcus Blackburn
Deputy Headmaster/Head of Senior School