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Over the last fortnight we have celebrated National Boarding Week. From the early beginnings of the School, St Peter’s College has always sought to support families that do not have high-quality educational choices on their doorstep. Boarding creates this choice.

Boarding brings perspective and diversity to a student community. It also promotes a level of independence in students in comparison to life in the modern home. Boarders encounter opportunities that require decisions and actions without the usual parental influence or consultation that might happen at home. If a student is ready for this level of independence, then boarding can be a great gift to maturation.

May I ask you to spare a moment to consider those families that are divided by distance? Although our students do usually adjust quite quickly, it can be very hard on mothers and fathers, even siblings. The emotional sacrifice can be very tough. For all of us at St Peter’s College, it is a superb opportunity and privilege to have about 100 students living on site who might develop connections with day families and vice versa. If your son lives locally, please ask him: does he know any boarders? Maybe it’s time he reached out and connected with someone from beyond the hills or beyond our shores. I thank all our committed staff that play a role in caring for our boarding students and also thank our wider School families for playing an important role in supporting our boarders behind the scenes.

As I become more established with the School and key stakeholders, it is vital that plans and goals are drawn to define our future priorities. Later this year we will undertake a strategic planning process to identify the key goals and areas of renewal that should be the highest priority for our immediate and longer-term future. Much work has already taken place behind the scenes this year to ensure our fundamental operational focus is founded on learning and teaching. Staff have been working hard on refining assessment and reporting, and steps are being taken to compile data that spotlights the progression of students throughout each academic learning area. These projects will continue and will form a central pillar of the strategic planning process.

In my attendance at many sporting events I have received feedback from countless families about our sports program. In response to this feedback as well as the observations and experiences of staff and students, a review of our sport programs will begin in the next few weeks. During the coming weeks families with students in Years 4 to 12 will be invited to participate in an online survey. Representatives across the full range of sports will also be invited to share their experiences and views. As always, if you have a specific view or experience that you would like to share, I encourage you to make contact with my office and make a written submission before Friday 22 June 2018. Your feedback is encouraged.

In student achievements this fortnight, congratulations to Angus Miller (Year 10), who will join the SA Sports Institute’s (SASI) cycling program from June. The scholarship program is testament to his hard work, potential and rapid improvement. Congratulations to Derek Yang (Year 8) who travelled to Houston, US in the school holidays to complete in the Lego World Festival. Derek and his team represented Australia and won first place in the Innovation Award for their robot design and programming.

Tim Browning