How grateful we are to now have all of our students back on-site at Camperdown College, reunited with their friends and teachers.
The usual timelines and rhythms of a year have been seriously disrupted by the pandemic and there have been occasions this week when I have had to stop and recall that we have just commenced Term 4, not Term 1! With the high level of energy and excitement amongst our primary and secondary students, along with return to school nerves and the focus on re-establishing routines, there are many similarities to the start of a new school year. There is a great deal for our students to look forward to this term and the practice we have all had in generating creative solutions to new challenges will serve us well as we plan ‘new look’ end of year rituals and rites of passage.
In anticipation of a term which will continue to require heightened attention to health and safety, the school’s key health messages remain in place: only essential visitors are permitted on-site, students and staff must not attend school if unwell, masks must be worn (except by primary students and those with a medical condition precluding this), additional cleaning and sanitising of high touch points is taking place throughout the day, and strict hygiene measures including regular hand sanitising are required of all students and staff.
While we settle back in for a busy final term of 2020, we are also in the midst of 2021 planning, a key element of which is engaging new staff to fill vacancies across the school. I am very pleased to advise that the following new appointments have already been finalised: Brett Ambrose will join us as an additional Indonesian teacher through the Teach for Australia program, Vicky Kerr and Tom Andrews will join our primary teaching team, and Kate Hood will join us to teach secondary English and Humanities. Vacancies have arisen through a combination of staff being on leave and our increased 2021 class numbers (10 classes rather than nine at the Junior Campus, and two home-groups in each of Years 7, 8 and 9). We are also investing school and Department of Education resources into providing additional teaching time and learning support in 2021 to assist with the transition back from remote to on-site learning. This is also the case for the whole of Term 4 this year, with extensive intervention and support arrangements in place across both campuses.
We have seized an unforeseen opportunity to provide our Year 6 students with an overnight stay at the local (Gnurad Gundidj, Noorat) campus of the Department of Education’s School for Student Leadership next week. The SSL campuses would usually be hosting Year 9 groups from around the state, but the rules preventing the inter-mingling of schools have put a temporary stop to this. A generous offer was made to local schools to avail themselves of the facilities and program and we were very fortunate to be able to take up this opportunity. At no cost to families, our Year 6 students will enjoy a full two day program led by the SSL staff and our own Year 6 teachers, with many of our Senior Campus staff visiting in support of our Year 7 transition aims.
Unfortunately our own Year 9 team of six students selected to attend the Alpine Campus of SSL in 2020 has been impacted by the Covid restrictions and has not yet been able to commence their program. In acknowledgement of this, we have applied for all our 2021 Year 9 and 10 students to spend a week at the Bogong Outdoor Education Centre – a wonderful program highly regarded by past participants and with some similar aims and opportunities as the SSL.
A great deal of work is being done by our VCAL and Hands on Learning students and staff to prepare our Naroghid site for excursions and overnight stays later this year and we are very grateful to Warren Attrill and Sue Maskell who are leading these efforts.
In closing, I wish all students, staff and families a settled and fulfilling term four. I hope that we can all look forward to finishing the year well in recognition of an extraordinary 2020 team effort.
Ms Cherie Kilpatrick, Principal
Thursday 15th October 2020