In 2018, the Principal launched our plan for character education. Here's a quick summary of where we are heading.
Our Plan for Character Education will ensure we are:
- Delivering more specialist student support and investing in an expanded specialist student support services team.
- Improving teaching and learning by connecting universities and experts to Scots to share their knowledge and improve teaching standards
- Fostering a culture shift by bringing pastoral care and community together to make sure boys know where to ask for help
- Growing research and training by building high-tech conferencing facilities to connect Scots to global communities
We are standing on the edge of the greatest shift in work since the industrial revolution. As parents, grandparents and educators, we worry about the emerging social and emotional state of our children. Life has become increasingly complex and difficult to navigate. Many traditional institutions and support structures have been unable to adapt and provide the stability and security that our children require. Schools can no longer educate students for jobs that won’t exist. We must prepare them for roles that haven’t even been imagined yet. Over the past fifty years, Australia’s social and economic life has changed immeasurably. Our social relationships have become more complex. Family structures and lifestyles have fractured, counselling and specialist health service needs have skyrocketed, academic standards are being challenged from all quarters, and we are grappling with the consequences of technology interventions every moment of the day. Economically, our children will have vastly different career paths to our own. For the first time, talent and capital are completely mobile — simply ‘knowing things’ is no longer enough.
In short — the needs of contemporary Australian students have totally shifted; and the way we educate has not evolved to meet these new demands.
- Nearly half of all Year 9 students do not find school engaging. (Mitchell Institute, 2017).
- One in four young people aged 15 to 19 report a serious mental health issue (Black Dog Institute, 2017).
- 659,000 young Australians aged 15 to 24, are underemployed or unemployed (Brotherhood of St Lawrence, 2017).
- •Jobs of the future will require an additional 70 percent of enterprise skills (Jan Owen at ScotsIdeas, 2017).
Over a quarter of a million young Australians aged as young as four have been identified as having experienced an anxiety disorder. By the time these children enter Year 8, half of all adult mental health conditions will start to present. By the time they are aged 24, three in four adult mental health conditions will have emerged. Many Australian children are facing a crisis that is threatening the very core of their character. It is essential that preventative care and intervention be expertly provisioned as early as possible.
Many Australian children are facing a crisis that is threatening the very core of their character. It is essential that preventative care and intervention be expertly provisioned as early as possible.
The John Cunningham Student Centre will be at the heart of our College and will provide a sanctuary for all. The architecture deliberately connects with our Scottish heritage. It provides a constant reminder of the legacy of the Scots that led to the establishment of universal and egalitarian education, and exudes confidence and stability for our young men. It gives expression to our foundational belief in the importance of character and the outstanding provision of care, and is a strong home for our community to address issues of concern through the intersection of teaching, learning and social capital.
Specialist Student Support
Connecting educators, families and young people with knowledge leaders and allied health practitioners means that we can better equip and support our children on the journey to adulthood. We will achieve this through the provision of specialist character education teams, research partnerships and counselling services for students and staff managed by an expanded specialist student support services team. Collaboration and subject matter expertise will be provided by allied health practitioners; including paediatricians, nutritionists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, sports psychologists, school psychologists, speech pathologists and careers and guidance advisors.
Teaching and Learning
The working environment of the future will be different to the ones we have known. Therefore, the current paradigm of teaching and learning needs to shift. The majority of well educated, future employees’ time will be spent on non-routine critical thinking, problem solving, and information analysis. We will equip them to thrive in such an environment through the provision of outstanding, research directed teaching and learning. The modern library must become a knowledge centre – an aggregator of knowledge rather than purely a custodian. By bringing together the College’s literary collection and specialist learning support and knowledge and information facilitators, the John Cunningham Student Centre will foster critical thinking and the art of enquiry. Physically, the space will include areas for research and reflection alongside innovative interactive spaces for collaboration between students, teachers and subject matter experts.
Pastoral Care and Community
We plan to create a culture shift. All boys need to learn to ask for help and not see this as a sign of weakness. We will design space and support services that will serve to normalise asking for help and guidance. By bringing core support services together, boys will move through the building and seek help for their academic program, technology support, sporting needs, career advice, counselling and guidance, specialist tuition, advice about school clubs and societies, leadership seminars, and much more. The expert provision of care is more than just formal intervention, it’s about fostering a physical environment that creates a sense of place and encourages belonging, wellbeing and socialisation. All boys and families have needs. We will improve our community’s connectedness and improve engagement by offering warm and inviting social areas. In doing so, the John Cunningham Student Centre will lift every student to the surface by connecting those in need with those best resourced to assist. Through expansive collaboration and presentation spaces, we will provide parent, staff and student seminars aimed at our entire community and ensuring that all in need can rise to the surface and take on challenges with confidence. The centralisation of specialist support services for students will ultimately ensure that care can be provisioned holistically and with the input of those with the best capacity to assist.
Research and Training
The world is constantly being reinvented, and to equip our boys we need to start with their teachers. Through research directed, high-tech observation classrooms, the professional body of knowledge held by our teachers will grow and their capacity to identify students’ needs will be strengthened. Through providing outstanding academic spaces that will link our learning to global experts and centres of knowledge, the John Cunningham Student Centre will ensure the College is able to attract, develop and retain valued staff, and nurture leading partnerships with industry and universities.