There has been a considerable amount of analysis and planning over the past two years about what has happened to our numbers. Parents have , in particular been surveyed by the Resonate group and by Dr. Michael Bezzina. The first concluded much about the value proposition and the latter has honed in on just what it is that our community actually values about St. Paul’s, something I keep hearing about from everyone, which is the deep care of the individual. This is something that many schools can say they strive for but in fact, on close examination, the larger than get, the harder it is to hand on heart say that is what the school actually achieves.
St. Paul’s on the other hand is uniquely placed to focus on the individual. Not being a large school we have the virtue of actually being able to claim with a high degree of certainty that students are known and cared for, that they don’t fall through the cracks. This provides us with a constant challenge to live up to that, which we strive to do. It is a high bar to set but we are committed to reaching it.
Recently as a staff, we explored with Dr. Anthony Maher the challenge of the ‘Mission’ of what it means to work in a Catholic school. It was increasingly heartening and reassuring to be witness to the profound dedication of the staff in the college who could see in their daily actions how they in fact fulfill the mission for the boys in their care.
Dr Maher presented the two competing standards, one that is the gift of a quality Catholic Education and the other the prevailing and strengthening paradigm of ‘mobilised ignorance’ that our graduates should be able to discern away from. The tragedy of the day is that ‘mobilised ignorance’ seems to be more and more valued in our society even on the international stage. Just one example.
The principles that underpin Catholic Mission in our schools surely are what we want to see in our sons? We are committed to fostering that no matter how counter cultural it may be becoming.
Our focus on the ‘Individual’ at the heart of what we do also encompasses our Wellbeing and Learning agendas. Our wellbeing agenda driven is by a positive education focus. This is centered on the notion that we want all our young men to flourish in life. This has seen us explicitly teaching the boys social and emotional skills as well as a rigorous approach to attendance and punctuality which raise a range of wellbeing issues to attend to for our boys and their families.
The diocese has begun a program to explore these issues with our community and connect the issue of attendance with wellbeing and learning. The impacts can be significant and life changing. Please have a look here
Next time I will discuss with you further work in the teaching and learning space and how we are working for our young men to have ‘agency’ in their learning.