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Headmaster's Update

College Blog Headmaster's Update
5 February 2021

I would like to welcome all our families and students to the 2021 school year at Prince Alfred College.

I extend a particularly warm welcome to those who are commencing their journey at Prince Alfred College.

We start the year with a record enrolment of just over 1,120 students. We are close to full in the Secondary School, at 98% of capacity, and the Preparatory School has grown for the second year in succession. Our Boarding House is again full, although we are waiting for the arrival of a small number of new international students.

Year 12 Results
We have previously provided details about our Year 12 results, both SACE and IB Diploma. As I have indicated, overall we were pleased with the results, which were similar to the previous year. Director of Teaching and Learning Ben Evans and I are now meeting with our Academic Leaders for the different subject areas, together with those responsible for our SACE and IB Diploma programs, to discuss these results in detail and our strategies for further development of our results.

From the testing that we have done, we are aware that our current Year 12 group is academically capable and we anticipate further improvement in our results this year.

International Students
As we did throughout 2020, we kept the Boarding House open for the duration of the summer holidays for our returning international students. As well as the 16 boys continuing at PAC in 2021, we also looked after some departing Year 12 international students until they had resolved their accommodation for this year. Director of Boarding Zac Savage, Deputy Director Phil Noble and their team put together an excellent program of activities for the boys, including extended visits to Wambana and Scotts Creek. I applaud the willingness of our staff to support our students in this way, as we were one of very few schools to keep our Boarding House open for international students.

Holiday Work
As always, there has been a good deal of work going on around the College over the holidays to prepare for the year ahead. Specific projects include the following:

  • Prep School classrooms upgrade.
  • Relocation of Prep art room to adjacent to the Library.
  • Re-purposing of dedicated computer rooms to provide more flexible learning spaces.
  • Renovation of Secondary School art space upstairs to provide two dedicated spaces.
  • Wesley Room refurbishment.
  • Painting and re-carpeting in a number of areas.
  • Replacement and re-positioning of Secondary School lockers.
  • Upgrade of air conditioning in Prep School buildings.

ICT Developments
As previously advised, we have been working on a number of projects to improve our online communications and systems in a number of respects. We have now adopted SEQTA as our Learning Management System throughout the school. We have established a number of basic functions through this platform and will keep parents informed about further developments particularly in providing information about our academic program and students’ progress.

There is very good uptake of the PAC app and similarly we will expand its usage in the months ahead. As most would be aware, our new website is also now in use.

COVID Response
Some easing of restrictions since the end of last year have allowed us to invite parents attend a number of beginning-of-year events at the College, whilst ensuring that we remain compliant. We now have our QR code from the SA Government and ask that all visitors to the College make use of this. We continue to monitor the latest developments and will keep the community informed about these as they apply at the College.

We have a small number of new staff this year and we wish them well for their time at PAC as well. Our new Head of Secondary School/Deputy Headmaster, Mr Greg Atterton, has made an excellent start in this key role. I encourage Secondary School parents to connect with Greg at forthcoming events and around the school generally. He will address both Middle and Senior School parents at their respective parent information evenings over the next fortnight.

A couple of our staff have experienced major injury or illness over the holidays and are currently not with us. In the Preparatory School, Russell Thompson needed a hip replacement after a fall at cricket training and will return to his Year 6 class a little later this term. He is making good progress with his recovery.

Deputy Director of Wambana, Gary Jenkinson, has had surgery following a major illness and is currently recovering. He similarly hopes to return late in first term. We wish both gentlemen well with their recoveries.

Tayla Harradine has joined us as a part time teacher of Mathematics in the Secondary School. Taylor holds a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences from the University of South Australia. During last year, Tayla assisted with our Mathematics Extension Program in Years 5, 6 and 7, was also working as a Mathematics Tutor.

Michael Hill has also been appointed to teach Mathematics in the Secondary School this year. Michael holds a Bachelor of Applied Health Science and Master of Teaching from the University of South Australia, where he is currently employed developing and delivering STEM programs to school groups. He has previously done some work within our Mathematics faculty and has also coached Basketball at PAC.

Natalia Andrioli has joined us as a Year 4 teacher in the Preparatory School for 2021. Natalia holds Degrees in Arts and Education (Primary) from Flinders University. She has been employed in a range of contract and relief positions since graduating in 2018, including some time in Year 2 at PAC earlier this year.

Old Scholar Jack Bain has joined us as an Outdoor Educator at Wambana for 2021 in the first instance. Jack has a Bachelor of Physical and Outdoor Education from Latrobe University in Bendigo and is currently completing a Masters of Applied Learning and Teaching from Deakin University. He had previously worked as a GAP Assistant at PAC and has led a range of outdoor pursuits at other schools.

I am pleased to announce the following internal appointments for 2021:

  • Following Jess Catt's resignation, Mel Bishop has been appointed Deputy Director in the ELC for 2021 in the first instance.
  • During Peter Serwan's absence on long service leave this year, Emily Bown will be Subject Coordinator for Art/Design.
  • Fiona Howat has been appointed Literacy Coordinator in the Preparatory School.

Bradley Fenner