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Headmaster's Update

College Blog Headmaster's Update
5 March 2021

In this week's article, Headmaster Fenner discusses the College's newly formed working party around responsible sexual conduct, positive community feedback in regards to student behaviour and an update on staffing matters.

Social matters
I am sure that most will have seen the recent media reports about the sexual assault of girls and young women, following the petition organised by Sydney woman Chanel Contos. The petition was aimed at promoting better education around responsible sexual conduct and consent, and elicited a large number of accounts of girls having been assaulted, often in association with drinking and social events. Whilst the focus was initially on schools in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, similar stories have now emerged throughout the country.

Given the seriousness of this matter, and our particular responsibility as a single sex school, over the last fortnight we have been looking at what we might do in response to these matters. In the first instance, we have formed a working party, led by Deputy Headmaster/Head of Secondary School Mr Greg Atterton, to explore all aspects of these issues and develop a set of responses.

The working party has held its first meeting, to which we invited an expert in relationships and sexuality education, Dr Tessa Opie, who has worked with a number of other schools in developing programs across different year levels and stages of education. Dr Opie will assist us in reviewing what we are currently doing in this area and in developing a comprehensive educational program to meet the needs of our students across the different levels.

Whatever we do will be research-based, to ensure that it will be effective and appropriate for the stages of development at the different levels. In due course, we intend running workshops for students, staff and parents and will provide further details as they are developed. We are very conscious that this is an area where there needs to be consistency of message and language between school and home.

In the meantime, if anyone would like to speak about these matters or provide feedback, please feel free to contact Greg Atterton or me.

Swimming sports feedback
Following the Secondary School House Swimming at the Adelaide Aquatics Centre last Friday, I received an email from the Principal of an Adelaide primary school, as follows:

… Last week, our Year 4 children were at the Aquatics Centre at the same time as your boys. The boys were polite, cheery and respectful of our children. Some even stopped for a chat and held the door open for them. At all times, they were considerate of our younger children's needs. They were an absolute delight. Our staff have used your boys’ behaviour as an example to our boys about how they can aspire to be like Prince Alfred College who are growing into great men! They were outstanding examples to our young children - girls seeing young men behaving respectfully and boys seeing great role models they can aspire to be.

…It was such a delight to hear this from our staff, and I thought I would share with you as boys’ schools often get a bad rap! Not in this case - your boys were just perfect. Thank you for all you are doing to create men who are respectful, good role models and leaders in our community.

Whilst we are proud of our boys’ achievements in many areas, we are even prouder of feedback such as this, which reflects so well on their character and conduct.

Our longest-serving member of the teaching staff, Secondary School Technology teacher Phil McLaughlin, has advised me of his intention to finish up at PAC at the end of second term. Phil will then take a period of long service leave before retiring prior to the end of the year. Phil has given outstanding service to the College in a number of different areas during his lengthy career here.

Year 5 teacher, Matt Tothill, will be on long service leave during second term, when he will be replaced by Bonnie Wansley. Bonnie has a Bachelor of Primary Education from University of South Australia and a Master of Education from the University of Melbourne. Prior to relocating to Adelaide this year, Bonnie had most recently taught at Trinity Grammar School, a leading boys’ school in Melbourne.

Bradley Fenner