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Principal's Blog

2023 Term 4

Reflections on the Year

The end of the year is always accompanied by reflections on our children: their growth, their energy, their engagement, and their happiness.

2023, being the first ‘normal’ year since 2019, has offered a clear illumination of the gains associated with a year on site at FCS. It has been a fun, happy and joyful time: the joy of teaching has been truly experienced though seeing the children grow, whether it be in confidence, competence, happiness or connection. This growth has been evident across the whole student body this year. What has been particularly observable, and pleasing, is the quite dramatic gains seen in those who have joined us part way through their primary school adventure. A majority of these students arrived disengaged from learning, often mistrustful, and certainly displaying a distinct lack of smiles. During this first-normal-year-in-a-while, we have seen a great changes in many of these children. As a staff, we have celebrated the move from frowns and scowls to the openness of a smile.

We take the growth and gains of all students as an affirmation of our model of schooling. Visitors to the school frequently remark on the quiet, polite self-assurance of the children. This is important to me as an educator – I see confidence as playing a significant role in our children’s future happiness and success. Tackling the question of how to go about building confidence in all of our students is a common theme in staff discussions. Assessed against a benchmark of happiness and confidence, 2023 has been a flying success. While there are some clear success stories, the broader slow and steady growth in all the students affirms the school’s culture and the dedicated work of our teachers.

Teaching is a truly human profession. Part and parcel of any day are ups and downs, the bedrock of the joys and challenges of being a teacher. There are the less frequent ‘lightbulb’ moments when a child grasps a spelling pattern, sees the humour embedded in a text, understands a point of grammar or overcomes a barrier to mathematical competence. These moments are indeed special.

However, the true reward of the teaching profession is experienced in assisting our children to build the character traits upon which future happiness and success are founded. It is a great joy to see a child who once held the belief that they could not learn let this dispiriting falsehood drop away. It is similarly affirming to watch children who have suffered rejection because of unfortunate habits learn new ways and subsequently forge friendships. Some children join our school with an entrenched scowl: watching this slowly transform into a smile is a clear affirmation of the work we do. The restrictions imposed over the last three years, and the bounce of the full return to normal this year, have offered a clear demonstration into the gains made over a year at FCS.

Even when sensitive issues have needed to be raised about a child’s behaviour, I am thankful that this has not led to confrontations. These conversations between teachers and parents have been tackled and worked through together in trust, with many parents expressing a clear appreciation for our honest sharing. This collaboration plays a significant part in the spirit of FCS, and the gains that our children all make. This trust that we are all working together for the betterment of your children is the foundation of our work.

So thank you for trusting us with your children, and for working with us to raise happy, kind and empowered young people.

Enjoy your summer and best wishes for 2024.

Timothy Berryman (Principal)

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