Principal's Video & Blog - Issue 16 2022

Dear parents and carers

In addressing Year 12 students and families at the Graduation Mass earlier this term, I suggested that many students who may have had a difficult pathway through secondary school can be considered successful because the way they live their lives shows the influence of their St Joseph’s education. The values they have acquired equips them well for relationships and interactions throughout their lives. I also know that we equip students well for tertiary study and work.

We recently received a report from the Australian Centre for Career Education which was highly complimentary of the way our program assists students to identify and prepare for their choice of career. The findings highlighted a strong performance in six of the seven elements investigated. It affirmed our comprehensive ‘Strategic Plan for Careers’ and the support of school leadership regarding the importance of careers. The report commented that the SJC Careers Program is comprehensive and sequenced, with clear aims, based on appropriate activities. It noted that all students from Years 7 – 12 undertake careers activities, as well as maintain and update their Career Plan.

The report also affirmed the outstanding work of College careers practitioner Karen Shum and I would like to add my affirmation of Karen’s work.

Last Monday night we welcomed boys and families of Grade 6 students to an information night prior to them commencing Year 7 in 2023. Part of my message to parents was about the importance of strong support and communication between family and school. In particular I emphasised that often our immediate reaction when our child is ‘in trouble’ at school and ‘upset’ because of it, is to immediately leap to their defence. I reminded parents that this is seldom helpful and often prevents genuine learning from taking place. It is important that boys learn that their actions have consequences and if we step in to prevent them from learning this important life lesson we do them no favours.

St Joseph’s teaches and implements respectful relationships and we have rigid expectations that all interactions between staff students and parents will be respectful. We have noticed an increase in the prevalence of parents being disrespectful and demanding in their interactions with teachers. Very occasionally verbal and written contact from parents has been abusive. Staff have been directed that they are to politely end any call of this nature, notify senior staff and forward any written abuse to senior leadership for follow-up.

We have individually prepared codes of conduct for staff, students and parents respectively. When families enrol and teachers are employed, each of us commits to following all aspects of these codes. These documents are available on our website and I include linkages to them for your convenience

Parent Code of Conduct link 

Those of you who read the Geelong Advertiser may have seen front page headlines reporting compensation payments to survivors of sexual abuse which occurred at the College over 30 years ago. I wish to confirm that such payments are wholly provided by the Christian Brothers order and the College does not make any financial contribution. The Christian Brothers have responsibility for all matters which occurred prior to 2008 when their Australian schools, including St Joseph’s, became the responsibility of Edmund Rice Education Australia.

We cannot rewrite history, but it is important that we acknowledge and learn from it. The College fully supports justice for all survivors of abuse of any kind. In 2001 St Joseph’s made a public apology to all students who suffered abuse of any kind while enrolled at the College and Edmund Rice Education Australia offered a national apology in 2018. We currently have a robust and comprehensive suite of child safeguarding measures that ensure that every current St Joseph’s student is absolutely safe at all times inside and outside school.

Last week our new College leadership team was inducted. Congratulations to College Captain; Jaeger F and Deputy Captains; Matteo B and Jesse C and their team. I look forward to working together with our student leaders to maintain and strengthen St Joseph’s culture and maintain our status as the pre-eminent educator of boys in the Geelong region.

God Bless