Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 2, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

Over the past week I have come across some very inspirational sources that have really lifted my spirits and have allowed me to start thinking of the many good things in our lives and how we should celebrate them.

The first source of inspiration, believe it or not, has been the comedy series “Ted Lasso” on Apple+.  For those of you who are not aware of the series, it tells the story of Ted Lasso, an American college football coach who is hired to coach an English Premier League football team.  Much of the humour of the series derives from Ted not quite understanding English soccer and the culture clash that comes from Ted trying to impose his American techniques on the English.  What I love about the series is that Ted has an extremely positive outlook on life; he cares greatly about people and puts people before the game.  Whilst this is not an overly pragmatic way to lead a football team to success on the ladder, Ted is nevertheless someone who recognises the inner goodness in people and allows that goodness to shine.  So engaging is the character that I couldn’t quite believe the emotion with which I watched the final episode of the first season, willing the fictitious football team with all my heart to win their match so as not to be relegated out of the Premier League. Throughout the series, Ted often conveys little pearls of wisdom to his players. One of these gems of wisdom is the goldfish analogy.  He tells his players to be a goldfish – goldfish have very short memory spans. If the players make an error on the field, they need to learn from it but then move on.  They shouldn’t dwell on their mistakes and allow their failures or errors to form them or become their identity.   How often in life do we make an error or feel that we have failed in something, and we allow that to overcome us, becoming an obstacle to our growth and development.  Ted’s little goldfish gem has a lot to say about how we allow ourselves to grow and flourish.  Hopefully I can share some other Ted Lasso pearls of wisdom this term with our boys as they return to school.

My other source of inspiration this week comes from last Sunday’s First Reading, from the Book of Wisdom (Wisdom 7: 7-11).  This book, also known as the Wisdom of Solomon, provides a series of proverbs, sayings and prayers from King Solomon. Solomon is known for being the king of Israel who built the first Temple in Jerusalem. He was also the second (after his father, David) and last king of a unified Israel, which was at the height of its power during his reign. Last week’s first reading is quite brief but powerful.

Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me: and I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me: And I preferred her before kingdoms and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither did I compare unto her any precious stone: for all gold in comparison of her, is as a little sand, and silver in respect to her shall be counted as clay. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for her light cannot be put out. Now all good things came to me together with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.

Solomon talks about the strength of wisdom, and how wisdom is the most precious and powerful gift from God.  Wisdom is more esteemed than any kingdom or throne and the status that comes with this; wisdom is more precious than any stone.  Unlike health which can deteriorate and beauty which can fade, wisdom is eternal and, unlike light, can never be put out.  All good things come from wisdom. Solomon says quite clearly that wisdom can only come from God. Solomon’s celebration of wisdom here and his reference to being in love with wisdom reminds me of Paul’s celebration of love in his First Letter to the Corinthians, as both are referring to the love of God.  According to the Sacred Space website (a service of the Irish Jesuits) “Divine Wisdom embraces both Truth and Love.  To be a friend of God is to share his Wisdom, that is, to see and understand reality as he does. This is the most precious thing we can have in life for it gives meaning and direction to everything that we experience. It is to live in a light that is never extinguished”.

Let us pray today for this wisdom that will guide our lives and the lives of our young men, and bring us the happiness, peace and security which we constantly seek.

Congratulations to Nicholas Odgers (Year 12, Treacy) on being shortlisted and progressing through to the next round in the Australian Olympic Change-Maker Be the Change Competition. The Australian Olympic Change-Maker program recognises and rewards students who are demonstrating the Olympic spirit through leadership and driving positive change in their communities. This can take on many forms – from major projects to small examples of daily positivity.

Nick’s impressive video submission highlighted how he has used sport to create positive change and promote resilience in creative and unexpected ways; proving that the power of sport is truly limitless.

I would like to wish our Year 12 Tertiary students my very best wishes for their AST this Tuesday and Wednesday. The AST is significant for these students as the AST scores of the Tertiary package students provide the basis for scaling course scores. A student’s scaled course scores are used in the calculation of the student’s ATAR.  Teachers have been involved in preparing our students for the AST in a comprehensive preparation program.  Best wishes to all of our Year 12 Tertiary students.

Return to School Transition
Next week (Tuesday 18 October) sees face to face teaching resume for Year 12 and Year 11 students. We look forward to having all of our senior school students back with us next week.  It is an important time for both year groups, with Year 12 moving towards the end of their schooling and Year 11 students looking at who amongst their peers will be leading the College as part of the new Student Leadership Team.

Uniform Purchases for 2022
Accompanying this week’s Vortex is information about making bookings for the Uniform Shop.  I would ask that you please read this carefully and commence the process for purchasing next year’s uniform as soon as possible to avoid the rush.  This information was also emailed to all carers and parents last week.

EREA Child Safeguarding Standards

This week we continue exploring the Standards by looking at Standards 3 and 4.
Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and St Edmund’s College Canberra are committed to creating an environment in which the safety, wellbeing and participation of all children and young people are paramount.  We have zero tolerance of child abuse and all allegations and safety concerns are treated very seriously in line with our robust policies and procedures. EREA and St Edmund’s College have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.

EREA has responded proactively to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by developing a set of Child Safeguarding Standards. The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework is designed to further enhance a culture within St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools wherein protecting children and young people from abuse and other harm, and the promotion of child safety, participation, empowerment and wellbeing, are embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of our leaders, staff and volunteers.

The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards ensure accountability for the protection and safety of the children and young people under our care. St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools and entities are held accountable to the Child Safeguarding Standards and we will regularly report to EREA on how these standards are being addressed here.

The purpose and intent of the Standards contained in this Framework are to embed a culture of child safety and wellbeing by demonstrating values in practice, nurturing the wellbeing of all children and young people, respecting their dignity, ensuring their safety and protecting them from abuse and other harm. This we do, at all times, by acting in the best interests of children and young people under our care.  The Framework should be read alongside the EREA Child Safeguarding Policy which can be found here, and the St Edmund’s College Canberra Commitment to Child Safety which can be found here.  The entire EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework can be found here.

STANDARD 3: PARTNERING WITH FAMILIES, CARERS AND COMMUNITIES. Families, Carers and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.

It is the expectation that St Edmund’s College has processes that help parents, carers and the relevant communities to contribute to and participate in developing a child safe culture, including cultural safety, at the school and to know what to do if they want to make a child safety complaint or report a child safety concern.

Rationale: Parents and carers are best placed to advise about their children’s needs and capabilities.  Relevant communities, such as the local community in which the school operates or the culturally diverse communities that make up the school’s student body can assist in identifying and addressing cultural safety needs as well as influence the culture of the school. Community and family members may also often be aware of child safety issues that might not otherwise be known to Staff.

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 3?  The core components of family and community involvement to promote child safety at the College are:

  1. St Edmund’s College recognises that parents and carers have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their child and ensures that they participate in decisions that affect their child.
  2. St Edmund’s College engages and openly communicates with families, carers and relevant communities about its child safeguarding approach, and ensures relevant information is accessible.
  3. Families and relevant communities have a say in the school’s Child Safeguarding policies and practices.
  4. Families and relevant communities are informed about the school’s operations and governance.
  5. St Edmund’s College takes a leadership role in raising community awareness of the dignity and rights of all children and young people.

STANDARD 4: EQUITY IS PROMOTED AND DIVERSITY RESPECTED. Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.

It is expected that St Edmund’s College adjusts our practices to enable children, young people and families with diverse needs and circumstances to contribute to and participate in developing a child safe culture at the school, understand their rights and responsibilities as part of the school community, and know what to do if they want to report abuse and other harm, inappropriate behaviour or concerns about their safety.

Rationale: As a child safe institution, St Edmund’s College takes into account children and young people’s diverse circumstances. Some children and young people are more vulnerable to child abuse and other harm than others, or may find it harder to speak up and be heard. Adjustments are necessary to equally protect all children and young people at the school. Procedures used by the school must be tailored to ensure these children and young people have fair access to the relationships, skills, knowledge and resources they need to be safe, in equal measure with their peers.

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 4?  The core components of upholding equity and meeting diverse needs of children and young people at the school are:

  1. St Edmund’s College, and in particular all Staff, Direct Contact Volunteers and Direct Contact Contractors, actively recognises the diverse circumstances and backgrounds of children and young people and responds effectively to those who are vulnerable.
  2. Children and young people have access to information, support and complaints processes in ways that are culturally safe, accessible and easy to understand.
  3. St Edmund’s College is attentive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, children and young people with disability, children and young people from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, children and young people who are unable to live at home, and gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and young people.

Next week we will explore Standards 5 and 6.

From now on, when an initiative or program is raised in Vortex or any other College publication or communication, we will explicitly make the connection to the relevant Child Safeguarding Standard so the whole community is aware of how we are meeting our expectations.  We will also post the ways in which we comply with each Standard on our website.

Prayer for Wisdom
Loving God,
take us to the place where we are saved from our pride and arrogance
and Christ’s humility is centre stage,
where we are lifting up clean hands and a pure heart to You.
Take us to the place where we are no longer looking at the mountains we face
but looking down upon them,
where we can see clearly
and our decisions are flooded with Your light, truth and justice.
Father, we bend our knee and receive Your truth,
we open our ears to receive Your counsel,
we open our hearts to receive Your eternal wisdom.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
Christus Lux Mea