From the Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development

Some have said that schools are like the alpha and the omega – the beginning and the end – but I think those who say that are grossly incorrect. Schools are much more like circles, where the start and the finish are not only hard to detect but rather never exist, and, if they do, then the two points are perhaps simultaneously placed on any part of the arc.

In this respect, I view our Year 12 cohort as part of the St Catherine’s circle, a circle that has no beginning and no end, a circle that grows outwards each year, always remaining linked by proximity yet separated and unbroken, remaining the same, yet, like tree rings, expanding in increasing circles, renewing with each contribution of each and every Year 12 student. In almost the same breath this week we have rejoiced and celebrated with the Class of 2016, and also equally succumbed to the same Year level self-reflection, knowing that all good things must pass and eventually come to an end. Life itself, imitating the week that has been, is often bitter sweet, but also triumphant, happy and glorious. This is the world upon which our Year 12s embark and, without reserve, their journeys will be both unique and inspiring.

Without a doubt, this is what learning and teaching (the absolute essence of curriculum if you so will) is all about. If we ignore the notion of set lessons on a 40 minute timetable and dismiss the science of pedagogy, if we walk passed external assessment and toss into a bin mega-data, we are in fact left with the most fundamental human activity – learning.

Social learning is at the core of our existence, as babies we mimic the social interactions others provide, and in true keeping we closed Year 12 with a Valedictory Dinner and an Assembly that was social to its boot-straps; but through the conversations and amazing stories it became clear that social learning had also been influenced by strong and determined, hard thought and passionate, classroom learning. Without a doubt, these Year 12s have reached the threshold of a wisdom – these young, smart and impassioned women may have entered the hallowed halls of Sherren House in order to learn, but they are certainly leaving St Catherine’s in order to serve. Learning to serve is true wisdom. Now that’s a St Catherine’s education, and that’s a St Catherine’s girl.

In all my twenty odd years as an educator, working closely with Year 12 students, I have never heard such an outstanding and personal speech as that by the outgoing School Captain Elizabeth Bolt, at the School assembly last Monday. Wisdom yes, social learning in spades and an openness to serve others that is rare. Now that’s a St Catherine’s education, and that’s a St Catherine’s girl.

Nothing is great unless it is good.

Well done every single person involved in the learning, the teaching, the serving, of these Year 12 girls. We are (happily) never the alpha or the omega, but we are a circle, and by God what a circle!

Mr Adrian Puckering, Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development