Over recent weeks we have welcomed the return of our ‘normal’ Term 3 School activities. Most notably is the return of our Gala Concert, which was twice cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID. Next Tuesday 16 August we will return to Elisabeth Murdoch Hall in the Melbourne Recital Centre, where I am sure the acoustics and atmosphere of this exquisite venue will excite and inspire our 230 musicians and our audience.
Inspired by the theme ‘Journeys,’ our musicians will guide our audience through a journey of music, exploring a diverse repertoire of classical and contemporary expression, including a massed choral item featuring 180 students singing Out There by Dan Walker, a performance that will truly capture the essence of our Gala experience. The Jorgensen Orchestra, conducted by Mrs Lisa Cook playing Lord of the Dance, and the Senior Concert Band’s performance of Electricity – Race around the Circuit will inspire our students and audience. Our soloists Georgiana Walsh, Megan Chang, Charlotte Aston, and 2022 Music Captains, Catherine Chen, and Charlotte Myer, will also provide stunning performances.
Next Tuesday’s Gala Concert highlights the significant role music plays in the lives of so many of our St Catherine’s School students. The Concert is testament to their dedication, commitment, and engagement in our Music Program this year. They are worthy of a full house at the Recital Centre next Tuesday evening and with less than 50 tickets remaining, I encourage parents to book quickly.
I am appreciative of the guidance and leadership of St Catherine’s Head of Music, Mr Nick Grunden, and our dedicated and talented Music staff. Through their combined experience and expertise, our girls are always encouraged to strive to achieve excellence in all their musical pursuits.
I look forward to enjoying the vibrant collection of music performances as a School community, together once more.
Our Snowsports community is also enjoying a welcome return to the competitive season at Mt Buller with our St Catherine’s Cross Country Team performing well at the Victorian Interschools Cross Country Championships held last weekend.
Congratulations to our Barbreck Team who were victorious in winning the Overall Primary School (Girls) Trophy. There were also some mighty performances by Avalon Pascoe, Lily Uthmeyer, Camilla Aberdeen, and Isabella Wilkins in their individual races. Additional details from the Championships are available here.
Our Senior School finished a valiant third place overall in the Secondary School Division. Congratulations to Sarah Marriott in Year 12 (and off the back of winning at Henley), who placed first in the Division One Classic. For Sarah, this was the final time she will compete in Snowsports for St Catherine’s, after first competing in States and Nationals when she was in Year 4 at Barbreck. Amity Morris, Clover Roche, and Catherine Ross also competed well in their individual races.
Thank you to the Snowsports Auxiliary and Snowsports Coordinators, Mr Tom Crebbin and Miss Olivia Cody for their continued support of families and the Teams whilst at Mt Buller.
The Cross Country Championship is one of the few events each year where the Junior and Senior girls compete together. Their strong sense of camaraderie and team spirit extends across Barbreck and the Senior School and is a wonderful experience for all our girls. The competitive season continues at Mt Buller with the Victorian Snowsports Interschools in the last week of August.
Over the course of the past week, our Director of Teaching and Learning, Mrs Ceri Lloyd, has made available through mystcatherines, the 2023 Subject Information Seminars. The Seminars are in the format of a Masterclass for ease of viewing at home. Parents and guardians of students are encouraged to view the Seminars with their daughters as an opportunity to start a conversation about future subject pathways.
Parents’ beliefs and attitudes are vitally important for their daughters when it comes to subject selection. By way of example, and relevant to the current celebration of Science Week across Australia, recent research by UK-based authors (Jones and Hamer, 2022) explored the impact of parents’ attitudes and beliefs on children’s participation in Physics classes in high school. Despite the recognition that girls are good at Physics, female students are not studying Physics or going into Physics-related tertiary courses or careers at the same rate as boys.
The VCE Physics data reflects that of the UK. For 2021, only five percent of girls in Victoria studied Physics at Units 3&4 level. By comparison, three times more boys studied Physics (16%). This perhaps reinforces concerns that girls do not believe they can be engineers or scientists.
Whilst Jones and Hamer’s research did not determine a causal relationship between “parental attitudes and student outcomes,” the authors did identify that parents’ beliefs that their child “will go on to study Physics at senior levels of school — or parents’ ability to view their child working in a physics-related field — had a significant potential to impact girls.”
Parents’ beliefs and attitudes have also been shown to be a vitally important influence on girls’ subject choices. OECD research in 2016 demonstrates that less than one in 20 girls considers a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) compared to one in five boys, despite similar performances in the OECD’s PISA Science Test. The OECD PISA surveys pointedly indicated that girls lack the same self-confidence as boys in Science and Mathematics, with the analysis revealing differences in parental encouragement that could exacerbate the problem.
When it comes to subject selection at St Catherine’s, we welcome the involvement of parents. Collectively, we encourage girls to challenge themselves through the subject selection process in the Senior Years (Years 10 to 12). This weekend, I urge parents to engage in conversation with their daughters on their subject pathways. The girls are well versed in the process, with our Heads of Faculty recently presenting pertinent pathways information. Further information can also be obtained from the Masterclasses on mystcatherines or through the Careers Office.
Road Safety at School
Before and after school we are seeing a growing number of vehicles making dangerous u-turns at the School Gates, in both and the Senior and Junior Schools. To ensure the safety of all pedestrians, it is requested that vehicles park in designated parking bays to drop-off and collect their children, utilising the school crossing where appropriate.
Thank you to all our community members for ensuring the ongoing safety of our students.