Welcome Back to the 2019 Academic Year at The Moreton Bay Colleges

6 February 2019

It has been my prayer that all in the community come back to us in good health and with an eagerness for the year ahead. Whatever adventures, pilgrimage or leisure took to whatever corner of the globe I hope that the Christmas message that stems from the birth of Jesus gave you wonder and spiritual solace.

2018 was an outstanding year for the Colleges! The academic achievements across the Colleges were excellent. The boys’ college enjoyed their best-ever senior results and the girls’ schools their best in a decade. The new library at MBBC was the most significant capital works project in some years and enrolments are strong with waiting lists in most year levels across both Colleges. As a community, we have set in place a Strategic Plan mapping out the next four years with a high-quality vision with an exciting agenda.

This is no time to rest on our laurels, however. I have been saying in several forums, most recently with staff, that our greatest threat is complacency. As a community, we should want to be great Colleges. We should not settle for good for fear that this is good enough.

The focus for this year is continuing the academic and pastoral reform initiatives, developing a capital works and infrastructure agenda commencing with a Master Planning process and creating a new and innovative staff growth strategy utilising elements of positive psychology and coaching. These are just some of the initiatives planned for this year.

Our College vision “Two Colleges, One Community – Preparing our children for tomorrow’s world” compels us to reimagine what we can do as a College community to best position our children for a world where they will increasingly be working globally and be working alongside colleagues from across the world. It is evident that the world of work is changing, and we are compelled to prepare them for this. A significant piece of this relates to the attributes, attitudes and skills that will position our young people for this. A substantial body of work this year will focus on how, where and when we are explicitly teaching these and how they are developed across the curriculum.

A very special welcome to our youngest students who have started in our brand-new Pre-Prep class. Being enrolled in Pre-Prep when other children the same age are in kindergarten gives these children the very best head start. The curriculum is based on the International Baccalaureate PYP programme, and it also allows for specialist teachers to work with them directly.

Smartphones revolutionise our lives—but at what cost?

Over the holidays I found time to research and read. Among areas of interest, I have been curious about the impact of social media and constant connectivity on adolescent brain development. This is in part due to the fact that almost invariably the pastoral issues we deal with at school have either been initiated or perpetuated by student’s social media misuse.

There is a building body of research suggesting that the “the constant connectivity and access to information that smartphones offer have made the devices something of a drug for hundreds of millions of users. Scientists are just beginning to research this phenomenon, but their studies suggest that we are becomingly increasingly distracted, spending less time in the real world and being drawn more deeply into the virtual world.” (Bhattacharjee, 2019). For us, as a community, this should be of significant concern not just for children but also for us as adults. A succinct opinion piece that can provide some insight into this can be found here https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/01/smartphones-revolutionize-our-lives-but-at-what-cost/

Suffice to say that mobile contact is important for us all in that it allows communication when travelling to and from school especially. However, the research I undertook over the holiday break confirms my resolve that the policy we have at both Colleges is that mobile phones need to be in lockers during the day in secondary and lodged with the teacher in primary school. If a student is found with a mobile phone during the day, they may well have it confiscated.

Finally, I also pass on my gratitude to all parents for working so hard to get children ready for school. They have been excited to arrive back and quickly eased into the year. We are great Colleges but also equally important, excellent places to be for a child.

Mr James Sloman
Executive Principal

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