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Principal's Notes 9th April 2020

Since the last School Newsletter in early March, the world has changed significantly. From social distancing and self-isolation, to travel restrictions and supermarket shortages, our day to day existence has been immeasurably turned upside down. The effects of the Coronavirus have also had a significant impact on our School with the cancellation of assemblies, co-curricular activities and numerous other events, ultimately resulting in our recent transition to Distance Learning.

Suffice it to say, we miss having all students on campus and staff are very much looking forward to the time when we can welcome back to campus our entire community. Thank you for the many positive emails of support we have received over the past few weeks. We have also appreciated the feedback and suggestions as to how we can continue to improve the daily experience for students as they learn from home. While it has been a steep learning curve for all concerned, I have been in awe of the willingness of our community to adapt to the challenging times and the clear resolve to work together in a spirit of understanding and encouragement.

School Holidays and Distance Learning for Term Two

Over the last few weeks, our teachers have been working at an intense pace to deliver a high-quality Distance Learning experience for all children. No doubt, students and parents have been equally busy in adjusting to this new mode of delivery. The upcoming holidays are a chance for our entire School community to reset. As such, I am encouraging all staff, students and parents to ‘switch off’, relax and recharge for the term ahead.

At the time of writing there has been no official announcement from the Government regarding arrangements for next term, however we anticipate that Teaching and Learning at our School will need to continue in Distance Learning mode for at least the early part of Term Two. Rest assured, the Anglican Schools Commission (ASC) is monitoring the situation closely and we will keep families fully informed in the days and weeks ahead.

To review our transition to Distance Learning, and in preparing for the possibility of an extended period of learning from home, we recently asked all parents to complete a quick survey. The response rate was excellent, and I would like to thank all parents who took the time to respond with some very insightful and useful comments. Separate staff and student surveys have also been completed, with common themes indicating the volume of work being provided, the need for more live contact and a request for simpler communications among the main concerns.

Data collected from each survey is currently being reviewed by the Executive Team and Heads of Department, with a view to making some subtle changes to our Distance Learning model for Term Two. Consequently, we have decided to extend the April School Holidays by one day to allow staff additional time to prepare for the key changes, with students to recommence School on Thursday 30 April. Updates to our Distance Learning programmes will be communicated to all families in due course.

Pastoral Care

I am conscious with most students now working from home that there may be some students who develop feelings of isolation, separation or loneliness at being away from their PMACS peers. The School’s support services, including the Chaplains and Counsellors, are always available to assist our community. I would urge students and parents to contact the relevant staff as and when required. To provide additional support to our students and families during this difficult time, we have launched some new Pastoral Care resources. There is a Pastoral Care Canvas page for all students (and parents) to access excellent resources from the Counsellors, Chaplains and Deans of Students. Additionally, we have a brand-new Parent TV resource and an informative guide on Pastoral Care from a Distance. We hope that these resources will assist students and parents to navigate these challenging times.

Parents and Friends Association

The annual AGM for the Parent’s and Friends Association was held on Tuesday 25 February. I am grateful for the parents who attended, particularly given the severe storm that passed through Mindarie that afternoon. Numbers were slightly down on previous years with only six parents nominating for the General Committee, with another two nominating for the Executive. No parents nominated for the position of President and only one parent nomination was received for the two Vice President positions. As such, the role of President and one Vice President has been deferred to the School. I would like to thank the previous Committee for their excellent efforts; they have left the Association in very good shape.

An induction meeting for new Committee members was held in early March. Discussions were very positive, with some great ideas for future events explored. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the P & F is currently on hiatus until further notice. We look forward to picking up where we left off later in the year and encourage interested parents to become involved when normal operations resume.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly, and we will continue to regularly update parents and carers via email, the School App, Facebook and our website as required. Please read these communications carefully. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the School at admin@pmacs.wa.edu.au

I hope that you and your family keep safe and well throughout the coming weeks.

Every Blessing.

Benjamin Lomas
PRINCIPAL