2019 Speech Night Address - Board Chair

Pulteney students, families and guests, Pulteney staff, the Board of Governors, Foundation trustees, and distinguished guests…....

Welcome to our 2019 Celebration Night.

2019 is Pulteney’s 172nd Year as a school and our 20th as a co-educational school and I know that Anne Dunstan and her Senior team and the Board are very proud of the student achievement for 2019 across the School – greatly supported by the commitment of our dedicated teachers and support staff who achieve so much.

Tonight is about acknowledging and celebrating all that is Pulteney…..and let’s begin with the graduating class of 2019.

Congratulations to each and every one of you for graduating from this fine learning institution. The whole School Community wishes you all the very best and we celebrate your success in achieving this significant milestone.

Tonight, we also celebrate individual academic and co-curricular awards for excellence. On behalf of the Board I extend our collective congratulations to those receiving awards tonight.

Perhaps just as important tonight we celebrate all of our students, not just the award winners. We celebrate their contribution to our community and their personal growth and development on their journey to their Graduation day.

On behalf of the Board I would like to thank all the Pulteney staff and we celebrate your contributions here tonight. Without your passion, energy, professionalism, commitment, and love of teaching, Pulteney would be nothing but another school, rather than one that we can all be proud of.

The Board has and will continue to support and fund the development of teaching and care programs throughout the School. And we are pleased to be promoting higher levels of transparency for staff, as evidenced through the student survey of teachers, and the recent staff culture survey and ongoing development plans.

The Parents and Friends committee has been very active again this year in their role of building and strengthening parental support across the School Community.  We need to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution they make within the Pulteney Community.

They do a fantastic job and the Board thanks the committee for their work this year and we look forward to their continued support next year.

Further, the School could not deliver the level of educational excellence that it does without outstanding parental support and assistance each and every year, through parent teacher conferences, parent involvement in our learning support programs, on the sporting field and activity sites, and of course in the homes.

I would also like to acknowledge the Trustees of the Pulteney Foundation for their ongoing commitment and efforts in fundraising to support the long term vision of the School and the Board looks forward to developing even closer relationships with the Trustees in 2020.

I don’t have time to thank all of the groups that have supported the School, so on behalf of the Board I would like to thank each person who has contributed generously to the financial and non-financial support of the School this year. So many have given so much, thank you it is greatly appreciated.

Personally, I would like to acknowledge the considerable time invested by the Board Governors and Committee members who have been incredibly generous in their support of me through their enthusiasm, time, skill and passion for Pulteney. I am confident that the Board is more aligned and focussed on the future than any time in my five years on the Board and it has been a pleasure to have lead the Board this year.

The Board this year was faced with the most important and challenging decision that any SchoolBboard can face, that of having to recruit and select a new Principal.

Following an extremely rigorous selection process the Board unanimously selected Cameron Bacholer as our 19th Principal.  I would particularly like to acknowledge the work of my fellow sub-committee members – Ann Nadge, Megan Mathews and Greg Keene for their wisdom, encouragement and support throughout the process.

It is with a sense of sadness that I announce tonight that Reverend Sophie Relf-Christopher is stepping down from the Board at the end of the year. Sophie has made an outstanding contribution during her time on the Board and all Governors would agree with me that Sophie’s compassion and wisdom will be sadly missed.

However, Sophie will remain a member of the Pulteney Community as a parent.

The Board has already begun planning 2020 and we plan to work with Cameron and the Executive, and engage widely with the community to reset Pulteney’s vision for 2025 and beyond.

Part of this process was the recent Net Promotor Score survey amongst parents. Thank you to all who participated. This has given us a rich insight into what we do well, and the areas where we can be even better and improvement plans are already being developed 

The Board is delighted that the next phase in our facilities Master Plan is underway with the upgrade of the Nicholls Building to house our outstanding Performing Arts and Music Program.

Since becoming the Chair of the Board of Governors late last year I have had many people, friends, family and colleagues ask me why I would take on the role. And why would someone choose a Pulteney education over USC, Scotch College, or even Botanic High and I hope by sharing my thoughts on these questions I can demonstrate what we are really celebrating here tonight.

Every year the School Captains, upon graduation, come to the Board and share their thoughts on their Pulteney experience. And every year they say they value the Pulteney Community, but what is the Pulteney experience?

Yes, I talk to Board members and Principals from other schools and they all tell me their communities are outstanding as well.

So what makes the Pulteney Community so special?  Is it the fact that we are co-ed?  Is it our city location? Is it our ideal size, not too big, and not too small? Is it out Anglican values?

Well, I believe it is all of that and a lot more……

The Pulteney experience, whether a child starts in our 3 year old room or in Senior school is perhaps best summarised by Canon W R Ray, Principal in the 1980’s, who stated that Pulteney produces streetwise gentlemen,….well today, we produce street wise young people.

We take a wholistic view of education, not one that is just focussed on academic results or winning Intercol, and the following Martin Luther King quote expresses what I believe the Pulteney experience is all about:  

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education”. 

This means that when our students graduate like the Class of 2019 do tonight, they are ready to enter the real world and they are ready to strive, to seek, to find, and not yield….. and that is what we truly celebrate tonight.

So to the Class of 2019, you sit here tonight with a major milestone in your life ticked off and the opportunity to pursue your dreams and passions and write your life story ahead of you.

But as you leave here tonight, do so knowing that you leave with two incredibly important gifts that will be the bedrock of your future success - Firstly the love, support, and values of your family, and secondly the entirety of your Pulteney experience, not just your ATAR, and you will find yourself, in good times and challenging ones falling back on these bedrocks. That is the gift that your parents have afforded you by sending you to this school and that is what we celebrate tonight.

To all here tonight, on behalf of the Board I wish you have a safe and happy Christmas and a successful 2020, and I trust I will see you again next year.

Mr Allen Candy
Board Chair