Pulteney Review Week 8 Term 1 2020


From the Principal

President of the United States John F. Kennedy, once quipped that ‘like it or not we live in interesting times.’ The expression seems apt.

I wish to begin by thanking and commending the School community for how we as Pulteney Grammar School, a community of some 200 staff, 1,000 students, and thousands of families and Old Scholars for how we have approached the uncertainty of the current public health emergency. It is testimony to our spirit that we have galvanised at a time of adversity. I wrote earlier in the week of Neville Shute’s depiction of humanity’s ‘quiet dignity’ in his novel On The Beach, and I continue to marvel at our stoicism and purpose at this time.

The School has sought to provide regular and comprehensive information for students and families, as circumstances evolve. Earlier in the week I personally spoke with students in Years 3-12 to afford them the opportunity to ask questions regarding the School’s response; I was humbled by both their candour and maturity of questioning. The School continues to develop its capacity to provide a virtual learning environment known as ‘Pulteney@Home’ in the event of a school site closure; while endeavouring to support those families who have made the decision for their children not to attend at this time. As I have observed throughout the year, the School respects the right of parents to make decisions which they believe are in the best interests of their children. Further information regarding Pulteney@Home will be communicated in due course.

Together with this edition of the Pulteney Review please find all the documents provided thus far regarding the Covid-19 outbreak and the dated messages from the Principal that offer the School’s ongoing and developing response.

May I offer my sincere gratitude to the parents and members of our community who have contacted the School in the past fortnight regarding our communication throughout the Public Health Emergency; your articulated support for the School is overwhelming.

As always, should you wish or need to contact the School regarding Covid-19, please do so through the following address: info@pulteney.sa.edu.au.

The second part of President Kennedy’s quip read as follows: ‘…They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also more open to the creative energy of men [and women] than any other time in history.’

Cameron Bacholer

Principal

Wellbeing - Talking to your children about Coronavirus
Talking to Children/Young people about Coronavirus (COVID-19 )

The news of coronavirus is everywhere, on the news, on the social media and in our daily lives. We may not be sure on how to bring up the conversation about COVID-19 without making children feel more worried than they might already be. Even if your child is not directly affected by COVID-19, they might become worried, distressed and anxious about the coronavirus. Every child manages with distress or anxiety differently, some children may want to talk about their worries, some of them reflect their emotions through behaviour or play and some of them might internalise their worries and become quiet and withdrawn.

In most cases parents should not avoid talking about this situation as not talking about things can actually make the worry greater for some children. As a parent your aim is assisting your child/children to make sense of what is happening by talking to them about the facts. First of all, you may consider limiting your child’s exposure to media. Before starting the conversation with your child, check in with yourself by asking the below questions:

  • ‘Am I ready to talk about it?’,
  • ‘Do I have enough information?’,
  • ‘Do I have worries or anxieties about the virus?’.

If you are feeling anxious, take some time to calm down before answering your child’s questions. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.

Choosing the right moment is also important while having a conversation with your child. Try to choose a time when you won’t be interrupted, for example a drive, a walk or a shared activity. To provide safe space for your child, open the conversation gently through asking the questions below:

  • ‘Have you heard anything about coronavirus?’
  • ‘What have you heard about it?
  • ‘How are you feeling about it?’

This will give you an idea about what your child knows and how they are interpreting what is happening. You can underline that it is okay to have feelings about the virus and you want to talk about their feelings.

As much as possible give your child space to talk and encourage them to ask questions to make sense about what is happening. When answering the questions as much as possible:

  • Be honest,
  • Make it simple and clear,
  • Stick to the facts but not oversharing the details or statistics,
  • Give perspective, where possible.

 

 

Hearing about the coronavirus on the news might make children feel they will catch the virus so the conversation with your child could be a great chance to correct any misconceptions, and also to explain the seriousness of the facts, and to reassure your child through discussing and validating their feelings.

 

Another significant way to reassure your child is to explain what you are doing to stay safe. You can explain that coronavirus is transmitted mostly by coughing and touching surfaces so washing hands play vital role to take care of themselves. As a result, you can remind them washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom.

Encourage your child to ask questions and emphasize that you will keep them updated as you learn more. Sticking to your child’s daily routine like structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are vital for your child’s emotional wellbeing. Also, please do not forget to check in with yourself and how you are feeling and use these tips to manage your own physical and emotional wellbeing.

After the conversation with your child keep eye on for any signs that your child might has, if you have any concerns about your child’s mood or behaviour, make an appointment with your school counsellor (wellbeingservices@pulteney.sa.edu.au) or your GP.

Finally, the following link is provided by School TV for a presentation by renowned child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg offering some thoughts on discussing the current public health emergency with children: https://schooltv.me/wellbeing_news/special-report- coronavirus.

Steve McCulloch

Head of Student Wellbeing

 

Covid-19 Pulteney Correspondence 13-18 March

Please find below recent correspondence regarding Covid-19 from Principal Cameron Bacholer. All attachments mentioned can be found in this issue of the Pulteney Review. As always, should you wish or need to contact the School regarding Covid-19, please do so through the following address: info@pulteney.sa.edu.au.

18 March

Tomorrow will mark the commencement of our Pulteney@Home trials in Years 6 - 9. In the ELC-Year 5, SeeSaw is already a well-known and used platform by parents and caregivers; our Kurrajong and Prep School staff will continue to conduct tests and develop contact.   Students of one ninety are already familiar with the use of Microsoft Teams and other digital platforms that will form the basis of Pulteney@Home for the senior school.  For Years 6 - 9, in the coming two days, each student will have the chance to learn through Pulteney@Home. This will be a chance for students to normalise the logistical steps for connecting to the learning and then the structure of lessons. Each lesson will be created to include three pedagogical components:

-          Explicit instruction – the teacher providing direct teaching of concepts and content

-          Contribution – students will be afforded the opportunity to contribute to a discussion or develop ideas with their teacher

-          Independent Practice – Students will have the chance to undertake activities or study of their own

These three components of each lesson are best practice teaching and learning, are familiar to our students and teachers, and already form the structure of most classes. They afford teachers the chance to vary their teaching, while also enabling a continuity of learning for students. Most students are already familiar with digital learning; for some, this digital delivery will be the only difference.

Also as of tomorrow, Ms Daisy Ashby, Learning Area Leader for Humanities, will commence piloting Pulteney@Home while working remotely. Classes will continue at scheduled times and be taught by Ms Ashby. A second teacher will be present in the classroom at the time to assist students as might be required.

I note as well revisions to the federal government’s social distancing measures this morning. The School can confirm that no students have or will be gathered in groups approaching 100 in size from today. Every effort continues to be made to normalise the highest standards of personal hygiene and advised social distancing. I also note the escalation of advice regarding overseas travel to Level 4: do not travel. The School endorses this measure and asks for families to avoid all travel at this time and during the school holidays.

A few updates, once again, can be found below.

Finance Team – working remotely

Tomorrow, the School’s finance team will work remotely to test their capacity for business continuity. Should you require to speak to a member of our finance team, please call Reception on 8216-5555.

Parent-Teacher Interviews

Parent-Teacher interviews will be conducted later this term and early in Term Two; this will be undertaken in a revised format and details forwarded in due course.

17 March

Throughout the Public Health Emergency Covid-19, Pulteney Grammar School has made decisions in accordance with student and staff health, safety and education. We will continue to do so.

Yesterday and today, I took the opportunity to address and hold question sessions with students in Years 3-12 in appropriately sized gatherings. I want to keep students informed of the School’s response, how their health and safety is our priority, what personal hygiene and social distancing measures are appropriate and to hear and answer their questions. I am, even at this most remarkable of times, overwhelmed by our students’ maturity, insight, poise and consideration. This is an exceptional school community we have at Pulteney.

Later this week, our teachers will trial virtual learning during classes with our IT staff to assist with troubleshooting for staff and students. These trials are to ensure that, should the school be required to close, we maintain learning continuity for students at home. You may have heard through friends of other schools declaring student-free days to undertake similar trials. We do not believe this is necessary at Pulteney. Our trialling is best conducted with staff and students on site to ensure functionality.

Government advice is for schools to stay open because it will help to ‘flatten the curve’. Pulteney supports this. As the outbreak evolves, the school will continue to make decisions in accordance with student and staff health, safety and education. Adopting this principle of child-centred decision making, it is possible that the School could decide to pre-emptively close if we believe that it is the best interests of health, safety and education. In considering this possibility the School will be guided by:

  • The risk that is presented by public gatherings on the advice of SA Health and other government agencies
  • The School’s ability to implement current recommendations for effective social distancing
  • The ability of the School to continue to provide the best version of its education for students at school and, in turn:
  • How this is affected by parents exercising their right and electing for their students remain in their care

In coming days, we will share more with you about how what we call ‘Pulteney@Home’ would operate if the school closes. This includes information about class structure, how the ‘school day’ might appear, wellbeing support and other pertinent resources.

I commend us all for how we continue to carry on during these most exceptional of circumstances. Neville Shute’s book, On the Beach, offers an insight into the different manner in which societies can respond to adversity. Shute, unlike many writers, chose to celebrate the ‘quiet dignity’ of humanity during difficult times. I feel this quiet dignity is not only his in fiction; but ours in real life.

Finally, I include a few updates, below, for your reference.

PGS Flow Chart - Updated

Please find an updated Pulteney Grammar School Flow Chart in this issue of Pulteney Review

SACE

Please find a letter in this issue for our school community regarding SACE and how the School will ensure the best of learning opportunities for all students.

The Navy Blue Formal

Following contact with the Adelaide Convention Centre this morning, I can confirm that the Navy Blue Formal will be postponed. A new booking has been confirmed for Friday 21 August. The School is committed to hosting the Navy Blue Formal in 2020.

Mary Poppins and Music ensembles

At this point in time, rehearsals for Mary Poppins and music ensemble rehearsals will continue with appropriate social distancing measures in place. A decision regarding performances of the musical will not be made at this time.

Vocational Education and Training

External VET providers have contacted the School to advise that as of Monday 23March, all VET classes will be conducted online. Information regarding this will be provided directly by providers and through Ms Bryan.

16 March

I take this opportunity to continue to thank all families for their open communication with the School during what was yesterday declared by the Premier of South Australia a Public Health Emergency. A reminder of the attached guide for school attendance and the request for all families to use the e-mail address: info@pulteney.sa.edu.au to communicate any further information. I reiterate, at this point in time, please exercise the highest caution should your child display any of the listed symptoms for their own health, first and foremost.

Today, a number of parents and care givers elected to exercise their right not to send their students to school; I respect these decisions as I have previously stated. Drawing from and consistent with all government advice, the school remains of the belief that it is safe to attend school. Home learning material will commence to be forwarded this week with virtual learning opportunities available in due course.

Later this week, students will undertake trials of virtual learning during school time and be provided with ‘how to’ guides to assist this transition to home learning should it be required.

The School has today made arrangements to implement a series of social distancing measures throughout the campus consistent with the advice provided by federal and state governments and in an endeavour to assist with ‘flattening the curve’. From today, students will be asked to:

  • Refrain from shaking hands and make use of the ‘elbow bump’ instead
  • Spend recess and lunch breaks outside except in inclement weather as a recommendation
  • In preparation for the possible continuation of learning from home, Middle and Senior students, gradually throughout the week, should take their books home and only bring those necessary for the coming day’s classes.
  • In preparation for the possible continuation of learning from home, Prep and Kurrajong students will be asked to undertake similar measures, as appropriate

In addition, the following measures have also been adopted:

  • Best practice personal hygiene posters displayed throughout the campus
  • Assemblies will not be conducted for the time being
  • Classrooms with operable sliding doors will be opened and break out areas used
  • Touchpoints through the school will be cleaned once again this coming weekend in addition to the usual evening cleaning which occurs. This level of cleaning requires two complete days free from site traffic

Attached, please find a list of all activities, sports and events until the end of this term and their current status. Some of these activities that have been cancelled have been done due to the logistics involved and the need for decisions to be made at this point in time, rather than closer to the event; other activities and events have been either postponed or cancelled in accordance with prudent social distancing measures and the government advice. Should an event or activity not be included for which you require confirmation of arrangements, please contact info@pulteney.sa.edu.au

Once again, I thank our school community for how we have responded to the emerging public health emergency; it is a reflection of our culture.

Please continue to support yourselves, each other and stay in contact.

13 March

Advice regarding the outbreak of Covid-19 continues to evolve. Recently, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a pandemic, recognising the global spread of the virus.

Today, the Prime Minister announced a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) decision to recommend the cancellation of all non-essential gatherings of greater than 500 people. This does not include the immediate closure of schools.

However, it is possible that the School, in the coming weeks, will need to close as a measure to assist SA Health in containing the spread of the virus. At all times, the School has and will continue to respond to advice from SA Health and in the best interests of our students’ and staff health and safety. Were the school need to close, learning continuity plans have been developed for each sub-school that will provide for education to continue via the School’s learning management system, Edumate, e-mail and associated digital tools. More information on this will be provided if and when required.

Please find together with this letter a flow chart summarising the recommended approach to all families in managing the spread of Covid-19; we ask for your assistance in endeavouring to aid the containment of the virus’ spread. In summary, we ask all families to err on the side of caution should they believe they might have either been exposed to the virus or a member of the household displays symptoms of a fever, sore throat, persistent cough or tiredness, or an unusual shortness of breath.

This afternoon, the Prime Minister also declared a Level 3 alert to reconsider all non-essential overseas travel. This holds particular relevance for families who may have been intending to travel during the Term One holidays. Complete information and advice for travel can be found at the Smarttraveller website and the Department of Health website.

During the weekend, as a pre-emptive measure, the School has organised for a complete clean of all touchpoints such as door handles throughout the campus; the availability of hand sanitiser will also be increased as of Monday. 

In the interests of assisting SA Health and the School to manage the spread of Covid-19, it is imperative that anyone suffering from the symptoms of the virus exercise caution and present to a doctor for diagnosis. I ask that you also inform the School as soon as practicable via the following e-mail address: info@pulteney.sa.edu.au

Much is said about the culture of Pulteney Grammar School and the strength of its community; these are the times when this matters most. Please look after yourselves and each other. E-mail is and will remain the primary means of communication regarding the School’s response to Covid-19.

Cameron Bacholer

Principal

 

Cancelled and Postponed Activities Guide

 

Date Subschool Decision
  Kurrajong  
  All Sport Practices Cancelled
  All co-curricular activities (incuding dance, Aikido etc) Cancelled
  Prep School  
  All Sports Fixtures Cancelled
  All Sports Practices Cancelled
  All co-curricular activities (including dance, Aikido, Yoga, Computer Club, Craft etc)  Cancelled
25-27 March Year 5 Camp Postponed
  Prep Student Led Conference Advice to come
20-22 May Year 4 Camp Postponed
10-12 June Year 6 Canberra Excursion Postponed
  Middle School  
  All Sports Fixtures Cancelled
  All Sports Practices Cancelled
  All co-curricular activities (including dance etc) Cancelled
19 March Sport Photos To be rescheduled
23-24 March Year 8 Team Building days Postponed
23-29 March Collegiate Cup Postponed
30 March Moore-Sunter Coffee Morning Postponed
31 March Kennion-Miller Coffee Morning Postponed
  Year 8 Science Fair TBC
1 April Year 9 German Students Hahndorf excursion Postponed
  Bleby-Howard Coffee Morning Postponed
2 April Cawthorne-Nicholls Coffee Morning Postponed
  Year 8-10 Youth Training Incursion Postponed
6-10 April Languages & Culture Week TBC
7 April SSSA State Athletics Championships Not participating
7 April Year 9 Music Sound Eng & Theatre Excursion Postponed
8 April International Lunch TBC
30 April House Cross Country Decision pending
4 June State Cross Country Decision pending
  one ninety  
  All Sports Fixtures Cancelled
  All Sports Practices Cancelled
  All co-curricular activities (including dance etc) Cancelled
18 March Maths Competition Postponed
19 March Sport Photos To be rescheduled
23 March VET Courses Conducted online
  Collegiate Cup Postponed
30 March - 3 April Year 10 Camp Cancelled
2 April Year 8-10 Youth Training Incursion Postponed
3 April Navy Blue Formal Postponed
7 April SSSA State Athletic Championship Not participating
30 April House Cross Country Decision Pending
4 June State Cross Country Championship Decision Pending
  Whole School  
28 March Cabaret Postponed
29 March Head of the River Luncheon Cancelled
6 May Anglican Cup Postponed
22-23 May  Mary Poppins  Decision Pending 
Update SACE - Covid 19

Throughout the outbreak of Covid-19, Pulteney Grammar School continue to work with the advice of SA Health and the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, in order to best support the outcomes of all our students. Given the current national situation, and in the event of a potential outbreak of Covid-19 in South Australia, the School may deem it necessary to close for a period of time. In light of the implications that this would have in meeting the expectations of Stage 1 and Stage 2 SACE subjects, we wish to advise parents and students of the following important information.

The SACE Board are currently working within their Special Provisions team to ensure that plans are clearly established to support schools, teachers and students who are faced with School closures for any period of time. Similarly, SACE staff at Pulteney Grammar School are committed to ensuring that your child’s education and outcomes are not compromised as a result of any potential school closure.

Teachers at Pulteney Grammar School will continue to be supported, through advice from the SACE Board, as well as subject experts and the SACE Coordinator, Kirsty Raymond, in determining the best course of action in the absence of direct teaching and assessment opportunities. Staff have been advised to actively document all current learning, as well as develop subject-based strategies for any potential remote learning and assessment during and after any school closure.

The SACE Board’s ‘Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment Policy’ is designed to provide all students with an opportunity for success in completing their SACE certificates. In the event of school closures and consequent disruption to direct teaching time, Pulteney Grammar School is empowered by this document to ensure continuity and consistency of assessments for all students. Furthermore, students will be supported to meet the requirements of their individual SACE subjects, while still maintaining rigorous and consistent standards of achievement. Teachers are developing strategies and plans that provide our students with opportunities to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do in relation to the learning and assessment requirements of SACE subjects. This may involve any or all the following provisions:

  • Adjustment of tasks within the school-based assessment type. Task design, style, assessment criteria, drafting processes and word length expectations can be adjusted to support students.
  • Schools, in exceptional circumstances are able to reduce the number of tasks within an assessment type without compromising the integrity of the subject and assessment as a whole. However, please note that an assessment type with only one task cannot be removed from the assessment and learning program.
  • Tasks may be rescheduled, or due dates extended.
  • Extra time may be allocated for submission of tasks.
  • The mode of submission for tasks may be altered in order to support remote student learning.
  • Formative evidence, in the absence of summative tasks, may be used to justify grades in accordance with subject-based performance standards.

 In relation to subjects with practical elements we aim to consistently:

  • Document formative learning,
  • Design opportunities for students to respond to practical activities remotely,
  • Create different opportunities and methodologies for students to demonstrate evidence of learning each specific feature of the assessment design criterion and,
  • Once again, provide opportunities for extra time submission in order to allow all students to meet the needs of individual subjects.

It should be noted that Pulteney Grammar School is committed to maintaining the knowledge and skills within each SACE subject to ensure that students are prepared for all aspects of the course including external examinations and assessments. To facilitate this, we aim to implement strategies of continued learning, including, electronic forms of class delivery, online support for students, additional teaching offerings (if necessary) upon return to regular onsite teaching, engaging student learning buddies and potential reduction of co-curricular expectations. In the event of school closures during the end-of-year examination period, the school will take the advice of the SACE Board in relation to Special Provisions and the best course of action for our students. We will advise parents and students of any and all decisions in relation to this should the need arise.

With the support and ongoing advice of the SACE Board, we will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds and ensure that we have strategies in place to best support our students towards successful outcomes. The SACE Board is regularly monitoring the situation and is supporting us in determining the best course of action and strategies for the management of student’s continuity of learning and assessment. We are committed to ensure that no students should be disadvantaged by these circumstances.

In order to support these potential disruptions, we do encourage all students to be fully committed to formative work, keep records of any practical based work they are doing outside of class that may be submitted as evidence, consistently share work with teachers. They should also ensure that they consistently back up their devices, using one drive or the cloud and for you to ensure that your child has suitable access to the internet from home at all times. Please also encourage your children to update devices and ensure they are in good working condition. Unfortunately, the SACE Board do not support breakdown or lack of access to technology or devices as a viable reason for the implementation of Special Provisions, and in accordance with the Pulteney Grammar School BYOD policy, it is the individual’s responsibility to manage this.

Should you have any questions about the implications of these strategies please contact Kirsty Raymond, SACE Coordinator.

Kirsty Raymond

SACE Coordinator

Self Isolation Guide

Please find information from the Department of Health website that provides explanation for self-isolation here.

Please note that self-isolation is a greater expectation than being confined to home.

An article from The Guardian Australia that provides further information can be located here.

Should a member of your household require to be self-isolated, please ensure that other family members are kept apart.

Families are asked to exercise the highest degree of caution in the interests of their own health, first and foremost.

Celebrating Rowing
Rowing Season 2020

As South Australia’s rowing season prematurely draws to a close, we take a moment to reflect on the plethora of positives that our team has experienced over the past 10 months.

There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”

– K. Grahame, Wind in the Willows

As those reading will no doubt be aware, the Pulteney Hosted Head of the River 2020 and the National Rowing Championships were recently cancelled for reasons apparent. With a budding team of young rowers from years 7 to 12 supported by a truly exceptional parent volunteer team, however, we have been able to enjoy the successes of our season in a variety of ways.

This year has seen a steady, encouraging growth in membership numbers in our Year 8 and 9 “junior” years of the team. Motivated by their unwavering ability to make light of any situation to keep themselves and their coaches entertained, our young boys and girls have tackled the challenges, embraced the opportunities and demonstrated their future potential throughout this year. Preforming promisingly at our regattas, we reflect on a group of young people who have the insight to think beyond their own remarkable achievements to demonstrate their care for their lasting impact on our sport and school. For their efforts we thank coaches Will Foster-Hall, Daisy Richards and Matt Nielsen in supporting our teams throughout the year.

Our seniors each have contributed to a priceless year of learning in a season of radical change to their training environment. Our Girls’ squad have earned all manner of praise for their work as the level of expectation, commitment and physical demand they faced was ramped up significantly to meet their enthusiastically led drive for raising the bar. New team members Poppy, Lily and Miesha bolstered senior squad numbers to allow the team to race in a modified format regatta on Monday morning in an VIII – staying with the pack in the competition.

Charlotte Casey, this year’s Rowing Captain, has worked especially hard to unite our team, inform our coaches’ decisions and support our proactive steps to nurture a team proud to build great people through sport, regardless of whether they are male or female! Supported by their coaches Britt Rundle and Mark Clemo, the girls have experienced both the caring and nurturing support to see them confident in their training, as well as the objectives and challenges to drive their standards ever higher.

Training as one team across the majority of our sessions, the boys’ crews in our senior squad have also benefited from a united approach. Faced with an intimidating array of changes to their rowing routine, a number of true leaders emerged to see us hurtle towards a professionalised approach to training and racing. Quickly the housekeeping and timeliness reminders fell away, to be replaced by a group of young people with flourishing personalities confident in the support of their peers. Our boys’ First IV was able to race on Monday, crewed by a group of committed young men who have demonstrated exemplary attitude throughout their season. Our Senior A and Development Quads, however, have sadly missed their opportunity to race in NSW at the National Championships after recently winning both the U19 and SB4X+ at State Champs. Reflecting on this in our season debrief, we shared that:

Nationals or no nationals, the true victory of this season was never going to be what happened over 6 and a half minutes on that lake in Penrith; it was always what you achieved before you even stepped on the plane. I know you will be hurt and frustrated but remember:

We may never see your race, but we will always know what you have done.

Whilst disappointed to fall so close to the final line; the team is credited with a truly remarkable year of work and experience that saw a near impeccable period of preparation. An inspiration to themselves and their coaches alike.

As our 2020 season draws to a close, a particular thanks goes to the exceptional Rowing Committee, formed of parent volunteers, who have gone above and beyond in their duties this year to support our students, coaches and Director of Rowing through the huge task of managing the Head of the River preparations.

We hope to return in preparation for 2021 with an even greater appreciation for the opportunities that we have through our sport!

 

Will Beedham

Director of Rowing

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