Test, Fail, Persevere, Succeed and Have Fun

My wife Naomi and I have four children, aged ten and under. Currently, our three-year-old son Josiah is loving pushing the boundaries, testing not only himself and his capabilities, but at times us as parents. A refreshing perspective to reflect upon is that Josiah is actually doing his ‘job’ as a three-year-old. He is learning about his physical capabilities, how far he can push his body before he gets hurt, managing the elements of risk involved in his decision making, discovering the boundaries that we set for him as parents. This important work is foundational for Josiah’s life. It is fundamental to his wellbeing, safety and development as a child, future adolescent and future adult. If we take away these opportunities, we hinder his development. It’s our duty to ensure we allow Josiah to safely test, fail, persevere, succeed, and have fun. We need to create environments for him to flourish in his development now, so he can live a full life with a deep understanding of himself and his impact on others.

As the Principal of St Andrew’s School, I bring this fatherly perspective to my strategic planning, decision making, and resource allocation associated with our students. It’s with this in mind, I share the news that we are investing significant resources to create a new play space to replace the existing Rayner playground (near the roundabout on Smith Street). This new play space will enable our students to test, fail, persevere, succeed, and have fun. During the Term 1 break I finalised a process of engagement with several play space designers and construction companies and formalised an agreement with Dirtwork Landscapes to co-design this space with our community. This important process commences in the coming weeks, and it is our clear intent to have works commence on this key project as soon as possible, likely in Term 4 this year.

I am pleased to also share that during the break Climbing Tree, the company that designed and constructed our much-loved Tree House, added some ‘little steps’ into the Tree House to enable a broader range of our students to access and enjoy this beautiful play space.

Risk – It’s Serious Business

Our core business is teaching and learning and delivering a broad range of opportunities for our students to excel and flourish. This needs to be done in a meaningful way that honours our legislative requirements and all-important duty of care of our students. At the start of my tenure as Principal, we enhanced our focus on Risk at all levels within this organisation. We created the new role of Risk and Compliance Officer and are fortunate to have appointed an industry expert with a legal background to our team. During the term break we commenced a new partnership with CompliSpace, a company and platform that delivers industry leading solutions to high performing organisations to ensure the efficient meeting of our legal obligations, primarily with regards to risk management, policies, and procedures. On Monday 24 April, our Risk and Compliance Officer facilitated professional learning for our whole staff team focused on risk management at St Andrew’s School, with a particular focus on excursion risk management, workplace safety, student duty of care, child safe risk and enterprise risk management. The significant investment and immediate, meaningful actions show our community that we take the serious business of Risk, seriously.

Luke Ritchie