Senior Executive Report
Notwithstanding the great interruption of studies due to the outbreak of pneumonic influenza I am still able to report excellent work this year, not only at examinations, but successes also achieved on the sporting field.
(Principal’s report, Speech day 1919 cited in the Magazine of the Girls’ High School, Fort Street, March 1920)
This year Speech Day fell on 31st March… Mr. Kilgour read the report for the year, which showed that despite influenza restrictions and consequent broken time, the work done had been most satisfactory and the results of the examinations very pleasing. In addition the School had sustained its reputation in sport.
(Report on Speech day 1920, The Fortian, May 1920)
It is fascinating to see that 100 years ago, Fortians were dealing with some of the same challenges we are facing today – disruption to learning and indeed to society in general, caused by an outbreak of a serious and deadly disease.
Of course, 100 years later much in education has changed including the introduction of technologies to deliver remote learning that would have been beyond the belief of Miss A. Partridge and Mr A. J. Kilgour (principals of the girls and boys schools respectively at the time).
However, the school is confident that the Fortian spirit remains the same, and that in time we will be able to echo Kilgour’s words that “despite influenza restrictions and consequent broken time, the work done has been most satisfactory.”
Fortian magazines dating back to 1899 have been digitised and are available on the school’s website, and give a fascinating insight into school life from past eras. They are well worth exploring for interested students and their parents.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation for the support shown by the whole school community in adjusting to remote learning. The staff have put an enormous amount of time and effort into adapting their teaching resources and methods to an online format, and the students have responded in equal measure. Thanks are due to the office staff for their ongoing work, managing an administration load even more complex than usual. Thank you also to the many parents who have taken the time to send the school messages of thanks and support. They have been very encouraging at what has been a difficult time.
The school is aware that some students and families have not found the transition straightforward. Some of the common feedback we have received is that students seem to be getting more work online than they would normally be expected to complete in class, and that students are spending the majority of their days on screen. As a school we are working to adjust our expectations of what work is achievable in a single lesson, and to give students more tasks that can be done away from a screen.
We will also be publishing a revised remote learning timetable at the beginning of Term 2, which will include 45 minute lessons for all students, a five minute break between each lesson to allow students to take a break from their screens, and a dedicated 40 minute technology free time for all students after lunch. We welcome continued feedback as we refine our remote learning plan. Families who are experiencing difficulties, whether related to workload, technology or physical and mental wellbeing, should contact their child’s Year Adviser in the first instance to let the school know.
Parents are reminded that at this stage the school will be open in Term 2 for any students who require supervision or who are not able to work effectively at home. The very small number of students who have been attending school have been working out of the library, where there is plenty of space for students to maintain appropriate social distance.
We are also anticipating that our usual reporting cycle will go ahead for Term 2, and parents can expect to receive feedback on their child’s progress and performance in the usual way. These reports will be issued digitally through the Sentral Parent Portal. Any families who do not have access to the portal should contact the school for instructions.
We wish all students and their families a restful holidays despite the difficult circumstances, and look forward to welcoming you back (online at least) in Term 2.