26 November 2018

Each year the week we celebrate Athletics at the College is always a special time. It is not just the spectacle of the boys giving their very best, but the level of engagement from staff, students, parents and families who make a conscious effort to get down to see their boys compete. The intra-house rivalry and the bond between students within their respective Houses is very special. I would personally like to thank and acknowledge the many staff and parents, who through their hard work and commitment, ensured we had another great week. It goes without saying that it is the level of commitment from the boys that makes our carnivals so special.

The reality for all of our students is that this term is disappearing very quickly. For our Year 12s it means they have a very limited amount of school-based instruction left before they commence preparing for their final exams. The role of family support in a boy's learning journey is so important across the whole school. At Scotch we believe parental engagement is a priority, not a challenge. Engagement does not just mean through the attendance at major events such as we have seen this week at the carnivals.

A report by the Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth for the Family-School and Community Partnerships Bureau by Dr Lance Emerson Josh Fear, Dr Stacey Fox Emma Sanders (p8), highlights that

"while research supports the notion that parental engagement may positively impact student academic attainment, there is an important distinction between involving parents in schooling and engaging parents in learning; it is the latter that has shown to have the greatest positive impact. While involving parents in school activities may have an important community and social function, the key to facilitating positive change in a child's academic attainment is the engagement of parents in learning outcomes in the home.

International research has shown that parental engagement (of various kinds) has a positive impact on many indicators of student achievement, including:

  • higher grades and test scores
  • enrolment in higher level programs and advanced classes
  • higher successful completion of classes
  • lower drop-out rates
  • higher graduation rates, and
  • a greater likelihood of commencing postsecondary education.

Beyond educational achievement, parental engagement is associated with various indicators of student development. These include:

  • more regular school attendance
  • better social skills
  • improved behaviour
  • better adaptation to school
  • increased social capital
  • a greater sense of personal competence and efficacy for learning
  • greater engagement in school work, and
  • a stronger belief in the importance of education."

It is important that we all remember that parent school engagement is what makes our community very special and it is something we should continue to celebrate and develop for the benefit of generations to come.

Have a great fortnight

Dr A J O'Connell