Head of Middle School

Middle School Communication

Effective communication between school and home is crucial in fostering an environment where students feel safe, supported, and ready to learn. At the heart of our educational philosophy is the principle of deeply knowing each young person, honouring and enriching their unique learning paths, and ensuring effective teaching in every classroom. This principle underpins our commitment to enhancing student growth and ensuring that each student enters school feeling safe, happy and prepared to engage in learning.

To this end, the collaboration between school and home cannot be overstated. When educators and parents work together, we create a cohesive support system that addresses both academic and social-emotional needs. Recently, our discussions with students have highlighted the importance of addressing social-emotional learning during extended home group sessions. Specifically, we are focusing on online and in person calling out wrong conduct, combating name-calling, offensive language, bullying and other unacceptable behaviours in Middle School.

Our strategy involves encouraging students to collaborate on projects that address these issues. By working together to create presentations on the impact of unkind behaviour, students not only become more aware of the consequences of their actions but also learn the value of empathy, respect and community. This inclusive approach not only raises awareness but also empowers students to take an active role in fostering a positive school environment.

Parents play a vital role in reinforcing these lessons at home. Encouraging your child to discuss their internet use with you is an excellent way to stay informed about their online activities and guide them in navigating the digital world safely. Discuss the risks of social media before they join any sites or download any apps. It is fundamental to help them understand that anything they upload, email or message can have a lasting consequence online.

By maintaining open lines of communication between school and home, we can collectively support our students in their academic and personal development.

Below is the Middle School Communication Flowchart. I encourage you to follow the steps when you have a concern, question, or feedback.

Year 5 & 6 Band Showcase

It was wonderful to see so many family members turn up and support the students at the recent Year 5 & 6 Band Showcase. The students performed brilliantly and displayed what they had been learning during the term.

A big well done to all the students for their hard work and dedication. Special thanks to the music teachers for their support and encouragement.

The upcoming long weekend, thanks to report writing and the King’s birthday, is a timely break. We encourage all students and staff to rest and recharge, so we can finish the term on a positive note.

Ralph Arceo

Head of Middle School

Middle School Assembly - getting students thinking

Year 8 Presentation on social media use’s impact on mental health

At Middle School assembly last week, Year 8 students Mia Bowtell, Phoebe Helps, Yasmin Gloria and Isabella Stead made a thoughtful presentation about the use of social media and how it can impact your mental and physical health. Supported by MS Wellbeing Captain Tierlin Hamley and Counsellor Christina Aitken the girls offered some suggestions about limiting social media use.

Mia introduced the presentation, “It is very common for people to use social media in their daily lives. While it offers a platform for connection and community, its influence on our mental health can be dangerous. It can also result in countless wasted hours of ‘Doom Scrolling’ on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. The pressure to compare ourselves to others, with ‘seemingly perfect’ online lives can lead to anxiety, depression, FOMO (fear of missing out), and a distorted sense of reality. This complicated relationship between social media and mental health is a topic that can impact our well-being.

“According to the Common Sense Media, 42% of kids have a phone by the age of 10. Today, 93% of teenagers are actively using social media platforms daily. Although there are important benefits of social media, it can also provide platforms for cyberbullying and exclusion.”

The girls provided some great suggestions on lowering the impact of social media on your life. Turn your notifications off or turn on ‘do not disturb’, especially when studying or sleeping, put your phone out of your bedroom overnight, set time limits on your Social Media Apps, don’t ‘friend’ anyone you don’t know in person, make sure you get outside and have a break hanging out with your friends.

Isabella, Phoebe, Yasmin, Mia, Wellbeing Captain Tierlin Hamley and Councellor Christina Aitken

Respect and Empathy

Middle School Wellbeing Captain, Tierlin Hamley, spoke about two important school values, "Over the last few weeks, Middle School has been focusing on respect and empathy, two important school values that help us to get along with each other and feel safe at school. The words we use are powerful. They can leave us feeling hopeful, happy, full of potential, or they can leave us feeling disappointed, hurt. What we say to each other and to ourselves matters. Wherever you are right now as you’re reading this, I invite you to speak out an affirmation."

Christina Aitken, College Counsellor, spoke to the assembly about kindness and using good words to others and to yourself. "No matter what, I am worthy of kindness and love. Even if these words don’t exactly match what we are thinking right now, just saying them can help us shift and feel more positive about ourselves."

After assembly, students got together in their House mentor groups to create some games around the topic of kindness and empathy. The project allowed students to discuss how much other people's words can impact them, and how they can all work at being more kind and empathetic to others.