Dear Parents, Staff and Students
It was very exciting to welcome the 2019 Preparatory and Year 7 students to the College on Monday morning for their Orientation Day. There are always a few nerves especially for those who are new to our College, but this is an important event, as it gives students the opportunity to meet others and find out a little about what to expect in 2019. Thank you to the teachers who made our guests so welcome this on Monday morning.
You will be well aware that Child protection is at the forefront of our care for our students. Each year we undergo specific training to ensure we are providing the safest and most secure environment for those in our care. While it should be obvious that children need to be protected, unfortunately in the past in this country and many others, this has not always been the case. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has taken five years to reach its conclusion. Over 17,000 survivors of abuse came forward and almost 8,000 of them recounted their abuse in private sessions to the commission. One hundred and twenty-two recommendations were made. On Monday the Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave a public apology to all children who have been sexually abused in institutions in the past. In a moving speech in Parliament Mr Morrison said "As a nation we confront our failure to listen, to believe and to provide justice..., today we are sorry. To the children we failed, sorry. To the parents whose trust was betrayed and who have struggled to pick up the pieces, sorry. To the whistleblowers who we did not listen to, sorry. To the spouses, partners, wives, husbands and children who have dealt with the consequences of the abuse, cover-ups and obstruction, sorry. To the generations past and present, sorry." Mr Morrison announced that the government has adopted all 122 recommendations, 104 of which are worked on immediately while the other 18 are being closely examined in consultation with the states and territories. There is now a National Redress scheme, where survivors can access counselling, seek compensation and receive a direct personal response from the institution responsible if they wish.
Our own Archbishop also released a statement on Friday in support of the Prime Minister's apology. He wrote, "I welcome the Prime Minister's apology to all who suffered child sexual abuse in institutions, and join with him in apologising to those abused in Anglican institutions. Anglican Church leaders, including myself, have apologised to hundreds of survivors around Australia, and have met with them personally when they requested us to do so. This is part of the Church's repentance for its past failings that have inflicted pain and suffering." You can read the Archbishop's full statement by using this link.
Our Diocese and hence our College has joined the National Redress Scheme. Given that we are a young College and I have been here since the start, I believe we have no known history of abuse. However, we must never be so naive as to think this could not happen here or anywhere. Fortunately, the awareness of our students and staff has been heightened significantly to ensure that our training and practices never allow such behaviour to occur in our College.
I take great pleasure in informing you that my new Assistant, Mrs Rachael Georgoulas, commenced this week. I am sure you will come across her in the coming weeks as we approach the end of the school year and all the Celebration Evenings and events.
Finally, thank you to all who completed the College survey. With 1981 responses in total we will no doubt receive a lot of valuable feedback.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mark Sly - Principal