Maths Talent Quest success: persistence pays dividends

The Mathematics Talent Quest encourages students to be independent and self-motivated learners. It gives them the opportunity to communicate their findings and understandings to a wider audience and it recognises effort and achievement in a mathematical enterprise.

Importantly, it connects learning to the real world.

Congratulations to the six Carey Donvale students who received High Distinctions, in particular Aaron in 3B and Oliver in 4FR, whose entries were advanced to the national level. Well done also to the nine students who received Distinctions, and the 18 who received Credits.

As we celebrate the great success of nearly 50 students involved in this year’s Mathematics Talent Quest, I am reminded of the advice that Michael Grose, one of Australia’s premier parent educators, often gives parents and educators about cultivating resilience and persistence in children. Basically, we need to allow our children the opportunity to persist when challenges arrive. We rob our children of these valuable life lessons when we intervene too early or cocoon them from the challenging experiences.

‘The ability to persist at a task and see it through to the end is one of the most important success skills that you can teach a child.’ – Michael Grose

Whether it be completing a mathematical challenge or learning to dance, sing and act during Seussical Junior rehearsals, taking our children out of their comfort zone is the first step to real learning. Gently pushing students to achieve what may seem beyond them at the first attempt is part of our shared role.

Research suggests that persistence is a temperamental factor that can be improved over time. Just as adults can promote persistence, they can also impede its development by making life too easy for children so that they don’t have opportunities to persist or ‘hang in there’. Together we can promote persistence by encouraging children to keep going and not give in at the slightest hurdle or difficulty.

Allocating students to classes 2022
As you would expect, we have started planning for the 2022 school year. One aspect of this planning is to allocate students to classes. In doing so, we consider two aspects in particular: balanced class groupings and where we will place our classroom teachers.

With this process in mind, the School has developed a very clear, whole-school policy on this process. The policy states:

‘Carey is committed to attracting, professionally developing and rewarding the highest quality teaching staff. Carey is fortunate to have a highly professional and committed teaching staff.

Carey is not able to accommodate requests for a particular teacher as there are a number of operational issues to consider such as subject blocking, timetabling and class composition. The teaching staff and School Heads consider very closely the allocation of students to classes, considering the social, emotional and academic interests of all students, gender mix, student relationships, class size and ability.’

In line with this policy, if parents have information they feel needs to be considered, I am happy to receive these requests and we will give them due consideration. Nevertheless, I ask all parents to understand that it may not be possible to satisfy all requests without compromising children’s learning. We only have two classes at each level and we will always keep the educational, social and emotional needs of the children at the forefront of any decision.

If you have specific information, please provide it in writing by Wednesday 3 November and address it to me personally. Only written communication provided in this process will be considered. Once again, please understand that we will not consider requests for specific teachers.

Over the past few years, we have received a very small number of requests, which tells me that parents trust our judgment on what is best for their children. I am sure that this year will be the same.

Thank you for your support in this important process.

Steve Wilson
Head of Junior School Donvale