Consent, inclusivity and the future of Carey

As part of our commitment to providing a complete education, we are sometimes faced with confronting discussions with students. It is of utmost importance though that, as both teachers and parents, we do not shy away from uncomfortable topics.

You will have seen my recent communication about the issue of consent and how we can support our students to begin to understand this issue. If you have not yet seen it, I strongly encourage you to read our statement.

We are all responsible for educating the next generation to ensure they are safe and that they develop an understanding of what respectful relationships look like. At school, we continue to regularly review our wellbeing curriculum to ensure that it is up to date, age and stage appropriate, and assists all students to make wise decisions and feel safe both at school and outside of school.

I urge you to continue these conversations at home, and reach out to us if you or your child need any support.

Gender diversity and inclusivity
On Thursday 18 March, the Carey Community Forum (CCF) is hosting a crucial and timely discussion about gender diversity and inclusivity. As Allan Griffin, our Head of Student Development explains in this article, a report was recently published that showed that the majority of gender or sexuality diverse students in Australia felt unsafe or uncomfortable at school.

We are dedicated to providing a safe and inclusive space for all students at Carey, but this does not mean that our students won’t have these experiences at our school. We must continue to learn and adapt our practices to actively ensure every student is comfortable with who they are.

Clinical Psychologist Dr Jacques Rizk will be leading the CCF event, which will also include a panel discussion and an opportunity for guests to ask questions. I encourage you to register your attendance for this important free event.

Shape the Future: emerging themes
I’d like to extend a sincere thanks to everyone in our community who contributed to Shape the Future: Creating Carey’s vision for tomorrow. We have been overwhelmed by the wonderful responses, and we are already seeing themes emerge which show what we are doing well, what we can continue to develop and some spaces where improvement is needed.

One of the primary themes we have seen in the responses is the connectedness of our community. Many parents stated that they felt most connected and experienced the strongest sense of belonging when being involved in the school through events, community groups, helping out at sausage sizzles and musicals, and volunteering for excursions or as a parent helper in a classroom. We are so grateful to have such an engaged parent community. It is undoubtedly clear that the strength of the connection between our parents and the School only helps to enhance our students’ experiences. As one parent shared, ‘The opportunities for parents to collaborate with the school and create events ultimately for the benefit of the children has been wonderfully rewarding.’

It is also clear that many in our community feel that this is a school that accepts, respects and celebrates differences. We were so pleased to hear about how much events like the Lunar New Year Lion Dance meant to members of the community. It not only made them feel excited about their culture and understood better by others at the school, but some reported that it even enhanced their connections within their own families. We can always do more to embrace the diversity within our community, and we are inspired by this feedback.

Inclusivity is an important value our school endeavours to embrace. One member of our community aptly described it as such:

‘Learning to appreciate and understand differences and how these ultimately make[s] our world a better place. It begins with a willingness to see others for who they really are without judgement and accepting their differences and diversity.’

I am looking forward to reading your stories from the Week 2 questionnaire, which was sent to you by email on Tuesday. If you haven’t yet completed Week 1, you still can – please go to the link in the email you received last week. Next week will be the final questionnaire, and I will soon afterward be able to share more of the stories and emerging themes with you.

Jonathan Walter
Principal

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