10 Dec

By Principal Helen Finlay

Thank you for helping make my first Term as Principal of St Peter’s Woodlands Grammar School such a positive one.

Despite the impact that covid-19 has had on various community events, I still truly believe the positive and supportive community spirit at SPW is second to none!

Learning Spaces and Programs
This term has been a term of many firsts for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed touring our learning spaces and watching Let’s Decode in action as well as our Spelling Mastery program.

Witnessing the high level of student engagement as they prepared for their PYP Learning and the Year 5 PYP Exhibition has been a joy to behold.

Exciting New Initiatives
I have spent time watching and learning about this wonderful school, both appreciating the wonderful learning and teaching that is already happening here, whilst also planning for new and exciting initiatives in 2020 and beyond.

Much of this planning has been informed by community input and I am grateful for those of you who were able to attend community feedback events earlier on in the year. I am looking forward to sharing a little more about these initiatives early in 2021 when we launch our “2020 and Beyond SPW Strategic Plan”.

Head of Learning and Teaching and Instructional Leadership
In 2021 Kerry Ramsay will take on the appointment of Head of Learning and Teaching and Instructional Leadership at SPW.  We had a strong field of external applicants for this position.

Kerry demonstrated a superior knowledge and understanding of explicit instruction and the use of student learning data to help drive academic improvement. I am excited to have her join the Executive Leadership Team in this capacity.

At the completion of 2020 we bid a fond farewell to Bryan Fletcher who has faithfully served the school as a classroom teacher for an incredible 35 years! Bryan tells us he will not be resting in his retirement. He is looking forward to a very active one, tending to their property and spending time with family.

Libby Elias is also retiring after a wonderful 18 year tenure at SPW. I know you will join me in wishing both of these dedicated teachers the very best for the coming years. We thank you for your service.

A Term of Flexibility
As you can imagine Term 4 has been a term where flexibility has been key. I must once again commend the teaching staff for their positive and professional manner when preparing for on-line learning.

Many events have had to be re-imagined so our community could still share an authentic window into learning at SPW. In particular our inaugural Christmas on the Green event was quickly re-designed to become Christmas on the Screen.

The brainchild of Mark De Laine and his Creative Arts Department. It was Mark’s desire that students who have been practising ready to perform in front of an audience all year would still have that chance and that parents would have the opportunity to witness some of the end of year festivities and experience the joy of our Christmas Celebrations.

Thank you teachers and support staff for your tireless work this year and also for ensuring events like Christmas on the Screen and Learning Journeys came into fruition, albeit in a different format than originally intended.

Reflections from our Students
I decided that the final word for in our 2020 eNewsletter should belong to the students, so I toured the classrooms and asked for their opinions on the highlights of the year and how they found their school experience during the pandemic.

“Even though we had to deal with Covid-19, I liked that we still had lots of sports choices like sailing.” – Year 6

“I enjoyed helping out at sporting events like the cross country and R-2 Sports Day.” – Year 7

“Learning online was difficult because it’s easier to collaborate at school, but Zoom was good.” – Year 5

“I love eating lunch in the new Plaza and chatting with my friends.” – Year 2

“Dancing and being together at the formal was good. The garlic bread was outstanding!” – Year 7

“I love the cubby and love the way the teachers teach us in there (the new Reception classrooms).” – Reception

“I love the paintings in the Plaza and the plants.” – Year 2

“Year 7 still got to go on Camp, so I was happy with that. We have all grown really close this year.” – Year 7

Merry Christmas
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our SPW families and community a blessed Christmas and New Year. I pray that it is a time filled with family coming together to make special memories.


Helen Finlay