2024 Principal's Welcome

Welcome back to St Luke's | Mr Geoff Lancaster | 9 February 2024

Welcome back to St Luke’s for the 2024 school year! As we begin the year, it is worth reflecting on some of the outstanding achievements and progress made in 2023, as well as outlining several priorities for St Luke’s during 2024, which are captured in the words of our Strategic Pillars.

In December, school families were emailed the HSC results, detailing the incredible achievements of the Class of 2023. We are very proud of our students and staff for achieving results that placed us 38th in the State, with 8 all-rounders and close to 45% of our students achieving an ATAR over 90.  

It is natural to compare our results with those of other schools, but a rank on a list does not tell the whole story. As a non-selective school with an open enrolment policy, for our students to achieve at the level they do is a reflection of the excellent work of our staff and the wonderful culture of learning that inspires each child to strive for their personal best.

During 2023 we relaunched our School Learning Framework, LEARNING@STLUKE’S, to incorporate wellbeing dispositions alongside learning dispositions. The framework helps us to build and maintain our learning culture through shared language and an explicit focus on these dispositions. We don’t just assume our students understand themselves as learners and have strategies to stay mentally healthy. The framework provides a language for our learning community to articulate their learning and emotions which will help them to flourish in learning and life.

As we commenced our staff days this year, our Executive team reflected on some of the successes from 2023. Alongside our learning culture and the many opportunities students had to develop skills, knowledge and LEARNING@STLUKE’S dispositions, we reflected on: the sense of community; increased student leadership and House Spirit; recommencement of Service and LIGHT tours; positive Anglican Schools Corporation (ASC) review; growth in enrolments at Bayview; progress with the new Senior School Campus; facility improvements, including oval upgrade, new Sports Centre, new recording studio and music rooms, and approval for improved facilities at Bayview.

The keynote speaker at our staff days this year was Dan Haesler who shared some great ideas and strategies with staff to help them to be prepared for the year ahead. Dan started his career as a teacher and now is a performance and leadership coach. Dan commented that schools like St Luke’s are high-performance environments where staff and students need to understand how to turn up with the right mindset, perform in critical moments, and also be intentional in switching off and recharging. High-performance athletes prioritise recovery but often we expect our students and staff to perform at a high level consistently without a regular chance to recover. If we are serious about wellbeing, we need to discover what helps us switch off and what helps us recharge for the next day or the next task.

As I reflected on his comments, I was reminded of the times that the Bible tells us that Jesus sought solitude to pray, to step away from the busyness of daily life to reflect, recover and to seek God’s wisdom for what was ahead. The advice on intentional recovery is a modern take on the Jewish and Christian concept of Sabbath, a day of rest. Staff are equipped with some new tools that I am sure they will share with our students over the coming months.

I am looking forward to all that 2024 will bring.