Moving forward through difficult times
The past two months have been very busy with our focus on a number of critically important areas for the realisation of our goal of opening St.Sava College next school year.
Earlier this month, we welcomed parents and children who were able to attend an information afternoon on site at the College. It was a wonderful opportunity for all who attended, to ask questions on a whole range of issues. As we move forward, we plan to host several more such meetings, because it is in the exchange of information and ideas, that parents can learn what the College will provide in the educational context. Furthermore, it is especially important that the Board, develops a very clear understanding of parents expectations, needs and concerns. Some of the issues raised included the following.
1. OUT OF HOURS CARE
The overwhelming number of parents require before and after school care. This need is a fact of life these days, as most fathers and mothers are engaged in full time employment. In most cases, out of school care is provided by contractors who specialise in the delivery of programmes, activities and food for the children. The school facilities are utilised and the hours of operation are set in accordance with the needs of families. The cost of out of school care is not included in the school fees and is negotiated directly between the contractor and individual parents. The Board is looking into possible providers at present, and in due course will come to an arrangement with the most suitable contractor for the needs of our student body.
2. TRANSPORT TO AND FROM SCHOOL
Most parents require, or would prefer to have transport to and from the College for their children. When our registration application is approved, and we begin the process of enrolment, we will consider how best to organise transport options, based on the specific needs of parents. Collection of children from hubs, by minibus is not uncommon. We will be reaching out to companies that provide this service, and who have properly equipped vehicles with seat belts and other safety devices as well as registered drivers. Again, associated costs will be the responsibility of parents.
Opening a school is a costly exercise. The Board has approximated a fee level, based on a business plan which will be undergoing continuous adjustment and re-assessment through the course of the year. The all inclusive fee per child will be around $5000. There will be discounts for second and subsequent siblings. When opening a school, it is critically important to appoint the best possible staff. At this stage, we cannot provide state of the art music rooms, gymnasiums and sporting facilities. That will all come later as the school grows. What we can and are committed to providing is the best possible instruction in the fundaments of literacy and numeracy. This all starts in the first 3 grades of school, and in order to ensure that we do the very best for every single child, we need to appoint the best available teachers. Our business plan is focussed on the provision of excellent educators and this is reflected in the fee structure.
4. GOVERNMENT FUNDING
Government funding of independent schools is going through a staged process, whereby the level of funding will be determined by, the area the school is located in, the taxable income of parents and several other factors. This means that government funding will vary form area to area and school to school.
St. Sava College will be an Orthodox Christian School. Our Faith will be the axis upon which the school will turn. The day will begin and end with prayer, and the curriculum will reflect our spiritual heritage in all things.
There will be a school chaplain, (clergyman) who will be responsible for the spiritual life of the school and will assist staff and parents in all matters pertaining to our faith.
6. THE STUDENT BODY
The majority of students at St.Sava College will be Serbian Orthodox, however we have received expressions of interest from parents of Russian, Greek and Egyptian backgrounds. Whilst the prevailing culture of the school will be Serbian, elements of the cultural background of all our students will be integrated into the life and curriculum of the school. After all, there is one thing that all share, and that is our Orthodox Faith.
At this stage, Serbian will be compulsory for all students. Instruction will delivered at appropriate age and fluency levels in all grades. The introduction of other languages such as Greek, Russian and Arabic may occur in the future, as has been the case for many years now, of Serbian in Greek Orthodox Schools. It will be dependent on student numbers and interest.
8. SCHOOL HOURS
This question was addressed and although a final decision will come later in the year, a 9am-3pm day is envisaged for Infants School.
There were many other questions that arose in the course of the afternoon. Will there be a high school ?- yes, is there a plan to provide facilities for drama, music sport etc ?- yes, will there be a discipline policy? – yes,
If any parents or members of the community have further questions to ask, please do not hesitate in contacting us by email, or call Fr. Rade Radan on 0407119878.