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Student recognition and an evolving school culture

Last year it became evident, due to increasing student numbers and our desire to consistently recognise student achievement, that our awards system throughout HRS needed some planning and restructuring.

In March 2022, we formed a committee chaired by Rachelle Cox who has been working at the School since we started in 2018. She has been supported by Brendan Evans (Head of Middle School), Claire Crocombe (Head of Music) and Cory Skilton (English and Head of Digital Learning).

The first task was to audit and record every form of student recognition that existed in HRS. This included semester academic awards, Speech Night awards, Merits, Leadership positions, Sport awards, Music awards and Performing Arts awards. The committee also compiled the criteria for all these awards and then worked to streamline the awards process, remove ambiguity and increase consistency.

The next step was to look at what similar schools were doing around student recognition and to plan what our future awards structure could be. This included discussions with Haileybury in Melbourne. The resulting document prepared by the committee is magnificently detailed. We are editing and refining this document and in due course it will be placed on our pending new parent and student intranet.

A key recommendation of the committee was to introduce a school-wide approach to student recognition based on Colours and Half Colours that could be earned in nearly every aspect of school life. The criteria are being developed and ratified, but we started the process in Semester 1 with Academic Colours for the top 15% of students and Academic Half Colours for the next 15% or so. This replaced Colours and Merits as Merits remain widely used to recognise any special individual notable action.

We plan to introduce the Colours system into other parts of HRS life where students make a sustained and excellent contribution in areas such as House, Basketball, Netball, Music and Performing Arts. Colours may also possibly be earned in some extra-curricular activities, such as Debating, where strong performance and continued commitment are displayed.

We look forward to growing a comprehensive student recognition system into the future.

Andrew McGregor
Principal, Haileybury Rendall School