We began our academic year with the singing of Happy Birthday in our whole school assembly – our first acknowledgement that Lowther Hall turns 95 this year. Our doors first opened on 11 February 1920 with just 135 students under the principalship of Miss Florence Hutton. As the year unfolds there will be other opportunities to undertake some traditional birthday rituals – such as the whole school photograph which will be taken this year, the sharing of birthday cake and some other exciting occurrences.     

Our celebration coincides with another significant anniversary – 100 years since the Gallipoli landing – and we will also be acknowledging this important event within our school community, not just out of respect for those who gave their lives in support of our nation, but to serve as a reminder that war and conflict bring a high price, and we must continue to work for understanding, tolerance and peace.  

Of course, whilst the girls only returned this week, members of staff have been back for some weeks. It might be difficult to imagine how we possibly fill our time here without students, but last week alone, some examples of tasks undertaken by the staff included: whole staff training in the management of anaphylaxis, whole staff professional learning updates regarding mandatory reporting regulations, discipline policy and the occupational health and safety policy, a review by all teaching staff of the academic and pastoral information about each student they will teach in 2015 (up to 150 girls for some staff), an analysis of the data which has been collected about the social and emotional well-being of each cohort and planning of programs and classes to address their specific needs, teaching staff workshops and seminars relating to latest teaching practice, a review of pastoral care practices and communication processes in Junior School, a review of communication and follow up of Education Support Programs in Senior School, development of the Strategic Plan for Teaching and Learning 2015 – 2017, training in digital learning, administration staff training in the use of the latest version of our electronic mail and calendar applications, briefings for the whole staff from all members of the Principal’s advisory committee, a staff chapel service and many other vision setting and operational meetings across the school. The staff are certainly prepared for a great year!

I hope that you will take up the many opportunities to come together as parents across the year – in particular in the next few weeks by attending information nights, the PFA organised “relay for life” and, on 27 February, our parent Welcome Evening.   

I look forward to sharing another wonderful year with you all, and I especially welcome those families who are beginning their Lowther Hall experience in 2015.