Dear school community
Welcome back to campus – we hope everyone is enjoying reconnecting with the rhythm of regular school days and feeling safe and well.
As you may be aware, Nerrida resigned early in the year; this week staff have been able to have a celebration of Nerrida’s time at the school and to wish her farewell. Nerrida is now making preparations towards her next appointment in Papua New Guinea and we extend our grateful thanks for her careful leadership and for the strong position she has left the school in.
Please join us in thanking all the teachers and the entire CBRSS staff for acting responsively in transitioning to School-At-Home and in assisting students to switch to online learning so well, and so quickly. We are also appreciative of Teera and all the support and teaching staff for the preparations and additional work undertaken with transitioning us back to school on site in recent weeks – we know everyone has been working really hard behind the scenes.
From the Board’s perspective, given the atmosphere of change and uncertain times due to COVID-19, we have been focusing on the smooth transition of leadership, on ensuring the financial and future security of the school and on assisting to keep all our families at the school, as far as we can.
We are supportive and confident in our Acting Principal Teera Palmer, leading the staff and school community in working together to ensure the stability of the school in these unprecedented times and have made a decision to recommence the Principal recruitment process later in the year.
We, the Board, invite you to share in our vision for Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School, of a strong, vibrant, collaborative, generous and respectful community; we hope you will join us in holding this vision.
Best wishes as we move out of isolation and warm regards from your Board of Directors
John, Christian, Salakesh, Toni, Jenny, Neil and Magdalena
The CBRSS Board is looking forward to 2020 and looking forward to working closely with school management in our role to govern the business and legal functions of the school. Some of the matters considered by the board include setting fees and charges, fee collection, fee relief, formulating short and medium term budgets, building and maintenance projects, formulating policies and practices and other governance issues. For practical purposes, the day-to-day operation of the school is delegated to the Principal. We have a new fresh look this year, some new members and some shuffling of positions. We welcome John, Christian and Magdalena to the Board and say farewell and thank-you to Steve Heptonstall who has led us as Chair for the last few years.
At our AGM in May we will be seeking a new Treasurer, so if anyone within the school community has business or accounting experience and a desire to serve and contribute to the school’s wellbeing, please contact us (email one of us via reception or use the ‘contact the board’ section on the school website). Learn more about your Board of Directors here.
Hello. My name is Neil Young, I’m an active parent at the school – I have daughters in Class 1 and Class 4 at CBRSS – and I’m a member of the CBRSS Board. As well as introducing myself, I wanted to take the opportunity to shine a light on a part of the school that gets little recognition and give some praise and thanks to those that don’t often receive it.
As parents, it’s easy to make assumptions and become judgemental about the school, as we only see the external day-to-day workings and front-line interactions with teachers and staff. But being a member of the Board has given me a fascinating insight into how our school is run. As you might imagine, in today’s world, there are a lot of policies, procedures, regulations, accreditation and other compliance issues that need to be completed in order to keep our school running – particularly as an independent school.
You may not know, but recently our school had to apply for ‘accreditation’ (NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registration and Accreditation). This is required every 5 years to meet quality standards and is essentially a licence to operate – it directly links to continuing funding for the school. Accreditation allows our students to take RoSA and the Higher School Certificate (RoSA is the record of student achievement in years 7-10).
Nerrida – our Principal, the Leadership Team, teachers and the Admin Staff started work on preparations for Registration and Accreditation back in Term 4 of 2018. This included attending Association of Independent School (AIS) briefings on current Registration requirements and updating policies to meet new standards. It’s a big deal! Changes to the NSW Syllabus throughout the year leading up to Registration also made the task more complicated. This included integration of the new Science & Technology Syllabus with our Steiner curriculum. As you can imagine the National Steiner Curriculum takes a different approach in some areas, to that of the NSW Syllabus, particularly around the use of technology in years K-6, and it’s no easy thing to demonstrate that we meet the required ‘digital’ outcomes through a largely ‘unplugged’ approach.
In August, NESA inspected our school, finding that we are fully compliant in all areas and we have been notified that the school has received full registration and accreditation for the next 5 years.
I think our leadership team, particularly Nerrida, Teera, Rachel Knight and Katie, and all our rarely appreciated Admin Staff deserve praise and thanks from all of us for this dedicated work. They do not often have the light shone on them, especially for something that’s so positive, that all of our children will benefit from for years to come.
I hope this short insight into some of the background work that goes on at the school, helps you, like me, better understand and appreciate the work that our School Management and Admin Staff do. I know it’s sometimes easier to find fault than give praise, but I hope, like me, considering all the things going on in today’s complicated world and ever-changing education environment we can agree there’s a lot we are doing very well. And now with our renewed NESA Registration we can all continue to contribute to growing and supporting a great school community. See you around the school.
The School Board has met to set the School Fees for 2020.
The Board is cognisant of the need to keep fee increases to a reasonable level so that our rates remain manageable for our school community whilst also maintaining a level of income which will allow us to meet our costs and continue to provide a high-quality education. With this in mind, tuition fees and charges will increase by 4% in 2020. This is in keeping with other independent schools in our area.
The RC&M levy will increase to $500 per family per annum. Families will still be able to complete hours of approved Repair, Care and Maintenance work to the school each year (per family) in lieu of paying the levy, in 2020 this will be 20 hours per family. Note that the levy is charged at the beginning of the year and credited to your account once the required number of hours are completed.
Registration and Enrolment Fees will remain unchanged from 2019. Registration to enrol fees are $110 for the first child and $55 for each sibling. Enrolment fees are $550 for the first child and $200 for siblings.
Ensemble fees will increase slightly to $300 per year.
The Community Fee Assistance Program (CFAF) will remain in place for families experiencing short term financial difficulties and our Finance Manager Julia is happy to talk with any families who are experiencing need.
The Board feels the school continues to offer an excellent education which is good value for money. We feel the fee increases for next year will adequately allow the school to continue to provide a wonderful service for our children and allow the School to maintain our facilities and provide capital and educational improvements as part of our Master Plan.
An updated fee schedule for 2020 will be available on our school website next week.
By Salakesh Ananda
I was the precocious child relentlessly asking deep questions about reality. Questions like who am I? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life…to name a few. Today, as a school board member, I continue to ask deep questions. How can we further empower the mission of the school? How can we cultivate dynamic working relationships with all stakeholders? How do we envision the school of the future? How do we pro-actively prepare the school to meet challenges? How do we create the most loving conscious school for everyone involved?
Ursula LeGuin once wrote, “There are no right answers to wrong questions.”, implying that there are such things as right answers if your questions are the right ones to ask. Hence, the task appears to be finding the right questions to ask and then unearthing the right answers. Thus, a journey begins. Namely, to ascertain if the board’s questions are the right questions and then to seek the right answers.
The journey has much support along the way such as listening to others you meet along the same path. Finding inspirational publications from pioneers within the contemporary Waldorf movement who are asking similar questions and are possibly exploring if their questions are the right ones to be asking. And, of course, sitting alone with the questions in contemplative silence; remaining present for the inevitable spark of intuition to manifest.
I agree with the playwright Eugene Ionesco who once said, “It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question…”. The journey to find answers to enlightening questions is further enriched by the opportunity to work with a school board comprised of parents and professionals dedicated to the school and its children. Men and women who carry the passion to ensure we are asking the right questions and to discover, through enlightening questions, the associative right answers collaboratively.
One thing is for certain, hindsight will reveal whether we did ask the right questions and if we found the right answers or if the questions we carried forth were not the right ones to ask. Maybe we might never find the “right” answers to the “right” questions. But I do believe, through our passion as a community, we will find the “best” answers for the “most important” questions. Answers that will guide how best to govern the school in the tomorrows to assure that all our children can receive an education that best serves them for a tomorrow world. An education that inspires our children to think and discover the right questions for their lives and through courage, creativity and resilience find the right answers.
I am excited about our school and its potentials. I am enthusiastic about the opportunities to fortify the school’s noble qualities and to strengthen other potential contributors of excellence within the school not yet fully realized. I am honoured to be on this journey with you, the reader, and everyone else who is part of our community. We, as a board, are dedicated to creating merit through governance for the highest good of all. We are committed to the implementation of answers we feel best address the deep questions we ask of ourselves. We invite everyone to join us in carrying a positive intention for our school and school family. Collectively, as a community, we can emanate a quality of togetherness, cooperation and unity. This, I believe, is the right answer.
Contact the School
Enquiries:Tel: (02) 6639 9300
Office Hours:Term Time: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm Holidays: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm