The autumn weather is well and truly upon us, with chilly nights with beautiful clear skies and sparkling stars, damp and misty mornings and then days of warm sunshine. I like to think of this as the Goldilocks time of the year – not too hot, not too cold…. but just right for learning and playing.
Yesterday morning I tiptoed down to Kindy, drawn by the smell of cooking and also the faint but delicate aroma of something special being made for Mothers’ Day. It is always such a privilege to spend some time watching the serious business of play happening in so many different ways: cubby houses, kings and queens and a serious construction site in the corner.
I was glad I had had some Kindy time in the morning, as my afternoon was taken up with dealing with the very unfortunate article printed in the Sydney Morning Herald which misrepresented our school as being linked with cheating in the HSC last year. I feel upset and angry for our wonderful teachers and students that such a link was made. I have responded by doing an interview with ABC radio and also Katie and I have written to the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. The text of our letter is as follows:
To the Editor,
We are writing in relation to the article “The many ways to (attempt) to cheat in the HSC”, published on page 7 of todays Sydney Morning Herald. This article was based on information provided by BOSTES about cheating in HSC exams last year.
In the centre of the article was a graphic and text box with a list naming the schools with the “highest level of misadventure applications (% of HSC Cohort)”. Our school, Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School, was listed second with a figure of 25%. To place this list in the centre of this article incorrectly links misadventure applications with cheating. BOSTES require a high standard of documentation and evidence to accompany any misadventure applications, with provision for special consideration being made in genuine cases to ensure students who have suffered misadventure are not disadvantaged.
We are a small, single-stream Steiner school. Last year we had a class of 24 students sit their HSC. A small number of those students unfortunately suffered misadventure and made application to BOSTES, with appropriate evidence attached. It is very unfortunate that your newspaper has chosen to represent this in such a way that it could be linked with cheating or malpractice.
Our teachers are extremely dedicated, our processes are very thorough and we are very proud of our students and their genuine achievements. Of our small HSC class last year, one of our students ranked 1st in the state in drama, 3 of our students were chosen to perform at the Encore performances at the Sydney Opera House (chosen as among the best music students in the state) and a number of our students achieved scores above 90% in their subjects.
Your article has incorrectly linked our school with HSC cheating and has potentially damaged the reputation of the school, our wonderful teachers and our dedicated students. We ask that you print an apology and make it clear that Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School has not been linked with cheating in the HSC.
Nerrida Johnson and Katie Biggin
Principal Deputy Principal
I want to be very clear to our school community that there is absolutely no link between misadventure applications and cheating. The NSW Board of Studies have not linked our school to cheating, nor have they linked the process of making misadventure applications to cheating. Katie and I absolutely stand by our teachers and students. If you have any questions about this media article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.