From the Principal

Trust

When a parent chooses to enrol their child at St Columba, it is an act of trust.

What does that mean?

 I think it means that they:

  • believe we will care for their child;
  • believe we will do our best to educate their child;
  • believe we will maintain the values and standards of the school in word and deed.

We know that the recent bushfire and COVID-19 crises have had an impact on how much Australians trust organisations in this country.

“The lack of empathy, authenticity and communications during the bushfire crisis crushed trust across the country. It is no longer only a matter of what you do, it’s also how you do it. Trust is undeniably linked to doing what is right. The battle for trust will be fought on the field of ethical behaviour,” Michelle Hutton, Chief Executive, Edelman Australia 

Thankfully the level of distrust of organisations and government in Australia has not reached the low point that we have seen in other countries, like the USA. 

“The good news is that Australians do tend to trust each other more than citizens of most other countries. But that is not reflected in Australians’ trust in most public and social institutions.” Australian Financial Review

So, in the face of the decline in trust, why should parents trust St Columba with the welfare and education of their children? Call me biased but these are some of the key reasons I believe we deserve this trust:

  • Our parents are choosing a school that really cares for their children and their future;
  • We offer a clear statement of our values and how we will enact them;
  • As an independent school we are not tied to a bureaucracy but are able to act in the best interests of our community, rather than meet the demands of a “system”;
  • We hope that parents find that what we say we do → We try to “walk the walk”;
  • If we get it “wrong”, we admit it.

The things we believe we offer our families that might enhance their trust in us are:

  • Our acknowledgement that we are not a perfect school, but offer a commitment that we will continually work towards being a great school – one that responds to the changes in our students’ world and their need for an education that will offer them the chance of a successful future. Being a “good” school will never be enough for us.
  • The proof, offered during the bushfire and COVID crises, that we are a school that not only takes care of its students but one that is also able to respond to critical incidents in a responsible manner and use the experience to improve our processes.
 “NSW independent school breaks coronavirus ranks to bring back the entire campus early. ABC Mid North Coast / By Kirstie Wellauer

A Mid North Coast school, which has already been through a COVID-19 shutdown, plans to have all its students back in the classroom by May 11 despite most New South Wales schools opting to have students for just one day a week by that date. “We know the best thing is for them  to be back in with their teachers and their peers.”

  • That we have a staff who are thoroughly professional, experienced and “go the extra mile” to help the students in their care.
  • The fact that we listen to our students and parents. We may not always respond in the way you want when you want something from us but you can be assured that we will listen and then act consistently within our School Vision and duty of care for our students.

“Trust in today’s world is granted on distinct attributes: competence, delivering on promises, and ethical behaviour, doing the right thing and working to improve society.” Australian Financial Review

In the end, trust remains a fragile thing. Sometimes you will hear things about our school that might cause you concern, and even make you wonder if we still deserve your trust.

All we ask is that, in a time of misinformation, gossip and “alternative facts”, you let us know of your concerns and, from our response, determine if we really do deserve your continued trust.

Terry Muldoon
Principal

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