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When is a school not a school?

October 15, 2021  
Head of Senior School - Mr Nick Hackett

When is a school not a school? It sounds like the opening to a joke, but I have found myself giving this question some serious thought over the last twelve months. 

When we returned from the first lockdown in 2020 (after what now seems like a very brief sojourn from our normal face to face interactions) we were unable to run sporting events and co-curricular activities. This was a difficult change to manage and the impact of the loss of our vibrant and varied co-curricular programme felt significant. But our students and teachers were experiencing a new appreciation for being onsite, and the stand out moment was perhaps when our then Year 12 Captains and students were able to run a heavily modified fundraising day for their charity – a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed day of fancy dress, fun competitions and chocolate…. So much chocolate! Despite the loss of our rich co-curricular opportunities and the challenges of returning to face to face learning in a COVID-Safe way, TIGS continued to be a school seeking opportunities for warm, encouraging and supportive interactions  .

During Term I and II of this year, the Senior School enjoyed Swimming, Cross-Country and Athletics Carnivals.We participated and cheered-on students (and some teachers alike!) in the Artsfest competition and so many staff and students were involved in the wonderful success of our 2021 school production ‘My Fair Lady’. The Trivia Night fundraising event, themed around Disney characters, coordinated by our current Year 13 students, and hosted by our truly exceptional School Captains (Class of 2021) was perhaps my personal highlight. TIGS is a school that shines most brightly as it celebrates the arts, sporting excellence and the vibrancy and talent within our community.

Without knowing it at the time, on Friday 25 June, 2021 (the last day of Term II) we were about to experience the loss of much more than our co-curricular, sporting, artistic and fundraising events. By the time this week’s newsletter is made available to our community, it will have been 112 days since that date, and 112 days since the vast majority of our students and teachers have set foot on the school site. Has TIGS continued to be a school during this period? Without a doubt! Whilst mentor groups and math classmates alike have been physically separated, the passion and enthusiasm of our teachers, and the resilience and adaptability of our students has promoted new and innovative ways of learning. 

And as we look ahead to a return to onsite learning from next week, and find ourselves adapting to yet more change and subject to a wealth of new limiting guidelines, I am in no doubt that TIGS will continue to find new ways to flourish as a community. We are living through strange and uncertain times, but TIGS continues to be a school that is defined by our strong relationships, focussed learning and a community aligned around our Christian values of service, love and humility, no matter what challenges and limitations our community is experiencing.

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