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30-34 Toomuc Valley Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810
92 Kangan Dr, Berwick VIC 3806
The perennial topic of private versus public school public school funding was back in the media recently. However, reports do not always paint the whole picture of school funding.
It would be easy to assume that some private schools are awash with funding, but it’s important to understand the underlying funding model.
Beaconhills College runs on 50 per cent of government (largely federal, not state) government funding and 50 per cent parent fees. Because 50 per cent of the cost of operating Beaconhills is paid for – after tax – by parents, this is in fact a significant saving per child for the government.
We actually receive a lot less funding from governments per child than our state counterparts. We are not diverting money from government schools, rather providing an alternative education option for parents who choose to pay extra for an independent education.
The total cost of running our school is included in all funding we receive; that means all programs, salary costs, maintenance and grounds works. Funding to state government schools does not cover excursions, some subject levies and other costs. We have also seen in, recent media reports, that government schools need to ask parents to help meet these costs.
Salaries of Beaconhills staff supports 500 people in the local workforce, accounting for more than 70 per cent of our school running costs.
Given the size of our program and the breadth of educational opportunities we offer, Beaconhills College is running efficiently and effectively. It would cost the government – and thereby the taxpayer – significantly more to educate our 3000 students.
The messages that schools convey about their educational philosophy can sometimes appear contradictory.
On one hand, schools will talk about a holistic education – developing the ‘whole child’ – yet hold up their students’ academic successes as the sole measure of success.
At Beaconhills, our aim to develop student reports which more broadly match the stated goals of our College. That means not just academic achievement, although that of course is to be celebrated, but also the qualities embedded in our six pillars of Learning That Matters.
Along with their usual reports, next term parents of Years 5-10 students will receive Beacon Explorers reports, which give teacher observations on the local or global experiences students have taken part in during the year. Whether it’s travelling through East Timor or Vietnam, hiking along the Victorian coastline, the art and Indigenous culture experience in the NT’s Jabiru, or canoeing and bike-riding in Jindabyne, parents can expect to see feedback on their child’s development of attributes such as leadership skills, resilience, empathy or teamwork.
I believe these Beacon Explorers reports, which we will continue to develop, will add a meaningful new dimension to our reporting process. They may also give students valuable information to use as part of future job and tertiary applications.
I look forward to seeing you all in term 4.
Most parents choose independent schooling in Australia because of the values taught in those schools.
The decisions we make as parents – such as which school to choose for our child – are guided by our own basic fundamental beliefs and values.
In fact, making decisions in life that don’t align with our underlying values can feel very wrong. For that reason I believe it’s important to define and acknowledge your values, individually and collectively.
At Beaconhills College, we are very clear on our core Christian values of respect, compassion and integrity. While the Christian foundation underpins our value base, it has never been a requirement that our staff or students are Christians. Our College community embraces diversity and we welcome students from all faith traditions and those who have no faith. However, we expect all who join our College to respect and honour our Christian values and traditions.
In recent House Church services, Revd Peggy Kruse reminded us all of why Beaconhills College was originally founded; to offer open-entry, lower fee Christian education and values to young people in our region.
The College has developed its values program over its 37-year history, through the RAVE curriculum starting in early learning, experiential learning in Year 9, its citizenship and service program, assemblies and Chapel and House Church services.
As Revd Kruse said: “Values are taught in many ways – not only in RAVE, but in the modelling of both school and family life. The school can only reinforce what is already being taught at home – so it a partnership, that helps to mould and form our children and young people.
“Our values not only shape our own lives, but also those of our families, school and the larger world around us.”
Beaconhills College is committed to developing a much stronger learning culture around Indigenous education.
Our history did not begin with the settlement of white Australia. But the history I learned at school was very different from the learning we are now embedding in our curriculum – led by our Head of Indigenous Initiatives Lynette George – across all year levels. It’s a work in progress. And we still have much to learn.
The College has a small number of students who identify as Indigenous, but we recognise the big need for all students to learn more about the stories and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
I am delighted that Little Beacons recently received an $82,000 State Government grant over four years for Aboriginal language holders to deliver the Early Childhood Language Program. This means children in our kindergarten program will learn about the Woi wurrung language when they are out on Country as part of their Early Explorers program. It’s an exciting initiative.
We value our ongoing connections with Wurundjeri elder Murrundindi as well as Indigenous education provider Indigicate. Beaconhills also offers annual Wominjeka Indigenous scholarships to provide educational support to students of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent.
Pictured are some of our Junior School students at the Berwick Campus last Friday enjoying a range of activities for their Connecting to Country Day.
Beaconhills College adopted a new Constitution at its May 2019 Annual General Meeting – an important milestone in the school’s history.
The new Constitution provides a more suitable governance structure while retaining the College’s heritage and continuing Christian ethos.
As a community school, we have many families actively contributing to the rich and varied life of the College, from volunteering in classrooms through to participating in our many service programs.
This Constitutional change presents an opportunity for parents or members of the wider community to be involved in the strategic future direction of the College. We need members of governance with a varied range of skills and interests.
If you would like to learn more, you are invited to attend a Governance Information Seminar at the College’s Pakenham Campus (Global Beacons Centre) from 7-8pm on Tuesday 23 July. RSVP by COB Friday 19 July to Melanie.Thompson@beaconhills.vic.edu.au if you would like to attend.
Earlier this year, the ACT announced a decision to end the National School Chaplaincy Program in public schools after 2019.
While debate continues to swirl around the value of school chaplaincy programs, I would like to highlight what our chaplaincy team contributes to the community of Beaconhills College.
Chaplains are the heart of the school. They lead and support the spiritual growth and development of staff, students and parents. Our chaplains help people find meaning and purpose in their lives and are an integral part of our wellbeing team. As a Christian College that supports a multifaith community, our chaplains remind us all how we can strive to be better people, rise above adversity and be given hope.
It’s a curious dichotomy that while organised religion in western civilisation is declining, faith-based schools are going forward. Research has shown families choose faith-based school such as Beaconhills because of the values they hold and impart to their students.
While some schools have just a single chaplain, we are fortunate to have five qualified teaching chaplains, working alongside counsellors and Heads of House to support families, students and staff.
As the Head of the National School Chaplaincy Association, Peter James said (Eternity, 25 February 2019), secular learning and wellbeing frameworks “recognise the importance of spiritual support as part of achieving student wellbeing and educational outcomes.”
“Secular doesn’t mean the exclusion of all things religious”, he said.
The impact of tragic recent events in Sri Lanka has reverberated around the world, and touched the Beaconhills College community.
These deliberate attacks devastated families with the loss of so many innocent lives. While vigils are held around the world, and significant changes are made to the security of public gatherings in Sri Lanka, our thoughts and prayers are with the members of our community who have strong Sri Lankan connections.
We encourage families to contact our Wellbeing team via the main reception on 1300 002 225 if you or your children need additional support during this incredibly sad time.
As term 1 of 2019 draws to a close, our Pakenham Campus Senior Chaplain, Rev Peggy Kruse shares this message of hope for Easter time…
I am reminded each year of how very complex the Easter story is to tell to the younger students of our College. In fact, it is difficult for most of us even as adults to comprehend. It is most important to not overlook the crucifixion – though for the younger students we do not focus heavily on this part of the story. How can we even attempt to understand such a barbarous and cruel act(s) towards another human being? I, personally, need to be reminded of the crucifixion to keep the petty things in my own life in perspective. I also need to be reminded of how much God in the human form of Jesus suffered and how God through Jesus understands what it is to be human.
Without the crucifixion we would not need the miracle of resurrection – God’s ultimate power and conquering over death. The power over death was on many levels: physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Jesus was set free from all of the earthly constraints that bind us as human beings. When we think of all the possibilities that exist to create new life, whether in plant, animal or human form within our natural world, we are also confronted with the idea that God exists within all of these capacities. But when we think of the resurrection of Jesus, God is demonstrating that life is sacred, life is a gift and life is to be celebrated. At Easter time, we need to hold all these things before us – the sacred, the gift, and the celebration of all good things that indicate that death is not the final answer. The ultimate meaning of the resurrection is the re-discovery in the small, intimate details and experiences of our daily life that make conversations with others, caring for those who need to be cared for, compassion for those without a voice and creating a better community – add up to the vision of a better, more complete and enriched future that is blessed by the God of love who is seen in Jesus Christ, our Saviour. God bless you and your family at this sacred time of Easter.
– Rev Peggy Kruse
The bushfire crisis has significantly impacted our region and College community. We have more than 400 students and at least 25 staff affected in some way – either directly or indirectly (ie cancellation of bus services).
Our community response has been heart-warming and overwhelming. Many people have offered to donate food and uniforms. Others are currently accommodating families who can’t yet access their properties, or are helping to provide horse agistment. Thank you all.
Following a Cardinia Shire meeting today, all emergency services have acknowledged the generous community support. Cardinia Shire is working with all the relief agencies to co-ordinate the response. They have requested patience from the community while they determine where the need is the greatest. At this stage food and clothing donations are not required, but we will keep you updated.
Once again I wish to thank our Beaconhills community for the spirit of generosity and goodwill which never fails to surface during these times. Our thoughts and prayers are with all emergency services personnel and everyone involved in this crisis.
Pakenham Year 3 students have written letters of thanks to the emergency service men and women, currently battling the bushfires.
The fires currently burning in the Bunyip and Gembrook state parks have impacted members of our local community. Beaconhills College will open for school tomorrow (Monday) as normal. We are working with the Department of Education in relation to safe transport routes. We anticipate a number of bus lines will be cancelled and will contact affected families as soon as we are informed.
The College has postponed the Pakenham Unit 3 Outdoor Education camp to Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park scheduled to depart tomorrow and the Pakenham Year 7 Mornington Peninsula Camp scheduled to depart on Tuesday.
The College is committed to supporting students and staff who are impacted and counselling and support services will be available. We are aware that as a result of evacuations, some students may not be able to come to school with a range of practical items such as lunch, school uniform and school stationery. Please be assured that all students impacted in this way are welcome to attend with whatever items they have available. We encourage families to contact our Wellbeing team via the main reception on 1300 002 225 so we can understand your situation and how we can best support your child.
Our thoughts are with everyone in our local community, including the dedicated emergency service teams, during this challenging time.
Public v private school funding
Reports that tell the whole story
What are your values?
A commitment to Indigenous education
Help shape our school’s future
Why we value chaplaincy
Recent events in Sri Lanka
A message of hope this Easter
Bushfires: thanks for your support
Boarding residence now open to local students
Order of Australia medal for College Board Chairman
2020 senior school captain announcement
Who said books are dead?
Remembrance Day Services
Athletics competitors score gold and silver medals
Birthday party…or donate to charity?
Is this Melbourne’s most colourful new tram?
Melbourne Cup tours Beaconhills
Lauren is in her element
Record Book designs promote sustainability
Making a monster impact on the war on waste
Students a shining light for local community
1300 002 225 | Int: +613 5945 3001
Gate C, Syme Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810