Head of School report
Monday, 7 November 2022

How do we measure success at St Andrew’s Cathedral School, is a question that we have been asking at Executive level this year? What are the measures that, across time, will enable us to see how well the School is meeting its vision and mission?  

At the start of the year, I stated that we have both finite and infinite aims as a School. Our finite aim is to help young people obtain the best possible qualifications they can. It is finite because the credential they study has a start date, an end date, rules of the game and a clear outcome. We don’t ignore that aim; we are a School.  

However, our aims for the formation and development of young people go far beyond the finite into the realm of the infinite. Their character, convictions, values and vocation (to name but a few) go far beyond the result any one child achieves in their examinations. It is the unseen aspect of education – the great iceberg below the surface that has no clear start or end date, no clear rules for the game and no clearly seen outcome. These aims are evident in many of our Old Andreans.  

Therefore, when it comes to measuring success – the finite is clear, whilst the infinite…Those are some of the questions we have been wrestling with this year. 

This year has certainly been eventful. It started on the 1st January with the funeral of worldwide leader, Anglican Archbishop and Civil Rights Activist, Desmond Tutu’s State funeral in Cape Town, South Africa. As someone who grew up amidst civil war in Northern Ireland, this was a significant event. Archbishop Tutu visited Northern Ireland when I was in my late teens, and I heard him speak about peace and reconciliation in a packed hall at Queens University. It was Tutu that inspired my post-graduate study in the area of Peace and Reconciliation and so his death was a poignant moment of reflection. What were my aims in that area? Am I fulfilling them? How do I know?  

The School, this year, has enjoyed measurable success. Naplan results were the best in the history of the School, enrolments are the highest ever and wait lists, the longest. Sports results are a source of celebration; we had two fabulous musicals and numerous high-quality concerts and multiple Outdoor Education camps. Our staff have won multiple awards for teaching and leadership, our MYP evaluation was superb, our Gawura school was recognised as leading practice by the Archbishop of Canterbury from his perspective on the world stage; we have hosted international conferences and published our first research journal on teaching and learning. When our Year 12 focus groups were asked ‘Do you feel prepared for what happens after school?’ 100% of them answered, ‘Yes!’. They noted the uncertain world that faced them and yet reflected that they were looking forward to the challenge. For all of that (and much more besides) we give thanks to God.  

However, there is also much that has happened that is not easily measured. Students who have navigated the tragic death of loved ones with inspirational courage. Students who have stepped up as responsible citizens – for example, the notification I received this morning of the two middle school students who ran to the rescue of a fallen pensioner. The world views that I have seen challenged, and the hope that has been planted through deep study. Those students who have faced infringements and disciplinary measures and have grown and changed through the experience. Students who have fostered habits of excellence. Students who found their passion and direction in life; those who started to really grasp that ‘they matter’. These are some of the infinite gains that I have seen this year, for which I also give thanks to God.  

The writer of 1 Corinthians 13 notes that, whatever else you may have: faith, knowledge, gifts, or talents, if you do not have love, you ‘gain nothing.’ The sentiment is that, without love, we are merely self-serving, not society leading.  


This year, I have been privileged to witness great sacrifice for the betterment of students from staff, parents, and alumni. I have seen parents, Old Andrean's and Hessians dedicate hours of their life to mentoring and assisting the examination process of our Year 12s. I have seen staff repeatedly sacrifice time with their own families to work with students who are struggling. I have seen students sacrifice themselves to serve the needs of the School and to mentor younger students. I have seen students step in to assist when they see members of the public in trouble. I have seen parents and alumni donate generously to many aspects of our School, including the refurbishment of our playground. It is these and many other repeated acts of love that make our community what it is, that make our students what they become, and that make our society what we need it to be. 


Thank you, sincerely, for it all. You are an inspiring community to lead; may you know love in abundance this Christmas and New Year.  

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16