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From the Headmaster

Headmaster FROM THE

Craig Bassingthwaighte

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Headmaster

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity. So begins the Dickens Classic, The Tale of Two Cities. More than a few years ago, he perfectly described the experience of this year. As I write, we are still betwixt the best and the worst, between belief and incredulity.

I hope that when you read this, the best and the belief are clearer. We have tried to capture something of that experience below. What is certain is the only thing that matters, the Somerset Community emerged stronger having faced this adversity.

It will continue to be an interesting journey made infinitely easy by those who share the load.

COVID-19

On 27 January we posted our first notice to parents and caregivers with information about the Coronavirus. On 22 May, we welcomed our students back to the College. In that time, we followed the advice provided by the Queensland Government and Queensland Health, sharing relevant information with the College community when updates were available.

The College Board supported my recommendation to provide financial assistance to families by way of a significant discount on fees for Term Two. Casual staff were paid for shifts that were cancelled until the end of Term One while the JobKeeper Scheme was initiated for all staff. We provided supervision for students of parents who are essential workers.

Online learning was investigated and Somerset@Home was born. Teaching staff were educated in the use of Zoom technology and classes resumed online. To say Somerset@Home was very successful is an understatement; the programme will lead to new initiatives in teaching and learning at Somerset. The staff have been instrumental in the success of the programme.

Headmaster FROM THE

STAFFING

FAREWELL –DR MICHAEL BROHIER

After 25 years of outstanding leadership and service, including 11 years as Deputy Head, six years as Deputy – Academic and eight years as Dean of Studies, Dr Michael Brohier retired July 2020. Dr Brohier has served the College wonderfully well in so many ways, establishing programmes that enhanced the student experience. Dr Brohier was Chair of the Somerset Celebration of Literature, building that signature Somerset event into the citywide festival we call Storyfest. He was integral in the establishment of the IBDP here at Somerset, a first for Queensland and one of the leaders in Australia. The introduction of the Diploma further solidified Somerset’s reputation as an academic leader and innovator.

In recognition of his service, I am delighted the Board has agreed to my suggestion the Senior Learning Centre be renamed The Dr Michael Brohier Learning Centre.

Dr Brohier farewelling Year 12s in assembly

On a personal note, I want to thank Dr Brohier for his loyalty, support and friendship over the past 12 years. His passion for Somerset has benefitted our students, our parents and ourselves. Dr Brohier is much loved because of his holistic approach to life and I have learnt much from him.

I am sure that you will join with me in wishing Dr and Mrs Brohier all the best as Dr Brohier transitions to a well-deserved retirement. I have been able to twist his arm and Dr Brohier will continue his work with Wordsmiths and Storyfest. We will ensure that there are appropriate times for members of the College community to come together to celebrate Dr Brohier’s wonderful contribution.

DEPUTY HEAD OF COLLEGE –MR NICHOLAS BRICE

After an extensive search and more than 40 applications from all around the world, I was delighted to announce Mr Nicholas (Nick) Brice, B Ed, B Arts will commence as our fourth Deputy Head of College on 1 January 2021.

Mr Brice is currently the Head of Senior School at Pulteney Grammar School in Adelaide. Mr Brice is a member of the School’s Executive Team with responsibility for both Pastoral and Academic programmes in Years 10, 11 and 12. He previously was responsible for the Middle Years Programme at Concordia College before becoming Head of Senior School at Pulteney Grammar School.

Mr Brice commenced his career in education at Mercedes College as an English, History and Christian Studies teacher in the Middle and Secondary Schools. He continued learning his craft and being exposed to good practice at Eynesbury Senior College and Concordia College.

Mr Brice has presented at past AHISA National Conferences on revitalising Pastoral Care. In his current role, he mentors students and staff in collecting and collating academic and well-being data to develop individual student support strategies.

Mr Brice writes in his application of the “opportunity to positively represent and serve the College, to help young men and women achieve their academic, emotional and relational best. The position excites me as it encompasses my true passion within education”. We are delighted to have recruited such an experienced educational leader especially with diverse expertise in curriculum and pastoral leadership.

I’m sure you will join in extending our congratulations to Mr Brice on his appointment and welcoming him, Lani, Parker and Harry to Somerset next year.

EVENTS

Storyfest@Home will run for two days 16 to 17 September for Somerset students only.

We will hold as much of Founders’ Day as we possibly can on Friday 18 September, the last day of Term Three.

The Celebration of Entrepreneurship will proceed on 13 and 14 October in a reduced capacity with limited outside attendees. The focus will be on Somerset Alumni and feature a presentation by Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur.

The Senior Ball will be held on Friday 9 October. Though we have had to cancel many events, there were some that refused to be corona affected!