How did the school cope during lockdown? We have an amazing staff and they met the challenge to commence online delivery immediately to ensure continuity in learning for the boys. Routine is very important, especially in terms of wellbeing, and maintaining that contact with their teachers assisted the boys in developing a new online routine as close as possible to their methods of learning in the classroom.
What have been the highlights of your time at Medbury so far? I keep going back to Medbury’s sense of community and support. The School community, along with the wider community, has had to face some fairly significant challenges, and we are all there to assist each other to come through the other side.
What are the challenges in boys’ education and how is Medbury meeting these? The School identified very quickly the need to support student wellbeing to assist boys both within and beyond the classroom. Medbury’s unique partnership with Swinburne University’s Aristotle Emotional Intelligence Programme is assisting boys to better understand their own emotions, whilst being more aware of the emotions of others. These skills will assist boys not only whilst they are at Medbury, but when they leave and tackle new challenges at High School and beyond.
What’s it like living and working in New Zealand when your family is in Australia? We are loving New Zealand both in terms of the people and its magnificent geography. We are fortunate that we have a very close family both in terms of our four children, who enjoy a unique dynamic, and in terms of the strength of our extended family with very close connections to their aunties and uncles and Elizabeth’s mother, who is their only living grandparent. Each of the children has been over to visit and up until this year, we were only a few hours away from each other to be able to share in important events.
Have you had much leisure time and if so what kind of things have you done? There has not been a great deal of leisure time with settling in during the first year, the events of 2019 in Christchurch and a full school review, and of course, COVID-19 this year, however, Elizabeth and I have managed to take two roadtrips this year – one to the West Coast over a long weekend in January, and one up north to Picton in the July holiday period. We also enjoy an opportunity to explore Christchurch’s surrounds whenever possible as avid antique collectors. The antique shops in remote towns on the South Island are second to none and we have some wonderful additions to our collection.
How does your faith inform your role as Headmaster of Medbury? I am a great believer in Servant Leadership and that stems from my faith. I believe that God places us where he needs us to serve, and it is that calling which brought us to Christchurch and has provided the strength and calm necessary to support all members of the School community during the unprecedented events of 2019 and 2020.
What do you value about the relationship Medbury has with St Barnabas? Medbury’s relationships with St Barnabas is steeped in history. As a school based on twelve Christian Values, a strong connection with St Barnabas helps to reinforce these values, connecting them to scripture and highlighting their relevance within today’s contexts. The St Barnabas community and Medbury community share many things in common and it is important for the Medbury families to experience this via Canon Mark’s and Reverend Jenny’s rich learning experiences.