Annual Report for 2015

Since 2007, the Federal Government has required schools to publish an Annual Report to inform the school and general community on their performance in various key areas.


Report on the Strategic Plan for 2015 

Chairman’s forward

Seabrook Christian School occupies a special niche in the Tasmanian education sector with an emphasis on self-paced learning and presenting students with a biblical world view. Over thirty years of operation it has graduated many hundreds of students who have been active contributors in their communities, professions, churches and families. A saying from a past generation that you may have heard was “as goes the family, so goes the nation!” At Seabrook we aim to educate the whole person so that they understand and are equipped to fulfil their God given roles and calling in our society.

As you read the report below you will see that 2015 was a difficult year for Seabrook, however we also have many opportunities and thus we face the future with confidence in our God that He will provide all our needs. We have much to be thankful for including the dedication of our principal, our teachers and you, our parents and students. The Seabrook Board will be seeking to engage parents and other stakeholders in a new strategic plan for the School through 2016 and on behalf of all Board members, we look forward to the opportunity to hear your ideas for our School.

As Hudson Taylor once remarked, “the future is as bright as the promises of God,” and as a School we are founded and rest on God’s promises. 


Report

The School’s Strategic Plan covers seven different areas - Governance and Administration, Core Educational Values, Financial Position, Physical Facilities and Resources, Financial Viability of Each Campus, Enrolment Growth and Retention, Staffing Security.

2015 was the third year in a row that we had to face a review by the Schools Registration Board. The legal challenges of 2014 and the delay in getting a final decision about our registration for 2015contributed significantly to our student numbers reducing from 150 to about 107.Some of our students according to the usual pattern were moving away and others were graduating, but sadly a sizeable number had a need for certainty about schooling in 2016 and their parents understandably made alternative arrangements at other schools.

Our 2015 Strategic Plan allowed for modest growth in student numbers. We were planning and trusting God to send along replacements and were very thankful that we had another 18 full time students by the latter part of the year. Our FTE was 125. Thank you to all who had a part in this and give thanks also to God for His faithfulness. We will need to be determined, entrepreneurial and prayerful in 2016 since we have the same kinds of challenges ahead of us once again.


Governance and Administration

The School board has seen some changes in recent years and has tried to have a broader spread of board members with representatives from each campus. 2015 saw Hobart provide two members of the nine member board. We are very pleased to have Andrew Glover and Mark Hochman serving with us. Meetings were at first held by video conferencing, but then went to face to face meetings at our central Launceston campus. We now have a broader spread of skills and abilities as well as a wider area of representation.(In 2016 Mark Hochman was appointed Chair and Andrew Glover Secretary.)

Regular sessions on improving our knowledge of board legal responsibilities and accountability are held at Board meetings. The Board also attended training by Michael Shorter arranged by Independent Schools Tasmania.

The board also regularly reviews policies and considers areas of possible risk and statutory compliance. We are aware of the serious responsibility we have in operating a school and being responsible for the many needs of our students and their families, our dedicated staff and the broader community.

The board also has a responsibility to have succession plan in place for senior staff and has commenced this process. Succession plans are intended to plan ahead so that there can be a smooth transition when a senior staff member needs to be replaced.


Core Educational Values

The foundation of our School is the Christian faith and the freedom to teach from a Biblical worldview (perspective). Christian teachers are a fundamental part of any Christian school. We are very grateful to our dedicated teachers for all that they do for the students and the school.

The Board has considered ways it could support current teachers and recruit new teachers when needed. It has allocated funds for professional development to assist our teachers to continue to grow in their knowledge and develop their skills.Accordingly, the School has in place a Seabrook Teacher Professional Learning Plan based on the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership documents “Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework” and the “Australian Professional Standards for Teachers”. The principal is also expected to conduct annual performance reviews with each teacher.

The role of a teacher is becoming increasingly more stressful. One of the Board’s responses was to employ a part–time curriculum officer, Mrs Alison Blackberry. She has been a real help. Another response has been to provide access for staff to professional counselling services if and when it is needed.

In regards to our curriculum the School has continued to review the impact of technology in relation to classroom operation and teaching methodology and has also sought to collaborate with other like-minded schools to share teaching and curriculum resources where possible and practical.


Financial Position

The reduction in student numbers had an obvious effect on our budget. In addition other factors such as the failure to sell our St Helens campus and difficulties with our new accounting package have continued to give us problems. (At the time of writing we thank our God that St Helen’s campus has sold in 2016)

The Board instructed that our fees should be increased each year above the CPI until 2019 and that there would be a closer watch on spending and stricter cap on fee assistance. We have also had to look for other ways of cutting costs as well as obtaining additional funds e.g. through community grants.


Physical Facilities and Resources

The Board decided that there will be no capital expenditure on buildings in 2016. In future years, priority is to be given to improving teaching aids and resources. It was decided that:

  • The needs for improving our Technology resources – woodwork, metalwork, plastics, food and textiles – will have been reviewed and recommendations provided to the Board.

  • All existing computers would be replaced at the beginning of 2017. Our goal is to keep abreast of ICT developments and maintain or improve our current computer (a PC, laptop or iPad) to student ratio (currently approaching 1:1) across the School.

  • Our ICT subcommittee will have considered cost effective ways to improve our computer hardware and video conferencing facilities at each campus and made recommendations to the Board. The improvement in computing hardware will also be supported by in-house training to enable teachers to upgrade their ICT skills.

  • The School will actively seek to share resources with other likeminded schools to provide facilities and resources for essential student activities.


Financial Viability of Each Campus

While Seabrook Christian School consists of three campuses it is essentially one school. The Board wants all campuses to grow and be viable. It decided that:

  • The Principal would continue to share his support among the campuses, but have a particular emphasis on Somerset.

  • We would run as wide and varied a promotion program as finances allow in each of our campus communities, but with better use of technology e.g. a presence on Google and Facebook and a stronger effort to reach more prospective families through Christian radios stations. We would also seek to provide promotional materials and a presence in key churches and community events.

  • We would investigate ways by which we can be more cost efficient and minimise duplication.

The major concentration of our efforts ended up on the Christian or community radio stations. We had two professionally made advertisements which were aimed at different sectors of the community. These were broadcast over several months in Hobart, Launceston and the North West. While we did receive some favourable feedback from supporters and acquaintances there was no noticeable impact in student enrolments.


Enrolment Growth and Retention

This area is closely linked to item Financial Viability of Each Campus. The Board is keen to build our enrolments and will review its policy and procedures for enrolment through 2016 and adjust them as needed. The Board has further planned that the School will:

  • Continue to conduct an annual school community survey across all campuses aimed at evaluating their views about the School.

  • Better utilise school publications and website to keep parents informed, reinforce the School ethos and promote the School to other families.

  • Identify key local churches in each campus area. Promotional materials will be provided and opportunities to interact with churches and the School will be sought. The possibility of Seabrook Sundays will be offered. Where possible churches will be kept informed of school activities using mailing lists and promotional material placed on church notice boards.

  • Seek new suggestions and options to make our school better known. Develop a three year enrolment growth plan with input from staff, parents and other school stakeholders.

  • The Board, Principal, members of staff and parents would focus on promoting the School to their own and other local churches.

  • Opportunities will be looked for to present the School in the community such as visits to Homes for the Aged, Agricultural Shows, and Eisteddfods.

  • Attention should be given to building the School spirit through parent meetings, family nights and school community fundraising activities.

  • We would look for new ways to showcase student work and acknowledge our students achievements at all levels of the School (K-12) but that we would especially promote the successes of our graduates.

While it is hard to gauge how much promotion took place in churches, the students did perform at aged homes and eisteddfods and represented us well. Student work was also on display at Wynyard Show and our students came away with commendable results. We have not promoted the successes of our recent graduates or tried to keep contact with our former graduates. Is there anyone willing to help in this way? God has used these young men and women to honour Him and it would be encouraging to us all to see what God has done with them and remember that our labours in the Lord are not in vain.


Staffing Security

Good staff are a valuable asset of any school and it is important that we encourage and retain our current staff members and be able to attract new ones when needed.

The Board has decided to:

  • Ensure an employment tab and relevant employment information has been added to the School’s website.

  • Do our best, with God’s gracious provision, in difficult financial circumstances to maintain staff wages at levels that will assist in retaining and recruiting staff.

  • Develop a formal succession plan for the Principal and other key staff. This should include increasing the responsibility and skills of other staff to enable them to be more ready to step up when the need arises.

  • Senior staff will have compiled a list of benefits for teachers working at Seabrook such as family discounts, long service after 10 year and God’s eternal rewards.

  • All staff will be made aware of the importance of a sense of God’s call to teach and/or work in a Christian school and the spiritual and eternal benefits of being faithful to that call.

Thank you for your interest in the school and your support for it. You can see that there are many aspects of school life, many challenges and needs. We would appreciate your ongoing support. There are all kinds of things that people can do to help the School but we would especially ask you to pray faithfully and regularly for us. Our greatest need is God’s blessing. May God continue to be with us in 2016.


School Overview

Seabrook Christian School offers schooling for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in a Christian, co-educational, family atmosphere. We offer fulltime and distance education as well as a support service to home schooling families (C.H.E.S.S.). Each of these alternatives provides for different needs, but has the same goal - to train children in the way God wants them to go (Eph. 6:4, Prov. 3:5, 6, 22:6). We provide a Christian education, based on a curriculum that has a Biblical worldview (i.e. reflects Biblical principles, truths and values), and utilizes individualized learning. We seek to serve those who value our commitment to Christian values and ethos.

The school has God’s Word as its foundation. This should never be changed, but we are committed to continue to develop our facilities and resources to further improve the quality of our education.


History

Beginnings

Our school began in 1981 as a ministry of the Somerset Baptist Church.Classes commenced in the church building, in Simpson Street, with 14 pupils from grades 1 to 9.The school has continued to grow since its inauguration.

Changes

In 1992, the school and church moved to the current location at 30 Seabrook Rd.In 1999 the school changed its structure from being a ministry of the church and under the church authority, to an independent, not for profit organization that operates under the banner of Seabrook Christian Education Services Inc.The school itself was then renamed Seabrook Christian School.

In 2000, the school commenced a distance education program at the Somerset campus, and two new distance education campuses at Launceston and St Helens.Later, a fourth distance education campus was begun at Ranelagh and later moved to Kingston. The St Helens campus developed into a full-time school in 2002 (in 2003 we moved into our new school building), and Launceston campus commenced full-time schooling in 2004.

2006 saw some significant developments in our school facilities.A new classroom was constructed at Somerset and work commenced on an oval/soccer field.Federal Government grants were also provided to build a sports field, basketball court, and concrete play area at our St Helens campus.Ground work was put in place to start a new campus offering full-time and distance education at Hobart incorporating some of our Kingston students and students from the former Tasmanian Christian Academy.

Due to significant changes in the community and a consequent decline in student numbers, we were reluctantly forced to close our St Helens Campus in December 2012.

At the end of 2011, our facilities were improved at our Somerset Campus due to the Federal Government’s B.E.R. funding.We were able to expand our office space and construct a new multipurpose hall with library and classroom facilities.

In 2013, we were forced to purchase the building that we had been renting at Georgetown Road, Newham when the owner put it up for sale. In 2014, were also enabled to build a much appreciate multipurpose room and improve our playground facilities. At Hobart our buildings were extended by the addition of a relocatable classroom for our Kinder class.

Reflection

As our campuses are in strategic locations, we are now able to offer increasing accessibility to more of the Christian community.Add to this the flexibility of our individualized methodology and especially the blessing of our Saviour, and we are well placed to tackle the challenging and changing world of education.

We are thankful to God for His faithfulness (Lam. 3:22, 23) and guidance throughout the years. We are blessed to have so many committed staff and are also very appreciative of the parents who are committed to the spiritual and educational progress of their children. Seabrook desires to utilize the Lord’s provision of resources and talents to provide a school that will honour Him and be a blessing to those who seek a Biblically based education.


Teacher Standards / Qualifications

All our teachers are required to be registered by the Teachers Registration Board and we seek to fully comply with their requirements. Registration requires that a person be of satisfactory character and have sufficient teaching and academic qualifications.

Our regular teaching staff in 2014 included 25 full or part time teachers (this does not include specialist teachers, who came in for short periods only). They had the following teacher qualifications and other related qualifications: 

1

BA Hons. In Modern & Medieval Languages

2

Bachelor of Arts

1

Bachelor of Computing

9

Bachelor of Education

2

Bachelor of Education (Technology)

1

Bachelor of Human Movement (Outdoor Educ.Spec.)

2

Bachelor of Science

1

Bachelor of Teaching

1

Cert 1V in Assessment & Workplace Training

1

Diploma of Business (Admin)

1

Diploma of Divinity

1

Diploma of Education

3

Diploma of Teaching

1

Diploma of Teaching & Vocational Education

1

Graduate Diploma of Information Management

1

Graduate Diploma of Theology in Education

1

Master of Teaching

3

Tasmanian Teacher's Certificate

 


Workforce Composition

 

Teaching Staff

Headcount

Teaching Staff

Full-Time Equivalent

Non-Teaching

Staff

Notified

Indigenous

Somerset

8 3.6 14 0

Launceston

10 4.4 5 0

Hobart

9 4.0 10 0

Total

28 12.5 29 0

Student Attendance

Students are required by law to attend school on every day of the school year. If a student is sick, the school should be contacted by 9:30 on the morning of the illness, otherwise we will contact the parent. A note is expected to be provided in the diary when they return to school. Students can be exempted from attending, that is, given an excused absence, where a genuine reason is provided which is acceptable to the school. Unexplained or unapproved absences are truant, and are required by law to be reported to the Education Department when their required limit is reached.

Recording Attendance

Technically we are a non-graded school. We have multi-graded classes, therefore we report attendance according to classes rather than grades. 

SOMERSET

Attendance Percentage

Prep-4

Grade 5-8

Grade 9-12

Whole Campus

93.29%

94.80%

85.87%

90.99%

LAUNCESTON

Attendance Percentage

Kinder

Prep-1

Grade

2-6

Grade

7-12

Whole Campus

99.60%

96.60%

92.79%

88.56%

92.02%

HOBART

Attendance Percentage

Kinder

Prep-2

Grade

3-6

Grade

7-12

Whole Campus

97.06%

96.53%

96.83%

92.14%

94.57%

ALL CAMPUSES COMBINED

Attendance Percentage

Early Learning

Primary

Middle

Senior

Seabrook Average

98.71%

94.95%

94.80%

89.18%

92.53%

These figures show that there was an improvement of almost 5.5% in our attendances in 2014 compared to 2013.This result is more in line with our previous years’ attendance results.


Senior Secondary Outcomes

The school is also required to provide information on our Year 12 students.

  1.  The percentage of students in Year 12 who have undertaken vocational or trade training is 25%
  2. The percentage of students in Year 12 who have attained a Year 12 Certificate or equivalent VET qualification is 100%

What are the expectations of our year 12 students? 

Historically, the school has offered a Year 12 General Certificate and a Year 12 Academic Certificate, each demanding a different academic standard.  The General Certificate requires 27 credits and the Academic Certificate 29 credits.  With greater pressures for students to continue on to Year 12 rather than graduating in Year 10, we introduced a Year 12 Vocational Certificate that caters for the less academic student, and provides a more practical educational pathway. 

Students with our grade 12 Academic and General certificates have been able to gain acceptance in university and TAFE courses. Students wishing to progress to university are also encouraged to sit for standardized tests such as the SAT or undertake short bridging courses if they are recommended by the university. Tutoring to prepare for the SAT test is able to be provided by the school. 


Post-School Destinations

 

Schools are required to report where students have gone after leaving school.  Our graduates leave school with one of our year 10 or year 12 certificates.  

 

In 2015 Seabrook School had 4 Year 12 graduates. Of these:

 

1 took a job.
2 went to University.
1 went to TAFE.

NAPLAN

The Federal Government has established a National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy, or NAPLAN for short.

NAPLAN is made up of tests in the four areas of Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and Numeracy (See www.naplan.edu.au for further information). Benchmarks have been established, and results reported in Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation, and Numeracy. Our 2014 results across all four campuses are shown below.

Proportions of Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students meeting National Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar, Punctuation and Numeracy Benchmarks.

NAPLAN 2015  -- % of students at or above national minimum standards

     

Domain

Seabrook Christian School

 

Australia

 

Year 3

Year 5

Year 7

Year 9

 

Year 3

Year 5

Year 7

Year 9

Reading

88.9%

66.7%

80.0%

100%

 

94.6%

93.3%

95.4%

92.3%

Persuasive Writing

100%

100%

70.0%

80.0%

 

95.5%

92.3%

87.3%

80.5%

Spelling

77.8%

66.7%

70.0%

100%

 

93.0%

93.5%

93.1%

90.2%

Grammar & Punctuation

100%

66.7%

80.0%

100%

 

94.5%

92.9%

92.2%

88.9%

Numeracy

77.8%

66.7%

100%

80.0%

 

94.4%

95.1%

95.9%

95.7%

Australia values sourced from

http://reports.acara.edu.au/Home/TimeSeries

 

Our results in recent years reflect the significantly increased numbers of enrolments from students who have a non-English speaking background or who have special needs.


Satisfaction Survey

The school is required to give a description in plain language to indicate student, parent and teacher satisfaction with the school. 

Questions 50, 54 & 56 were to do with chaplaincy for Launceston people only. 

A summary of the survey results shows that the perceived school strengths (i.e. areas where 80% or above of the answers were either Always or Most of the Time) are:- 

Q. 2

The school has a strong spiritual atmosphere.

87.1%

Q. 5

The school has friendly teachers and staff.

85.7%

Q. 6

Students feel safe and secure at this school.

88.4%

Q. 7

The teachers help the students to do their very best.

84.1%

Q. 10

The school encourages students to excel in their work.

84.3%

Q. 17

The teachers are caring and giving.

83.1%

Q. 28

The school is preparing students well for their future.

80.6%

Q. 33

Strong moral values are important at this school.

83.8%

Q. 34

Good manners are important at this school.

92.9%

Q. 41

Teachers have a positive attitude.

82.4%

Q. 42

The office staff are pleasant and helpful.

90.0%

Q. 50

The school newsletter is informative and useful.

80.0%

In 2015 the only perceived weakness of the school (a question where the total percentage of both the answers Always and Most of the Time were below 50%) was:- 

Q. 30

The school is involved in community projects.

28.6%

The following questions were answered as yes in relation to chaplaincy at Launceston and were below 50%.

Q. 54

Have you spent any time with the chaplain over the past year?

20.0%

Q. 56

Are you aware of the source of funding for Chaplains?

33.3%

Other areas surveyed all returned results between 50% and 79%. 


Income Broken Down by Funding Source

SOURCE

AMOUNT

Federal Government:

$ 1,422,169

State Government:

$ 350,062

Fees:

$ 254,524

Other Private Income

$ 264,938

TOTAL INCOME

$ 2,291,693

Thank you for your interest in our school and for taking the time to read about us. A copy of this report is available for download here or as a hardcopy from the nearest Campus Office.

Yours in Christian education

Alan Horne
Principal

 

Additional information