And it seems in the blink of an eye another year for Somerset College has almost gone! But once again, what a wonderful year!
On behalf of the Board I want to thank parents and students for their support and faith in this wonderful place of learning and living. Enrolments are at record highs and waiting lists are very long. I think a fitting testament to recognition of what we aspire to provide at Somerset College – a learning environment of low threat and high challenge to all involved, a place where we encourage everyone to be very good at something, an environment that encourages our young people to question, to challenge and to find personal success.
There is, of course, a cost to the education and experience Somerset College provides. I assure you that my Board and myself are ever mindful of the significant investment that parents make towards the very best gift that they can give to their children – an education at Somerset College.
It has always been part of our Board philosophy and strategic planning to endeavour to minimise the increases. I am happy to provide that the College Tuition Service Fees for 2017 will rise by only 2.5% (substantially below increases at comparative colleges).
While the College is experiencing record enrolment enquiries, we as a Board are committed to ensuring that families can still access the College and its programmes by controlling annual costs.
I am also very pleased to report that we have been able to minimise the fee increase notwithstanding that we completed this year $16 million worth of capital facilities to the campus, which includes, of course, our amazing gymnasium and world class athletics facility.
I thank my Board and of course our Headmaster, Mr Craig Bassingthwaighte and Chief Operational Officer, Mr David Thornton and their team for prudent financial management that continues to enable such wonderful capital projects to be completed as well as the continued investment in exciting and innovative educational programmes.
As I have often said, we do not sit still at Somerset College. Our attitude is that whilst we record amazing successes we continue to aspire to provide the very best in education for our family at Somerset. Whilst it is tempting to sit back and relax and congratulate ourselves, I am committed to the philosophy that we will not claim to be the best of the best – not yet!
We have further strengthened our Board this year by the appointment of an independent Director, Ms Catherine O’Sullivan. Catherine is the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Pathways and Partnerships at Bond University. Prior to that appointment, Catherine managed a 30 year career as a Senior Public Servant and Educator. During that time she gained diverse experience in senior management roles in education, in State and Commonwealth government, working with indigenous communities, schools and sporting groups. Amongst numerous awards, Catherine was Telstra Business Women of the year for 2002 and 2003. Catherine has brought not only a wealth of experience and knowledge but passion and commitment to her role as a Director of Somerset College.
I take this opportunity to thank all of the members of the Board for their contribution. That contribution is done on a voluntary basis and involves frequent meetings at Board level as well as committee meetings and a continuing availability to discuss and provide input and advice on matters in the best interest of the College.
I wish all students and parents and members of their families and our wonderful staff a well deserved holiday full of peace and happiness.
I am truly thankful for the opportunity to contribute to Somerset College.