Well 2020, what a year – what an incredible understatement! One could be forgiven for sitting back and moaning and complaining about the impact of COVID 19 on 2020, on our College, on our businesses and on our personal life.

However, as I reflect on Somerset College and the response to COVID 19, I can only feel proud and full of admiration for the way our wonderful College and the people of our wonderful College have responded to enormous challenges. Great challenges provide great people with the opportunity to show how great they are.

The great people of Somerset College have responded as one, to not just survive, but to thrive!

Our Headmaster Craig Bassingthwaighte has led brilliantly from the front showing calm, patience, determination and at all times compassion and care for the people of Somerset College.

Craig has inspired his leadership team and the whole staff at Somerset College, all teachers, all care givers, administrative and support staff to respond magnificently. The response has been carefully managed and executed by good people patiently and caringly.

Our goal as always has been to deliver to our wonderful students from the young in pre prep through to our graduating Year 12 the opportunity to find their own Personal Success.

Somerset College has fashioned a way to show that the very best standards of Somerset College could be maintained under times of extraordinary stress and change and always in a positive, constructive and compassionate manner.

I can only express, on behalf of the Board of Directors of Somerset College, my sincerest thanks and admiration to Craig, David Thornton and the College Leadership Team for providing the platform to make 2020 an exceptional year at Somerset College, not because of what we have not been able to do, but because of what we in fact have done.

I want to especially congratulate the graduating Year 12 students. You have really stood up and shown enormous strength and character under adversity and I am sure this year the way you have responded will, far from diminish your educational achievements, but rather enhance and increase it, particularly for your whole life experience. Students go forward knowing that you can handle any obstacles that may come your way.

I want to thank the Board of Directors for their determination and commitment to working with Craig and his team to find the best ways to manage the business of Somerset College and also to respond to the needs and concerns of our parents, students, teachers and all staff.

In April 2020 I was able to announce the decision of the Board, upon the recommendation of our Headmaster, to discount tuition fees by 40 per cent for Term Two and to suspend the service fee for Term Two for all parents and caregivers.

I am also pleased to announce that the Board has now resolved unanimously to apply a fee increase for 2021 of 0 per cent, that is, there will be no increase in tuition fees for the year 2021.

The concern of the Board of Somerset College is always the health and wellbeing of our students, parents and all of our staff.

I am very proud of our careful financial management year after year which allows us to support our parents in these most extraordinary times, but also to maintain the financial health of Somerset College so that we can continue, as we are at the moment, to plan and build the continued investment in educational facilities to which our students and their families are fully entitled.

Please allow me to thank in particular Louise Davidson who after nine years of faithful service on the Board of Somerset College is retiring. Louise is a former Somerset parent who has taken her passion and love for Somerset College to the boardroom table and served your college exceptionally. I was only prepared to accept Louise’s resignation on the basis of her continued commitment to remain as Chair of Storyfest. Louise of course has been one of the key driving forces behind the growth of Storyfest from the Celebration of Literature.

I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but can confidently say whatever it brings we at Somerset College will not just manage but continue to grow and provide for our students a whole of life education to achieve their own Personal Success.

To everyone at Somerset College I wish you a very happy and peaceful holiday period. I hope all families are able to be united at Christmas and that we all have our opportunity to share the joy of the holiday season in our community.

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