Here at All Saints, we try not to privilege one area of our endeavours over another. Obviously, academic progression and development is our core business, the cause to which we must devote the lion’s share of our attention and energy. Yet despite ongoing success in this area, I would shy away from any suggestion that All Saints should earn a reputation as an exclusively academic school. Rather, we aspire to send young men and women out into the world with a sense of purpose, with confidence, with a core set of values that will serve them well in life, with the certain knowledge that they are worthy and loved and with a capacity to form honest, mutually rewarding relationships with others. To this end, all aspects of school life must play their part – music, drama, art, clubs and societies, social activities and camps and of course sport.

It is sport at All Saints that I wish to write about this week. There are few more pleasurable aspects to my week than wandering out on a Friday afternoon to watch our students enjoy some healthy competition with other schools, making new friendships, cementing old ones and reaping the benefits, (benefits that we confidently hope will stay with them for life), of physical activity. We are particularly blessed at All Saints in being able to run our sporting programme during school time on a Friday afternoon. As well as freeing up our students to play for a club on a Saturday, it sends the message that sport is absolutely a part of the mainstream curriculum. While most Queensland students are sitting in classes on a Friday afternoon, ours are learning different skills in a different environment.

Every year we face the challenging task of allocating Sport Exemptions to those students who are competing in their particular sport at an elite level. It is challenging because we believe with our whole hearts that it is in our students’ best interests to be a part of the fun and adventure that is Friday afternoon sport. It is interesting to note that our most successful sporting alumni (Giaan Rooney, Nick Riewoldt, Thomas Oar, Tameka Butt, Ben Daley, Jade Neilsen, Jasper de Jaeger, Ashleigh Gentle) all delighted in playing school sport on Friday afternoons. Competing at an elite level in any sport can be a lonely journey. The many hours spent training leave little room for other things. The social benefits of being involved in our Friday afternoon sport programme are every bit as important as the physical.

With this in mind, we have decided to change the way in which we allocate exemptions. We will no longer be offering Sport Exemptions for a Friday afternoon. Given that this is part of the school week, all students will be required to attend Friday afternoon sport. We will, however, continue to offer Training Exemptions for students based on the current criteria for a Sports Exemption. Senior School students who compete at a very high level in their chosen sport, may apply for a School training exemption to allow them to train for that sport during our training time. It needs to be stated that non-attendance at training could jeopardise their chance of making the team of their choice for the Friday afternoon. Middle School students who compete at a very high level in their chosen sport, may apply for an early departure from School training to allow them to get to their external training. The earliest we will allow a Middle School student to leave School training is 4:15pm, regardless of when the external session begins. The allocation of Training Exemptions will be decided by the Director of Sport and the Heads of Middle and Senior School, with each application being assessed on its merits.

It is my hope that these changes will clarify the situation for our students and their parents and thus avoid those disappointments that occur when a student is denied a Sports Exemption. It also means that all our students will henceforth be able to benefit from the camaraderie and competition that takes place on our beautiful ovals and inside our Sports Halls on a Friday afternoon. I warmly invite our Middle and Senior School parents to call into school on a Friday afternoon when you can to support your children and to witness firsthand the fun, laughter and determination that abounds across the school.

Patrick S Wallas