Farewell from Our Principal

It is with such mixed emotions that I write this final reflection for the Buckley Park College newsletter. As I shared with you earlier this week, last Friday I accepted the offer of a new position to develop the new Prahran High School. It has been a very (too!) short timeline, and as such at the end of the holidays, I’m leaving Buckley Park College. 

It is with a heavy heart that I leave our school, as this is a very special place. I love our school and I love coming to work here every day. It has been my great privilege to have been the Principal of Buckley Park College for the past 5 years and 1 term. I know that the work we are doing is the right work to continue improving our school. I am confident that when a new Principal is appointed, she or he will work closely with our extraordinary community to learn about what’s most important to us, and then push the school forward again to even greater achievements.


Naturally, I have been reflecting a lot on the past 5 years and all that we’ve achieved together. I’ve thought about our outstanding VCE results in 2017 and how proud we all were of our students. I think of how much the School Council and I have worked together to develop the facilities of our school – the tennis courts, the Centre for Young Writers, the outdoor learning area, the PAC and yes, we’ve finally got air-conditioning in classrooms. Upgrading our school for our students has been, and will remain, a priority.


As I write, I’m smiling with memories of fabulous school productions and beautiful music performances; debating champions and staff vs students swimming races; Year 7 BBQs and Year 12 Valedictory dinners. All the different, wonderful aspects of school life.  Most of all, I’m smiling thinking about the people who make up our school – the students, the staff and the community. Schools are places filled with people and it is the people here I will miss most, especially the students.


I particularly acknowledge the work of our staff. We have an outstanding teaching and support staff at Buckley Park College. Regardless of role, every staff member contributes to the learning and success of our students. It is their hard work, support and expertise that contributes so much to students’ growth and achievement. The teachers and support staff at BPC are exceptional people who each day commit themselves totally to our students, and to you their families. Every day we come to work, sure of our moral purpose to provide the best education possible for the young people in our care and to always be focused on improving our school for them.   


My sincere thanks also to you, our families. Whether you have been with us for many years, and seen older children come through our school, or if you have just begun in Year 7 this year, thank you for choosing our school and thank you for your support. You have made the right choice for your child and we’re committed to them and to you.


Thank you to the College Council for their hard work supporting effective governance of our school. Participating in the College Council is a significant responsibility and I am so grateful for the Council team/s I have worked with throughout my time here as Principal. Each of our members has always performed their duties with integrity and enthusiasm. A special thanks to Brenda Williams (President) and Bronwyn Clarke (Treasurer). These are roles of major responsibility and the whole community is indebted to them for their work in these roles. Personally, I have valued and enjoyed their collegiality in these roles very much.


A very special thank-you to the Friends of Buckley Park for all of their work, time, support and community building. The whole Friends of Buckley Park team do such a power of work to support our school and this community. The Friends of Buckley Park are a small and committed group of parents who devote their own time and talents to support our school in so many ways, and so much here simply could not happen without them. They are a unique part of what makes this place so special.


Most importantly, I want to thank the students at BPC. It has been a rare honour and an enormous pleasure to work with these very fine young people. Teaching is such a privilege. I feel this privilege strongly. The job we are entrusted to do is noble, meaningful and of fundamental human and social importance. To see a class full of shining eyes because of a teacher’s influence is a true joy. The students in our school are respectful, motivated and caring learners who each day have motivated me to try even harder to make the school a better place.


If I think of the key messages I want most for our students to remember…

  • Always do your personal best. It’s all that matters, in all pursuits.
  • Take honest responsibility for your actions – it is a crucial part of growing up.
  • Hard work brings rewards - no one, not now and not in the future owes any of us. We all make our          own destiny - take chances and go for it!
  • Learn, learn and learn again.
  • Most importantly, be kind to yourself and be kind to others. It truly matters.


Please foster this in your children and resist the temptation to over-protect. They need support as they make their way through the world but they also need to find their own way at times. It’s how we learn. Making mistakes, accepting them and learning from them is learning for life and we must allow our kids to experience this. It is one of the ways we learn to understand resilience, build resilience and become responsible young adults.


I know I have said this to you before, but it’s compelling and real. There is a spirit that permeates our school. This is a spirit that connects to our College values. It is a spirit that fills Buckley Park College with a sense of genuine pride in our school, pride in our achievements and pride in each other. Every day I have felt this spirit of pride and it comes from our students, from our staff and from our families. It is a spirit that together I know you will nurture long into the future. It is so very special and it’s a defining feature of our school.


I am excited about the challenge and opportunity that is now before me. I am also already looking forward to reading about the achievements coming from out of Buckley Park College long into the future.


Thank you for your support. I wish you every success and happiness for the future. Have a safe and happy Easter holiday.



Warm Regards,


Nathan Chisholm







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