Next week will be our big week of celebrations associated with our 40th anniversary, bookended by two events that all are welcome to attend – the first of these being the Thanksgiving Service on Sunday 28 August at 9:30am in the PAC and the second of these being the Twilight Open Evening on Friday 2 September from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. I hope that many parents, students and staff will be able to attend these events and that our students enjoy the activities which will be taking place at school in between these two events.

On Friday we are also expecting a number of alumni to be joining us for the Twilight Evening at which time they, too, will be able to look around the school and see what it is like now compared with when they were here as students. Buildings have appeared and disappeared, there are different facilities available for students today, and some of the staff have changed over the years as well (though not all of our staff!).

When I speak to parents about what they value most about Inaburra today, however, it is something far less tangible that is uppermost in their minds. It is not entirely unrelated, of course, to our facilities, and certainly not unrelated to our staff. For our parents, and I suspect for our students and staff as well, it is the quality of the relationships that they enjoy as part of our community that they value most.

This is not surprising given that we were made for relationships. We thrive in the context of positive relationships; we are more resilient, experience positive wellbeing, are more creative, more productive, are more able to solve problems, more able to think outside the square and experience positive health benefits as well. Not only do we thrive, but we find our identity through our relationships and connections with others. While we tend to think of ourselves as independent and individualistic, we are fundamentally relational beings who experience the fulness of what it means to be human in relationships with others.

Michael Schluter is a British academic who has written a number of books including The R-Factor and The R-Option: Building Relationships as a Better Way of Life. In these books he argues that effective social institutions (such as schools) are characterised by positive relationships. Part of our strategic focus as a school is building a kingdom-of-God shaped learning community – a community of positive relationships in which love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control can be experienced firsthand. I would not want to presume that this describes every relationship at Inaburra, but it remains a goal that we seek to pursue together, learning from one another  and listening to one another about how we can build such a community.

In our 40th year, Inaburra is in a strong position with an outstanding staff team and facilities that afford a wide range of educational opportunities. While we don’t always get it right of course, we are also committed to building positive relationships with all students, parents and each other. It is the quality of these relationships which provide the bedrock on which we build our school community. As we look to the future, we can do so with confidence building on the enduring legacy of relational learning, being and doing associated with Inaburra since its inception.

Dr James Pietsch