uncharted waters – conversations with the principal


uncharted waters is a new podcast series to help our students and flinders families navigate the turbulent education landscape that is ever-evolving in response to the coronavirus covid-19 pandemic.

in this episode, principal stuart meade speaks with head of sport, mr adam ridgewell and head of netball, ms lauren nourse who is also the director of the new flinders elite athlete program (feap).

adam speaks about the rich sporting life available to students at matthew flinders anglican college and how our college encourages students to embrace the diverse opportunities and explore new sports and hobbies. 

lauren shares information about the launch of the college’s new flinders elite athlete program, commencing 2021. applications are open now to top student athletes who are currently at flinders or who are planning to join the college. 

the flinders elite athlete program (feap) will provide specialised services, mentoring support and tailored workshops for exceptional flinders students to enable them to achieve across their sporting pursuits and academic life.

the program will be led by ms lauren nourse, who represented australia for netball and is a world championship gold medallist and commonwealth games silver medallist. 

program mentors include olympian jodie kenny who is also the director of hockey at flinders. jodie is one of the captains of the 2020 national hockey squad and has played more than 220 games for the australian hockeyroos since debuting in 2011.

to learn more, listen to episode 16: 

(00:23) please give us an overview of the extensive opportunities available to our students to participate in sport as part of college life at flinders? 

(3:05) what is the new flinders elite athlete program (feap) and how will it help top student athletes? 

(4:30) tell us more about eligibility for feap. 

(5:37) how do students apply to feap? 

(6:23) what is the vision for sport at flinders in 2021? 

in episode 15, principal stuart meade speaks with the staff team facilitating an exciting new passion project at the college. flinders students are converting a diesel car into an electric vehicle, and they need your help!

in this conversation, flinders’ staff members, mike king, austin telford and edward wright explain the plan to upcycle a series 3 diesel land rover into an electric car.

year 11 students are excited (an understatement!) to delve into the project as part of their industrial skills curriculum. the learning potential is limitless as students will explore design thinking, industrial engineering, environmental sustainability, creativity, collaboration and more.

meanwhile, the wider college community is also invited to join in the fun! the project will need support from flinders students, parents, family and friends with skills in project management, marketing, finance, engineering, interior design, fundraising, computer coding, graphic design, media and film making.

to learn more, listen to episode 15: 

(00:38) please tell us more about the series 3 land rover that is now part of our flinders fleet!
(1:33) how does this project involve and challenge our students?
(2:21) how does this project fit with our college curriculum and co-curricular program?
(2:54) how can our college community get involved?
(3:50) what is the project’s potential in terms of innovation in learning?
(5:45) where did we source this vehicle from?
(6:54) when the car is converted, how will our college community be able to use it?

episode 14: principal stuart meade meets with head of curriculum, mr bill hooper

mr bill hooper is head of curriculum at flinders and an english teacher in the senior school. he has coached and cheered on the college’s basketball players for the past 25 years as teacher in charge – basketball at flinders, and is also president of the sunshine coast secondary schools basketball association.

in episode 14 of uncharted waters, principal stuart meade chats with bill about his passion for bringing the national curriculum to life at flinders in ways that are creative, engaging and tailored to the different needs of students across the year levels from prep to year 12. bill shares an overview of how the curriculum at flinders provides students with a strong academic focus with differentiated teaching support from foundational to extension programs.

the conversation also explores how the college curriculum is growing to include certificate courses as well as new extension opportunities such as the international cambridge igcse curriculum and the new music edge program. in 2019, flinders was the first school in queensland accredited to teach the world-renowned cambridge program, which is offered at 18 leading schools across australia.

listen to episode 14:

(00:27) what do you enjoy about your role as head of curriculum at flinders?
(1:37) how would you describe the curriculum offered at our college?
(3:22) please share more information about the extension courses such as the cambridge maths offerings. do you see more of these programs being offered at flinders in the future?
(7:01) what will flinders offer, such as the certificate courses, to enable more diverse pathways beyond graduation?
(8:00) please tell us more about the breadth of your work here at flinders and what you are passionate about as a teacher.
(9:53) please share some of your learnings from your time as a teacher in an international school in singapore.


episode 13: principal stuart meade meets with head of pastoral programs, dr louise mccuaig

in this episode, principal stuart meade meets with dr louise mccuaig who joined the college this term in the new role of head of pastoral programs at flinders.

stuart and louise discuss the vision for pastoral care at flinders: to create a culture and environment that enables students to become independent, self regulated and confident in their capacity to flourish in the wider world beyond the school gates.

louise explains how students from prep to year 12 have access to a wide range of college initiatives and support networks through the four pastoral areas of wellbeing; endeavour and enterprise/entrepreneurship; leadership; and learning.

through a stronger and more cohesive pastoral care focus at flinders, there will be more opportunities for student voice, student-initiated projects, student-driven leadership and peer mentoring to become a natural part of our vibrant and caring school culture.

louise also explains the importance of a strong partnership between school and home to best support young people to navigate through the complexities of life.

the challenge is to shift the locus of control from the external to the internal so that students develop a greater sense of awareness and feel responsible for their own choices and actions, successes and failures. louise asks, ‘how can we provide opportunities for students to show how they can be independent and take on responsibility for their lives?’

listen to episode 13 here:

  • (00:40) what is ‘pastoral care’ and why is it so important?
  • (2:23) how do you intend to shape the vision for pastoral programs at flinders?
  • (4:08) how do we support students to build their academic pastoral care?
  • (6:00) what is the role of students in pastoral care at flinders?
  • (8:00) and what role do our flinders parents play regarding pastoral care
  • (12:58) how do you hope our pastoral program focus will evolve?

episode 12: principal stuart meade meets with head of analytics and academic performance, mr greg blanch

in this episode, we hear from flinders’ head of analytics and academic performance, greg blanch who has been on staff at flinders since 2015, previously as head of curriculum. prior to joining flinders, greg taught in cairns for many years and admits he enjoys fishing in croc-free waters here on the sunshine coast!

in conversation with principal stuart meade, greg gives an overview of the college’s ‘learner profile’ project, a major initiative in the secondary school that involves every student across years 7-12. a learner profile helps to identify a student’s skills, strengths, and interests, as well as highlight potential barriers to learning.

the college’s main aim through this project is to make students aware that excellence in learning and life isn’t solely about exam results and atar numbers, but also about building personal character and competencies, and contributing to a better world.

as greg explains, students are currently at the beginning of the process to develop their own learner profile. at flinders, the process is student-driven and involves a number of stages:

  • complete a series of surveys to identify skills, strengths, and interests, as well as highlight potential barriers to learning
  • analyse the qualitative data and set goals to further develop strengths and improve weaknesses
  • choose which of flinders’ vast array of co-curricular clubs or teams to join that will help in achieving these goals and developing new skills.

the learner profile focuses on the ‘six c’s’, also known as the flinders traits, which are the essential 21st century skills of collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, citizenship and character. 

to learn more, please read this article

  • (0:24) greg, please share your experience in education.
  • (1:10) what does your role involve as head of analytics and academic performance?
  • (1:10) what is your role? head of analytics and academic performance
  • (1:58) please explain how we are working to value-add to students’ academic performance here at flinders with the learner profile project.
  • (5:10) how does the college collect data to develop the learner profiles? please explain more about the surveys that students complete in the following focus areas: 
    • emotional intelligence
    • ethical behaviour
    • preferred team roles
    • global citizenships
    • personality types
    • critical thinking dispositions
  • (6:38) what is the feedback from students?
  • (7:20) where to from here? what are the plans for this project?
  • (8:25) how do parents learn more about the learner profiles at flinders?

episode 11: principal stuart meade meets with primary school leaders, nate and alana.

in this episode, we turn the spotlight on principal stuart meade! primary school leaders nate and alana visit mr meade to learn how he enjoyed his schooling years and the teachers and role models who inspired him along the way. nate and alana ask mr meade about the new years 5 and 6 precinct, opening in january 2021 as part of the flinders masterplan.

mr meade also suggests how primary students can make the most of their exciting primary years, and offers advice on how to prepare for a confident transition to the secondary school. talk also turns to the excitement of having cooper the school dog on campus! thanks to primary leaders nate and alana for joining the podcast. 

  • (00:17) what did you enjoy about school when you were in your primary school years?
  • (1:30) what was your favourite sport at school, and what are your favourite sports now?
  • (2:11) did you have favourite teachers who inspired you during your school years? 
  • (3:23) what is your wish for us as students beyond our primary years?
  • (4:24) what is your advice to students who are stepping into leadership roles?
  • (5:37) why do you think students are going to love the new years 5 and 6 precinct, opening in 2021?
  • (6:44) it’s exciting to have cooper, the school dog on campus! why did you think it was a good idea to welcome cooper here?
  • (7:49) what do you think primary students will enjoy about moving up to the secondary school one day? and what do you say to those students who might feel a bit nervous?
  • (9:42) what is the best advice you have ever received?
  • (10:48) what are the main differences between the primary and the secondary schools?

episode 10: in this podcast, principal stuart meade meets with flinders capital works manager, rocco perugini for an update on the flinders masterplan construction project.

stuart and rocco discuss the proposed date that students and staff will settle into the newly refurbished year 7 precinct in term 3 and highlight some of the outstanding features of the new learning zones. rocco also gives an update on the impressive new years 5 and 6 precinct taking shape in the primary school as well as the flinders aquatic centre refurbishment.

rocco shares what he loves about flinders, having been on the college staff team for the past 16 years, mainly as property services manager. rocco knows the campus inside and out, having been in charge of all manner of tasks – big and small – from overseeing major construction projects to being the lucky one with the master key to turn off faulty fire alarms blaring in the middle of the night!

  • (00:20) rocco, please share the scope of your role here at flinders.
  • (00:47) what’s the update on the current flinders masterplan projects?
  • (2:11) what are some of the outstanding features of the new year 7 precinct?
  • (3:13) what is the timeframe for completion of the new years 5 and 6 precinct?
  • (4:25) what is the most rewarding part of your job at flinders?
  • (5:58) please share an update on the refurbishment of the learn-to-swim pool at the flinders aquatic centre?
  • (6:38) how do you enjoy spending your time when you are not at work?

episode 9: principal stuart meade chats with student services officer and outdoor education co-ordinator (duke of edinburgh co-ordinator and round square representative), mr ryan edwards 

“look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – albert einstein

in this podcast, principal stuart meade sits down with mr ryan edwards, the flinders student services officer and outdoor education co-ordinator who also facilitates the college’s duke of edinburgh and round square programs. stuart and ryan discuss the outdoor education and adventure opportunities available to our students for the remainder of 2020 and beyond in the wake of covid-19 restrictions.

ryan shares the revised plans for our student camps program for years 8, 9 and 10 students. he also explains the purpose of the flinders adventure club as a co-curricular offering and the exciting plans to facilitate round square international exchanges for students in 2021. the conversation turns to the importance of wilderness experiences to enable young people to learn about themselves, develop their character and build emotional intelligence.

  • (00:50) what has been your focus during the remote learning phase of covid-19?
  • (4:00) have flinders’ duke of edinburgh participants had to put their award projects on hold during this time?
  • (5:36) please share how plans have changed regarding the outdoor education camps program at flinders this year?
  • (6:49) you facilitate the flinders adventure club co-curricular opportunity that is open to all students in secondary school. what do students enjoy about this club?
  • (8:05) tell us more about the flinders environment club’s new competition that students are invited to enter?
  • (9:20) why are outdoor wilderness experiences so important for young people’s character development and emotional intelligence? 

episode 8: principal stuart meade chats with head of learning and innovation at flinders, mr edward wright

as our college reflects upon the lessons learned during the recent remote learning experience, principal stuart meade and head of learning and innovation, ed wright give a nod to our incredible teachers at flinders who responded to the challenge with positivity and grace.

in his strategic role, ed works to support flinders’ teaching team as they cultivate a culture of innovation and embrace new technologies and pedagogies.

in this podcast, stuart and ed observe how the college was, in fact, well prepared for online learning as students and staff confidently work with digital learning platforms each day.

what’s more, teachers at flinders have a strong collaborative approach to professional development and innovation, which meant it was natural for the teachers with advanced tech skills to spontaneously step into mentoring roles and help to upskill our greater staff team in learning new digital tools required for remote learning; tools such as webex, pear deck, quicktime, education perfect, clickview and more.

  • (00:42) what do you enjoy most about your role as head of learning and innovation at flinders?
  • (3:32) how do you explain the impressive way our teachers managed the switch to remote learning during the covid-19 lockdown phase?
  • (5:29) what were some of the challenges our teachers and college faced during the transition to remote learning?
  • (7:52) what have we learned as a college from the remote learning experience that we can take forward to improve the quality of our teaching and learning at flinders?
  • (9:35) you moved to australia from the beautiful cornwall coast in england, and each year you put your hand up to guide a group of flinders year 10 students on a kayaking trip to north queensland. what do you love about being in nature?

episode 7: principal stuart meade chats with head of creative arts at flinders, mr danny parker

In mid-term 1 the college welcomed mr danny parker to our staff team in the new role of head of creative arts. danny is a best-selling published children’s author and an actor, and brings years of experience working to develop the creative arts in top schools across australia. his passion for encouraging creativity and collaboration in a school community makes him an exciting addition to our arts team at flinders.

in episode 7 of our podcast series, principal stuart meade invites danny to share his vision for the creative arts through co-curricular opportunities at flinders. danny is excited to share the latest news about the college’s years 8 and 9 musical, thirteen, which is due to show in august, as well as the secondary school musical, which will show in early 2021.

danny also has plans in the long-term to create touring opportunities for our students to share their passion for the arts with our local community as well as embark on national and international adventures.

his vision is to make flinders a place where creative endeavours are always happening and where students feel inspired, challenged and supported to embrace art, make art and collaborate with other artists through different art practices. 

  • (1:21) what are your early impressions of the college and the opportunities for students here in the arts across music, visual arts and drama?
  • (2:40) you are known for your passion for creativity. what is your vision for the creative arts at flinders?
  • (4:03) what has been one of the most memorable productions you have produced in your rich arts career?
  • (6:37) what were some of the creative projects you shared with our primary school students during remote learning? i know that you read your published children’s books, including ‘parachute’ and ‘perfect’, to our students online, which is a wonderful way to inspire children’s love of literature.
  • (9:44) what do we have to look forward to over the next 12-24 months at flinders in the creative arts?
  • (11:10) tours are a favourite focus of yours? what’s in store for our students in the creative arts?

episode 6: principal stuart meade chats with head of sport, mr adam ridgewell

 as you know, sport is a vibrant part of college life at flinders as students are encouraged to embrace as many sporting and co-curricular opportunities as possible.

sports involvement benefits students in many ways – from learning new skills and building friendships to enjoying being healthy and active as a natural part of life.

needless to say, students are looking forward to a return to training for and playing sport with their friends and coaches.  

principal stuart meade chats with flinders head of sport, adam ridgewell about the future for sport at flinders for the remainder of 2020.

adam shares the latest news on dates for a return to training and organised sport as outlined in the queensland government’s ‘roadmap to easing restrictions’ document.

he also notes the things he hopes won’t change as restrictions are eased – such as seeing families having a great time exercising together outdoors in the mornings and afternoons.  

  • (00:47) what have students found most frustrating about the restrictions on sport?
  • (1:50) what have been the impacts on sports programs and co-curricular opportunities at flinders?
  • (2:31) what is the latest news for popular school sports such as netball and rugby?
  • (4:10) what upsides have you noticed as a result of this covid-19 scenario?
  • (5:07) how has the college supported students to remain healthy and fit during home learning?
  • (6:34) what will our sports program look like for the rest of term 2 and beyond?
  • (7:37) why are their different restrictions for college sport compared to club sport?
  • (9:05) please tell us more about the sign-ups for sports like touch football and basketball.
  • (10:31) the flinders aquatic centre is set to open in term 3. when will the flinders fitness centre and sports centre reopen?

episode 5: principal stuart meade chats with college captains holly and harrison, and college vice captains justin and jess

in episode 5, principal stuart meade sits down with our college leaders to learn what it has been like for our senior students at home during the remote learning phase. 

holly, harrison, justin and jess share how they each created structure in their day to avoid feeling overwhelmed and combat a lack of motivation, and what they have missed most about campus life. they also admit their guilty snack fixes, the number of trips they made daily to the fridge, and how their attire may have taken a slide for the worse!

stuart asks the leaders what they believe the college can learn from this remote learning experience and how school days on campus might be better structured as a result. thanks for joining the conversation, captains!

  • (00:43) what was the most enjoyable part of the online learning experience?
  • (2:20) what did you find most challenging?
  • (3:55) how did you keep in touch with friends out of school hours?
  • (4:41) what do you appreciate about the school, having spent time away and now returning?
  • (5:51) how have you found getting back into the structures and routines?
  • (6:49) what was your favourite daytime attire when learning from home?
  • (7:39) what was your favourite go-to fridge food? did you find yourself grazing during the day?
  • (8:35) with the knowledge you have gained from being online for a few weeks, what do you believe the school could do differently to improve our processes? 

episode 4: principal stuart meade chats with head of senior primary, mrs ingrid clarke

in episode 4, principal stuart meade and head of senior primary, mrs ingrid clarke discuss the reports from students, parents and teachers about what remote learning looks like for our senior primary students in years 4-6. ingrid explains how teachers are working diligently and creatively to support online learning while also excitedly planning for students to return to the primary school, hopefully on monday, 25 may.

stuart and ingrid allay some of the concerns parents have for their children as a result of
being at home since the end of term 1. there are questions of gaps in student learning and
of a loss of confidence in friendships. ingrid also gives an update on the topic of ‘fun’ and
how flinders is aiming to reshape or recreate opportunities students have missed out on
recently, such as school camps, excursions, vip days, leadership opportunities and, of
course, the year 6 musical, moana jr.

  • (00:51) some of the most common challenges for senior primary students during remote
  • (3:00) why it is important for children to take the scheduled breaks in their daily learning.
  • (3:48) why parents are concerned about gaps in their child’s learning and how flinders will
    address this challenge.
  • (5:00) how flinders primary will assist students to transition back to school campus.
  • (6:32) why flinders is focused on recreating or reshaping missed events and opportunities
    where possible.
  • (8:55) how ingrid clarke and primary counsellor alec hamilton are available to help families
    or students requiring support during the return to school campus.
  • (9:05) what challenges families might be experiencing where one child has returned to
    school while the other sibling/s remain at home learning. how parents can help their children
    to approach upcoming transitions with a positive attitude.
  • (10:33) what routines parents can encourage to help children prepare for a return to the
    primary school site.


episode 3: principal stuart meade chats with head of middle school, mrs anita gibson

in episode 3, principal stuart meade and head of middle school, mrs anita gibson discuss how the home learning situation is impacting our years 7-9 students. the conversation explores how teenagers rely on face-to-face connections with their friends and teachers; how parents can soften the effects of excessive screen time while their children are learning online; and how teenagers respect and feel safe when strong boundaries are in place to guide them. 

anita provides sound advice, encouraging students to be kind to themselves if they are struggling with the demands and challenges of managing their own remote learning schedule. she also shares tips on how parents can prepare their children for a return to school campus, such as bringing back those early bedtimes!

  • (00:40) two of the biggest problems students in middle school are experiencing during lockdown.
  • (3:30) how to balance and soften the impact of screen time during remote learning and why we are fortunate at flinders to be able to learn in a remote environment.
  • (5:05) why clear boundaries help to support teenagers, and the steps flinders is taking to soften the demands on middle school students during remote learning. 
  • (7:10) advice for parents concerned about how well their child is managing their remote learning schedule.
  • (9:03) how mrs gibson and other school leaders are available on campus to support students and families.
  • (10:39) how mrs gibson might have coped with the challenges of a pandemic lockdown when she was 13 years old!
  • (11:44) how students can manage and prepare for the imminent transition from home learning to school campus learning.
  • (13:05) why personal presentation and high uniform standards are important for enabling focus and self-confidence upon a return to school campus.
  • (13:44) why it is important for parents to monitor their child’s wellbeing during this time and how parents can support their children’s emotional wellbeing and maintain family connection.


episode 2: principal stuart meade chats with head of junior primary, ms chris curtain

in episode 2, principal stuart meade and head of junior primary, ms chris curtain explore how parents can structure and support their child’s remote learning at home as we dive into term 2 of 2020 during coronavirus lockdown. chris provides reassuring advice and helpful tips to enable families to prepare for and embrace the new model of remote learning for primary school students.

no doubt you will agree with stuart when he describes chris as “…the voice of reason, experience and pragmatism”. enjoy this warm-hearted conversation, packed with reassuring advice on how to set you and your child up for a positive learning experience.

  • (1:00) why it’s important to adjust mindset to prepare for the new remote learning situation, and how this shift in attitude helps to minimise stress and maximise patience.
  • (2.14) advice for parents wondering how much school work should be packed into each day for children in the junior primary years.
  • (3:20) how to encourage your child to become more independent over time to boost their learning confidence.
  • (4:27) how parents might be able to design their own work schedule to take into account their child’s learning schedule.
  • (4:45) a child’s connection with his or her friends is important. how you can support your child to connect with friends and family.
  • (6:10) what are the key routines and schedules for success with remote learning at home
  • (8:49) why children love a little bit of control over their own learning and how to encourage this independence. also, how to manage screen time for your child’s health, and how to be mindful of positivity and patience to protect the connection with your child.


episode 1: principal stuart meade chats with head of senior school, mr gary davis

in episode 1, principal stuart meade and head of senior school, gary davis consider the impact of the remote learning model on our seniors’ learning as we commence term 2. it’s no surprise that our year 11 and year 12 students are concerned about the potential impact of the pandemic on their final phase of high school.

here we tackle the big questions and concerns that are front of mind for our seniors and their families. after all, it’s not just final academic results that are at stake here. we are also mindful of our students’ physical and emotional health and wellbeing, sense of connection and support, and their confidence in the future. here we share how flinders is supporting our students through these tricky times.

  • (01:00) what has changed for year 12 students?
  • (03:27) how is remote learning affecting our year 12 students?
  • (06:11) what do practical subjects look like in our remote learning environment?
  • (08:20) how has the change to remote learning affected our year 11 students?
  • (10:00) learning and organisation tips for senior students
  • (12:38) how will we transition back from remote learning to the classroom environment?