The Barker Institute exists to use the rich intellectual resources of the School to facilitate learning and growth in the School and beyond. It is a privilege that the community can come together as learners. It is also a great way for parents to connect to expert advice in areas of academics, wellbeing, and general interest.

The 2023 calendar commenced on Monday 20/2 with the launch of Lift@Barker, a year long program to elevate our community being run with students and staff each week. Lift@Barker is also an invitation for parents and the community to join in positive practices that are demonstrated to improve your life and mood. Term 1 events also included an event called Discover Barker with a panel discussion featuring Mr Matt Macoustra (Deputy Head Student Experience), Dr Julie Wilson-Reynolds (Deputy Head Academic Care), Mr Cam Anderson (Head of Sport), and Barker parents from across the School, to share their insights and experiences of the school. The first research-focused event for 2023 was a celebration of the rich experience of the Barker Junior School Journey.

Study Habits Seminar for Year 7 Students and Families

Term 2 commenced with over 600 people from Year 7 (students and their families) coming together to explore and implement good study habits to be developed throughout secondary school. Good habits are essential to academic flourishing (and all aspects of wellbeing) and events such as these offer scaffolded support for Barker students as they seek to meet their own high expectations at School.

"Raising Respect" with researcher and educational expert Dr Marshall Ballantine-Jones

During Wellbeing Week (Week 2) various speakers presented to Year 7-12 students, and also in that week, Dr Marshall Ballantine-Jones shared a parent-specific version of his presentation entitled "Raising Respect". Dr Ballantine-Jones will continue to work with the School in 2023.

Three Barker Institute events engaging with and educating parent and community during Gifted Awareness Week and Reconciliation Week

During Term 2 Weeks 5-6, three Barker Institute events were hosted in the school (using a range of the wonderful facilities on offer including the BCMA theatre, Music Recital Hall, and Kurrajong Piazza).

Former School Captain, and two-time debating world champion, Bo Seo returned to be interviewed by Director of Academic Writing and Oratory, Andrew Hood. Bo has been touring the world promoting his book Good Arguments. Student debaters (including the Junior School firsts) keenly attended, along with parents, teachers and fans from the community. Bo praised his Barker education, which was supplemented by his degree from Harvard University and recommended the humanities for essential knowledge and skills to participate in our changing world.

As part of Reconciliation Week, Barker hosted parents and staff from the school and various other schools who are part of the Waratah project tolisten to and ask questions of two survivors of the stolen generation. Two former members of the Kinchella Boys Home (only 50 of the 600 housed there are still alive) shared their account of being taken from their families, the abuse in the home, and the long-term effects on their families and communities.

Following Gifted and Talented Awareness Week,a celebration of the diverse faces of gifteness was held at an evenign event for some very curious and capable parents and students. While Bo Seo was one example of an exceptionally gifted Barker student, many parents are hoping that Barker will meet the needs of their gifted children. Susanna Matters, a new addition to the Barker Staff in 2023 as Gifted and Talented Coordinator (PreK-8) presented an academic overview of gifted education, followed by a panel of eight senior Barker staff members who shared how their particular domain (Music, Maths/Science, Robotics, Aspire, Sport, Individual Learning Centre, English) supported gifted students. It was an excellent conversation and only the start of what we will continue to communicate in this space. What was clear on the night was that Barker’s goal was to develop transformational giftedness in students (that which can be used to bless others) rather than transactional giftedness (that which can be used to improve one’s own situation).

Click here to access our full list of events.

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Dr Matthew Hill

Dr Matthew Hill is the Director of The Barker Institute with a focus on professional learning, research, and innovation in the school.  He teaches Physics and the new Science Extension course at the School which introduces students to scientific academic research. Matthew's doctorate reflects his passion for science education focussing on Representational Fluency amongst physics students at school and university. He has published in leadership, education, and science journals and been involved in course development and teaching at The University of Sydney and The University of Western Sydney. He has also completed a Graduate Diploma in Divinity at Ridley College in Melbourne.