From the Headmaster
Michael Parker began as Headmaster of Newington in January 2019.
A message from Michael Parker
Knowing our boys
We have a lot of photos of boys on this website – peering through microscopes, scoring the winning try, playing that sublime note on a violin. What we can’t show you in those pictures is how much we know them and care about them. To us that is William looking in the microscope, who actually prefers English but is willing to give Science a shot. It is Andrew playing the violin. He won the Concerto competition because he practised for two hours a day for 10 years, even when he would have rather watched Netflix. That is Brad scoring that ‘hero’ try – he is in the 14Ds, it was his first one and we are really proud of him.
We know and care about the boys dotted throughout the website – and all our other students too. I know as many of them as I can (and I teach a different class almost every day), their teachers care for them, their Heads of House look out for them and their mentors nourish them as whole, vibrant, people. The boys know, care for and accept each other too. Year 12s came up with this year’s motto based on our school colours: ‘In White and Black we’ve got your back’. We may be lucky to have beautiful buildings and state-of-the-art facilities, but Newington’s spirit of support and guidance would still be immediately recognisable if we were a collection of log cabins down the back of a track.
Because we care for our boys, we are ambitious for them. We want every day to be engaging and enriching and full of academic curiosity. We want them to be ready for the rapidly changing future though a focus on critical thinking, creativity, ethics and collaboration. We are ambitious about their entry into a university, course or career of their choosing. We are also ambitious for them to be excellent employers, employees, friends, husbands and sons.
We want them to discover what’s possible by sampling the many things we have to offer here and also by zeroing in on something that allows them to thrive. We want them to find their passion, their principles and their purpose here within these walls. We want them to have a good time too – after all, it is up to 15 years of their lives that they don’t get back.
All in all, we want you to be proud of the men of substance and resilience that they become.
We are proud of our College here at Newington, and at the same time we are grateful that several thousand parents in Sydney and beyond have entrusted the education of their boys to us. It is a big responsibility and we take it seriously with every new boy who joins us.
Welcome to Newington …
About the Headmaster
Michael holds a combined Arts/Law degree and a Masters of Education from the University of Sydney. Whilst at university, he worked in one of Australia’s leading law firms before pursuing his passion for education. He taught English and served as a Housemaster at Cranbrook before travelling overseas to take up an exchange position at Eton College.
In 2002 he joined Newington, where he was a highly successful Head of English and the subject of the SBS documentary ‘Inspiring Teachers’. He has a healthy level of Black and White running through his veins as a result of his time here.
After five years in that role, he was appointed Deputy Headmaster at Cranbrook, where he served for seven years before progressing to become Headmaster at Oxley College, Bowral, in 2014. Under his leadership, Oxley’s academic performance and survey results across students, teachers and staff rose markedly.
Michael is the author of 10 books, most recently Talk With Your Kids: Conversations about Big Ideas and Talk With Your Kids: Conversations about Ethics. His YA novel Doppelganger (Penguin) was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award in 2007 and his children’s book You Are A Star (Walker Books) has been published in the US, UK, Brazil, China and Korea.
He is widely travelled, particularly in the Himalayas, with four major treks under his belt, including past Camp One at 20,000 feet on Mt Everest in Tibet. He is married to Fiona, an English literature academic at UNSW, and has two teenage daughters, Julia and Elena.
Michael is committed to open engagement with students and the school community at large. He is a strong believer in creating a teaching environment that engenders critical thinking among the boys. His aim is to foster a culture that combines improved academic performance with enduring pastoral care programs to ensure our boys are prepared for an unpredictable and constantly changing workplace.