Principal reflects on his first year at the school
What would draw a school principal from a comfortable position in Albury-Wodonga, uprooting his family to a whole new city?
According to Arden Anglican School’s principal, Justin Beckett, who commenced in the role at the start of 2022, it’s because “Arden is different”.
“When it comes to independent schools in Sydney, Arden might be one of the best kept secrets,” Mr Beckett said. “It is a small school with a big heart. And a big vision for the health of its students.”
He said he was immediately attracted by the school’s ambition.
“The first thing that drew my attention to Arden was the school motto: In God My Joy,” he said.
“I have always believed that the school experience should be joyous. We want our students to be bursting out of bed in the morning because they can’t wait to get to school. We want them to be chattering at the dinner table each night about all the exciting things that happened during the school day. The Arden community endeavours to put joy at the front and centre of the student and staff experience.”
Mr Beckett said that the school’s Christian ethos underpinned much of its positive atmosphere.
“Arden is genuine about being a community of Christian faith,” he said.
There are many schools that do not walk the walk when it comes to Christian faith, but Arden is authentic about Jesus.
The proof of this is in the quality of our lunchtime student-led Christian groups – at our Secondary campus, 20-25% of our students choose to engage in our CRU/Vine groups.
At a time when young people are saturated with stories of doom and gloom on the news and social media, Arden offers a community of encouragement, hope and peace.
Every young person is made in the image of God and built for a life of hope and purpose.
Mr Beckett was most recently principal of Trinity Anglican College in Albury Wodonga, the largest regional independent school in NSW.
He has been an educational leader in several independent schools across Australia, including St Stephen’s School (Perth) and All Saints Anglican School (Gold Coast).
As a boy, he attended Hale School, an Anglican boys’ school in Perth, with his four brothers.
Mr Beckett has completed a Bachelor of Arts in English (Curtin University), a Graduate Diploma of Education (Edith Cowan University), a Master of Arts (University of Western Australia) and, more recently, a Graduate Certificate in Management (Australian Institute of Management).
Along with his wife Zoe (also a teacher), he has four sons, three of whom are at Arden while the eldest is studying at university.
After his first year as principal of Arden Anglican School, Mr Beckett is even more convinced than ever that Arden is one of the most excellent institutions he has seen, offering something better than just an education.
“We exist to grow and shape healthy and well-adjusted young people,” he said. “We offer hope for students and opportunities for community and success. We want to equip our girls and boys to think critically about the world and its narratives. We offer an antidote to the messages of hopelessness and victimhood that often permeate the media landscape.”
“As a co-educational school, we believe in nurturing healthy relationships between girls and boys as they grow up together. It is healthy and rewarding to be a co-educational school, and a great benefit to parents who can have their sons and daughters in one school community instead of two.”
As a P-12 school, Arden offers a healthy and caring Christian community from Pre-School to Year 12.
Their Beecroft campus is ideally suited for students from Pre-school to Year 6.
Their Epping campus is for students in Years 7-12.
Both campuses sit adjacent to a train station so are easy to access by public transport.
To find out more about Arden Anglican School, go to our website at www.arden.nsw.edu.au or contact our Registrar firstname.lastname@example.org