InsideR’s Captains of Education Series – Part 1
The Robina area is home to some of the Gold Coast’s leading schools and educational institutions. InsideR is pleased to share with you a new series, profiling a selection of key educational game-changers, who have our children’s futures in their hands, over the coming months.
This month, we spoke to Somerset College’s Headmaster of 10 years, Craig Bassingthwaighte, about why he believes our area is a national education hub, and the reasons he calls Robina home.
What made you decide to accept the role of Headmaster at Somerset College?
It was a wonderful opportunity to serve a school that had gained such an amazing reputation after so little time. Somerset was well known as a leading school in both the state and national spheres. For us as a family, it was coming home. We had many friends who knew Somerset and spoke so highly of their experience, and they kindly suggested that I might be a very good fit. I think they were right!
How long have you lived on the Gold Coast, and why did you choose to call Robina home?
I started my career at The Southport School (TSS) and spent 16 years living on the Gold Coast, before moving to Cairns and then Mackay. I have lived most of my adult life on the Gold Coast. Now, we live in Robina, just across the M1 from Somerset, which is important for all the out-of-hours functions and other Headmaster duties. The Gold Coast is the best place in Australia and the world to live. We travel a lot and there’s nothing like coming home to the fresh air, the sunshine and the wonderful people and services. We are so lucky!
Do you spend much of your free time in Robina and Varsity Lakes?
We love the Robina and Varsity Lakes area and our sons love the beach access. My wife and I like to ride our bikes around the many parks in the area. Robina is so central and convenient to all services, and has many great cafes and restaurants.
“Robina is renowned as an education hub, with the likes of Somerset College, All Saints Anglican School, Varsity College and Bond University all nearby.”
Do you think Robina – and the City in general – is making a name nationally and internationally as an education destination of choice?
In terms of education, the Gold Coast is absolutely a hidden jewel that we at Somerset College are trying in our own small way to open up to Australia. We are blessed with great schools in all sectors, and superb tertiary institutions. The Gold Coast community supports our work and commitment to build the next generation. My favourite compliment was when a parent said to me that he was so glad he did not need to send his children to Brisbane to be educated. I applaud Mayor Tom Tate’s commitment to enhancing the City as a leading education provider. As Gold Coasters, we want for nothing and should be shouting it from the rooftops.
What are the benefits to children, of having access to so many leading educational institutions in the area?
Children can receive so many opportunities right here on the Gold Coast because our institutions are so diverse in their offerings. There’s no need for them to move away at any stage of their life and if they do, more and more are coming back to the Coast because their children can receive an education and opportunities that are second to none. At Somerset, we have over 100 second-generation students; that is, their parents were educated at the College and they now enjoy that same experience. How wonderful!
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