A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Relationships – home and away

It was a pleasure to spend last week in China, staying connected to our community (past, present and future) there. We spent two nights each in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Hangzhou, and staged a community event in each city where Old Boys, current families and potential future families came together. A highlight was sharing one of these community events with Firbank Grammar.

The trip also afforded us the possibility of seeking out opportunities to allow our boys to connect in a meaningful way with China; indeed, we spent some time confirming arrangements for our Junior School exchange program that is now in its second year. There is no doubt that an international outlook and experience should be a part of a boy’s journey at BGS.

While away, I was pleased to hear of the excellent progress being made with our relationship with Firbank, particularly in the Secondary School. Under the leadership of Dr Rachel Horton and Firbank’s new Deputy Principal – Head of the Senior School, Ms Leandra Turner, many more joint BGS–FGS events are planned for 2019 and a number have already taken place.

Staging more events is all very well, but these events must have some meaning and significance in order to advance a healthy brother–sister school relationship. Our aims are to bring boys and girls together to share experiences, to learn from each other, to have meaningful conversations and to simply enjoy each other’s company. I look forward to this relationship with Firbank continuing to grow across the whole School, ELC to VCE.

Have a great week.


From the Deputy Headmaster, Head of Junior School – Peter Tellefson

A strong sense of belonging and connectedness has a positive effect on boys’ self-esteem and confidence. Our Outdoor Education Program, House System and the Buddy Program, are opportunities, over and above the pastoral support, our boys gain from their day-to-day classroom experiences. As this term has progressed, it is my hope that the boys feel good about themselves as they have a strong sense of belonging at school.

My daily ‘meet and greet’ before school is a fantastic and most enjoyable start to my day. In fact, it is prioritised in my calendar to be on the yard at the start and end of each day. I enjoy the opportunity to chat with boys asking them about their weekend, how their class work or homework is going, what sport they are playing, or what they have to present at ‘show and tell’. I hope it also enhances our boys’ sense of connection at Wilson House.  The Buddy System, involving all boys from ELC to Year 6, is an important part of the boys’ experiences in the Junior School. The Program focuses on the values of friendliness, respect, responsibility, caring, including others and valuing difference. It is always rewarding to see the many positive interactions our boys experience in the classroom and on the playground. I hope you have already had positive conversations at home in regard to Buddies.

Our Junior School Counsellor, Olivia Tims, works at Wilson House three days a week supporting staff, boys and parents. Olivia has vast experience working with primary aged children in a school environment and works with individuals, small withdrawal groups, class and year levels. Olivia meets with all new boys to assist them with their transition. The boys have shared some interesting insights and general impressions of BGS:

‘It’s awesome that our teacher gives us “brain breaks” during the day where we get to do wheelbarrow races and other activities which help us to concentrate better during our Maths or Writing.’

‘Everyone was so welcoming and even though we were new to BGS, we were made to feel like we’ve been here for ages.’

‘In China, I’d never played cricket before, so I’m getting a chance to try different sports.’

‘At my old school, I really found it hard to make friends, but it’s so much easier here.’

‘I love the idea of the Buddy Bench so that no one’s ever left out or alone at Recess or Lunch.’


Junior School Happenings and Reminders

  • Our first Ute Full of Food for this year will be held on Friday 22 March. Brighton Grammar has a long standing commitment in supporting St Mark’s Anglican Church in Fitzroy. All food items will be transported by the ‘Ute’ to St Mark’s, where it is distributed to needy families. The ‘Ute’ will leave the Junior School at 9.00am. Items in particular need are: breakfast cereals, sugar, jams and spreads, pasta and pasta sauce, rice, noodles, biscuits, tins of vegetables, fruit and fish, meals-in-a-can, toilet paper and bathroom supplies. Given that some of St Mark’s clients are street people and often sleep rough, ring-pull cans are preferable; they don’t always have access to can openers or cutlery. Our generosity is certainly appreciated.


Student Achievements

Congratulations to the following Year 6 boys, who will be appointed to leadership positions at tomorrow’s Assembly:

Sport Monitors – Cooper Chilcott, Thomas McMullen, Bailey Mulhall, Harvey O’Sullivan, Will Rattray, Jake Ring, Arty Woodward

Digital Monitors – Lucas Barwood, Thomas Dunne, Harry Denning, Josh Fletcher, Thomas Lipovetsky, Rishi Mahendranathan, Charlie Sabin, Kevin Zhao


From the Director of the Early Learning Centre – Amelia Barrow

A short week is a busy week in the ELC

How lovely it was to have the boys busting to be back after the long weekend on Tuesday. We were so excited to hear their weekend adventures and find out what each family did with their extra day together – you certainly do jam pack your weekends by the sounds of it!

We welcomed Kate Davy into the Bilby room on Tuesday as she joins our Program as Assistant Teacher. Although Kate is a familiar face in the ELC with her past role as Assistant Coordinator – Long Day Care, it was great for the Bilby boys to warmly greet her at the start of their day.

Teaching ‘respect’ is an integral element to our curriculum in the ELC, and guiding the boys’ behaviours to show respect to their peers and teachers is key to this. As we have developed a super hero character called ‘Respectful Ricky’, the boys identify what character traits are needed to be a respectful person. It always amazes me how engaged boys become once they know there are super heroes involved!

Our Harmony Day practice is in full swing with each class performing a song or dance from a chosen country. We will also be performing one piece all together. Many thanks to those families who have indicated that they will be joining us on Thursday 21 March for our little concert in the GBR Hall. We also thank the ELC4 families who will be providing the shared light morning tea.

A reminder that the boys’ morning tea needs to be provided in a separate container to their lunch box. This helps reduce the stress of the boys as they eye off their yummy lunch at morning tea time. Our morning tea brain food should consist of healthy options such as fruit, vegetables, yoghurt, cheese and crackers. Any treats will be given to the boys at lunch time – to reduce the sugar highs!


Teaching and learning

High-five for the phoneme fists

The Prep Fivedale boys have been busy with their phoneme fists! The boys have been learning to use their fingers to help break up tricky and new words. The boys use their fingers to identify phonemes (sounds) within words. They have found this strategy really helpful when learning their ‘hot words’ as well as during writing tasks. When reading new and interesting words on the THRASS Chart, the boys have found this strategy really helpful. The physical movement of opening one finger at a time helps them identify each phoneme they hear.


Collaboration in Drama lessons

The Year 5 boys have been challenged this term to create rolling freeze frames during Drama lessons with very little preparation. In order to do this high-level communication, skills are needed to ensure that the scene flows and makes sense. The boys are also stepping up to the next level to move past just humour as the main tool and really trying to embody a range of characters across settings. The most entertaining rolling freeze frames are those that incorporate the whole class. These involve zero preparation time and require the boys to feed off each other and add meaningful dialogue and movement to the scene. They are a talented group and it will be exciting to see how they can apply these skills to their work on the Gold Rush in Drama next term.


Cognitive development across the ages

Did you know that young children are not simply less competent thinkers than adults? Rather, they just think very differently. Last week, boys from Year 11 Psychology tested out this theory by Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1936) with boys from ELC4, Year 1 and Year 2, using various activities to explore the younger boys’ mental model of the world. Both older and younger boys were highly engaged – and this means high-quality learning outcomes.

Click the photo to view more photos

This week’s parenting tip
– grief and loss

Please click here to the SchoolTV link for information on:

  • What is the difference between grief and mourning?
  • How long does grief last?
  • Do children ever get over the loss of a loved one?
  • Should children attend funerals?
  • How parents can prepare a child for a funeral


The Value of the Intangible with Michael Masterson

Top boys Private School, Brighton Grammar, Breakfast BIOs Logo

At our next BGS Breakfast Bio, Michael Masterson will explain what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in today’s knowledge-based economy, including the importance of contacts. His journey hasn’t been without its failures – you’ll hear about these, too.  Don’t miss out – book now.

Date: Thursday 28 March 2019

Time: 7.00am for a 7.30am start

Location: The International, 81 Bay Street, Brighton

Cost: $60

BookBreakfast with Michael Masterson