A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Hello from the outdoors

It is a real pleasure to write to you from Camp Coolamatong on the Gippsland Lakes, where I am spending the night with our Year 6 Endeavour and Investigator boys. The boys are camping out, cooking their own meals, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, working with their Year 11 leaders/mentors and learning about some local Indigenous customs from Aunty Cass. It’s fantastic to witness the way our Outdoor Education staff integrate the Effective Learner model into the boys’ experience here. This way, we believe, the lessons gained in the outdoors will align more strongly with the lessons gained in the classroom.

Let me take this opportunity to provide a quick update on two things.

First, I will be very pleased to reveal our refreshed academic uniform to you later this term. The Steering Committee and our designer, Jonathan Ward, have finalised the designs and we have completed consultations (including with current students). If you have queries, please refer to the FAQs page on our website. (These FAQs will be updated once the refreshed academic uniform has been revealed, ready for the start of 2019.)

Second, many thanks to the 480 Secondary School parents and the 240 Secondary School boys who completed the Sports Review Survey last week. The survey was specifically designed after our external consultant individually met with a representative sample of parents, boys and staff from across all BGS sports. The results from these 720 responses have been sent to our consultant for his consideration and will be reflected in his final report. I look forward to sharing the key outcomes and actions that we will take as a result of this Sports Review later in the year.

Finally, as I hope you know, we have launched our Annual Appeal and are just five days away from our bid to Bring a Dream to Life. Click here to follow the countdown.

Have a great week – and don’t forget to get your tickets (here) for next week’s Firbank Grammar–BGS Senior Production of Chicago!


From the Head of Junior School – Peter Tellefson

There are many occasions when I am particularly proud of our boys individually, at a class or year level, or as a whole. Last Friday morning was one such occasion. Our Mothers’ Day Mornings for the ELC and Prep to Year 6 mums were a most appropriate way to pay tribute and thank our mums for all they do; the continued support and contributions from our mums ensure the Junior School is a better place.

Despite having to relocate our Chapel Service to the G. B. Robertson Hall due to inclement weather, the Year 6 boys and choir did us proud. I appreciate the effort and organisation of all staff, particularly Father Chester Lord for the Chapel Service, Pauline Anthony for her creative and heartfelt reflection, Bill Gibney for his IT expertise, Hayley Blakiston for the Music, Lynn Bullock for the photo presentation, and the Homeroom Teachers for their class activities. Special mention to Harry Pollock for the superb reflection he shared. The event was a wonderful celebration.

In 2010, Brighton Grammar Junior School developed a cultural exchange program with the Milikapiti School on Melville Island. Milikapiti is a small Indigenous community of 500 people, located 120km north of Darwin. The Year 6 Student Exchange Program enables boys from both schools to foster and develop relationships, communication, understanding and respect for each other’s way of life and culture. Later this term, we are sending eight Year 6 boys (Oskar Andersen, Gus Calder, Seb Glassel, Harry Newett, Lachie St Leger, William Stretch, Sam Trainor and William Yang) to visit our friends from the North for a week. Three Year 6 Firbank Grammar girls (Layla Heinze, Kira Mongey and Elenor Whitehouse) will join the touring party, further strengthening the links between BGS and Firbank. In August, we will host visitors from Milikapiti.

In 2017, BGS hosted students from the Pormpuraaw State School. This year, we will also send eight Year 6 boys (Lachlan Auden, Gavin Barnedt, Ben Brown, Lenny Hofmann, Tom Jorgensen, Luca Robinson, Zach Travers and Charlie Wood) to this remote community.  Pormpuraaw is located on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula, approximately 500km from the tip of Australia. 


Junior School happenings and reminders

  • Thank you to the Year 3 parents who attended last week’s Growth and Wellbeing workshops. We have been delighted with the positive feedback we’ve received and appreciate the work of Monica Le Couteur, Joanne Davies, Kay Rogers, Victoria Fisher and Brendan Rahn.
  • The next Ute Full of Food is tomorrow (Friday 18 May). Items particularly requested 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, bathroom supplies.
  • Thank you to the ELC4 and Year 3 mums who gave their time wrapping flowers and gifts for Mothers’ Day. A special mention to Brigitte McGregor and Eva Aschman for their coordination.


Celebrating Boys in the Early Learning Centre

I’m often asked in Term 2, “Where has my son gone?” No, we haven’t lost any boys physically – but parents often notice a change in their son’s behaviour and compliance at about this time. First of all, I have to say you are not alone – particularly with 4–5- year-old boys.

As the boys have now settled into their classrooms and programs, they start to push the boundaries at home and school. This is part of their social and emotional growth, as well as a testosterone surge. With this combination of events, we notice the boys’ energy levels increase, rational reasoning skills decline, and general need to keep on the go. We love it!

However, we do know that the boys need guidance and support when going through this stage, which generally lasts 8–10 weeks. For this stage, we set clear expectations of safe and respectful behaviour, and implement immediate rewards and consequences. Some classes have set up charts to acknowledge ‘good choices and expected behaviours’, highlighting the need to focus on positive actions. Celebrating the ‘good’ encourages the boys to keep striving for their best. If you would like to understand more about what your son’s teacher is currently implementing, feel free to make a time to catch up and discuss this further.

The popularity of our Long Day Care Program continues, with two-thirds of our families accessing the extended hours on a regular basis. Kirstie McCormick has a wonderful program throughout the week, with the boys experiencing Sport, Mandarin-speaking lessons, ICT, Cooking and Healthy Eating, and Outdoor Education. If you would like to know more about the Long Day Care Progam, please contact me. Our Term 2 Holiday Program will be distributed to those enrolled two weeks prior to the break. 

Amelia Barrow
Director of the Early Learning Centre


Parenting Tip

Click here to view this week’s Parenting Tip: 5 Ways to Validation:  Showing distressed kids you get it.


Teaching and Learning

Sovereign Hill is notorious as the highlight of Year 5 but its reputation comes with a lot of backfill. In class, boys have been reading non-fiction texts about Australia before, during and after the Gold Rush. In 5 Melville, we have been fortunate to have many dedicated parents who come in on Thursday afternoons to support the boys in reading groups. We use the Reciprocal Reading instructional method, in which boys help guide the group discussion by assuming roles such as summariser, questioner, predictor, clarifier and word finder. This encourages boys to think about their own thought process during reading and to monitor their comprehension as they read.

We have also begun reading fiction texts such as Ratwhiskers, The Gold Seekers, The Valley of Blood and Gold and Ben Hall. This is done in small groups under the Book Club umbrella. Our goal is to focus on the stories and lives of real people who inspired these narratives and lived through the Victorian Gold Rush. We consider their daily life, how their lives were affected by the Gold Rush and the roles they played in this significant event in Australia’s history.  Our studies culminate with a trip to Sovereign Hill and a research project that consists of a written component and a diorama.

Cindy van Dijk
Year 5 Homeroom Teacher


Chinese Martial Arts

Last Friday, Year 5 student Remy D’Alessandro joined the Year 8 boys to perform some Chinese Martial Arts for the Chinese Cultural Day Forum at the Chinese Consulate-General in Melbourne. Remy’s performance was a highlight and well received by the audiences.

The Cultural Day Forum comprised of a welcome speech by the Chinese Consul-General in Melbourne and 12 stations of hands-on activities including both traditional games and modern technologies. In addition, there were some cultural performances, including Chinese modern dance, music with Chinese traditional instruments and quizzes. Remy said he loved every minute of the experience and has already asked if he could visit China next year!

To provide students with a greater awareness of the Chinese culture, I also invited Year 8 Brighton Grammar students to perform Chinese Martial Arts for Year 5 students at the end of Term 1. The Year 5 students were very impressed, knowing that these boys had only trained for five weeks. To be able to achieve such a high standard in a short period is due to their hard work and focus.

Chinese Martial Arts are an incredibly exciting aspect of traditional Chinese culture. For many of our students, these practices have not only helped them become excited and engaged in traditional Chinese culture, it has given them the opportunity to bring that culture to the local community in spectacular fashion.  What better way to understand culture than to embody it and develop a sense of pride!

Linda Chen
Mandarin Teacher of Year 5 and 6

For more on Teaching & Learning at BGS, visit Crowther Thinking.