A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Backbone and heart

It was a genuine pleasure to have Steve Biddulph at BGS on Tuesday evening. The RSCH at the St Andrew’s End of the Secondary School was full with parents eager to hear from Steve, a world leader in assisting us to raise boys to be open-hearted, kind and strong men.

If you missed the seminar and haven’t accessed the work of Steve, I strongly encourage you to buy his updated book, Raising Boys in the 21st Century, or to have a look at Steve’s website and other online platforms. His message resonated strongly, in part because of the warmth and humour of his storytelling, but also because of the simplicity of his beliefs and advice.

According to Steve, there are four principles that are key to raising boys, with a fifth ‘bonus’ principle. These are: spend time with your son, play ‘rough and tumble’ games with him (especially when he’s young), teach him to respect women and honour his tender feelings. The ‘bonus’ is to teach him to do housework and have him cook a meal for the family once a week (which would be especially handy if you have two or three sons).

Personally (and more as a father of four than as the Headmaster), Steve’s call to raise our boys to have ‘backbone and heart’ was both compelling and moving.

Have a great week.


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

The joys of Melbourne’s Autumn: 6 Endeavour and 6 Investigator enjoyed very mild weather with very little wind whilst on camp last week and on Monday of this week we waved goodbye to 6 Resolution and 6 Discovery with a chill in the air and passing showers!  The boys are certainly challenged on camp. At times they are out of their comfort zone, but the support their class mates, the Year 11 Outdoor Education leaders and staff provide is most rewarding to see.  I certainly enjoyed interactions with the boys participating in a variety of activities: canoeing, mountain bike riding, the night walk and games of Mork and Lantern Stalk are always great fun with very few boys having a fear of the dark. The Indigenous Immersion experience was impressive and the boys enjoyed their hike and sleep out.  It’s remarkable to see our boys ‘ready to learn’ in the Outdoor Education environment with emphasis on skills such as time management, being responsible for their own gear, supporting each other and improving their resilience. Thank you to Luke Fensling, Rob Bater, Monica Le Couteur, Cathy Box and Brent Brickhill and to our Outdoor Education team: James Hilditch, Nathan O’Malley and Carly West for their commitment and level of care given to our boys whilst on camp.

In any school community, parental support is essential. We are most fortunate to see the combined involvement of so many parents from ELC to Year 6. As I ‘walk the corridors’, throughout the course of a week, I see parents assisting with Literacy blocks, incursions and excursions, supporting their sons at sport, sitting in on instrumental lessons, assisting the JPG, attending concerts and social functions. Parental support builds strong relationships; School and home cannot work in isolation as we assist our boys on their educational journey and I appreciate the continued involvement and support of so many parents.


Junior School happenings and reminders

  • Our Junior School Choral and Instrumental Music Concert will be held on Tuesday 11 June, 7.00pm at St Andrew’s Church. Wilson House Guitar Ensemble, Borwick House Choir, Junior Voices, Beginner Strings, Training Strings, Wilson House Concert Band, Wilson House String Orchestra, Junior Percussion Ensemble, Junior String Quartet and Year 6 soloists will be performing. Boys are to wear their full winter uniform and need to be seated in St Andrew’s by 6.30pm. Further details are available via School Stream. 
  • Congratulations to our Year 3 and Year 5 boys who completed the NAPLAN testing and I appreciate the efforts of David Turner, Brendan Rahn, Michael Stephens, Jacqui Stenniken, Cindy van Dijk and Hamish Leahy in supporting the boys throughout the testing period.
  • The Junior School boys will contribute to the Annual Giving Appeal by wearing casual clothes on Tuesday 28 May. Casual clothes may be worn for the day, and boys will be asked to donate a gold coin to wear casuals. Boys should also bring additional coins to participate in activities on the day and throughout the week (see School Stream for Year Level details) which will support BGS’ Annual Giving Appeal, ‘Creating Brighter Futures’.


From the Director of the Early Learning Centre Amelia Barrow

Loving our three-cornered partnership in the Early Learning Centre

This year we have been extremely blessed with parent engagement throughout the program. Whether parents have run a cooking program, read stories, set up robot making workshops, shared cultural traditions and practices, or supported our ELC4 beach program – we have been overwhelmed with your willingness to participate. If you would like to join your son’s classroom and plan an experience or activity please feel free to email your son’s teacher to arrange a time. We value your experience and interests to extend the boys’ learning.

This week we have also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with parents to discuss each boy’s learning intentions set last term and develop their next goals. Our ELC4 parents have been lucky enough to see our wonderful Prep rooms as we hosted discussions in these classrooms.

Our Little Tonner football invitations have been sent home and we thank those parents who have already submitted their RSVP to this wonderful event. Our ELC4 boys are invited to join the BGS First XVIII Footy Team on 1 June (arriving at the ELC at 1.30pm) to run out for the big match against Scotch College. If you would love to support this wonderful opportunity please contact me by 27 May.

Our Bandicoot boys will head over to Firbank Grammar ELC next Tuesday 28 May from 9.15am–12.00pm. Boys are asked to pack a disposable morning tea and we require five parent helpers. If you are interested in joining the Bandicoot boys please let Melissa Manaras know. Our ELC3 boys will be visited by the Firbank ELC3 class on this day as well.


This Week’s Parenting Tip

Please click here to view this week’s Parenting Tip entitled ‘Helping your child make and keep friends’.


Teaching and learning

Snakes Alive!

On Wednesday 15 May, a group of Year 5 and 6 boys were lucky enough to attend an incursion in our STEM Centre from the ‘snake man’ himself, Raymond Hoser of Snakebusters.  Raymond has years of experience in his field and is an expert when it comes to reptiles and other creepy crawlies. From the moment Raymond stepped into the room, he had his audience captivated. He introduced the boys to a myriad of reptiles including: lizards, tiger snakes, big pythons and even crocodiles! The most exciting part? Getting to touch and hold the creatures.  It wasn’t for the faint hearted, but the boys revelled in the encounter and will be talking about it for weeks to come.  A few may even have gone home requesting a reptile for a pet…

Laura Hall
Junior School Science Teacher

Mindfulness in May

Our Mindfulness in May focus highlights mindful activities in each classroom. Teachers share photos of their class doing Mindfulness and the boys tick off a calendar on their classroom door, with the goal of being Mindful each of the 22 school days in May.

The Junior School’s commitment to Mindfulness began five years ago. Each day after recess all the boys participate in the Mindfulness Still Cloud with their homeroom or specialist teacher. This is a time to focus on the present moment and to complete activities ranging from lying on the floor, sitting on chairs and listening to a teacher (or student) lead a Mindfulness session. These sessions may be scripted and are based on kindness, compassion and focus. It is important that the boys can stop, focus on their breath and be aware of present moment.

Smiling Mind is a program utilised throughout the Junior School. Other mindfulness activities include mindful movement, mindful eating, mindful walking and listening to relaxing music or sounds.

Please visit the Mindfulness display in the Junior School reception. Why not download the free Smiling Mind app and try it with your family at home?

Monica Le Couteur
Coordinator of Student Growth and Wellbeing

Camp Coolamatong – 6 Endeavour and 6 Investigator

Last week, 6 Endeavour and 6 Investigator travelled to the Banksia Peninsula on the shores of Lake Victoria.  They enjoyed learning about themselves and discovered new aspects in their class mates.  The program promoted learning about indigenous culture, respecting nature, building resilience and developing skills under the PROSPER framework.  Students took on board the challenge of camping out overnight each managing to transport their own equipment on the one day hike along the Rotomah Island track. The boys slept out in tents and cooked their own food on camp stoves (some for the first time). The two accompanying Year 11 OELP students effectively supported as role models to the Year 6 boys.  The camp also involved: Gunaikurnai indigenous cultural activities, mountain biking, canoeing, geocaching and initiative activities.  The boys rose to each challenge and built many strong friendships across the week long experience.

Cathy Box, Luke Fensling & Brent Brickhill
Year 6 Teachers

Building relationships and developing more effective learners

Year 6 boys have been given the opportunity to challenge themselves as learners. Developing their self-management skills and building positive relationships to create a stronger sense of community all while being in the outdoors. Read more here.