A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

What matters in the classroom

As you would know, we continue to emphasise the importance of a high-performing academic culture across the whole School. Currently, we have a particular focus on some key elements of engagement in the classroom (click here for a recent Crowther eNews that outlines this in more detail).

Recently, I had new and personal insight into this process of measuring engagement in the classroom when Ray Swann appraised a Year 11 Literature class that I taught and followed up with a coaching conversation. (Fortunately for me, the boys were highly engaged throughout!)

It was gratifying to read some information about two recent studies that indicate we are on the right track by emphasising engagement in the classroom as a key aspect of a strong academic culture. The first study, from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, looked at the relationship between classroom behaviour and educational and career success. The second study, from Edith Cowan University (discussed in The Educator), looked at what students want from their teachers, with a particular emphasis on the happenings in the classroom.

The key results from both studies align with our focus at BGS on ensuring the structure and environment in the classroom is conducive to engagement and thus effective learning.

As an aside, BGS will be hosting an international ‘coaching institute’ in September, led by a renowned researcher and presenter from the US, Jim Knight. These workshops have not been held previously in Australia. Many BGS staff will be attending this valuable professional development, but the institute is open to the public. If you know of any teachers who might be interested in learning more about coaching, or how to implement an effective coaching model in their school, details can be found here.

Finally, a note of congratulations to all students and staff from FGS and BGS on last week’s Senior Production of Chicago. I had to remind myself throughout the performance that this was a school production, such was the quality of all aspects of the performance.

Have a great week.


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

It is important, as the boys travel on their educational journey, that we provide them with a variety of leadership experiences. Leadership is not a given; not all boys will be capable of leadership, and leadership is not about popularity. Some key qualities we expect, particularly of the Year 6 leaders, are that they:

  • are responsible and honest
  • show respect
  • set a positive example in the classroom, in the playground and on the sporting field
  • give their best and are willing to happily give of their time to help others.

The Year 6 boys respond very well to the formal and informal leadership opportunities: School Officers, Chapel Servers, House Captains, Monitors (Art, Library, Technology, Science, Sport, Music) – and their roles as ‘buddies’. They also do a fantastic job umpiring the various games of AFL and soccer played on the oval over recess and lunchtime.  We will appoint additional School Officers at the commencement of Term 3.

Today, I return to my hometown of Ballarat with our Year 5 boys and staff as we explore the goldfields of Sovereign Hill. The boys will participate in a number of tours, explore the streets and shops, attend a ‘school’ session, pan for gold, and experience the ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’ light show. All these activities will immerse them in 1850s life and help to bring their classroom theory and research alive.

With winter approaching, please take care at drop-off and pick-up times, and drive with caution to ensure the boys are not at risk. To assist with the flow of traffic in the Grosvenor Street car park, we ask all boys from the ELC and Junior School not to play on the adventure playground after school. I would ask all parents to support this request. When using the Grosvenor Street car park, please:

  • keep to the left for drop-off and pick-up
  • do not leave your vehicle in the drop-off or pick-up zone to collect your son
  • do not park at the Oval end of the driveway (this is clearly marked ‘No Parking’).

Thanks for your support in keeping our boys safe.


Junior School Happenings and Reminders

  • The Junior School Semester 1 Music Concert will be held on Tuesday 12 June at 7.30pm in St Andrew’s Church. All Year 5 boys, Training Strings, Borwick House Choir, Wilson House Concert Band, Wilson House String Orchestra and the Guitar Ensemble will be performing. Boys are to wear their full winter uniform and need to be seated in St Andrew’s by 7.20pm. Further details are available via School Stream.
  • This morning, we waved farewell to our Touring Party of Year 6 boys, girls and staff from BGS and Firbank as they travel to Milikapiti and Pormpuraaw, and the Year 5 boys and staff who venture to Ballarat on their Gold Rush exploration of Sovereign Hill.
  • I will be visiting the Year 6 students in Pormpuraaw from Monday to Wednesday next week. I will then head to Daylesford on Thursday afternoon to visit our musicians at camp. Whilst I am off-site, Dean Bryan will be responsible for the Junior School.
  • The Prep–Year 2 boys look forward to hosting their Grandparents and Special Friends on the following dates from 9.45am to 11.00am:

Year 1 – Friday 15 June

Year 2 – Thursday 14 June

Prep – Thursday 21 June

  • A number of activities and clubs for the boys are available throughout the week. This provides the boys with opportunities to socialise, share their talents or find a quiet space to read and play. Please see below the list of activities, responsible staff members, times and locations.




Design Technology

(Bill Gibney)

Monday lunchtime

Technology Room


(Cathy Box)

Monday lunchtime

Vegetable garden          (next to the swimming pool)

PE Games

(Hamish Leahy)

Monday lunchtime

G. B. Robertson Hall

Board Games

(Monica Le Couteur)

Tuesday lunchtime

6 Discovery – Room 27

Coding Club Years 5/6

Tuesday lunchtime


Library Years 4–6

Chess; Reading; Computers

Tuesday lunchtime



(Jane Lowe)

Wednesday  recess

Jane Lowe’s – Room 21

Library Prep–Year 4

Chess; Reading; Computers

Wednesday lunchtime



(Mandy Foulds)

Thursday lunchtime

Art Room


(Hayley Blakiston)

Thursday lunchtime

Music Room

Coding Club Years 3/4

Thursday lunchtime



Student Achievements

Congratulations to the following boys from Years 3–6, who will be presented with Semester 1 Specialist Effort Cards at tomorrow’s Assembly in the G. B. Robertson Hall at 12.30pm:

Chinese – Tuur Craps, Thomas Dunne, Josh Fletcher, Lucas Hiscock, Charlie Sabin, Lochie Silva, Thomas Huw, Elden Zeng

Drama – Oskar Andersen, Tom Anderson, Joshua Avats, Kai Ballantyne, Keegan Barnedt, Sid King, Lachlan Lewis

Science – Ned Bailey, Harry Bowerman, Hamish Bramich, Mitchell Carney, Luke Connolly, Kyle Hearne

Year 5 boys awards will be presented their awards later, as they are attending the Ballarat Gold Rush trip.


Recognising National Reconciliation Week in the ELC

This week is Reconciliation Week across Australia and in the ELC, we have been focusing on the theme ‘Don’t keep history a mystery’. Throughout the week, the boys have been experiencing Aboriginal stories, learning traditions and understanding the cultural importance of Australia’s history. The boys have also learnt about traditional music and art, and attempted to express their own creativity across these areas. Today in our ELC assembly, we discussed our Indigenous background and cultural traditions, and were led by our 4 Wallaby class with an acknowledge to the custodians of this land on which we learn. We also decided to create our own celebration of the Aboriginal flag using each boy’s handprint. The flag will be displayed in our foyer from next week.

Amelia Barrow
Director of the Early Learning Centre

Fourth Generation for Ned

Ned Bellmaine (Year 12) is the fourth generation of his family to attend BGS. His great-great grandfather, Sir Harold Clapp (1875–1952), began at BGS in 1892. Sir Harold went on to become Chairman of the Victorian Railway Commissioners (1920–1939) and Director-General of Land Transport, coordinating Commonwealth and State road and rail transport (1942–1951). Ned received his Four Generations Badge in Assembly on Wednesday.

Ned’s family is one of four Four Generation BGS families that we know of, the others being the MacGlashan family, the Hay family and the Lemon family. Badges are presented to boys from Two, Three and Four BGS Generation families. If your son is second, third or fourth generation, please contact Peter Toms (tomsp@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au) in the Development Office.

BGS in the Media

  • ‘Should your school teach consent training?’ (the educator Australia) Click here
  • Watch out for legendary crossing supervisor Patrick Bourke, along with the Mayor of Bayside and excited BGS boys, on Channel 9’s Today show tomorrow (Friday) at 7.45am.


Parenting Tip

Click here to view this week’s Parenting Tip: 10 ways to help children shift their moods


Teaching and Learning

Lower Primary Enrichment

Coding teaches students to be thinkers, problem solvers and digital creators. In Lower Primary, throughout the year, the boys have an opportunity to experience and experiment with coding.

The Prep boys are introduced to programming using Bee-Bots. They become familiar with the specific vocabulary associated with programming and learn how to control the robot by creating simple algorithms. Using directional language, the boys code their Bee-Bot around floor mats and self-constructed mazes.

The next level occurs in Year 1, when the boys enjoy learning computational thinking skills by programming Dash Bots through coding on iPads. The app Blockly introduces the boys to the commands that drive the robots. Once the boys have their licence, they can create original programs using voice, lights and sounds, and make the robots respond to obstacles.

Year 2 boys work with Scratch Jr to create their own interactive stories. They put together programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance and speak. The boys modify characters in the paint editor and can insert photos of themselves. These stories are shared with their classmates and Prep students.


Opera Australia Visits BGS

The photos say it all, but for more, click here.


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

JPG News

JPG Meeting –The next JPG Meeting will be held on Tuesday 5 June at 8.45am in the G. B. Robertson hall.  All welcome.

Save the Date – Junior School Ball – Friday 7 September 2018