A word from the Headmaster, Ross Featherston

‘As One’ and Love

Welcome back to the new school year. Our weekly eNews has returned to a weekly, more ‘newsy’ publication, which I hope you’ll enjoy. Be sure to take the time to look at the ‘Crowther Thinking’ section for stories about Teaching and Learning throughout the School.

Student voice and buy-in is a key aspect of life at BGS and I am very pleased that the Year 12 leaders have chosen the mantra ‘As One’ for the School this year. Via this mantra, each boy is challenged to be a better man today than the man he was yesterday. This is a challenge that is worth further discussion and exploration throughout 2018.

Like Sir Graham Henry when he addressed the Secondary School boys, I took up this ‘As One’ mantra at our opening Secondary School Eucharist last Friday and tied it to the Gospel reading in which Jesus commands us to love each other. I also explored the role that love plays at an all boys’ school. I think that love – and the central role it plays in our boys’ lives – is something we all should consider more deeply, particularly as we ask our boys in 2018 to be better men today than they were yesterday. The full text of my address can be found here.

I am confident the BGS community has a great 2018 in store and I wish you all the very best for the year ahead.


From the Head of Junior School, Peter Tellefson

It is a pleasure to welcome you all to the commencement of the 2018 School Year. The Prep to Year 2 team were all smiles as they entered the newly refurbished classroom spaces. Our boys are generally excited to be back, staff will establish routines quickly and I am sure you are all pleased to have your son back at school. A special welcome to our new boys and their families. I am sure that, with the supportive network that exists at Wilson House, you will quickly feel a strong sense of connection and belonging. Welcome to our returning staff: Alison Main (4 Bass), Jessica Taylor (Drama/Leadership Release), Laura Hall (Science) and Sarah Marian (Leadership Release). And a warm welcome to Bradley Todd (Year 3/4 Classroom Music), who joins our Music team.

The JPG plays a vital role in the life of the Junior School, not only through fundraising, but by maintaining a sense of connection and community. The JPG is: Brigitte McGregor (Parent Liaison), Kirsty Davis (Treasurer), Megan MacSweeney (Communications), Sarah Fearn (Volunteer and Year-Level Facilitator), Eva Aschman and Melissa Cowan (Fundraising Facilitators), Nick Bulfin (Events Facilitator), and Kerstin Barber, Nicole Sexton, Lisa Schnepf and Marina Regelman (Hospitality Facilitators).


Junior School happenings and reminders

• Many thanks to the families that donated Christmas gifts to Mackillop Family Services. We received the following feedback from one of the family practitioners, who delivered gifts to a young father who has been struggling with homelessness and trauma:

All of his feelings of inadequacy wash away as his daughter’s little face beams with excitement. She smiles with the pride of a daughter who knows she is special. Who knows she’s loved. As my client turns his gaze to me, with his little girl held tightly in his arms, he gives a look of gratitude that was not meant for me, but for us all.

• Please cooperate with the School’s policy and do not include nuts, or food containing a high concentration of nuts (such as peanut butter), in your son’s lunch.

• BGS policy requires parents who wish to assist or participate in any class activities or programs to hold a current Working with Children Check. Application forms can be completed online at http://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/home/applications/.

• Parents are encouraged to access the Junior School Handbook 2018, which will answer many questions and assist with your son’s transition. Please click here to view.

• When entering and exiting the Grosvenor Street carpark, please note that the drop-off/pick-up zone is on the left-hand side of the driveway. Parents who use the drop-off/pick-up zone will need to approach this area via the northern (Oval) side of the tree at the far end of the carpark. The exit lane is on the right-hand side. These areas are clearly marked. To assist with the flow of traffic, we ask all boys from the ELC and Junior School not to play on the adventure playground after school; as parents, please support this request. The safety of our boys is paramount.

• The Tuckshop is organised and staffed by Alliance. Orders can be placed online via the Flexischool’s website by 8.30am each day at http://www.flexischools.com.au.

• Where possible, please make necessary appointments for your son outside school hours. If you need to collect your son during school hours, please complete sign-out details at Reception. If you are visiting the Junior School during school hours, please enter via Reception and collect a Visitor’s Pass.


We have big boys in the Early Learning Centre!

What a wonderful start we have had to 2018! With our new long-day care structure, we began the school year on 15 January with the ELC Holiday Program. I was so proud of the boys as they arrived, some for their first day in the ELC. Even more touching was the boys’ pride in their BGS uniform and their excitement at being a “big school boy now”. It really shows how boys love feeling a part of something. Kirstie McCormick and Bing Li have implemented an exciting program and have been instrumental in settling the long-day care boys into their new routines.

Last Thursday, the ELC staff couldn’t wait to open the doors and welcome the boys into their new classrooms. We had nerves, mixed with excitement, topped off with a little curiosity, and the Centre was buzzing with learning by 9am. As I often say, although the boys are dressed in uniforms, they’re still very young – and we don’t forget that. This year’s classes have surprised us with how quickly they have either settled back into routine or adjusted to a completely new environment. We thank parents for their support during this transition and welcome feedback on how to continually develop in our practice.

Our new sign-in system is running smoothly. Please remember to sign in and out each day. If you have any queries about the system, don’t hesitate to ask your son’s teacher or me. Door pin codes have been set depending on your enrolment option. If you forget your code, please ask. A great way to remember is to put it in your phone notes.

We have been very impressed with the healthy morning teas and lunches the boys have been bringing. Please place named lunch items that need refrigeration in your classroom cooler bag. Sunscreen is provided outside each room; in Term 1, we ask for your assistance in applying sunscreen prior to entering the classroom. We reapply sunscreen with the boys after lunch. It’s important we teach the boys to be sun-smart from a young age.

Claire Clarke has displayed a recent reading initiative from the local libraries, which promotes the importance of reading books with your child each day. Feel free to take a pamphlet to learn more about this easy way to encourage a love of literacy.

Our specialist classes begin next week. Please make sure your son arrives on time in the morning (ELC4 8.45am and ELC3 9.00am). We begin every day with a mindfulness practice before our learning begins; boys benefit most if they participate daily and the practice becomes part of their routine. Each class will send home their Weekly Timetable so you know your son’s program; however, please note that this may change. We have also sent home a Term Dates Calendar so you can pop important events in your diary. More information to come!

Food alert – we have children diagnosed with anaphylaxis in the ELC. Please ensure that your son does not bring any nuts or nut products, shellfish or seafood into the Centre. Anaphylaxis is potentially life-threatening and we thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we strive to provide the safest environment for all boys in our care.

If you would like to contact your Classroom Teacher, please email them directly or call the ELC on 8591 2284. Long-Day Care enquiries can be made to Kirstie McCormick on 8591 1104.

We look forward to a wonderful year ahead together, and can’t wait to inspire the boys’ learning.

Amelia Barrow
Director of the Early Learning Centre


Parenting tip

Click here to view this week’s Parenting Tip: Exposing kids to challenges helps prevent anxiety in later life.


Teaching & Learning

The first weeks of a school year

In the first weeks of the school year, we focus on establishing routines, expectations and acceptable behaviour both within the classroom and in the playground. During this time, old friendships are renewed and new relationships are built; it is important that the boys take part in ‘getting to know you’ activities so that connections can be made.

Before-school routines set the boys up for a successful day. Our early-morning routine consists of the boys coming into the room, greeting their teacher, and putting their bag in their locker, their homework folder on their table and their blazer over the back of their chair. This way, the boys feel organised and ready to work!

During Circle Time, the boys shared their holiday highlights. In their work, effort and detail are encouraged and celebrated. Feedback is given to each boy, including suggestions on how to improve. High expectations are not negotiable, and while some boys find this challenging in these first weeks, it soon becomes the norm in 2 Waratah. The meaning of ‘cool feedback’ and its importance for growth is constantly discussed and this will continue throughout the year.

The boys, as a whole class, read and discussed ‘Caring about myself and others’ from the Record Book. The boys thought of rules for the classroom to ensure a safe and organised environment that will make life easier for all in 2 Waratah. The rules will encourage acceptable behaviour within the room to ensure that quality learning takes place at all times. The BGS values of Passion, Accountability, Respect and Integrity were discussed and related to our learning and attitude towards others.

Mindfulness plays an important part in our busy day. I like to focus on deep breathing with the aim of letting the boys know that they can practise mindfulness anywhere they may be.

Christine Marks
2 Waratah Homeroom Teacher


First Day of Prep

Last Thursday, our new Preps enjoyed their first day of school. The boys were excited to explore their brand new (refurbished) classrooms and meet their teachers. During the first few weeks of Term 1, Prep boys will learn the school routines and enjoy the array of specialist subjects on offer. Independence is another huge focus for our newest students, as they navigate lunch boxes, school bags and walking to and from the playground on their own.

The boys enjoyed a number of activities on their first day, including spelling their first-ever SMART word (‘cat’) and learning about the correct formation of numbers. A definite highlight was meeting their Year 6 Buddies! Each Friday, the Preps and their Buddies will meet and engage in a range of activities. This week the boys learnt about each other’s interests and created their own secret handshakes!

We wish our Prep students all the best for the coming year.


JPG News

Year-Level Representatives and Volunteers
The JPG are looking for Year-Level Representatives and a general pool of volunteers. For Year-Level Reps, we need at least one volunteer from each class, but 2–4 people per year level is great. Representatives work as a team to coordinate social events within their year level and arrange volunteers for one event per year (e.g. mustering four volunteers for delivering food to classrooms for end-of-term lunches). Tasks are neither onerous nor time-consuming and it is an opportunity to connect with and contribute to the BGS community. Please email juniorparents@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au if you are interested in being involved, either as a Year-Level Rep or as a volunteer. The more the merrier!

Junior School Welcome Picnic
Save the date! The BGS Junior School Family Night will be held on Friday 2 March in the Junior School grounds. This is an opportunity for families to get together informally, welcome new families and enjoy a picnic. Tables will be provided in the Red Square and the JPG will provide a free sausage sizzle and icy poles for the boys (first come, first served). BYO picnic and drinks.

JPG major events for Term 1:
6 February
JPG Meeting, G. B. Robertson Hall, 8.45–9.30am
2 March
JPG Welcome Picnic
6 March
JPG Meeting, G. B. Robertson Hall, 8.45–9.30am


Friends of Music Social Evening

All Prep to Year 12 Music Parents welcome! Come join us for drinks and canapés, performances by BGS music students and presentation of 2018 Music Leaders.

Monday 26 February, 7.30pm, Robert Sanderson Centenary Hall

Please RSVP here by WEDNESDAY 21 FEBRUARY – we look forward to seeing you there!


2018 Camps, Sports and Excursions Funding – Are you eligible?

The Victorian Government Department of Education and Training (Vic DET) has announced that applications for the Camps, Sport and Excursions Fund (CSEF) for 2018 are now open. Applications close at the end of Term 2, 2018.

The CSEF was introduced by the Victorian Government in 2015 to replace the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). CSEF aims to provide financial support to schools, to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend school camps, sports events and excursions.

If you think your son may be eligible, click here for further information. Application forms are also available at this site.

If you have any queries about applications, please contact Payroll & Financial Accounts Coordinator Fiona Kerr (kerrf@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au).


School Stream – remember to update your settings

The School Stream app is used for day-to-day operational communication. Please ensure that your categories are up to date for 2018.

In line with the new Secondary School structure, the former Middle School and Senior School campuses have been merged. You may need to add the Secondary School as another School.

If you can’t see 2018 categories, please go to Settings (in the ‘hamburger’ menu in the top left-hand corner of your screen) and choose: Settings – Clear Data – Clear All. You should now be able to see the updated settings.

Click here for the School Stream guide. If you need help, please email SchoolStream@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au.