A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Some changes to BGS Sport

As you know, last term, I commissioned a review of our Year 7–12 co-curricular sports program. Thanks to the 480 Secondary School parents and the 240 Secondary School boys who completed the Sports Review Survey and to the parents, staff and boys who took part in more in-depth meetings and interviews with our external consultant.

Broadly, the review revealed a couple of interesting elements. First, our community understands that sport is a key part of a BGS education and plays an important role in ‘teaching’ our boys lessons around teamwork, dealing with both success and failure, resilience, being physically healthy and the like. Second, the review indicated that BGS Sport is in reasonable shape; at the same time, we can take advantage of a number of opportunities to enhance the experience of all boys through BGS Sport.

Therefore, I am pleased to let you know that there will be some changes to BGS Sport for 2019. Among others, a key change will be the introduction of a Director of Coaching role. The Director of Coaching will train our sports coaches (particularly our young Old Boys) to coach in line with the principles that are used in the classroom, in the outdoors and in all aspects of a BGS education. Further, we will increase the administrative support we provide to BGS Sport to ensure that sports administration runs smoothly and that communications are clear.

While these changes might not result in more BGS match wins (this was not the aim of the review), it is envisaged that they will improve the sporting experience for all boys at BGS and ensure that this aspect of the curriculum aligns closely with the rest of their education here.

Have a great week – and if you are free on Saturday, drop in to Annandale and have a look at this great new facility while our 1st XVIII take on Xavier on the Crowther. Kick-off is 2pm. All welcome!


From the Deputy Head of Secondary School (7–8), Travis Hopgood

In Semester 2, we’ve hit the ground running!

Our new boys and staff have received a warm welcome, 2019 Information Evenings were well attended, NAIDOC week activities were a highlight and the School Service program has raised much-needed awareness and donations.

More than 4000 Parent Teacher Discussions have taken place, with over 80% of enrolled families attending. It’s great to see BGS teachers and parents working in concert to empower our boys to build on feedback and achieve their learning goals. Research shows that the more that parents are involved in their children’s education, the better off their kids will be, emotionally and academically (click here to read the research). Parent Teacher Discussions have also helped us to further establish the positive learning habits and routines we’re focusing this term.

Brighton Grammar celebrated NAIDOC week by inviting Will Austin and Alex Splitt from Yarn Bark to present to the boys in Years 7-8 (see Jamie Bennell’s report here).  A key theme among the traditional songs and storytelling was that of self-worth. Our self-worth, identity and sense of belonging is what connects us as individuals to our culture and society.

School Captain Brad Marais addressed the staff on Monday morning, requesting our continued support for the ‘As one’ theme of the Secondary School this year. It is important that we all use the boys’ language: ‘Be a better man today than you were yesterday’ and ‘If I can’t, we can.’

In fact, the Middle Years’ upcoming production of Shrek is a great reminder that we can all be more mindful of the words we use with each other. As Shrek says to Donkey: ‘Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We all have layers.’


Book Week 

Author Visits 

Nicki Greenberg, a Melbourne-based writer and illustrator, spoke to the Year 9 and 10 classes last Friday. She explained how her career as a lawyer was superseded by her love for drawing, creating graphic novels and writing children’s books.  Our students were fascinated to learn that her adaptations of The Great Gatsby and Hamlet were labours of love that took six and three years respectively. These texts are studied by our senior students, so her interpretations were especially meaningful in our English curriculum.

During lunchtime in the Senior Library, Nicki presented an intimate look at her drawings and her process of adapting characters to the graphic form. Her enthusiasm for her creative process, as well as her keen attention to detail, generated insightful questions from the audience during all the sessions, and the boys appreciated her willingness to answer them.

On Tuesday 24 July, the Year 7 and 8 students welcomed George Ivanoff, the author of over 100 books. George spoke about the process of writing and editing a book. The boys were surprised to hear that authors often have no say in what appears on the cover of their books! George read an excerpt from one of his ‘You Choose’ series of books and the students voted for each choice. It was a great interactive visit and George answered questions at the end.

Find Your Treasure

The theme for this year’s Book Week was ‘Find your treasure’ and the boys embraced a number of activities. Each day, the boys were invited to tell us of their most treasured book and what they would do if they won a million dollars, as well as to guess teachers’ favourite books.

We also introduced our reading promotion for Term 3, Game of Loans, which encourages boys to share what they are reading with our school community by writing reviews on our library management system. Years 9 and 10 classes are reading, reviewing and recruiting staff members to join them in reviewing as many books as they can by the end of term – prizes to be won!

Our special daily activities included team games, a student versus teacher debate and a book treasure hunt.  With all these book-related activities, we hope that everyone found some ‘treasure’ in their week.

7–8 Debate

To celebrate Book Week, we ran a student vs staff debate on the topic ‘Students should be paid to attend school’. The teachers argued the affirmative while our student team argued the negative. Mr Machar, Mr Nixon and Ms Plozza put forward a well-supported argument detailing the benefits of a payment system. They discussed motivation, learning financial skills and incentivising students and staff. Our student team of James Hepples, Jenson Galvin and Will Fearn made some compelling arguments about how such a scheme would be funded, the effects on motivation and the idea that education is not the same as a job. Both teams spoke well and the adjudicators were split, with a vote either way. It was a great way to spend lunchtime and we thank all who participated and came to watch.

Lisa Tabone 

Kat Gronn
Librarian (Urwin Centre)


Dodge Ball Game

Boy oh boy, wowee are just four words that sum up the thrilling game of student vs teacher dodgeball that took place last Friday. Believe me, this was not just any game of dodgeball; it was every Middle Year student’s chance to enter a draw for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to throw a ball at their biggest rivals, the teachers.

Whether it was Mr Nixon’s Mexican fiesta or Mr Cook’s North Melbourne spirit, the teachers certainly weren’t mucking around.

Unfortunately, all the gloss and glamour the teachers brought to the court wasn’t enough to take down the competitive speed and strength of our elected students. Let’s just say the teachers got their ambitions confused with their limitations. The money raised went to the Winter Appeal, which gives back to over 3 million Australians facing tough choices surrounding poverty. We as a school and ‘as one’ are working hard to give them another choice and a brighter future.  

James Bourke (Year 8)


Student Achievements

Lachie Jackett-Simpson and Ewan Smith (Year 10) swam for Team VIC and BGS at the National Schools Swimming Championship in Hobart over the past week. Swimmers are selected to represent their states at this national competition. Both boys swam exceedingly well, making numerous finals (top eight swimmers). Lachie came away with six medals (from individual events and relays): one gold (open 4x100m freestyle – a great win for Team VIC), two silver and three bronze. Ewan placed in the top 10 in his seven events, achieving a PB 5th in the 100m butterfly final. Congratulations!


Do You Want a Stickybeak?

The BGS Athletics Season Launch 2018 is being held in our new Annandale Sports Pavilion. Apart from the chance to see this amazing new facility, you’ll hear from guest speakers Andy McGrath (2016 BGS School and Athletics Captain, 2016 #1 AFL Draft pick and 2017 AFL NAB Rising Star) and BGS middle-distance coach Sonia O’Sullivan (Olympic medalist, World Champion and World Record Holder). All welcome!

Thursday 16 August 2018, 7.30–10.30pm
The NEW Annandale Sports Pavilion
$20 per person includes finger food with drinks at bar prices
Book here: https://www.trybooking.com/XBLN 


Europe Tour 2019

Don’t forget this exciting trip – the first time a Europe Tour has been offered at Brighton Grammar. Open to boys currently in the tour focuses on historical discoveries and achievements, including the City of Rome, Galileo Museum, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. WE will also experience the cutting-edge technology found at the Ferrari Red Campus and the Synchro-Cyclotran at CERN. Registrations close 15 August. For further information, contact Biddy Duckham (bduckham@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au).


BGS Bods

This week we hear from Raelene Plozza, Literacy Coach (Prep–Year 8) and Middle Years Debating Coordinator.

  1. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My Golden Retriever, Rufus. Once he hears the alarm, he thinks it’s Rufus time. I imagine he waits patiently for that alarm to go off each morning, watching me in deep concentration. It is a little disconcerting.  

  1. Where did you go to school?

Gippsland Grammar School.

  1. Given a day to yourself, what would you do?

Read, run, walk on the beach and cook.

  1. What is on your wish list for your time at BGS?

Most of all I’d like to encourage teachers, because the influence of a great teacher is powerful.

I’d like to motivate more boys to love reading.

I’d like to learn more from boys about their learning.

I eagerly anticipate seeing my first BGS Prep class graduate in 2020.

  1. What’s the most recent app you downloaded and have you used it?

Babbel, to help me with learning a bit of Italian before I go to Italy at the end of the term. Hmm, I haven’t used it enough yet!

Shrek The Musical Jr.

Shrek Jr. opens next week! The students involved have been working very hard for many months and are looking forward to the shows on Wednesday 8, Thursday 9 and Friday 10 August in Rosstrevor Hall. The show starts promptly at 7pm (doors open 6.30pm). It’s a great production – bring the family!

Book now!

Biennial Choral Concert

The biennial Choral Concert featuring Years 4–12 students is next Tuesday 7 August, 4–5.15pm, at St Andrew’s Brighton. This year, all choral groups are celebrating female composers, arrangers and artists. We’d love to see you there to enjoy the work of our singers and choristers.


Breakfast with the Hunter Family

Along with his sons James (OB1999), Luke (OB2002) and Tim (OB2003), and daughters Natalie and Madeline, entrepreneur Jeff Hunter has developed Hunter Products into one of Australia’s leading importers of toys and sporting goods. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing!

Join us for the next BGS Business Breakfast to discover Jeff’s keys to success and to hear more about the Hunters’ fascinating journey combining family and business.

Thursday 16 August, 7–9am, The International, Brighton

Book now


Dates for the Diary

Mon 6 August
– Chess Kids Bayside Region Tournament 

Tue 7 August
– Choral Soiree 

Wed 8 August
– Assembly (Academic Colours) 
– BGS/FGS Middle Years (7–9) Production 
– Subject Selection Conversations 
– Year 9 Tomorrow Man Session 1 

Thu 9 August
Australian Mathematics Competition 
BGS/FGS Middle Years (7–9) Production 
Senior Public Speaking Competition 
Subject Selections Due 
Year 11 & 12 House Futsal Competition

Fri 10 August
– BGS/FGS Middle Years (7–9) Production
– Year 10 B2M: Remaining programs depart 

Wed 15 August        
– Woodwind Soiree 1 

Wed 22 August        
– Senior Concert Band