A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston


In discussions about Brighton Grammar and what makes it stand out, the term ‘community’ always comes up. On Sunday, we witnessed a great example of what community looks like. The cold, wet and windy weather gave way to brilliant sunshine for the sixth staging of Connor’s Run. ‘Team BGS’ – runners, volunteers, supporters – came together with other communities and helped raise over $1 million to assist in the fight against brain cancer in children. We’re proud to continue to play a part in this amazing community event.

Last week, ‘community’ was manifest at the 50 Years On Reunion, where Old Boys who left BGS over 50 years ago came together. Old Boy and BGS Hall of Famer Peter Harvey (OB 1957) spoke with great passion about the strong sense of community that BGS maintains, in part due to our single campus and relatively small size.

The School Council has recently resolved that BGS will remain a single-campus school, with student numbers to increase only marginally in the foreseeable future. This will enable us to retain our powerful sense of community, and to ensure that each boy is ‘known’ and feels that he belongs. Within this culture of community, we are in a position to deliver the best education to our boys.

I thank everyone in the BGS community for the efforts that have gone into Term 3 and I wish everyone a safe and restful break. We look forward to welcoming the boys back on Tuesday 9 October.

Connor’s Run – members of Team BGS (at least, most of them!)

From the Deputy Headmaster, Head of Secondary School, Dr Rachel Horton

For the second time this term, I am very fortunate to be writing this article after returning from a visit to some of our boys on an Outdoor Education journey. Last week, I spent two days in the beautiful Grampians, hiking and mountain bike riding with the Year 8s. The weather was fantastic and spirits were high. I had some great conversations with the boys, was treated to a delicious ‘bucket lunch’ whipped up by the catering group, and watched them support each other when they were struggling under heavy packs or riding up steep inclines or along sandy single tracks.

The process for appointment of 2019 prefects has been ongoing and I have spent the past few weeks thinking a great deal about leadership. Many of the Year 8 students I spent time with last week demonstrated natural leadership qualities in the way they motivated and organised their groups or supported their peers quietly and without question.

Having recently spoken to all of the potential prefects for next year and many more Year 11 students who aspire to other leadership positions within the School, I have asked each of them about their vision for BGS. The recurring theme has been one of inclusion: all types of student; recognition of achievement in all areas of School involvement; and greater integration across the year levels. I have been impressed by their ideas and passion for the School and I look forward to working with them next term and onwards to both build on the legacy of Brad Marais and his leadership group, and to move towards their own goals.

The probationary prefects for 2019 will be announced at Final Assembly on Friday afternoon. This will be followed by the Annual BGS/FGS Prefect netball match, which is sure to provide a highly entertaining end to the term.

Colours Assembly

Today in Assembly we recognised the achievements of boys in Music, the Senior Production, Debating and Public Speaking. Boys received Full, Half or Service Colours depending on their level of involvement and, in some cases, year level.

Felix Gong (Year 12) gave a thought-provoking speech on freedom of speech in social media, arguing that, as a platform and not a publication, people should be free to decide for themselves what they read and comment on and not be beholden to the companies that run them. He was clearly a worthy winner of the Senior Public Speaking Competition.

The Choir performed a fabulous rendition of If I Have My Ticket, Lord and the formal part of Assembly finished with a video package of highlights from the recent World Class expeditions, which Year 10 students completed recently. Thanks to Tommy Colaci (Year 10) for putting this together.

Kai Weight then spoke of his friendship with past student and School House Captain Jordan Mace, who recently lost his sister to a tragic event while on holiday. All boys observed a minutes’ silence as a tribute.

Finally, the Year 12 Prefects used a video to advertise the FGS vs BGS netball match at Firbank Grammar this Friday after school and encouraged as many boys as possible to attend.

David Liddle
Deputy Head of Secondary School (11-12)

Rising to the Challenges by Recognising Inner Strengths

Year 8 boys from Rofe, School and Hancock houses followed in the footsteps of Armstrong, Crowther and Dixon this week by making the journey out to the ancient lands of Gariwerd (the Grampians) to experience the wildflower season. The weather has been cooler and a little wetter, but that hasn’t stopped a number of our boys choosing to challenge themselves by sleeping out in the open either under a group tarp or directly beneath the stars!

One of our main foci over the past two weeks was to allow the boys a chance to cement their PROSPER classroom learnings and utilise the VIA Strengths in real-world contexts. The boys have been exposed to the idea of VIA Strengths in the classroom and have completed the Strengths survey (a quiz that ranks from 1 to 24 the strengths that describe them best). Each group was given a stack of small cards with the various VIA Strengths written on them and briefed as to how they could ‘strength spot’ as the days progressed. These cards encouraged the boys to engage with and appreciate their own strengths as well as seeking out and appreciating the strengths in others.

Through the challenges of the OE program, we are trying to help the boys develop a positive mindset and a sense of resilience through a strengths focus that they can then apply to their social, academic and sporting lives at School and at home. As you may have read in last week’s eNews from Travis Hopgood, the boys have embraced the exercise, strength-spotting in the adults present as well as in each other!

Last Thursday was R U OK? Day around Australia and we

incorporated the concept of looking out for one another into our Outdoor Education journey this week. In times of shared difficulty, some members of the group or team tend to struggle more than others; when we know that people are there for us, it strengthens our sense of belonging, which has been linked with improved mental health.  As educators, we have made a concerted effort over the past two weeks to encourage the boys to be open and honest with the whole team about how they are travelling (physically, mentally and emotionally). Some great debriefs have been facilitated around campfires and boys have shared courageously whether they ‘R OK’.

At our departure on Sunday morning, Nathan O’Malley (Assistant Head of OE) explained that there will be lots of challenges during the boys’ Outdoor Education experiences at BGS; but at the end of the day, it isn’t the challenges that matter most, but how each one of us responds to those challenges as the outward examples of our inner character. Outdoor Education at Brighton Grammar naturally exposes and grows these character strengths in a safe and supportive environment.

David Gemmell
Head of Outdoor Education

Annandale Open to Students!

From the start of Term 4, the new strength and conditioning room in Annandale will be open to all Secondary School students. Training will occur before School (7.00–8.00am) and after School (3.45–5.30pm). Students are required to register online so that they can book into the training sessions that suit them.

Each session will be run by two strength and conditioning instructors, giving students plenty of individual attention and regular feedback. Members of the strength and conditioning team have been selected because of their high level of knowledge in training boys between the ages of 11 and 18 years.

Sessions will be run in line with age groups to cater for the specific needs of students in different developmental stages. (Students in Years 7 and 8 will have their own training times, as will students in Years 9 to 12.) We encourage all students to get involved. The sessions will cater for elite athletes and for the boy who just wants to improve his health wellbeing.

We look forward to seeing the boys training before and after school next term!

Peter Whitehead
Head of Faculty – Health, Physical Education, Wellbeing, Philosophy Ethics Belief

RU OK? Day

For R U OK? Day 2018, the Student Wellbeing Committees for Years 7–8 and 9–12 joined forces to put on a barbecue for the whole of Secondary School at the St Andrew’s end. It was great to see boys and staff across the year levels working together to create a bright and yummy event that could be enjoyed by all. The barbecue was a great success for a great cause, with funds going to Kids Helpline. We look forward to more combined events that support mental health as well as the BGS ‘As One’ culture.


Naomi Tham
Secondary School Psychologist (Years 9–12)

BGS Communications

BGS communicates with you in different ways but we hope that the process is clear. Here’s a reminder of the types of communications you can expect to receive from our various channels.

School Stream (app)

The School uses the app to send you notifications about day-to-day operations, such as upcoming events.

Year-level coordinators might contact you about social events using the app.


Your son’s teachers use email to be in touch with you when necessary.

When your consent is required for an excursion, you’ll receive an email.

Occasionally, the Headmaster uses email to convey important information about the School.

The Hub The Hub is for communication between staff and boys. However, using your parent login, you can look at your son’s curriculum, grades, reports etc.
BGS eNews Read the eNews (right here!) to find out what’s been happening during the week in all areas of the School.

If your son is not in attendance at School without explanation, you will receive an SMS.

In the unlikely event of a crisis at the School, you’ll receive an SMS.

Did you know?

The new Parent Hub on our website has quick links to everything you need, including the School Calendar. Check it out here.

To save the Parent Hub to the home screen on your phone (iOS), follow these instructions:

  1. On your mobile, open your browser and go to http://www.brightongrammar.vic.edu.au/current-parents
  2. Click on the ‘Share’ button (square button with the upward-pointing arrow).
  3. In the pop-up menu, select ‘Add to Home Screen’.
  4. Change the bookmark name so that it suits you and click ‘Add’.
  5. The Parent Hub will appear on your home screen next to your apps.

To save the Parent Hub to the home screen on your phone (Android), follow these instructions:

  1. On your mobile, open your browser and go to http://www.brightongrammar.vic.edu.au/current-parents
  2. Click on ‘More options’ (three dots).
  3. In the pop-up menu, select ‘Add to Home Screen’.
  4. Change the bookmark name so that it suits you and click ‘Add’.
  5. The Parent Hub will appear on your home screen next to your apps.

Science Babies

Molly (born 14 July) to Anthony Keane and Cat; Aston (born 18 May) to Kylie May and Rodney (pictured here with big sister Harper); and Astrid (born 30 May) to Patrick Sanders and Ailie.

New Senior Blazer Fitting Times

Current Years 10 and 11 boys will be presented with a new Senior Blazer as part of the Rites of Passage program.

Blazers will be fitted for current boys entering Year 11 and Year 12 in 2019 during lunchtime on the following dates in Robert Sanderson Centenary Hall:

Year 11 2019: Tuesday 16 October
Year 12 2019: Thursday 18 October

All Years 10 and 11 boys should attend a fitting.

BGS Creative Arts Show 2018

Launch of SchoolTV

Raising happy, healthy and resilient children is challenging for families. Like never before, parents need to be informed with clear, fact-based information on the many difficulties faced by young people. BGS is currently trialling a new resource,  SchoolTV. There is a separate platform for Junior School and Secondary School, giving parents access to information that is relevant to their child’s age and developmental level.

Each edition of SchoolTV addresses a major topic, with expert interviews, fact sheets, quizzes, recommended apps, books and much more. SchoolTV aggregates information from many great resources such as BeyondBlue and ReachOut. It provides a single stream of independent factual information that saves families from having to search online across multiple sites for information.

You can access the Secondary School platform for SchoolTV by clicking here:


Of particular interest might be the Special Report Edition by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg titled ‘Fortnite – should you be worried?’

We trust that you will find the resource very helpful. Please feel free to email Danielle Wolff (Secondary School Psychologist – Years 7 and 8) at dwolff@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au or Naomi Tham (Secondary School Psychologist – Years 9 to 12) at ntham@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au with any feedback on SchoolTV. We’d love to know whether you find it a useful resource.

Community Film Night

Hancock House warmly invites the extended BGS community to attend a special film night in memory of Rose Mennie, loving mother of Stephen (OB2014) and Nicholas (OB2017), who lost her battle with cancer at the end of last year.

All funds raised will be donated in Rose’s memory to the Love Your Sister foundation (https://www.facebook.com/loveyoursister or www.loveyoursister.org).

The film, A Star is Born, is receiving critical claim prior to its release in Australia. It stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, and our film night is being held the day after its national release. A trailer for the film can be viewed here.

This event is open to current parents, students, Old Boys and staff as well as past parents, families and friends.

We look forward to your support and would love to see you there.

Date:  Friday 19 October

Time: 6.30pm (Palace will confirm final start time and ticket buyers will be emailed final confirmation)

Where: Palace Cinemas, Church Street Brighton

Tickets: $20 adult, $17 student (book here)

Dates for the Diary

Fri 21 September
– Last day of Term 3 
– Year 12 Prefects vs FGS netball game
– Years 9 and 10 House Debating Competition

Mon 8 October
– Year 9 Preparation Day – Rivers Journey

Tue 9 October
– Term 4 commences 
– Year 8 iDesign Day 
– Year 9 Rivers Journey

Wed 10 October
– Creative Arts Show 
– iDesign People’s Choice

Thu 11 October
– Headmaster’s Cocktail Function for Year 12 leaving parents 

Sat 13 October
– Syndicate Session