A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Helping your son become an Effective Learner

Helping your son with his homework can be a challenge. This challenge can become even larger as your son progresses through school and starts tackling subjects such as Physics, Specialist Mathematics, Latin or Economics.

However, research indicates that there are ways parents can help even if their son is studying complex subjects like these. Our Effective Learner model below, coupled with the work of Evidence for Learning (click here), indicates that there are four areas in which parents can help.

First, parents can help their son build a positive attitude to learning and encourage a growth mindset. This involves helping your son to recognise that mistakes are necessary to learning, and focusing your praise on effort and attitude rather than the result.

Second, we need to support our boys to develop an understanding of their own learning processes by helping them figure out how they work and learn best. As I mentioned in last week’s eNews, our 2017 Dux, David Lawlor, gave the Secondary School boys this advice: Figure out how you learn and stick with it.

Third, we need to help our boys recognise that learning does require effort. Just as training for a musical concert or a sporting competition takes practice and hard work, so too does academic learning. Having an understanding of the architecture and processes involved in learning is critical.

Finally, we need to show our boys that feedback is a key aspect of their learning. Through meaningful conversations, boys are more likely to become open to seeking, acting upon and even giving feedback. After all, if a boy doesn’t receive feedback and doesn’t act on it, he will not know about his progress and will not know how to progress.

So – even if you don’t know much about mathematical polynomials with integer coefficients – model, discuss, value and support these four areas with your son at the right time, in the right way and in the right place. He’ll thank you for it, one day.

PDF version available here.


From the Head of Secondary School – Dr Rachel Horton

The Historical Assembly has become an annual event on the BGS calendar, providing an opportunity for the Secondary School to come together to reflect upon the School’s significance for boys throughout its 136 years. On Wednesday, Andrew Mullett, School Captain 1968, joined the Historical Assembly to share his experiences. He regaled the boys with stories from his time at BGS and reflected on how each of them would be seen in a different light today. His final message was that despite the fantastic stories of incidents that were usually hilarious in hindsight, his fondest memories were of the everyday routine. He felt safe and valued at BGS and knew that if he did his best and worked hard, he would be rewarded.

This year, it was a privilege to also have 32 members of the Pendennis Chapter sitting in the audience among our current students. Five of these members were also past School Captains. All BGS boys are invited to join the Pendennis Chapter 60 years after graduation. The Chapter takes its name from Pendennis House (184 New Street), which was built in1886 to house 25 boarders and the Crowther family. In that year, there were just 77 boys attending Brighton Grammar.

We all have a lot to learn from history. We learn from other people’s mistakes and also their victories, while using them to shape our own decisions. History also shows us where we have come from and helps us to understand ourselves and our society. It can encourage us to think about how we might like to be remembered and what our personal legacy might be.  


Facing Fears and Finding Pride

I can often be heard to say that I learn more about the boys in my care in the five days at the Outdoor Education program each year than during any other week. Some boys are immediately comfortable in the Outdoor Ed environment, others less so, and some face various fears and find the week quite a struggle. I am always glad to see those who have been pushed outside their comfort zone finish the week with a smile on their face and a feeling of genuine accomplishment.

Boys from Hancock, Rofe and School should be very proud of themselves after what was a wonderful week away. There were lots of laughs, a great deal of bonding and a feeling of pride upon heading home on Friday afternoon. It wasn’t always easy – but then again, life isn’t!

I am always interested to hear the various groups reflecting the following week back at School and recounting funny stories or how a mate picked them up and encouraged them to keep going. While we’re away, friendships are made and often a culture is born that will hold the year level in good stead throughout 2018. We came, we saw and we conquered Point Leo in the best way imaginable!


Thanks must go to Alison Wigg, Bianca Lentini and Rob Hanley for their exceptional guidance and mentoring of the boys, and also too our outstanding Outdoor Ed Department for their hours of planning and facilitating. 

Tim Marshall
Year 7 Head of House


Health, Physical Education and Wellbeing

This year, Wellbeing has been fully integrated into the Health and Physical Education curriculum, and all boys in Years 7 to 10 have been introduced to the new structure. Our holistic approach to Health and Wellbeing is in full swing and boys should be familiar with the four dimensions: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Social and Emotional.

At the start of Semester 1 and 2, all boys focus on their Physical wellbeing and participate in a battery of fitness tests that give us important data on a variety of fitness components. The boys analyse this data and set goals for the semester ahead. This data will be shared with parents at the end of Term 1. On the Hub, you will find the goal-setting assessment and BGS fitness testing standards; we encourage all parents to pay an active interest in their son’s fitness and learning.

The tests are as follows:

Fitness Test

Component of Fitness

1.           20m multistage fitness test (‘beep test’)

Aerobic capacity

2.           Max. chin-up


3.           Sit and reach test


4.           20m and 60m sprint


5.           Standing long jump test (‘broad jump’) 


6.           3-minute towing test

Local muscular endurance

7.           Max. push-up test

Strength/Strength endurance


2018 Semester 1: Notable fitness test results


Year Level

Fitness Test


Charlie Schwerdt


Beep test


Connor Marriot






Lachlan Barlow


3-min ergo


Will Muller


3-min ergo


Joel Tyler


Push-up test


Josh Bortolussi


3-min ergo


Jordan Hayter


Scored a perfect score in the 8 fitness tests

The goal-setting assessment embraces the BGS holistic approach to students’ wellbeing and therefore is very broad and diverse. Goals are essential for future success and all boys are provided with an understanding and structure that allows them to select goals important to them. These goals provide the opportunity for some great discussions with both staff and parents. As always, we encourage open communication with the boys.

In May/June this year, we aim to open our new sporting facility in place of Annandale. This will provide the wider BGS community with many opportunities to be physically active, socialise and develop a greater awareness of all components of wellbeing. It is an exciting time for the whole BGS community and we look forward to sharing this space with you in the very near future.

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


Senior Music Camp

Last Sunday, 60 members of the Senior and Intermediate Concert Bands travelled to Blampied to attend the Senior Music Camp. The boys undertook an intensive period of rehearsals, completing the equivalent of more than a term’s worth of their usual weekly rehearsals in just two days. This tested their mental, musical and physical endurance, but the boys rose to the challenge in each session.

The music camp is a great way to kick-start the year for the bands, allowing them to test-run a number of pieces for the performances this year, and develop a collaborative and collegial bond as a group. We were delighted to have Father Tony Poole come up to speak to the bands about the connection between music, faith and spirituality, encouraging the boys to seek to inspire both themselves and those around them through the power of the music.

Through a combination of full ensemble rehearsals and smaller sectionals, both bands explored over a dozen pieces of music from a range of styles, including film scores, new compositions, jazz arrangements and some concert band classics. For the Senior Concert Band, this included a work by Percy Grainger, one of Australia’s most prominent wind band composers, who was born on New Street mere steps from the BGS!

Be sure to keep an eye out for the concerts this year – based on what we have heard from the boys this weekend, they are sure to be fantastic events that will have your toes tapping.

Kurt Abell
Acting Head of Instrumental Music, Years 3–12
Coordinator of Percussion and Guitar


Sports Psychology and Physical Education

Harrison Boys (Year 10)

Sport Psychology thus far has consisted of exploring the ideas of breaking up discrete movement of precision, types of movement and the predictability of the environment in sport, and discussing whether a professional athlete has to have developed motor skills to be successful. We then progressed to planning and running a session for the Early Learning Centre children. There was little input from the teacher, enabling us as coaches to develop not only as individuals but how we worked as whole, which we realised is a key fundamental to success when attempting to keep 18 excited 4-year-olds under control.

Something that seemed so simple, like coaching a group of young boys, was very soon crushed. The group as a whole had to come up with many minor contingency plans during the session to keep the students occupied and focused. At some points, we had three coaches piggy-backing the ELC kids as a reward to keep them motivated – and in some cases awake, as we were coaching a group of young boys to run and kick a ball when it was usually their naptime.

From this experience, the group as whole realised how much patience our coaches of sports, coaches of debating and even our teachers have to deal with us every session. As well, we learnt some key skills around motivation and how to balance reward and punishment.

Health and Physical Education/Wellbeing

During the first couple of weeks in HPE/Wellbeing, we have been exploring the components of fitness and categorising our fitness tests. Identifying the components of fitness, like speed, anaerobic capacity and cardiovascular endurance, enables us to recognise how we can further develop our score in the future.

In the prac sessions, we complete the fitness tests, and in the classroom, we use ISMART goal-setting that allows us to make reasonable and achievable goals for next semester and throughout our PE course.

Despite PE `being the physical side, we are also focusing on the health/wellbeing model and setting goals around how we want to feel, how we express our emotions and how we can possibly help others if they are going through a tough time.

In the near future, the Year 10 PE classes will be participating and competing in multiple duathlons, where we will be setting goals and adjusting them according to the ISMART program.

Year 10 Student Harrison Boys coaching the ELC students (Wallaby Group) in Sports Psychology and Coaching class.


Student Achievements

Congratulations to Dante Caruso (Year 10) as his Victorian U16 team returned with the Silver medal from the National Youth Baseball Championships. Dante had an outstanding tournament with some brilliant performances during clutch games. As a hitter, he finished the championships with a terrific .400 batting average in a stunning display of hitting. He was also impressive on the pitcher’s mound, finishing 32 batters for only 6 hits and 3 runs.


IPSG Chinese New Year Party

The International Parents’ Support Group, coordinated by Maggie Lynch, met on Sunday evening at BGS to celebrate the Chinese New Year Festival. This was a well-attended event and the highlights included a beautiful item by Felix Gong (Year 12), the current Music Captain, and short speeches in Mandarin and English by immediate past students Michael Wang (OB 2017) and Julian Ou (OB 2017). These boys reflected on their interesting and successful journeys through the School and offered advice and support if needed for boys settling into the different system and lifestyle here in Australia. Anyone wanting to know more about the IPSG can contact Maggie on mlynch@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au.

IPSG President Maggie Lynch with Michael Wang (OB 2017) and Michael’s mother, Lan Zhu.

A transcript of Michael’s lovely speech can be read here

Career News

Items in the Career News include – 

– Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine) at the Southern School of Natural Therapies

– Career as a Podiatrist

– Student Exchange Programs

– Business Degrees in Victoria

– Snapshot of Swinburne University in 2018 

If you would like any further information on any of these items, click here or see Dr Sophie Keele in the Careers Centre. 


BGS Cooking Corner

Quick and nutritious breakfast and lunchbox ideas for busy parents and growing boys from BGS Psychologist and nutrition expert, Danielle Wolff.

Vegetable Fritters


– 2 zucchinis, grated

– 1 carrot, grated

– ½ cup corn kernels

– 1 egg

– 1 spring onion, chopped

– ½ tsp salt

– I clove garlic

– ½ cup shredded cheese

– herbs of your choice (parsley or coriander both work well)

– ½ cup almond meal or flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 200° Line an oven tray with baking paper.
  2. Dry the zucchini by squeezing out all the liquid with a tea towel.
  3. In a bowl, combine the grated zucchini, carrot and corn.
  4. Add in the egg, spring onion, salt, garlic, cheese and herbs. Stir well.
  5. Gradually add in the almond meal or flour and stir until a thick batter is formed.
  6. Scoop out about ¼ cup of the batter and use your hands to form a patty before placing on the lined tray.
  7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until fritters are golden brown.
  8. Fritters can be eaten hot or stored in the fridge and eaten cold. 


Brighton Rec Centre – have your say

Brighton Recreational Centre, a highly valued community facility in the heart of Brighton, is used by more than 2000 people each week for community activities.

To play for the future, Bayside City Council is seeking community feedback on Brighton Rec.

You can have your say online at www.bayside.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay.

More information, including hard copies of the quick survey, is available at Brighton Rec or by calling Jacqui Goy on 9599 4711 or email jgoy@bayside.vic.gov.au.

Comments close 5pm Friday 9 March 2018.


Secondary School Dates for the Diary 

27 February
Year 7 immunisations

27 February       
Year 12 photo

BGS Parents’ Group Meeting Schedule
Please click here for the 2018 schedule.