A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

‘Chill out and you can do more stuff!’

So said a Year 11 student, wisely, as part of the discussions Dr Ray Swann and I have with every year group across the Secondary School each term. If I were to paraphrase, I believe this student was suggesting that if we look after ourselves, stay in control and remain mindful, our outcomes will be better.

These year-level discussions are proving to be very fruitful in terms of our mission to keep academics ‘first amongst equals’. Dr Swann and I talk with the boys about the key elements of the Effective Learner model (with a focus on engagement) and the goals that the boys in each year level set themselves at the beginning of the year. We provide them with data we have gathered from the year level around progress and performance as well as other key indicators we know are important for success, such as attendance. This term, we have also ‘witnessed the good’ by recognising and rewarding a small number of boys from each level who have been identified by their peers as exemplars in demonstrating the year-level goals.

As always, I encourage you to have a conversation with your son about his academic efforts. And if he is in the Secondary School, ask him about the recent discussion with Dr Swann and me. (You can find some more details in this week’s Crowther Centre eNews.) Maybe, by chilling out, we can do more stuff.

Have a great week.


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

This year, as many of our community will know, our sister school Firbank celebrates its 110th year. Last weekend, one of the key events, a Gala Ball, took place. Our ongoing relationship with Firbank is very important to us. It is unique due to the proximity of our two schools and this year, we have jointly been building the opportunities for our students to take part in combined activities. We currently have over 40 joint activities in the calendar across all Secondary School year levels. The past 10 days alone have seen the joint Senior Production of Anything Goes, joint Chapel services at both Year 8 and Year 10 and a group of Year 8 students taking part in the Philosophy Colloquium. This afternoon will also see what we hope will be a fun, social and relaxing event: the inaugural Year 12 FGS/BGS trivia competition – a short reprieve from the study and pressures that the final year at school can bring for students.


Armstrong House News

Firstly, I would like to thank Mat Steed for the tremendous work he did as Head of House in Term 1 in my absence. It has been absolutely delightful to see the boys again and hear what they have been up to since last year.

The Armstrong boys have been involved in a number of House based activities over the course of the semester and I thank them for their ongoing contributions. We have the combined Armstrong/Dixon House Chapel next week and the leadership team has decided on theme of ‘Bravery’.

I know the boys are looking forward to the annual Armstrong House Soccer Cup which runs during tutor time and I will be keen to see if ARM 5 retain the cup this year!

Kylie Rose
Head of House


Bon Voyage to Anything Goes

It is with great sadness we say ‘bon voyage’ to our 2019 Senior Production of Anything Goes. It was a massive project with over 150 students, staff and parents involved since the auditions late last year and culminated in an extremely successful sold out season.

Audiences were treated to some very entertaining performances, filled to the brim with laughter and some massive show-stopping tunes.

The feedback from the audience all centred around the talent of the students involved and is testament to the program our School is building together with Firbank.

Seeing students grow as individuals and performers along the journey was truly a privilege to watch. The knowledge gained, the skills learnt, the bonds made and memories created will stay with them for many years to come – and has made the experience incredibly worthwhile.

A moment of particular highlight was the first ever preview performance for an audience of our feeder primary schools and senior citizens from our community – all of whom loved the opportunity of coming in to see the show. Hopefully inspiration for many to be involved in performing arts in the future.

Michael Kent
Head of Drama Curriculum and School Productions (Years 7–12)


Year 9 Service Journeys

The benefits of serving others to our own wellbeing is well documented and in Year 9 our boys are invited to share a service journey with their mates as the progress towards a World Class Journey in Year 10. Three service journeys have already safe landed in Borneo, Papua New Guinea and Cape York. Mr Hilditch shares some insights of the journey our boys have taken.    


On Saturday the first group of BGS boys embarked on their Cape York adventure. The trip is a community immersion program based in the town of Pormpuraaw on the western coastline of Cape York. The 500km journey from Cairns took us 2 days to drive the remote red dirt road across the Cape. We arrived on Sunday evening just in time to see the sun setting over the Gulf of Carpentaria. 

The next morning the boys were up early for their first morning at school. Throughout the trip the boys spend the school day in the classroom working alongside the Pormpuraaw teachers as teacher aides. The boys have be doing a great job and have developed strong relationships with the kids. 

The afternoons have been full of fishing, crabbing, culture and country. On Monday afternoon, after being welcomed to county by Thaayorre traditional owners Celia and Eric Norman, local man Johnny Shortjoe took us fishing and crabbing at “the point” on the Chapman river. We came away with 7 big mud crabs, a few fish and many more memories. 


A New Rising Star: Mark Dowley

Mark is our Director of Staff Development and has been recognised as one of tomorrow’s school leaders in The Educator‘s 2019 Rising Stars awards. You can read more about Mark, and his incredible contribution to BGS, as well as the teaching profession in general.


Creating Brighter Futures

This week our School Community came together in the most extraordinary way. On Monday we launched our Annual Giving Appeal – Creating Brighter Futures.

By Wednesday evening we had exceeded our initial goal of $250,000. This generous support will grow our Scholarship Program considerably. 

As part of our Creating Brighter Futures awareness, we had a range of activities across the School. Bubble Soccer proved popular on the Mitchel Oval as did Guess How Many Balloons are in the Brighton Toyota RAV 4. Our Junior School students also took part in varied activities including a Footy themed casual clothes day.

It’s not too late to support our Creating Brighter Futures Annual Appeal. Donate now at: www.charidy.com/brightongrammar

Our sincere thanks to all of those who have supported our Creating Brighter Futures Annual Giving Appeal.


Science Week

Science Week felt like it came and went at the speed of light. With activities running every lunchtime for students across Years 7–12, it was great to see so many boys taking the opportunity to engage with experts, staff and, in some cases, animals, and ultimately immersing themselves in the science that surrounds them. From experiments to wildlife, bake-off to photo competitions and guest speakers to sherbet making, there was something on offer for everyone.

The themes of ‘Destination Moon: More missions, more science’ and ‘Celebration of the 150th year since the development of the Periodic Table’ were at the forefront. Many questions in the BGS Science Quiz reflected these areas, with Hancock 1 Tutor Group taking out the prize for most answers correct in the fastest time. We hope that this week encourages all boys to be inspired by the science in their everyday lives and to think critically and deeply.

A huge thank you to the entire Science Faculty for helping organise, coordinate and run activities.


Philosophy Colloquium 

A group of Year 8 boys were joined by Firbank girls to discuss this term’s Philosophy topic. The task was to look at Justice with a focus on sentencing. To introduce the concept of what is good for society, the following notion was put forward by Socrates. He believes that Philosophers should rule because only they understand what is good. If one is ill, one goes to a doctor rather than a psychologist, because the doctor is expert in the subject of health. Similarly, one should trust one’s city to an expert in the subject of the good, not to a mere politician who tries to gain power by giving people what they want, rather than what’s good for them. 

Jenson Galvin debating his case while Will Fearn interjects during his group’s discussion around sentencing and justice.

After being divided into five groups of the next task was to consider a batch of eight criminals that had been found guilty of a variety of crimes and to determine an appropriate punishment for each. To make things a bit more interesting the following rules had to be adhered to:

  • The perpetrator of the worst of these crimes would receive capital punishment with the least being released on a suspended sentence.
  • The other six criminals would then share a total of 40 years jail time between them which could be divided up in any way by the sentencing committees.
  • The jail terms for these six could range from one day through to 39 years, 51 weeks and 2 days.

The groups spent approximately 30 minutes placing the crimes in order and applying the jail time. These lists were then pasted up on the wall around the room. Each group then reported back to the entire colloquium on their reasoning behind the decisions made. The criteria used by each group to make their decision varied and there was intense and animated discussion had by all groups with none of them arriving at exactly the same conclusion.

They were all left to ponder the following question.

Do we live in a JUST society?

James Hepples discussing where to place the criminals in order with Nick Compton from Firbank and the rest of his group including Tom Gianatti.

Jamie Watson
Teacher of Extension Studies


FGS/BGS Chapel

The friendship between BGS and FGS continues to grow. This week, the Year 8 and Year 10 students shared Chapel services at St Andrew’s. Father Tony and the Reverend Christine brought together the year groups in a reflection on what it means to be friends. Sometimes, it is necessary to be loud –fortissimo – and this can be difficult (although it tends to be a trait in which our boys can excel!)

Are you prepared to speak out, to be bold, to protect each other as friends? Are you ready to be loud when required but also to value the softness of kind words and care for each other? ‘The simplest example may come in a few years’ time when you are in a car with a friend who starts behaving irresponsibly. Will you call out that behaviour?

In the tug of war that is our young boys’ lives, it was incredible to see them find their voice amongst their peers in what can be an awkward time of their lives. The positive relationships formed through the interaction of our two schools is critical to the growth, development and wellbeing of all of our futures.

This Friday, the Firbank Year 12s have organised a joint trivia night for BGS and FGS Year 12 students, to be held from 4.00 to 5.30pm after school. Be part of it!       


Excursion to Toolangi State Forest 

Last Thursday, the Unit 1 Geography class travelled to Toolangi and Kinglake, ten years on from the 2009 Black Saturday disaster. The purpose of the excursion was to assess the impacts and responses, both ecological and social to the Kilmore East Bushfire, which killed 119 people in what was one of Australia’s deadliest natural disasters.

Primary data in the form of fuel load assessments and biodiversity transects were collected, and the boys were able to hear firsthand accounts from our guide Jan, a Kinglake resident, during the fires. The information collected will be utilised to write a fieldwork report, preparing the class for their first SAC in Unit 3 next year.

Thanks to Georgia Hartman-Smith for attending and the Unit 1 boys for their efforts on the day.

James Harrod
Head of Geography


Artist in Residence

Last week Kyle from Brightside Art worked with the Year 10 and 11 Art students, running workshops on painting skateboards and surfboards. The boys created original designs and transferred these to their boards. The boys then experimented with Kyle’s spray paints in order to create their masterpieces. The boys were all thoroughly engaged in the task, exploring their creativity throughout the entire process.

Steve Emmett
Head of Art


Independent Service

Year 7 to 12 students are encouraged to engage in Service as part of their time at Brighton Grammar. The School values this mode of learning and contribution to society. We believe that our students should continue to grow and develop into men that are active and informed members of their community. As Director of Service, I have been particularly impressed by students who have submitted their Independent Service forms this year. These young men have found time in their busy schedules to volunteer to a worthy cause. I have no doubt that there are many more out there who are interested in Service but just don’t know where to start.

How do I get started?

  • Think about your values, interests and talents. Could your ability to read well make you a candidate for The Smith Family Student2Student Reading Program? Does your love of football make you a good candidate for umpiring with VAFA? Maybe you’d like to understand how it must feel to go hungry by taking part in the Live below the line challenge, whilst also raising funds.
  • Challenge yourself. Volunteering may not always be easy and fun but it is rewarding. If you cannot find something within your area of interest, try something new and different. Be brave and volunteer at a local retirement home or sort donations at St Kilda Mum’s.
  • Do some research. Is there a charity or service that aligns with your interests, values or talents?

I encourage students to dig deep and think about what they could do for their community. Contact me if you have any further questions or to submit the Independent Service Form.

Simone Lewis
Director of Service


Earn & Learn for Pormpuraaw

BGS Outdoor Education team member James Hilditch is currently in Pormpuraaw on the Cape York Peninsula, preparing for the Year 6 visit. He has let us know that the Pormpuraaw State School is collecting Woolworths Earn & Learn stickers so that they can purchase new equipment for science, technology, maths, arts etc.

We’d be very grateful if families shopping at Woolworths could save their Earn & Learn stickers and bring them to one of the BGS Receptions (Junior School, Urwin Centre or St Andrew’s End). Stickers need to be left at Reception by Tuesday 11 June so that the Year 6 boys can take them to Pormpuraaw when they go.


A golden ticket raffle!

Friends of Music has been lucky enough to secure 2 VIP tickets to Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ musical. At Her Majesty’s Theatre from August 2019, the prize includes:

  • 2 front row dress circle Producer’s Reserve seats
    · Your own private lounge pre-show and interval in the Director’s Box 
    · A bottle of Domain Chandon on arrival in the Box

Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25 – get yours now!


Join Connor’s Run 2019

Registrations are now open for our seventh annual Connor’s Run on Sunday 15 September. Nearly 1000 spots have already been snapped up so be quick if you don’t want to miss out! Early-bird prices end 9 June (Connor’s birthday). Join us and celebrate being part of Australia’s largest event for paediatric brain cancer – the #1 disease killer of young people in Australia.

Register here


Dates for the Diary

Friday 7 June 
Report Writing afternoon 

Monday 10 June
Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday

Friday 14 June
Ute Full of Food

Friday 21 June
Last day of Term 2