Weekly eNews

Middle School

A word from the Headmaster, Ross Featherston

The Fathering Project

 It has been a real pleasure to attend the Father’s Day Chapel services this week (both as a father and as the Headmaster) and to hear various reflections on fatherhood.

In the lead up to Father’s Day, there have also been some interesting articles in the press about the changing role of fathers and what ‘fathering’ means in different countries. One thing I’m sure we all agree on is that a father or a father figure is important for our boys, no matter what their age or stage.

There is a great free resources that, as a dad, I’d highly recommend. The website The Fathering Project aims to inspire and equip fathers and father figures to engage with their kids. Whilst there are some excellent resources on their website, I would suggest signing up to receive their weekly fathering tips. And of course, don’t forget to sign up to BGS’s very own parenting resource, Understanding Boys.

Happy Father’s Day to all the BGS dads! I hope you have a wonderful day on Sunday.

Finally, congratulations to our BGS Snowsports Team who achieved our best ever results at the Victorian InterSchools over the weekend. Thanks also to the staff and parents and further best wishes to the 23 boys who qualified to compete at the National Championships.


From the Head of Middle School, Jeremy Martin

I was privileged to attend the AHISA Leading, Learning and Caring conference in Adelaide at the end of last week. Peter Furey and Christian Machar presented on our Middle School PROSPER program and colleagues from the Junior School and Senior School also presented. It was great that BGS had such a strong presence at the conference and it affirmed that much of our work across the school is innovative and ‘ahead of the curve’.

The boys enjoyed another successful combined morning with Firbank on Monday.

The Middle School hosted the Year 7s, while the Year 8s went to Firbank. The BGS/Firbank Year 7 boys and girls participated in a range of activities with an Olympic theme. They ‘created’ a country – name, flag, history and national anthem. It was obvious that a great time was had by all. Thanks to Christian Machar and his team for arranging such an enjoyable morning.

Likewise, the Year 8 boys were guests at Firbank for a morning of combined activities. After a whole group presentation by ‘Improv Theatre group’, with some fabulous audience involvement, the boys and girls participated in separate Improv, drama and Zumba sessions. It was great to watch them working together and displaying some highly creative improvisation. Many thanks to the Firbank staff and the Year 8 Coordinator Teresa Reynolds in particular.

The Year 7s are also looking forward to the combined Year 7 Social with Firbank on Friday evening at BGS – traditionally this has always been a highlight of the Year 7 social calendar.

Finally, it was great to see so many dads attend our Father’s Day Breakfast and Chapel service on Tuesday. The relationship a boy has with his father, especially at this age, is very important and sharing a meal together and taking some time to just enjoy each other’s company and reflect always makes for a special occasion.  Thank you to Father Tony and the volunteers from St Andrew’s.


Teaching and learning

What is art?

artwork 2  artwork artwork 3

Imagine you were asked to take a pencil and draw two pictures. The first drawing must be a drawing you would call art and the second drawing must be a drawing you would not call art. Now ask yourself what makes one art and the other not? Does the intention of the artist matter? Does the effort matter? Does what other people think matter?

As humans we have a need to express ourselves and it is said we are the only creatures that ‘describe’, ‘remember’ and ‘hope.’ How do we value art? The most expensive painting took a little over eight minutes to set the record price for a piece of art sold at auction. On May 4, Christie’s sold Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, a painting created in the span of a single day in 1932, for $106.5 million dollars. The Banksy street art painting below can never be sold and has probably been painted over already… Is art simply a statement that lasts longer than a conversation?

artwork 4

The best way for me to explain why we do what we do in CDT is through the eyes of the boys. I asked a group of current Year 8 CDT boys what they enjoy about CDT? And they gave the following responses:

  • It’s fun
  • creative
  • good for brain development
  • allows you to express yourself
  • it’s better than words.

The following direct quotes help to explain this further.

“In woodcraft the subject allows me to do hands on work and is a good break from technology.”

“I like Photoshop because I enjoy using technology to manipulate reality. I love to be able to show others how I see things. It is also a useful global skill used in industry.”

“In art I look forward to experiment with new materials and mediums in order to express myself.”

“It’s fun getting messy while you create.”

“It’s different, and it’s fun!”

“It’s totally about expressing yourself and is definitely not about what other people think.”

“I want to create a response from the viewer, even if it is negative. It allows me to rebel in my own way.”

The future will require our boys to be creative thinking, problem solving, tech savvy and engaged members of society. What better place to emulate this than in the Creative Design and Technology classroom?

Every child is an artist

Jamie Watson
Teacher of CDT & Extension Studies
iDesign Coordinator


Programs and activities

Year 7 Combined Morning Firbank/BGS

It was Brighton Grammar’s turn to host Firbank for the Year 7 Combined Morning on Monday. Students were arranged into mixed groups and participated in activities that ranged from problem-solving to creative challenges. These occasions are terrific opportunities for students from both schools to not only develop friendships, but also to foster their interpersonal skills. Judging by the student’s engagement and enthusiasm, the morning was a genuine success!

BGS combined morning a BGS combined morning b


Book Week in the Midddle School Library

One of the highlights of Book Week in the Middle School last week was the visit by Marc McBride, book illustrator best known for his covers of the Deltora Quest series.

MS Book week c

Not only did he amaze us with his fantastic and skilful drawings of dragons, he gave the boys great insights into the importance of reading to stimulate our imagination, the value of continuing to draw, the benefit of persisting with your art and showing it to people. He delighted both Year 7s and 8s with stories of his own path to fame and even taught the boys the secrets of drawing dragons in a few easy steps.

MS book week

On Friday at lunchtime, in BGS Junior Judges, six boys who had read the books in the CBCA Older Readers Booklist met in the Middle School Library to discuss the range of themes, literary structure and characterisation these books covered. The Children’s Book Council of Australia awards prizes to the best, most original and engaging Australian book in five categories. Every year, the winners of the best book for Early childhood, Younger Readers, Older Readers, Best Picture Book and Information Book are announced at the end of Book Week. We agreed that there was a vast array of important issues covered including racism, individual differences, teenage relationships and making choices. This year, Cloudwish by Fiona Wood was the winner in this category and was read by Mack McGrath.

MS Book week b

Thank you to our Library Committee who worked so hard to make Book Week such a great success!

Lisa Tabone and Lauren Murphy



It was good to see so many dads at breakfast and Chapel for a celebration of Father’s Day.

The team at St Andrews have got the catering down to a fine art, learning from previous years to provide a fast and efficient service, let alone a fine feast. At least one dad commented on the good coffee!

After breakfast, Ismail Akinci, father of Jaikob, spoke from his experience of raising three boys. He raised the idea that as fathers and sons we are continually learning and changing in emphasis and leadership in our roles. A dad has the unique experience of the transition from being the font of all wisdom to a place where a son knows some things better than he does. Ismail spoke of a father-son relationship as one of co-creating.

This implies a fluidity, a movement and exchange. There are dangers in such a state of flux, but there is also the potential to flourish, nurture and inspire. As fathers and sons, we can do much to encourage each other, to weather the storms and grow into new relationships.

The parable of the mustard seed from Mark 4:30-34, read during Chapel, reflects this notion of change and growth. Something as small as a mustard seed can result in something that provides shelter and shade. The same can be said for the relationship between a father and son: each day contains its own mustard seed with the potential to produce something worthwhile and good in the future.

Whatever you experience of Father’s Day this weekend, may it grow in you, create in you, something to enjoy and be pleased about.

Peace and happiness to all.  

Fr Tony Poole



Strengths-based parenting workshops: limited places available

To strengthen and compliment what the boys are learning in their Wellbeing/PROSPER classes, we are excited to offer a new strengths-based parenting workshop series for parents of BGS boys in Years 5 to 8.

Strengths-based parenting is a style of parenting based on Positive Psychology and neuroscience that seeks to identify and cultivate positive qualities, positive states, and positive processes in your child.

To further demonstrate our commitment to wellbeing, and to building strong relationships with parents, BGS will subsidise 50% of the workshop series fee.

The strengths-based parenting workshop series caters for up to 60 parents. I would encourage you to enrol early to avoid missing out on this crucial opportunity to support your son on his wellbeing journey.

Ross Featherston


Middle School notices

Parent Evening – The Resilience Project

Tuesday 13 September 2016 from 7.30pm

Martin Heppell from The Resilience Project will be working with our Middle School boys and parents to teach positive mental health strategies. Please book your seat through School Stream.


iDesign 2016 update

There’s just over a month to go until the 4 October iDesign hand in date. For more information, please visit the iDesign Hub page or the iDesign blog page or email iDesign Co-ordinator Jamie Watson on jwatson@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au.



Parenting tip

As a society we often debate about the ‘right’ amount of screen time and with the introduction of personal screens over the last decade, to add to TV, laptops and desktops, the focus on a single task has slowly diminished. Click here to read this week’s parenting tip: Helping kids focus in the age of distraction.


Middle School dates for the diary

For updates and events, see School Stream or click here for the online calendar.


Found property

Blazer size 887 (deleted name – Oliver Miller)
Long sleeved striped shirts sizes 12 and 18
BGS rugby hoodie size S
Long grey pants size 16
Black Kathmandu zipped fleece top size 10