Weekly eNews

Middle School

A word from the Headmaster, Ross Featherston

Making space for creativity

No matter what their age or stage, boys love making things. Whether it’s our ELC3 boys making their own gumboot racks; the Year 5s making pinball machines in our new STEM centre; or our VCE boys making high-grade furniture as part of Product Design Technology, producing something tangible, solid and real is both satisfying and valuable for the boys. Learning by doing is, in many ways, the most powerful mode of learning.

As such, it’s great to see our mini Makerspace in the Middle School Library being so well used by the Year 7 and 8 boys at recess and lunchtime. The boy-friendly tools and materials promote hands-on exploration and foster a spirit of collaboration and cooperation. The boys are obviously feeling inspired – we’ve seen some truly innovative creations emerge from our Makerspace, including graphic novels, rocket ship blueprints and even a tail-wagging cardboard dog with LED eyes. I can’t wait to see what our innovators of tomorrow come up with next!

A child safe school

Brighton Grammar School is committed to the safety of your son. Please click here to read a letter from me about the new Child Safe Standards introduced by the Victorian Government, and how these Child Safe Standards apply to BGS.


From the Head of Middle School, Jeremy Martin

It was fantastic to see so many parents supporting our Middle School House Athletics last Saturday morning. There were some impressive individual performances, but more importantly there was a strong sense of House spirit and community. Thanks to all the staff involved, especially Tim Marshall for his planning and running of such a great event. See the report in the Sport section below for more details.


Five weeks into Term 3, I have been really pleased with the boys’ effort and application to their learning. I know that most boys have set themselves some goals for Semester 2 and are working hard to achieve them. This has been reflected with data from our House Merit System, which shows there have only been a handful of Academic and Behaviour Support Sessions up until now, and none were required in the first four weeks of term. Long may it continue.


If you are not on School Stream – you will miss out!

There is only one place for parents to find out what’s going on at BGS and that’s via School Stream. That’s actually the beauty of the system! This communications platform has been in place since the beginning of the term, and we expect that all parents will take responsibility to make sure they have School Stream on their phone. 

If you haven’t already done so, please take five minutes today to download this app. Operational  information will no longer appear in the eNews.

Click here to find out more about School Stream at BGS.


From the Head of House, Scott Davies

Are our boys addicted to their phones?

I arrived at school on Thursday morning last week, walked into my office and noticed something out on Allee St that didn’t sit well with me. Through the window I saw a boy getting out of a car and before he could close the door behind him, he was already on his mobile phone. Yes, he may have been responding to a crucial text message from mum or dad, it may have been an email from his teacher or coach, or it could have been a Pokémon that was simply begging to be caught. In any event, I was a little worried with this sight, and it made me think; are our boys addicted to their phones?

It wasn’t that one occurrence that led me to make such a bold statement. In my position as Head of House I often get phones handed to me from teachers who have confiscated them in class, at lunchtime or even at assembly. We are also aware that boys are taking them to the bathroom to possibly check a post, Snapchat or DM (direct message).

I appreciate the need for boys to have a phone, especially at this age when we have band practice, sports training, and trains that need to be caught. Knowing that your boys are safe and sound is paramount and I would never suggest they not bring them to school. I do suggest however, that mobile phones are not required during regular school hours. The boys are asked to keep these devices switched off and left secure in their lockers. At present, this isn’t always the case. Demerits have and will continue to be issued to those who continue to keep phones in their blazer pockets during class time.

My other concern is that I see a lot of boys who are stressed and tired because of the amount of time they are spending on these devices. Anxiety linked to FOMO (fear of missing out) causes stress, as many boys do not want to be ‘out of the loop’ with what is happening in their social circle. Therefore, they are spending countless hours on social media sites. We’re well aware of the effect that melatonin depletion can have on a good night’s sleep. A Harvard study suggested that high levels of blue light exposure can shift the circadian rhythm by up to 3 hours. No wonder we see some tired eyes in the morning.

Don’t get me wrong, mobile phones are great. Google maps has got me out of a jam more often than I care to mention. And who knows where I’d be without my surf report app or live cricket score updates… Phones have certainly changed the way our boys communicate and interact with their friendship groups. Gone are the days that you knew where your friends were by finding the house that had all the bikes out the front. This is a new age and we need to have a healthy approach to how these devices are used. I do hope, however, that just once in a while our boys take a break, look up from their phones and realise that there is an amazing world out there. One that doesn’t require a Clarendon filter or selfie editor.


Programs and activities

Camp reflection – Group 2

Camp for Year 8 Hancock, Rofe and School was blessed with some warmer temperatures and greater sunshine than is usual in the Grampians in August.

It was a challenging camp. However, through the challenges opportunities arose for the boys to work together, support one another and surmount obstacles. Through growing teamwork and support of one another the groups began to strategise and recognise each other’s individual strengths, creating stronger units. The way that the boys spoke about each other, encouraged one another, help and guided each other display conscience and compassion was  remarkable.

“My favourite experience on camp was getting to know all the boys in my form group better. And also getting to know Mitch Hughes (Year 11 leader) and also learning a lot more about Mrs White. A highlight for me would be the 60 metre abseil down the rock face. I liked it a lot because once you are at the top, the view just takes your breath away. It was challenging, as I’m not too good with heights, but rewarding. The most challenging part of camp was dealing with the cold weather, although our group didn’t get lots of wet rainy days, the weather some days was really cold. And to just get through the day was hard in itself, let alone the cold weather on top of that. As the group progressed through the camp, our bond became stronger and our character strengths were revealed. In the end, our group (along with the other Rofe group) were the only two groups to complete the full loop. I am very proud of my group, and I thank our team leader Metro for making our experience on our Year 8 camp a fun and enjoyable one.”

Lachie Jacket-Simpson


Year 8 Grampians Camp was probably the most challenging camp I have ever been on. The skills and knowledge that we gained through the difficult daily routines worked to not only prepare us for camps to come but also in situations in our adult lives.

One highlight for me would have to have been the abseiling. More specifically the sixty metre one. What I found so breathtaking about it was the feeling you felt inside of you, after you had done it. The idea of walking backwards off of a cliff that was sixty metres until solid ground was extremely unnerving and the mental battle you fought to convincing yourself into doing it was far more challenging than the physical aspect of just letting rope run through your hands. Personally I found that this particular experience has made me much more confident in my ability to try new things.

Overall camp was hard, but the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment after it was all finished, was worth it in the end.”

Jaikob Akinci


2016 Grampians Grp 2 a

2016 Grampians Grp 2 c

2016 Grampians Grp 2b

2016 Grampians Grp 2d


To be somewhat topical: what did you put down for religion in the census on Tuesday night?

In the Herald Sun on Tuesday a freelance writer, urges us to put “no religion” so that there will be less funding for the teaching of something for which he can see no useful skill. In particular he discounts the value of a “4000-year-old-book” as a tool in the quest for a “moral compass”.

It would surprise no-one to know that I would disagree with him.   In fact I see much merit and affect in the human narrative which encompasses an appreciation of immaterial benefactor: one who seeks that which is best in all of us and all our endeavours. A benefactor with whom we can interact and commend in love to others.

This seems far more constructive and open minded that the seemingly frantic anti-religious polemic that wafts through the contemporary social discourse.

A benefactor may be defined as one that supplies the means for a genius to do his work unhindered and a musician, master or artist is thus enabled to concentrate on his creativity. Is not this a suitable conceptualisation of God?

A benefactor may also be described, paraphrasing the words of the Psalmist (145:4) as one who shall commend your works from one generation to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.

In Chapel this week, the Middle School and Senior School together said thank you to our benefactors: the ones who have enabled students and this School to flourish, and who have commended the work to another generation.

Thank God for the benefactors who have upheld this School through many generations.

Fr Tony Poole



House Athletics

The 35th Annual Middle School House Athletics were an outstanding success last Saturday morning at the Sandringham Athletics Track. After a grueling 72-event program, it was a purple haze that drifted over the track as Rofe took the honours in a hotly contested affair.

Final standings:

  • Rofe – 926
  • Hancock – 898
  • School 836
  • Armstrong 794
  • Dixon 718
  • Crowther 700

The resilience shown by Year 8 Rofe, Hancock and School to not only return from camp and compete so fiercely the next morning, but to lead their Houses to a 1-2-3 finish respectively was particularly impressive.

A special mention to the newly formed Friends of Athletics group who supplied all and sundry with sustenance and apparel throughout the morning and the Middle School staff and Year 8 House Leaders who did a wonderful job of organising.

2016 house athletics 1

 2016 house athletics 2

2016 house athletics 3

2016 house athletics 4

Student achievements


Congratulations and good luck to the boys who will be representing Victoria in Rugby over in Tasmania this weekend. We have a number of BGS rugby players representing the state and we wish them luck as they all finish an excellent season in the sport. Archie Jackson and Wei-Yee Hall will represent the U14 state side – a fantastic achievement.


Year 8 Craig Marais not only represented the APS Hockey Team last Saturday, amazingly he scored 2 goals!! 


Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO is an augmented-reality mobile game for iOS and Android devices.  While quickly becoming one of the most popular apps of all time, it has raised some safety concerns.  Learn how your child can have fun and still stay safe if they play Pokémon Go by clicking here.



Middle School Debating

On Tuesday 26 July, our Middle School Debating and Public Speaking Captain, Jaikob Akinci competed in the semi final of our regional Public Speaking competition run by the Debaters Association of Victoria.

The standard was exceptional, and I was enormously impressed by each of the young speakers competing. Jaikob is certainly to be commended to be speaking at this standard, and he represented BGS very well. Jaikob’s was one of the more polished speeches – he was composed and relaxed, and able to engage the audience with both his content and presentation.

Jaikob spoke about procrastination, something that he claimed to know a lot about. I doubt that Jaikob has become the fine student leader that he is through procrastination, however his speech was convincing. I know that Jaikob was nervous to be competing at this level, and to be able to overcome his nerves and speak naturally is indeed a skill he has developed. Congratulations Jaikob!


Jaikob Akinci - Debating


Charity update

Matthew Warrell spoke at assembly this week about his recent trip to Kenya and his involvement in supporting students living in the Kibera slum in Nairobi.

The Charity Committee also welcomed the newest recruit to the team, Harrison Kirkham. Harrison has already been actively involved at Charity Committee meetings and coming up with ideas for the next RCD fundraiser.

Timothy and John Fundraiser

A Timothy and John fundraiser (Kenyan Sponsor students that are supported by the Middle School) will be held this Friday 12 August. There will be a casual clothes day (gold coin donation), a Staff vs. Students Ultimate Frisbee game at lunchtime, and pizza and soft drink on sale at lunchtime ($5 – 2 slices and a drink deal).


Middle School dates for the diary: August

  • Tonight  Parenting in the 21st Century Seminar – 7pm – 8.30pm, Middle School Nexus
  • Friday 12  Casual Clothes Day (Timothy and John fundraiser)
  • Monday 15 Mid-Term Break – Student free day
  • Monday 15 Science Week
  • Tuesday 16 Choral Soiree for all choirs  4 – 5.30pm, St Andrews Church
  • Wednesday 17 Child Wise Parent Seminar, MS Wellbeing Centre – 7.30pm – 9.30pm

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