End of Year Address from the Principal – 11 December 2019

Dear St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School Community,

One measure of wellbeing is feeling part of a community. Some recent successes include the St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School students who took part in the One World Robotic Competition, organised by Actura. Students participated in the Future Skills Demonstration Challenge, Smart City Solution Presentation Challenge and Robotic Technical Challenge. They were ranked 1st place in the Robotic Technical Challenge and 1st place in total score of all three challenges among the schools that attended. Students will receive an invitation to participate in the next round of competition in Sydney next year. The students involved were Sarah O’Connor, Muyu Li, Kyra Lim, Annabel Wu, Chelaka Ranatunga and Karthik Kalaiselvan. The team was ably supported by Mr Laurie McDonald and Robbie Xie.

It is also my great pleasure to share with you that the Berwick Grammar School Senior Boys basketball team won the final of the Australian School Basketball Championships U20 Men Division 4. What a fantastic way to finish the year.

These two successes are but some of many throughout the term and year and reflect the School and the students’ commitment to striving to be their best selves.

Happy Holidays
It is the end of a very busy year that has involved much work on behalf of Council, students, staff and the broader community. I am pleased to say that we are finishing the year in a strengthened position in terms of programs, structures, finances and enrolments.

St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School is a school that educates children so that they can strive to be their best selves, now and in the future, for the betterment of all humanity and the planet

We action this through the values of:

COURAGE to do the right thing, CURIOSITY to know and learn, CHARACTER to be one’s true self and RESPECT to live wisely and compassionately with others and the planet.

When I reflect on 2019, I would like to frame it in terms of People, Programs, Partnerships, Places and Profile.

Our teachers have had an extraordinary amount of success in 2019, individually and collectively. Ms Lauren Cook, Head of Senior Boys’ Wellbeing won a 2019 Australian Council of Educational Leaders Scholarship. The Knowledge Review recognised Ms Meg Fortington, Director of Curriculum and Innovation, and the Principal as two of the top 10 most influential educators in Australia. Dr Steven Middleton, Vice Principal, completed the selective ISNSW Flagship Leadership Program; Ms Melissa Graham, Deputy Head of Junior School, continued her leadership in the area of IB PYP Teacher Training; Mrs Helen McDonald, Academic Growth Coordinator at BGS and SMS teacher, and Ms Lauren Cook represented the School internationally at the IBSC Conference in Canada where the work being conducted through the Growing Good Men Project at Berwick Grammar was shared. At St Margaret’s, Mr Laurie McDonald was feted as a VCE Premier’s Award teacher.

We finish this year saying goodbye to some dearly loved and respected members of our community including Mrs Amanda Neil, Ms Judy Taylor and Ms Tina Taranto, Mr Nathan Bentley and ELC contract staff Ms Jacqui Chan and Ms Monica De Santis. Other staff on leave this year who have chosen to explore other options include Mrs Sarah Pay, Mrs Mary Clare Terrill, Ms Katrina Mathews, Mrs Cheryl O’Gallagher and Mrs Cara Maxworthy. In the Educational Support area, we say goodbye and thank you to Mrs Elise Groenewaldt and Ms Laura Caligari. We thank you all for your support and dedication.

2019 has seen our partnerships grow and strengthen. Besides those already established with Monash University, The University of Melbourne and Harvard University, we also have strengthened relationships with the Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity and Leadership in Education (CIRCLE), Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), and the for Creative Education at Geelong Grammar.

2019 has witnessed the completion of our dearly beloved Cottage as well as the BGS Gymnasium. The Cottage is already a spiritual refuge that supports our links with the past while helping us fuel the future. The Gym is operating as a driver for sporting excellence and achievement.

The ELC review in 2019 cemented our ELC as one of the highest rated ELCs in Australia, with every metric receiving an ‘outstanding’ rating. Congratulations to Mrs Eden and her team.

Many will also recall that the whole School was recognised as a finalist for best Strategic Plan at the National Educator Awards.

Enrolments are stabilising and our international marketing strategy established in 2018, is proving to be successful. We are supported by a strong and talented team of educators who put the young people we serve at the heart of everything we do. We are a good school becoming a great school.

On behalf of Dr Middleton, the Vice Principal, Ms Sayar, the Head of Junior School, Mrs Birch, the CFO, Mr Halsey, the Director of Marketing and Communications, and the wonderful staff in the school I wish you a happy and productive festive period.

Please note that school starts for students on Thursday 30 January, 2020.

Ms Annette Rome