From the Principal – 11 April 2018

Dear Community,

Term 1 was an extremely busy term and I would like to congratulate all students, families and staff for an extremely smooth and happy term. Already this year the augmentation and innovation of existing programs and opportunities are apparent. Term 1 saw the launch of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, the inaugural Unicorn Series ‘What Makes a Good Teacher’, the commencement of the new Director of Staff Learning and Research and the new Director of Partnerships, Local, National and International. We have also witnessed at Berwick Grammar School, a whole school approach to literacy development, Leadership Mentoring and Real Boys Read program for boys in Year 7 to 10 along with a myriad of Leadership and Mindfulness activities across both Senior Schools. The wellbeing review continued this term, one aim of which is how to better liaise with families as their children move through the school.

Junior School is busy preparing for what we hope will be another successful PYP review by the International Baccalaureate in Term 2.

All Year 11 and 12 students have commenced courses about which they are passionate and the first combined SMS and BGS Year 12 classes have gone smoothly. This provision maximized the course selections of all students and the feedback I have had has been very positive. Middle years’ students enjoyed City Cite and other experiences. I am pleased to say we also welcomed over 100 new students to the School.

In relation to co-curricular activities, a strategic review of all trips, tours and exchanges is being led by Mr Scott Chittenden. The revised school values and the new strategic plan will guide this review and the intention is that experiences will have a clear, articulated purpose that makes wise use of valuable resources. Mrs Mary Holstock is also leading the development of our RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan) which links clearly with the strategic directions for our School.

The new Director of Partnerships led, along with me, the first representation of St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School at Education Fairs in China. It was an honour and delight to represent our School and the mere articulation of what we stand for and our points of difference not only impressed listening families, but also caused the translators to note what an exceptional School we are. St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School was also selected to be the focus of an interview on national Chinese television and the source of a story in a number of newspapers.

We also managed to continue with the core business of excellent learning and teaching at all levels.

The School Musical Return to the Forbidden Planet was nothing short of inspirational (and highly amusing) and I know all involved had a blast (excuse the pun).

We held approximately 12 information/meet the tutor/parent-student-teacher nights, had a very windblown but successful HPV event at Wonthaggi, undertook numerous sports matches, swimming carnivals, debates, competitions and participated in countless music rehearsals and lessons.

I believe all workplaces should be places of learning. The most successful organisations learn and innovate all the time and we see this in health, retail, media, business and human services. Of any organisation, a school should absolutely be a place of learning for all and I am delighted with the renewed emphasis on staff and their learning. There is now an active social media platform accessed by all staff where relevant research is undertaken, curated and shared. Groups of staff are now actively involved in research projects linked to Project Zero at Harvard University, the Global Citizenship Project with Prof Eeqbal Hassim from the Asia Education Foundation as well as many other individual and small group projects. Credit to all staff involved in this area!

Next term we will welcome some new staff and existing staff to new roles:

The three Deputy Principals of St Margaret’s Senior School will undertake the duties of Mrs Fiona Williams as she enjoys a well-deserved Long Service Leave. Mr Paul Atkins will continue to work with student well-being matters, Ms Judy Taylor will coordinate curriculum matters and Mrs Di Bright will maintain her work with staff.

Ms Rosetta Batsakis will be teaching mathematics at Berwick Grammar School and take on the role of Leading Learner of Mathematics, replacing Mrs Mary Papp. Sincere thanks to Mary for her time and informed contribution to Berwick Grammar School. Rosetta has previously been a Head of Mathematics at Wesley College, and a senior VCE and IB mathematics teacher at the highest levels at Lauriston, MLC and Kingswood. Please also note that Mr Greg Ashcroft has assumed the role as Head of Richards House at Berwick Grammar School.

Community building continued apace with the biannual Jurassic Fantastic Twilight Fair and enormous thanks must go to the Parents’ and Friends’ and myriad volunteers and supporters. The Community Communications Committee commenced their formal series of meetings, we held our first Principal’s Afternoon Tea and the Parents Cocktail Party in the Pavilion was an outstanding success.

And all of this is in 10 weeks!

I wish you all a safe, happy and reverential break and hope you all had a chance to recharge batteries ready for an equally challenging and fun Term 2.

Kind Regards

Annette Rome