From the Principal – 19 September 2019

End of another Term!

As I write a communication like this I flick back through the calendar to remind myself what exactly the School has been a part of in the last term. As always, I am amazed at the busyness and sheer number of events that sit atop literally thousands and thousands (I calculate over 5,500) classes every term. Each event, whether a class, a social event, a reunion, sports match or music performance involves timetabling, staffing, notification and planning. Overriding all this, sits a social and emotional framework that relies on strong, supportive and purposeful relationships that characterise the staff/staff and staff/student interactions. Schools are complex places with humans at their core. Though much is written about the ‘automation’ of teaching, I firmly believe that the human relationships at the heart of a teacher/student learning journey will never be replaced. I wonder if children come home and talk more about what they learned about something or how they responded as a human to something shared in class. In my experience they remember the material and the person that makes them feel happy, sad, or challenged intellectually. Linking learning to emotional prompts is a recognised way of facilitating maximum retention. A class held in an open, friendly and supportive environment that supports risk taking and idea exchange is ideal. Whereas anger or fear may block learning and remembering.

This is a very long winded way of wishing all students, but particularly the Year 12s, a productive break fuelled by positive emotions.


To staff that are returning after leave, we welcome them back and thank those who have supported the School in their absence: Maxine Kelly who has been helping out in The Lunch Box, Danielle Forsyth who assisted earlier in the term, Bronwyn Gowty who replaced Kate Flood, Patricia Villanueva who replaced Katie Cooper, Katrina Gearon who replaced Tracey Hallam and Susie Facey-Smith who replaced Jo Cooke. Concomitantly we welcome back Tracey Hallam, Katie Cooper and Jo Cooke at the beginning of Term 4 to Junior School and Sally Huglin to the Senior School after Long Service Leave. In the music area, Jazer Lee has been assisting in Emily Bermingham’s absence and we thank Jazer for his contributions. We would also like to thank all who step up to support our students. Yrena Wang and Jenny Wakefield are just two of many who have helped students and colleagues.

I know many parents and families appreciate their children’s teachers. Some of you may be interested in nominating them for the 2020 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards that celebrate teachers and school leaders whose achievements have transformed young lives. Presented by Commonwealth Bank and national charity Schools Plus, further information may be found at

General News

The 2020 transition programs have started. Junior School students are very much looking forward to coming to Year 7 and the littlest in our community seem to be growing in front of our eyes.

The music program has had many highlights including outstanding results in the Victorian Schools’ Music Festival where St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar received Platinum and Gold awards for our string ensembles and high praise for our Symphonic Band. The inaugural Glee Club performance in Junior School lifted the roof at Assembly as did the Somers Strings item. Assemblies are a very important vehicle for showcasing, inspiring and providing performance experience for all our budding musicians. Many have commented that the Annual Concert ‘Australia: This is your Song’ was one of the year’s highlights.

Term 3 also witnessed exceptional sports success across the School. The St Margaret’s Aerobics team became National Champions at the School Aerobics Championships held on the Gold Coast. Ashlee Duhau also placed first in Australia in the solo section and second in the audition section.  The SMS Athletics team placed second overall at the GSV Championship Carnival and St Margaret’s won the senior division trophy. Our St Margaret’s Senior Volleyball team was undefeated for the season and became zone champions.

Term 3 saw great success from the BGS athletes across a range of sporting disciplines. In SIS weekly sport we had teams competing in Soccer and Touch Rugby across Years 7 to 10, but it was in Basketball that our boys truly excelled. The Senior Basketball team beat some very strong competition to remain undefeated throughout the whole season and secure the pennant. Our Lawn Bowls squad competed in the SIS Lawn Bowls Tournament with our A squad making the semi-finals, and Riley Hawke from Year 9 making the grand final of the singles section. But it was at the SIS Athletics carnival that our boys saw the most success. Both our Under 15 and Under 17 squads won the pennant, and our Open age team came second by the narrowest of margins. Many BGS records were broken on the day and Matthew Merrilees set a new SIS High Jump record in the Under 16 section. All of these great results led to us winning the boys aggregate points shield which is the highest award we are eligible for at this carnival, a great reward for effort from all involved.

The HPV and Cycling squad competed in round three of the Victorian HPV Series this term. This 12 hour event saw our students excel in very challenging weather conditions. They were rewarded for their efforts with all eight team finishing in the top 10 of their respective categories, including two first place results (Team A and Zeus.) We have also had members of the squad participate in the Victorian Schools Cycling Championship in mountain biking and road cycling. So far our riders have won nine gold medals, six silver medals and a bronze medal in the road cycling events and in the mountain biking we have won seven gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze medal. The final round is in October and we look forward to hearing how the squad performs.

We have had a great half of the year for our school Equestrian Team.  With several of our riders placing in the Interschool series. Jordyn Treasure was Champion and Reserve Champion in two rounds. Georgia Tivendale qualified for the 2019 Interschool Nationals and we were excited to hear Natasha Moody was selected to represent Victoria as the Vic Team Captain for Interschool Nationals 2019. Well done team.

Interschools 2019

The Snowsports team participated in the 2019 Interschools Snowsports Championships with lots of personal bests. Standout performances were in the Senior Boys: Caiden Hawke in the Alpine Giant Slalom and in Junior School, Audrey Pritchard placed 25th in the Moguls.

And finally….

From a strategic perspective, our nomination as a national finalist in the Educator Awards ‘Best Strategic Plan’ was heartening. Staff recognition through two staff members being recognised as two of Australia’s Top Ten Education Influencers is something of which we should be proud. Enrolments continue to grow, and employment enquiries indicate we are becoming a school employer of choice. We constantly seek feedback through surveys, interviews, Principal’s Morning Teas and other events that enable us to move forward in an informed manner and I thank all who contribute in this way.

I hope all families get to spend time with loved ones this break. I will be attending a family wedding in China and representing our fabulous school at a number of events over the break with Mr Nigel Halsey, the Director of Marketing and Communications.

I look forward to seeing parents at events including:

St Margaret’s Speech Night:

Thursday 17 October, 7:00pm, Rosanove Auditorium, St Margaret’s Campus

Berwick Grammar School Speech Night:

Friday 18 October, 7:00pm, Rosanove Auditorium, St Margaret’s Campus

St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School Year 4-6 Presentation Night:

Thursday 28 November, 7:00pm, Rosanove Auditorium, St Margaret’s Campus

Ms Annette Rome