From the Principal – 22 June 2017

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy holiday. It has been a busy and very productive term and I cannot believe we are half way through the year.

There were many highlights this term: ‘Man the Balloon’, ANZAC Day March, Camps, Excursions, Languages Day, Sylvie Paladino Concert, countless sport and musical performances as well as the significant examination and reporting period.  Of particular note, I know is the Year 11 and 12 Formal that was a night of joy, high heels and positive spirits. The parents have supported the school through the sell-out Mother’s Day lunch and a range of other events. For this, we thank you. Further details on events may be found in the respective Campus News articles.

Of particular note are some of the opportunities that have come our way related to our global citizenship focus. We are one of only 20 schools across all sectors selected to be part of the VCAA Intercultural Capability Project, which will involve staff and students from all parts of the school. We are honoured to have Dr Eeqbal Hassim work with us in this space. Dr Eeqbal Hassim is a sought after intercultural educator, with a background in languages and education history and philosophy. He is currently Senior Manager (Research), at the Asia Education Foundation, The University of Melbourne. He has worked closely with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on the Australian Curriculum general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities. Such a project is, I feel, in line with the evolving strategic plan and reflects our commitment to enable our students to survive happily and meaningfully in our global world.

Our work to engage more strongly with Australia’s First Peoples continues and we are delighted that Murrundindi, ngurungaeta of the Wurundjeri people and a descendant of William Barak is re-engaging with the school. I know many in the community have missed his contribution to the lives of those at St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar.

I will also be representing the school at a number of events in China over the holidays and am excited about a potentially stronger relationship with this most significant of geographical neighbours.

I wish all involved in the Presentation Ball, French Study Tour, Oodnadatta Trip and New Zealand Exchange well and that the experiences provide rich and purposeful memories. To those remaining in Melbourne, enjoy the break and to the Year 12s, use the time wisely: recharge the batteries as well as ensure your learning is in order for the relatively short time left in Year 12.

Child Safe Standards and their Implications

Many in the community will be aware of the recent ‘Betrayal of Trust’ investigation. The results of this inquiry have had far-reaching implications for sports clubs, performing arts groups and schools and new legislation continues to be released throughout 2017. The School has responded to the recommendations in a number of ways including analysis against the standards, closer monitoring of adherence to relevant policies, a signed Code of Conduct for all adults and more regulated general risk management, employment procedures and operational procedures. All groups associated with the School are also involved including Council, Parents’ groups and volunteers.

Child Safety Officers have been appointed at all campuses and information sessions with students have commenced. A set of posters designed by a Berwick Grammar Student, Eddie Huynh, have been extremely well received by all students. Relevant student groups such as the SRC will become increasingly involved in this area and we are very clear regarding our zero tolerance of child abuse.

As part of the responses, we would remind parents that they must sign in at Reception and organize to meet either their child or the relevant teacher in Reception. There are now requirements for anyone over 18 coming in contact with children to have such things as a Working with Children Check (WWC Check). Please assist us with this.

Scholarship Reviews for Current Scholarship Holders

The reviews are now complete and I anticipate that the relevant students and families understand the most sensible requirement that we monitor students who have received this honour.

Term 3 2017

We look forward to welcoming a number of new students to the School in Term 3 who are joining us from interstate and overseas as well as from our local community. We will also welcome the new Head of Berwick Grammar School, Dr Steven Middleton to our community and there will be a number of events for the community to meet Dr Middleton early in Term 3. Apropos of his arrival, I know many staff and families want to recognise the contribution Dr Deane Blackler has made to the intellectual life and wellbeing of Berwick Grammar School and the broader community. She is an outstanding colleague and leader. We will miss her wisdom, humour and clear thinking.

There is no doubt that word of our good work is attracting attention from a number of areas, fueled by the dedication of highly professional staff and those most effective of ambassadors: our delightful students.

Ms Annette Rome