Head of Campus Update – Dr Steven Middleton, 27 July 2017

I have experienced a delightfully warm welcome to Berwick Grammar School over the course of the week. My thanks to all for their kind wishes.

Last Friday,  I had the opportunity to speak to the boys for the first time. The two key ideas I expressed to them were to seize every opportunity provided to them through the education their parents and guardians have enabled. Secondly, I encouraged each and every boy to aspire for excellence in all endeavours they pursue.

The very best boys’ schools in the world are those that have the highest of aspirations for the growth and development of each boy with a view to moulding the man your son will become. At Berwick Grammar, I firmly believe we are not only in the business of educating mind and body, but that we also have the noble aim of growing good men; men with the character, values and capacity to excel in life as much as in examinations. I am particularly excited about working with our Year 12 students as they approach their final examinations. To further provide insight into my experience, philosophy and interests, a range of boys from across the School have asked some questions of me. I look forward to meeting you all and contributing my energies and experience to the learning, growth, achievement and good health of the BGS/SMS community.

Where did you teach before BGS? – Vincent Zappia, Year 9

Thanks for this question Vincent. I have taught across a range of leading independent schools in Sydney and Melbourne for the past two decades. More recently I have been employed at The King’s School, Australia’s oldest independent school founded in 1831. My goal is to bring the very best of each school I have experienced to BGS.

What do you value most in a teacher and a student? – Jack Murray, Year 12
Excellent question Jack. I think the best teachers are those who have a genuine passion to assist young people to be there very best. Compassion and empathy is central to this capacity. In terms of students, I admire boys who have a go at everything, giving their best at every opportunity regardless of their skill or expertise level.

Where do you see the school in five years’ time? – Abdul Mohammed, Year 12
This is a really good question Abdul. My vision is for the continued growth of BGS through the next exciting phase of development. As an educator, my emphasis is on developing people in mind, body and character to be the very best version of themselves. I believe that an aspiration to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday is at the core of growth, development and improvement. I would like to see the school emerge into adolescence with a clear vision for growing good men from the boys who attend our school. My greatest desire is to see our boys do their very best in all aspects of their lives and leaving our school not only thoroughly prepared for excellence in examinations but also ready for outstanding lives and relationships. Developing confidence, compassion, creativity and the capacity to work together in teams are essential qualities.

Where did you grow up? – David Charman, Year 10
I am a product of Western Victoria David, having been born in Hamilton and then spending my school years in Ballarat. My extended family are from the Wimmera Region. Growing up in a regional area, I am sure than I can appreciate the aspirations of our students and their families.

What is your Doctorate in and where did you receive it? – Angus Bareš, Year 9
Many thanks Angus. My Doctorate studies focused on the best ways to teach adolescent boys to be leaders. It is a topic that has fascinated me as a teacher, coach and expedition leader. I have published it quite widely and presented my research at international conferences. A real highlight was having my research accepted for a presentation at Oxford in the United Kingdom.

What hobbies do you have? – Ovin Jayawardana, Year 7
I have a range of passions beyond school Ovin and I love reading, writing and watching films. Like many of the boys at BGS, I also love AFL and am a passionate Hawks supporter. Lately in Sydney, my daughters and I have been keeping a close eye on the emergence of the GWS Giants. It has been great to see the young players develop to the stage where they can contend for the Premiership.

Which Star Wars character do you relate most to? – Will Morgan, Year 11
Thanks Will, it is great to know you were listening to my speech in Assembly! Like many children of the 70/80’s I grew up wishing that I piloted the Millenium Falcon across the Kessell Run. It has been great to see my own children fall in love with Star Wars in their own early years. As a fan of the Clone Wars series, I must say I relate best to Obi Wan, seeking to mentoring a young Anakin. Reminds me of Year 9 English classes I have taught.

I am very much looking forward to working with all boys at Berwick Grammar School to assist them in their path towards achieving their own brand of excellence. Whilst change can always bring apprehension, these are exciting times as our boys grow and develop into the men they will become-the husbands, fathers, partners and adventurers on life’s journey. I am excited to engage with the community and look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the coming weeks.

Dr Steven Middleton
Head of Berwick Grammar School