Welcome to 2018

Dear Members of the St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar Community,

I warmly welcome you all to a new year at St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School. It is exciting to be at the start of another year and I know teachers and education support staff never tire of the general excitement that accompanies new classes, new students and new colleagues. We have approximately 100 new students starting with us in 2018 and a number of year levels are full in both Junior and Senior Schools.

We are particularly fortunate in 2018 to welcome some highly skilled new staff to our school. Of the new staff in the senior schools, all of them are past or current VCE examiners and they will complement the 15 VCE examiners we already have at St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School. This means the School has access to VCE examiners for 15 of the 22 VCE subjects offered (for some subjects multiple examiners work at the school). This means over 35% of our VCE teachers are VCAA examiners, a very impressive number.

This year will see a focus on teacher learning with the commencement of the Director of Staff Learning and Research, Ms Linda Shardlow. Ms Shardlow has been identified nationally by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership as an outstanding teacher herself and I know she is very much looking forward  to  working  with  us  and  setting  up  our  new  Centre  for  Excellence  in  Learning  and  Teaching.  Teacher learning is one of the foci of our new strategic plan and reflects the global research on high performing  educational  organisations,  all  of  whom devote time,  energy and resources into this most important of areas.

Another area of focus will be student engagement and I would like to inform the community that all students in all year levels require 90% attendance, unless there are externally advised medical reasons for non?attendance. This is reflected in the updated school diary that all students in Year 7 to 12 will receive. Attendance is a key factor in student success and we view it as of the utmost importance.

Families may be interested in the possibility of becoming Homestay hosts for international visitors.  This is  a  wonderful  opportunity  to  offer  international  students  a  genuine  experience  of  living  with  an  Australian  family.   Each  member  of  the  family  including  your  international  student,  gains  enormously from learning more about each other’s culture.  Families must be registered with the Australian Homestay Network   https://www.homestaynetwork.org/  and  are  remunerated  for  being  Hosts.  If  you  require  further information, please contact out Director of Partnerships, Local, National and International, Ms Carolyn Roney on roneyc@stmargarets.vic.edu.au

As the year progresses, we look forward to sharing with you the fruits of our new exciting strategic plan that will be formally launched early this year.

School commences for all students on Wednesday 31 January at 8.30am. I wish all students, whether returning  or  new,  a  wonderful  start  to  the  year  and  look  forward  to  bringing  you  news  through  the  website, Campus News and the weekly bulletins. I hope to see many of the parents and guardians at the Parent Cocktail Party from 6:30 to 9:00pm on Friday 23 February in The Pavilion. I also hope to see you at the inaugural Unicorn Series from 6:30 to 7:30pm on Monday 5 March at the St Margaret’s campus where we will be exploring ‘What makes a good teacher’ with a panel of experts.

Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Head of School or me should you have any concerns or queries.

Kind Regards

Ms Annette Rome