Gippsland Grammar news: Sep 4, 2020

Sep 4, 2020 | Community News

Dear families,

I think it is reasonable to say that most people believe in the importance of Community but over the past few months perhaps there is a renewed focus and desire for ‘normal’ to reappear. During this time, it is so important that we support one another and engage and connect in different ways.

Communities are places where we support one another as well as interact and share. We recently launched our Business Directory, which enables our School Community to support one another and today I would like to share some other ways our School is working towards connecting our families with the broader local Community.

Open Day Virtual Video:
Our Gippsland Grammar Open Days were not able to occur in their normal format over the past few months however thanks to some local creative talent, this week we launched our virtual Open Day video, which we hope can provide prospective families with a window into our School. I would like to thank our Media Liaison Mrs Lisa Baker who was instrumental in the direction of this video as well as the many students who were able to take part in the filming. We are very proud of our School and it is wonderful to see the final product. I would love for you to view this video and to share it with anyone in your network you think may be interested. Click here to view the video:

Cyber Safety: Susan McLean is Australia’s foremost expert in the area of cyber safety and I am thrilled to announce that next week we will host Susan across several presentations for our Community.  On Tuesday September 8 Susan will host a session for Years 5 and 6 students from Bairnsdale and St Anne’s as well as a staff session, and on Wednesday September 9 Susan will host sessions with our Garnsey students as well as a parent session, which I encourage you all to attend.
The Parent session will be Wednesday evening from 7-8.30pm.
To join the parent session, click on the link provided to all current families via email at 6.30pm on Wednesday. It is important to note that we can only have 300 participants in the session.

At Gippsland Grammar we are very committed to our mission to develop a positive child-safe culture. Many of our students have learnt and socialised in the virtual world over the past six months and Susan’s presentations will be a timely reminder of the responsibilities that come with the use of social media and the virtual world.

The parent session will include:

  • A Cyberspace 101: The reality of the online world. It’s not a matter of if – rather than when.
  • What are kids doing online: Learn the latest apps and platforms your kids are either on, want to be on or are being told about at school. TikTok, Omegle, House Party and more.
  • Online Grooming: What is it and when/how does it occur? What are the warning signs & what to do if you suspect this is happening to your child.
  • Cyberbullying: What it is, where it happens, what it looks like, how to prevent and what to do if it occurs. Also, the legal consequences and the possible criminal charges.
  • Sharing Nudes: The taking and sending of explicit images. The social and emotional consequences as well as the Law.
  • Problematic Gaming:  How to manage digital devices in your home to avoid problems and what to do if/when they arise.

Linked In: We have recently reinvigorated Gippsland Grammar’s Linked In page and as part of this I would encourage parents who have a Linked In account but are not yet connected to our page, to do so via this link:

We are keen to invest in this important professional network and you can look forward to seeing some staff profiles very soon. This is a great opportunity for us to celebrate our brilliant and diverse colleagues, not only to our own School Community, but also to associated education networks. It’s also a great opportunity for our staff to foster their own professional profiles.

As we experiment with new ways of doing things, I thank you for your ongoing support. I again, want to thank each and every one of our staff. They are all working hard to adapt and modify their programs, assessments and the general way that they operate but, most of all, they are working hard for our students. We are committed to partnering with our parents and value the role of our Community in our journey. As the famous African proverb says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

We are grateful for your role as we move forward ‘together’.

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper


Though for many of us this year seems to be crawling by, at the ELC we are already preparing for the 2021 School year. During the past few weeks, the children in our Transition (four year old kindergarten) groups have had visits from the Foundation teachers.

The teachers from both campuses have been popping in to share a meal, play games or read a story to the ELC classes. This informal and friendly introduction allows the children to get to know them and helps build relationships with their new teachers before the more formal process of visiting School classrooms begins next term. It also allows the ELC and Foundation teachers the opportunity to discuss each child’s strengths, friendships and learning style.

One of the real benefits of an ELC to Year 12 School is that from the very beginning of their education, the children become a part of the wider Gippsland Grammar Community. They develop a sense of ‘belonging’ that supports them as they make the important transition from the early learning setting into ‘big school’. The children become comfortable with the physical environment of the junior campuses as they travel from the ELC to their specialist lessons and they look forward to the warm welcome they receive from their Year 5 buddies and brothers and sisters as they move around this space. We have enjoyed having the junior campuses pretty much to ourselves over the past two terms and we have used this to our advantage. Both the three and four year olds have enjoyed using the playground, ovals and halls without restrictions. Last term during the lockdown, they spent many happy afternoons picking and eating the peas, carrots and corn from the St Anne’s Year Two garden!

Developing the children’s confidence in their environment and creating a culture where they feel safe, known, secure and supported as they begin the journey of their education, is an integral part of the ELC to School transition.


Bairnsdale Foundation teacher Mrs Libby Crowe meets ELC students Kloe, Hannah and Sam (above left) and St Anne’s Foundation teacher Miss Bree Alexander enjoys sharing her favourite story with some Sale ELC students (above right).

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
Striving for excellence in all that we do is one of our values and learning online is no exception. As we complete our eighth week of the term, I urge all students to finish the term with renewed enthusiasm, knowing we are nearly there.  Presenting yourselves ready to learn each morning is very important and completing the tasks your teachers has set for you with your best effort is what striving for excellence is all about. I acknowledge this has been a tricky time for parents and students however, for very good reasons, let’s complete Term 3 together well. I have spoken to our students in regards to this and look forward to their positive response.

Thank you to our parents who met via Zoom for Parent/Teacher interviews. From all accounts they were most successful and a convenient way to discuss your child’s progress. And no standing in the cold or waiting too long was a definite bonus of the current social distancing restricitons.

This week Grevillea and Blackwood students were most fortunate with and opportunity to engage with author Tim Cope whose story involves his experiences travelling across Mongolia on his horse, befriending a dog along the way. The interaction and learning that has resulted from this ongoing connection with Tim through his online educational program is amazing. The students were enthralled with his stories and have responded with enthusiasm. Here is some of the feedback from the students that I’d like to share with you:

Writing takes time and you should start with your adventure and how you feel. Kael

Tigan (Tim’s dog) was an amazing friend to Tim. I learnt friendship is really important. Alyssa

I found it really interesting listening to Tim talk about his adventures from Mongolia to Hungry. Parker

I like the way Tim described and detailed every event and adventure. Also, I loved the way he described his feelings and emotions. Paul

I found the things he had to eat interesting and a bit disgusting! Like, how he ate boiled pigeon for Christmas lunch and horse lips, cheeks and eyes. Saxon

I really loved how he explained his survival tips on his video. Like when he threw the fire crackers out to scare of the wild dogs. He also gathered rocks and sticks to throw at the stallions when they come to attack his horses. smart thinking. Jacob

I loved that he always kept us interested and that he never gave up even in the toughest of times, whether it was in the desert or in the snow. I also found it amazing that everybody welcomed him into their homes when they didn’t know Tim and Tigon at all. Sorrel

I found all the sayings quite touching and some of them essential to know in life some of my favourites are probably ‘humour is essential’, ‘mountains don’t meet but people do ‘, ‘A person in the steppe without friends is as wide as a finger but a person in the steppe with friends is as wide as the steppe ‘. ‘Be curious not offended’ and ‘Trust in fate but tie the camel up.’ Throughout the whole presentation I was amazed at what he had accomplished and how many people he met I think he said he met hundreds maybe even thousands! Emily

Wellbeing is a continuous focus for our students and as a School we have recently introduced a wellbeing survey called, ‘Pulse’ for Years 5 and 6 that allows the students to share their feelings and current wellbeing status each week. The data collected provides important information for our teachers to further understand each student and the cohort as a whole. To reflect on one’s feelings and share them through this forum promotes trust and encourages students to seek help if needed.

Next week continues with the theme of keeping our students safe and students from Years 5 and 6 as well as staff and their parents are invited to join a Zoom session with syber-safety expert Susan McLean. I encourage and ask all parents to join the online parent session next Wednesday 9 September from 7-8.30pm (see Principals note above). We all need to understand how to navigate the world of social media and technology safely and Susan will be able to help us with this.

Wishing you a lovely spring weekend.

Bairnsdale students completing some art and craft activities during the week.

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
During this morning’s live Fellowship I spoke to the students about their emotions. We all have stories about how people are dealing with the stress of this current pandemic and I recently heard that people working in local supermarkets and hardware stores are dealing with up to one in five customers being aggressive towards them.
There are four main emotions – happy, sad, angry and fear – and I challenged our students to talk to a trusted adult about how they are feeling – regularly. Then, with their trusted adult, come up with strategies to work through their emotions. It is essential to remember that you cannot be happy all the time; it is okay and normal to feel sad, angry or fear. The key is working through these emotions in a positive way.

Piecing together a meaningful Fellowship is challenging at the best of times. Teachers aim to give students the opportunity to speak in public, demonstrate their talents and share an essential message to our School Community. Mrs Linda Vale, and our Tasman students have created a wonderful Father’s Day pre-recorded Fellowship, which included a range of photos and videos of our fathers, grandfathers and special friends sharing special moments. Aurora played the processional and Nina read a very humorous story titled ‘My Dad Thinks He is Funny’. Chaplain Jackie finished the Fellowship with a blessing for our Community. I would like to wish all fathers, grandfathers and special friends’ a special day on Sunday.

Pulse at St Anne’s: Our Years 5 and 6 students had a chance to express their emotions and voice as we launched ‘Pulse’ last week. Pulse is our initiative that focuses on student wellbeing and it provides a snapshot of our students’ emotions, health, engagement with Learn@Home 2.0 and much more. Each week, our senior students together with students at our Garnsey campus, will complete a 60-second survey that will provide the School with valuable information to action. For example, this week we have identified many of our students are feeling the emotional strain of COVID-19 and remote learning. This anonymous ‘student voice’ allows our teachers to direct conversations, and lessons to help students to understand their emotions.

Crazy Hair Day: Next Monday (September 7) the St Anne’s Campus SRC and Year 5 Hollows will be hosting our annual Crazy Hair, Hat and Sunnies day. Usually, we would hold this day to raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation and last year we raising more than $400 for the cause, which was used to restore the eyesight of about 16 people.  Our focus this year is on dressing up and having fun (‘FUN-raising’) however, if you would still like to donate to the Fred Hollows Foundation, you can do so via this link:

Students attending Learn@Home@School are asked to come to School in their Sports Uniform, with their crazy hair, hat and sunnies on top. And for those FUN-raising at home, we would ask that parents share any photos from this crazy day emailing any photos you take of your child dressed-up, to their class teacher or to by Tuesday September 8.

Enjoy your weekend.


GARNSEY NEWS by Head of Campus Jan Henry  
Debating: Nine teams competed in the Debating Association of Victoria (DAV) online debates this year and the teams did a remarkable job considering the move to an online mode of delivery. While most of the debate timings allowed our students to be on campus as a team, the last few weeks have seen each student deliver their debate online from home, somewhat more isolated from each other than is normal in a team event.

We had nine teams participate in Round 4 on Thursday August 20, in what turned out to be the final round! The teams were able to celebrate victories in one A-Grade, one B-Grade, one C-Grade and one D-Grade team. DAV decided not to run Round 5 in order to get finals underway. We had one undefeated C-Grade team which participated in finals on Sunday August 23. Congratulations to Sarah Husodo, Camille Japhary, Charlotte Runciman, Josh Hanratty, Mia Johnson and Will Coleman on this achievement. They debated well but missed out on moving forward in the finals despite a close debate. Congratulations to all the debaters who have been so committed this year. Thanks must also go to Ms Patten and Ms Hilliar for their co-ordination and support for the teams.

Students will now have a chance to participate in online House debating. With both junior and senior teams in each House, this promises to be a highly competitive event with House Debating Captains leading their teams in this competition, which will commence this term.

What did Pulse tell us this week? The data collected from our new Pulse surveys will help inform our understanding of how students are feeling and what we might address to support their wellbeing. There have been a number of key things we have noticed about the students’ responses this week:

  • The Garnsey campus pulse has improved 5 per cent this week in terms of feeling great or positive.
  • 90 per cent of our students are feeling either great, positive or in the middle.
  • About 10 per cent of students are struggling and feel negative.
  • There has been an increase in the level of health (including positive emotions), material basics (having breakfast and access to necessities), participation and, with the highest increase, the positive sense of identity and culture amongst our students.
  • A number of students are finding remote learning challenging with completion of tasks, challenging work and staying focussed the biggest challenges.

Though it is early days, this data is helping us to understand our students and how they are experiencing Learn@Home this term.

Prefects’ Nature Photo Collection: Learn@Home has resulted in many of us being inside more often than we would have liked. As a result, our Prefects have created a nature-themed photo challenge in which we would love everyone to get involved! And with warmer weather finally here after a long, cold winter now is the perfect time to go outside and enjoy the fresh Spring air!
Instructions will be posted on VOS from Monday so students should look for this notice, and it will be super easy to participate. Simply go outside into the fresh spring air and take a photo of something in the backyard or local Community. It could be anything from a stunning sunset to a picture of your pet, a tree in the backyard or an interesting insect you might find. In my photo (below), you can see the bees in my backyard – they love the flowering bush just near my back door and I love the sweet scent from it which often wafts inside reminding me that spring is here.

I hope that all students and staff enjoy the weekend. Take care everyone.

Head of Garnsey Ms Jan Henry’s entry into the Prefects’ Nature Photo Competition.

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