Gippsland Grammar news: April 1, 2022

Apr 1, 2022 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

On the eve of the St Anne’s and Garnsey Open Days, I would like to thank all our families who have encouraged their friends and acquaintances to come and visit our School. We have had a great response so far and I know that our students are looking forward to sharing their stories with prospective families tomorrow. The Campus news items will reflect how our students have shown energy, excitement, and an eagerness to participate in all that they could; it’s been another busy week.

We have heard much about growth and fixed mindsets over the past decade and the research that has been associated with that. I share the following reflection with you on the work of Carol Dweck, which may be something you put on your holiday reading list:

Growth versus Fixed Mindsets
Stanford University Professor of Psychology, Carol Dweck, asserts that some students bounce back after failure while others can be devastated by the smallest setback.  Her research has delved into the ‘fixed’” and ‘growth’ mindsets model and subsequently inspired parents and educators to praise children’s every effort, in the belief that this will help their child develop a growth mindset.  Dweck now contends that parents and teachers have misconstrued her message, through their simple interpretation of telling children to try hard, even if they fail a task, because it is the effort that counts.  Dweck refers to this as ‘false growth mindset’, saying that the trend has led to parents and teachers delivering empty praise that is counterproductive to children developing a real growth mindset.

I was interested to read an article on this concept of the ‘false growth mindset’ and the associated dangers of empty praise. Stanford University Professor of Psychology Carol Dweck is world-renowned for her research into ‘mindset’, which was prompted by her observation that some students rebound after failure but others are devastated by even the smallest setback. This led to Dweck’s key finding that there are two core mindsets about learning and intelligence. People with a ‘fixed mindset’ believe we are born with abilities and talents that can never be improved; those with a ‘growth mindset’ believe that abilities and talents can be developed through hard work. 

A growth mindset, Dweck once blogged on the Edutopia website, “can have a profound effect on students’ motivation, enabling them to focus on learning, persist more, learn more, and do better in school”. She further explains on her website, Mindset Works, that students with a fixed mindset — who are focused on “performance goals” — will avoid challenging work as they are worried about looking smart all the time. On the other hand, students with a growth mindset — who are focused on “learning goals” — will “pursue interesting and challenging tasks to learn more”.

Dweck’s research has inspired a generation of parents and educators to praise children’s every effort in the belief that this will encourage them to develop a growth mindset. However, she now argues that parents and teachers have misinterpreted the complexity of her message, believing that all that is necessary is to simply tell kids to try hard, even if they fail a task, because it is the effort that counts. Dweck has termed this ‘false growth mindset’ and believes that its adoption has led to parents and teachers delivering empty praise that is counterproductive to children developing a genuine growth mindset.

Concerned by this turn of events, Dweck has updated her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success in 2016, to explain how her growth mindset theory should really be applied. In an interview with Atlantic Monthly, Dweck says that one of the misunderstandings she wants to address is that we either have a fixed or a growth mindset, when in reality everyone is a mixture of both. “Nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time”, she says. We all have areas where we feel really challenged or outside our comfort zone, triggering us to have a fixed mindset that we cannot do a particular task.

Dweck argues that students need to be taught a growth mindset through programs that “demonstrate how the brain changes with learning (how the neurons grow stronger connections when students work on hard things and stick with them) and how to apply this to their schoolwork”. When students believe they can get smarter, they put in extra time and effort, which leads to higher achievement. This finding is underpinned by recent advances in neuroscience, particularly in relation to brain plasticity, which show that the brain and intelligence are far more malleable than previously thought. 

Another fundamental misunderstanding is that the application of growth mindset theory is just about praising effort. Dweck says that children know when praise is empty. If they know they have not made progress or achieved an outcome, then they also know that the adult doing the praising believes they are unable to improve. Instead, she says, children need to be told the truth. They need meaningful work, honest and helpful feedback, advice on learning strategies, and opportunities to revise their work and show what they have learned.

Dweck told Atlantic Monthly that her growth mindset theory was actually developed “as a counter to the self-esteem movement of blanketing everyone with praise, whether deserved or not”. Therefore, it is of “great concern” to her that growth mindset is now being used in the same way, rather than focusing on how effort creates demonstrable progress or success in learning. In fact, she says, it is “wrong” to praise the effort rather than the outcome. Praise needs to be tied to learning progress or an actual outcome. If something is not working, children need support in finding a new strategy, not praise for strategy that will never work, no matter how much effort they put in.

As Dweck explains:  Students need to know that if they’re stuck, they don’t need just effort. You don’t want them redoubling their efforts with the same ineffective strategies. You want them to know when to ask for help and when to use the resources that are available.

Another misunderstanding about growth mindset is that parents and teachers need to protect a child’s confidence and prevent them from thinking they have failed. However, Dweck says that a parent who rushes in anxiously and tells a child, “Oh, not everyone can be good at maths, don’t worry, you’re good at other things” is encouraging a child to develop a fixed mindset that their ability at maths cannot be improved. Instead, Dweck says adults should be asking how a child’s failure can enhance the learning process. They should ask children: “What is this teaching us?” and “What should we do next?” Focus on the learning process, she says, and “show how hard work, good strategies, and good use of resources lead to better learning”.

– A growing body of research on growth mindset. (2017, January 18). Retrieved from Institute of Education Sciences (IES) website:
– Dweck, C. (2016). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. (Updated edition). New York: Random House.
– Dweck, C. (2016, January 11). Recognising and overcoming false growth mindset. Edutopia. Retrieved from:
– Dweck, C. (n.d.) Why do mindsets matter? Retrieved from the Mindset Works website:
– Gross-Loh, C. (2016, December 16). How praise became a consolation prize. Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved from:

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess
It has been a week of special celebrations at the St Anne’s Campus ELC. Our youngest Reception students marked the end of their first term at school with a Teddy Bears’ Picnic on Wednesday and Thursday (pictured below). The students collaged teddy bear ears, iced a delicious teddy-shaped biscuit and enjoyed many teddy bear-related songs, stories and craft activities. Beginning at the ELC aged three is the beginning of a long educational journey that will see these children potentially finish Year 12 in 2036. It has been lovely to see them settle in this term, form relationships with their educators and other children, and feel happy, safe, and connected in their learning environment.

Today the Transition groups joined Foundation for our annual Easter Hat Parade (pictured below). A large crowd of families and friends and the children’s Year 5 buddies were treated to a fabulous display of hats created by the children. Following this, the children presented a brief mini concert of songs they learned, including the old favourite ‘Little Peter Rabbit’. Then, a special whiskered visitor led the children off on an Easter Hunt while families enjoyed a delightful morning tea. Principal Mrs Leisa Harper admired the children’s hats and officially welcomed families of these junior students to Gippsland Grammar. The Easter Hat Parade is not only a wonderful time for our Community to connect but is a part of each Transition child’s integration into School life as they become familiar with and confident in moving around the campus with the support of their older ‘buddies’.

Next week it is the turn of the Bairnsdale Campus ELC to host end-of-term events for Reception on Tuesday, April 5 (2.30-3pm) and Transition on Friday, April 8 (1.30-2pm). 

I want to remind all Transition families that we finish one hour earlier on Friday April 8, which is the last day of Term 1.

Finally, I hope to welcome many of you to our St Anne’s ELC Open Day tomorrow, from 9am to 11am. Feel free to come along for a ‘play’ at the ELC or look at the junior campus. We also encourage you to bring along friends interested in finding out what an education at Gippsland Grammar can provide.

Have a great weekend.

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
‘Responsibility’, was evident this morning as we gathered at two locations to ride and walk to school together as a campus. Our Year 6 leaders role modelled safety as well as encouraged and educated our younger students to manage the traffic. We are also grateful to the Bairnsdale police who provided assistance to see us safely across Howitt Avenue. Our families come from many locations in East Gippsland; I appreciate the efforts of our parents to enable their child to participate in the morning activity. Our Campus captains Benjamin and Chelsea will be very pleased with the outcome of their plan, as once again we demonstrated that ‘We are better together”.

We congratulate Rustan Bazley and Taylor Dennett who have progressed through to the division level after playing some very solid tennis on Tuesday. I was told the competition was of a high standard and all students who participated played well in representing our school.

An interesting approach to learning about ‘forces’ and to consolidate the students thinking prompted an excursion to the Howitt Park playground for our Year 3 and 4 students. Transferring their knowledge to an experience such as going down a slide or having fun on the flying fox furthers their understanding, as we see below.

Alamby: “I thought going to learn about forces at a playground was fun and interesting. Most things needed gravity and friction.”
Evie: “On Tuesday we went to Howitt Park. The more enjoyable things were the flying fox and the big yellow slide. The forces on the flying fox and slide were push and gravity.”

Our Foundation students travelled by bus to the Forge Creek Theatre; an exciting first excursion. They watched a performance of the show, ‘Dinosaur Time Machine’. Some comments from the students are below:

Austin: “It was so funny when the first time they went back in the time machine, they only went back five minutes!!”
Emma: “I liked it when the girl did cartwheels because she loved dinosaurs so much.”
Ben and Oscar Coleman: “We loved travelling on the bus. It was exciting!”

Mrs Leisa Harper and myself attended Reverend Paul Woodcock’s Induction to St. John’s Parish on Tuesday evening. We look forward to welcoming him to our weekly Fellowships in Term 2.

Thank you to the parents who attended the Cyber Safety talk presented by Leading Senior Sergeant Brooke Johnson. Sergeant Johnson shared her knowledge and understanding with us and stressed the importance of being aware of your child’s online activities. We need to work together to educate and protect our students. Three points emphasised to assist us in this are:

  • Children are to tell their parents when they are online
  • Only communicate with people they know in person
  • Do not provide any personal information

A very big thank you to Sergeant Johnson for speaking to our Years 3-6 students and our parents and as she said, in her role she is always there to support the Community and is willing to help.

Wishing you well for the weekend ahead.

St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
I am excited about our tomorrow’s Open Day, which will be held from 9-11am at St Anne’s then from 11am-1pm at Garnsey. The event’s purpose is to provide an opportunity to show the wider Gippsland community everything our School has to offer. We have our specialists program being demonstrated, including live music performances from our students and our Principal Mrs Leisa Harper, ELC Director Mrs Lisa Burgess, student leaders and teachers will be available for tours. Complimentary coffees and BBQ will be on offer for our visitors. Please encourage any families in your own networks who may be interested in learning more about coming to Gippsland Grammar.

Citizen of the Term Fellowship
This morning we celebrated our Term 1 Citizens of the Term. Congratulations to the following students:

Bass – Mackenzie Shotter
Mawson – Fletcher McWhirter
Bradman – Graham Armstrong
McCubbin – Claudia Yanez
Barton – Blake Knight
Chisolm – John Jewkes-Torres
Flynn – Alana Jansen Van Rensburg
Tasman – Estelle Yanez
Kingsford-Smith – Nicholas Treloar
Freeman – Safiulla Syed
Hollows – Lily-Joy Moatlhodi
Cuthbert – Zoe Gibson
Goolagong – Jax Doumas
Mackellar – Ella Lamb

Year 5 NGV Excursion
Yesterday Year 5 students travelled to Melbourne for a joint Art and Japanese excursion (pictured below). They met street artists Maha and Gigi for a walking tour of some of the city’s famous street art laneways. Then onto the National Gallery of Victoria to explore the exhibitions ‘Bark Ladies’ and ‘Golden Shells’. An interesting fact is that the glass ceiling of the NGV’s Great Hall was created by Leonard French who just happens to be the same artist who created the stained glass in our Chapel of St Anne at Garnsey Campus.

Easter Hat Parade
Easter is such an important time to reflect on our Anglican and family values. To help celebrate Easter, our Transition and Foundation students and teachers organised our annual Easter Hat Parade. Students made creative Easter hats for the event, and our parents had a delicious morning tea following the parade. We had a surprise visit from the Easter Bunny, who had organised an exciting Easter Egg Hunt within the school grounds.

Easter Raffle
Our Parents and Friends Committee have organised an Easter Raffle for our Community to get involved in. All funds raised will go towards our NSW Flood Appeal – I have included information about this below. Raffle tickets have been sent home with the eldest child from each family. Tickets are $2 each; please return them to your classroom teacher as soon as possible. The raffle will be drawn at our Easter Picnic on Thursday April 7. We are still welcoming donations for the raffle; anything from Easter chocolate to a colouring book or a tub to put the prizes in would be greatly appreciated.

Easter Picnic (Thursday April 7)
We warmly invite our St Anne’s community to our Easter Picnic on Thursday April 7. We will be starting at 4.30 pm on the grassed area near Lorna Sparrow Hall. The purpose of the evening is to come together as a Community to celebrate the term and Easter. The key information is below:
What: St Anne’s Easter Picnic
Bring: picnic dinner, drinks (alcohol permitted), picnic blanket/seats and insect repellent
When: Thursday 7 April at 4.30-7pm
Where: St Anne’s Campus, on the grassed area near Lorna Sparrow Hall

We will enjoy some food and music on the lawns, and the children will have a surprise visitor and enjoy an Easter egg hunt!

SRC NSW Flood Appeal
Our 2022 Student Representative Council has come up with a plan to help schools in Northern New South Wales which have been impacted by the recent (and ongoing) devastating floods. Their plan is to provide some of the schools in that region with some essential packs and kits for their students. Former staff member and parent Kelly Warren is now lives in that region and is trying to help those in her community who the floods have impacted.

What: Each class will create 10 essential student school packs. We need donations of school items such as pencils, pens, lunch boxes, notebooks, picture storybooks, down-ball, skipping rope, etc. We also need 10 reusable shopping bags for each classroom. If you have any spare, please feel free to donate them to your child’s classroom. We will be using these to create our essential packs.


Families may wish to donate money. We will use this money to purchase and create some larger kits for schools. These kits will include some art supplies, Library books and PE equipment for schools to use. Families can bring their money donations to the front office.
When: From today (March 28) until Thursday April 7. Students can bring items into class.
How: Students are to bring their donations to School, and each classroom will create their essential packs. If families choose to donate money, we will collate this money and purchase Art and PE supplies. We are in discussions with Andersons Removalists to transport all donations to NSW, where Kelly Warren will distribute them to those most in need.
Staff News
I am pleased to share that Mrs Toni Hutton will continue in her role of teaching Year 3 Flynn for the remainder of the year. We thank Mrs Hutton for all that she has done and will continue to do for our students and colleagues.

Japan Fun Fact #5
I have had lots of great feedback from Mrs Jan Chalmer’s ‘Japan Fun Facts’ that are in each week’s newsletter. This week, we find out more about Mount Fuji. Mt Fuji is well-known around the world for its beauty. It is an ‘active’ volcano, even though it last erupted in 1707 when ash fell on Tokyo, 100km away. It has erupted 16 times since the year 781. It is 3,776 m high (Mt Kosciuszko is 2,228m), and it can be seen from Tokyo 100km away. It is the most-climbed mountain in the world! Around 300,000 people climb Mt Fuji each year. Fuji Q Highland is an amusement park in the foothills of Mt Fuji. It has many rollercoaster rides, including the ‘Fujiyama Tower’.

Year 5 students Hannah and Adelaide in the NGV gardens; and the students admire the stained glass ceiling in the Great Hall.

Garnsey Campus news by Acting Head of Campus Justin Henderson
As our Campus completes the final preparations for Open Day tomorrow, I want to highlight the work of our teachers, support staff and administration over the last weeks in binging the event to life. While the weather is looking ominous, we have a wet-weather plan and the rain won’t stop the event providing an insight into our Campus for prospective families. I extend an invitation to all our current families to come long as well.

Due to the weather, our Outdoor Education team made the decision early yesterday morning to finish the Year 9B and 9D Outdoor Ed bushwalking camp a day early. The students had two wonderful days at Camp, heading to bed Wednesday night under clear skies with visible stars. Unfortunately, the forecasted weather arrived as anticipated and with rainfall not set to ease, the decision was made to withdraw a day early. After a hike in the rain to meet the Bus, all students and staff returned safely to the Campus late yesterday afternoon. We look forward to hearing from some of our Year 9’s in next week’s newsletter.

Best wishes to Ms Dyke and her team of coaches and athletes that are attending the SEISA Athletics at Casey Fields on Monday. With just over 120 students in the team, this is a massive effort.

We have 10 Senior Students participating in ‘Gear Up for Ag’ program at Garnsey next week. Year 12 student Sophie Droppert spoke to the Campus at Assembly on Monday about the program and will be able to provide a report for next week’s newsletter. It is a great opportunity for our students, including three who are completing VCE Agriculture Studies as part of their Year 12 program.

Finally, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Mrs Eva Clarke who has joined us this week as a teacher in the Health and PE department. Mrs Clarke has settled in quickly and is making excellent connections with the students she has been teaching., We look forward to learning more from Mrs Clarke over the next few months.

National Championships – Rowing
In breaking news … massive congratulations to Billy Osborne and Lindsay Hamilton for winning the Australian Rowing Championship U19M2X this morning for what is the second year in a row. It was a commanding race from the boys who took the win by an amazing 10 seconds. We’d like to extend another big congratulations to Ella Gerrand who also raced this morning and won silver in the U17 woman’s double scull. Two remarkable performances!

Last night I spoke briefly with Head of Rowing Mr Nick Bartlett who is at the Championships at Nagambie and he spoke about not only the success that the team has had on the water this week, but also of the commitment of the Rowers across the week so far. He spoke about the commitment to their sport, to their studies (as they are still completing schoolwork) and their commitment to their teammates.

The event will continue to be livestreamed over the weekend via this link:

Respectful Relationships by School Counsellor Mrs Ceci Broughton
Early in Term 2 we are engaging our Years 10, 11 and 12 students in information sessions provided in partnership with Headspace and Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault (GCASA). Topics covered in these Q&A style sessions will include consent, safety, healthy relationships, and prevention. The sessions will be facilitated by the Youth Officer from Headspace – Sale, the Community Educator from GCASA and our counsellor Mrs Ceci Broughton.  

GCASA and Headspace information can be accessed via the following links. 

Women in Tech Conference
On Wednesday VCE Applied Computing students Emily Jewkes and Eva Harasymiw had the opportunity to attend the “Trailblazing Women in Tech” conference presented by Slack.

Students heard from Tracey Evans, Chief Information Officer at, Chin Yin Ong, Chief People Officer at Grab, Sarah Myers, General Manager of Consumer Marketing at REA Group and Julie Walker, Head of Marketing Australia Pacific at Slack.

All four women have forged successful careers in the technology sector where women typically make up only 25 per cent of the workforce. The conference covered strategies, successful routines and practices for women and minorities to excel in the technology workplace.

VCE Applied Computing teacher Mr Wilson noted it was great for the students to see women in leadership positions at tech companies. He also said “We need more women and minority groups in tech to ensure that the companies, apps and websites of the future take into account the needs of all users.”

For more information on the Digital Technology and Applied Computing offerings at Gippsland Grammar Garnsey please feel free to contact Mr Wilson on

For interested students a recording of the webinar can be found at

John Monash Science School by Biology Teacher Mrs Kylie Lambert
Grace Ng of Year 10 has been awarded a scholarship to attend the John Monash Science School program later this year.

Held annually, the Regional Science Exchange program invites students from regional and rural areas of Victoria to spend three weeks attending John Monash Science School, which is Victoria’s first specialist secondary school for science, mathematics and associated technologies. Open to Year 10 students with a passion, interest and talent for science and mathematics, the exchange is a wonderful opportunity for students to experience hands-on learning in a variety of scientific disciplines in pursuits, including participating in a number of activities on-campus at Monash University in Clayton.

During their three-week stay, students will be provided with homestay accommodation with a family connected to John Monash Science School, and will travel to and from school with their homestay ‘buddy’ who will also help them navigate their way around our school during each day, and de-mystify the procedures that are part of daily life at the school.

CFA Urban Championships
Year 12 student Dana King won Victoria’s first official individual female event at the CFA State Urban Championships at Mooroopna at the weekend. The sport has highlighted speed and discipline of men in the CFA for more than 100 years and this year, for the first time ever, female events were recognised at the Victorian titles.

There are few females competing in A-division sides and Dana is amongst the youngest competitors. She also helped her team place second in a dry event. Fabulous effort Dana!

Interschool Equestrian
Congratulations to three of our talented senior riders Joey Board, Ella O’Doherty and Ella McConachy who competed at the Farm World Interschool Equestrian Competition held at Lardner Park, Warragul, last Friday.

Ella McConachy was awarded Reserve Champion Overall after achieving two seconds in the Intermediate Novice. Joey Board came second and fourth in the Senior Preliminary competition while Ella O’Doherty came second and fourth in the Senior Novice and the Elementary sections.

Australian Junior Athletics Championships
A brief update on Cassie Farley’s effort at the Athletics Championships. Cassie competed in the Under 14 Girls 800m posting a personal best time of 2.20.42, the third fastest heat time. In the final, Cassie ran an amazing time of 2.19.75 pacing her 5th in Australia for her event and qualifying her to compete at the 2023 Australian Junior Championships 800m event to be held in Perth. 

Clockwise from top: Head of Rowing Nick Bartlett with Year 12 students Billy Osborne and Lindsay Hamilton at the National Rowing Championships at Nagambie; Ella McConachy, Joey Board and Ella O’Doherty proudly display their prizes at Farm World; and the Year 9 students at Lake Tali Karng this week.

Performing Arts news by Director of Performing Arts Kevin Cameron
The Music Centre students and staff have enjoyed a busy first term of lessons and preparation. We are looking forward to presenting some outreach performances and welcoming parents, friends and supporters of our Music program to concerts and events in Term 2.

Yesterday some of our St Anne’s musicians provided music at our School’s display in the Gippsland Centre forecourt and Garnsey’s Flute Choir played there today. Our musicians will also add some sound and colour to the Open Day presentations at St Anne’s and Garnsey campus tomorrow. Next Friday the combined jazz bands will travel to Bairnsdale to provide music at the East Gippsland Field Day. Thank you to all our musicians involved in these outreach performances, sharing our music with the wider Gippsland community.

Next term provides several opportunities for our musicians to engage with audiences and other musicians:

  • The Band Intensive Rehearsal days occur early next term – Friday April 29 and Saturday April 30 April for Concert Bands and Sunday May 1 and Monday May 2 for Jazz Bands. These rehearsals and sectional tutorials will prepare for the Bands Concert on Friday May 13.
  • Selected students will be travelling to Warragul on Tuesday May 3 for the annual SEISA Music Festival. A choir and symphony orchestra will be formed for this day of workshops with expert conductors and tutors.
  • A delegation of musicians from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will visit our students at St Anne’s on Wednesday May 11 to present a concert and work with our Year 4 musicians and cocurricular ensembles.
  • The first Garnsey Soiree for 2022 will be held on Monday May 30 in the Chapel of St Anne at the Garnsey campus.
  • Our season of Chicago opens on Thursday May 26 in Garnsey Hall. Tickets will be available early next term.

We thank all our students and families for your support of our Music Centre programs this term.  Have a safe and restful break – and keep playing!

Emilio playing the saxophone at the Gippsland Centre yesterday and St Anne’s Campus Captain Lucy with her Grandmother and Gippsland Grammar Old Scholar Deidre at the Gippsland Grammar display at the Gippsland Centre.

Catch up on last week’s newsletter here:


Gippsland Grammar background:
Gippsland Grammar is one of Australia’s leading co-educational Anglican schools, with a tradition of excellence in education extending almost 100 years. Located in the heart of Gippsland, the School has more than 1100 students across three campuses including St Anne’s junior campus and the Garnsey senior campus, both at Sale, and the Bairnsdale junior campus in East Gippsland. Enrolments at both junior campuses begin with a 3s and 4s kindergarten program at their respective Early Learning Centres (ELC) and Garnsey caters for students from Years 7-12. Gippsland Grammar is also the only boarding school east of Melbourne’s suburban fringe and is a home-away-from-home for students from far East Gippsland, South Gippsland, Victoria’s High Country and the Latrobe Valley as well as for a cohort of international students.

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