Gippsland Grammar news: June 10, 2022

Jun 10, 2022 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

The word appreciation means to recognise and enjoy the good qualities of someone or something. I have appreciated the care and compassion that our staff and students have shown each another this week. With large numbers of colds, flus and Covid impacting who could come to School; there have been a multitude of examples of people caring for one another, jumping in and helping and reflecting one of our values; Compassion. My sincere thanks to all our staff for all that you have done throughout the week.

This week has no doubt also been a challenge for our families and broader community for these same reasons and we thank everyone for working with us to achieve the best outcomes for our students. I hope that everyone can take some time to rest and look after one another over the long weekend.

On Monday, my week started with the opportunity to work with our Year 7 and 8 students. I shared with them a book I read last holidays by Dr Elizabeth Kilbey called ‘Unplugged Parenting’. Dr Kilby has a master’s degree in child development and is a consultant and clinical psychologist from the United Kingdom.

The Year 7 and 8’s performed a stocktake of what life skills that have and reflected on what they might work on over the coming months.  I outlined that each of us mature at different rates and will be at different stages with our development.

Here is the list of Dr Kilbey’s suggested life skills that children should be able to master:

From age four to six years:

  • Be able to go to the toilet independently and wash hands
  • Get dressed without help

 Ages seven and eight years:

  • Know how to ride a bike without training wheels, or a scooter
  • Hone motor skills by climbing trees safely or structures in playgrounds
  • Be able to tie shoelaces
  • Learn to swim
  • Be able to call for help in an emergency
  • Be able to butter toast, make a simple sandwich and pack school lunch
  • Know how to set the table


Ages nine and 10 years:

  • Begin to know how money works. Go into shops under supervision and do simple transactions alone
  • Know where the local travel routes are to get familiar with transport
  • Be able to run short errands such as going to the post box or taking the dog around the block during the day
  • Get involved in the cooking of simple dishes under supervision
  • Know how to use utensils such as a grater or peeler
  • Be involved in household chores such as loading and unloading the washing machine and dishwasher, mopping the floor
  • Be able to change a bed
  • Know how to summon help if there isn’t a phone. Be confident enough to go to a neighbour’s home for assistance
  • Take control of basic personal hygiene such as shower/bath daily, regularly wash hair
  • Write a thank you letter or email


Ages 11 and 12 years:

  • Have the confidence to travel independently. Know the route to take to get to school, whether walking or using public transport
  • Know what to do if at risk
  • Be able to use a washing machine, choose the correct cycle for the fabric and then iron their clothes
  • Have some outdoor camping skills, including lighting a fire under supervision
  • Prepare food independently, follow a recipe and prepare simple meals
  • Know good mobile phone etiquette, including how to put a passcode on a phone.
  • Use an Eftpos card responsibly
  • Be able to help gardening, like mowing the lawn, weeding, digging, and planting


Ages 13 to 16 years:

  • Have a bank account to manage money independently
  • Prepare main meals independently
  • Understand the principles of basic first aid
  • Be able to sew on a button
  • Meet up with friends independently
  • Organise schedule and be prepared for school and activities

 Acknowledgement: Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, consultant clinical psychologist and expert on child development, London, UK

This list may provide families and caregivers with some holiday ideas for the coming weeks. I do want to share that I was very pleased to see the number of students who already had many of these skills.

May you and your family have a lovely weekend. 
Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

Whole School notices
E-Safety webinars
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner holds regular and free webinars for parents. This month’s webinar is about online gaming, which is suitable for parents and carers of young people aged 13-18 years old. Register here:

Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) grants are now available to families
We would like to remind families about this grant funding from the Victorian Government which provides eligible families (see below) with funding for their child or children to undertake certain activities through the School.

To be eligible a parent or guardian must:
a) be an eligible beneficiary within the meaning of the State Concessions Act 2004, that is, be a holder of Veterans Affairs Gold Card or be an eligible Centrelink Health Care Card (HCC) or Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) holder
b) be a temporary foster parent

The funding amount is $125 each year for a primary student and $225 each year for secondary school students. This amount is paid directly to the school, which will then credit your school account against payments you have already made.

Eligible families can download the application form via the link in the VOS version of this newsletter. The completed form must be emailed to by Wednesday June 23 at 9am. Please note, late applications will not be accepted by the Victorian Government.

Employment opportunities at Gippsland Grammar
We are currently advertising a number of employment opportunities at our School, both with an immediate commencement and for 2023 vacancies, which include:
– Events Coordinator
– Instrumental Music Tutors
– Casual Receptionist/Administrative Assistant

The 2023 opportunities include:
– Head of Learning Support
– Geography and Humanities teacher
– Senior English teacher
– Primary classroom teacher (St Anne’s Campus)

For further information on an of these roles, please visit:

Support our rowers
Excitement is building as it’s now less than two weeks until our open men’s quad rowers of Cameron Rule, Billy Osborne, Lindsay Hamilton and Anthony Smith hop on a plane to the UK to represent our School in the Henley Royal Regatta.

Our rowers are proud to represent Australia at this prestigious event and our entire School Community wishes them all the very best as they approach and tackle this amazing milestone.

If you would like to support the team by contributing to the costs associated with attending the Regatta, donations can be made at:

An author in our midst
We are thrilled to have a newly-published author in our midst with one of our St Anne’s ELC educators Andrea McKenzie. Mrs McKenzie has written a new children’s book ‘Feelings are Just Feelings’, which is a fun, rhyming picture book that helps both young and older children discover lots of simple strategies, tools and techniques to overcome tricky feelings situations at home, school and through life as they grow up big and confident. With more than 16 years’ experience as a childhood educator, Mrs McKenzie has long had a passion for instilling resilience and kindness into children and she came up with the idea for this book after seeking professional help to deal with her own stress. Mrs McKenzie realised the same strategies she was using for herself could easily be tweaked to help children with similar challenges so she combined her personal experience with her professional experience and the idea of the book was born.

Mrs McKenzie has already received rave reviews from parents, teachers and children for Feelings are Just Feelings, which she will be launching in conjunction with Collins Booksellers and Wellington Libraries on Thursday June 16 at 6pm at the Wellington Room at the Port of Sale. If you would like to attend this free event, please RSVP at:

The book launch is primarily for parents and fellow educators however Mrs McKenzie will be doing a reading of the book for children at the Sale Library (and perhaps with her own students at the St Anne’s ELC!) over the coming weeks.

Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess
Last week our Reception (three-year-old group) families from both campuses were invited to attend the launch of our ‘Need to Read’ program. Despite the icy weather, many parents attended the ‘Purposeful Reading, Literacy and Language’ evenings that were presented at both St Anne’s and Bairnsdale Campuses.

The topics covered included brain development in the young child and the importance of adult/child interactions in developing healthy brains for later life. Special note was made of the ‘serve and return’ exchange that should occur when our children invite interaction, with a gentle reminder that putting away the technology, getting physically close and making eye contact is important.

One of the most impactful ways of spending time ‘serving and returning’ with children is to read to and with them. It is powerful in building the emotional centres of the brain and providing the beginning of literacy skills. Literacy is defined as how we make sense of our world as we speak, question, think, read and analyse. While some families might see learning the alphabet or writing their name as the beginning of their child’s journey toward literacy, it actually begins from birth and, in the pre-school years, is based on communication skills. As we say at the ELC: ‘before the reading and the writing comes the speaking and the listening’.

With support from our Speech Pathologist and St Anne’s teacher Mrs Michelle Sands, families were provided with information about supporting language development and identifying if their child has a possible delay.

While reading to children is essential, the research shows that using key phonological concepts (linking letters to the sounds they make, rhymes and clapping out syllables in words), asking open-ended questions and extending vocabulary can greatly enhance children’s literacy readiness read once they reach school.

At the end of the evening, all of our families received the beginnings of a free 11-part home library as part of our subscription to the ‘Raising Literacy Australia’ program. Over the rest of the year, Reception families will receive regular kits containing picture books alongside various interactive activities and parenting support information. We hope that this will support the learning of our youngest students who have spent most of their young lives affected by the restrictions of Covid-19. This has reduced opportunities for normal early childhood development opportunities such as playgroups, socialisation, library visits, etc.

We hope that this gift will encourage language, literacy and love of reading in our youngest Gippsland Grammar students. What a wonderful start to their education.

I hope that you all have an enjoyable long weekend. One bonus of this freezing weather is that it’s a perfect excuse to snuggle up with your children and enjoy a good book!

Reception teacher Mrs Tammy Lopardi enjoys the ‘Raising Literacy’ books with students Grace and Ila.

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
This term, and particularly over the next two weeks, our Campus will be focusing on the pleasures of poetry. There is so much to learn and enjoy when writing, reading, listening, or reciting poems. Across all Year levels, various styles of poems have been studied including haiku, ballads, limericks, cinquains and so on. In one form or other, poems have been around for thousands of years and are still here to be shared today. In Week 9 we will have a poetry house competition where our students will present written poems or recite a known poem.

But today I would like to share with you this poem written by Grevillea students Archer Whelan, Lenny Dullard, Madison Evans and Liam Hill.

The landing was quite rough,
But the thought of death was tough,
As we stepped foot on the beach
The Turkish held fire
As we sprinted to shelter,
A blood drop hit the ground,
And another fell down,
The ones that died
And the ones that survive
We will remember.
We will remember them.

Regional Cross Country
Last Thursday Liora Rozite, Theodore Ding, Madison Evans, Iylah Taylor, and Lenny Dullard represented Gippsland Grammar at the Regional Cross Country in Warragul. They all agreed that the hills were challenging and yet enjoyed the experience and were all happy with their placings.

We welcomed Mr Dennis Huffer to our campus this week. Mr Huffer is working alongside Mrs Elisha Froud during PE lessons over the next two weeks, teaching the skills of running. It was nice to see the students respond so enthusiastically.

Banksia presented their first Fellowship for the year (pictured) reflecting on their experiences at Stockman’s camp in Buchan. Several students shared their recounts, and it was obvious that they had learned many interesting things. Catherine Pauwels and Bella Dooley were both impressive in playing the piano for the processional and recessional. Fellowship allows our students to plan, prepare and then celebrate their achievements.

Lockdown drill
I was very proud of our students this week as they responded sensibly to our routine lockdown drill. From our ELC three-year-olds through to Year 6, our students moved quickly and calmly. It is important that they understand the importance of the drills and that we continue to refine our practice.

Wishing you well for the long weekend ahead.

St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
We acknowledged and celebrated last week’s Reconciliation Week in a range of ways. Last Friday’s Fellowship included a smoking ceremony from Auntie Sandra Pattern, sharing of the picture story book ‘Finding our Heart’ and information on the origins and importance of Reconciliation Week. Then on Monday of this week we had an Aboriginal survival technology workshop incursion for all students. Philip Green ran two workshops for students from Foundation to Year 6. Our students loved engaging with the range of artifacts that Philip brought in. This incursion further developed our students’ understanding of Indigenous culture, people, technology and history.

Campus events during Reconciliation Week included a smoking ceremony with Auntie Sandra Pattern and an Aboriginal survival technology workshop incursion for all year levels.

Sovereign Hill Camp
Last week our Year 5 students travelled to Ballarat for their annual Sovereign Hill camp (pictured below). The purpose of this two-day camp was to consolidate our students’ understanding of Australian history, particularly the Eureka stockade. The feedback from students and teachers is that this camp was well worth it. Thank you to our Year 5 teachers, Liz Dawson and Lisa Goode, for organising everything, and the other teachers who supported our students throughout the camp.

Winter Sports
You could not hide the smiles on the faces of our Year 5 and 6 students as they returned from the District’s Winter Sports competition. We had students represent our School in T-ball, netball, soccer and football. The weather across the day was icy-cold. However, this did not dampen our spirits! Congratulations to all students, teachers and parent helpers who took part on the day. The results from the day include; our soccer team winning the Grand final, our football team making it to the Grand final, and our netball teams both making it through to the semi-finals.

A huge thank you to our PE teacher, Simone Langshaw, for coordinating our district’s Winter Sports competition. Simone spoke to me about the importance of having such events for our students. They have missed out on competing in sporting events over the past two years. It is not about winning but more about participating, playing as a team, being physical and having fun.

Teams which competed in the district winter sports competition included netball and football.

Continuous Reporting and School Reports
I would like to encourage parents and carers to regularly check VOS for their child’s continuous reporting comments. Continuous reporting provides feedback through VOS, offers effective feedback on your child’s learning, and ensures that you are regularly informed about your child’s progress. At the end of this term, parents and carers can access their child’s Semester 1 academic report. This will include information on your child’s achievement in key learning areas and a detailed personal development comment. Your child’s semester report will be available via VOS from 4pm on Friday June 24. If you are having difficulty accessing your child’s continuous reporting or semester reports on VOS, please contact our IT department on 5143 6364.

Japan Fun Facts
Currently, on Netflix is a popular Japanese TV reality show called ‘Old Enough’ where children aged between three and five are sent off on their first errand as a camera crew follows behind. The aim is to develop greater independence and self-reliance in these littlies. The episodes are subtitled in English but are easy to watch and understand and may generate interesting discussions around the dinner table.

School start and finish times
As a School, the safety of our students is paramount. With regards to playground supervision, we regularly review and refine how we keep our students safe and we have noticed a number of students entering our campus grounds before 8.30am on weekdays. The School provides adult supervision from 8.30am each morning until School officially starts at 8.50am. Also, at the end of the school day we have many students playing within our grounds unsupervised by their parents. This is particularly evident at our Year 3 to 6 playground. Once our students are dismissed at 3.15pm each day, students are expected to meet their parents. We understand that sometimes parents may be talking with other parents while their child plays on our playground equipment however we are noticing a large number of students on our Year 3 to 6 playground unsupervised.

Can I please ask that parents do not drop their child off before 8.30am and that parents supervise their child at the end of the day if they choose to play on our play equipment.

Stay warm this weekend!

Garnsey Campus news by Acting Head of Campus Justin Henderson
Admiration: I write this week’s newsletter while supervising a class of our Year 12 English students completing a SAC. As I look around the room, I can see students busily writing, checking their reference material, and focusing in on the task at hand. I admire all our students, especially at this moment our Year 12 group.

I had the chance to speak to them on Monday morning and was able to identify that as of this week they have passed the halfway mark of their final year of schooling. That is exciting, though, for some, the unknown brings with it some elements of fear. Together, we looked at strategies to avoid the ‘mid-year slump’ and to prepare both physically and mentally for the 11 weeks that remain following our upcoming mid-year break.

We know balance is particularly important during this time. Parents will remember the Mars commercial from the ‘80s which had the catchphrase ‘A Mars a day, helps you work, rest and play’. I have encouraged the year 12 students – and would encourage all of our students and staff – to use the upcoming holidays in a balanced way to ensure that there are elements of work, rest and play in our lives.

The mid-year exam period for Year 11 and Year 12 students ends today and I would like to extend my congratulations to all the students that have sat exams. These provide an excellent setting for students to experience the structure of the exam hall and associated rules and expectations in advance of their VCE external exams to finish their Year 12. Likewise, the exams are culmination of learning from the semester and can provide students with some good feedback.  Teachers and our administration support staff have worked very hard to ensure that the exams have run as smoothly as possible and would like to thank everyone that has been involved.

Over the past three months our Year 9 Council have been working with the Wellington Shire on a project known as ‘Wellington Ways to Wellbeing’. This project is student-led and involves the Year 9 Council learning about then implementing strategies to improve student wellbeing. Two weeks ago the Year 9 group planned and participated in a Wellbeing Day at Raymond Island and yesterday the Year 9 Council organised a lunchtime dodgeball and movie during sport. This activity was part of the be active and connect strategies.

I was able to drop into the Year 7 Music performance on Monday afternoon, which was a celebration of all things learnt across the semester by that group of students. Music, and the associated learning skills, sets students up for positive learning across their subjects. I have read that ‘playing an instrument reduces stress’ and while I’m not sure that would be the case for me personally, I certainly enjoyed and felt refreshed listening to the students perform.

In what has been a very hectic week, it is important that we always find time to admire the world around us. Our students, our staff and our community are involved in amazing pursuits and I admire each and every one of them.

Next week our Campus begins Semester 2, with the coming fortnight commonly known as ‘rollover’. A reminder that that there is no school Monday as it is a public holiday.

Please remember that if students are displaying cold and flu symptoms, that they remain at home and focus on their health. This is really important for the health of our campus Community.

Performing Arts news by Director of Performing Arts Kevin Cameron
Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed the positive impacts and personal growth that music and the arts offers our students.  Many hours of investment and energy is needed to build skills and increase the capacity required to deliver before an audience.  Sometimes the returns on the investment are less than we had hoped but this is an active part of the risk-taking, courage, and acceptance of vulnerability that are key ingredients of live performance. Other times we are in flow, the magic is conjured, and everything we touch turns to gold!

Such was our production of Chicago.  Our show has been long in preparation; from the long January rehearsals before to the return of Term 1, our Tuesday and Thursday afternoon music and choreography sessions, and our special lunchtime rehearsals. To say nothing of our Term 2 Sundays and Production Week preparations! There are so many moving parts in a presentation that is truly all singing, dancing, and acting (the triple threat!). We hope that our audience members left our performances with the sense that our young people involved in this production are passionate about their participation. This is a true passion project that brings together so many students and staff from across the school into a united objective of storytelling, of entertaining, and sharing individual talents, abilities, and capacities to produce something wonderful and memorable. Our production is the result of collaboration, commitment, and the generosity of sharing to create something that is so much greater than the sum of the parts, of which there are many!

I would like to extend my thanks to our Director and Drama teacher Ms Christina Kyriakou and our team of staff (there are many!) who have worked so hard to produce this wonderful experience for our students. And of course to our fantastic team of students who have given their all for this project as well as to the family members and supporters who have continued to nurture and encourage our students on their great musical journey this year. 

As one parent wrote to me in review: It’s very rare indeed to see a school production that is a genuine triumph. Last weekend l had the privilege to see the culmination of a tremendous amount of rehearsal, attention to detail, and panache. There were many magical moments and it left me with plenty to reflect on. My congratulations to all. I’m not sure I’ve seen a better school musical production.

Our first Garnsey Soiree evening in many months was presented last week in the Chapel of St Anne and a large number of performers shared their music, many performing in public for the first time.  It was an interesting and exciting evening that represented the efforts of many students to keep their artistry and creativity alive during the recent disruptions of the past two years, and an indication that our Music Centre has many talented students that are just beginning to emerge. The success of this evening was repeated last night as we hosted so many St Anne’s musicians and their parents in the first St Anne’s soiree since Term 1, 2021. Again, there was a strong sense of excitement in the room and many positive indications of future polish and potential from our musicians. Well done to all of our generous and courageous performers and thanks to St Anne’s Music Co-ordinator Ms Katie Germaine for her work in coordinating this opportunity for our students.

Earlier this week, our current cohort of Year 7 class band students presented their Semester Concert.  We were delighted to welcome some of our Year 7 parents to this special concert and I thank Oscar Wilkins and Vida Yanez for their wonderful solo items.  The class band (of 60 players!) presented a selection of beginning band classics, including Hot Cross Buns, Country Walk, and Lightly Row amongst others, conducted with aplomb by Miss Katrina Chilcott.  Congratulations to all on an excellent concert, and all you have achieved on your class band instruments this semester.

Gippsland Grammar is fortunate to have a highly skilled and committed team of professional music educators working with our students. It has been a busy semester of activity and growth and I thank my colleagues most warmly for their committed work with our students and the Music Centre generally across the classroom curriculum, Instrumental Tuition Program, choirs and ensembles, and concerts and productions.

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.

Join our Community:
If you’d like to join our Gippsland Grammar Community please phone us on 56143 6388 or email to request a Prospecus, book a campus tour or simply inquire about a future enrolment. Or click here to read our Gippsland Grammar Information Book.

Connect with us:

Looking for a School?

Request a Gippsland Grammar Information Pack