Gippsland Grammar news: July 23, 2021

Jul 23, 2021 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

There is much written in the media on the impact of COVID-19 and the associated repeated lockdowns on the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents. This link to a special report on the ‘mental health and wellbeing of young people’ was shared with me earlier this week and I hope you might also find this report on the emotional impact of lockdowns interesting. The report was led by Child Psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg who recommends the video link (which is about eight minutes long) in the report is essential and timely viewing for parents, carers and educators who are reflecting on new research and what uncertainties for families and young people lay ahead. This link also gives access to other interesting articles on sleep, mindfulness and physical activity, which you may also find useful. Read more here:

National Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD)
Each year, all schools in Australia participate in the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD). The NCCD process requires schools to identify information already available in the school about supports provided to students with disability. These relate to legislative requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005, in line with the NCCD guidelines (2019). Information provided about students to the Australian Government for the NCCD includes:

  • year of schooling
  • category of disability: physical, cognitive, sensory or social/emotional
  • level of adjustment provided: support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice, supplementary, substantial or extensive.

This information assists schools to:

  • formally recognise the supports and adjustments provided to students with disability in schools
  • consider how they can strengthen the support of students with disability in schools
  • develop shared practices so that they can review their learning programs in order to improve educational outcomes for students with disability.

The NCCD provides state and federal governments with the information they need to plan more broadly for the support of students with disability. The NCCD will have no direct impact on your child and your child will not be involved in any testing process. The school will provide data to the Australian Government in such a way that no individual student will be able to be identified – the privacy and confidentiality of all students is ensured. All information is protected by privacy laws that regulate the collection, storage and disclosure of personal information. Further information about the NCCD can be found on the NCCD Portal (

Looking ahead to next year, we have had to revise our term dates for 2022. The changes are very minor and given our current limits on travel overseas, I hope the changes won’t have any negative consequences for our community who, in previous years, may have already planned overseas travel for next year by this point. So, in what is an unusual situation, I think these changes are proactive and positive ones for us.

We have added a week to Term 2 and made Term 3 one week shorter. This means both terms 2 and 3 are now both nine weeks in duration. This chance was to further align our dates with the term dates of other schools that we have connections with for sporting/cultural activities and to balance any future impacts of lockdowns that may occur at this time of year. This is the only change we have made.

The 2022 Term Dates are available below and via this link:
Term 1: Monday January 31– Friday April 8
Term 2: Tuesday April 26 – Friday June 24
Term 3: Tuesday July 19 – Friday September 16
Term 4: Monday October 3 – Thursday December 8

In closing, I found this prayer in my recent reading and wanted to share it with you all; I hope it resonates with you as much as it did with me. I continue to look forward to when we can return to onsite learning but, for now …

Loving God,
Help us
to focus on what we have
not on what is removed or changed.
Strengthen us
when we feel discouraged
or overwhelmed.
Embrace us
so that us we know your loving presence
within us and among us.
Walk with us
as we bring your love,
and carry your light,
into our world.
– Sandra Lucas, MDiv., BCC

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess  
It was lovely to see all of the ELC families back last week for the beginning of another busy and exciting term. I hope that everyone had a refreshing and relaxing break with plenty of quality family time.

Over the holidays, our educators at both campuses were very busy creating beautiful and stimulating learning environments for the children to explore this term. The mid-year break is a valuable period for our teachers to reflect on the learning that has occurred earlier in the year and prepare for the ‘what comes next’ for each child’s learning and development.

At the end of Term 2 our Reception students began to use the ‘Need to Read’ reading program. Children can borrow books from our library may return them as often as they choose. If your child is really enjoying the book, then we encourage you to reread it many times as this allows you to explore all of the concepts in different ways. Each book comes with a list of essential language and literacy prompts for you to show your child as you read together purposefully. This list is by no means exclusive, so feel free to use it in different ways. If you need further ideas for reading to your child in a way that develops their language and thinking skills, please have another look at the presentation by Michelle Sands on your class VOS page.

The importance of family experience combined with quality early childhood programs on future outcomes for children’s educational and social-emotional outcomes has been studied extensively over many years. Recently, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania released new research on the effects of stimulating and emotionally supportive early learning experiences in the first five years of a child’s life. According to the study, the positive impact of active early learning can still be seen in adult brain structures four decades later.

The researchers used structural brain imaging on subjects in a project beginning in the 1970s to detect the developmental effects of linguistic and cognitive stimulation starting with infants at six weeks of age. The influence of an enriched environment on brain structure had formerly been demonstrated in animal studies but this is the first experimental study to find a similar result in humans. The results showed a relationship between brain structure and five years of high-quality educational and social experiences. Another great reason why the work that we do with our youngest students really matters!

St Anne’s Reception by Mrs Kristy How
Term 3 is a particularly exciting time to welcome children back as we are starting to see giant leaps in their development. The children are now settled and can begin to work on more complex social tasks, such as turn-taking and teamwork. We have supported this learning by introducing many play scenarios that require cooperation, negotiation and collaboration. Our sandpit construction site, complete with a conveyor belt, has encouraged rich, cooperative play opportunities. Educators support the children to problem solve and communicate with each other to experience the joy of success. We consistently role model how to ask effective questions and are there to offer help if needed.

Bairnsdale Reception by Mrs Sommer-Lea Collins
This week the Reception group has continued to explore identity and sense of belonging in our classroom. During our whole-class discussion, children shared with their peers what makes them special and unique and we were able to identify differences and similarities amongst the children. As they investigated their unique facial expressions, educators introduced them to the ‘vocabulary of emotions’ such as happy and sad, helping them develop their emotional literacy. Later each child was able to engage with a self-portrait station which included multiple mirrors, markers and paper. The children could explore these materials and create self-portraits to help build their identity and self-awareness.

As per the Victorian Government guidelines, our Early Learning Centres remain open and are operating as usual during the current lockdown which has seen our two junior and senior campuses move to our School’s Learn@Home remote learning program. However, it’s important for ELC families to remember that social distancing must be maintained at drop-off and pick-up times as parents and carers line up outside the building and masks should be worn at all times. We are continuing to maintain our usual high standard of cleanliness within the centres. Unwell children must be kept at home and the Student Health Declaration must be completed before they can return. We thank you for helping to keep us all safe and well during this time.

Sale Reception students Wilfred, Roey, Riley, Charlie, Lucy and Matilda play in the sandpit (above left); and last week Principal Leisa Harper visited the Sale ELC where she wrote letters with Transition students Lennie, Sylvie, Evie and Arabella.

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
This morning we came together on Zoom for our weekly Fellowship. We were able to welcome our new family to Gippsland Grammar with Liam in Year 4 and Gabrielle in Year 7 and acknowledge the challenge of starting at a new school for the first day during a period of lockdown. However, both Liam and Gabrielle are to be commended for their positive attitude. We also welcomed the return of Annerlee in Year 6. We wish for these new or returning students a happy and fulfilling educational experience at Gippsland Grammar.

During Fellowship our teachers further recognised students for their positive attitudes and cooperation in shifting to online learning. From Foundation to Year 6 our students role-modelled leadership, responsibility and excellence in learning with the following awards:

Acacia (pictured below)
To Alby, for your infectious smile that keeps all of our spirits up on Zoom every day. 
To Natalie, for your enthusiasm to learn, whether at school or at home.
To Casper, for completing and uploading all set tasks for Learn@Home every day. Thank you for your enthusiasm Casper.
To our Gap assistant Jess Markum for her support, dedication and enthusiasm to our Foundation students at school, and to Mrs Crowe, every single day.

To Angelo, for being a cheerful champion on Zoom and for completing all his activities and tasks.
To Bella, for consistently taking responsibility for her learning and for completing all tasks and activities this week. A cheerful champion!

To Felix, for his positive attitude and independent working while on Zoom.
To Skylah, for her thoughtful contributions to class discussions and independent working on Zoom.

To Adanna, for keeping our science experiments watered while at school.
To Morgan, for the effort she has put into her Learn@Home work.

To Honour, for being well organised during learn at home.
To Leo, for successfully collaborating with others during maths.
To Lenny, for successfully collaborating with others while learning from home.

To Liam, for excellence when on Zoom and generosity with his skills when others need assistance.
To Lacey, for working with excellence, both on and off Zoom.

To Alyssa, for outstanding independence and helping others.
To Raphael, for demonstrating resilience and independence with his learning.

Congratulations to all our awardees this week; we are proud of you!

Our focus this term in Christian Education includes our very important CLERR value of compassion. This morning Chaplain Jackie worked with our students on Zoom, unpacking what compassion looks like, what it feels like and what it sounds like. During difficult times such as the COVID-19 pandemic, we are to draw on our sense of compassion in supporting those around us in understanding that everyone’s story is different.

A reminder to our Year 6 students who have not had their Year 7 transition interview with Ms Kate Ray, to please contact the School on to book a time. If you are interested in also arranging a tour, subject to COVID-19 guidelines, please use the same email address to organise this.

Three students from the Bairnsdale campus represented Gippsland Grammar at the Regional Cross Country at Lardner Park last week. Chelsea Rawlings and Liora Rozite both ran well, placing around halfway through the field of approximately 50 runners and Kael Frith placed 8th, qualifying for the State competition. Congratulations to Chelsea, Liora and Kael.

Thinking of our community always.

St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
I’d like to share a huge thank you to our families for again transitioning to Learn@Home during this recent lockdown. This week I took the opportunity to contact some of our campus families who are finding this lockdown particularly challenging. Whether it is lockdown fatigue, loss of income or work, or other issues, it’s understandable that many people within our community are struggling. In light of this, I encourage anyone in our Community to access help if needed. Our local Nationals state member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien recently shared the below list of services available for our community, which I would now like to share with our School Community:
Lifeline (24/7): 131 114
Lifeline SMS (12 pm to 12 am): 0477 131 114
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
Kids Helpline:  1800 551 800
Headspace: 1800 650 890
1800 Respect (relationships/family violence): 1800 737 732
Mensline Australia: 1300 789 978

Earlier this week I also wrote to our families who had applied for our Learn@Home@School program. Throughout our periods of Learn@Home, our School’s priority has always been to support as many families as possible during what we understand is a challenging time, particularly for those families who are juggling both working from home while parenting primary school-aged children. As per the Victorian Government guidelines, schools are required to offer on-site supervised learning to students where both parents and or carers are considered authorised workers and who cannot work from home; where both parents or carers work for an essential provider and where no other supervision arrangements can be made. Children experiencing vulnerability also qualify for Learn@Home@School. I realise these guidelines are strict however it is our School’s responsibility to respect and follow these rules to keep us all safe. I thank you for your support as we navigate this lockdown together.

To focus on the positive, I would love to receive Learn@Home photos from our School Community, which I’d love to share in next week’s newsletter, and possibly the school’s social media platforms. If you could like to share some photos with us all, please take a photo of your child engaging with Learn@Home (or anything else) and email it to by Wednesday July 28.

On Thursday July 15, we sent our strong team of cross country runners to Lardner Park in Warragul to compete in the Gippsland Regional Cross Country. Mrs Kate O’Toole supported our team, which consisted of Louis Lazzaro, Maizy and Cruz Duck, Alana Crawford, Max Shaw, Lacey Drew, Charlotte Greenwell, Henri Duggan and Sophie Moy (pictured below). Always a wet and windy affair, the conditions were challenging. Below are the results. Kate O’Toole commented to me how fast our students ran, and the determination they demonstrated. Amazingly, Louis, Maizy and Cruz will all progress to States Cross County competition.
Louis L: 2nd
Maizy D: 11th
Alana C: 35th
Cruz D: 5th
Max S: 38th
Lacey D: 32nd
Sophie M: 29th
Charlotte G: 37th

A reminder to our Year 6 students who have not had their Year 7 transition interview with Ms Kate Ray, to please contact the School on to book a time. If you are interested in also arranging a tour, subject to COVID-19 guidelines, please use the same email address to organise this.

Stay safe and look out for those in your family and friends.

Garnsey Campus news by Head of Campus Kate Ray
In my household I have tried to focus on the positives of being in Learn@Home 5.0. We remind ourselves that having our pets sit with us while we work is comforting and, at times, entertaining; that wearing oodies makes us warm while we work; that afternoon walks around the neighbourhood are a nice way to feel connected and that having family members bring us toast or cups of tea while we are in lessons is pretty nice too! That’s not to say that a lockdown is all sunshine and roses – there are certainly challenges when we are all in different zoom lessons or meetings; when someone needs to print a document but another family member is on Zoom, or when you really need some help with something but you can’t interrupt a lesson or meeting to ask. Our students, staff and families are all juggling these things at the moment, and we should be proud of the small achievements we have each day.

While this lockdown has again seen the postponement of a number of activities and events, we were fortunate to fit in our House Cross Country just before lockdown was announced last Thursday. We had one of the most perfect winter afternoons we have had in a long time and looking back now it was great to be able to spend that time together as a campus. Congratulations to all the students who participated in some way, earning points for their house. The overall winners on the day were Cranswick Dargo, followed by Tisdall Hotham, Blundell Bogong and Wellington Binks.

The Debating Association of Victoria (DAV) successfully arranged online debating during our extended lockdown in 2020, and the Association has reintroduced this method for this week’s round of debating, which meant our B-Grade (Year 11) teams were able to continue debating from home last night (pictured below). The two Gippsland Grammar teams were paired against each other for the first time, debating the topic ‘That spectators should be banned from the 2021 Olympics’. The affirmative team of Jess Ingle, Mia MacIntosh and Sarah Husodo narrowly defeated the negative team of Charlotte Runciman, Mia Johnson and Josh Hanratty. It was a ‘secret topic’ debate, with topics being released one hour beforehand. Next week our Year 8/9 students will debate against Haileybury College over Zoom on the topic ‘That smokers should not have their medical treatments subsidised.’

Our VCE students have been notified today that the GAT has again been rescheduled and will occur on August 12, not next Thursday July 29 as planned. We will continue to work with our VCE students to support their preparation for this. As well as this rescheduling of the GAT, the VCAA has also confirmed today that it will again use the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage process to finalise VCE results. This will apply to every student completing one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Units 3-4 sequences in 2021.

Independent Schools Victoria has a parenting website which provides a range of resources for supporting your child at various stages of their schooling. Today I have included the link below as some of the tips Andrew Fuller provides may be useful for our students during FlexiLearn time as well as at other times of the year. I encourage you to take some time to browse through the different areas and posts this site provides.

Again, the resilience shown by our students, staff and parents is something that I am grateful for and I thank you all for your efforts during this period of Learn@Home.

Read last week’s newsletter here:

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