From the Principal: 12 February 2024

From the Principal: 12 February 2024

A very warm welcome to the 2024 academic year! The year of the wood dragon – a year to foster growth, progress and abundance. This is our year of review, and as we develop the next Strategic Plan for 2025 to 2030, we make time for reflection and consider our potential for progression. 

The first few weeks have been happy and calm. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting many new and current families and students at the gate in the mornings and afternoons. At our first assemblies at Morris Hall and at Merton Hall, we welcomed our new students and celebrated being back together. In the Team Zone in the beautiful Artemis Centre, I spoke to the themes of focus and character with Merton Hall, and the importance of building character through trying new things and being open to learning respectful and well-mannered behaviours. We are all encouraging our Grammarians to take time to focus on one task at a time and to work with their teachers in developing self-discipline. I know that our highly experienced teachers have been working hard to plan an exciting year of learning for our students. 

Of all the practices that impact learning engagement, few could be more important than the ‘first day, first class’ messages teachers give their students about the learning culture desired in their classrooms. At MGGS, the classroom is sacrosanct, and we work diligently to minimise disruption and support Grammarians to focus. We have started the year with a strong intent on laying a smooth foundation, ‘right from the start’. Establishing functional routines is important for us all. The 2018 research of McWilliam & Taylor highlighted that highly effective teachers have pedagogical repertoires that rely on well-established routines of behaviour and engagement in their classrooms. Outstanding teachers understand and intuit the difference between ‘good constraints’ and ‘impediments’ when they establish the routines they want students to practice routinely from lesson one, day one. 

Additionally, the sort of thinking teachers want their students to do drives the decisions teachers make about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the technology they access. With this in mind, each classroom at Merton Hall has been equipped with a mobile phone holder, so students get into the routine of placing the phone at the front of the class at the beginning of the lesson, so that they are not tempted to be distracted. This simple initiative is working well. Obviously, these routines are likely to be nuanced by a range of factors (year level, discipline, classroom ecology), yet they are crucial to building a classroom learning culture in a systematic and sustainable way, ‘right from the start’. 

Thank you for working with us on this mantra, helping to get all Grammarians organised!

Please join me in welcoming the following new staff to MGGS in 2024:

  • Emily Byrne – Learning Assistant 
  • Emma La Mari (Turnock) – Teacher of Primary 
  • Summer Li – Teacher of Digital Technologies 
  • Kate Kirby – Teacher of Humanities  
  • Jessica McKenzie – Teacher of Science  
  • Claire Meehan – Teacher of Primary 
  • Sophie Price (nee Bush) – Teacher of Primary  
  • Allie Scanlon – Early Learning Assistant 
  • Lynda Wall – Deputy Principal, Educational Leadership, Academic  
  • Sarah Wallace – Teacher of ELC 
  • Sophie Wilkes – Learning Assistant

Our Year 12 VCE Launch Day in the Artemis Learning Commons on Wednesday 31 January, was a day of energy, setting the focus and intentions for the year and reconnecting with peers. The final year of school is the culmination of 13 years of formal education for our Year 12 Grammarians. On this day, I spoke to Year 12 about the strong support system available to them and how much the community is invested in their success. I likened Year 12 to the final chapter of the very best book and encouraged them to savour the special moments, big and small, that come along as the year unfolds. The Year 12 Formal last Friday evening was certainly enjoyed by this strong cohort of capable and ethical young people of action!

The Boarders’ Welcome Barbeque was a happy and relaxed evening on Friday 2 February. This event gave our Boarding families an opportunity to get to know each other. One of the great benefits of Boarding at Melbourne Girls Grammar is the special bond that the girls develop and the quality of the relationships created between the students, their families and the School. Thank you to our Director of Boarding, Mrs Amanda Haggie and her team for a fantastic event!

I’m proud to share that Melbourne Girls Grammar has been ranked as the top private school in Melbourne by the Schools360 Group, putting us as number one for girls’ schools and for all independent schools in Melbourne, including boys’ and co-ed schools. What a great accolade for MGGS! Schools360 analyses several factors including the quality of teaching, facilities and learning environments as well as wellbeing, sport, art and music programs and academic performance. We would like to say a big thank you and congratulations to our wonderful staff and acknowledge the work they do for our Grammarians and their education each day.

I look forward to the Whole School Cocktail Party on 22 February. This is a wonderful opportunity for us all to come together.

Yours in learning,

Dr Toni E Meath