From the Principal: 12 October 2020

From the Principal: 12 October 2020

A warm welcome to Term 4 and most possibly the strangest academic year ever. Schools in Melbourne have proven to be resilient and innovative over the most extended lockdown of any education sector on the planet. At MGGS we have focused in on the learner and have trialled new digital platforms and experimented with different types of pedagogies. We will take these learnings and refine our practice to meet the needs of our Grammarians well into the future. Our Strategic Plan 2020-2025 could not have been designed for a better time! It is just so lovely to welcome our early learners, our Preps to Year 7 and our Year 11 and 12 students back on site and I can’t wait for our Year 8, 9 and 10 students to join us. There is something very special about seeing everyone together again.

As I write this, our Grammarians undertaking a Unit 3/4 Study Design have returned to Merton Hall to sit the VCE General Achievement Test (GAT). The GAT is a test of literacy, numeracy and general knowledge and this year it has assumed much more importance than previous years as it will be used to help assess special consideration owing to COVID-19. I have never seen students so excited to be on Campus to sit a three hour exam! The strictest of infection controls are in place including the wearing of face masks during the exam and tables placed 1.5 metres apart. In the spirit of collaboration between Merton Hall and Melbourne Grammar we are sharing invigilators and so today I welcomed many Melbourne Grammar staff to supervise our Grammarians.

This has been a difficult year for many, but for our graduating Year 12s, it has truly tested their resolve and patience. With a delayed General Achievement Test and VCE examinations, our graduands won’t be receiving their VCE results until 28 December. Currently, our Year 12 students are counting off their ‘lasts at MGGS’. This is a time of mixed emotions for our senior students as they prepare for their final VCE examinations and begin to farewell the School. The 2020 Year 12s have been a wonderful cohort; remarkable Grammarian representatives in every way and fine role models to our younger students and I thank them personally for their fine contribution to their School. I have observed them over the last term putting in the hard work required for personal best and I know that their teachers and families have wrapped much support around them. They are a united cohort and they have lived the values of the School. Over the coming weeks, they will be studying hard with the support of their teachers so that they are well prepared for the upcoming exams. Our students sit their VCE exams offsite and I am reassured that this provides a sense of calm, quiet and separation for them to focus on the task at hand. I wish to thank the outgoing School Captain, Helena Wong-Hansen and Vice-Captains Sophie Hodge and Scarlett Elkins Priest, the 2020 Student Executive Council and the entire cohort for their fine contribution and legacy to the School. We wish them well as they head into the VCE examination period and I know that they are well prepared not only for the exams but for life.

We welcomed our youngest Grammarians back to the Barbara Tolson Early Learning Centre on 6 October with bubbles and smiles. The day before, I popped in to welcome staff back and was met with teachers carefully preparing and designing the learning spaces with such purpose and creativity.  The classroom environment is a very important part of the learning process and the sensory richness of the Barbara Tolson Centre is world class!

As a school, we value our teachers and their fine contribution to the establishment of a great foundation of learning. To this end, we will celebrate World Teachers’ Day at the commencement of Term 4 with a lovely tribute and an Artemis Café treat to recognise our staff. Teachers make a difference daily to our Grammarians, and on this day, we shared the famous Shulman quote as part of our festivities. Shulman’s (1986) celebrated words, embraced by teachers around the world, ‘those who can, do [and] those who understand, teach.’ I would like to acknowledge the fine contribution every staff member has made to the school. Each has a genuine regard for their profession and a collective passion to make learning at MGGS exciting, innovative and rigorous.

Staffing Updates

The Principal’s Office Team have been busy recruiting for 2021 over the Term Break. Please join me in congratulating the following individuals for gaining the Positions of Responsibility for 2021:

  • Deputy Director of Senior Years – Ms Michaela Kelly
  • Year 12 Co-ordinator – Ms Allison Bray
  • Year 11 Co-ordinator – Ms Linda Vloedmans
  • Year 11/12 Hensley House Wellbeing Co-ordinator – Ms Giulia Iorlano
  • Year 9/10 Clarke House Wellbeing Co-ordinator – Ms Eleonor Palacio

Additionally, we have commenced recruitment for Teaching Positions for 2021 and am pleased to let you know of some new staff who will be joining us next year.

  • Morris Hall – Ms Lucy Tulloh
  • Morris Hall – Ms Michelle Kalus
  • Humanities – Ms Alethea Bett (2011)

Executive Director of Junior Years and Early Learning

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Miss Sarah Gill as the incoming Executive Director of Junior Years and Early Learning. Miss Gill will be joining MGGS in January 2021 and we look forward to welcoming her to our community.

Sarah Gill is very excited to be returning to live in Melbourne, having grown up and been educated in Geelong, before going on to complete a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Melbourne. She then spent almost 20 years in the United Kingdom, gaining international experience in primary education in a number of prestigious independent schools, such as Marlborough College, The Dragon School, Notting Hill and Ealing High School and Bute House Girls’ Prep, before gaining her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at The Institute of Education in London and taking on the role of Deputy Head at Thomas’s Kensington (part of Thomas’s London Day Schools group). Both Notting Hill and Bute House are leading girls’ schools in London. Miss Gill then made the decision to return to Australia and is currently Deputy Head of Junior School at Cranbrook School in Sydney.

With such extensive experience in primary years schooling, Miss Gill brings her considerable expertise in school leadership, leading exemplary practice in teaching and learning, and curriculum development, to her new role. Also, having led a wide range of initiatives and programs directly relating to improved student enrichment, Miss Gill’s belief in the importance of building positive relationships remains paramount and she firmly believes that student wellbeing and personalised learning experiences are vital if students are to maximise their potential.

Naturally warm, friendly and very approachable, Miss Gill is eager to get to know all the girls and work alongside them as they journey through the School. By working closely with her staff to ensure the nurturing of happy and engaged children, Miss Gill will work hard to build upon the wonderful legacy of Kellie Morgan and continue the growth and development of the Junior School; enabling it to continue flourishing as a vibrant school community. I know that you will join me in warmly welcoming Sarah to the fold.

Finally, it was pleasing to see in the 2020-2021 Federal Budget that education remains a priority and that the federal government will spend $41.7 billion on education this year, including $21.9 billion on schools with a priority on early education and a further $25 million set aside to respond to education priorities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. MGGS will purposefully and carefully manage our funding to ensure that every Grammarian receives the finest education.

Author

Dr Toni E. Meath, Principal