Week 4 Term 2
Friday 15 May 2020
In this issue:
- GPS Sports and Activities: When can we play?
- Return of all students to campus confirmed for Monday 25 May
- New additions to the BGS Art Collection
- Drama season reboot
Question: When can we play?
The Cocurriculum leadership group has been working to answer this question in this dynamic COVID-19 landscape. I wish to share some of our planning with you, along with some of the challenges we need to accommodate, accept and navigate.
In our cocurricular journey, it is our unyielding belief that all boys who had aspired to compete and perform for Brisbane Grammar School in any sport or activity in Terms 2, 3 or 4 should have the opportunity to do so this year. Thankfully, the GPS Association’s plan for a modified competition in 2020 seeks to accommodate this.
In the performing arts, the Head of Dramatic Productions and the Head of Music have been working diligently to make performance opportunities available for our students.
Whether in the arts or sport, COVID-19 will change how we offer these opportunities this year. Across our programs, we need safety measures for our students, staff, parents and other members of our community. In each individual Cocurriculum program, we are working within strict guidelines to determine what and when we can offer each activity.
There has been a great deal of speculation about when community sport will return. While this informs our path, it does not determine it. BGS is bound by Government directives regarding both schools and community sport. This determines when we can resume Cocurriculum offerings beyond those offered in the home-based learning environment.
The most recent update from the GPS Association, available here, outlines our present status. It includes:
- AIS Framework for rebooting sport, which is at Level A;
- The Queensland Premier’s announcement “No School Sport for Term 2”;
- The Queensland Government’s Roadmap for the re-introduction of community sport in Stage 2 (Friday 12 June 2020);
- The current State Sporting Organisation (governing body) suspensions of their respective sports; and
- The current position of the GPS Headmasters and Principals in maintaining suspension of the GPS programs.
In brief, GPS Sports and Activities including training, preseason and competition are suspended until further notice. As a GPS Member School, we observe this suspension, while planning for a range of return scenarios and continuing to provide outstanding home-based training opportunities for our students.
On the topic of training, over 8000 training sessions have been logged by BGS students in the online Training Diary over the past four weeks.
This week, we conducted an audit of our venues and programs, assessing our capacity to train and compete in a COVID-19 environment after restrictions are lifted. Having informed our community last week about changes in 2020 GPS competitions, we have invited and received student data on their intended sports and activities involvement for Terms 3 and 4. The data from the venue and program audit has been combined with the student registrations, and we will now build competitions in this new format, together with our GPS colleagues.
As optimistic and driven as we are to get BGS students back into their cocurricular activities, there are conditions beyond our control. It is important that I manage our collective expectations. The ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and safety management will limit our offerings compared to what we would have provided in a pandemic-free year.
We are encouraged by our planning, but cautiously optimistic. GPS fixtures and BGS Cocurriculum events involve large gatherings, which now must be broken down to meet restrictions to become viable. It is hard to do this without diminishing the student experience. That is our challenge and steadfast focus.
I ask for your support and flexibility towards our offerings in the coming months. I am confident that our dedicated, experienced and highly credentialed leaders and their respective teams will make the most of the time, space and resources to optimise our students’ experiences.
Answer: As soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, stay prepared, stay positive and trust that we are doing all we can to get you back on the field, court, course, arena and stage.
Return of all students to campus confirmed
In exciting news announced earlier today, the Queensland Government confirmed that all students will return to school on Monday 25 May. We will welcome back Years 5 to 10 students to the BGS campus on that day. The School has planned for this return date and will be ready to resume regular classroom learning for all students. Years 5 to 10 students will complete their last week of home-based learning next week and I encourage them to continue to work hard.
I want to commend our Years 11 and 12 students for their ability to quickly transition back to regular classroom learning from Monday this week. They have adapted to significant change very well and have aimed to re-establish usual routines as soon as possible.
Update on Headmaster Anthony Micallef
On Wednesday 29 April, I wrote to the BGS community to advise that our Headmaster Anthony Micallef was taking leave for treatment of a recent medical condition, unrelated to COVID-19. The Headmaster has asked that I share with you the following additional information about this health matter.
Mr Micallef experienced a medical episode which saw him hospitalised for treatment of a physical condition. He is now at home recuperating and will continue to do so throughout this term. He’s receiving excellent medical attention and although the recovery period is slower than anticipated, he is making good progress.
As a result of his ongoing recuperation, the Headmaster’s medical leave has been extended by the Board of Trustees until the end of Term 2.
I have been in regular contact with Mr Micallef throughout this period. While he is frustrated that he could not be on campus to welcome the return of Years 11 and 12 students on Monday or for the return of the rest of the student body in a fortnight, he is excited for the boys and the School.
Mr Micallef has also expressed his pride to be part of the BGS community during this difficult period. He has greatly admired the commitment and hard work of students and staff and the support of parents in meeting the challenges.
I will remain Acting Headmaster for the duration of Term 2 until Mr Micallef’s expected return at the beginning of Term 3.
Social distancing and movement around campus
Social distancing measures have been implemented at BGS. This is explained to students through comprehensive signage, floor markers and seating labels. Some of the usual and more direct routes between our buildings, classrooms and offices are now unavailable. These measures are in place for the safety and wellbeing of all on campus. It is important students follow these directives.
Monday 18 May is the start of Week 5, which marks the mid-point of Term 2. This is a transition week for the School as we prepare for the return of Years 5 to 10 students on Monday 25 May (Week 6).
The essential information about Week 5 is as follows:
- The whole school returns to the six periods per day regular timetable.
- Years 11 and 12 students will be in classrooms engaged in face-to-face learning.
- Years 5 to 10 students continue with home-based learning for the week.
- There will be 10-minute breaks between periods to enable lesson and teacher changeovers.
All students will receive their Week 5 timetable by email from the Dean of Curriculum by the end of this week.
Parents are reminded that the assessment calendar is live and that many due dates are imminent.
GPS Sports and Activities
I encourage you to read the lead newsletter article above by Deputy Head – Cocurriculum Greg Thorne for a detailed update on sports and activities.
I wish to offer my appreciation to parents for taking the time to complete our weekly parent surveys. They provide valuable information to allow for evidence-informed decisions. Thank you for your pleasing feedback about the work of BGS staff in the most recent parent survey.
For the latest updates from the School, please visit the COVID-19 Advice for BGS Community section on the BGS website.
Welcome back, Years 11 and 12
It was great to welcome back our Years 11 and 12 day and boarding students this week. Both year levels have transitioned well back into classroom learning. I would like to acknowledge and thank the boys for their support of our social distancing and safety procedures to ensure the school environment is safe for all.
It was a memorable morning as the boys walked into the school grounds on Monday. I am expecting this feeling to be further enhanced on Monday 25 May when we hope to welcome back our Years 5 to 10 students. Our focus during the transition is to make sure the boys feel welcome, are aware of the arrangements and return to a normal routine as soon as possible.
I encourage parents to assist boys in creating healthy routines at home. While we are well into Term 2, it will feel like the start of a new term for the boys. I encourage you to re-establish homework, study and preparation routines as well as making sure boys have good sleep, exercise and eating habits. For more information, please view these three parent handbooks on routines, sleep and screen time.
The Student Wellbeing team will be monitoring students to identify those who are not managing as well as they can. Our partnership is crucial in times like this. Please ensure you are communicating with your son’s Head of Year if you have any concerns.
The Extended Day Study Program commenced on Wednesday for Years 11 and 12 boys who signed up at the end of last term. If you wish to sign up, please do so via the link in this flyer.
Roma Street Busway Closure
Boys are reminded about the closure of the Roma Street busway station as of Monday 15 May. All services will be diverted to Roma Street for an estimated 15 weeks. Click here for more information.
Director of Boarding
This has been the best week of the term so far.
We have been delighted to welcome back most of our senior boarders. Their return has highlighted how much we have missed the hustle and bustle of daily life. It is great to have a house and community that is no longer empty, or relatively silent.
However, we are now living a very different boarding experience to the one we were familiar with. The way we are operating is shaped and governed by COVID-19.
The restrictions are significant. We now have two sittings at breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a take-away morning and afternoon tea. The day starts and ends with a temperature check for everyone. When boys return from school, they sanitise their phones and laptops. Perhaps hardest of all, there is no street or weekend leave. We know boys need items from the supermarket, a quick meal from one of the outlets in the Barracks, and on occasion just different scenery. Hopefully, this phase of COVID-19 will pass soon and we can return to some semblance of normality.
That said, I look for the positives in our predicament. Boarding is not easy, but there is much we can take from this situation.
Resilience is a word often used about boarding. There is no doubt that living away from your parents is not easy and develops a healthy degree of independence. To their great credit, the boarders who are with us have shown remarkable resilience in accepting their circumstances, adapting as a small ‘family’ in the past few weeks. Those returning will experience similar challenges. While all BGS students have faced challenges, those experienced by the boarders may be more significant and in turn, more character-shaping.
I am certain that we will emerge from this current scenario with an improved capacity for resilience – a worthy quality given the challenges that life throws at us daily.
Director of Outdoor Education
This week, the Year 8 Outdoor Education task asked students to consider an Indigenous lore story related to teamwork – the focus of the Year 8 program. Mr Jon Hodges told the story of Googar, the sand goanna, explaining how all the parts of Googar contribute to the mob and each person lives within or associates with a part of Googar. The head includes the thinkers with innovative ideas and blue-sky concepts; the neck focuses on the transfer of knowledge and includes teachers; the heart holds the passionate people with drive. People that associate with the gut are the hard workers who put the mob first. The tail includes people who lead from behind and support, giving the mob balance and wisdom.
The boys were asked to identify which part of Googar they associate with the most and why. They submitted some great artistic and thoughtful responses:
“I think I am most alike to the head because I like to be creative and artistic. I also like thinking, and I always am thinking.” – Lachie Elliot
“I belong in the tail, the supporter section as I have never liked the front seat but the more supportive role” – Keaton Baxter
“I think I belong in the heart because I am very passionate about sport and all the things I do” – Alec Fitzgerald
“I think I would be the thinker of the mob, as I am quite innovative and love pondering the answers to questions” – Aryan Bakshi
This has been a great opportunity to engage the Year 8 students in Indigenous lore and reflect on how they can relate to the story of Googar and their team.
Next week’s task will see the boys completing a virtual tour of the Mt Alford bushwalk. It will be great to have the students up and moving and enjoying the sights and scenery of our Bitenbar expedition site.
Director of Student Wellbeing Programs
Self-Care: Creating Routines
Over the coming weeks, wellbeing lessons will focus on re-establishing good routines to support students as they transition back to on-campus learning. The resources for these lessons have been adapted from Swinburne University’s Aristotle Emotional Intelligence (EI) Programs.
Good habits can be interrupted by changes to everyday routines. Creating good routines through intentional learning is important to getting back into the rhythm of normal school life.
More details on how to re-establish good routines by Aristotle EI Programs can be found in the Peak Performance section of GrammarWell. Below are some quick self-care reference points. These suggestions were shared with boys in Years 11 and 12 during their wellbeing lesson on Monday, with younger boys participating in a similar activity over the coming weeks.
Self-care tips shared with boys
- Sleep: eight hours uninterrupted. More on smart sleep habits here.
- Exercise: aim for 30 minutes a day. This includes anything that gets you moving.
- Nutrition: healthy snacks and aim to eat a few different colours each day. Limit processed foods, sugar and caffeine.
- Rekindle connections: speak directly with others, whether it be in person or via video chat. Connections make you feel good, provide positive support and are great for your mental health.
- Time to relax: quiet downtime where you can be yourself and not have to think too much. Do something you enjoy.
- Sense of purpose or achievement: your time is important. What are you doing with your day?
- Fun – new experiences or activities you find interesting and enjoyable. Allow time for hobbies.
Boys also discussed strategies to use when things aren’t quite going to plan. Some challenges can get the better of them, no matter how hard they try to put things in place to foster wellbeing. When this happens, they may need some help to continue to look after themselves.
New additions to the BGS Art Collection
Old Boy John Lonie ’63 recently gifted to the School a series of five original printed works by esteemed artist Lawrence Daws. BGS Art Collection Curator Stewart Service was able to locate the sixth image in the series, and the works have been framed and are on display in the BGS Art Centre.
Incident at Anakie (pictured below) is a set of six photographic screen prints inspired by his meeting with an old sapphire miner and bushman, Joe Shannahan, at Anakie Queensland. Joe’s memoirs captured the character of an archetypal male and a wise old man. His stories of travesty and travails, like those that beset Christian in his journey to the Celestial City in Pilgrim’s Progress, made fascinating reading for Daws. Joe seemed to float in his own timeless world of his memories and imagination. Daws draws on this to create a surreal set of images where the miner emerges from his mine (III), where the Uccello-like white horse and black rider float in space (II) and two De Kooning-like figures interact (VI).
The screen prints are composed of photographs, mandalas, graphic symbols and figurative images that often appear in his other paintings at that time. The prints capture the spirit of the sapphire mining town, the environment and the people.
Lawrence Daws was born in Adelaide, and his deep engagement with the land can be traced back to his early years in South Australia. While he trained there as a mining engineer, he continued to show interest in painting. He was inspired by Hans Heysen and often represented the landscape around Hahndorf. In 1950, he began studies at the National Gallery School in Melbourne and was awarded various prizes including the Hugh Ramsey Portrait Prize.
He continued to balance work as a mining consultant in the outback, which inspired many early paintings. These works were often exhibited at the Johnson Gallery in Brisbane. From 1958, he lived in Rome and London, with trips back to Australia. He also travelled through India, Cambodia, Mexico, America and Central Australia. In 1974, he moved to Owl Creek Farm near the Glasshouse Mountains in Queensland to set up his studio. His son Joseph ’93 attended Brisbane Grammar School.
Other works by Lawrence Daws in the BGS Art Collection include:
- Miner (Day on Blue Tier, Sunday on Blue Tier II) Oil on linen
- Interior – Owl Creek Lithograph
- Maxwell A Howell AM Oil on linen (portrait)
Stewart Service | BGS Art Collection Curator
Angela McCormack | Head of Art
South Australia, Queensland
b. 1927 Adelaide
Incident at Anakie I, II, III, IV, V, VI
Silk Screen on cartridge
50cm x 40cm approx.
Brisbane Grammar School Art Collection Donated by John Lonie
Interim reports and Assessment Schedule
Next week, the boys will receive an Interim Report, in lieu of the parent-teacher interviews that were scheduled to be held in Term 1 (Years 5 to 7) and Term 2 (Year 8). Students will receive an interim report from each subject teacher. The Interim Report focuses on learning behaviours and progress rather than achievement grades. End of Semester reports will provide feedback in terms of achievement, based on the available data. Parents are invited to contact class teachers should any concerns arise from the Interim Report.
A reminder that the Assessment Schedule is available via MyGrammar. Boys should be aware of assessment dates and checkpoints. Preparations for upcoming assessment items should be well underway.
Planning for return to school
Staff are busy planning for the Middle School boys return on Monday 25 May. Reconnecting socially and re-establishing learning routines will be our priority in the first week. To help prepare for their transition back to on-campus learning, I suggest the boys do the following during Week 5:
- Re-establish regular sleep patterns based on ‘back to school’ timings
- Be prepared – polish shoes, find their lunch box, pack their school bag and dig out their school jumper (winter uniform has commenced)
- Practise good hygiene, including washing hands regularly
- Ensure consolidation and preparation time is used to catch up on any missed work in preparation for Week 6
- Contact teachers if extra assistance is required
- Contact one or two friends to check-in and to reconnect
It is anticipated that Week 5 will be the last week of home-based learning. This is an opportune time for the boys to engage with various activities that take them away from their screens via the Connecting with Community page on GrammarWell. Entries for BGS Lego Masters and BGS SuperChef close on Friday 29 May and I encourage all lego or cooking enthusiasts to enter. There is a wide range of activities for the boys to choose from, including mindful photography, acts of service and the BGS Writing Challenge.
The 2020 theatrical season is like no other!
Brisbane Grammar School will align with many professional theatre companies nationally and internationally during COVID-19 restrictions. The Drama Department has curated a cocurricular program that varies from comedy to new dramas and classics – there is something for everyone to enjoy on campus or from their own homes.
We will foster innovative, immersive and inclusive Arts practice that will be presented as limited seating shows, live streams, radio plays and virtual narratives to entertain our BGS community.
Our mission is to create a communal viewing experience and provide enriching opportunities for our students to share their enjoyment of Drama. Actors and technical crew will also extend their skills in collaborating, devising, performing and ensemble work.
Comedy: The show must go on!
In an empty theatre – or with a reduced audience – something magical is going to happen. You will laugh and be dazzled by our talented cast of Years 11 and 12 students who have been rehearsing since Term 1.
In Term 3, our end results might vary from a professional filmed event, a live streamed performance or a production for a live audience. More information will be provided in upcoming communications.
Sci-fi classic: revisiting the past but placing the narrative firmly in the not-too-distant future
In Term 3, an ensemble of emerging actors from Years 9 and 10 will join students interested in engaging with a unique suite of audio-visual skills for this radio drama. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story. This mode of performance includes plays specifically written for radio, docudrama, dramatised works of fiction, as well as plays originally written for the theatre.
What is it about?
Adapted by Tanya Neilsen from the original 1938 broadcast from The Mercury Theatre on the Air.
On Halloween morning, 1938, Orson Welles awoke to find himself the most talked about man in America. The night before, The Mercury Theatre on the Air performed a radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, converting the 40-year-old novel into fake news bulletins describing a Martian invasion of New Jersey. Some listeners mistook those bulletins for the real thing, and their anxious phone calls to police, newspaper offices, and radio stations convinced many journalists that the show had caused nationwide hysteria.
This reimagined version places the narrative in 2025. Martians are replaced with Cyborgs who invade major cities across the globe. This is where the tension and excitement begins!
Dark fairy tales: visual narratives via an online platform
In Term 4, four small ensembles of young actors from Years 5 to 8 will be immersed in an exciting visual narrative series. During rehearsals, our teacher-artists guide students through a creative process that emphasises key steps in the creation of new performance works. These steps equip our cast with the skills needed to perform in short performances with an emphasis on visual language (shadow, animation, music and/or green screen work) to apply their critical and creative thinking skills.
What is it about?
The Middle School Dramatic Production will feature deconstructed fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm. Two hundred years ago, two young German librarians by the names of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published a collection of tales that would become one of the most influential works of folklore in Germany, Europe, and eventually the world.
Today, more than two centuries after the brothers published their first volume of collected folk tales, the popularity of these stories live on in children's entertainment around the world, where the volumes have been translated into more than 100 different languages. The BGS reworking of these iconic tales will exploit all the tropes of these narratives while blending a unique combination of visual performance materials.
Grammar Community in Concert
Grammar Community in Concert 2020 was supposed to be this weekend, with our very finest musicians singing and playing their hearts out. We always look forward to this event, and we are planning a version of Grammar in Concert later in the year – be it streamed, pre-recorded or (dare we wish for) a performance before a small audience. We will let you know when we have a clear idea of what is possible. In the meantime, please enjoy a few memories from previous concerts.
Click here to watch the finale to last year’s concert from the Grammar Symphony Orchestra, Danzas Cubanas, which was a fun Latin number full of energy.
Click here to watch a highlight from the 2018 Grammar in Concert, performed at QPAC for the BGS150 celebrations. The combined choirs and Big Band performed This Is Me from The Greatest Showman, featuring our incredibly talented Music Administrator Miranda Ward.
Reminders | Weeks 4 and 5
Instrumental and Vocal Tuition
- If the teacher is on campus, they will teach any students also on campus face-to-face and continue to teach home based students via Zoom.
- If the teacher is off campus, they will teach all lessons via Zoom, with rooms for on campus students provided.
- All on campus students, whether involved in face-to-face lessons or Zoom lessons, must check-in at the Music Office before the start of their lesson.
- Scheduling of Zoom lessons will continue as usual.
- Face-to-face lessons will be confirmed by the individual teacher and the on/off campus status of teaching staff will be updated via MyGrammar.
- Attention will be given to students' health and wellbeing:
- Students must provide their own instrument in lessons and rehearsals.
- Any instruments where this is impractical (e.g. double basses, pianos), procedures will be put in place to ensure these instruments are wiped down and sanitised after use.
- If a student anticipates any problems with this, they should contact their teacher immediately.
Questions or clarifications should be directed to the teacher in charge, or the Music Office at Music@brisbanegrammar.com.
Cocurricular Ensemble Program
Most ensembles will continue with their current online arrangements for the next two weeks. Exceptions will be the ensembles listed below, which will combine Years 11 and Year 12 students face-to-face with younger students who will join either by Zoom or Teams (as directed/invited by their conductor):
Grammar Chamber Strings
Grammar Symphony Orchestra
Head of Music
- Art Support Group | Virtual Meeting Friday 22 May
- BGS Art Show
- Volunteer Roster
- 2020 Calendar
- Upcoming Events
- P&F Auxiliary | Connect - Care - Contribute
- BGS150 History Book
The Art Support Group will hold a virtual meeting on Friday 22 May at 9.30am. If you would like to join, please forward your email address no later than Wednesday 20 May to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will allow meeting participants to be set up.
We are excited to announce that the BGS Art Show will be online as a virtual show this year. More information will be shared with the community in the next few weeks.
The Brisbane Grammar School Art Show has been a fixture on the School’s cultural calendar for more than 50 years. Art allows us to express ideas, challenge preconceptions, tell stories and record our history. It has a way of bringing everyone together – all cultures and all levels of our society.
The BGS Art Show is not a student exhibition but rather a collection of professional artists works available for sale. It is organised by parent volunteers in the Art Support Group. Many works held in the BGS Art Collection have been acquired through purchases at this event using funds raised from the show. Other funds are directed towards Art education at BGS.
We are fortunate to receive wonderful support from sponsors each year. Traditionally the BGS Art Show plays a significant role in our community – from inspiring students seeing the collection in the lead-up to the show, to parents and guests celebrating and purchasing professional art works on the Gala Opening Night.
In addition, the BGS Art Show demonstrates to the wider community during Open Day that BGS truly offers a broad liberal education that values cocurricular activities and the Arts.
It is a special event that brings the school community together to include past, present and future students, along with their families.
Angela McCormack - Head of Art
Bronwyn Jerrard - President Art Support Group
Tuckshop +61 7 3834 5229
Grammar Shop +61 7 3834 5347
Roster Secretary Wendy Smith - email@example.com
Grammar Shop hours
Weekdays 7.30am – 11.00am
Weekdays 7.00am – 2.00pm
The Tuckshop and Grammar Shop remain open, but we won’t need any volunteers until all students return to school on Monday 25 May.
The P&F Auxiliary is a subcommittee of the P&F Association that facilitates fundraising and fosters parent fellowship and the sense of strong community at Brisbane Grammar School. All profits are returned to the School to enhance the experience for students and families.
The Tuckshop and Grammar Shop are currently operating cash-free, so please plan accordingly. Safety guidelines regarding social distancing and hand sanitising will continue in both locations.
Open weekdays before school, during breaks and at lunchtime.
The Tuckshop provides a selection of hot food, fresh salads, wraps, roll and drinks. Please recharge your MSA cards here.
Open weekdays from 7.30am to 11.00am.
All blazers submitted for embroidery are ready for collection. There are also a number of other pre-paid shirts, caps and hats in the shop awaiting collection. We recommend collecting these items before school resumes on-campus to avoid long queues.
To maintain social distancing parameters of 1.5m, it is not appropriate for our staff to fit uniforms. Parents are welcome to come to the shop and fit their son/s themselves.
Please call the Grammar Shop on 07 3834 5347 to discuss your needs. We can take orders and payments, place credits on accounts, and arrange for collection or delivery of items on a case-by-case basis.
Light Dark Blue: 150 Years of Learning and Leadership at Brisbane Grammar School is available for purchase. The beautiful 500-page hardcover book updates the BGS story with previously untold anecdotes, rare photographs and illustrations. With a limited print run, it is sure to become a sought after collector’s item. Standard edition and limited editions are available.
Click here to view all BGS150 merchandise – limited stocks remain.