Week 5 Term 2
Friday 22 May 2020
In this issue:
- Information regarding the return of all students to campus
- Gratitude in Student Wellbeing lessons
Results: Middle School Virtual Inter-Wing Cross Country
At the end of Term 1, we had little idea of how long the home-based learning period would last. The students’ much anticipated return to school next week marks a great achievement for our community – student and parent feedback suggests we have managed the transition to home learning well.
It is an exciting time for everyone at BGS. I want to commend our staff for their ability to adapt and deliver a high-quality home-based learning experience for our boys. I also want to thank our parents for your dedication to supporting your sons and the School through this period. Most of all, I want to praise our students for their commitment to continuing their learning in the face of so much change. From the boys in Year 5 to our Year 12 students, the way in which they have taken further responsibility for their learning has been incredible.
The return of Years 5 to 10 students to campus on Monday 25 May will see the School return to the normal (pre-pandemic) timetable. Home-based online learning ends today. This was explained to all students, along with further important information about the transition back to school, as part of a Virtual Assembly today.
We understand some students may remain home due to concerns about COVID-19. We ask that you please contact your son’s Head of Year if that is the case for your family. Students who are unwell or unable to attend school will be directed by their teachers to where they can access relevant learning materials to ensure they are supported and maintain access to the curriculum.
Interim reports outlining your son’s engagement and progress in learning across all his subjects will be published this week.
Health and Wellbeing
Parents must keep their son home from school if he is unwell, even with mild symptoms. Symptoms that may suggest a contagious illness include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, nausea or diarrhoea. Parents will be required to collect their son from school if he presents with these symptoms. We appreciate your support to assist in maintaining the wellbeing of the BGS community.
Dean of Students
As you are likely aware, Headmaster Anthony Micallef’s medical leave has been extended by the Board of Trustees until the end of Term 2. I will continue to have oversight of the Deputy Headmaster – Students portfolio, with a member of the Student Wellbeing Team assigned to a temporary role as Dean of Students to focus on the practical aspects of my usual position. Due to his previous experience acting in my position, Simon Conway has agreed to step into this temporary role for the rest of this term. Brad Scholes will step into the Head of Year 10 role, and Jon Hopes will provide him with support as Assistant Head of Year 10, for the remainder of the term.
Week 6 Timetable
- All students Years 5 to 12 will be on campus and in classrooms.
- Form Class each morning will revert to an 8.20am start.
- Years 5 to 8 Period 6 will finish at 3.00pm (to facilitate a staggered pick-up).
- Years 9 to 12 Period 6 will finish at 3.10pm (we will move to a 3.00pm finish in Term 3 when Northgate training is expected to resume).
- Please also note that the Independent Study Afternoon ISA on Thursday 11 June has been cancelled.
GPS Sports and Activities
The Great Public Schools Association of Queensland (GPS) provided a statement on Tuesday with an update on the planning for a return to competition in Term 3. Further updates will be provided over the coming weeks, as we prepare to recommence training while observing all relevant directives. Please click here to read the full statement.
The Pick-up Zone now opens from 3.10pm. Students are required to wait in designated year level areas to minimise physical contact. Brothers should wait together in the zone of the youngest sibling. Click here to view the Pick-up Zone map.
For the latest updates from the School, please visit the COVID-19 Advice for BGS Community section on the BGS website.
Acting Headmaster | Deputy Headmaster – Students
A few reminders ahead of students' return to school this Monday 25 May:
- Students are to wear their winter uniform – the Grammar Shop is operating their normal opening hours should you need to purchase any uniform items.
- Please ensure that all students have acceptable haircuts in preparation for their return to school.
- We ask for your patience and cooperation in managing the pick-up/drop-off zone. Years 9 to 12 will continue to finish school at 3.10pm to help ease congestion. Middle School students will finish at 3.00pm.
- If your son is in Years 9 to 12, please consider alternative pick-up/drop-off locations. Centenary Pool, the Roma St Parklands and points along Boundary Street or College Road may be viable alternatives for you.
- Classroom-based teaching and learning will resume from Monday. Please liaise with you son’s Head of Year if he is unable to return to school as anticipated.
For additional information regarding the boys’ return to school, please read the Acting Headmaster’s newsletter article above.
Finally, we understand that the transition back to on-campus learning may be challenging for some boys. Please contact your son’s Head of Year if he is experiencing any difficulties with his return to school.
I look forward to engaging with all students across Years 9 to 12 next week.
With the senior boys now having been back for two weeks, there has been ample time to normalise new routines. While many have found the transition back to on-campus learning easy, some have found it challenging. One thing for certain is that the ability to engage and interact with friends and teachers has made the transition easier for all boys.
With the realisation that younger students return on Monday, there has been a buzz of excitement among the boys. We look forward to welcoming you all back. However, we understand that it is more than likely some of you will be feeling uncertain and potentially anxious about your return. I encourage you to place high value on interactions with your friends and teachers to overcome these feelings. Appreciate their company and conversation, because for many, it will be the first time you have seen them in weeks. Allow yourself time to adjust and regain your comfort zone, and be confident that we are all here to help you.
We hope all boys enjoy their weekend before preparing to return on Monday. We look forward to welcoming you back and having the BGS grounds humming with activity again.
School Vice Captain
Harlin House Captain
Director of Boarding
This week has brought some welcome routine and familiarity to the BGS Boarding community. More boarders will return this weekend, and by Sunday evening we will have welcomed back 54 boys to Harlin House and Griffith House.
We had a low-key National Boarding Week, showcasing the very significant but often unheralded members of the boarding community on Instagram and Facebook. I have been touched by the community’s response to our posts, their views, shares and likes. Several key departments do so much to care for our boarding community.
I am especially appreciative of our BGS Health Centre staff, who work under the careful guidance of Ms Karen Bramley. Each of our nurses ensures the physical and mental wellbeing of each boarder and their work in recent weeks has been phenomenal. Throughout the home-based learning period, the Dining Room has continued to provide the community with filling and nutritious meals. I thank Mr Steve Perrett for his work, ably supported by his team of chefs and assistants.
The Maintenance Department’s unwavering dedication has ensured that Griffith House has been able to open on time and that Harlin House continues to provide a welcoming home for the boys. Thank you to Mr Craig Derrick and his team. We are especially appreciative of Ms Nikky Nuneski for her stewardship of our wonderful cleaning and laundry team.
Director of Outdoor Education
Update|Return to Outdoor Programs
The Outdoor Education Department is anticipating a return to outdoor programs in the coming months. The decision will be dictated by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), Queensland Government recommendations, and BGS leadership. The goal for 2020 is to provide an outdoor experience for every student in Years 5 to 10. Fortunately, Years 5 and 7 boys completed their Outdoor Education experience pre-pandemic. The Year 8 cohort has been participating in a set of outdoor related tasks during Term 2, and each class in the Year 9 cohort will have an Outdoor Education lesson at school in Term 2.
In Terms 3 and 4, we anticipate providing an outdoor experience for all Years 6, 8, 9 and 10 students in line with recommendations from the authorities. This could be in the form of a Northgate day trip, a Moogerah day trip or a residential Moogerah experience. The decisions will be made as the health authority recommendations are received. We hope to have students back at Pepperina Hill, embracing the chance to join their friends in reconnecting with nature as soon as possible.
Virtual bushwalk | Year 8
Year 8 boys completed a virtual bushwalk up Mount Alford at Bitenbar for their Outdoor Education this week. Boys had a good look at the walk, the views and the hiking profile while completing a set of exercises suitable for any space. View the video below of student participation in the task. Their final task is to think about the ultimate Outdoor Education Centre in small groups. The students’ collaboration and creativity may inspire some upgrades to Pepperina Hill!
Outdoor Education Leaders | Year 11
This week, Year 11 Outdoor Education Leaders resumed their training at BGS. The training aimed to develop the values, dispositions, skills and knowledge required for being a leader of the Year 9 Outdoor Education program. They were enthusiastic about a future visit to Moogerah and the chance to complete their leadership role.
Director of Student Wellbeing Programs
Student Wellbeing lessons have focused on four broad themes in response to COVID-19 and home-based learning:
- supporting students to adjust to home-based learning and their new ‘normal’
- providing proactive ideas to promote student wellbeing
- managing anxiety and stress
- re-establishing good routines
Last week, boys learned about the proactive strategy of practising gratitude to help manage their emotions during times of challenge and change. Research suggests there is a strong correlation between gratitude and greater happiness. Practising gratitude helps to shift focus to positive memories or experiences and noticing the good in life. Over time, this will re-wire the brain to create new neural pathways, increasing a state of happiness and overall wellbeing.
Boys finished the sentence, ‘Since we began online learning I am grateful for…’
‘…all the connections that I have with other members of our cohort and school’.
‘…for the extra-curricular things that I do.’
‘…talking face-to-face to friends, peers and teachers.’
‘…continuing my education at home.’
‘…collaboration which happens in normal class, and how impactful it is for learning.’
‘…all the effort our teachers have put in to make learning a better experience for us.’
Boys also expressed gratitude for their friends, family and pets.
SchoolTV provides some insights on how to achieve happiness and the benefits of practising gratitude. You can access the episode here.
In closing, I found the following tips from Dr Michael Carr-Gregg useful in helping young people during times of challenge and change. These tips work well for adults too.
- address their own basic needs
- expand their gratitude practice
- set informational boundaries
- focus on what they can control
- de-escalate their nervous system through yoga, mindfulness, etc.
- cultivate compassion for others
- rekindle connections and reach out
How is photography a form of art?
With most of us carrying a smartphone with sophisticated camera technology, photography has become a readily accessible art medium. The ease of using editing and filters software has many of us composing and sharing digital images, almost to the point of overload. We no longer need the printed photograph as an artefact. As an Art Teacher, I am often asked, ‘How is photography an art form?’
This is an old debate. At an initial meeting of the Photographic Society of London, established in 1853, one of the members protested that photography was ‘too literal to compete with works of art’ because it could not ‘elevate the imagination’. Given that the word ‘image’ comes from the word ‘imagination’, perhaps this early critic was misguided. Photographers construct images that share their imagination and document what we might ordinarily overlook — the beauty, the mundane, and the oddities of a life that could only be imagined.
Our students are fortunate to have a bank of DSLR cameras to use in Art classes and access to photomanipulation software. We have a large format printer and projectors to display work on various scales and surfaces. These resources offer endless possibilities for our students to be innovative and creative with their original photographs. Below are some examples from BGS Art students this semester.
Photography Club is running online with Old Boy coach Maxim Varghese ’14 (Bachelor of Photography Griffith University Queensland College of Art). If students would like to join, please email email@example.com.
Head of Art
On Monday, we welcome our Middle School community back to campus. We are very excited to see the boys and look forward to the energy and enthusiasm they bring with them. Please refer to the Acting Headmaster’s section of this week’s Newsletter for detailed information about the boys’ return.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your son’s transition back to on-campus learning, please contact his Head of Year.
Middle School Assembly
Our Week 5 Middle School Assembly was held during Period 2 today. The assembly provided the boys with information regarding their return to school on Monday. We also presented our Grammar Man awards, watched a musical item and included a highlight reel of the various community-building activities the boys have participated in during the home-based learning period. Should you wish to view the recorded assembly, please ask your son for access via his Year Level Team.
A reminder that to accommodate the COVID-19 Safe App, all students will be temporarily permitted to carry their mobile phone in their pockets. Middle School parents need to contact their son’s Form Tutor should they wish for their son to carry his mobile phone. Phones must remain on silent and not be used during the school day.
Middle School Virtual Inter-Wing Cross Country
Over the past two weeks, 320 Middle School boys and 16 staff members competed in our virtual inter-wing cross country, running a collective total of just under 4000km. Some of the top contributors ran around 70kms each week – an amazing effort.
North Wing and their 71 participants ran a total of 677kms, while the 58 members of East Wing worked very hard for their 711kms. West Wing was the team to catch early in the competition with their 63 members, six of them teachers, achieving 968kms. It was South Wing who took out the competition this year, with their 126 runners tallying an impressive 1377kms. Well done on a wonderful team effort.
Thank you to Mr McFarlane and our Wing coordinators for organising this event.
BGS Supervision and Library Hours
A reminder that BGS Supervision is available for students in Years 5 and 6 in the Middle School Library.
Any Years 5 or 6 students remaining in the pick-up zone at 3.45pm will be asked to attend BGS Supervision. Parents may wish to utilise this service over the coming weeks as we expect the pick-up zone to be busier than usual. On arrival, parents should phone 0438 797 312 to arrange for their son to make his way to the pick-up zone. Please do not park and exit your car.
Students in Years 7 and 8 can access the Centenary Library before and after school from Monday.
BGS Supervision hours
Monday – Friday: 6.30am–7.45am; 3.45pm–5.30pm.
Centenary Library hours
Monday – Thursday: 7.30am–5.00pm
GPS Sports and Activities Updates
It has been exciting to have Years 11 and 12 students back on campus this week, and we look forward to having all year levels returning on Monday. Many boys will be eager to find out more about the status of our cocurricular sports and activities.
The GPS Association has been developing a roadmap for the resumption of sports and activities in Term 3. It is continuing to take shape as more planning occurs and restrictions ease further.
Term 2 fixtures will take place in the same order, albeit in Term 3. For example, we had been scheduled to play Football (away) against Toowoomba Grammar School in Round 1 of this term. That fixture is now being planned for the first weekend of Term 3.
The GPS Rugby season will be delayed to prepare students for their involvement in the contact sport, likely resulting in a reduced number of games in the season. While this may be disappointing to some, we must prioritise safety. The full details are still being worked through, and we will provide more information as it becomes available.
Our students will be pleased to know that we are not far away from commencing some training. This will occur over the coming weeks, with a staged introduction and essential protocols in place. We will advise students of developments via Teams and in The Daily Bulletin.
In the meantime, we continue to encourage boys to prepare for sports and activities by staying active and taking advantage of the resources available via the Cocurriculum pages of MyGrammar.
We had a pleasing response to the student registrations for Terms 3 and 4 sport.
Program leaders will contact students in the coming weeks to confirm their registration or offer alternatives. Students who did not register have been asked to submit a late registration in person at the Physical Education Office (Senior School) or with the Head of Activities (Middle School) this coming week.
As I mentioned in my article last week, Terms 3 and 4 sporting events will be different this year. The ongoing COVID-19 restrictions mean we will not be able to gather as we have previously. We are preparing for events with spectator limits along with many other necessary differences. I trust that boys, parents and staff will be understanding of these changes as we maintain our focus on providing opportunities for our students this year.
I look forward to updating you further in the weeks ahead.
Cocurricular Music Update
We are very excited that so many music activities will be restarting next week. At last, the boys will be able to make music together. However, to ensure the health and wellbeing of all staff and students, we have made changes to the normal pre-pandemic schedule. Please read carefully the changes communicated to the BGS Music community during the week.
Making the most of lockdown, some of our ensembles have been busy making music with available technology. The boys have been practising their parts at home and then sending in recordings. Combining individual parts into an ensemble takes a lot of work, and the final product is a testament to our staff and students’ talent and dedication.
The Chamber Strings – Brisbane Grammar School’s premier string ensemble – produced an outstanding virtual ensemble during home-based learning. Watch the video below of them performing the first movement of the Bach Double Violin Concerto in D minor, with Year 12 students Tony Zhong and Andrew Lee playing solo violin parts. The ensemble is led by Year 11 Nathan Shan and directed/conducted by Mr Stephen Chin. The boys put so much effort into practising their parts, and we are proud of what they have achieved. A hearty congratulations to all involved.
Head of Music
- BGS Art Show
- 2020 Calendar
- Upcoming Events
- P&F Auxiliary | Connect - Care - Contribute
- BGS150 History Book
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
Update from the P&F Auxiliary President
It is finally time for the boys to return to school. We are very excited to invite you back to help us feed and kit out the boys for the remainder of Term 2.
In response to COVID-19, there will be a few changes to how we operate for the safety of the boys, staff and volunteers. We hope you can embrace them to ensure a smooth and seamless return to school for everyone.
If you are feeling unwell or experiencing any flu-like symptoms on your roster day, please inform Roster Secretary Wendy Smith or your Team Captain. Please do not come to the School. At the start of a shift, volunteers are required to read and sign a declaration stating they are not experiencing any symptoms, have not recently travelled or been in contact with a COVID-19 case. This is a requirement mandated by the School, and the Auxiliary must forward all declarations to the BGS Risk and Compliance Manager as part of the School’s health and safety protocol.
The Grammar Shop and Tuckshop are cleaned professionally every day, and high-touch surfaces are cleaned multiple times a day. This ensures our shops meet the necessary hygiene standards. In addition, on arrival, all volunteers and visitors to the shops will be required to sanitise their hands using the sanitisers provided. Both shops are now completely cash-free.
Clear signage and markers have been placed around the Grammar Shop and the Tuckshop to ensure appropriate social distancing. Other measures, specific to each shop, are also in place.
Grammar Shop volunteers will not fit boys’ uniforms to ensure the 1.5m social distancing rule. Space constraints require we limit volunteer numbers in the Grammar Shop to four people at a time. If you volunteer on a day that has more than four volunteers, we will be in touch to discuss a different shift or a rotation.
The number of people allowed in the Tuckshop at one time is also restricted. To meet the guidelines, three shifts of volunteers will work each day. The breakfast shift will require one volunteer, and the morning tea and lunch shifts will each require four volunteers. Wendy will liaise with Tuckshop Captains in the week leading up to your roster day to assist with either:
- filling places in each shift; or
- staying for a full day but alternating sub-groups of four volunteers from each roster group by month.
We know that one of the joys of volunteering in the Grammar Shop and the Tuckshop is catching up with friends. However, we hope you will bear with us until the restrictions are eased. We thank you in advance your understanding, flexibility and patience while we overcome the initial challenges.
Questions or concerns
We appreciate some of you may not be ready to return to volunteering in the Grammar Shop or the Tuckshop due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact either:
- Roster Secretary Wendy Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0414 693 639); or
- P&F Auxiliary President Berthine Ommensen (email@example.com or 0449 880 220).
Finally, on behalf of the Grammar Shop and Tuckshop teams, the Auxiliary extends a warm welcome back to our volunteers. We are very much looking forward to seeing you all again!
Breakfast Volunteers Needed
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.
Cash-free and hygiene adjustments
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.
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.