Week 6 Term 2
Friday 29 May 2020
In this issue:
- The show must go on: The 39 Steps revised performance dates
- Year 8 boys design their ultimate Outdoor Education Centre
- GrammarFit takes a hiatus
After so many weeks of home learning, it was wonderful to see the boys in Years 5 to 10 return to campus on Monday morning. While the BGS community made the transition to home-based learning very well, it will be a relief to many students, parents and teachers to return to the physical classroom and something approximating normality. As you can see from the photos, students were greeted by a large ‘welcome back’ sign and were given a sweet treat (a muffin) to celebrate their return.
While the last few weeks have been disruptive, limiting the impact on our senior students has been a priority. Despite the social distancing restrictions, we are very conscious of maintaining some of the BGS traditions for our seniors. We are currently considering how we might organise milestones such as the Year 12 Formal and Valedictory Dinner – celebratory events we would like our students to experience. The pandemic will ensure the Class of 2020 never forgets their final year of school, and we are working to ensure they have many positive memories as well.
While the BGS community events calendar is usually busy at this time of year, we have had to put many of the regular occasions we all look forward to on hold. Our approach has been not to cancel any significant community events, but rather postpone or find a creative alternative solution. On Wednesday, the Old Boys' Association moved its professional networking event online – hosting a virtual discussion and get together. Old Boys with expertise in science and technology – James Chin Moody ‘93, Michael Milford ’98 and Arjuna Kumarasuriyar ’98 – were guest panellists. Year 12 students were invited to join the event.
Other regular fixtures on the calendar, such as the BGS Art Show and Open Day, will also go ahead as virtual events on 24 and 25 July respectively. We look forward to delivering an innovative experience that weekend.
With our attention focused on responding to the pandemic, our new BGS website came online in March without much fanfare. It turned out to be an opportune time, allowing us to design a special COVID-19 Advice page with regular health and safety updates, and changes to the delivery of curriculum. This has provided a vital hub for the School community to manage the transition to home-based learning.
The improved platform also supported the new GrammarWell platform for student wellbeing, and the BGS Together initiative – our directory of goods and services offered by the BGS community to the BGS community. I encourage you to visit the BGS Together page, support the community, and add your details if you would like to connect.
2020 has presented us with some challenges, but our commitment to the STEAM Precinct – which will combine the teaching of the Sciences and the Arts in an exciting new learning space – is unwavering. To read more about how the STEAM project is progressing, look out for our feature in the upcoming edition of Grammar News, arriving in your mailbox soon.
It was wonderful to see all students back at school and hear the excited chatter among friends returning to the campus. The boys did exceptionally well learning from home, but friendships and social interactions are best nurtured in person.
I have heard those in the community mention they are looking forward to school going back to normal. While it is great to have resumed on campus learning, I think how the boys learn won’t ever go completely back to the way it was pre-pandemic.
We learned so much through seeking feedback from students, parents and staff during the home-based learning period and we will take the best of what we discovered to improve how we educate BGS boys. I thank parents for your willingness to respond to surveys and we will continue to seek student, parent and staff feedback in the future.
The School remains vigilant about the health and wellbeing of the community. We are encouraging students to take responsibility for their own hygiene and for the cleanliness and order of their classroom spaces. Sanitisers and wipes are provided in all classrooms. We are also reminding students to practice social distancing as much as possible and follow the directional arrows when moving around campus.
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.
Drop-off and pick-up
A reminder to parents, please do not use the Park Hotel driveway or visitor spaces across from BGS to drop off or pick up your son. The BGS 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.
Academic summary of final weeks of Term 2
As we approach the final three weeks of the semester, I would like to emphasise the following important points to parents:
- Assessment items in most subjects are either due or imminent and boys should be actively studying for and completing their tasks.
- Even though the regular rhythm of a school semester has been interrupted, being actively engaged in learning and committing to regular routines is an achievable goal for every student.
- Semester 1 reports will be available to parents over the upcoming term break; while the School will report on student progress in each subject, results will largely be based on a lesser volume of assessment than is usual.
- Acknowledgement of individual circumstances that might have impacted student capacity to complete courses will be made.
- Reports will be accompanied by a letter from a member of the School’s Senior Leadership Team explaining the Semester 1 context and outlining the priorities for the year group going forward.
Students returned to school with palpable excitement this week as they reconnected in person with friends and teachers. To mark the occasion, our Year 12 student leaders greeted boys with ‘welcome back muffins’, which many gladly accepted. To their credit, the boys then settled in to the campus routine with a minimum of fuss.
Research suggests it is important to return to routine quickly following an unsettled period, and our students re-engaged in their regular academic timetables from the outset. To support your sons’ successful transition back to school, consolidate the ‘back to school’ routine at home, particularly with regards sleep, diet and exercise.
The students have been very respectful of the social distancing measures at school, though it’s a challenge with more than 1700 students back on campus. Please be aware that these measures extend to the drop-off/pick-up zone. Students have been asked to wait in designated areas based on year level signage, with older siblings waiting with the youngest.
We thank you for your cooperation.
This week we welcomed Years 5 to 10 students back to campus.
The recent period of home-based learning and social distancing protocols have forced everyone to operate differently. While it has been challenging, as a school community, it is important to reflect on the opportunities that the current circumstances have presented to us. For example, the recent relaxation of some of the social distancing measures has seen us cherish one another’s company more than ever.
These relaxations have allowed most of us to experience some normality. However, our boarders are still unable to socialise off-campus as they usually would. This has resulted in a new opportunity for Year 12 day boys to connect with Year 12 boarders for two events – outdoor activities on Wednesday afternoon, and a ‘Gaming Night’ on Saturday evening.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a renewed appreciation of interpersonal relationships and provided the catalyst for these events. I hope this unexpected welcome side effect is experienced by all boys and the wider BGS community, as we continue to keep health and safety in mind.
Harlin House Vice Captain
Director of Boarding
Griffith House Opening
Last weekend, BGS Boarding recorded a significant milestone, with Griffith House – the new Middle School boarding facility – opening to students.
Although we were denied the fanfare of an official opening because of social distancing restrictions, as you can see from the photos, our first residents were delighted by their new facilities.
Much has changed in boarding in the past 30 years. The traditional view of boarding – a long row of beds in a large room divided by a low partition – is completely gone. The accommodation provides boarders with soft lighting, textured fabrics, air conditioning and WiFi.
Our innovative design enables our boarders to continue to live as one community, which studies have shown to be important with younger boys. Each boy also has his own private living area. This provides an ideal balance between developing those all-important friendships that are made in a boarding house and socialisation. With a purpose-built apartment for a member of staff, we will soon be able to realise the vision of a boarding family in Griffith House.
Griffith House demonstrates both the commitment of BGS to boarding and provides a glimpse into the future of residential community living. Developing a boarding house in a heritage-listed building isn’t straightforward or inexpensive, and we appreciate the commitment of the Headmaster and the Board to the project. With boarders now living in two distinct buildings, we are developing a residential village at BGS.
Director of Outdoor Education
This week, Year 8 boys were set their final task for Outdoor Education Online, aimed at getting students to consider what they value most in an outdoor education facility. The boys worked in small groups to design the ultimate outdoor education centre, with very few limitations. They submitted a drawing and description of the site, the activities available and outlined a program.
The structure of Moogerah featured strongly with a common theme of a lake surrounded by mountains and abundant zip lines crossing the site. Some extra suggestions included access to a white-water river near the property, some mountain biking trails, a ski slope with year-round snow and access to the beach. The boys also considered the accommodation, with a preference for individual cabins for small groups.
Indigenous culture was a common theme where the boys allocated time for cultural lessons, had areas for painting and a garden section for culturally significant plants.
Aryab Bakshi, Arun Shanmuga Anandan and Jahin Premraj designed their outdoor education centre at the base of Cradle Mountain. Their program included “a canoe ride that develops teamwork through the group being tasked with a horrendously difficult but achievable task that can only be achieved by teamwork and working together. Overall, teamwork doesn’t have to be positive to be teamwork”. These boys took a fairly hard-line approach to experiential learning!
Manoli Samios, Jackson Webb and Dan Miller designed their centre at the Glasshouse Mountains with new activities including mountain biking and laser tag. They kept some traditional tasks in their program with orienteering and a trust fall, stating that the trust fall “is crucial to building a withstanding relationship with your team because if you do not trust other team members, everything falls apart”.
This wraps up the online tasks for Year 8, and we now look to planning for Outdoor Education in Semester 2. It will be fantastic to have the students back in the outdoors!
Click to view the Year 8 Task 4 reflection video.
Director of Student Wellbeing Programs
Special Report: COVID-19 – The Transition Back
As lockdown restrictions are slowly lifted, we enter a time of transition and adjustment. This situation has significantly impacted us all. For many, it has been an opportunity to reflect on what is important or to learn new things.
Many young people may be excited as restrictions are lifted; others may feel mixed emotions. Reactions will differ depending on how well they cope with stress and change. Keeping a check on your child’s mental health and wellbeing as they adjust to new routines will be vitally important.
We still face a lot of uncertainty, so focusing on the things you can control, value and enjoy doing can help establish predictability and familiarity for the whole family. Adult carers need to reassure young people that it is normal to have fears and concerns during uncertainty. Focus more on their feelings and emotions, rather than the practicalities.
This Special Report has a few ideas to ease this time of transition and adjustment.
Over the last few weeks, the boys have engaged in many activities to help them transition back to on-campus learning. In Monday’s lesson, boys were asked to share one thing they were most looking forward to about returning to school. Connecting with friends was at the top of the list, followed by seeing their teachers and participating in cocurricular activities. Boys also continued to reflect on what they are grateful for. They might not always show it, but they are grateful for their families, especially mums and dads.
“I'm grateful for my parents because they help me and care for me and make everything fun.”
“I am grateful for my parents for putting up with me.”
“I am grateful for my siblings because they have fun with me.”
“I am grateful for my dad because he helps me with my school work when I get stuck.”
“I am grateful that my mum had a lovely Mother's Day.”
“I am grateful for my parents for making online study fun and efficient. I'm also grateful for the healthcare workers for not giving up and doing all they can to fight the coronavirus. I am also grateful that my parents bought me an awesome remote-control car!”
“I am grateful for my mum for taking off work just so that she could be with me when I wasn't feeling well this morning. She always knows how I feel and cares for me. When I am feeling down, she is there to cheer me up and when studies are too much to handle, she is right beside me. I am grateful for my mum because she is what keeps me going.”
“I am grateful for my parents for looking after me and making sure I am healthy and happy during quarantine and my brother for making sure I am always having a good time. Without them, I wouldn't survive quarantine.”
“I am grateful for my little sister who turns four years old today because she is my best friend to play with. If she wasn't here, I would be really bored in lockdown.”
It has been an exciting time for students and teachers as we return to classroom teaching and learning in the Art department. We welcome back our budding artists from the pandemic ‘wifi wilderness’ to the comfort of the BGS Visual Art studios.
Students and parents have shown Art teachers an unexpected level of gratitude for delivering practical online Art lessons this term. Everyone’s incredible efforts have helped sustain the student’s morale and positive outlook.
In this critical time for Year 12 Visual Arts students, we are encouraging them to maximise their learning opportunities. They are working hard, preparing to showcase their self-directed ‘art as knowledge’ artworks and artist’s statements. Next Tuesday lunchtime, we will exhibit their work to the staff and students. We envisage sharing their work with the community via a virtual tour, and a physical exhibition in Centenary Hall later in the year.
Practical art experiences can bring feelings of deep satisfaction, reduced stress, increased motivation and endorphins. As one Year 9 student said, “We spent our Art lesson painting our skateboards, which was a good break from the computer-heavy work we had been doing for the rest of the week. We had the chance to consult the teacher on ways to improve our design and painting skills.”
Continuing to offer hands-on learning remotely made a return to the classroom effortless, as we embraced the motto 'business as usual’ in an ever-changing pandemic world.
Head of Art
Reuniting with friends and teachers was the highlight of the week, as our Middle School boys returned to campus on Monday. Although some were missing their sleep in, the excitement was palpable as boys eased back into the school routine. I extend a very warm welcome back to all members of our Middle School community.
During the home-based learning period, the decision was made for boys to continue receiving the Daily Bulletin via email. This allows boys to access important messages, that they might miss during Form Class, in their own time. The Daily Bulletin communicates messages regarding cocurricular and other day-to-day operational matters.
As we are now in the Winter uniform phase of the school year, I encourage all boys to check that jumpers are clearly named. Lost property is now situated next to the School Marshal’s office. Boys who need to access lost property should visit Middle School Reception or the School Marshal’s office before school or during breaks.
Finally, last week you received your son’s Interim Report. This report provides insight into your son’s learning habits across his subject areas. If you have any subject-related questions or concerns regarding your son’s report, please contact his class teacher or Head of Year. Boys should be looking to apply this feedback to their learning over the remaining weeks of Term 2.
- Deputy Head – Co-Curriculum | Greg Thorne
- Willow Club Annual General Meeting | Tuesday 16 June
During this week, we cautiously started testing our protocols and facilities with some trial conditioning sessions for a limited number of students in our flagship squads. This testing is a necessary precursor to expanding our offerings of conditioning sessions to more boys.
Over the next two weeks, program leaders will work through student registrations and invite more boys to be involved in conditioning, in small groups. After this, and before the term break, we are planning for the commencement of team training sessions. We are operating in accordance with all necessary guidelines and directives, and as such, the most we can presently offer is conditioning, in a limited capacity. As restrictions ease, we will be able to cater for more students, across a wider range of programs and ages, with greater frequency.
Further meetings this week continue to shape the look of GPS and other sports and activities in Term 3.
Coinciding with the return of most of our boys this week, GrammarFit will take a break. It will return during some holiday periods and at other times, by demand.
GrammarFit was created to provide a daily dose of physical activity while boys were learning from home. The Performance Development Team, working with the Cocurriculum Office, took this simple brief and turned it into a project with 27 episodes, more than 4000 views and almost 2500 sessions logged by boys in the Training Diary. Looking at this another way, if we had set up a GrammarFit as an individual relay challenge running 24 hours a day, with one BGS student at a time participating, it would have taken 52 days to complete the same volume of student activity.
Thank you to all those who took part as well as those involved in the production and delivery of GrammarFit, most notably the Performance Development team, who demonstrated their initiative and leadership throughout this project.
We are aware that many parents and family members joined their sons for workouts. If you would like to pass on feedback about GrammarFit, related to you or your son, we would be more than happy to hear it. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In one final piece of transition news, the online Training Diary will soon be closed.
We are now working on providing students with a view of the data they have logged, with individual summaries of their completed sessions. We are also studying this data for greater meaning, as it represents a significant volume of home-based training. Our dedicated students logged almost 9500 home-based training sessions in total (across all sports and activities) over the past six weeks. Through this experience, we have learned a great deal and we will look to carry this learning forward to our future Cocurriculum offerings.
The Show Must Go On!
Over the past two weeks, the cast and crew of the Senior Dramatic Production have returned to the BGS Theatre, reigniting the world of The 39 Steps. We are thrilled to announce our revised performance dates – Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 August 2020.
Please stay tuned for more details early in Term 3.
Patrick Last, Ben Newth, Michael Moloney and Naomi Russell
The 39 Steps Creative Team
The Willow Club Cricket Support Group invites you to attend the AGM to be held at 6.00pm on Tuesday 16 June 2020.
The meeting will be held via Microsoft Teams and can be joined with this link.
All voluntary positions will be declared vacant.
To make a nomination for a position, please contact Willow Club Secretary James Ireland at email@example.com
For more information on the Willow Club or the AGM, please contact Willow Club President Justin Beirne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0412 708 682.
- BGS Art Show
- P&F Association Annual General Meeting | Thursday 18 June
- P&F Auxiliary | Connect - Care - Contribute
- Volunteer Roster
- 2020 Calendar
- Upcoming Events
- BGS150 History Book
We are excited to announce that the BGS Art Show will be online as a virtual show this year.
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
Notice of postponed Annual General Meeting | Thursday 18 June 2020 at 6.30pm
The Brisbane Grammar School Parents’ and Friends’ Association (Inc.) (“BGS P&F”) AGM, which was postponed from 18 March 2020, will now be held on Thursday 18 June 2020 at 6.30pm in The Lilley Centre Function Room at BGS.
Given the current restrictions due to COVID-19, a maximum of 13 people are permitted to be physically present at the meeting, in addition to the P&F office bearers and School representatives. If you wish to attend in person, please email the BGS Alumni & Community Relations Manager at Carla.Hardy@brisbanegrammar.com. Places will be allocated on a strictly first in basis.
The meeting will also be streamed via Microsoft Teams, allowing additional members to attend virtually. If you wish to join the online stream, you can obtain link details and instructions for participating by contacting BGS Alumni & Community Relations Manager at Carla.Hardy@brisbanegrammar.com or 07 3834 5206.
P&F Association parent members (all parents and guardians of students currently attending Brisbane Grammar School) and friend members (those accepted as a member following application) are entitled to attend and vote. All are eligible to nominate for positions on the Management Committee.
The voluntary positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer will be declared vacant.
Nominations must be returned by email to P&F Management Committee Secretary at Kristine.Luke@gmail.com by 5.00pm Wednesday 3 June 2020 for the nomination to be proposed at the AGM. Nominations forms for these positions may be obtained here.
Further enquiries should be directed to the P&F Management Committee Secretary at Kristine.Luke@gmail.com.
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.
Grammar Shop MSA card payment
The Grammar Shop now accepts payment via the My Student Account (MSA) cards, which students currently use in the Tuckshop. Please ensure your son’s MSA card is sufficiently topped up before items from the Grammar Shop.
For those families who use the MSA card daily spend limit function, many Grammar Shop purchases will be over the set daily spend. Grammar Shop staff have the ability to override daily spend limits when requested. However, this will also mean that the student’s full daily spend has been exhausted and will not leave them any funds available for the Tuckshop that day. Parents can remove the daily spend limit for the day that their son is planning to make a Grammar Shop purchase.
Alternatively, the Grammar Shop can provide a slip for students to request credit from the Tuckshop on the day that they have used their daily spend limit at the Grammar Shop. Tuckshop purchases would then be put through MSA on a separate day. Note that this option will not work if students normally exhaust their daily spend limit at the Tuckshop.
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.
Message from the P&F Auxiliary President |Friday 22 May
The boys have finally returned 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 (email@example.com or 0414 693 639); or
- P&F Auxiliary President Berthine Ommensen (firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Volunteer Needed
Breakfast volunteer needed
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.