Friday, 21 February 2020

Important Dates

Monday 24 February                              Open Morning    

Tuesday 25 February                              Shrove Tuesday  

Tuesday 25 - Friday 28 February          Year 8 Camp    

Thursday 27 February                            Year 3-6 House Sports Evening

Friday 28 February                                  Year 1-6 House Athletics Carnival 

From the Principal

In 2019, both Junior and Senior Schools conducted a review of their respective reporting processes. As a result, there will be changes in way we report student progress this year. In Junior School, the format of the end of semester report will look different and will provide more specific information on the growth of each child. Senior School has made the decision to move to Continuous On-line reporting. In this style of reporting, teachers will be providing feedback at regular intervals across the course of the semester. Continuous on-line reporting aims to provide parents with timely feedback on the progress of their child. This feedback can also inform discussions at Parent Teacher Student (PTS) Conferences. At the end of the semester, parents receive a Statement of Grades. More information will be coming from both Junior and Senior Schools to keep you informed on the changes to assessment and reporting this year.

Over the past fortnight the school community has come together to enjoy a variety of parent evenings. As always, the Prep parents BBQ was a most enjoyable evening with lots of new connections and friendships established. The information nights for Junior School, Year 7 and VCE parents were well-attended by interested parents who learned more about the year ahead for their children. This week, Senior School parents enjoyed meeting the Head of Wellbeing, Mr Peter Shepard and the Head of Teaching and Learning, Mr Craig Townsend. Parents learned more about changes to the Wellbeing and the Teaching and Learning Programs in 2020.

The Student Leaders Commissioning Services held in both Junior and Senior School were both joyful events. I wish the students in Year 6 and Year 12 all the best this year as they embark on their year of being rolemodels and leaders in the school.

This week the Senior School enjoyed their annual House Swimming Carnival. The students and staff didn’t let a little bit of rain stand in the way of having lots of fun. There was plenty of healthy competition in the pool and plenty of cheering and house support in the stands.  Congratulations to the Head of Sport Mrs Fern Schreuder for her exceptional organization and all staff and students who helped make this such an enjoyable day. And congratulations to Reid House who came out victors on the day.

Now that the classrooms in the new Junior School building are fully furnished, the Grade 4, 5 and 6 students and staff are feeling more settled in their new spaces. The rooms look amazing and I commend the staff for individualizing their rooms and making them such warm and happy places for their students to learn. Our administration staff have begun moving into the lower floor of the new Junior School building and we plan to have the current administration building fully vacated by the end of term so it is ready to be demolished over the Term one holiday break.

As residents of Melbourne we are accustomed to being prepared for anything when it comes to the weather. At school, we regularly check the weather so we can modify programs and activities according to weather conditions.  In the Junior School we have an inclement weather duty timetable which is implemented on days children cannot go outside to play. Children will be kept indoors over recess and lunch in the following circumstances;

·         Wet weather

·         Hot weather (over 35 degrees)

·         High wind

·         Hazardous smoke haze

·         Asthma storm

On sunny days, all students are regularly reminded to reapply sunscreen, wear their hats when in the sun, or to sit in the shade. On hot days, senior school students are given permission to carry their blazers home rather than wearing them.

Thank you to the Senior School parents who alerted us to the problem with SEQTA whereby various notifications were being sent to parents every time their child’s teacher started working in SEQTA. We have consulted with SEQTA and they have informed us that they are currently working on overcoming the problem. We hope the issues will be resolved very soon and apologise for the inconvenience these constant notifications have caused.

On 19 February 2020 I sent a letter to all families in the Casey Grammar School community. To keep everyone fully informed, here is an extract from that letter;


I am sorry to have to inform you that an allegation has been made against one of our staff members, who is accused of striking a student.

As soon as this claim was brought to our attention, we reported it to the relevant authority, the Commission for Children and Young People.   We have also engaged an external investigator who will conduct an independent examination of the claim. The staff member who is named in the complaint has been suspended while the facts of the matter are being assessed. The staff member strongly denies any wrongdoing.

I know that this news might cause concern among our community.   You should be reassured that our prompt and proper actions in this matter are in accord with our legal obligations and our codes of conduct, in which we are committed to the welfare, safety and protection of all of our students.

Because this matter is under investigation, and to protect the confidentiality of all involved, there are legitimate restrictions on what I can say publicly.

Anyone who has concerns about this matter should feel free to contact me.

I will keep you informed of developments.

Mrs Fiona Williams

Acting Principal 


From the Head of Junior School

It is wonderful to be able to report that our Year 2 students have now been relocated to their 2020 classrooms and are settling in well. Thank you to Mrs Grech and Mrs Harrison for their efforts to prepare a welcoming classroom for their students. We now await the exciting moves for our Year 3 and 5 students and hope that it is in the not too distant future. Good things come to those who wait and I’m sure this wait will be very worthwhile.

I’d like to sincerely thank all our Junior School parents who were able to come to our 2020 Parent Information Evening last week. It was great to see so many parents in attendance who were able to meet their child’s teacher and hear about the exciting year ahead. Thank you to almost every parent who followed our instructions and found alternative arrangements for their children. Clearly we were unable to supervise 425 Junior School students on the night. To be fair to our teachers and other parents, I hope you can understand that in future, those who arrive with their children will not be able to attend the evening. As an alternative, notes in relation to the evening will be sent home with your students.

Our Year 6 students enjoyed the first day of their Beach Program on Monday. They encountered perfect weather and from all accounts, it was a fun, successful day. Unfortunately, on Tuesday we weren’t so lucky with the weather and we abandoned the day before lunchtime. We have rescheduled our second day to Tuesday 10 March. Let’s hope the weather is kind to us.

Finally, I’d like to extend an invitation to all our parents to attend our upcoming Junior School (Year 1 – Year 6) Athletics Carnival on Friday 28 February at Casey Fields from 9:30am – 1:30pm. We anticipate a wonderful day with fabulous weather.

Mrs Melissa Roberton

Head of Junior School

News from Year 5

Social Skills, Team Building and Developing an Awareness of Others in 5D

In 5D we made Chatterboxes with ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ challenges inside. We moved around the room, giving our classmates various challenges which involved improving someone else’s happiness for the day. Some of the ideas that students came up with, included giving a parent a massage, helping a teacher, assisting with the dinner dishes, sitting with someone who seems alone, or writing someone an anonymous letter of kindness or gratitude.

Miss Laura Dascoli

Year 5D Teacher / Head of Reid House

 Reflections from 5D students

'We need to consider the feelings of others because we need to treat others the way we want to be treated.' Dhruva Sairam

'When we were in prep, we always thought about ourselves. Now we’re older we need to start thinking more about those around us. If we can do that, it will make sure that the environment in our classroom is a happy place.' - Alysia Sumanada

'We made Chatterboxes which show us ways to respect others, so we can be happy and live a long, happy life.' - Zac Foster

'By learning to respect others, it makes our classroom a safe and positive environment, because we need to consider the feelings of others, because after all, we’re all just students who want to learn in a nice, safe and happy environment.' - Alma Theodorakopoulos

Positive Effects of Kindness in 5H

Students in 5H watched a clip about the positive effects of kindness. This clip introduced the students to the physiological responses from the body, when kindness is shown. It also highlighted the long term impacts that kindness can have on an individual, the community they’re in and broader global networks.

Mrs Claire Harvey

Year 5H Teacher

'It doesn’t matter how big or small your act of kindness is; it makes a difference.' - Elora Pratt

'The chain reaction of kindness is positive.' - Daksh Tamber

'It’s nice to teach others to be kind to one another.' - Olivia King

'When people think of kindness, it doesn’t necessarily need to be obvious.' - Geena Cirillo

Year 5

Year 6 Mayor Visit

As a part of the Year 6 Inquiry into ‘Systems of Government’ we were lucky enough to have a visit from the now former City of Casey Mayor Susan Serey.

This provided the children with an insight into the role of the local council and the mayor and how this fits in with the three levels of government.

The children were able to ask her lots of questions and were also lucky enough to try on the Chain of Office.

 We are looking forward to our visit to Parliament House in Canberra when we go on camp in March.

Mrs Amy Mepstead

Year 6M Teacher

'We are learning about government this term in inquiry. There are three levels of the government, one is the local government. The City of Casey mayor, Susan Serey came to visit us. I learned that she started volunteering in the community when she was 15 years old. She also spoke about how she and the council worked together to make Casey Council a better place. She spoke about the projects she has done to support the community. Mayor Susan Serey attends many events in the Casey Council, she said her favourite is the citizenship ceremony. I also learnt that to become a mayor you have to have 6 to 11 people on the council to vote for you and you have to help everyone so they can vote for you.

I was surprised when she told us that the robes that she wears are 150 years old. She also said that she was the youngest mayor in the City of Casey. 

I enjoyed it when we got to wear the Chain of Office around our neck, some people said it was heavy but I didn't think so. It has the names of previous mayors in Berwick and next to the pictures they have a B which stands for Berwick.  As the councils combined together. It was also great to ask her questions about her and the Casey Council and learn about the local government.' - Davin Weerasinghe, 6M

'The visit of Mayor Serey was a great experience to learn more about the government. I was shocked to hear that you don't have to study certain subjects to become a councillor/mayor.

Luckily, we were able to wear the Livery Collar, it was over 150 years old, and was made out of REAL GOLD!

She talked to us about what local governments do, what they organize, and her journey of how she became mayor.' - Rheya Lokesh, 6N

Discovering Excellence - Flynn Schyschow

Flynn Schyschow from 4N has experienced some impressive cricket statistics!

Flynn who plays in the Under 10’s for the Devon Meadows Junior Cricket Club, claimed five wickets, in a row.

Flynn has been working hard with his coach, aiming to bowl at the stumps and it just so happened that is exactly what he did, five times!

The students of 4N were very excited for Flynn’s success and happy to see him featured in the Pakenham Gazette. Well done, Flynn! 

Ms Sarah Nolan

4N Teacher

The Big Chop

Many of us are more than happy to help those in need and donate to charities and fundraisers, but how many of us would actually donate our hair? Well, I know of one student and that’s our very compassionate Performing Arts Captain,  Aaliyah Thomas. She has generously offered to donate her beautiful locks to the Variety Victoria for their ‘Hair With Heart’ programme.

The Big Chop will take place on Saturday the 22 of February at 3.00pm at Beretta’s Langwarrin Hotel. Her hair will be donated to make wigs for people who have lost their hair due to a long-term illness. Aaliyah and her family would love your support, so feel free to come along and get behind such a thoughtful and kind initiative. I would like to wish Aaliyah the best of luck; we are truly proud of her!

Miss Bridgette Reale

Head of Trist House

Discovering Excellence - Ryan Riet

One of our talented Year 6 Trist students recently competed in a Karate Bushfire Relief Fundraiser Tournament. Ryan Riet came 3rd in Kata and was awarded a medal for his amazing efforts. On top of this, he was able to be part of an event that raised money for such a great cause. We are all very proud of him. Well done, Ryan! 

Miss Bridgette Reale

Head of Trist House

Berwick Show Display

Students of Years Prep, 5, & 6 have been working hard to grow, harvest, and make some excellent exhibits for the Berwick Show! If you are heading to the show at Akoonah Park this weekend, be sure to see the students handiwork in the horticulture section.

Congratulations to the students and the effort they have put into the project. Thank you to the Mr Mal Dunkley and parent volunteer Kate Hancox for supporting the students.


From the Head of Student Wellbeing

‘Growth’ is the theme at CGS this year. And opportunities for growth exist in almost every moment. While physical growth happens throughout adolescence, it’s intellectual and social and emotional growth that is key to our theme this year. Every student is being given the chance to grow into the best possible version of themselves….assuming, of course, they do the necessary ‘work’.

Calvin Coolidge, a President of the USA in the 1800s was onto something when he said ‘All growth depends upon activity. There is no development intellectually without effort, and effort means work.’

In order to make schoolwork purposeful, help the students appreciate that effort is needed; all students have been challenged to articulate their meaning and purpose in the early part of this year. ‘Why do you come to School?’ As a result, many students have come up with varied goals for the semester or the year. Some goals are academic, some are sporting, but many are social and emotional. All of which will require ‘effort’ or ‘work’! Having a clearly stated purpose, makes doing the ‘work’ a whole lot easier – it takes away the question “what are we doing this for?” and encourages effort.

Messages about the importance of, and the ability to monitor growth, have been shared in the past fortnight at several Information Evenings – The VCE, Year 7 and the House Information Evenings. At each of these evening, information was shared about our new on-line reporting system and how, in reality, this is a way to see and help the students grow and achieve their best.

There have been more concrete opportunities for student growth. Our Year 7s completed the three day Philip Island camp last week and many new skills and new friendship created. This week Reid was the winning House at the House Swimming Sports – but so many students accepted the Swimming Sports as part of the bigger picture – sure it was a fun day and the canteen had excellent chips, but many students swam in events that were ‘work’ for them, and some, who didn’t swim but still spent the time building relationships and supporting others in their House were growing as people as the day unfolded. The competition was run so well and so many students participated despite the wintery conditions was a credit to the effort of all involved.

And there’s been a Year 9 Science excursion, SIS Sport, upcoming are Drama excursions, VCE Outdoor Ed trips and, most excitingly for Year 8 is the Year 8 camping journey around Apollo Bay and Cape Otway next week.

For our students, there are opportunities for growth everywhere – every day, an opportunity – As teachers and parents, we sometimes might need to point out some of these opportunities and encourage the students to be open to them, be willing to put in the effort and do the work. Growth will be the reward.

Have a wonderful week

Mr Peter Shepard

Head of Student Wellbeing

Music at CGS

Instrumental Music Lessons at Casey Grammar School

Instrumental Music Lessons for 2020 started this week for students that have enrolled before term commenced.  Subsequent enrolments are being processed and we will be locking in places to commence next week.  We currently have vacancies in all of our instrumental and vocal teaching studios and are actively looking for young musicians to join our program.  If you are interested in lessons for your child, please send through an enrolment form (available from the Music Department, Administration Office, and on the school website) and we can get them underway.  If you have questions about the program or would like more information, please contact Mr Stuart Collidge on 5991 0723, or

Ensemble Music Program at Casey Grammar School

Our Ensemble Music Program has commenced this week with rehearsal for the Senior Concert Band, and will commence for all other ensembles next week (week commencing Monday 10 February).  The Ensemble Music Program is an excellent opportunity for Music students to grow and share their musical experiences, develop new friendships, and to perform some great music.  The Program is open to all Casey Grammar School students, not just those studying instrumental music in our program.  If you are interested in your child joining our program, please contact Stuart Collidge on 5991 0723, or for more details.

Mr Stuart Collidge

Head of Music

Year 7 Camp

Year 7 Camp 2020, was met with excitement, trepidation and wonder. Early on Wednesday 12 February 106 Year 7 students, six Year 9 Leaders and six staff members climbed into awaiting buses for the trip to Phillip Island. Upon arrival, we were met by our OutBeyond leaders for the next three days. During the camp, students took part in several different activities with the highlights for many being the Smoking Ceremony by Steve, an Indigenous Elder, and of course, surfing. As part of the Smoking Ceremony, Steve spoke to each group about his ancestors and the importance of the Welcome to Country.

As this was a hybrid camp, students spent one night camping in a tent and the other in hardtop accommodation. For some, it was their first time camping and setting up tents, but they all did a great job.

The Year 9 Leaders Eric Watts, Zain Wasif, Ryan Karauntara, Charlize Donath, Taylah McDonald and Jessica Sampson were not only a great support to staff, but also took on the role of running night time activities. This allowed all Year 7s the opportunity not only to play games but build those important relationships that will be so vital as they move up Senior School.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following staff for their amazing support and work over the three days, Ms Anglea O’Driscoll, Mrs Helen Lacey, Miss Hannah Russell, Miss Jess Delgos, Mr Ben Peake and Mr Young.

Ms Cathy James

Head of Year 7 

From the Head of Careers

What is the UCAT?

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is an admissions test used by the UCAT ANZ Consortium of universities in Australia and New Zealand for their medical, dental and clinical science degree programmes.

The test helps universities to select applicants with the most appropriate abilities and professional behaviours required for new doctors and dentists to be successful in their clinical careers. It is used in collaboration with other admissions processes such as interviews and academic qualifications.

The UCAT ANZ is a computer-based test delivered in Pearson VUE test centres throughout Australia, New Zealand and at some overseas locations.

For current Year 12 students who are interested in pursuing a medical, dental and clinical science degree programme (that requires UCAT for admission), I would encourage you to consider enrolling in a UCAT workshop/preparation course. I would similarly encourage you to start undertaking practice tests in preparation.

For further information, please visit the below links or come and speak to the Head of Careers to discuss further:




Parents/Guardians: we (AATIS) need your input!

The Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships Information Service (AATIS) is seeking parent/guardian input into the future of Vocational Education and Training (VET).

Parents and guardians are an invaluable resource for young people when it comes to decision-making related to career pathways. As such, the AATIS are seeking parent/guardian input to understand better the attitudes and perceptions related to the amount of reliable information parents have about the future of work and the impact of digital technologies on vocational career pathways.

All eligible participants in the survey will go into the running to receive two gold class movie tickets.

To participate in the survey, click here.

Exciting opportunity for budding filmmakers

The Mocktail Award is an exciting award that is dedicated to showcasing the talent of young, aspiring high school filmmakers.

Senior School students are encouraged to submit their short film for The Mocktail Awards. The nominated films will be showcased and the winner will be awarded at the prestigious Martini Awards to held in June 2020. This invitation is open to all high school students based in New South Wales, ACT, Victoria and Queensland who have completed a short film between 1 January 2019 to 5 April 2020.

We encourage students to get involved, as there is a prize for the winner and a prize for their school!


o    The winning film will receive over $2,500 worth of prizes.

Submission Information:

o    All submitted films must be under eight minutes long and can be in the style of a short fiction, short documentary, short animation, television commercial or music video.

o    There is no cost in submitting your film to the Mocktail Awards and all entries must be films completed by high school students. 

o    Submissions close Sunday 5th April 2020 at 5:00 pm.

For further information, please visit:

Mrs Sarah Blythman

Head of Careers and Student Pathways

From the Chaplain

What a pleasure it was to commission our Year 12 student group as well as our leaders into their positions last Tuesday. We also had the pleasure of commissioning Mr Craig Townsend, Mr Peter Shepard and Ms Gwen Hackel into their positions of leadership. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as a school community to ask God’s blessing on our students in this important year of their life and to allow the broader student body to get to know their leaders. Particular thanks to Max Murphy for his work in creating our introduction video, the School Band and the VCE Music group for sharing their talents as well as our 2019 join Dux’ Maddison O’Neill and Lauren Reynolds for providing a reflection.

Social Justice Group

We have commenced Social Justice Group for 2020 and it has been exciting to see students from Year 7-12 getting involved in various projects to help our community, both at Casey Grammar School and more broadly. We are currently working on Harmony Week plans, Shrove Tuesday pancake cooking, Model United Nations and volunteering in the holidays at Backpacks 4 Vic Kids. If you think your child would be interested in getting involved in any or all of these opportunities, please encourage them to contact me.

Upcoming Events

Junior School Shrove Tuesday is an important event in the school and Church calendar that marks the final day before Lent begins. Next Tuesday, 25 February marks this day and our Junior School will be using it as an opportunity not only to enjoy some delicious pancakes but also to raise much needed funds for School Aid Bushfire appeal. Further information can be found at Prep-Year 2 classes will make pancakes in their classroom and Year 3-6 will collect them in class time from the Chapel veranda. All students are encouraged to make a gold coin donation before the 25 February for their pancake.

Whole School In the coming week, students will receive a letter about our Harmony Week celebration which will be taking place in Week 7. Please note that the Cultural clothing day will be Thursday 12 March and the Senior lunch performance will be on Friday 13 March.  

Mrs Monique Riviere-Pendle



Recently I came across an article on The Fathering Project website about the importance of how parent’s role model their beliefs and values. As our children are being stretched academically, socially and physically at school, they are also becoming aware of the multiplicity of world views that are being demonstrated in our society. They are observing and questioning who they are and how they fit as they grow and develop. As parents, the position of role modelling your values and beliefs plays an important part in your children’s development. This article likens role modelling to being like moths or cockroaches. Do you demonstrate the values and beliefs that you would desire your child to have in a way that draws your children to them? If so they will be like moths attracted to a light source rather than them fleeing like cockroaches from a light source.

As parents, introducing other elders into our children’s lives that also display similar values and beliefs as you do and live them out in a similar way, also benefits your child. It is said that ‘children learn their values at their father’s feet’.

As a community, school and family, together we can live out the values and beliefs in a way that draws the younger members - the children and students, take on these values for their own. In doing so, it may just bring a unity that strengthens the community.

Mr Stu McKenzie

Wellbeing Support Staff

From the School Psychologist

Dealing with Anger in Children and Teens: Why Is My Child So Angry?

Have you found yourself asking the question, 'Why is my child always so angry at me?' Do you feel like your adolescent surrounds him/herself with a force field of anger and hostility?

First of all, it’s important to make a distinction between anger and hostility. When you’re angry, you feel as if you’ve been wronged or frustrated, and you want to strike back somehow. We all get angry from time to time—it’s a natural reaction to certain situations. Well-adjusted kids and adults get angry but can manage their anger when it arises.

In contrast, hostility is an attitude of defensiveness and waiting for an attack. Hostility is related to antagonism, animosity, and hatred. What a lot of parents experience as defiance is, in most cases, hostility.

Think of it this way: hostility is the attitude. And the attitude says 'Don’t mess with me.' Hostility is constant and full of bad intentions. Some parents will punish their child for having an attitude. Other parents will yell, scream, and threaten. Unfortunately, these responses are ineffective.

I tell parents that if screaming at our kids was effective, I’d be out of business. You’d just be able to yell at your child and he’d change. Or you’d bring your child to my office, I’d shout at him and call him names for 45 minutes, and then he’d go home and be nice for a week. If you have followed previous blogs you will know that you can’t punish children into good behaviour. I think the response that works addresses the underlying problem—the hostility—and motivates your child to solve that problem by taking responsibility for her hostile behaviour.

Hostile adolescents have a distorted way of thinking whereby they are always the victim. Their distorted thinking tells them that things aren’t fair, that their parents have placed too many expectations on them, that their teachers are idiots. They believe that nobody understands them except for their friends. These 'thinking errors' are the thoughts we have in our head that don’t match reality and are usually negative and self-defeating. And, as you might expect, those who commit thinking errors don’t realise that their thoughts don’t match reality.

When kids with thinking error face consequences, they don’t connect the consequence with their behaviour. Instead, they view the consequences as further evidence that they are a victim of the people out to get them. To end the hostility, the thinking-errors need to be corrected. And you address the thinking-errors by holding your child accountable for her actions so that she eventually learns to take responsibility for her behaviour. Indeed, taking responsibility for behaviour is necessary for any long-lasting improvements in behaviour. Children need to be taught that they are responsible for their actions and for their emotional reactions to the world.

My next article will provide suggestions to manage a child’s hostility and anger.

Mr Alan Clarke

School Psychologist

Music Lessons

It is not too late to start music lessons (individual and group) have only just begun, so if your child wants to learn a musical instrument, whether it be Percussion, Piano, Guitar, Woodwind, Brass or Strings, click on this link and fill in a Music Tuition form.

Completed forms can be returned to either Mr Stuart Collidge or Mrs Bronwyn Kyne and your child, will soon be receiving all the benefits that learning a musical instrument can bring.  Check them out below!

Reporting Absences

Reminder: All absences must be reported to the schools Absentee Line on 5991 0801

PFC News

It was wonderful to welcome many new and existing families at the Prep BBQ that the PFC hosted. We would like to thank the Prep teachers and Mrs Roberton for attending the event and Kate Hancox for setting up a fun nature activity. 

The PFC will be cooking a sausage sizzle at next weeks Junior School Athletics carnival. We are pleased to be offering healthy sugar free icy poles, Sugar Freezies, for the students to pre order to enjoy on the day.

Upcoming event

  • Secondhand Uniform Sale-  Thursday 12 March  

Donations of unwanted uniforms can be given to the PFC on a Thursday morning before Junior School Assemblies or to the school office.

The next PFC meeting will be held on Monday 2 March at 6.30pm in the PAC. New members are welcome to attend.

Prep BBQ