November 1, 2019

In recent weeks we have hosted two amazing events at our school that were greatly influenced by some of our former students.

In our Shaping the Future event at 6.30pm on Wednesday 23 October 2019, the audience of students, staff, parents, old grammarians and members of the wider community were invited into a discussion with four members of The Outer Sanctum, an all-female group of women who host a weekly football podcast. The group included two old grammarians, Emma Race (1993) a broadcaster and writer and Lucy Race (1987) trainer at the SPJ Football club and business owner, along with fellow podcast members author Nicole Hayes and lawyer and academic Kate Seear.

Throughout the lively and engaging discussion, members of The Outer Sanctum discussed important conversation topics including the voices of women in the AFL, sports journalism and the power of a community of women. We have been so fortunate to have re-connected with Emma and Lucy this year. After seeing our social media posts of our GSV Football team, they came to watch our girls play a game and also joined us for our special presentation of the Reconciliation jumpers and netball bibs during National Reconciliation Week. What an incredible example of our former students supporting their school.

On Tuesday this week we hosted the annual Young Australian Best Book Awards Ceremony (YABBA)at CGGS. Former student and children’s fiction writer Alex Miles (2001) was instrumental in assisting us to be chosen as the hosting school this year. Alex is the author of the Olive Black and Geek Girls Series and has launched one of her books at the school in recent years. We feel very privileged to continue our connection with her.

We welcomed 33 authors and illustrators including Andy Lee (Alex’s brother), Sally Rippin and Terry Denton, along with over 400 students from a range of primary and secondary schools to our school. In addition to the formalities of the ceremony, students were able to meet the authors and speak with them about their books. Isabel Sootoh from Year 6 also received a special award for her invitation illustration.

Throughout the course of the year, Mrs Anne Devenish our Head of Library Information Services has worked tirelessly with the YABBA committee to organise the ceremony. Anne’s enthusiasm and her expertise in children’s literature and in organising large scale community events was invaluable. The President of YABBA, Mr David Linke spoke to me on a number of occasions throughout the day to re-iterate his thanks for all of Anne’s work.

Our Ormiston librarian, Ms Kim Yeomans has also written about the ceremony and the involvement of our CGGS and I share it with you below.

With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody

Young Australian Best Book Awards Ceremony (YABBA)

Barbara Sutton Hall was buzzing with bookish excitement on Tuesday when CGGS hosted the highly anticipated YABBA Awards Ceremony. It was a fabulous celebration of books and reading and an opportunity to acknowledge some of our favourite Australian children’s book creators.

The Year 5 and 6 VIPs warmly greeted and escorted the YABBA shortlisted authors who were welcomed like rock stars by 500 excited students as they entered the hall. The Vocal Express choir set the tone for a fun morning with their performance of  ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’. There were lots of laughs at the Opening Ceremony at Adam Wallace and James Hart’s crazy attempts to cut the red ribbon. During ‘Squiggle-ology’, talented illustrators, James Hart, Marjory Gardener, Heath McKenzie and the legendary Terry Denton each turned a student’s squiggle into a picture as we watched in amazement. Heath even managed to create a self-portrait from a dot and a squiggle! Budding authors listened carefully as Andy Lee, Sally Rippin, Jacqueline Harvey, Felice Arena and Tim Harris answered ‘Burning Questions’ about their writing. We were very proud of Isabel Sootoh when she was acknowledged for her winning YABBA illustration. Then author, Gabrielle Wang was awarded the Graham Davey Citation for her impact on Australian Children’s Literature and reminded us “Books open our eyes so our imaginations can fly.” 

Cheers erupted as the winning books were announced and there was great excitement as the ever-popular Aaron Blabey and Andy Griffiths appeared via video on the big screen. Congratulations to all of the shortlisted and winning authors and illustrators. These are the winners of the 2019 YABBA Awards:

Picture Story Book:

Seriously, Do Not Open This Book by Andy Lee and Heath McKenzie

Fiction for Younger Readers:

The Bad Guys: Do-You-Think-He-Saurus? by Aaron Blabey

Fiction for Years 7- 9:

The 104-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Fiction for Older Readers:

Maybe by Morris Gleitzman

After the formal ceremony, the CGGS gymnasium was filled with readers eager to meet some of their favourite Australian literary idols and have their books signed. Those students who patiently waited in never ending lines to meet Terry Denton and Andy Lee demonstrated true commitment!

Thank you to the book creators who gave their time to attend and to the YABBA committee and our Head of Library, Mrs Devenish for an unforgettable YABBA Awards.

‘The greatest gift is a passion for reading’. (Elizabeth Hardwick)

Kim Yeomans
Ormiston Library Teacher




October 18, 2019

The arrival of Term 4 always signifies commencement of the celebration of important milestones in education – from completing secondary education for our Year 12 students through to the orientation and transition programs for new and continuing students later in the term.

At 3.25pm today the school bell rang for only the second time this year (the first was at the commencement of the Year 7 Welcome Ceremony). Today it was to signify the final day of secondary schooling for our Year 12 students. Whilst some of our girls have already commenced their oral and performance exams, the rest are now preparing for the first of their final assessments. We are very proud of our 2019 Year 12 cohort as they have led with enthusiam and zest motivating teams of students in many areas, as well as working consistently in their academic programs thoughout the year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them all the very best in their final examinations and for all the opportunities that lie ahead.

Last week, Jacqui Wagner who is a member of our School Council opened the VCE Art Show. Jacqui is an architect who has a great interest in Art, Design and Creative Thinking. As a member of the School Council, she also sits on the Property Sub-Committee. Jacqui acknowledged the quality of the work, variety of different media featured and the utilisation of sophisticated technology located in our MakerSpace such as the laser cutter and 3D printers. I am very grateful to our art team for bringing this exhibition together.

At our Years 10-12 Presentation Evening last night, we were able to showcase and celebrate many students and their work. Whilst we celebrated the significant academic achievements, we also highlighted the many citizenship, service, community and co-curricular contributions as well. This is very important as we are committed to the development of the whole person and we value the development of broader competencies, skills and ethical capacities – attributes that we know are integral to their future success.

Last night I was delighted to share that 25% of our 2019 Year 12 cohort have already received offers from the Australian National University (ANU) and LaTrobe University. Entrance requirements into ANU are not solely based on the ATAR but also on contribution to the community in service and other co-curricular interests. This is also common in international university applications and this part of the application has been already satisfied. Through the LaTrobe University ASPIRE program, students again have satisfied these requirements through avenues such as their community service, volunteering for groups, such as coaching sporting teams, participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award and other co-curricular programs. At LaTrobe, students accepted into the ASPIRE program can gain entry into courses with a conditional offer ATAR. For example, for entry into Physiotherapy in 2019, the ATAR at LaTrobe was 97. The community engagement component makes up a large part of the selection criteria. For those accepted into the ASPIRE program the conditional offer ATAR was 92. All eleven of our Year 12 students who applied have been accepted into the ASPIRE program, so clearly the strength of their applications has been outstanding. Whilst the girls may still choose different courses, it is significant that they already have considerable options.Next week we look forward to our Leavers’ Service and Valedictory Dinner.

This year our students have been led by 3 incredible young women: Nikki Chen (School Captain), Stephanie Lysikatos (Vice Captain) and Ellie Zhou (Vice Captain). They have served our community with dedication and humility. Nikki, Steph and Ellie have worked in a truly collaborative way with all other captains and leaders, have been mindful of the needs and the desires of both the student body and the school, and have engaged others to create many inspiring and thought provoking activities, presentations and events. Nikki, Steph and Ellie have truly embraced our school values of integrity, commitment, respect, hope and courage in all of their work this year and we won’t forget the NES team’s zest for all they do! I thank them on behalf of our community for their service.

I am pleased to confirm that we will be finishing our Science Laboratory refurbishments over the Christmas break. The Chemistry and Biology Laboratories with associated preparation rooms will be completed ready for the beginning of the 2020 school year. This three year project will see the complete renovation of four Science Laboratories and the construction of a Robotics Laboratory and MakerSpace. I am very grateful to the many members of our community who have supported the important upgrade of these facilities.


With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody




September 6, 2019

The Gift of Our Time

Being an educator is an incredible privilege and I delight in letting anyone who will listen know that it is the best job in the world.

Educators share with parents the wonderful responsibility of supporting young people to grow and become compassionate young citizens, that understand the responsibility to build a more just and sustainable world. One of the joys of my role is attending events where our students demonstrate their learning, and I particularly appreciate those events where parents are also present.

Our Father’s Day Breakfast each year is a real delight! After a quick breakfast there is the Ormiston Soccer and the Senior School Basketball match between girls and their fathers. There is no end of fun on the court and a perpetual cup to be won. Distractions are sometimes employed like hugging fathers and congratulatory ‘high fives’!

Recently our children loved showing their parents their artwork at the Ormiston Art Show and older girls were so proud when their parents attended the sporting matches and Celebration of Sport Dinner to also acknowledge achievements.

The quality of our music program is also outstanding – influenced by the number and range of abilities of students who participate and the expertise of the staff who enable the presentation of truly outstanding pieces. Our students practice every week to master their pieces for music events.  At our recent Festival of Music concert, all the parents I spoke to indicated that they would happily pay to attend such a high calibre performance and shared with me gratitude for the incredible work of staff.

So why focus on this in my editorial? On many of the occasions I have spoken of, many parents do not attend. Many drop their daughters off at events and return 1-2 hours later to pick them up.

Whilst I know we all lead busy lives, for those who do not engage with their daughters in these events, it is time to reconsider. As adults, one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the gift of our time. Our daughters regularly demonstrate their excellence, and in doing this demonstrate their commitment, their struggles and their growth. They show us who they are, and who they are becoming, and it is important as adults that we appreciate this.

As parents we can never get time back. We can never again experience that performance, or that moment that we missed. That sheer joy and connection.

These are the special times in our lives in this busy world. Where better to find joy and meaning in our lives than with our children?

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody



I am delighted to announce that the The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, accompanied by Mr Anthony Howard AM QC, has accepted our invitation to attend our Centenary Commencement Ceremony to be held on Tuesday 11 February 2020 commencing at 10.45am.  This special occasion will be a wonderful event to launch our celebrations.

All parents and guardians are most welcome to attend. Additional information regarding this event will be sent closer to the date.




August 23, 2019

Senior School Student Wellbeing Curriculum and Programs

During this year, under the leadership of Ms Nirvana Watkins, Deputy Head of Senior School – Wellbeing Curriculum & Programs, we have enhanced a number of our student wellbeing programs, as well as continuing to integrate elements of wellbeing into our curriculum offerings.

The Development of the Whole Person is one of the pillars in our Strategic Plan. We define it as nurturing the spiritual, academic, physical, emotional and social character of each girl to prepare her to embrace opportunities with confidence, resilience and a sense of responsibility for others. We also know that wellbeing and academic achievement are linked, so it is important that if we aim to maximise the potential of each individual, that a focus on wellbeing is also an important component of a holistic education.

A summary of a number of the key programs and approaches offered at each year level is detailed below to give you an understanding of the breadth of some of our programs.

Year 7

In the transition to Year 7, a key facet of the Wellbeing curriculum is to build a “Connected Community”.  In addition to the extensive Transition Program undertaken at the beginning of the year, connectedness is achieved through explicit teaching of friendship strategies, teamwork and inclusion. Additionally, the tutor group model allows Year 7 students to build close connections with their peers and their tutor with a ratio of 12 students to each tutor teacher.

During Term 3, Year 7 students are delving into personal values and connecting these to the CGGS values of Integrity, Commitment, Respect, Hope and Courage. This inquiry culminates in a Poetry Slam competition in which students express their values through the form of spoken word poetry. It is quite amazing to see the development of the somewhat shy and possibly overwhelmed students that walk through the school gates at the start of the year, to the confident, articulate and values-driven presentations that we see at the end of Term 3!

In addition to this school-based curriculum, Year 7 students also benefit from a number of wellbeing incursions throughout the year, such as Project Rockit. Students also develop their personal skills and connections through the Education Outdoors program and their year level camp, which provides age-appropriate challenges in a safe environment, encouraging risk-taking and a growth mindset.

Year 8 Healthy Minds

The Healthy Minds Program was developed by an award-winning clinical psychologist Dr Tom Nehmy from Adelaide in South Australia. After working as a clinical psychologist in government, corporate and private practice, Dr Nehmy became concerned about the number of clients (both children and adult) who exhibited signs of unhelpful thinking and behavior that could have been prevented.

Dr Nehmy’s observations developed into his PhD research project at Flinders University that has subsequently given rise to the Healthy Minds Program. Published in the prestigious international peer-reviewed journal Behaviour Research and Therapy, Healthy Minds teaches the skills of effective emotion regulation, helpful decision making and balanced thinking. Healthy Minds was awarded the Flinders University Vice-Chancellor’s Prize and is developing an international reputation in health and education as a highly effective program.

This year CGGS partnered with Dr Nehmy who conducted this program in Year 8 during Term 2, where he trained staff and students and provided information evenings for parents accompanied by weekly parent modules.

We were delighted to be the first school in Victoria to undertake the Healthy Minds Program and we were very grateful to the Parents and Friends Association for providing the funds to undertake this program and accreditation in our pilot year.

Year 9: Pop-Up Learning, Cognizance Project, Enlighten Education

Year 9 Wellbeing has a focus on ‘Personal Growth’ as the underpinning theme for the year. The three key elements of the wellbeing program are:

Pop-Up Learning

Pop-up learning opportunities have allowed students to explore their passions, their future, and the enriching experience of service through a series of two-day special programs. They focused on blending personal communication and collaboration skills with key thematic explorations.

The Pop-Up Learning opportunities have included:

> Service Learning Dignity Conference

> AI for Good Design Thinking Challenge

> Me, You, Us City Experience and Community Exploration

Cognizance Project

The Cognizance Project is a research program in metacognition, undertaken in partnership with Jared Cooney Horvath (University of Melbourne) and Independent Schools Victoria.
More than 200 parents and students attended an introductory session A Tour Through the Teenage Brain with Jared in July. This term students are undertaking 4×90 minute seminars with Jared, focused on ‘Hacking the Brain’ (the metaphor of the brain as a computer is used):

> Get Your Mind Right (Stories and Errors)

> Master the Hardware

> Gaming the System

> Own your Learning

Cognizance aims to build students’ self-awareness of the process of learning and how they can master thinking dispositions and neuroscience to optimize their learning. Our girls were very enthusiastic after their first session with Jared, in which he challenged their perceptions and bent their brains with optical illusions.

Enlighten Education

For the past six years, CGGS has engaged Enlighten Education to deliver their full-day workshops to Year 9 students. The bespoke workshops are tailored to meet the needs of the cohort and focus on building self esteem, interpersonal skills and resilience. At the end of the workshop one of the students commented in her reflection,“I now know to not feel uncomfortable in my own skin, that we can do anything we put our minds to, to take time for myself, how to be safe and assertive and the value of friendship. I loved everything!”

Year 10: Stress, Study, Success

Wellbeing programs in Year 10 are focussed on preparing students for the challenges of Year 10 and their VCE studies. Form groups have delved into the concept of stress and dealing with the negative outcomes of an increased workload. Students have investigated various strategies in order to overcome pessimistic thoughts as well as developing coping strategies. To compliment the focus on managing stress there has been the focus on building a sustainable range of study skills. As students approached the mid-year examinations, they were presented with a number of techniques to assist in their preparation for assessment. An emphasis on individualisation was a key component as we know that students learn, retain and apply information in a range of different ways.

Term 3 has seen a focus on goal setting and the importance of having a growth mindset. Through the use of vision boards students have had the opportunity to develop, set and visualise their goals for the remainder of this year and into the future. With an emphasis on image, colour and slogans, goals have come alive in a form that relates to each individual student. In addition, pop-up learning opportunities have included a session on the importance of inclusion as well as a collaboration to develop a short-film relating to a significant social issue.

Year 11 and 12 Mental Fitness Training – Study Skills

A series of Mental Fitness Training university-style lectures have been provided to students to cultivate healthy dispositions and proactive approaches to learning. These have been the focus of Mental Fitness Training in Year 11 and 12.

The lectures have been tailored to the context and challenges encountered by VCE studentswith themes such asMaximising Study Potentialand Getting Grit and Being Successful. Topics have included:

> Success Scripts

> Sleep, Devices and Study apps

> Feedback and assertive help seeking

> Effort counts twice

> Passion and Skills

Year 11 and 12 Mentoring and Year 10 Big Sister Little Sister Program

House Mentoring occurs fortnightly with the Year 11 and 12 Captains and Leaders taking on the role as mentors. A preparation session takes place each fortnight and there is also a focus on the development of leadership skills for the student facilitators.

A new initiative led by the School Captains this year was the Big Sister Little Sister Programthat commenced in Term 2 and included 1-2 sessions each term.

In this program, Year 10 students mentored Year 7 students. As the program develops it is intended that student connections will be sustained throughout the older students’ VCE years to ensure every student in every year level has a connection to a big sister or little sister.

In addition, Camberwell Girls Grammar School and Camberwell Grammar School have conducted a number of parent education seminars held between both schools. They have included:

> February: Paul Dillon
Risk Taking:  Why do teens do the things they do?  What can parents do to keep them as safe as possible?

> March: Andrew Fuller
Creating Healthy Families

> April: Robyn Treyvaud
The Parent’s Survival Guide to Children, Technology and the Internet

> June: Maree Crabbe
Pornography, Young People and Sexuality Today

> August:  Michael Gordon
Building Resilient Teachers

This seminar series is run annually, and we will advertise the 2020 series early next year.


With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody


As part of our ongoing commitment to continuously improving the school, we believe it is critical to seek each parent and guardian’s opinion on a range of issues relating to Camberwell Girls Grammar School. Your feedback is very important to us as we continue to build a successful school and strengthen our reputation as an ‘educator of choice’.

As such, we have again engaged the professional services of MYP Corporation (MYPCorp) to undertake a strictly private and confidential School Results Survey on our behalf. The survey should take approximately 10 – 15 minutes and will need to be completed online between Monday 26 August 2019 and Friday 6 September 2019.

At the beginning of next week you will receive survey instructions and a personalised login to complete the survey. While we encourage you to participate, the survey is not compulsory. If you decide that you do not want to complete the survey, simply click ‘unsubscribe’ in the instruction or reminder email. Thank you for your assistance in helping to shape the future direction of Camberwell Girls Grammar School.




August 9, 2019

Our Global Community

During CamberWELL Week, our girls enjoyed a range of activities across both Ormiston and Senior School. One of the events that I attended was the International Concert at lunchtime on Wednesday.

I enjoyed the variety of vocal and dance performances from different cultures and was pleasantly surprised by the range of students who were familiar with many of the pieces.

The Global Citizenship pillar of our Strategic Plan acknowledges the interconnectedness of our world and the need for our girls to develop intercultural competency skills. Whilst these types of performances only provide a glimpse into other cultures, sharing them in such a connected community provides a very valuable experience to understand and share both our differences and our similarities.

Recently, I have been thinking quite a lot about the richness of diverse communities. On my mother’s side of the family, I am in the first generation born in Australia.  At home we speak English, however on a recent family holiday, we were very fortunate for the first time to spend time with my mother in her native homeland, Estonia.

Our family trip to Estonia gave me a much greater insight into, and appreciation of, my mother. I was amazed at the fluency of her first language, familiarity with customs and love of the food. We visited the church where her parents were married, stayed in the hotel that used to be the Telegraph Station where her father worked, and as we roamed the beautiful old medieval city of Tallinn heard many stories of her childhood. Whilst it was my first visit to Estonia, interestingly I too, experienced a sense of familiarity.

I was appreciative of the opportunity to travel in a country where English is not the most common language spoken. A quick Google search told me that there are 109 languages spoken in Estonia with the majority being Estonian and Russian. I certainly heard people speaking in many different languages and noted the influence of many different cultures throughout the city.  It was a fascinating snapshot of diversity in a European location.

By comparison, the 2016 Census data (Population and Housing) from the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlights that we are a nation of people from over 190 different countries and over 300 identifiable languages spoken at home. Nearly half (49%) of all Australians were born overseas or had at least one parent who was born overseas. The four most commonly reported countries of birth for those born overseas were England (14.7%), New Zealand (8.4%), China (8.3%) and India (7.4%) and 21% of Australians spoke a language other than English at home.

Keen to understand our Camberwell Girls Grammar School community, I looked at our current student and family information. It was interesting to see that 71% of our students were born in Australia, and 29% were born in 25 countries outside of Australia.  In addition, when we look at the birthplaces of our students and both parents, we have members of our families born in 59 countries outside of Australia.  In 2016 we looked at similar data that also included staff and found that our community originated from 46 countries.  It seems that we have significantly expanded our global reach in the last three years!

For us as a school, we have welcomed students born in other countries for many years. Our school history book, In Deeds Not Years, highlights the arrival of Evelyn Douglas from South Africa, Bridget Allan from England and Ong Yew Har from China in 1961. By 1962 our Principal, Miss Hall reported that one of the interesting features of the school was the inclusion of girls from England, Thailand, Hong Kong, Hungary, Malaysia, South Africa, Switzerland, Japan and Papua. We were already valuing our global connections!

One of the recognised strengths of CGGS is the feeling of community and connectedness. During events such as our International Concert we enjoy the unique talents of students, and at the same time experience and appreciate our similarities as well as our differences.

Our diversity at CGGS strongly reflects the world in which our students will live and work and through our inclusive community we provide opportunities for richer and more relevant learning.


With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody




July 26, 2019

Effortless Perfectionism 

In essence, what educators and parents seek for today’s young people is that they engage the whole gamut of school and life’s learning opportunities, to become the best they can be. With the ultimate aim, that as adults they are people of worth and valued contributors to society. With this ideal guiding educational programs and parenting practices, research advises us to be careful about how we communicate this desire and goal. We want our daughters and students to be high achievers, but without them gravitating to the excesses of perfectionism.

In 2003 at Duke University, the phrase ‘effortless perfectionism’ was coined to describe the immense pressure students felt in relentlessly having to meet unduly high marks. Sixteen years later and now known from well documented research is that while males can fall prey to this predicament, females are more susceptible. For girls and young women, effortless perfectionism encompasses the need to make achievement look effortless, to be high achievers maintaining excellent grades while remaining well-rounded, well-liked, attractive, polite and nice… and to accomplish all this without any visible effort. However, at its’ core, effortless perfectionism is not just doing something perfectly, “it is a complex psychological phenomenon involving extreme self-pressure to meet excessively high standards which is powerfully connected to the judgement of self-worth” (Dr Alix Vann, clinical psychologist).

We need to be acutely aware of the widespread increasing trend towards perfectionism, to understand what drives it as a social construct and how to divert the consequences which can follow in its’ wake.

In defining a perfect life, society subtly celebrates successful lives, with wealth, status and possessions.  Social media amplifies this yet in reality ‘perfect lives’ are a myth. Girls who are constantly connected on social media platforms are inundated with often photoshopped images of the ‘ideal woman’. These are seen on social media, television advertisements, in magazines, highly visible billboards in the street, computer games and online videos. The pressure to look good all the time is taxing and the breeding ground for a loss of self-confidence.

Females are socialised to aspire to perfection and often to be more cautious than males. Parents can unwittingly place pressure on their children by sending conditional expectations regarding high achievement or withholding praise on less than perfect performances. Within schools there lies the danger of girls comparing themselves with others, to the extent that some discern their own high achievements as imperfect efforts. This drives them to perform more perfectly next time so as not to be seen as a failure and to be valued as a person of worth in the eyes of others. The peril of perfectionism gives rise to dissatisfaction and leads to thinking that work is never done; there is always something to improve. As a consequence, it becomes burdensome and sometimes paralysing when perfectionists relentlessly strive for unreachable standards, no matter how much effort is expended.

There are numerous characteristics and behaviours which are warning signs resulting from the unhealthy excesses of perfectionism, some of which include:

> Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself
> Unwarranted self-criticism which inhibits high achievement and hampers intellectual and creative growth
> A fear of taking risks
> Procrastination to the point of the incompletion of tasks
> The avoidance of tasks
> Constantly seeking reassurance
> Excessive checking of work
> Difficulty in making decisions or an obsessive focus on failures
> Extreme competitiveness
> Stress which impacts clear thinking
> The diminishing of self-esteem and the increase of self-doubt
> The onset of emotional and mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders

To steer girls away from effortless perfectionism, so they remain balanced while aspiring for excellence, requires mindful and proactive measures on the part of parents and educators. Ultimately, it is imperative our young people develop a sense of their own self worth, not to believe that ‘almost perfect’ is an imperfection. In addition, the girls need to hear encouraging and supportive messages from adults such as:

> To develop a growth mindset and see that learning is not finite; that it can be developed through effort and trial
> To thrive on challenges and see failure not as evidence of un-intelligence but welcome opportunities for growth and for stretching existing abilities
> To adopt good study habits; to learn for the sake of learning, not just for outcomes
> To set personal goals, minimising comparisons to others and to work towards personal bests
> To see that tests are only a measure of their mastery on any one day; that they do not determine future performances, or how much teacher likes them, or how much parents value them
> To understand the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism
> That mistakes are part of learning and it is okay to make them; that they are part of the process

It is natural to want to help young people by preventing them from making mistakes. However, adults are encouraged not to step in with their assistance, rather to be a supportive presence, unless it becomes evident that the child is feeling frustrated. It is vitally important that children learn from adults that they themselves make mistakes, experience disappointments and setbacks. Crucially children should be taught that from setbacks recovery is possible. Even the most successful and talented people make errors and experience difficulties. No-one is immune. It’s how people deal with setbacks and failure that counts.

If adults reward behaviours such as effort, giving things a go and risk taking in children’s learning, not just achievements, this will help develop academic resilience and perseverance, regardless of the achievements.

It is imperative we listen without judgement to our daughters and students; to validate their feelings and communicate our understanding of their points of view. We must champion them to feel worthy, so they have the courage to be imperfect and true to themselves, and very importantly to be comfortable with this feeling.

It is also important to provide them with opportunities to reflect on how to be kind to themselves, to grow in self-respect and confidence and to nurture their sense of adventure and fun, to be brave in their thinking and actions.

In the first session of the Year 8 Healthy Minds program last term, the topic of perfectionism was explored. After an initial presentation, students completed tasks including one where they highlighted the failures of famous people such as JK Rowling and Anh Do. They also interviewed family members detailing the failures or mistakes they had made on their pathway to success.

Psychologist Thomas Curran from the University of Bath says that “perfectionism is at its root about perfecting the imperfect.” Telling children to be more resilient is not the answer, as important as resilience is to overcomes obstacles and to be more robust. It is the task of parents and educators to help children “to live and learn bravely and to celebrate the joys and beauties of imperfection as a natural part of everyday living.”

With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody




June 28, 2019

Setting the tone for this event were Summer Howarth, from the Eventful Learning Company and Jeanette Cheah, Melbourne-based co-founder and CEO of The Hacker Exchange, whose ‘In Conversation’ looked at the power of blending brains to make a difference to the world. The Hacker Exchange is a company that exists to change the face of business, by creating a generation of leaders who are global citizens, who never stop learning, and who take action to create the world they want. For Jeanette, diversity in teams is essential; the hacker, the hipster and the hustler are the perfect blend!

From here, the Year 9s delved deep into Artificial Intelligence, what it is, how it works, where it’s going with sessions titled ‘Robots…So what?’ and ‘You, Me and AI’. Students began to think about how AI might be used to innovate solutions for the environment, accessibility or humanitarian action. Our resident NAO robot had a starring role alongside Year 9 student Bethany Orme, who spotlighted her experience of the Year 8/9 Robotics Elective, sharing how facial recognition technology can be adapted in robots to help blind people with object recognition.

The final session of Day One of thisdeep dive learning experience had students attend an AI Expo in the CGGS Maker Space, designed specifically to enable students to experience a variety of AI technology from Spheros, Makey Makeys, Make It Coding, Hour of Code, and EV3s, all in readiness for their design sprint on Day Two.

The Challenge kickoff on Day Two had students considering the problems that they find unacceptable in the world today. They learnt about the design thinking process and the rules of ideation to help them consider ethical applications of AI. The AI For Good Challenge engages students in generating solutions to real world problems. When given the opportunity to share their own knowledge, diversify their thinking and take responsibility by creating new value, CGGS girls are bursting with imagination and potential.

Kate Manners (Deputy Head of Senior School – Teaching and Learning)
Nirvana Watkins (Deputy Head of Senior School – Wellbeing Curriculum and Programs).

As the term draws to a close, I would like to thank students, staff and families for their contribution and support of all our programs during Semester 1. Each edition of CamNews highlights the many opportunities afforded to our students, as we focus on their academic progress and personal development. There have certainly been many stories to share so far this year.

In recent weeks a team of staff created and ran a conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI) called ‘AI for Good’ to enable our girls to explore the exciting world of AI through multiple perspectives. At the end of my editorial I have included an article by Kate Manners (Deputy Head of Senior School – Teaching and Learning) and Nirvana Watkins (Deputy Head of Senior School – Wellbeing Curriculum and Programs).

There is no doubt that our students have access to a wide range of learning and co-curricular opportunities that develop their knowledge, understanding, skills development, attitudes and values. We also know that the ability to transfer knowledge and skills (including transferrable skills) to new or emerging contexts is also very important for our students, as is the mindset for such engagement. Our education programs are focussed on these types of learning opportunities and many examples have been shared throughout the term.

There have been numerous opportunities for students to develop their learning. From the Foundation students visiting Healesville Sanctuary and Year 1’s learning about how living things change and grow at the Melbourne Zoo. Year 5 students examining how perspective influences our ideas of Australia’s past at the State Library, through to the Year 7 excursion to the Werribee Treatment Plant. Year 9 Enlighten Education Day and their Dignity and Artificial Intelligence Conferences. Years 8 and 9 German Film Festival and Year 9 Model United Nations Convention. Year 10s examining the development of green spaces in an urban context and visiting the Holocaust Centre as part of their work on World War II. The OGA Public Speaking Competition and the student led House Music. The list is endless.

We have showcased learning to our families through the Year 3 ANZAC Assembly, Year 5 Mars Colony gallery, Year 6 sustainable energy investigations, Year 7 Girls Invent Fair,  VCE Theatre Studies performance of Antigone and Cabaret Night.

Our Service Learning commitment has been evident through visits to the Hedley Sutton Residential Aged Care Centre by Year 2 students, and through students and staff providing weekly assistance at both River Nile and Dream Stitches programs. We celebrated National Reconciliation Week and during this time participated in the Worawa Sports Competition. We hosted a grandparents and special friends presentation by Murrundindi for Years 3 and 4 families, and a group of students and staff were honoured to participate in the Mungo Youth Festival. A highlight was our annual Service Learning Soiree where we acknowledged programs and raised money for the Green Gecko Project in Cambodia and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

It has been wonderful to see the growing participation in sporting programs across both schools. Increased participation was seen in our new Years 2 and 3 Netball program and the House and GSV Cross-Country carnivals, with students progressing to district, division, regional and state carnivals in Junior School and our Junior Secondary team winning their division. The Senior GSV Football team won their division for the third consecutive year and our Saturday Netball teams have been performing very well in the Boroondara competition.

In addition, students and staff participated in the UK Literature Tour last holidays and the popular Music Camp at Mt Eliza earlier in the term. Throughout the term Years 5, 6, 7 and 8 students have all attended camp. We held the Year 11 Soiree where girls and their partners enjoyed this important social occasion and our school Chess Team won an open zone chess tournament against both girls and boys teams. We also celebrated two of our students receiving Premier’s VCE Awards for their results in 2018.

From a community perspective we enjoyed the Mother’s Day breakfast and reunions for students who completed their education at CGGS 10, 30 and 40 years ago. Two parent seminars were also held on the important topics of ‘Adolescent Use of Technology and the Internet’ and ‘Pornography, Young People and Sexuality’.

Whilst this is not an exhaustive list of all the learning opportunities in Term 2, it certainly provides an overview of the richness of the learning and experiences offered at CGGS. I am very grateful to our enthusiastic and dedicated staff who enable all of these opportunities – we are so fortunate.

In concluding the term, I would also like to wish Mrs Emily Pandya all the very best as she will be taking parental leave for the remainder of the year with her second child.  We are delighted to welcome Ms Christa Cook who will be replacing her for Semester 2.

Next term I will also be sharing information with you about the development of our next strategic plan and the opportunity for you to provide input.

Finally, I would like to wish you all a relaxing and safe holiday and I look forward to welcoming you back for a very exciting Term 3!


Warm regards

Debbie Dunwoody


Year 9 Artificial Intelligence (AI) For Good Conference

“Creativity is the power to reject the past, to change the status quo and to seek new potential. Simply put, aside from using one’s imagination – perhaps more importantly – creativity is the power to act.” – Ai Weiwei

Intentional harnessing of human creativity was at the core of the Year 9 CGGS AI For Good Conference which took place on Thursday 13 and Friday 14  June. This two-day event was expressly designed to enable our Year 9 students to explore the exciting world of Artificial Intelligence through multiple lenses, culminating in the completion of the AI For Good Challenge, a joint partnership project of Australia’s Education Changemakers and Microsoft.





Child Safety at CGGS

Each year as part of our commitment to child safety we update our community on the Child Safe Standards and how we implement them. This is in addition to our Junior School and Senior School pastoral care and wellbeing programs.

One of our School Counsellors, Paula Kolivas, has prepared an overview of our implementation of the Child Safe Standards at CGGS for your information.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody


Child Safe Standards

In 2016, the Victorian Government introduced Ministerial Order 870 – ChildSafe Standards – Managing the risk of child abuse in schools.

The Order requires schools to embed a culture of ‘no tolerance’ for child abuse and they must comply with the seven minimum CSS listed below:

> Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements

> A child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety

> A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children

> Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel

> Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse

> Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse

> Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children.

The Order also requires that the CSS are inclusive of all students with particular focus on students who are more vulnerable due to their abilities, indigenous, cultural or linguistic background.

CGGS provides biannual training to all our Senior, Junior and ELC staff to increase their awareness of the indicators of neglect and child physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Grooming and the expectations of staff conduct is also an important element addressed. This training is mandatory for all CGGS teaching staff, professional service staff and maintenance staff to ensure that they develop their knowledge and confidence to identify and appropriately respond to matters regarding suspicion or allegation of abuse. Staff failure to do so is a serious breach of their moral and legal requirements.

The School Counsellors also present every year, age appropriate training, to all students across our Junior and Senior campuses. One of the most powerful tools to reduce the risk of abuse is to educate students regarding what is abuse, how to identify inappropriate behaviour and most significantly where to seek help and support. Students are encouraged to identify the trusted adults in their private lives and at school, including the CGGS Child Safety Officers.

The responsibilities of the Child Safety Officers include consultation with the Principal staff, offering support to the child, parents/carers and person who reported. Clarifying the allegations and suspicions of abuse and when required, reporting the concerns to the relevant authorities – Child Protection Services, the Police and/or the Commission for Children and Young People. Our 2019 Child Safety Officers are:

> Debbie Dunwoody – Principal

> Cathy Poyser – Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School

> Paul Donohue – Head of Junior School

> Kate Manners – Deputy Head of Senior School

> Shane Maycock – Deputy Head of Senior School

> Nareen Robinson – Deputy Head of Senior School

> Nirvana Watkins – Deputy Head of Senior School

> Craig Goodwin – Deputy Head of Junior School

> Emma Hinchliffe – Deputy Head of Junior School

> Rev Helen Creed – School Chaplain

> Paula Kolivas – School Counsellor

> Beth Sarlos – School Counsellor

Apart from the active staff and student training, CGGS has developed clear procedures for responding to allegations or suspected abuse and we regularly update our school policies and audit our physical environment to ensure that our organisational culture reflects our commitment to zero tolerance of abuse.

Relevant policies that parents may access via our school website include the:

> Child Safety Policy

> Mandatory Reporting Policy

> Grooming Policy

> Code of Conduct Policies – staff and students

> Working With Children Check Policy

> Reportable Conduct Scheme Policy

> Whistle Blower Policy

All our students have a right to feel safe on and off campus. We want our students and parents/carers to feel confident that CGGS is an organisation committed to the physical, emotional and sexual safety of all students.

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s safety or the safety of any other child in our community, we strongly encourage you to contact the Principal, Heads of School, or the Counsellors to discuss the matter. We promise to deal with your concerns and act to protect the child in a sensitive, confidential and respectful manner


Paula Kolivas
CGGS Counsellor





Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage
National Reconciliation Week 2019

Whether you’re engaging in challenging conversations or unlearning and relearning what you know, this journey requires all of us to walk together with courage. This National Reconciliation Week, we invite Australians from all backgrounds to contribute to our national movement towards a unified future.’

Reconciliation Australia


In this multicultural country that we call home, to truly understand who we are today, we need to understand our past. We need to understand our indigenous heritage and the devastating impacts that laws and practices have had on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their families.

The journey of reconciliation challenges us as a nation to question who we are and to question the Australia we want to be. It also challenges our belief in what is fair and helps us realise that unity makes us stronger. Reconciliation is about relationships, grounded in truth, enabled by courage and results in us walking together.

National Reconciliation was first celebrated in 1996 and falls between 27 May and 3 June.  These are two significant dates in the relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians:

> The anniversary of the 1967 referendum and Mabo Day (27 May)

> The anniversary of the 1992 High Court judgment in the Mabo Case (3 June)

National Reconciliation Week aims to give people across Australia the opportunity to focus on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. To be united in our vision to succeed through strong relationships and a shared sense of what is fair and just.

The path to reconciliation is a privilege to travel on with our students. As educators we are so fortunate to witness their respect for culture and history, alongside their hope for the future and it is why we are so proud to celebrate National Reconciliation Week each year. In 2019 the Reconciliation team has been led by our Reconciliation Coordinator, Ms Georgia Biggs, Reconciliation Captains, Yesenia Chang-Gonzalez and Mathilda Cleeland-Mellor, Faith & Service Captain, Isabella Lincke and Head of Service Learning, Liss Campbell. Many other staff and students have also assisted with aspects of the program. This weeks program including:

> A special National Reconciliation Week Assembly in Senior School with a Welcome to Country by Murrundindi and performance with the Billy Tea Bush Band (they also conducted workshops at Ormiston)

> A Years 3 and 4 Grandparents and Special Friends morning with Murrundindi where they learnt about indigenous history and culture

> The annual Service Learning Dinner and silent auction (to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and Green Gecko Project)

> Displays such as the ‘Sea of Hands’ installation, fact checking quiz in the breezeway, a Reconciliation timeline constructed on the driveway and a display of photographs and artifacts in the library

> Digital posters and Ted Talks that explore the theme of ‘Grounded in Truth’

> Organising the Marngrook (or Possum Ball) match with Trinity Grammar

> Baking lemon myrtle shortbread, wattle seed damper, gingram cordial, native tea and a sausage sizzle to help raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. An AFL Indigenous Round Sherrin Football was also donated to raise money.

> Lunchtime activities such a boomerang throwing and soap making

It has been a very engaging week!

Earlier in May, twelve students and four staff travelled into New South Wales to the Willandra Lakes World Heritage region to participate in the Mungo Youth Conference. The oldest known Aboriginal remains, known as ‘Mungo Man’ and ‘Mungo Woman’, were discovered at Lake Mungo in this area by the geomorphologist and Patron of the conference, Professor Jim Bowler who was also a presenter.

Our students joined Elders, park rangers, scientists, archaeologists, principals, mentors and others on sacred land to directly engage with history and culture. They were not only participants but also presenters, delivering a workshop on the topic of bush foods, medicine and Aboriginal science. Inspired by Bruce Pascoe’s book ‘Dark Emu’, our students explored the idea that Aboriginal people were not just hunter-gathers, but also utilized agricultural practices to cultivate and store food. Murrundindi generously provided the group with artifacts including ancient tools to support this thinking.

Invited by the Elders of the region, Murrundindi also joined our group for part of the trip and assisted in the girls presentation. Other highlights of the conference included a traditional Lore Ceremony and discovering the night sky.

I am particularly grateful to Georgia Biggs, Shane Maycock, Anna Clarkson and Penny Dumsday for their preparation of the girls in the weeks preceding the conference as well as accompanying them on the journey into this incredible part of remote Australia. As Georgia highlighted “it was truly a pleasure to join our girls and witness such spirit and enthusiasm from each and every one of them. It is difficult to describe the spiritual and special nature of this environment but I believe they immediately understood the significance of it all.”

Experiences such as the Mungo Youth Conference provide such rich and memorable learning experiences for our students.

As I reflect upon National Reconciliation Week in 2019, I firmly believe that in understanding and valuing our rich and diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history, we can seek truth, learn together and walk alongside each other with courage to undertand what it truly means to be Australian.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody





Through focussing on their selected character strength of ZEST, our three School Captains – Nikki, Stephanie and Ellie, together with the School and House Captains, are highlighting and promoting ZEST in various activities throughout the year. It is their vision that this strength will encompass the school community whilst also aligning with our values. I am very pleased to include their article below to give an insight into their commitment as Captains this year.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody


At the conclusion of Term 1, we put together our reflections, what we had achieved throughout Term 1 and our goals for the rest of the year. For this year, we wanted a theme that would not only encompass our own personalities, but also encapsulate our wonderful school community. Hence, the character strength ZEST came to mind. We chose zest because we want to spread energy and enthusiasm throughout our school community. Zest is all about the wholeheartedness of living, looking to the edges of our horizons and living passionately with happiness and fulfilment.If you’ve got a zest for something, you put your whole heart and soul into it. By injecting these qualities into our everyday lives and into the school community, we have surrounded ourselves with great energy and positivity and have found satisfaction in the things we do.

By utilising the pre-existing ‘wonderwall’ as an interactive medium to promote our theme of zest, we encouraged staff and students to share their zestful encounters and gratitude for members of our school community by writing weekly shout-outs. These shout-outs are displayed on our Wonderwall and some are read out during assembly. Although a seemingly small gesture, after these acknowledgements are shared, a sense of connection and appreciation spreads throughout Barbara Sutton Hall, leaving everyone with a vitalising buzz.


Term 1 – Zeal

The first letter of zest, ‘Z’, represents the quality of zeal, which was our focus for Term 1. We perceive zeal as having great liveliness or passion in pursuit of a cause or an objective.

Our first major initiative was the Valentine’s Day Stall, where we sold roses that staff and students could buy for each other and write an accompanying ‘love letter’. The roses were a big hit as our Year 12 cupids diligently delivered these special surprises, sent from their secret valentines. The aim of this stall was to spread positive energy and love throughout the school and by the end of the day, we were left with an overwhelming sense of warmth.

Continuing on, we hosted a Year 7 school uniform fashion parade! With the cooperation of one of our most zealous teachers and Year 7 Coordinator, Ms Caruso, we put on a marvellous runway show. Our models, the Year 12 Captains, fervently dressed in exemplar school and sports uniforms to demonstrate to our newest members of the CGGS community how to wear our uniform with pride.

In Term 1, we were also fortunate enough to assist in hosting the Inaugural International Women’s Day Breakfast. We were able to hear the perspectives of four incredible CGGS old grammarians Georgina Imberger, Cate Robertson,Christine Willshireand Amie Herdman, who started a charity ‘The Piano Project’. The Piano Project offers free music lessons to refugees and new immigrants. Their stories were inspiration to us all to live with zeal and courage and to pursue what we love.

As a way to add some spice into our weekly assemblies, we piloted our first episode of The NES Show. The show’s name was inspired by the catchy acronym of our names, cleverly thought of by Mrs Poyser. As one of our main goals for this year is to strengthen our school community, we thought it would be suitable to feature members of the CGGS community on our talk show. Our special guests were Miss Tan (Maths teacher), Mr Loff (Maths teacher) and Mr Clark (Geography teacher), A.K.A TLC! We thought TLC would be perfect to feature on our show as they are all new teachers to the school this year. Throughout the show, we discovered some fun facts about them, and discussed how they perceive our theme of this term, ‘zeal’, in the school community. TLC shared their admirable observations about our girls’ positivity and enthusiasm towards participating in recent events such as House Dance and House Athletics.

Furthermore, House Dance and House Athletics were perfect examples of zeal in our school community. The energy and passion that was displayed through eager participation fulfilled our vision of a zealous school community.

Term 2 – Empathy

‘E’ stands for empathy and is our chosen theme for Term 2. We believe empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

In Term 2, we plan to introduce a variety of quadrangle activities such as live music performances from various bands, minor sporting games and creative workshops. These activities are intended to connect all members of the school community and strengthen bonds and henceforth develop a sense of understanding towards one another.

Another main initiative is ‘Big Sister, Little Sister’, a buddy program between Year 7s and 10s. Not only will this enhance school spirit, but it will also create natural and meaningful inter-year level connections. Furthermore, we believe ‘Big Sister, Little Sister’ will be a way to help the Year 7 girls with their transition into senior school and the Year 10 girls in developing their leadership skills and ability to share empathetic conversations.

Continuing to encourage togetherness, we are also planning a whole school picnic, where staff and students can enjoy lunch together and have meaningful conversations. We hope that this picnic will create an open dialogue with all girls in the school and allow us to reflect on both the individuality of each girl and the school spirit that unites us all.

Another event that we had the opportunity to assist in, was the Mother’s Day Breakfast. A heart-warming video that showed girls describing their mum in one word was played at the beginning of the breakfast, put together with the assistance of Mrs Jepson and Mr Perkins. This was followed by guest speaker and CGGS old grammarian, Jill Bales, who spoke about Dream Stitches – a community-based sewing program which aims to teach migrant and refugee women sewing skills, while enabling them to develop friendships in their new country. It was wonderful to see all the girls enjoying a morning with their mothers, whilst being able to continue our support and wonderful working relationship with the Dream Stitches organisation.

Term 3 – Sincerity

‘S’ stands for sincerity and is our chosen theme for Term 3. We see sincerity as being genuine, honest and having integrity.

Thus, we are looking forward to organising a Respectful Relationships Forum which will include neighbouring schools. In this forum, we hope to create a safe space for open discussions and work together to assist all our schools in further nurturing the relationships that we all share with others. This links to our theme of sincerity, as we believe it is vital for students to be true to themselves, which will allow them to form genuine connections with others. This is a quality we think is essential to our school community as we feel that it is the special connections that staff and students share that makes CGGS unique.

Continuing the annual tradition of Camber-wellbeing week, we look forward to holding many forums, activities and workshops relating to positive mental health. Term 3 can often be a stressful time, hence we believe it is crucial to maintain a positive headspace and remain optimistic.


Term 4 – Teamwork

Finally, ‘T’ stands for teamwork and is the theme for Term 4. We believe that teamwork is all about working collaboratively and effectively with others in order to achieve a common goal.

Working together has been vital in allowing us to achieve all that we have thus far. The core of achievement comes from a productive and effective team, who all respect each other and share a common vision. We have all been able to combine our strengths and act as each other’s support system.

We are so grateful to be able to share this experience with each other. In Term 4, as we hand our position over to the 2020 School Captains, collaboration and cooperation will be the greatest power and we trust that they will use it graciously and resourcefully.

We would also like to thank the rest of our team – the other captains and staff. To the captains, thank you for all the work you have done so far and your endless support and energy has invigorated our community and driven our achievements. To the staff, notably Mrs Dunwoody, Mrs Poyser, Mrs Robinson, Mr Maycock and Mrs Watkins, your help has been invaluable to us so far and our roles would be impossible without you. You have all been perfect examples of true leadership and have inspired us to recognise the worth and value of each member in a team.

Each person has a unique zest for life, we hope that you embrace it, cherish it and hold onto it. During our time as leaders, we hope to inspire everyone to find their own zest for life and to live with zeal, empathy, sincerity and teamwork.


With best wishes,


Nikki Chen, Ellie Zhou & Stephanie Lysikatos