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Principal learning and rejuvenation

I was very excited to return to school on Monday after seven weeks of leave, incorporating a time for learning, a time for leading in a wider educational community, and a time for holiday and relaxation.

In Singapore, I visited schools and met with Principals. We have three partner schools through the Strategic Alliance of Global Educators (SAGE), all very eager to continue to build opportunities for student and staff learning and development. In recent years we have continued virtual learning opportunities for our students with Nanyang Girls High School in leadership, and with the Singapore School of Science and Technology in the area of innovation related to UN Sustainable Development Goals. We will continue to build on these opportunities as well as in person programs in the coming years.

For your interest, the Singapore Education Ministry manages a highly regarded education system. In 2023 it mandated that secondary students learn from home either asynchronously or synchronously one day per fortnight (blended learning day) to ensure continued mastery of skills when learning in different modes – preparation for any unexpected events in the future. There is also a greater emphasis on wellbeing programs to respond to increased concern over the mental health and wellbeing of young people. I was interested to learn that some schools are also developing programs where students have a ‘sabbatical’ from their normal timetable to undertake interdisciplinary units of work and develop transferable skills. 

Attending the International Coalition of Girls Schools (ICGS) Conference in the United States provided me with opportunities to learn and network. The keynote speakers were very engaging and covered topics such as ‘Mindsets that Lead Us into the Future’, ‘Supporting Girls’ Mental Health and Wellbeing’ and ‘Rethinking our Relationship with Technology, Recharging our Creativity and Re-engaging with Ourselves and the World’. 

Recently the ICGS commissioned a study using the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) data and found that girls in girls’ schools, out-performed girls in co-educational schools in 72% of the measures, including reading and numeracy was better, even when adjusted for socioeconomic backgrounds. The countries included in the assessment represented about 90% of the world economies. Factors that rated highly included

  • Reading competencies
  • Aspirations
  • Risk taking and persistence
  • Engaging and effective teachers
  • Positive classroom environments
  • Wellbeing

I was also fortunate to be accepted into the ‘Leadership at the Peak’ program at the Centre for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs. This intensive leadership program was focussed on leadership styles and effectiveness. As one of 15 participants in the program, I was the only Australian, one of three female leaders and the only participant from the education sector. Most participants were CEOs or high level leaders in organisations or the military.  Using extensive feedback tools and one-on-one executive coaching, this program was one of the most valuable learning experiences in my career and will certainly shape my continued professional practice and personal care.

I was also able to share a wonderful holiday experience travelling in vans around Iceland with my family as well as some time relaxing in Colorado Springs prior to my course.

Upon returning to Australia, as President of Anglican Schools Australia (ASA) I was involved in the annual ASA conference in Canberra. Our theme of Re-emergence enabled the delegation to explore the opportunity, innovation and connection that can re-emerge during uncertainty and how it challenges us as we lead our teams, support others, and consider what we focus on moving forward as well as what we leave behind. The keynote speakers were outstanding and The Primate as well as the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Archbishop of Perth joined us for the conference.

I would like to extend my thanks to Deputy Principal Davina McClure who was Acting Principal during my leave, and the leadership team who supported her. They did not miss a beat! I would also like to thank the CGGS School Council for supporting me in taking this sabbatical and personal leave to learn, lead and rejuvenate. I am very appreciative of their support and encouragement in my professional growth.

I look forward to sharing more of my learnings with you in the coming months.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody

Road Safety

We are pleased to advise that VicRoads have recently installed 40 km/h signs outside the School on Burke Road. The new signs come in response to a joint request by the School and Boroondara Council to VicRoads to improve road safety in the area. The designation of the 40km/h zone alerts drivers that they are entering a school zone and are to slow down. The new signs are also a important addition for students who use the tram stop.


Today, Mrs. Dunwoody interviews Helena, Laura, and Charlotte, the masterminds behind the Secondary School Production artwork.

Secondary School

This week, we are reflecting on National Reconciliation Week, a time when stories, culture, and knowledge are shared.

Junior School

The Junior School Winter Warmth Appeal for 2024 has officially begun!

Connected Community

The PFA Trivia Night was a fantastic success, with parents and staff enjoying a colourful night.

Create Your Tomorrow