A Very Happy Spring

Embracing the sense of optimism and enthusiasm – a spring clean!

We wish all members of the Frensham Schools community a very happy Spring, and hope and trust that wherever you are at this time, there are signs of new growth, Spring warmth and blossom scent in the air. Spring is typically known as the season when new growth begins and changes happen all around us. Snowdrops, daffodils, and of course irises are starting to bloom. The magnolias at Sturt, the daffodils at Gib Gate and the blossoms are out on Range Road, lifting our emotions and signalling a new season ahead. It’s a reminder that the cycle of life is starting over again, trees are in bud, and blossom is starting to appear, so it’s not surprising that Spring is also seen as the start of better times. It’s an opportunity to be less lethargic and inclined to hibernate at home, becoming more open to changes, big and small, in our lives. Approaching September with a sense of possibility, renewal, and regrowth is an optimistic outlook to take, even if a positive outlook is something we must deliberately cultivate in these challenging circumstances.

Springtime has always been thought of as a time for change, as we can embrace that sense of optimism and enthusiasm by having a good clear out – a spring clean. Spring cleaning is valuable to us as a way of clearing out any clutter from our homes and lives and bringing in the new, symbolising new beginnings. These new beginnings can be tiny – little daily steps that help us build a new habit or reframe our mindset. It’s a great time for students to start being more active – even whilst spending more time in front of a computer than whilst on campus, to use their break times well and to get moving whenever possible. I’ve seen lots of photos shared and girls on Zoom who are obviously helping in their local community and at home, demonstrating their community spirit, their generosity, and their service mindset.

This is also an opportunity for us all to pause when we see the sunrise, or perhaps the sunset, to really name and notice the changes around us and within us as the light and smells change. To set our intention for the day or days ahead, to welcome the opportunity for the new beginning inherent in each day, to make a positive contribution in the small, individual ways each of us is able to during this time. These changes can be seen in the way that we work, how we organise ourselves, how we connect with other people and how we go about our day.

We appreciate all submissions to the various school surveys that have been undertaken over this past term to help inform our future planning. These surveys have included communications, catering, Stage 4 and 5 curriculum and online learning. In the coming days all parents will receive a further link to assist with some work we are currently undertaking with a consultancy firm around our school marketing and communications. This brief survey (10 minutes) will invite your views on the perceptions and value of a Frensham Schools education. All responses will remain anonymous and confidential. Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to provide your feedback.

Spring at Sturt, Frensham and Gib Gate

Boarding

“When it comes to health and well-being, regular exercise is about as close to a magic potion as you can get.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Before Breakfast, early morning signouts for swimming, running, team training, gym use, and a variety of other fitness activities are a regular feature and an important part of Boarding life. 

After a busy day of classes, the Boarders often race back to the Houses to quickly change in readiness for afternoon activities, either as part of team sports or for personal fitness. Saturday mornings are always a hive of activity, as all Boarders make their way to the Games Field and courts for the range of Saturday sport activities. The weekend programme often features swimming, bushwalking, physical fitness and outdoor games, so that exercise is also incorporated into the programme in a fun way. 

Although most Boarders are not on campus at the moment, we are enjoying hearing about how they are continuing to stay active - whether that be through the IGSA online Saturday competition, the Strava challenges set up by the PDHPE Faculty or the small group and individual initiatives such as bike riding, bush walking and horse riding. The activities built into our Boarding programme are an acknowledgment of the important role that exercise plays in our wellbeing, and we are delighted to know that girls are continuing to carry on the exercise habits, developed at school, into their learning from home routines. 

Ms Amanda Graham, Director of Boarding and Ms Sally Arnold & Ms Sally Fennell, Deputy Heads of Boarding

FACULTY FOCUS

Science

According to UNESCO “To face sustainable development challenges, governments and citizens alike must understand the language of science and must become scientifically literate.” This has never been more important than in the world today when we are bombarded with messages about Covid-19 and climate change. Through questioning and seeking solutions to problems, students develop an understanding of the relationship between science and technology and its importance in the current and future practice of science. By sifting through information from primary and secondary sources and evaluating its validity and reliability, students learn how to make informed decisions about issues affecting all of us, both locally and globally.   

Student Research Projects (SRPs) are an important part of Stages 4 and 5 Science. These involve investigating an area of interest, writing a hypothesis, designing and carrying out an experiment and writing a detailed report. Year 10 students have carried out their SRP as this term’s assessment task. It was more challenging than usual as most students were at home and so had to use whatever equipment was available. Despite this difficulty some excellent projects were carried out including 

  • Has the use of PFAS during bushfire fighting had an impact on the water and soil quality in Shoalhaven? - Heidi Jervis
  • Behavioural impacts of environmental enrichment on individual caged rabbits – Charlotte Hopperton
  • Does altering surfboard volume have a measurable effect on paddle speed? – Clara McDonald
  • Which natural antimicrobials inhibit bacterial growth? – Sarah-Joy Day
  • How do different exercises affect heart rate? – Darcy Maple-Brown

Communicating scientific ideas and discoveries to the world is a complicated task, scientists and science enthusiasts like Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Bill Nye and David Attenborough make every effort to share their passion for science to audiences worldwide. For the Year 9 assessment task for this term, students were required to make a short video (between 1 and 3 minutes) to communicate a scientific concept, finding or problem to the general public. They were assessed not only on their video but also on how they worked together as a team. Some of the topics included   

  • Why is Covid-19 so contagious? 
  • Wormholes in the Space/Time Continuum 
  • How much water do you need to drink in a day? 
  • What is one thing that you can do today to save the Great Barrier Reef? 
  • What makes nuclear bombs so dangerous? 

Another way scientists communicate is through the use of models. Models can help us to understand concepts that are too small or too large to see. The process of building a model also helps students to remember concepts more easily. Year 9 students recently made models of isotopes using whatever materials they could find at home, from Scarlett Francis (left) and Susannah Gooden (right).

Mrs Alison Andrew, Head of Science

Agriculture

While learning@home has been challenging for many, any challenges that may have faced the Agriculture Faculty have been tempered by willing workers. There have been plenty of reports in the media recently, about a lack of farm workers who are critically needed during harvest times and to complete general farm work. COVID-19 related National and State border restrictions and restricted movement between LGAs has caused many problems in the Australian agriculture industry. Many producers have had to plough crops back into the soil or leave produce to rot on the trees due to a lack of staff to help with the harvest. This obviously has flow on effects due to the subsequent lack of income from sales of their produce. This situation is being replicated at Holt Farm and the Ag plot with all Agriculture students having returned home for the current lockdown. In a ‘normal’ year, the Year 10 Agriculture class are usually responsible for the care and welfare of the school sheep flock which includes feeding and lamb marking. Lamb marking includes vaccination, ear tagging, tail docking and castration and the students are involved with undertaking of or assistance in these animal husbandry practices. However, as the whole Year 10 Agriculture class is learning@home, I was in need of assistance recently to complete these tasks. Ms McGarry generously offered her time to not only assist in the feeding and checking of livestock on a weekend but also to catch and hold lambs and to vaccinate the lambs during lamb marking. Although a first-time experience for Ms McGarry, she quickly picked up the skills required and enthusiastically threw herself into the tasks. I would like to offer my thanks on behalf of myself and the Year 10 Ag class for her willing and generous efforts in helping out with the sheep flock.

Another group of keen workers who stepped up to fill a gap were Ruby Young and Chloe White (Year 8) and Emily Webb (Year 12) who, during Science Week, buried some underpants as part of the University of New England’s ‘Soil Your Undies’ challenge. In eight weeks’ time, the underpants will be dug up on National Cotton Day (hopefully by some returning Ag students) to investigate the decomposition rates of the school’s soils.

A small but eager group of Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 students, who are currently learning on campus, are collecting eggs daily and caring for the welfare of the laying hens and pullets at the AG plot. Again, these students do not study Agriculture but have generously offered their service each day to assist me and to ensure the animals are being well looked after.

L-R: Willing 'on campus' workers collecting eggs, Ruby Young and Chloe White (Year 8) preparing to 'soil their undies', Ruby Young (Year 8), Emily Webb (Year 12) and Chloe White (Year 8) burying underpants

My thanks and appreciation go to all who are ensuring the farm and AG plot are still productive at this time.

Ms Leonie Mutch, Coordinator of Agriculture

Careers

As Year 12 students move into their final weeks of School, they have been reminded of the following tertiary deadlines and notices (detailed information is also available in the Year 12 section of Schoolbox, Schoolbox Careers):

  • Complete Early Entry applications as any remaining schemes are due in the next few weeks.  (See Schoolbox Careers or visit each institution's website for more information).
  • Schools Recommendation Scheme - Closes Sunday 19 September.
  • USYD E12 (early entry) application - see the webinar notes on how to best answer the three questions. Closes Sunday 19 September.
  • If students are applying for the Education Access Scheme (via UAC) – they are reminded to start preparing supporting documents e.g. medical certificates/reports etc. This may take practitioners longer than usual given the current circumstances.
  • Pay for their UAC application by Tuesday 28 September. After this date the fee increases.
  • If students are applying interstate, please visit each state’s university admission centre to make their application and be aware of closing dates.
  • Apply for a college if they intend to attend in 2022.
  • Research and apply for scholarships (See Schoolbox Careers or visit each institution’s website).

Open Days are happening in every institution over the next few weeks. (See Schoolbox Careers or visit each institution’s website).

Jamieson Programme

Year 9 students are to be congratulated on their effort in submitting their Cambridge IGCSE Individual Research projects under the current conditions. The topics chosen explored some of the most challenging global issues, and it is notable the way in which students embraced learning about the different perspectives, whilst firmly articulating their own personal responses. The girls will now be embarking on preparation for the examination in Term 4, which will entail lessons to develop their critical-thinking skills - identifying bias, facts and opinion through a range of sources on important global issues and learning to reason with evidence. Students will also practice using past examination papers along with utilising a response scaffold that prepares them for the different types of questions asked.

Year 9 students enjoyed a presentation in Week 7 from Tom Carter who was the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Women’s Rugby Sevens Team who played in the recent Tokyo Olympics. Girls were intrigued to hear about Mr Carter’s Olympic journey and experiences and the way in which he inspired the team to perform at the highest level. He also gave some candid advice on subject selection and university choices and how students should not be put off doing something just because they find an area challenging. 

Girls continue their community service efforts through knitting scarves and hand-warmers for local nursing home residents. Mrs Alison Andrew and Ms Jackie Dalton, Fellowship Liaison, have also arranged for Year 9 students to hand-write personal letters to the elderly Frensham alumni to cheer them up now that lockdown has been extended. 

Mrs Kate Gallagher is planning an exciting Term 4 for Year 9 with a focus on ethical consumerism and financial literacy workshops, and we look forward to catching up on some of the activities postponed because of Covid-19.

Mrs Merrilee Harris, Director of Jamieson Programme & Activities and Careers

IGSA Lockdown Tournament 

Over the past 5 weeks, Frensham students have been participating in an online fitness competition. IGSA schools were invited to participate in this event in an effort to break down the physical and social barriers created by the current lockdown environment and provide some healthy competition amongst schools. Sessions consisted of physical workouts as well as inspirational talks from current and past elite athletes. Students received individual points every week based on their participation, interaction and demonstration of school spirit.

The final results are in and it is exciting to note that we finished in first place! Congratulations to all girls who took up this challenge!

Ms Erin Gray, Head of Sport

Acknowledgement to: 

  • Recent Iris award recipients Isabelle Promnitz (All Round Excellence) and Grace Amos (Service to Singing).
  • Frensham Madrigals for their success at the Sydney Eisteddod by winning both their sections: Youth Choir for Females (U19) and Youth Vocal Ensemble (U19). The Madrigals then competed in the John Lamble Foundation Australasian Championships for Youth Choirs (U19), for which, with great excitement, they were placed first. The two winning performances included 'Tulit Ergo' by Michael Spencer and 'Since You've Been Gone' by Aretha Franklin.
  • Shortlisted in the Whitlam Institute What Matters? Writing Competition 2021, from over 5,500 entries: Scarlett Alldis (The Endless Platter) and Phoebe Rouse (Fire) (Year 10). 
  • Duke of Edinburgh's International Award participants: Gold: Madeleine Mulligan, Annabelle Ranken, Georgia Shakeshaft (Year 12); Silver: Zoe Gallagher, Mia Greig, Sarah Hunter (Year 11), Emilie McMurtrie (Year 10); Bronze: Poppy Jensen (Year 11); Olivia Faulkner, Meg Jones, Zoe Logan, Alice Mitchell, Jemima Mutton, Sarah Partland, Hannah Perkins, Jessica Savage, Inka Wilson (Year 10).
  • Australian History Competition - High Distinction: Sophie Hassall, Millie Moar, Eliza Mulligan (Year 10); Elizabeth Laverty, Bliss Ow-Yang, Sophia Windsor (Year 8). Distinction: Matilda Damiani, Sarah-Joy Day, Bearte McDonald, Clara McDonald, Summer Oxley, Hannah Perkins, Amalia Scales (Year 10); Anna Fagan, Georgia Rapp, Ella Scott, Ruby Young (Year 8).
  • Maya Basson (Year 11) competing at official Equestrian Australia/Eventing NSW events this year was placed third overall in the 1* class in the NSW Equestrian Interschools Eventing leaderboard and qualified for selection to National Interschools event 2021.
  • Frensham achieved first place the IGSA Sport Lockdown Tournament.
  • Gib Gate Tournament of Minds team members of Amelia Blackshaw, Ana McInnes, Isla McVinish, Sofia Nesci (Year 6), Matilda Spong, Edward Vilo and Annabelle Whyte-Cleaver (Year 5), who successfully completed and submitted their online team solution after creatively reworking their performance into digital format.
  • Gib Gate students who are continuing to work on the whole school musical, The Aristocats, while Online Learning – singing, acting and dancing on Zoom.

Ms Sarah McGarry
Head of Frensham

Head of Frensham Schools