Birthday Celebrations

Birthday Celebrations

Birthdays are special times here at Frensham Schools, with rituals and celebrations all part of marking these occasions. These not only celebrate life, longevity, and reaching another milestone, but possibly more importantly, celebrating the growth that we experience, as individuals and as a community, from one year to the next. When we celebrate, we reflect, give thanks and connect with others around us, and feel encircled in the good wishes, appreciation, happy memories and positivity that characterise our students, staff and broader community. It is also an opportunity for us take a growth mindset and refresh our outlook – to look back on the past year, and ask ourselves:

  • What was the best thing that happened in the past year?
  • What did you learn last year?
  • What are your hopes for what will happen this year?
  • What do you want to learn this year?

Particularly given such an unusual and challenging year around the globe in 2020, there is a tangible “buzz” around the School in anticipation of this weekend’s Birthday celebrations. We are thinking of our friends, family and other members of our community who are unable to join us, particularly those who are in lockdown situations at this very time.

We are looking forward to gathering all students and staff together, along with invited guests and representatives of our community, to mark this milestone for Frensham Schools.

We do also remind our community of the importance of following the COVID-19 Rules in NSW, and for our upcoming events, this means:

  • Adhering to social distancing and venue capacity requirements
  • Refraining from attending if you are unwell
  • Following appropriate hand hygiene and cough etiquette
  • Checking in at events using the Service NSW QR Code

Friday 4 June: The Frensham Schools Service is a celebration of the foundation of our three Schools, recognising Frensham’s 108th Birthday, Sturt’s 80th Birthday and Gib Gate’s 67th Birthday. This Service is attended by all staff of our three schools and by all students – from our youngest in Preschool to the adult students of the Sturt School for Wood.

Sunday 6 June: For Frensham’s 108th Birthday Service, attended by all students and staff of the School, Year 12 families and invited guests.

Board of Governors
We are delighted to welcome new Governors to the Board of Frensham Schools: Mrs Clementine Allan (Davidson, 2001), Mr Richard Melki and Mr David Wright.

Ranier Uniform Information – Frensham orders
Students and parents are still welcome to visit the Uniform Shop during usual opening hours, but for convenience, items pre-ordered from the Ranier Uniform Shop can now be collected from White Cottage at Morning Tea.

Birthday Play – I Have Five Daughters by Margaret MacNamara
The Birthday Play will be performed on Thursday 3 June for the School and Saturday 5 June for parents and the local community

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Thankfully, a mantra no longer followed by modern society. And yet, the bumbling, matchmaking chaos of Jane Austen’s seminal romance Pride and Prejudice remains ‘universally acknowledged’ by readers today. Over the past couple of months, students in Years 11 and 12 have been working to recreate the magic of Austen’s most famous novel in their production of Pride and Prejudice’s stage adaptation: I Have Five Daughters, by Margaret MacNamara.

A hilarious recount of the lives of the five Bennet sisters, the Bingleys, Mr Collins and, of course, the elusive Mr Darcy. The characters dart about each other with as much panic as formality can allow; proposing and rejecting, laughing and crying, loving and hating.

Tickets for the Saturday performance can be purchased at the following link: Birthday Play tickets

Congratulations to the cast and crew for preparation in staging the play, directed by Mrs Sally Hannah (Head of Drama), assisted by Ms Fiona Shannon. A special thanks to Ms Sam Taylor (OG 1991) for the costumes which have been custom-made to bring the characters on stage to life.

Georgia Hill and Eleanor Swan, Heads of Drama

Frensham Faculty Focus


What is it about moving our bodies to a song we love that is so joyful? We dance for physical fitnessWe dance for mental clarity. We dance for emotional stability. We dance because it feels good! Why do we dance? Perhaps the better question is, why would we not?

Year 7 dance and Year 8 fitness assessment

Year 10 PDHPE have had the opportunity to work with a professional dance instructor as part of the practical component of the course. They have been engaged in learning both a Hip Hop and Contemporary dance routine. Students thoroughly enjoyed the experience, learning new skills in a fun, collaborative and challenging environment. 

Do-si-do and swing your partner! Year 7 have learnt several Bush Dance routines to assist them with their assessment task. Working in small groups, students have composed, choreographed, and performed a routine that features the elements of Dance. Students have had opportunities to perform and refine movement skills in a variety of sequences, apply strategies to solve movement challenges, demonstrate a range of interpersonal skills that build and enhance relationships and promote inclusion in various situations, and combined movement skills to effectively create and perform movement sequences.

Students in Year 8 have planned their own fitness circuit to develop their understanding of the importance of meeting the recommended Australian Physical Activity guidelines. The current unit of work encourages girls to develop a willingness and capacity to engage in lifelong physical activity through the medium of exercise. They demonstrate a knowledge of the components of fitness and an understanding of the physiological responses to exercise. 

Additionally, students from Years 10 to 12 have been attending early morning training sessions at 6.00am every Wednesday. They follow a guided programme instructed by Mr Green designed to improve mobility, strength and cardiovascular health. 

Ms Janene van Gogh, Head of PDHPE, Director of Studies In-Residence



According to NESA, ‘A depth study is any type of investigation/activity that a student completes individually or collaboratively that allows the further development of one or more concepts found within or inspired by the syllabus.’ It may be one investigation/activity or a series of investigations/activities. Depth studies provide opportunities for students to pursue their interests in science, acquire a depth of understanding, and take responsibility for their own learning. Year 11 Physics students have been undertaking a depth study in their choice of Physics concepts. Yusra Chalak investigated the urban myth that if you drop a coin out of a tall building it could kill someone below. By investigating terminal velocity and forces acting on the coin such as friction and gravity she reached the conclusion that No, a coin dropped from a height would not fatally injure a person. However, she did discover that a pen of the same weight as a coin, dropped from a tall building could indeed have fatal consequences. Emily Senior investigated how our brains react to music. She found out that there are four types of brain waves ranging from relaxed to more alert. Alert is when you are at your optimal learning capacity. The music of Mozart enhances alertness. Conclusion: we all should be studying Mozart!

Harriet Mackie

The Science Extension course focuses on the authentic application of scientific research skills to produce a Scientific Research Report. Students propose and develop a research question, formulate a hypothesis and develop evidence-based responses to create their Scientific Research Report which is supported by a Scientific Research Portfolio. This year, two students are undertaking the Science Extension course at Frensham. Harriet Mackie (pictured right) is carrying out an exploratory investigation to answer the research question - How do glyphosate levels in Australian non-organic commercial cereal brands compare to glyphosate levels in Australian organic commercial cereal brands? This has involved a very detailed process to grind and extract chemicals from each cereal sample, and use a test strip to test for the presence of glyphosate. 

Sophia Pernice’s research question is How would the height, leaf surface area and bulb weight of Raphanus Sativus plants differ if they were exposed to natural daylight, 24 hours LED artificial light, or daylight plus night-time exposure to LED artificial light? This has involved growing radishes in identical trays, allowing some to experience 24 hours LED lighting and moving others in and out each day. The results were then analysed using a two-way ANOVA statistical test. 

Left: Sophia Pernice

Scientists build models to allow them to visualise objects that are too small to be seen with the naked eye or to make predictions. Epidemiological models making predictions about COVID-19 outbreaks have been in the news constantly in the last year. Frensham Biology students have been building models of mitosis, meiosis, DNA replication and protein synthesis.

1) Olivia Turner and Mollie Laird modelling Mitosis; 2) Harriet Mackie, Gabriella Maples, Eliza Friend modelling mitosis; 3) Annie Burke and Alexandra Barton modelling mitosis; 4) Ella Clark and Edie Lochhead modelling DNA using lollies; 5) Imogen Smith and Juliet Henry with their completed neuron model; 6) Eva Telford and Georgia Squire-Wilson building their neuron model.

Year 11 Chemistry have been developing their practical skills by completing a range of different experiments including dilutions, precipitation reactions and reactivity of metals. Pictured right: Jemima Melki diluting potassium permanganate

As their Science assessment this term, students in Years 7-10 have been participating in REACH testing. REACH testing provides insight into higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills. The assessments are suitable for students across a wide range of ability levels. Students are provided with high-quality questions allowing them to apply their learning without the need for prior study. The school receives information on student performance, which enables teachers to pinpoint areas of strength and target specific student needs. This information is provided on an annual basis, allowing us to consistently track and monitor student progress year-on-year. As results become available, they will be shared with parents via Schoolbox.

On Monday 31 May, a team of 24 Year 10 students represented Frensham at the Southern Highlands Science and Engineering Challenge at the Mittagong RSL club. In teams of three, students completed a range of different half-day or full-day challenges. Training was held during Science lessons to develop STEM skills and improve communication in their teams.  Challenges included 

  • Grasping at Straws – designing fingers for a bionic hand that will give independence back to patients who have lost a hand through injury or illness
  • Hover Frenzy – designing, building and flying a model hovercraft that is fast, maneuverable and has a good hover height.
  • Turbine – designing and building a model water turbine that will generate the greatest amount of power as water flows over it
  • Helter Skelter Shelter – designing and building an earthquake-proof apartment block using masking tape, paper and straws

Representing Frensham were – Purple team: Scarlett Alldis, Savannah Linde, Hilary Swan; Blue team: Bella Cay, Charlotte Hopperton, Hannah Perkins; Green team: Abby Jorgensen, Rosie Laird, Sarah Partland; Yellow team: Sissy Fairrie, Clara McDonald, Summer Oxley; Orange team: Heidi Jervis, Augusta Muir, Megan Syme; Red team: Monique Andersson, Matilda Damiani, Janna Martin-Cooley; Pink team: Evelyn Doan, Pia D’Rozario, Cintra Maldonado; Silver team: Lucy Arnott, Sarah-Joy Day, Rosie Mahony.

The team is congratulated on being placed first in the local competition. Team members have won a one-hour workshop with Atlassian and based on points may be representing Frensham at the State Finals in Newcastle.

Mrs Alison Andrew, Head of Science

Visual Arts & Design and Technology

As we move towards the close of Term 2, the art studios are a hive of activity, with students in all years working on artworks of varied shapes and sizes, in a range of media, and in various stages of completion.

Presently, students of Year 12 Visual Arts are in a critical phase of the production of their Bodies of Work. Due to be completed by the beginning of Week 6, Term 3, the students have just submitted their work in progress for assessment. This is the final time that the students’ development of their Bodies of Work will be assessed, and doing so at a date well in advance of Term 3 is deliberate. With three weeks of this term left, we can provide students with written and verbal feedback, advising how they may best progress to the full resolution of their Bodies of Work. Students will need to use time in the vacation to drive their work forward, so that refinement and presentation of pieces can occur in early Term 3.

We are impressed by the scope and quality of works in production by Year 12. Broadly speaking, there is a focus on conventional skills, with many works being finely crafted and requiring patience and perseverance. Painting dominates as the preferred choice of media this year; also popular are works based in printmaking and drawing. The girls are beginning to think about our exhibition in Term 3. With 33 Bodies of Work (some very large), questions like how will we all fit into Cooper Hall? are being asked by the girls. Rest assured, they will fit; we have managed to fit up to 41 Bodies of Work in there previously. Both students and teachers are looking forward to presenting a vibrant, diverse and dynamic exhibition to our community.

Students of Year 11 Visual Arts are currently undertaking a unit titled These are Desperate Times. This is a unit focusing on art as a vehicle to express social and political themes and the girls are required to resolve artworks by the end of Week 8. The artmaking component of this unit is based in printmaking; students have chosen to produce pieces in etching, lino-printing, monoprinting and collagraphy. The students have been advised to explore and test the boundaries of conventional printmaking practices and as a result, many are combining media, introducing elements like laser-cut perspex, adding three-dimensional elements or presenting pieces in more contemporary, postmodern ways.

In Stage 5, Years 9 and 10 girls populate four integrated Visual Arts classes. A total of 78 students are currently studying this subject (and undertaking the same units) in Stage 5, meaning that we have an enormous number of artworks produced in one medium at any one time. Due this week are charcoal animal portraits produced by the students. The girls were required to select a photographic image of an animal to be used as visual reference for the portrait. Many chose images of their pets, but we have a wide range of more exotic animals being drawn as well. The girls used the grid-enlargement process to scale up and transfer proportions to a 60 x 48cm piece of drawing paper. The task has required students to aim for a sense of realism, and students have learnt about observing very carefully, and applying charcoal in varied ways to render parts of their image. Employing willow, block and charcoal pencil, they have learnt to apply these materials both softly and more precisely, and additionally, that an eraser is an important ‘maker’ of drawing marks. To execute these drawings, the students have needed patience, concentration and perseverance.

Year 8 students finished their study of Mandatory Stage 4 Visual Arts in Term 1. To provide an opportunity for artmaking for interested students, we offered the first of Art Enrichment workshops, running on Wednesday afternoons during Weeks 1-5. 31 students elected to participate in this first workshop, enthusiastically producing prints using a range of procedures and techniques under the guidance of Mrs Spencer and Mr Alldis. Many students are still finishing a lino-print which we will find time to print towards the end of the term.

Various works by Years 8, 9, 10 and 11 Visual Arts students

In a most enthusiastic manner, students in Year 7 began Visual Arts this term. We started with a foundational unit, exploring a range of visual elements and their applications to artmaking. For the first part of this unit, the students undertake a number of one or two lesson tasks related to elements like colour, tone and shape. These activities also allow students to use and test a variety of materials. In the last weeks of Term 2, the girls will begin a painting in which they will apply some of their understanding of these elements, such as the consideration of harmonious and complementary colour, organic and geometric shape, and use of space to form an effective composition.

Design & Technology

The STEM students are preparing their entries for the F1 in Schools Competition in August. This includes marketing of their team and manufacturing of their car designs.

The Stage 5 DAT students have been exploring different aspects of architectural design, with a focus on more organic shapes. Design ideas have been realised using sketching, 3D printing and the laser cutter.

The Year 11 DAT class is putting the finishing touches on the Aeropress Coffee Maker designs using Onshape CAD software and the 3D printers. In addition to this, students have been identifying areas of need in design specifically investigating situations where there is a gender bias against women users.

Year 12 DAT students are working to develop their Major Design Projects. 

Mr Phil Alldis, Head of Visual Arts and Design & Technology

Acknowledgement to:
  • KIDSLIT teams from Years 6, 7 and 8 on their highly successful results at the recent State Heat of the Australian Competition.
  • Frensham’s Year 10 Science and Engineering Challenge team placed first in the recent Southern Highlands regional competition.
  • Girdle recipient Sophia Pernice, Academic Excellence (Mathematics).
  •  Frensham students trialing for Open IGSA Teams: Netball, Jemima Graham-Wansey, Olivia Laverty (Year 11) and Sophie Rodwell (Year 12), with Sophie selected in the top 16 players. Touch, Heidi Rowntree (Year 9), Annabelle Ranken, Sophie Rodwell (Year 12).
  • Madeleine Mulligan (Year 12) who has been accepted into the Young Diplomats Tour of Australia. The UN Youth Tour welcomes 25 young leaders from across Australia on a three-weekend online international activity to explore the complex realities of diplomacy in the 21st century. 
  • Summer Oxley (Year 10) for her selection through application and interview into the Girl Power in Engineering and IT programme at Melbourne University. The course commences during the vacation and through a mentoring programme continues into Years 11 and 12.
  • Frensham’s Year 11 Mock Trial team for its success in recent competition; barristers for Frensham were Yusra Chalak and Lulu Duck, solicitor Isobel Harrington, witnesses Eliza Hewson and Lily Huggins, Magistrates Clerk Jemima Melki, in support Isolde Cochet, Ella van Egmond and Polly Whitwell.
  • The cast and crew of the Birthday play, Mrs Sally Hannah (Director) and Ms Fiona Shannon (assistant) for their preparation of staging the play.
  • Gib Gate students in the Young Archie competition at the Art Gallery of NSW: Finalists, Mia Vasales (age 5), Oliver Whitfield (age 10). Honourable Mention, Darcey Burrows (age 10), James Macpherson (age 8), Heston Ryan (age 7), Matilda Spong (age 10).

Ms Sarah McGarry
Head of Frensham

Head of Frensham Schools