Flexibility, adaptability, creativity, persistence, resilience, grit and good humour
Gratitude must go to all members of our school community who have demonstrated such remarkable flexibility, adaptability, creativity, persistence, resilience, grit and good humour in the face of such challenging circumstances so far this term. We know that everyone is living, working and learning in ‘unusual’ contexts at the moment and that some level of disruption is, for the time being, a new normal. We also know the importance of remaining connected despite disruption and distance, with family and friends, neighbours and colleagues – and a number of our students and staff have initiated activities to help our community engage online. Whether it’s the Frensham Move Club on Strava, the Wrap with Love knitters, Year Seven girls handwriting letters to pen pals, girls writing letters to nursing home residents or thank-you notes to frontline workers, taking sunset selfies to share, sharing their book recommendations, making short films or sharing their inspirational quotes, we encourage all members of the Frensham community to continue getting involved in these kinds of activities from wherever you are. These small acts of kindness, generous actions and moments of levity help to boost oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine levels in our brains – reducing stress and blood pressure, increasing feelings of wellbeing and connection, lifting and stabilising our mood and improving wellbeing. When acts of kindness and service towards others are repeated, the oxytocin ‘boost’ that comes from a single act is prolonged, contributing to a happier self and a stronger community.
Whilst some of our usual school celebrations and rituals can’t occur in person as they usually would, we hope that Frensham families are able to join in with some of the online versions of these events in the coming weeks. The Year 9 Service scheduled for next weekend will be proceeding in virtual format, with girls and staff filming their contributions remotely. We look forward to sharing this with you at the end of next week. Please check Schoolbox for further event details.
We are also inviting all Parents and Carers to join us for Friday Prayers, commencing this Friday 20th August. It will not be the same as being in Clubbe Hall together but it is a time where we gather together to reflect on the week and to celebrate accomplishment and contribution – and an important part of the Frensham daily experience.
Ranier Uniform Shop – Limited Trading Hours
The Ranier Uniform Shop will open every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month for processing of online orders only. These limited hours will remain in place until COVID-19 restrictions ease. As parents will not be able to access the uniform shop during this time, we encourage the placement of online orders.
Online Orders: Please place orders by 9.00am of each 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. https://shop.ranier.com.au/login
Any online orders placed during this period will be taken to Company Office for distribution or posted, depending on the selection chosen at check out.
For urgent matters, please contact Ranier head office:
E: firstname.lastname@example.org | P: 02 8337 7201
Last Saturday was a whirlwind of activity as we were all thrown into disarray with the government lockdown announcement. This was disappointing news for all boarding staff who have have been committed to providing all girls able to be here at school with a wonderful boarding experience despite the circumstances. We focused on providing much fun and laughter whilst waiting to learn from the Government what it meant for us. Saturday night was pizza and ice cream in the Dining Room which proved to be (unsurprisingly) hugely popular. On Sunday, girls made garlands for their rooms, walked to visit and provide treats to Phillip, Frensham’s resident Donkey, and made crepes in the Bryant McCarthy kitchen. Girls also packed for their return home and the beginning of online learning.
Boarding staff take pride in providing care and a great sense of community to all our students - it is certainly a challenging time. We are now focused on supporting those girls who need to stay at school and girls are happily ensconced in Bryant McCarthy House in the hope that life will return to normal soon.
Frensham is a special place and in reflections girls always comment on the cold, winter mornings playing sport on the Games Field, the sound of music emanating from the Glenn Music Centre, Monday night’s Chicken Schnitzel and the fun and frivolity of Friday Night activities. We cannot wait until we have all our girls returned and Frensham is brimming with girls’ laughter, chat and endeavour. In the meantime, we continue to keep the spirit of Frensham alive, albeit via ZOOM.
Ms Sally Arnold and Ms Sally Fennell, Deputy Heads of Boarding
Character Education/ Pastoral Care
Pastoral Care and Wellbeing
Whilst we are all working from home, unable to connect with extended family and friends in the usual ways, it is important to look after our mental health and wellbeing. We may have feelings of loneliness, frustration and anxiety – all these feelings are very normal. If you or your daughter require extra support, please reach out, we are here to assist.
Year Co-ordinators and members of the Pastoral Care team are always available as an initial point of contact should you have any concerns. Contact details are on Schoolbox, on each Year group page. There is also a link to the Character Education and Pastoral Care page, where you can find details for external services and wellbeing apps to support your daughter’s mental and physical health.
Services such as Headspace and Kids Helpline provide free online and telephone counselling support for young people ages 12-25 and families. Reach Out is the most accessed online mental service for young people and their parents in Australia, providing interactive activities and wellbeing advice.
Stay Healthy HSC site to help year 12 students stay healthy, stay active and keep connected.
Please contact Mrs Fawbert if you have any further questions or concerns.
Mrs Wendy Fawbert, Director of Character Education and Planning
In an era dominated by rapid change, technological advancements, and innovation, predicting our future needs might appear to be the task of our mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. Some may wonder about the place of history within a future-focused curriculum. At Frensham, its place is clear - the study of history is indispensable.
Fundamentally, history is about change. Professor Peter Stearns, of Carnegie Mellon University, refers to history as the ‘laboratory of human experience’. Unlike science, we cannot test hypotheses for wide-scale social change through randomised controlled trials. Questions around privacy and security, expanding human rights, and developing a more equal and inclusive society are all challenges humanity is facing. It will be our students who will lead us through these challenges, and in doing so it will be helpful to look at this ‘laboratory of human experience’. Studying Ancient Rome in Year 7 and Year 12 is excellent field for evidence for expanding citizenship rights. Year 10 students have a firm understanding of the dangers of the state having unobstructed access to our private lives through their study of totalitarian regimes. While, Year 8 students, through their study of the Industrial Revolution, can make informed contributions to debates on how societies will be transformed when the relationship between labour and capital changes.
History, at its best, provides a deeper understanding of where our societies have been, how we behave as communities, and how we perceive the world. It is the study of how we have grappled with our own humanity. And the question of what it means to be human has not been answered. No more is this true than in Year 9 students' study of Australia’s experience of war in the twentieth century. By exploring sources and histories of the First and Second World Wars, students are faced with questions about the value of life, the folly of man, and the complexity of honouring sacrifice while condemning conflict. As students step into their senior studies, they begin to recognise that conflict is a consistent and widespread aspect of the human experience, as demonstrated by Modern History students' study of the origins and progression of the Arab-Israeli conflict. By studying these conflicts, students may be able to contribute to solutions that reduce human conflict in the future.
The study of history is essential. It provides greater scope for contemplation, provides us with our greatest role models and challenges our preconceived notions of truth. History is the greatest antidote to a binary world of good and evil, black and white, right and wrong. Our girls understand that to genuinely lead our communities into the next chapter, they must understand where we have been. And this is only possible through the study of history.
Mr Nathan Bessant, Head of HSIE
Year 12 French students have returned from their Trials and are now into the final weeks of preparation for their HSC examination. I expected to be sharing anecdotes about the HSC French speaking examinations with you, which were planned for 31 July, but the girls have had to dig into their reserves of grit and resilience due to the rescheduling of this examination to 11 September. The silver lining of the Covid-related change in timing is that the girls have another month and a half to finesse their conversational skills while authentically manipulating language features. The French Extension speaking examination will be held as planned on 4 September and our focus is responding to feedback from the Trials to strengthen analytical and argumentative skills.
Year 11 students are currently studying Le plaisir des loisirs, the theme of free-time and leisure activities. Last week students researched and presented an exposé on their favourite extreme sport, introducing the class to such adventure sports as heli-skiing, skateboarding and white-water rafting. This is the last thematic focus for the year as we move into revision and examination technique later in the term.
Junior classes have been developing their communication skills through the use of process writing documents. The functionality of Google docs allows the student to share her writing with her teacher in real time, promoting and exchange of ideas and the opportunity for ongoing learning conversations to occur. Year 7 students are building on their ability to talk about themselves and their families, their pets and their likes and dislikes. In Year 8, the students are learning how to talk about their town and give directions. The Year 9 girls have moved on from daily routines to expressing past events using the passé composé. In Year 10, students are learning how to describe someone’s character and give advice.
Mrs Kerry Lennon, Director of Languages
Senior Latin students also had to demonstrate resilience after the event of the year, the Latin Classics dinner at Newington, was cancelled. Students usually have a great time at this annual celebration dressing in togas or as centurions and vying for the coveted prize of costume of the evening.
As Year 12 return to normal classes after their Trial Examinations, students are considering and implementing feedback about their performance in the Trial Examinations. They have moved into pre-HSC mode, completing practice Examination style questions. In the Continuers class, students are studying the final sections of the prescribed text of Cicero In Catilinam. While in the Extension class, students are studying the final prescribed poems of Horace.
Year 11 students are well underway in their study of Virgil's Aeneid Book 2 which will be the text assessed in their examinations later this term. Year 10 are nearing the end of the Part 3 Workbook, learning about complex grammatical constructions including the passive voice and the subjunctive mood.
The grammatical concepts encountered by Year 9 students this term are the future tense, irregular verbs, and possessive adjectives. As they build their skills in analysis and translation, they are also exploring the culture of ancient Rome through their readings about a visit to the seaside and life in the Roman army.
After meeting the family of Marcus Cicero in Chapters 1 and 2, students in Year 8 focus on his daughter Tullia and her visit to Arpinum. Their grammatical skills are growing as they master verbs from the 3rd and 4th groups as well as adjectives and the irregular verb sum esse. The mythology of Gods and Goddesses is the civilisation focus for this term.
While the AG classroom has been quiet over the last few weeks with many students learning@home, much has still been happening in the Agriculture Faculty. During the winter holiday, ten lambs were born including four sets of twins. A few of the Year 10 Agriculture students, who were still learning on campus have assisted in the care and general husbandry of these lambs as well as the other livestock at the farm.
Week 6 is National Science Week and this year’s theme is Food by Design with a focus on Agriculture and food production. The Agriculture classes have been joining in webinars presented by the NSW Department of Primary Industries on Innovation in Agriculture with topics such as precision agronomy, biosecurity, drones and ag-sensing technologies. A webinar from the University of Sydney on Future Plants and Food Security covered topics such as CRISPR technology, cotton production, plants as a source of protein, genetic research into controlling plant disease and urban agriculture.
Also, during National Science Week, the AG classes were involved in a programme conducted by the University of New England called ‘Soil your Undies’. The programme entails schools burying a pair of cotton underpants (supplied by UNE) for eight weeks and then digging them up on National Cotton Day to examine how much of the underpants are left. Data is collated from across the schools involved, to develop a database on decomposition rates of the soils.
While most of the Agriculture students have been working from home this term, they still have been able to be involved in some of the practical experiences covered in the courses. Year 10 AG has been studying crop production and recently was required to conduct soil tests to determine the texture of the soil, at home or at school. Year 9 students have been researching an integrated weed control strategy for a weed that they have found at school or around home.
Students in Year 11 unfortunately were unable to attend the AG on Tour excursion to complete their Farm Case Study. In its place, some of the students from farming backgrounds have been doing their own research at home and presenting their findings to the rest of the class. They were also fortunate to have Mr Ross Thompson (father of Millie, Year 9 and Ollie, year 8), from Millah Murrah Angus Stud, Bathurst, join a Zoom lesson to discuss with the class what happens on his farm as well as the impact of consumer trends on his production systems. Thank you to Ross for his time and considerable knowledge and in assisting the class to gain a different perspective of farm production.
Year 12 students have completed their Trial examination and are now finishing the HSC course and working on fine-tuning their examination technique in preparation for their HSC examination.
Ms Leonie Mutch, Head of Farm Management and Agriculture
How do you currently use SchoolBox?
In the last 20 years educational institutions have subscribed to Learning Management Systems (LMS) as a platform for innovative practice: these include Google classroom, Canvas, Moodle, Sentral. It is a competitive market. The Frensham Schools LMS, SchoolBox, is a superior product favoured by many independent schools as, not only does it support advanced methods of delivery and differentiation of P-12 education, but its primary goal is to ensure that learners thrive in a connected community, enhanced by their integrated communications system. This year has seen the initial stages of a plan to develop the use of SchoolBox at Frensham Schools to unite parents, students and staff in learning journeys.
The first phase involved an aesthetic overhaul of the dashboard which occurred over the winter vacation. You will now find a dashboard with intuitive navigation and information customised to your role in the School community.
The next phase involves the rollout of the communications system, which you may have noticed already in the form of instant messaging whenever priority News Headlines are posted. Soon this will include automated, customised News Digests which further streamline Frensham Schools’ communications.
Following this you will see increased innovation and creativity of coursework across Frensham and Gib Gate campuses, as the students’ spirit of inquiry develops. Gib Gate staff have already begun building their online classrooms which are now being used by SchoolBox as exemplars of best practice in Primary Schools.
As we continue to rollout innovation and unify communication across Frensham Schools, please take the time to log in to SchoolBox and engage in a conversation with your children around how they currently use the LMS for learning and communicating. We look forward to bringing you more SchoolBox updates in the coming months. In the meantime, please peruse the SchoolBox focus pages.
Mrs Lucy Dalleywater, Head of Special Projects
Year 11 Mock Trial Team (NSW Law Society competition) and Frensham’s Debating Team (AISNSW NGS National Virtual Debating) for their continued success in their respective competitions.
Amelia Blackshaw, Iman Byrne, Imogen Diver, Sienna Donat, Isla McVinish, Ana McInnes, Sofia Nesci, Ruby Rodgers (Year 6) for their selection to the Southern Highlands Water Polo U14 Girls team.
- Frensham’s Year 8 Debating Team of Penelope Cay, Lauren Fox, Skye McLelland, Lucy Rouse and Sophia Windsor, competing in the AISNSW/NGS National Virtual Debating competition, for their recent top division achievement and progressing to the quarter finals, to be held in September.
- Australian Mathematics Trust Maths Challenge participants - High Distinction: Sarah-Joy Day (Year 10), Sophie Goodisson, Georgina Lewis (Year 8); Distinction: Bella Cay (Year 10), Anna Fagan, Sophie Hanrahan (Year 8); Credit: Sidney Wheeler (Year 9), Isabella Barber, Hannah Day, Amelia Hartnell, Camilla Ranken (Year 8).
Ms Sarah McGarry
Head of Frensham
Head of Frensham Schools