Creating the conditions for success

Back to Frensham Weekend

Merrilee Harris in Cape Town
Foundation – Staff Professional Learning Scholarship

Recipient of a WWS Foundation Staff Scholarship, Mrs Merrilee Harris, has this week attended the Cambridge Schools Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. Merrilee was one of 250 delegates from all parts of Africa, the Seychelles and Europe, and the only Australian present, at what was the third of three 2019 Cambridge World Conferences. 

Initial reflections from Merrilee:

The theme was 'Creating the Conditions for Success' and the keynote speakers and guest experts explored teacher / student wellbeing, social-emotional learning, mindfulness and developmental disorders in the learning environment. 

My favourite speakers were *Dr Valerie Hannon and Professor Amanda Kirby:

Dr Hannon, an established thought-leader in the field of education innovation, presented on the purpose and direction of our education systems today and what they need to provide for young people in the future, given the unprecedented changes facing our planet. It was a confronting presentation, including provocative ideas about the impact of robots and genetic engineering. Hannon talked about students needing to thrive on a number of levels - global, societal, interpersonal and intrapersonal.  

[*V Hannon, 2018: Thrive - Schools Reinvented for the Real Challenges We Face, based on 75-year Harvard Research]

Professor Kirby is a GP, researcher, clinician and author who, challenged by her son's neurodiversity issues, established The Dyscovery Centre (University of Wales, Newport), in 1997. The focus of her address was on identifying and supporting diverse talents, for all students. She spoke about the terms used to describe children, some of the myths and practical ways of engaging all students. 

I also attended a session on Administering the Cambridge Examination Process, and an excellent breakout session on The Importance of task design for promoting **Growth Mindset run by Dr Alison Borthwick. We looked at ‘what makes a good task and did quite a few **Making Thinking Visible routines to demonstrate how tasks could enable rather than disable a growth mindset.

Of immense value to me was the opportunity to share ideas and perspectives and to make some great contacts - and I am so grateful to Foundation and Frensham Schools for this wonderful, life-changing opportunity. Please pass on my sincere thanks to all!’

Background re Cambridge at Frensham:
Frensham was one of the first Australian Schools to offer Cambridge International Examinations – and is described by Cambridge as a flagship School, owing to our integration of Cambridge Global Perspectives into both the Australian curriculum, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award - for all of Year 9. Our subsequent introduction in 2017 of the AS General Level English paper, for all of Year 10, was a catalyst for our development of an Academic Writing focus across the School, applying the Cambridge Writing rubrics, to improve analytical writing skills of all students.

** I am pleased to note that we continue to build best-practice pedagogy through teachers’ continuous implementation of Making Thinking Visible and Creating a Culture of Thinking (Project Zero: Harvard Graduate School of Education) and through the work of Carole Dweck re Growth Mindset.

* * *

Commissioned Work for the Back to Frensham Weekend Service – Sunday 7 April

Through participation in rehearsals this week, a sense of awe has built in Clubbe Hall,
as all the elements of the musical work composed by Michael Spencer
for the Back to Frensham Weekend have come together:

Strings, Percussion, Organ, ‘the whole School’ and the seamless inclusion
of Old Girls from around the world – images and voices
– comprise –
In Love Serve One Another
~ just over seven minutes of musical magic ~ 

In the Celebration that follows, prepare to be astounded by the combined
Kennedy Strings / Concert Band performance of Saint-Saëns’ Organ SymphonyFinale 
arranged for our ensembles and conducted by Miss Emily Sinden

Julie Gillick
Head of Frensham
Head of Frensham Schools

Acknowledgement to:

  • Gib Gate Cross Country team members selected to represent Gib Gate at the recent SHIPS and IPSHA Cross Country Carnivals;
  • Tempe Arnott, Isabella Atra, Isabella Barber, Isabella Carpenter (Year 6) and Luca de Manincor (Year 7), representing Southern Highlands Water Polo Association at the NSW Country Water Polo Championships, for winning the U12 Championship;
  • Recent Year 12 Girdle recipients: Phoebe O'Connell (Sport), Harriet Taylor (Visual Arts), Holly Webster (Singing);
  • Ella Pernice (Year 12), selected to attend the United Nations Youth Young Diplomats National Conference in Melbourne in July. This exciting opportunity will see Ella involved in more political debates and passing of international resolutions;
  • Frensham’s Show Sheep Team for its success at the recent Yass Show and at the Zone Finals for Meat Sheep Breeds, Merino Sheep and Merino Fleeces Young Judges, and to individual qualifiers for the Sheep Judging State Final competition, Miriam Hopkins (Year 11), Miranda McGufficke (Year 12), Dimity Crowe (Year 11), Ivy McGufficke (Year 10), Madeleine Scott (Year 10);
  • Frensham’s Livestock teams, travelling this week to compete in the Sydney Royal Easter Show;
  • Frensham’s Mock Trial team for their first round success against Nowra Anglican College;
  • Frensham’s Swimming Team members for success at the IGSSA Swimming Carnival;
  • Frensham’s Tennis Team for its success at the Tildesley Tennis competition – in a newly configured competition, with seeded players accessing later rounds, Frensham’s point-score was our 3rd highest of the past 20 years;
  • Frensham’s Equestrian team members for success at recent events including Elizabeth Taylor (Year 7) – Equestrian Grand Nationals: Poseidon Equine and The Lord Family's Grand National Rider 12 and under 15 Years Reserve Championship and the Paul Austin Equitation Grand National Large Show Hunter Galloway Championship.

Two excellent days at Tildesley... well done Coach (Justin) and the Team!