Deputy Headmaster and Head of Preparatory School

Mr Jeff Symms

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to all families for what will be a busy Term 4.  I said to the teachers yesterday as we ran through the calendar, that Term 4 is one which keeps everyone on a tight timeframe as there is so much to be accomplished.

It was great today to see the boys returning looking refreshed and ready for school, even though I am sure there were many ‘back to school’ grumbles at the thought of giving up the holiday freedom from routine that we all love so much.  They always chatter excitedly about what they got up to and you can see that for most, coming back to school is something they quite enjoy.

I look forward to sharing in the many events that the term holds with all boys and their families.

China Tour

16 boys, four staff and 4 parents and 1 grandparent toured China this holidays to experience the language, culture (and shopping!) of this amazing nation.

The boys attended lessons in calligraphy, Chinese art, and had the opportunity to practice their beginning Chinese – which they did with gusto when bargaining with traders in the markets and shops and I’m sure during their homestay evening in Xianning.

For the first time on our Chinese Tour the boys had the opportunity to participate in a home stay where they got to experience real Chinese living. The homestay families were organized in conjunction with Tyler International and a great deal of trouble was taken by the host families to make the boys feel very welcome.  The boys were taken out for meals, to a local theme park, engaged in Chinese games and ate authentic meals.  The families also organised western breakfast cereals and other familiar foods which the boys appreciated after seven days of Chinese meals.

At our ‘brother school’, Hubei Enan School, the boys were welcomed like rockstars and played a friendly match of football, (with Mr Fellows, Mr Blackburne and Mr Bellchambers also taking the field in support).  After the match the boys were literally mobbed by gangs of adoring girls all keen to have a photo taken with the exotic Australian visitors.

We visited the Terracotta Warriors, the Great Wall of China, Beijing Zoo where the Pandas were a great hit, rode bikes along the old town wall in Xian and walked on the glass floor of a 100 story skyscraper in Shanghai.   All great experiences.

The 16 boys were a terrific group to travel with and the trip was conducted in great spirits by all.

Thanks to Preparatory School Deputy Head, Mrs Kathryn Barry for her leadership of this tour and to Mrs Gippel and Mr Fellows for their work with the boys throughout.  Also special thanks to the touring family members who accompanied the group and assisted so much with the boys.

New Preparatory Hall

The two week break has seen tremendous progress being made on the hall.  Yesterday the teachers had the opportunity to visit inside and take their first look at the building.  They were impressed with the size of the main auditorium and the variety of break out teaching spaces that they will be able to utilise.

During the last week of term, families would have received a flyer with some information about how they might like to get involved with giving towards this project.  The opportunity still exists to make a donation of an amount that would provide naming rights to one of the classrooms, or smaller gifts that would provide a family or student name to one of the grandstand seats inside.  The philanthropy office at the school tells me that the flyer has generated quite some interest and families have begun to make donations towards the completion of the project.  If you are keen to support the hall building program, please contact Mr Bruce Wright at to discuss the options.

I am very grateful to those families who have generously given to support this project and now that boys both now and into the future will benefit from their kindness.

Grandparents’ day!

As I mentioned in the last newsletter for Term 3, the Grandparents’ Day was a great success.  Please take the time to watch this short video which I think beautifully captures the spirit and joy of the day.

We look forward to this event being a regular part of our Preparatory School calendar.

Here is a short video we put together of the fun shared during the day:

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