Growing Gentlemen at Berwick Grammar School.
As part of our ritual of starting each fresh term, our boys assemble in their House Groups for a uniform inspection. We call it a ‘muster’ at Berwick Grammar School and whilst this may evoke images of livestock in the yards, it actually is used in this sense by way of assembling the troops in preparation for the challenges to come. Weather permitting, I try to shake the hand and greet every boy as they enter the assembly, to welcome and greet them after a break from school. I think it is important to establish routines and standards for our boys, and to also have high expectations of how our boys appear as this reveals much of their attitude towards self, school and learning. Some may regard this approach as old fashioned, but I think it is important preparation for the world beyond school. Self-discipline is an essential quality for our young men to learn. Self-discipline will sustain our boys in those moments when motivation wanes.
I remind the boys to turn up – both on time and with the right attitude as the fundamentals of starting their day at school appropriately. This should occur daily but is imperative at the start of term. I commend our boys, and importantly our parents for the way our boys returned from the holiday break. There is an energy and enthusiasm from them and they are continually rising to meet the challenges that are set for them. Your support is greatly appreciated in ensuring that high standards of appearance are both encouraged and maintained. Our boys are the best form of promotion, marketing and advertising as they move through the local community. I want them to stand up straight, be proud and confident of their place in our community and the world.
On these occasions when I meet the School as a whole, I appreciate that there is something special happening at our school. We are seeking excellence and our boys are responding. A good deal of interest has been generated by our Growing Good Men Project. Over 50,000 people have read the articles I have shared with the broader educational world through the media platform Linkedin. This is great and has led to a number of schools requesting visits to our campus to grapple with our ideas on educating boys. I think it is fair to say that we are emerging nicely in this area. A visual representation of Why send your son to a boys’ school is available at the attached link. This video was compiled by the International Boys School Coalition, of which our School is a member. This membership provides us with access to the most contemporary research in all boy related areas and links us with the largest and best boys schools in the world. I was delighted that our Deputies, Mrs Helen McDonald and Ms Lauren Cook both presented at The Southport School in Queensland in the recent break. To have two staff members involved in presenting and research at such a prestigious international gathering is a momentous moment in the history of our burgeoning school. https://www.theibsc.org/about-ibsc/why-a-boys-school
Part of our program is moving into a phase where we will focus on issues of manners and etiquette. This will be a great deal of fun as our boys grapple with irons, Windsor knots, handshakes and greetings, table placements and the complex world of navigating social settings. I believe that ensuring our graduands understand the niceties of that which will define them as gentlemen will contribute to our growth as a school. A Good Man is confident in a range of social settings and he understands that whilst it is nice to be important it is just as important to be nice.
Whilst these issues will be addressed in a practical sense, our well-being program at Berwick Grammar is also flourishing where we are seeking to equip our boys with a whole range of valuable literacies – the ability to communicate and exist in a community, an ability to know oneself and what you believe, an ability to understand intimacy, an ability to recognise and control emotion and impulse, an ability to be resilient, accept responsibility and also to consider loss and grief. These all vital elements in our commitment to Growing Good Men.
A great term lies ahead for us all. I can’t wait to share our story with all of our community.
Dr Steven Middleton
Head of Berwick Grammar School