July 23, 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope this edition of CamNews finds you well. I thought that it would be appreciated to share a video this week rather than supplying you with more to read. Yesterday I reflected on how far we have come as a community since entering our first lockdown last year. We have all developed new skills and we now enter each lockdown swiftly and transition with ease. I am so proud of how agile the CGGS community is. I hope that you are able to share some lovely family moments over the weekend and I do hope that we are able to return to school next Wednesday.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody




June 25, 2021

It is my pleasure to introduce the lead article for CamNews this week. Our three School Captains – Sophia, Eloise and Ashley, with the support of School and House Captains and Student Leaders have embarked upon their theme “SAIL“ as they navigate the waves of 2021.  Their goal this year is to reinforce the sense of belonging and embrace all that is Camberwell Girls.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all families for their support this term and I hope that you all have time to relax and recharge during the holiday break.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody

Following the rollercoaster year of 2020, we – Sophia, Eloise, Ashley (SEA), have been entrusted with the role of School Captains of Camberwell Girls Grammar School in 2021. We stepped into our positions eager to make a difference, while apprehensive of what the year ahead would bring as we navigate through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are excited to host the postponed centenary events celebrating this significant milestone during the school’s 101st year.

When deciding upon our theme for 2021, we wanted to embrace the challenges we have faced whilst also adopting a positive outlook towards the future. Our chosen theme for this year, “SAIL”, which stands for, Support, Authenticity, Inclusion and Love – all values we want to embrace in 2021.

As we SAIL to a brighter future for 2021, we focus on understanding the presence of our strong support network, catching us when we fall and praising us on our achievements and individuality. We give ourselves the opportunity to be authentic, in a safe and encouraging environment with those who support us.

To further broadcast this theme, we have utilised the ‘Wonder Wall’ and the school captain Instagram page. When on campus, we encouraged staff and students to express their permeating gratitude and kindness for other members of the CGGS community through ‘Shout Outs’. When at home, we continually showed support through the virtual ‘Shout Outs Padlet’, to promote the love and warmth characterised by the community. Through SAIL, we discover the best aspects of our school and unite to face any hardSHIPS that 2021 may present.

Term 1 – Support

The letter ’S’ stands for Support, which we focused on during Term 1. We believe support means to always be there for one another and encourage everyone’s endeavours.

Our first initiative as School Captains was coordinating our Valentine’s Day stall. We organised a hand painting stall and a game of “guess the amount of heart chocolates in the jar”. We also offered a ‘rainbow’ painted heart option in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. This initiative helped the CGGS community celebrate the love we have for one another. The colourfully-clad Year 12’s exuded considerable amounts of spirit which bolstered the success of the day.

To introduce the 2021 Student Leadership Team, we produced a video to announce our passionate leaders. Inspired by the introduction of the classic TV show ‘Friends’, the high-spirited video enabled staff and students across all year levels to meet their student leaders. The video was so popular it was also uploaded to the @CamberwellGirls Instagram and Facebook for the wider community to view.

As a new strategy to invigorate staff and students between classes, we created an initiative titled ‘Find the Fish!’. The hidden miniature replica of the Centenary mosaic fish in the CGGS water feature created an engaging hunt, assisted by a cryptic clue sent out to hint at its whereabouts. The influx of photos we received was sensational, illustrating the active participation of the CGGS community.

Term 2 – Authenticity

The ‘A’ in “SAIL” stands for Authenticity, reflecting how we define ourselves and the way in which we choose to live. Our Term 2 theme highlights how displaying your true self and leading your life according to your desires is important, alongside expressing yourself authentically.

Knowing how to listen to the stories of others is just as important as sharing your own. Inspired by this, we implemented ‘CGGS Speaks’ to enable Camberwell staff and students the opportunity to present on a broad range of topics they are passionate about. As a community, we learnt of a candle business, a bread making passion, a fitness journey and even had a teacher become an author over lockdown! We hope that the community has been enthused by these mini speeches at assembly, motivating and encouraging all to have a voice on topics that matter to them.

We heard from Kathy Kaplan from ‘Impact’ during the International Women’s Day breakfast, our inspiration for creating ‘Watch Week’. During this week, students had the opportunity to wear red – the symbolic colour of ‘Impact’ which raises awareness of women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. CGGS was flooded in a SEA of red and raised over $787! A group of staff and students also set the food tech lab alive with their baking skills and the items were sold at the popular bake sale, staff and students had the opportunity to write positive messages on a paper chain as a symbol of solidarity, along with chalk messages to fill the quadrangle with more awareness and love. From this, a further $497 was raised!

During mid-April, we officially commenced our “Soul Siblings” program with a Year 7 and Year 9 student pairing up and taking part in various activities as “siblings”. This initiative aims to help the Year 7 students settle into their life at Senior School, while providing the Year 9 students with opportunities for leadership before entering their senior years. Through collaborative games on campus and via zoom, we hope that these inter-year level friendships are ones to be cherished.

Term 3 – Inclusion

The ‘I’ in “SAIL” stands for Inclusion and is what we have chosen to explore during Term 3. Lady Gaga once mentioned that “[she] believe[s] in a passion for inclusion”, a characteristic we strongly relate to and have worked earnestly to incorporate into our projects for this term.

Given the circumstances of quarantine during 2020, the CGGS community was largely unable to physically connect amongst ourselves or others externally. We are therefore looking forward to resuming the annual CGGS v CGS Netball Match and from this fundraising event intend to donate goods to ‘Impact’. We hope to include as many students as possible in the orchestration of this event to allow girls to have an opportunity to extend their leadership skills.

Throughout this year, we have continued “Season Two” of the ‘2 Cents Podcast’, originally instigated by FL2, the 2020 School Captains. For the podcast this year, we have had the vision to share our ‘two cents’ on a variety of social topics, to engage student voice and yield advice to everyone in our school community. In Term 1, we focused our episodes on our theme of ‘Support’ and created an episode about our theme SAIL, a sleep episode and one regarding stress. For Term 2, we discussed social media and the top ten ways to be our authentic selves. In Term 3, we will invite guest speakers to gain wider perspectives on different topics.

This podcast is a wonderful platform to engage with our peers. We have learnt many new skills from hosting this season and we hope the episodes resonate with many.

Term 4 – Love

Our focus for Term 4 will be ‘L’ – Love. We chose love because we wished to project a positive legacy that embraces the whole school community like that of family.

Ultimately, having compassion and caring for each other is necessary to succeed in orchestrating initiatives and exploring our leadership qualities in the best way possible. Having the ability to play to our strengths drives our achievements and builds upon the loving support network around us.

As a trio, we have been blessed with the opportunity to experience such an amazing leadership role. This journey would not have been possible without the support of our fellow captains and crew mates. We also wish to express our gratitude to Mrs Dunwoody, Mrs Poyser, Ms Woolcock and Mrs Robinson. As our mentors they have taught us so many valuable strategies, encouraged us to work collaboratively and to acknowledge our individual strengths.

Sailing is about exploring your strengths yet moving out of your comfort zone to chase growth. When a Camberwell girl steps on board the CGGS ship and sets sail, it is her opportunity to navigate her own journey. She will recognise and call upon her support network to back her own authentic path, including everyone on her voyage through compassion and love. During our time as School Captains, we hope we have in some way inspired everyone through our theme of SAIL.

Be the captain to chart your own journey and never be afraid of storms. For you, are learning to sail your ship.

With best wishes,

Your 2021 School Captains, SEA
Sophia Giagoudakis, Eloise Webster and Ashley Olsen




June 11, 2021

Being our Best Selves

In November last year, the Dunwoody’s welcomed Leo into our family, a miniature golden Groodle.

I adore Leo, not only because I am his favourite (widely acknowledged in our family) but because of what he gives each day. He greets us every morning with excitement (with a look on his face that says – this is the best day ever!), he demands that I stop my work to play ball – finding different ways to make me if I try to dismiss him, he loves walks and he loves it when I try to teach him new things. Leo helps to bring balance to my life at a time when it is difficult to do so. He helps me to try and be my best self.

Today was one of the best days for a number of weeks as our students returned to school after remote learning. We are so pleased to have them back and look forward to helping them re-establish the normal routines and experiences of life over the coming weeks. I want to thank our staff for their dedication and skill in responding to the everchanging demands and to you as parents, for your continued support.

In her role as Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing, Kath Woolcock works extensively on our student wellbeing programs, often with Emma Hinchliffe from Junior School. Aware of our aim to help young people flourish, Kath has written an article titled Bored and Brilliant where she highlights this, and I attach it for you along with a summary of the importance of play.

I do hope you have received your electronic invitation to attend the CGGS Centenary Gala at Leonda By The Yarra on Saturday 31 July 2021.  This event will bring members from the entire CGGS community together to celebrate 100 years of our wonderful school. With fine food, beverages and great entertainment, I do hope as current parents, you will get together and join me for a magical night of celebration.

Everybody who buys tickets before the Early Bird special closes will go into a draw to win some great prizes. There will be two lucky winners drawn, so I encourage you to purchase your tickets now. There will also be an exciting announcement made next week, so stay tuned. Full event information can be found by visiting:  If you have any enquiries, please contact Kate Daffy in our Foundation Office –

As we continue to face the challenges of our time, I hope that you all have many ‘Leos’ in your life who help to distil the important things in your day so that every day you can be your best self.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody

Bored and Brilliant

Recently, my nearly 4-year-old daughter sat down next to me on the couch and said, ‘I’m bored’. I didn’t know what or how to respond, and as I sat there contemplating an answer, she promptly jumped up and ran off to set up a tea party with her toy cat.

This exchange got me thinking about boredom and inspired me to do some research about the purpose of boredom and the links between boredom and play. So, where does this idea of boredom come from? What is its purpose and why is it feared so much?

According to an article published by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie for the Smithsonian Magazine, ‘boredom’ first became a word in 1852 with the publication of Charles Dicken’s Bleak House. She goes onto say that, before that, there are examples of Roman philosopher Seneca talking about boredom as a ‘kind of nausea’, while ancient graffiti on Roman walls indicates that the act of defacing property when there is nothing else to do, is an act that has stood the test of time.

The first study of boredom dates back to the 1930s, when psychologist Joseph Ephraim Barmack examined how factory workers coped with the tedious nature of their day – the answer was “stimulants – caffeine, amphetamines, and ephedrine”. Since this study, considerable research has occurred that explores the causes of boredom, the implications of boredom and the benefits of boredom. Ultimately boredom has a purpose, perhaps an evolutionary one, and is it occurs as result of a number of factors including “a situation that is actually boring” and a “predisposition to boredom”. In an evolutionary sense, it is the feeling of being bored and uncomfortable in a situation that can help us to explore or exploit our environment.

What is equally interesting is how we respond to being bored, and it is perhaps no surprise that in this era of instant gratification, that this has changed over time. With so much passive activity in our day, we don’t often get the opportunity to experience ‘real boredom’ and as such we aren’t able to experience the benefits. In fact, adults and teenagers alike do almost everything and anything possible to not be bored, and as such, we have lost some of the benefits that this uncomfortable situation provides us.

One of these benefits of boredom is creativity.  Dr. Sandi Mann designed a study that explored the impact of boredom on finding creative solutions to problems. Effectively, he asked participants to complete twenty minutes of a meaningless task (copying phone numbers out of a book) before devising uses for two paper cups. The test was then repeated with an even more ‘boring’ tasks – reading phone numbers out of a book, followed by another turn at the creative ideas for paper cups. The results proved his hypothesis and highlighted that “people who are bored think more creatively than those that aren’t” (Zomorodi, 2017).

Further scientific benefits of boredom have been noted including letting you know when something is amiss, links to greater goal setting ability and some studies have found a correlation with improved happiness. In saying that, it is also worth noting that boredom can also be linked to higher levels of the stress hormone too as we grapple to sit with the agitation and frustrating of it. Embracing and engaging with boredom takes time and practice.

The links between boredom and play are strong. The Raising Children Network Director, Associate Professor Julie Green, states “”When children are required to find something to do, they’re forced to use their problem-solving skills, creative thinking and imagination to play”. She continues by exploring how we, as parents, and educators, need to hold our nerve, and allow children to sit in the discomfort of being bored so that children have the opportunity to work through it and to find meaningful activities, games and play based opportunities that fit their needs at the time.

Play is in fact, beneficial for people of all ages and while most play-based activities and play based learning is often associated with children of younger ages, we cannot overlook the importance of play for young adults and adults themselves. Play helps people of all ages relieve stress, improve brain function, stimulate the mind and boost creativity, regulate mood and sleep, improve relationships and connections with others and increase energy (Parrot et al., 2020; Starling, 2011). It is has even been suggested that children who were allowed to play in unstructured ways grew up to be adults who could be leaders in life and the workplace (Berman, 2007).

How is play described?

> Play might look challenging as students grabble with concepts, explore equipment or solve problem. It might cause frustration however enjoyment is a key feature.

> Play might be symbolic or pretend, exploring the ‘what if?’ of a situation

> Play might be active and require action, either physical, verbal or mental engagement with materials, people, ideas or the environment

> Play can be voluntary and spontaneous such as recess or lunchtime activities (Shipley, 2008).

What does play look like at CGGS?

> Play might involve using our outdoor equipment at recess or lunchtime

> Play might involve student-directed learning and choice within lessons

> Play might involve experimenting in the Maker Space

> Play might involve problem-based learning experiences, where students are given real world problems to solve

> Play might involve exploration and inquiry-based learning, with hands on experiences and discoveries

> Play. Might involve free time within lessons to explore something that interests them

> Play might be facilitated by co-curricular clubs where students are creating, collaborating, designing, making and exploring areas of passion

At both Junior School and Senior School we provide opportunity for our students to play, to explore, to create, to question, to be active and to problem solve through curriculum, co-curricular activities and the use of physical spaces. We recognise that making time for unstructured play throughout the day enables students’ to effectively engage in their learning (Burriss et al., 2011). Unstructured play at school is undertaken in physical and social spaces and as such, we have invested resources in tese areas. In addition to our existing facilities such as the maker space, oval, gym and courts we have provided new outdoor equipment in Lower Woodstock at the Senior School and also in Junior School for students to play in an unstructured way, enabling them to be agents of their own play, making choices and negotiating rules and behaviours. We have also added a wealth of games and resources to the Library and Year Level areas to support play at the breaks and afterschool.

For children, play is often used in the context of ‘play based learning’, which is where children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they actively engage with people, objects and representations. This type of learning occurs readily in both our Junior School and Senior School as we recognise the benefits of providing students of all ages with the opportunity to play, explore, negotiate, take risks and create meaning. While the context may be different, the premise is the same, that is, quality play experiences assist in the development of memory skills, language, behaviour regulation which leads to enhanced school adjustment and academic learning (Bodrova et al., 2005).

And so, as we come off the back of the Term One holidays and move into the next phase of structure and routine both at home and at school, it is worth remembering that time that is less rigid has its benefits. Being bored is not a bad thing, in fact, it provides a range of possibilities and opportunities for young people, and older people, to play and ultimately to learn.

Kath Woolcock
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing


Bodrova, E. & Leong, D. J. (2005). Uniquely preschool: What research tells us about the ways young children learn. Educational Leadership, 63(1), 44-47.

Help Guide Org International. (2020). The Benefits of Play for Adults.

KQED, Stavely, Z. (2015). How to Bring Playfulness to High School Students.

Parrott, H. M., & Cohen, L. E. (2020). Advocating for Play: The Benefits of Unstructured Play in Public Schools. School Community Journal, 30(2).

Shipley, D. (2008). Empowering children. Play based curriculum for lifelong learning. (Fourth edn). USA: Nelson Education.

Smithsonian Magazine, McRobbie, L. (2012). The History of Boredom – You’ve never been so interested in being bored.

Starling, P. E. (2011). An investigation of unstructured play in nature and its effect on children’s self-efficacy,Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) Disserations.

Zomorodi, M. (2017). Bored and Brilliant: How Time Spent Doing Nothing Changes Everything. Macmillian Publishers.




May 28, 2021

Child Safety

Dear Parents,

One of the strong characteristics of the CGGS community is that it is a welcoming and caring community, and we know that in safe environments students thrive – in their learning and their wellbeing.

It is also not surprising that one of the key compliance requirements of schools is to be a safe environment for young people, and to this effect we adhere to the Child Safe Standards.  As we are required to provide updates to parents, I have asked one of our Counsellors, Paula Kolivas to provide an overview of the standards.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact myself, Cathy Poyser (Deputy Principal/Head of Senior school) or Paul Donohue (Head of Junior School).

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody

Child Safe Standards

In 2016, the Victorian Government introduced Ministerial Order 870 – Child Safe Standards – Managing the risk of child abuse in schools. The Child Safe Standards (CSS) were part of the state government’s response to the 2013 Betrayal of Trust Inquiry which investigated the handling of child abuse in religious and other non-government institutions.

This Order requires all Victorian schools to embed a culture of no tolerance for child abuse and prescribes seven standards related to reducing the risk of abuse and ensuring the appropriate response and reporting of child abuse to authorities. Although it recognises that all children are vulnerable, the Order requests a particular focus on students who are more vulnerable due to their abilities, indigenous, cultural or linguistic background.

One of the most effective strategies in reducing the risk of child abuse, is educating all members of the community. At CGGS biannual training is mandatory for all teaching staff, professional services staff and maintenance staff to ensure that they develop their understanding and confidence to identify and appropriately respond to any suspicions or allegations of abuse, grooming or other misconduct. Also, all senior school and junior school students receive age-appropriate presentations by the School Counsellors regarding how to identify inappropriate behaviour and more importantly where to seek help and support.

The following CGGS staff are the current designated Child Safety Officers:

> Debbie Dunwoody – Principal

> Cathy Poyser – Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School

> Paul Donohue  – Head of Junior School

> Kath Woolcock – Deputy Head of Senior School

> Kim Hepworth – Deputy Head of Senior School

> Shane Maycock – Deputy Head of Senior School

> Emma Hinchliffe – Deputy Head of Junior School

> Rev Helen Creed  – School Chaplain

> Paula Kolivas – School Counsellor

> Beth Sarlos  – School Counsellor

Their responsibilities include training staff and students, offering support to all students, parents/carers and people reporting abuse, clarifying the allegations and suspicions of abuse, and where required, reporting the concerns to the relevant authorities – DHHS Child Protection Services, the Police and/or the Commission for Children and Young People.

Apart from staff and student training and education, CGGS has developed clear procedures for responding to allegations or suspected abuse and we regularly update our school policies, HR procedures and audit the school’s physical environment to ensure that our organisational culture reflects the CGGS commitment to zero tolerance of abuse.

Relevant policies that parents/guardians may access via our school website include the:

> Child Safety Policy

> Child Safety Reporting Policy

> Code of Conduct Policies – staff and students

> Working With Children Check Policy

All our students have a right to feel safe on and off campus. We want our students and parents/carers to feel confident that CGGS is an organisation committed to the physical, emotional and sexual safety of all students. It is the responsibility of all adults on campus to adhere to the legal and moral obligations related to Ministerial Order 870. This includes all employed staff and as well all our students who are over 18 years of age.

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s safety or the safety of any other child in our community, we strongly encourage you to contact the Principal, Heads of School, or the Counsellors to discuss the matter. We promise to respond to any concerns in a sensitive, confidential and respectful manner.

With best wishes,

Paula Kolivas
School Counsellor


Helpful resources




May 14, 2021

An Education Worth Having

Our work with The University of Melbourne’s New Metrics for Success: Transforming what we value in schools program has been very affirming this year, as it interconnects with our CGGS …BY DESIGN learning architecture.

Over recent years many provocations have emerged from the education sector questioning the effectiveness of the single ATAR score in understanding the holistic capabilities and aspirations of a young person. As a school committed leadership in education, we believe that a CGGS education must be an education worth having by preparing each student for their future. We all value academic excellence and success, but what if our students’ primary pathway to university was no longer determined solely by the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR)?

To be relevant we must be looking forward. We know that in the coming years we will need more than the ATAR – universities are already beginning to move in that direction. Based on research, we determined the key components of a CGGS education and designed our own learning architecture called BY DESIGN. This architecture allows us to methodically and with purpose, design our learning and wellbeing curriculum and programs, whilst also addressing the requirements of curriculum and government authorities. BY DESIGN enables students to complete their core and elective subjects and VCE subjects, and assists them to develop the values, mindsets and skill sets that are needed now and into the future.

As the ATAR is limited in what it measures and reports, new tools need to be developed that will be widely recognised and warranted by educational, corporate and other organisations. These are the tools or credentials that we, alongside 30 other schools selected from across Australia and across the different sectors are designing and developing in conjunction with The University of Melbourne. In our BY DESIGN learning architecture, they are termed Proof Points. The credentials that result from these Proof Points will be invaluable in providing students with the evidence they will need to demonstrate their success and capabilities.

Most importantly, CGGS educators continue to have a voice at the forefront of these developments and are contributing to this important conversation and action globally. I look forward to providing further updates throughout the year.

Last week we celebrated our Centenary Founders’ Service, With grateful hearts and unafraid, at St Paul’s CathedralAlongside students, staff and old grammarians, The Most Reverend Dr Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne and Murrundindi participated in our service. We were delighted that Reverend Amanda Lyons (Class of 2003) joined us to preach and that former Principal, Dr Barbara Fary OAM was in attendance.

It was a very memorable service, and the Founders’ Choir, supported by The Senior School Centenary Strings sang ‘The Centenary Anthem’ a special anthem based on Micah 6:6-8 with music composed by Dan Walker. I would like to thank Rev Helen Creed for creating such a beautiful and meaningful service to acknowledge this special milestone.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody




April 30, 2021

Motivation and Learning 

One of the many positive responses we have seen to the challenges we faced over the last 12 months, is how our students are enjoying and appreciating being at school.  There are of course many influences including friends, teachers, the playground, co-curricular activities, inspired learning – and so much more!

The ‘so much more’ can be found in a community; it’s purpose, rhythm, routine, support and consistency. All of these factors are important to wellbeing, learning and in the development of motivation and building resilience in a person.  They are uniquely human factors, because school communities, like ours, engender a sense of belonging and engagement.

Earlier in Term 1 as we entered a ‘circuit breaker lockdown’ and moved to remote learning for three days, our focus was to maintain consistency in learning for our students. We tried not to make too many modifications to the timetable to ensure some predictability for the students to keep them in the rhythm of their learning; to keep them motivated.

Last year I was invited onto an international webinar panel featuring Dr Bror Saxberg a leader in the research and development of innovative learning strategies. The focus of the webinar was on the way that motivation unlocks learning and I was asked to reflect on Dr Saxberg’s work and how it influenced our programs during lockdown.

Dr Saxberg describes motivation as a cognitive and affective process that influences whether a person

> starts a learning task,

> persists with the task once it is started and

> invests adequate mental effort to succeed.

Challenging times can impact motivation and we continue to live through a challenging time with an undefined end point. It is therefore important to understand the key factors that impact motivation and how we can intentionally design our learning experiences to address them.

Through his work Dr Saxberg has identified four key motivation factors that we need to consider when designing our learning. They are:

> Values

> Self-efficacy

> Attribution factors

> Emotions

Firstly, the factor of values acknowledges that we all have different backgrounds, different identities and cultural histories.  As educators we can assist our students to be motivated to engage and persist with their learning by connecting it with lived experiences.  This of course means knowing our students and building a relationship so that we can personalise their learning experience where possible by connecting it to their lived experience or interests.

Secondly, the factor of self-efficacy is about our belief in our capacity to succeed.  It is important that we can help our students see that they ‘can do hard things’.  A great example is the pivot to remote learning last year with little notice or preparation.  Our students managed the change and learned new technologies, processes and strategies throughout this time.  We build self-efficacy by showing our students what they have done before and share stories about the success of others to help them see possibilities.

Attribution factors are about finding things that get in the way of learning.  This can be anything from lack of time, resources or even the need to blame others when things don’t go to plan.  Again, it is about helping to demonstrate to our students that they have agency and can solve problems.  This can be done in familiar ways like showing them what they have done before, sharing the success stories of others, or by highlighting fundamental strategies like breathing to focus and listening or demonstrating how to look for causes of issues and problem solve.

Finally, a person’s emotions can have a significant bearing on their motivation. Negative emotions including anger, fear, depression and personal anxieties can be approached in a variety of ways from deep listening conversations, through to activities to build community and if needed, professional help.  Professional help can include working with our school counsellors or external health professionals.

As we continue to design our learning at Camberwell Girls and look towards the future, we will develop some asynchronous opportunities that enable choice and personalisation of learning. However, there is no doubt that building motivation to enhance learning is founded in the establishment of authentic relationships through real experiences with our students, so that they feel a sense of belonging to a community and as a result, excitement to learn.

‘A Century of Stories’ Book Launch

Last Wednesday evening, members of the school community gathered in the School Library for the launch of, A Century of Stories – a celebration book produced to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Camberwell Girls Grammar School.

This event was to be held last year, so excitement was certainly in the air as the book was unveiled for the first time.

It was a delight to welcome the publisher, Neil Montagnana-Wallace and author Jacqui Ross as our special guests. Neil and Jacqui shared an insight into the work that they carried out over two years to produce the book. They also spoke of the importance of storytelling.

As a school, we felt a book of stories was appropriate to honour the school’s 100th birthday, as a formal history book was produced for the school’s 90th birthday.

A Century of Stories opens with a short yet comprehensive history and is followed by a series of 100 stories. These stories capture the voices of so many members of our community, conveying the culture, history and values that permeate an education at CGGS. The photographs and light-hearted anecdotes provide a real glimpse into life at CGGS through the decades.

The book truly captures the spirit and essence of our school and most importantly, celebrates 100 continuous years of providing an outstanding education for young women. Designed to be picked up and read as and when you feel like it, or from cover to cover if you so desire – each page illuminates the school’s history in ways that ensure the present makes sense, whilst encouraging us to think a little more about the future we wish to create.

The book is for sale and can be purchased here.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody

School Chaplain


School Chaplain

April 1, 2021

It has been such a joy to share in the celebration of the Easter story with students and staff in both Junior School and Senior School this week.  Last year at this time, I was learning how to use “quick time player” to send an Easter message to our students! How wonderful to be once again gathering together “in person”.

The Easter message is, of course, about the God who respects “persons” in all our uniqueness, and who wants to bring us to fullness of life, without taking away any of our freedom to choose. This morning I spoke to the Junior School students about what makes Easter Sunday the most important day of the year for those who follow Jesus. It’s the good news that God’s love is the most fundamental reality of life. We trust that nothing will be able to overcome that love in the end.  That does not magic away the hurt that we feel sometimes in our lives. But it does give us the strongest reason to hope.

May I take this opportunity to wish those who celebrate Easter a most holy Easter this year; and to everyone a very happy break.

My prayers over this Easter weekend will be for those who are facing difficulty and sadness at this time.

God bless, and see you in Term 2!

Rev Creed




March 19, 2021

CGGS Dads Group and The Fathering Project

Dear Parents and Guardians,

There was excitement in the air last week as we held our inaugural CGGS Dads Group event, a BBQ in the quadrangle at Senior School which over 70 dads attended.

The CGGS Dads Group is a sub-group of the Parents & Friends Association. Its purpose is to engage dads from Early Learning 3 through to Year 12 so that they can socialise and network with others and attend events, including some with their children. We hope that this group will assist some fathers and father-figures of CGGS students to feel more welcome and engage further with our community and with their children. We currently have 6 fathers on the organising committee who are from both Junior and Senior Schools.

Our group was initiated through our partnership with The Fathering Project, an organisation that aims to improve a child’s developmental outcomes through enabling fathers to better engage with their children. This year CGGS has joined The Fathering Project and they will support us by providing resources, as well as delivering programs and events. We certainly hope to build upon this positive engagement for the benefit of students, parents and the school.

After the success of the first event, we will be offering further events in Term 2 and plan to include opportunities for fathers to learn more about our Respectful Relationships programs, initiatives and leadership, drawing upon our experiences in working with students and leading other schools in this area. We will also be able to share some of our new work with ‘Our Watch’ to initiate change.

Kath Woolcock (Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing) has led our Respectful Relationships programs working closely with Cathy Poyser (Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School) and Emma Hinchliffe (Deputy Head of Junior School) during the last four years. She has summarised some of our key work in the article below, and this information along with other resources will be permanently located on SEQTA for parents to refer to at their leisure.

Next term I will also update parents on our work with Our Watch in further engagement with other schools. Our Watch believes that the voices and experiences of young people are central to this work and they have been involved in research around masculinity and harmful relationships where men bond over disrespect for women. The findings of their research was published in 2019 in their paper titled ‘Men in Focus: unpacking masculinities and engaging men in the prevention of violence against women’. If you are interested, please see the link via the button below.

Please refer to Kath Woolcock’s article on Respectful Relationship Initiatives at CGGS below.

I look forward to our continued engagement next term on this important area of focus.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody

Respectful Relationships Programs at CGGS

Following on from the Principal’s communication to parents on 6 March, we will be sharing a range of articles and resources in CamNews. We have also created a dedicated ‘Respectful Relationship’ icon on Parent Engage where materials will be uploaded to provide parents with an overview of our programs and structure across both Junior School and Senior School – and then click on the Respectful Relationships icon.

If you wish to discuss any aspects of our programs, please don’t hesitate to make contact with:

> Kath Woolcock, Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing

> Emma Hinchliffe, Deputy Head of Junior School


Respectful Relationships Programs at CGGS

Respectful Relationships are at the core of healthy relationships, whether that be in friendships, between teachers and students, workplaces, families or within intimate relationships.

As a result of the findings from the Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2016, the Respectful Relationships education became a core component of the Victorian Curriculum. Secondary to this, was the establishment of the Respectful Relationships Initiative and for the past four years, CGGS has been a lead school delivering professional learning to a number of independent and government schools across Melbourne’s Inner East including; MLC, Strathcona, Ruyton Girls School, Camberwell Grammar School, Trinity Grammar School, Xavier College, Scotch College, Balwyn Primary School, Boroondara Park Primary School, Camberwell South Primary School and Blackburn Primary School.

The Respectful Relationship initiative aims to equip schools and educators with the skills and knowledge to tackle the issue of family violence and gender equality through a preventative whole school approach. It provides a framework to support school settings in promoting and modelling respect and equality, whilst explicitly teaching how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence.

The Respectful Relationship Team at CGGS has worked closely with staff and students to cultivate an understanding and appreciation for respect, resilience, rights and responsibilities within and across all types of relationships. We have focused on three key areas to shift the dialogue both our own and the wider community across both the Junior and Senior School:

> Student Voice

> Awareness Raising

> Curriculum and Programs


Student Voice

Student voice has been a pivotal component of ensuring that our students take an active and authentic leadership role in the whole school approach to Respectful Relationships. This has been achieved through the following:

> Establishment of the CGGS Annual Student Survey from Years 5 – 12

> Establishment of Student Wellbeing Captains at both Junior and Senior School

> Student Representative Council at both Junior and Senior School

> Senior School Student Wellbeing Focus Groups

> Establishment of the Student Wellbeing Action Group

> Leadership Focus Groups and workshops at both Junior and Senior School

> Attendance at Student Conferences such as International Women’s Day Breakfast and The School Leaders for Gender Equality and Respect Workshop, yLead workshops

> Engagement in Respectful Relationships collaborative projects at both Junior and Senior School


Awareness Raising

In raising awareness of stereotypes, inequalities, power and control in relationships, the aim has been to create a community environment that is informed, confident and ready to step up, lead and to challenge the people and opinions that perpetuate gender inequality. This has been achieved through:

> The Junior and Senior School Respectful Relationship Badge

> Establishment of our annual whole school Celebrating Diversity Week and Diversity Forums

> Student Gender Equality Assessment Tools at both Junior and Senior School

> Celebration of Harmony Day

> Celebrating strong, successful young women across all aspects of society

> Parent Education Seminars and Student Workshops that focus on creating healthy, happy families and building respectful relationships

> International Women’s Day Celebration events

> National Day of Action Against Bullying activities at both Junior and Senior School

> Safer Internet Day event at Junior School

> Hosting of the Anglican Diocese ‘Preventing Violence Against Women’ Conference on 15 May 2021


Curriculum and Programs:

Curriculum has enabled us to provide opportunities for our students to understand relationships, the law, gender identity and to shape their self-concept, self-efficacy, and self-confidence so that they can develop the knowledge and skills required to reject and overcome the gender stereotypes that may attempt to define them. This has been achieved through a number of curricular and program initiatives including:

> The purposefully designed Year 9 Respectful Relationship Health Unit, that tackles gender stereotypes and challenges the ideas of power and control in relationships

> Years 9 and 10 Health Curriculum that explicitly explores consent and the law.

> Junior School BRAVE Curriculum

> Social and Emotional Learning Units across both Junior and Senior School

> Relationship, empathy, conflict resolution and communication skills developed through Mentoring and Wellbeing classes

> Years 11 and 12 workshops and guest presenters from Family Planning Victoria, Sex Education Australia, Red Frog, Paul Dillon and Victoria Police.


Respectful Relationships Curriculum (including consent)

As part of our work with the Respectful Relationship Initiative, our students explicitly explore consent in an age appropriate and scaffolded manner, using a three-tiered approach to build on prior learnings from year to year. The first two tiers focus on creating a common language, culture and understanding, including being able to critically evaluate messages on and offline, and the third tier is the explicit teaching of content that explores more complex ideas such as consent.


> Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships Curriculum is taught from Foundation to Year 6 and in Years 7 – 10 as part of Health and/or Wellbeing.

> This curriculum was established as part of the Respectful Relationship Initiative and focuses on positive education and social emotional learning, which are the foundations for respectful relationships, positive self-identity and body safety.

> In Years 7 and 8 Health we explicitly teach decision making, safe choices, conflict management, communication styles (assertive, passive styles) media literacy, bystander, support networks, as well as personal boundaries and personal respect.

> In Years 7 and 8 Wellbeing we look explicitly at values, character and personal identity.

Tier 1 lays the foundations for positive relationships and are explored further in Tier 2 and 3 as we move towards more explicit teaching of gender inequity, power and control in relationships, sexual health, intimacy, including consent.



> Years 4 – 8 – Puberty, Personal Identity and Development Units including personal values, families, the human lifespan including reproduction, changing relationship dynamics and strategies to reduce harm.

> Year 9 – Diversity in relationships is explored, including the changing nature of families, diversity and roles in families, gender stereotypes, gender equality and equity, support networks.

> Years 9 and 10 – Values in relationships, including sexual relationships. Understanding power and control, what the law says, rights and responsibilities, healthy and unhealthy relationships, peer pressure and support networks.



> Child Safety Presentations which occur twice yearly to all Foundation – Year 12 students and staff.

> Foundation – Year 8 – scaffolded ‘No, Stop, Don’t’ programs, personal boundaries, body awareness, support networks and trusted adults.

> Year 9 – Sexual Health including consent and law. Power, different types of control and violence in relationships. Imagery and social media and the impact on relationships.

> Year 10 – Sexual Health including the influence of drugs and alcohol on relationships, safety in relationships, the role of pornography, intimacy, consent and the law.

> Years 11 and 12 – Year level workshops and guest presenters from Family Planning Victoria, Sex Education Australia, Red Frog, Paul Dillon and Victoria Police.

When we look explicitly at consent, our teachers and students take time to explore what consent looks like, what it feels like and what it sounds like. Consent must be:

> Explicit

> Mutual

> Freely given

> Informed

> Specific

> Enthusiastic

> Ongoing

> And the right to withdraw consent can occur at any stage


Parenting: Respectful Relationships, sex education and consent

As parents, it can be difficult to navigate the discussion around respectful relationships, sex education and consent; however, research shows us that parental voice is an essential part of children feeling supported and safe in their relationships and the notion of “Talk Soon and Talk Often” is key to this.

The Western Australian Government has produced a guide for parents on talking to their children about sex, including age specific conversation starters, expectations and a detailed section on consent (pg. 81). Parents are encouraged to download the resource and to start or continue the conversations at home. The resource can be found here.

Additionally, it is helpful for parents to have an understanding about the law and the age of consent. Youth Law Australia, which can be accessed here, has prepared detailed information for parents and students which has been summarised below:

> It is never okay for a person to have sex with another person who is under 12 years old.

> If you are aged 12-15 years old, you can legally have sex with another person who is less than 2 years older than you (as long as you both actively agree to it).

> Once you turn 16, you can legally have sex with another person who is also aged 16 years or older (as long as you both actively agree to it).

> Also, a person in a position of care or authority eg. a teacher, parent, step-parent, guardian, counsellor, doctor or sports coach cannot have sex with a person aged 16-17 years old under their care.


Please note that Respectful Relationships resources are now located on the CGGS Parent Portal for reference as needed –  and click on the Respectful Relationships icon.


Kath Woolcock
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing




March 5, 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,

In recent weeks there has been considerable discussion in the media about sexual assaults of young people and the issue of consent.

Today I sent a letter via email to all parents, and whilst lengthy I ask that you take the time to read it.

If you have any aspect of this communication that you would like to discuss, please contact myself –, Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School, (Mrs Cathy Poyser) –, or Head of Junior School (Mr Paul Donohue) –, or if you would like further information or support, you can contact 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732,

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody




February 19, 2021

World Day of Social Justice

The United Nations has recognised tomorrow as the World Day of Social Justice for 2021.

Our tradition and deep commitment to social justice is an integral part of who we are. It is framed by our School Motto, Utilis in Ministerium (Useful in Service) which is grounded in an Anglican Christian worldview.

In 2016, we undertook a review of our Social Justice Program to: review and define the purpose of our program, develop a framework and document the key initiatives. The review highlighted the importance of actions that are based in a learning relationship, not a charity focus. Hence the change of name to the CGGS Service Learning Program that has been developed using the CGGS Service Learning Framework.

In our framework we highlight that service begins with two premises. One is about the nature of the person and the other, the nature of power. Service must always increase the freedom, the autonomy, the dignity and the power of those being served. At its core it is about authentic relationships.

One of the organisations that we have had the great privilege to work with since 2016 is The Green Gecko Project in Cambodia. This project was established to assist families in Siem Reap to help their children attend school rather than commencing work at a young age.  The facility also has an extensive vegetable garden to produce food for members of the community and a program to upskill parents to assist them to earn an income.

For many years (until the pandemic arrived), multiple groups of students have travelled to Cambodia to visit Green Gecko and to work and learn with the students, as well as work in the vegetable garden and learn about the local community. We certainly look forward to the day that we can return.

Last Sunday in The Age, I was interviewed for an editorial about Open Days, however I focused on the strengths of our school and the importance of diversity, in our own community and in the way that we work with others. The article can be viewed here. I mentioned our work with the Green Gecko Project in the article and last night I was incredibly moved to read their response to the article on Facebook which I have included below.

At Camberwell Girls, through serving others, we learn about our local community, the global community and ourselves through commitment to our values in action. We are clearly guided by our Service Learning Framework in establishing and building long lasting connections with others and honouring the most Christian ideal of service. 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody

Chair of School Council

Dear Parents and Guardians,

On behalf of the School Council, it is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Dr Nikita Weickhardt as the new Chair of School Council.

Dr Weickhardt’s appointment comes following the decision of the incumbent Chair, Ms Christine Cussen, to step down from the role to pursue other professional and personal interests. The School is greatly indebted to Ms Cussen for her leadership of School Council since being appointed to the role of Chair in April 2018. Ms Cussen was first appointed as a Councillor in August 2005 and will continue to serve as a member of the School Council to ensure a smooth transition to Dr Weickhardt.

The selection and appointment of Dr Weickhardt to this important role was facilitated through a formal and comprehensive selection process. I would particularly like to thank Dr Helen Rawson, Mr Sam Page, Mr Tony Cant and Ms Christine Swan for their contributions to this process.

Dr Weickhardt, an engineer and, a current parent of the School was first appointed to the School Council in July 2019 as an Archbishop-in-Council appointment. Dr Weickhardt will be an inspirational leader. She is personable, forward thinking and will be dedicated to the role of Chair. I invite you to join me in congratulating Dr Weickhardt on her new appointment.


With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody