September Update

Stephen Webber, Headmaster of Guildford Grammar School
This term we have welcomed some of our new students for 2018 to engage in our subject and sports selection processes.  This is one of many milestones in the delivery of our project plan and I am excited to share more information on our progress below.  


At the time of writing we have 40 new female students and over 10 boys joining the School in 2018 as a direct result of the decision to extend co-education.  Fifteen of these girls are in Year 7, 6 in Year 8 and 19 in Year 11.

Our most recent tour, held on 29 August, was attended by over 140 people with interest across all year groups, from Kindergarten to Year 12.

We expect that these numbers will change as new and current families make decisions around enrolment at the School for 2018 as we progress through Term 4.


As part of our ongoing goal to engender a love of learning in all our students and to prepare them well for their senior studies and beyond, we have made a number of improvements to our Catalyst curriculum for 2018.  These changes will enable teachers to address new requirements set out in the Western Australian curriculum and continue to offer students learning experiences that are rigorous and engaging. The majority of these changes are not related to the extension of co-education but will be of interest to many of you.
Recently, students entering Years 7, 8 and 9 received our Catalyst information pack, which provides details on our Junior Secondary curriculum and the process of course selection.
Next year students will study a range of core subjects, which for those commencing Year 7 and 8 will include a new suite of Arts and Technologies courses. Each term every student will also be involved in an Action Project as part of their core Science or HaSS studies. These investigative, problem based projects see students engage with the curriculum in purposeful and meaningful ways and offer the opportunity for them to showcase their learning through a variety of assessment types.
This week our online course selection facility opened enabling students in Years 7, 8 and 9 to select from a wide range of Discovery Learning courses designed to offer breadth in the learning experience. Our Discovery courses are rigorous and provide students in Years 7 and 8 the opportunity to explore new areas of learning, or indeed continue their studies in courses that have already sparked interest and enthusiasm for learning. For more information on our Catalyst program and the course opportunities on offer in 2018 please click here to view the 2018 Catalyst Handbook.
Senior Secondary students are also involved in making course selections – those currently in Year 9 are making their Discovery course choices online so they can continue with subjects they have enjoyed so far or make choices which enable them to further explore new areas of study.  Those moving into Year 11 in 2018 have had lengthy discussions about the possibilities for their future and the timetable grids are already under construction.  Year 12 ATAR students in 2018 have the option of withdrawing from one subject and focusing on private study during the time this frees up.

Staff Professional Development

On 18 August Natalie Charles, Head of Senior School at Carey Baptist Grammar School (Melbourne), spoke to all staff about her journey as an educator with a long history in boys' schools and her recent move into a co-educational environment. Described by staff as “powerful and illuminating” Natalie discussed the challenges and differences of working in single gender and co-educational environments. Our Pastoral and Academic Leaders met with Natalie in smaller round table discussions that focused on key questions from these groups. An opportunity for future school leaders to speak with Natalie was also provided in the afternoon with many newer members of our bright and forward-thinking faculties attending this meeting.
In the past weeks three of our staff attended the Teaching Adolescent Girls in Co-educational Schools Conference held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
Following this conference Ms Jen Leah, Co-education Transition Coordinator, spent some time at Carey Baptist Grammar (Melbourne), Ivanhoe Grammar (Melbourne), Barker College (Sydney) and Canberra Grammar (Canberra), all schools that have transitioned or are currently undergoing transition to a co-educational environment. Each school’s transition to co-education has been unique in its context with its own challenges and rewards.  It was most wonderful to see the strength of each school and hear reports of the positive growth in their culture and community as a result of increased diversity.
In each case the move to co-education has been highly successful, which reflects the transition to co-education experiences of schools more broadly within Australia and overseas. Ms Leah also reported feeling very confident that our project research and planning has put us in an excellent position to manage issues that arose during the transition period for these schools.  

Current Student Engagement

During this term all of our current Year 10 mentor groups have met with the Headmaster and Co-education Transition Coordinator to discuss their thoughts on the extension of co-education and provide input into the transition process. This has been an important process as our Year 10 boys will be joined by over 19 new female students in 2018.  It has been wonderful to hear and see the engagement and interest from our current students and have the opportunity to understand and address any queries.

Sport Program Development

Ms Janine Finnie, our Director of Girls’ Sport has designed a 3-tier approach to the girls’ sports program for our new female students. The girls' participation expectations are the same as those currently in place for our male students and where possible the training and competition times will align. In some sports such as netball we will enhance the program already running in the Preparatory School so there is a natural connection and continuity in the opportunities for students as they progress through the School.
Performance sports will be a compulsory element in the school calendar and students already enrolled have selected their preferences from the following list:
  1. Cricket
  2. Tennis
  3. Swimming
  4. Hockey
  5. Netball
  6. Cross Country
  7. Rowing
Development sports are ones we are targeting as a school to develop into performance sports as student numbers grow.  All of our female students will try a development sport each season and will train throughout the term and compete in 2 fixtures or an event against other schools or clubs. Development Sports are likely to include:
  1. Football
  2. Soccer
  3. Rugby
  4. Surfing
  5. Waterpolo
  6. Basketball
  7. Equestrian
In Year 7-8 students will be able to participate in Swimming, Athletics, Cross country and Triathlon, and where possible both boys and girls will have the opportunity to compete together and as mixed teams, representing as individuals and as part of the School team.
In August we reached a significant milestone with a sports survey sent out to all newly enrolled female students. Students were asked to select preferences from the list of sports, and this information will help us to determine student interest. A round table meeting for Year 11 girls was held on 8 September and they have provided valuable input into the sports that will run for the students in this year group. We are confident that all of our students will have sporting opportunity equal to or greater than what is available at other similar schools.
Our sports uniform design process has been completed. Female students will have the necessary performance sport uniforms available from the start of 2018 and the School has made arrangements for development sport competition uniforms. You can expect that our female students will share the smart competition look our boys currently have.
In Term 4 the School will be focusing on establishing the necessary support structures for each sport and the associated teams. We will be recruiting coaches where necessary and formalising partnerships with the necessary competitions.  
It is obvious from interviews and meetings that our new female students are keen to represent the School with great enthusiasm.


Many of the required changes to our school facilities are well underway or have been completed. This term we have made progress in the below areas:
  • Modification to House bathrooms are complete with all now having both male and female toilets. All have had a full refresh so that both our boys and girls bathroom facilities are sparkling.
  • Construction of new male and female change rooms in the gym area has been completed and we are working on the final fit-out.
  • We are refreshing bathrooms in a number of other areas in the Senior School, adding female toilets to ensure availability in all locations. 80% of these are now complete.
  • Fit out of the girls’ common room is in progress with furniture in the process of being selected.
  • Our food truck is in full operation and is providing a unique and fun alternative to the tuck shop. This has proven to be an excellent measure to reduce student congestion around our traditional tuck shop.
  • The Master Plan is currently under review by the School Council. It includes the location and early design of a new boarding facility for both boys and girls.
  • Alterations to Harper House have been rescheduled for the Term 4 holidays to avoid any disruption to current students.
  • Plans for small modifications to the Clothing Shop and Medical Centre have been completed and work is soon to commence.
  • Heating to the Senior School pool is complete with further refurbishment to the surrounds to occur in Term 4 – this is one of many items on our general maintenance plan that does not relate to the co-education decision and will benefit all students.
As previously advised, our multi-purpose courts are all ready for basketball and netball. Also in Term 4 we will be commencing work to fit out an existing space with equipment to support our food technology course in Year 7.


Many of you may have seen the article in the Sunday Times on 10 September that featured our new uniform. For those of you that have not seen it, the article was a positive endorsement of our decision to provide our female students with options for summer dresses and shorts and winter skirts and pants.
The girls' academic and sports uniform designs have now all been completed, and we are just waiting on the final sample of the summer dress to sign off; this is the last item to be approved for manufacture. You are able to access images of the designs by clicking here.
The changes to the boys’ uniform (Years 1 – 12) are small and directly related to feedback that the School received from the School Community in the Uniform Survey conducted at the beginning of 2017.
The key difference to the boys' items are:
  • Summer shirts are a slightly different shade and include the school crest
  • The winter pant fabric is slightly darker
  • Socks are a modern length and material
  • New knitwear and hats                                                       
The new knitwear has three style options, for both girls and boys, and is made with a modern fabric. All students will be able to purchase a hat that complements the uniform beautifully. 
We have recently received indicative pricing and anticipate the cost of most items to be similar to our existing uniform and that of other schools locally. There will be some variation both up and down, for example where crests have been added to shirts or new technology in manufacturing processes has created efficiency. The delivery of new items is expected in December.  New students will be informed when fitting is available by our Clothing Shop.
In addition to the designs mentioned above we have identified a need to introduce a new Kindy/Pre-Primary uniform that will be worn through to Year 2 from 2019. We are in the process of sampling the items that might be included. They are being developed with a focus on what is age appropriate and ensuring that students have the ability to fully enjoy their learning and play.  Full details of this change will be communicated to the School Community before the end of 2018.

Important Information on the Uniform Transition

The School appreciates that the uniform is a significant expense for families and as such does not plan to require students to change to new garments within a particular timeframe, with the exception of girls entering the Senior School, who will be expected to wear the new uniform.
All current uniform items can be worn until they need to be replaced. We have selected the new items carefully to ensure that our strong classic Guildford Grammar School look is retained during a period of transition.
In an effort to manage current stock, the School is providing an opportunity for current families to purchase some of our existing uniform stock at discounted pricing during Term 4. Please contact or visit our Clothing Shop if you wish to take advantage of this opportunity. 
The sale of current second-hand uniform items will continue for approximately two years or until such time as a stock of the new items begins to grow so that there is continuity of this valuable service.
The new hats for Senior School students are optional and encouraged.
We wish to acknowledge the great work of the Uniform Design Committee, which includes current and future parents and school staff,  and also the current students that have provided feedback on various items.  The completion of the designs has been a true team effort and we are grateful in particular to the parents that have given up personal time to participate in a number of lengthy meetings.


The Ready Steady Trot program commenced in Term 3 with ten students from our Preparatory School participating in the program run in partnership with Zia Park.  The School's plan for 2018 is to run our Equestrian program activities in partnership with riding schools and suitable facilities based nearby. This will provide students with excellent opportunities whilst the School continues the complex work required to develop Equestrian facilities on the school site.  


Feedback and ideas from parents, students and Old Guildfordians is always welcome. If you would like to share your thoughts, you are encouraged to contact Kristy Teo, Project Manager or Jen Leah, Co-education Transition Coordinator, on 93779222, email, or use the feedback button on the School’s website to provide us with comments or feedback.
In Term 3 we have enjoyed welcoming many of our new students to the campus for interviews and to participate in information sessions. It has been a delight to see them enjoy their first experiences at our School.  

Stephen Webber


Inspiring students to achieve personal excellence and to be outstanding citizens who work to create a just, loving and peaceful society.