Strathcourier 2021

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Climate justice. A step closer to change in our Senior School

Design thinking. Why it should be taught in primary schools

Future proofing. The next generation

Gathering momentum. TH E FUTU R E IS NOW F O R G I R L S ’ E D U C AT I O N .

The future never stands still. NOR SHOULD YO U R DA U G H T E R .


S T R AT E G I C P L A N 2021 - 2025












Unstoppable girls begin at Strathcona.


This Strategic Plan is a collaborative work that outlines Strathcona’s goals and objectives as we move forward excitingly to our centenary. We look forward to building on this plan in the next five years and beyond and sharing our progress with you, our valued community.


In a unique point in time, in a progressive interconnected society, it is our purpose to develop lifelong learners with a strong social conscience who will courageously serve as active global citizens as our alumnae.

Within the creation of our plan we have undertaken an evaluation of our strengths based on feedback from our community, studied the evolution of our current initiatives and identified areas of opportunity.


Guided by our mission and core values, our Strategic Plan is anchored by our historic legacy of nearly 100 years and our commitment to provide an exceptional education and holistic learning environment to girls and young women.


As Strathcona prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2024-25, we have reflected as part of our planning on our successes, areas of growth, and defining characteristics that differentiate a true Strathcona education.

VISION To inspire and empower young women to live courageous and purposeful lives so they can contribute to the world with wisdom, imagination and integrity.


Gathering the Strathcona Momentum into our Centenary and Beyond.

















Contents 2

Principal’s Message

24 OSA reunions


Strathcona ranks as Top Victorian Independent Girls School for 2020

26 School libraries: as important as ever


Pathway to Medicine


Why should design thinking be taught in primary schools?







MISSION Strathcona educates girls and young women within a compassionate, inclusive, balanced framework of learning experiences, scaffolded by Christian values and care.

10 A step closer to climate justice 12 Does choosing a Strathcona education for your daughter provide an additional advantage? 14 Future proofing the next generation 16 Strong foundations in our ELC 17 Learning Legacy Program 18 TC Envision wins! 20 OSA achievements 22 Matilda the musical

27 Ethics: an individual choice 28 Community connections 30 Game of loans 32 Adaption and sport 33 Inspiring giving 34 Schooling journey 36 OSA Alumnae news 38 OSA obituaries 40 Global Action Research Collaborative 42 Top of the state’s class 43 The value of music 44 How to enrol at Strathcona 46 Frequently asked questions



P R I N C I P A L’ S M E S S A G E

Maintaining balance through shifting times In the consideration of delivering a balanced education over the years, among the many aphorisms I have come across, one of the most helpful particularly over these last 18 months of constantly changing circumstances is this: “A well-developed sense of humour is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life”.

In order to maintain perspective in educating young people even in normal times, it is certainly helpful to be able to smile at the ironies and vicissitudes of life. In recent COVID times, in order to be able to deliver an excellent educational experience for our students, a sense of perspective has been imperative. To use a random example: while a tightrope walker could be said to be managing a challenging environment the acrobat is not at one with the circumstances surrounding the feat. The circumstances, not least gravity and fear, are being defied not assimilated. I am not sure, in looking over these months, if the School has been tightrope walking or acrobatic­—or a bit of both—as we have needed both to assimilate and defy each iteration of the in and out of lockdowns and all that lay between.

We defied the idea that education could not be delivered exceptionally well online, for the most part, and we have responded as each circumstance has been put upon us. In doing this, maintaining a sense of humour may be keeping us afloat, but of course something more substantive and alive has been needed to sustain our energies and give direction to our ambitions as we have “pivoted” our way through the pandemic. I believe that a practical and vivifying force in maintaining balance in unbalanced times has three elements, each of which is a discernible trait of a Strathcona education: tradition (using rock solid School values to maintain focus on what is important), modernity (responsive agility to the changing environment) and pastoral sensibility (care of the people).

This is a tradition no easier to maintain than our heritage buildings such as Tay Creggan. To keep the School truly alive and responsive, we can never become complacent or thoughtlessly self-satisfied. Instead, our capacity for success depends on what I like to think of as a “constructive restlessness”. We have to strive to continue to adjust the scales according to the changing needs of the School, the group, the girl, staff and the times. We did this all through COVID-19 times of 2020 and now again in this first part of 2021, and most likely beyond. It is through a strong pastoral and wellbeing awareness that the School has always sought to meet the intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual challenges from day to day, and this has been particularly important as our young people navigated through recent times. Again, such an approach has grown from an already living and dynamic heritage of fellowship, service and mutual concern. We can not always respond perfectly to every given situation, human beings and their interactions are so endlessly complex,

but we have a strong pastoral and values-based framework in addition to a well-honed education philosophy, which informs what we do. This has helped provide practical guidance in the many dilemmas which confront us, even in normal times, and it is standing us in good stead as the world tips and sways around us. We can hold tight to what we know is good for our students while being confident and able enough to change our approach when we need to. In order to be responsive to our girls and how they are managing their lives, we have to know them and take the time to think about each one of them and the unique circumstances of their lives. We do this a lot. The goal is to respond in the best way we can for each girl. A key necessity in the enterprise of educating our girls is that we do this in partnership with parents. As we have been isolated in our homes and then tipped back to being together again, this relationship and sharing of how things are going with each girl has been critical. While the business of adolescence is about separating from parents, the irony is that it is a time when young people most need elders in their life. Without this partnership, the stewardship of the academic, social, physical and emotional welfare of each girl and the broader group is impossible. This is a further demonstration of the organic, that is to say, human rather than merely theoretical basis, of what the School tries to do. The final living reality of managing the delivery of a relevant education, relates to the School’s openness and response to modernity or the contemporary context in which it finds itself. The most recent context was “unprecedented” and it is the case that the combination of our bedrock of legacy values and having a cutting edge capacity for pedagogy and IT assisted us to fare well through it all. Obviously, many of the dilemmas we face today, putting aside the pandemic, were unknown to the

School’s founders or even those who led the School in the last century. Yet over the decades, one of the most striking traditions of this School is its willingness to read and respond to what theologians call the signa tempora or the sign of the times.

3 Being responsive to the modern world’s mixture of outlooks also guides the pastoral praxis of staff. We try to distinguish well-placed intervention from unnecessary intrusion into a student’s life; assess when to help a student through a crisis and when to stand back and let them cope alone, the idea being for them to build their capacity to solve their own problems. The School’s traditional openness to contemporaneity affects the classroom most strongly perhaps in the Humanities. To the Humanities— English, History, Economics and other Liberal Arts subjects and aspects of Drama—come for explication and resolution from the sometimes controverted political, social and philosophical movements in society. Balance, discernment and the capacity for broad, deep thinking is again the goal. We often talk of the girls and ourselves as being “part” of the School community. In living through all that has occurred of late, it is clear that there is more to this at Strathcona than mere rhetoric. We not only survived together, arms reached out to protect and catch each other, but in some ways we have thrived. And a well-developed sense of humour does help! I invite you to enjoy this edition of the Strathcourier; I hope it brings you joy to see images of our students and read the stories of a snapshot of our School life from the last months.

Mrs Marise McConaghy Principal


The School managed, using feedback and its own ongoing learning, to develop an efficacious mix of ingredients necessary for maintaining a balanced education. We did this secure in the legacy of nearly 100 years of a School adapting to change and external forces. In fact, balance was itself a foundational principle upon which the School was built. The School is known as one that aspires to produce grounded, balanced young women and to do this it provides a broad-based liberal education. Students are encouraged to study a range of subjects and to involve themselves in a variety of co-curricular activities while mixing with networks of social groups in order to experience being with different types of people. Excellence is encouraged and breadth is expected. You see evidence of this in the pages of this magazine.

Unstoppable girls begin at Strathcona.

Top Victorian Independent * Girls School for 2020. 91.6

In 2020, a global pandemic like nothing experienced in our lifetimes shook the foundations of the education system around the world. If anything could threaten our reputation for shaping unstoppable girls, this past year was it.


Now, with the year behind us, as I review the results of our VCE students I am filled with an immense sense of satisfaction and pride.

DUX OF 2020

Kate Joseland WHO RECEIVED A SCORE OF 99.90


» English » Drama » Physical Education » History: Revolutions










In the wake of unprecedented disruption and uncertainty, our students and staff have once again shown their courage, tenacity and adaptability. Our students are young people who will let nothing stand in their way. They have embraced the school philosophy of balanced

mind, body and spirit. They have been humble and kind while staying brave and strong. They have enjoyed a supportive culture of academic excellence and pastoral care to prosper as unique individuals. And their results—be they modest or grand—are nothing short of amazing. A Strathcona education is the catalyst of a life-shaping momentum, ensuring every girl discovers a trajectory as unique and full of potential as she is. As they launch into life beyond school—into a world vastly different from a year ago—I wish them continued success in all facets of life, and thank them for their inspiration. MRS MARISE McCONAGHY Principal






of students attained an ATAR of 90+ (Top 10% in Vic)

of students attained an ATAR of 98+ (Top 2% in Vic)

of students attained an ATAR of 80+ (Top 20% in Vic)

of study scores were 40 or above

* Data Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority





Where students have been offered a place in a double degree, the student’s main interest area has been allocated.

Monash University 47% University of Melbourne 18% Deakin University 17%


Science & Engineering 21%

Law 5%

Health 21%

Media & Communication 4%

RMIT University 8%

Humanities 19%

Information Technology 4%

La Trobe University 6%

Business/Commerce 9%

Psychology & Criminology 2%

Swinburne University 2%

Creative Arts/Design 7%

Performing Arts 2%

Australian Catholic University 2%

Medicine 5%

Education 1%

Pathway to



Four students from the Class of 2020 were accepted into Medicine and are now studying together at Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. Head of Careers and Partnerships, Ms Joanna Buckley interviews Anoushka Baruah (’20), Rebecca Evans (’20) and Caitlin Eccleston (’20) about their chosen career and the steps involved to enter Medicine. Q: What drew you to Medicine? Anoushka: Affinity: As someone who loves science, medicine has always been on my radar, but I realised medical school would be a good fit for me because it not only integrates scientific strategy and problem solving, but the humanities too, where you can learn your patient’s story, and through your abilities, try to advocate for them. Family illness: In late 2018 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. My family had a moment of realisation about the precious and fleeting nature of life, and as such, how vital its preservation is. I understood that being able to help a sick a person through knowledge and skills is an ideal filled with such compassion and love for humanity itself. Medicine seemed like a no-brainer. Family influence: My background promotes the study of medicine… aka, every time I went to India my grandparents would ask me if I was interested in pursuing Medicine. Rebecca: There were a multitude of factors that drew me to Medicine. There is no doubt it can be such a rewarding career that grants you the privilege to assist people from all walks of life, and the dynamic nature of a career in Medicine exposes you to new things every day. I also have an interest

in global health and was therefore interested to learn about why there are such disparities in global access to healthcare. From a scientific perspective, I have always been fascinated by human biology and the Medicine course really encourages and supports this curiosity. Caitlin: I wanted to be of use to the wider community and thought that pursuing Medicine was a sure way to do so. There has definitely been influence from my medically based parents, but I knew I had to choose it for my own reasons as well. I thought it was a perfect combination of science and interactions with people ­—I enjoy the idea of working with teams of health professionals as well as the patient to come up with the best treatment plan for them. For me it is about having faith in yourself and your team that you can make a difference, compassion for your patients and their loved ones, and dedication to improve the health outcomes for people the community to the best of our ability.

Q: How did you find the selection process, and balancing that with Year 12? Rebecca: The selection process was quite long and strenuous, with preparation for the UCAT beginning early in the year. Sometimes it was hard to stay motivated, particularly during the many lockdowns we faced throughout the year. I found it helpful to treat UCAT preparation as if it were a ‘sixth subject’ and created specific study blocks in my timetable to hold me accountable. This made the balance between Year 12 and the selection process much easier. Throughout the year I certainly struggled with lack of confidence, especially after I received a UCAT score that I did not believe was ‘good enough’ to get into the course. It was at times difficult to break out of this mindset, but I decided to view the end of year exams as a second chance and to stop ruminating on things that were out of my control. Anoushka: Entry into medicine is a three-part process for most universities in Australia: the UCAT, the ATAR and the interview. For some universities, like Monash, these three components are weighted equally to decide whether you are granted a place or not. That is to say, the entire years’ worth of stamina and perseverance poured into doing well in VCE was equally important


to the UCAT (so I crammed in the two months leading up to my test) leaving me just a week to prepare for the interview. In other words, I don’t think I balanced these three tasks equally! Caitlin: Being honest, I often got overwhelmed and nervous that my scores would not be sufficient — making sure you have a good support system and have recreational outlets was important to seeing myself through that final year. Looking back, I realised that minus the hype and stress constantly associated with what is the most mysterious and daunting year of school, the VCE is much more an opportunity than anything else. Q: What advice would you give to current students considering applying? Rebecca: Do not compare your abilities to those of others. It can be so easy to feel lost or overwhelmed during the application process; just remember there is a reason why you started in the first place. Work hard throughout the year, do not let your feelings of self-doubt take hold, and know that doing your best is all anyone can ever ask of you. Caitlin: I would advise current students to look through and choose a medical school entry program that best suits them and start working away early. There is no need to spend hours each day focused on the UCAT and interview prep, just do a little bit of work each day. The most important thing is to have is faith in yourself while it is a challenge, it is achievable. You may not have everything figured out, but just getting stuck into some work and noticing where your weaknesses are is better than getting stressed and losing focus entirely. Anoushka: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Have hope - one ‘bad’ score does not exclude you from getting an interview to Medicine. If you do poorly in the UCAT but exceptionally well in the ATAR, or vice versa, things may still work out.

From Head of Careers and Partnerships, Ms Joanna Buckley


GET TO KNOW YOU Before considering your career, ask key questions: Where do my natural abilities lie? What makes time pass quickly for me? What is important to me? It’s one thing to future-proof yourself, but you also have to find a job you will intrinsically enjoy. While you might have your mind set on a path, without thorough exploration you might not be aware of other options – including newly-emerged occupations – that could be a great fit for you.


USE OTHERS AS A RESOURCE Consider advice from those who know you. Career counsellors also give a sounding board and use activities such as guest speakers and reflection exercises to help identify your path. Ultimately, though, it’s your decision.

3 4

FOCUS ON INDUSTRY TRENDS Be aware of growth opportunities, salary and conditions, while still balancing this carefully against what will make you happy. IT’S A LEAP OF FAITH Without a crystal ball, all you can ask of yourself is to make the best decision for you, for now, and put trust in where that will take you. It’s okay to have little idea of where you want to end up in your career journey. Choosing a tertiary course is only a first step and one that starts, but doesn’t have to determine your life’s trajectory.


THINK TRANSFERABLE SKILLS If time reveals you need to change direction, you will still have knowledge and skills you can take with you into your next pursuit. With any career path you choose, be prepared to reinvent yourself and upskill if necessary through further study or experiences.

Q: How are you finding the course so far? Anoushka: Fabulous but hard. Now I am here, the struggle is more in keeping up with my work rather than excelling at it. There is a heap of content to get through weekly, and still, we are doing a mix of online and on campus learning. What is so fortunate though, is the incredibly beautiful people we get to meet in the course. Friendly faces and some of the best people I have ever met in my life. It has been wonderful. Rebecca: I am loving the course so far. The content has been really interesting, and we have already had the opportunity to learn some clinical skills, such as the all-important

method for proper hand hygiene! The course covers such a diverse range of material from medical law, pharmacology and global health to biochemistry and anatomy so there is always something new to be immersed in. Caitlin: I am really enjoying the course. Despite restrictions due to COVID-19, I have been able to have fun in my classes and get to know some of the great people in my cohort. Of course, the workload alone may seem undesirable, but combined with the great community here and the future as a health professional that awaits, I can say Medicine is a great choice of study.


Pictured from left: Dux of 2020 Kate Joseland with Rebecca Evans, Anoushka Baruah and Caitlin Eccleston.




Why should design thinking be taught in primary schools? Design thinking is a set of tools, methods, and processes by which we explore new answers for challenges, big and small. This process encourages children to develop the ability to think big, independently and to problem solve.

The Design Lab in the Junior School is a playful space where children can explore, design, make, take risks and problem solve in a way that is dynamic and creative. In design, children learn about what makes them unique, they learn to step out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves. The Design Lab is a place where children build confidence in their abilities to create, innovate and develop the tools and mindsets to implement change.


“ The more children apply design thinking to the challenges they see, the deeper they strengthen their belief in their ability to generate creative ideas and make positive change in the world.” In the Junior School at Strathcona we want young children to have the opportunity to think like an architect, a product designer, software engineer, fashion designer, entrepreneur or even a marine biologist. In a recent mini design challenge, Year 6 were sent on a scavenger hunt in the school yard to find as many natural materials as possible to build a sustainable house. They were given one constraint - design and execute their artefact in one 40 minute lesson. The idea was to model how engineers view constraints not as obstacles, but rather as a pathway to innovative thinking. This challenge also pushed many out of their comfort zone as they grappled with time management and the risk factors associated with it not being a ‘perfect project’. However, the level of engagement and ownership of learning during this design challenge was inspiring. Every individual was able to achieve a level of success and they had to be creative and develop something that was personally meaningful. Every design was unique, which is what makes the Design Lab in our Junior School such a rewarding and inspiring space. MRS LISA MILLER Head of Junior School


Through applying design thinking to challenges, children learn to define problems, understand needs and constraints, brainstorm innovative solutions, and seek to incorporate feedback about ideas. Finding the time and allowing children to develop these skills is perhaps becoming more important and relevant than ever. We are living in an age of increased complexity and facing a range of global challenges and there is a need to enable a generation of leaders who believe they can make a difference in the world around them. The more children apply design thinking to the challenges they see, the deeper they strengthen their belief in their ability to generate creative ideas and make positive change in the world.



CLIMATE JUSTICE The role of youth education in combating climate change is not a new concept, in fact the UNFCC in 1992 stated “education is an essential element for mounting an adequate global response to climate change.”

More recently (Kwuak and Winthrop, 2021) have highlighted how all schools play an essential part in the implementation of green learning. Research into the outcomes is predicted to be life changing if 100 per cent of youth were educated in climate education. This includes the mandatory educating of girls across the globe, especially those in the marginalised communities will help in reducing carbon emissions and minimise the death count from flood, typhoon and earthquake disasters. At Strathcona Girls Grammar the awareness around gender and climate justice is weaved into several subjects. To better understand the socioecological crisis that comes from high emissions and reduced natural resources, our girls in Year 9, 10 and 11 Geography investigate case studies such as the Mallacoota Bushfires

To support the learning of hazards and disasters, a new digital tool for collecting weather data is being utilised in Strathcona classrooms. Although there is a direct association with the subject Geography, students in Prep to Year 12 are now active agents of monitoring local weather in Canterbury. As educators we have seen a clear need for climate education and sustainability (Department of Education, 2015).

The accessible nature of weather on personal devices and in real time is naturally ingrained in our students’ daily lives but is often limited. Our girls need to know more than the basic information to ensure that they can be agents of change and global citizens. This means understanding the process of collecting data and the complexity of interpreting weather. Weather observation and collection has advanced throughout the 20th /21st century (WMO, 2008) and students in VCE Geography explore the changes from handwritten data of wind speed, temperature and air pressure. As parents and educators, we know that weather is so much more than identifying if clouds are visible, if there is wind, or rain. During their deep learning, students find, map and observe weather stations across the globe alongside building their knowledge and skills of drawing and interpreting synoptic charts and satellite images.

“Climate education will not disappear and has become a focus for our Humanities education. Change is happening and great initiatives are saving lives.”

Throughout 2021 our girls are monitoring the weather closely and identify patterns and season variability. In their learning experiences students compare data from the 34 Scott Street Weather Station with other spatial technologies, such as the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) App and the Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub and consider how the collection of our own data allows us to better understand our local and national climate context. In their lifetime, our girls are estimated to live through an unprecedented number of extreme weather events; numbers and frequencies that have not been seen before (Borenstein, 2020). Climate education will not disappear and has become a focus for our Humanities education. Change is happening and great initiatives are saving lives. Artificial farms are being built in South Sudan to target the issues around famine marriages (PLAN International, n.d) and floating schools are being set up in Bangladesh to ensure education is not stopped due to flooding. To question and learn about these case studies is confronting but our girls know that threats to global development are improved with retention rates. Through the active role our students have in using the weather station and engaging with other data they can be catalysts of change in their futures (Kleeman, 2019). This exciting and promising project has hopes to expand to our Year 9 campus and the Junior School and potentially partner with other schools and organisations. MISS HOLLIE FIELDS Head of Arnold House & Humanities teacher

Borenstein, S, Cordero et al., (2020), University of Montreal, pone.0206266 Kleeman, G. (2019), Geography Fieldwork Unlocked, AGTA Guiney, J. (2008), innovations-and-new-technology-improved-weatherservices Plan International (n.d), Wise Qatar Foundation (2012), solar-powered-floating-schools-bangladesh/


2019-20 and more recently the NSW February Floods 2021. Framed with an understanding of natural geological and atmospheric processes, alongside predicting and responding to weather events, students gain insight into the patterns associated with specific climate events such as hurricanes and regions which are classified as vulnerable due to the geographical location and climate conditions.



Does choosing a Strathcona education for your daughter provide an additional advantage? School is important, but which school is also important. What is the part of a school in student results? This is an important question, especially for parents investing considerable financial resources in sending their daughters to a school like Strathcona. Each year it is very exciting to see the VCE results Strathcona students achieve. With last year being so unusual with its (un)fair share of challenges there was more uncertainty about how the students would perform than usual. With conditions different to those we had been used to with lockdowns, modified study designs and assessment practices, there was the possibility that we would be surprised, and not in a good way. However, as you would be aware, our students did not fail to deliver. What is the part of a school in student results? This is an important question, especially for parents investing considerable financial resources in sending their daughters to a school like Strathcona. It is a question I was challenged with by my neighbour soon after the results came through. When he asked how we went, I replied “we did very well”. With a cheeky grin he asked, “you or your students?” Tactfully I replied “that they were the students’ results, but it is very good for us that they did well.”

There is no question that our VCE results, being ranked ninth in the state in terms of Study Scores by the newspapers, helps the school’s reputation. However, Principal Marise McConaghy and I wanted to explore the question of how Strathcona helps the students achieve what they do. We often call this ‘Value Add’. After all, our students come with many advantages over the average Victorian student. Does the School provide an additional advantage? The VCE results come from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), the administrative body for the VCE, with a prediction of how each student will go in each subject. This prediction is made based on student performance on the GAT (General Achievement Test), a three hour examination that every student undertaking a Unit 3/4 subject sits, usually in June, but in 2020 in October. This test assesses three areas that are statistically correlated with achievement in every subject: written communication; mathematics,

science and technology; humanities, the arts and social sciences. The GAT serves several purposes including providing schools with an indication of how scores for each subject compared with the expectations of the students in the subject. These results do point to significant gains for many of our students, but the test is taken so close to the final examinations, indeed after some of the assessment has taken place. Are the student GAT scores higher than they would otherwise be if they had not already spent years of their schooling at Strathcona? I dug deeper. Each student is tested on entry to the Strathcona Senior School using Edutest. This test provides percentile rankings against the

broader population on verbal IQ and numerical IQ, achievement in reading comprehension and achievement in Mathematics. In Year 7 we also test students using PAT (Progressive Achievement Tests), which give percentile rankings in Reading, Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation and Mathematics. Using these benchmarks, we find that Strathcona students are above average in terms of potential and achievement in Year 7. However, the distribution is much broader and the average much lower than that achieved in the ATAR, another percentile rank that correlates strongly with performance

“The rich, supportive community is so strong at Strathcona and not just about examination preparation but nurturing of human beings, learners, who are respected and empowered.”

in numeracy and literacy. To make this statement more concrete, those of our Year 7 students who perform at or below the national and school average in Years 6 and 7 very often achieve ATARs in the 80s and 90s. 57% of our students achieved an ATAR of over 90 in 2020. By contrast only 12% of these students achieved an Edutest ranking in the top 10% of the population when in Year 6. Strathcona does make a big difference for its students. This difference is revealed in the VCE statistics, but it is also evident in their broader successes. There are differences in resources, and focus. It is a community of students, teachers and other staff, parents, and past students that band together to provide the unique experience that is a Strathcona education. It is not

I have heard many speakers in my life. One whose words I will never forget is Reverend Tim Costello. On a visit to Strathcona perhaps a decade ago he told students and staff about how people often dream of what they would do if they won the lottery. “By being born in a place like Australia, you have already won the lottery. So, what are you going to do?” he challenged us. Most of us have been born into privilege and as parents we have done all we can to provide the best opportunities for our children. A very significant part of that work as parents is to send our daughters to Strathcona. Different students will benefit in different ways and take up different opportunities at School. Some will achieve amazing VCE results, some will perform on stage, on the sporting field or contribute wonderful service to the community. Some even manage all of the above. We are thrilled with the achievements of our students and the contributions we have been able to make to their lives. We also look forward to the vast diversity of outstanding contributions, grand and humble, they will go on to make in their lives and Strathcona are proud to play a part in making that happen. MR ROSS PHILLIPS Senior Dean of Learning Futures

If you would like to consider a Strathcona education for your daughter, please email admissions@


infallible, and it certainly requires the students to work hard. Some students for whatever reason take greater advantage of the opportunities available to them in their learning and reap the rewards.



FUTURE PROOFING the next generation Digital literacy, digital intelligence and digital technologies are woven throughout Strathcona’s teaching. Our young people are growing up in an epoch-defining moment which will require them to think and act differently to previous generations. Digital literacy, digital intelligence and technological capabilities are increasingly at the forefront of our minds as educators and parents. We know that developing these skills and abilities in our young people has never been more imperative, and that it’s critical for our education offerings to include diverse learning opportunities with Digital Technologies. The Strathcona community is in a privileged position that allows us to offer rich experiences with deeply embedded Digital Technologies across our campuses as well as in our Continuous Online Learning Program. The Digital Technologies curriculum at Strathcona has continued to evolve this year, particularly in relation to offering our Continuous Online Learning Program at various points in time. The approach is always to purposefully develop learning experiences centred on the skills of Systems Thinking, Design Thinking and Computational Thinking. Importantly, we weave project management and solution creation into the teaching and learning so that the thinking skills are fostered in the context of meaningful work for our learners.

On campus, our students have had the opportunity to build their own model neighbourhood and selfdriving cars. Armed with a design brief to program autonomous robots that can sense their environment and respond by navigating safely and autonomously within their surroundings, students successfully planned and implemented a design solution for their vehicles. We kickstarted the program by introducing the autonomous robotics industry to students and exploring what successful startups look like in this space, including hearing from Australian entrepreneur Tim Kentley Klay, who is the founder of Zoox. When learning remotely in our Continuous Online Learning Program this year, students have been engaging in the creation of computer programs in Arduino, a modified form of the C++ programming language. This leads into our wearable technology unit and solidifies many of the coding concepts that students develop over the Junior and Senior year levels in Technologies. Extending across the school, students have been exposed to rich learning experiences while studying at home, including coding websites in CSS and designing digital media products, such as professional video production, all from the infrastructure available to

them as part of our online offering. This experiential learning continues to produce a high level of engagement, which is so important for our community while we navigate the unknowns of lockdowns. Developing fluency in Python, or any other programming language, is an important aspect of the digital literacy that threads throughout our Digital Technologies curriculum, it is our whole-school infrastructure itself that has proven its power in these times of switching between remote and on-site schooling. Our girls are well placed to continue their engagement in a broad range of learning areas, including but not limited to Digital Technologies, because of the power of the technology we have available to us across our teaching departments.

“Our students will be apt to understand, use and create a range of technologies well into their future.” MRS CATHERINE NEWTON Head of Digital Learning and Innovation

“ Importantly, we weave project management and solution creation into the teaching and learning so that the thinking skills are fostered in the context of meaningful work for our learners.”






Young children have an unlimited capacity to learn, and their energy is captivating and infectious. A child’s early years are the foundation for their future development, providing a strong base for developing confidence in learning abilities, including cognitive and social development. Well-established research continues to emphasise the importance of early childhood education as an essential building block of a child’s future success. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international study conducted in participating OECD countries including Australia. The assessment measures the ability of 15-yearold students to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges. Evidence from recent PISA studies shows that children who participate in Early Learning Programs for at least two years perform better than children who have not attended. The study highlights children who attended a quality Early Learning Centre (ELC) for longer, benefited from an equivalent of more than one full year of schooling by age of 15, compared with their peers.

The ELC at Strathcona has a unique curriculum that draws on the principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy which places children at the centre of the learning experience. Children are immersed in a variety of learning experiences that engage in exploration and celebrate each child’s unique ideas. Inquiries may investigate mathematics, literacy, music, art, language, science, technology, health and physical education. Our highly experienced teachers work with our ELC children to uncover and develop their innate wonder and curiosity. These experiences are fundamental to developing social, confident and resilient children with a genuine love of learning and strong sense of self, who then go on to make a seamless transition to Prep in the Junior School. MRS LISA MILLER Head of Junior School

Learning Legacy Program

Learning Legacy Program The Learning Legacy Program (LLP) was unveiled at the beginning of Term 1 this year, as part of Strathcona‘s contemporary, personalised and future- focused approach to teaching and learning and has seen many benefits already. Due to the unprecedented level of responsibility our students had to embrace during the COVID-19 lockdown last year, we felt it was worth both celebrating and harnessing in some way. We reflected on the student resilience and the quality of the output produced, the vehicle for substantive teaching and learning conversations, in terms of curriculum and its essential learnings, course planning, the structure of the day and wellbeing. Hence, this program was viewed as an opportunity to build upon and enhance our students’ skill base.

Staff and student feedback in surveys conducted throughout 2020 indicated the learning disposition of autonomy and independence was highly valued. We continuously wanted to foster confidence in students’ self-direction capabilities and harness effective habits of mind, encouraging life-long learning and positive approaches to problem solving. Utilising a hybrid blended learning model that brings together the best of remote continuous learning and classroom learning, every Wednesday afternoon is set aside in all Years 10–12 Senior student timetables, periods 5 and 6 (100 mins) for students to participate in the program. There was close collaboration with all Heads of Department, who took the lead in how subjects could reimagine

their pedagogy, in particular tutorial sessions and how the weekly program schedule would look. Importantly, students set their own learning goals for this program providing a clear objective for students on what they want to achieve, giving meaning and motivation for the program. We also set up a scaffolded program that played to students’ voice and choice – what they feel that they need in their learning to improve their approach and outcomes, so building their own toolkit of learning strategies. Interestingly, one of our own Year 12 students came up with the name for the program, and one of our gifted art students created the logo design. Students currently choose from a mix of interactive 15–20-minute tutorial sessions covering effective notetaking, study and exam skills, as well as a host of other aspects such as how to use memory retrieval practice, how to elaborate on answers, application question techniques, mnemonic devices, mind-mapping, colour coding, inserting quotations into essays and using an Excel spreadsheet to name a few. Students then apply that skill to specific work they bring with them in a subject, while the teacher is there to facilitate for another 30 mins. Masterclasses are offered to drill down into concepts, or have an intensive SAC debrief session. At other times, students can simply have a self-directed learning session where they work independently or consult with a VCE teacher one on one, to get

extra help with their work or to ask questions. In this block of time, most VCE teachers are available for extra tuition or conferencing. Students are also encouraged to form study groups to aid each other in the understanding of material. To maintain focus and goodwill, these sessions also had to be threat free and offer varied experiences, as well as giving students surveys to provide real-time input into the sessions being offered, so we can tailor the sessions to suit demand, interest and needs. From feedback provided, students are feeling that the program has been successful, and many are applying what they have learnt. Some students want even more of this time to be used to apply their new skills or to help them develop study/thinking skills personally tailored to them. Others want an even broader choice of options and more of an opt-in system to operate. COVID-19 has accelerated the transformation and implementation of new programs and initiatives, and in particular, fast-forwarded the thinking, learning and understanding by educators that we now need to do things differently; reimagine schooling and the school day to better enable our young people to engage with their own way of learning and to equip them with skills to cope with an increasingly unpredictable, uncertain and complex world. By teaching and reinforcing strategies on ‘how to learn’ and how to navigate issues and problems, we equip them for a future world. MRS SIMONE BOLAND Dean of Teaching and Learning


“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” — ERIC HOFFER






TC Envision staff were named the 2020 UpSchool Entrepreneur Educators of the Year at The University of Melbourne Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship. It is a testament to the forward-thinking Entrepreneurial TC Envision program which teaches life-ready skills to our Year 9 students. The students started off the year getting to know themselves and completing team building work, before focusing on developing skills relevant to building a business, such as design, packaging and presentation.

Our outstanding Year 9 student business team TC Marketplace website also was awarded the 2020 UpSchool Student Pitch Competition! Students, Audrey Hillard, Kate Henry and Meg Harrison won an Entrepreneurship EcoSystem Tour and a place at the Wade Annual Showcase, where they were able to showcase the e-commerce marketplace that they built and sold other TC Envision business goods through.

With the base work completed, the students turned their attention to their burgeoning businesses, forming their companies and creating their business plan.

Karyn and Liesl completed an UpSchool course in 2019 and set about transforming the curriculum, looking at the year long Envision program with a distinctly Melbourne flavour. Karyn and Liesl also focused on making the curriculum a bit more modern, leaning on the 4Cs of 21st Century skills – creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. “Each term we thought about focusing heavily on one of those things,” Liesl says.

“A lot of the work was independent, which was really important for helping the girls become confident with those skills,” Karyn says.

“While we would normally host a face-to-face market where the girls can sell their products to other students, the circumstances meant we had to find an online solution,” Karyn says.

“Luckily, we had a group of girls who are really into their digital tech, and they went about creating an online marketplace. The students did all the competitor analysis, they found a gap in the market, and people’s pain-points.” Their product, Envision Marketplace, is a fully functioning online store, and they charged the rest of their year group to use the website to sell their products. True businesswomen at heart. This group were crowned the winners of the 2020 UpSchool Pitch Competition.

The whole Envision program thrived in the online world taking home proceeds of over $9,000. For Karyn, Liesl and the students there is much to take away from the TC Envision program, not least some important life skills which will set the girls up well for the future. “Because the campus is so close to the city, we really wanted to involve the community in our program, and we have been lucky enough to have The League of Extraordinary Women as partners for a few years and have them be mentors for the students,” Liesl says. “They’re an incredible group of really strong women who have built their own companies, and who have real stories to tell our girls. The stories aren’t always rosy, but they have some really life-changing lessons which are so valuable for our girls to hear.” “One of the things which has been valuable for some groups is having to talk to them about failure—what it means and how we react to it,” Liesl says. “Girls in particular tend not to take as many risks—we’re trying to destigmatise that, and this program has been a great way to get them to rethink what it means to fail.” “On the whole it has been a really positive online experience for them, and it’s pushed us to develop the program more. It can only grow and improve from here, which is exciting.”


19 For UpSchool Entrepreneurship Educators of the Year, Mrs Karyn Murray and Ms Liesl Woods, 2020 was a year of turning challenges into opportunities. They have transformed how they implement entrepreneurship in their classroom, as they incorporated new elements and took Envision online, and supported a group of their students to take out the 2020 UpSchool Pitch Competition.

Old Strathconians’ A S S O C I AT I O N




A story of reconnection

To tell a story about responsible investment supporting climate action, Sarah Russell (’79) wanted to balance facts with personal storytelling to engage stakeholders, including employees and customers. Sarah was, until 2019, global CEO of a Dutch-based asset management company, investing more than AUD 500 billion of customer savings and pension fund assets.

Kathy’s input supported a five-minute opening of a presentation launching an annual responsible investment report. The resulting impact of the report’s introduction was immediate and lasting. Even today, some years later, those who listened to or heard about the presentation ask about the climate challenge in Australia, about the bushfires and about the safety of her family.

Seeking a non-European perspective that reflected her Australian roots, Sarah reached out to Kathy McInnes (’79) for inspiration and perspective. Before reconnecting, Kathy and Sarah had not been in touch for almost 40 years!

Kathy had learnt of Sarah’s whereabouts and inspiring career history from mutual friend Darlene Wright-Oberhoff (’78) and subsequently connected with Sarah on Facebook. For Kathy, who is often asked to provide talks on climate change to government agencies, providing information Sarah could communicate to her stakeholders was a great opportunity to reach a different type of audience. Sarah’s compelling approach to presenting the information impressed Kathy as well.

Kathy joined CSIRO in 1990 and is Group Leader, Climate Extremes and Projections Group in the CSIRO Climate Science Centre of the Oceans and Atmosphere business unit. In 2020 she was awarded the CSIRO Medal for Lifetime Achievement. Her research focuses on understanding how climate change will affect severe weather events and coastal extreme sea levels.

Among her many achievements, Kathy has been both a contributor and lead author on reports prepared for the

United Nations-led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as a co-chair of the World Climate Research Program’s Grand Challenge for Sea Level. Sarah is also an experienced non-executive director and is currently board member of Nordea Bank, Finland, one of Europe’s largest banks; APG Group, which administers and manages Dutch pension assets of around AUD 880 billion; and The Currency Exchange Fund, specialising in providing frontier currency hedging solutions to support global development and micro finance initiatives. Kathy has since stopped over in Cologne, Germany, to visit Darlene and Hilversum, The Netherlands, to join Sarah on a bike ride to Lage Vuursche for poffertjes!

INTERSCHOOLS GOLF CHALLENGE CUP 2021 Lou Crellin (’71), Prue Moodie (Spicer ’69), Carol Simmons (Wilhelm ‘68) and Helen Pizzey (Dickson ’66) (photograph L-R) competed in this year’s prestigious Interschools Golf Challenge at Commonwealth Golf Club. The event, formerly known as the Sun Cup, has been running since 1929 and is competed for by 29 independent schools. This is Strathcona’s 20th year participating

in this charity event. The day was won by Ballarat Clarendon College. Strathcona’s team competed well and enjoyed the day. $3,500 was raised for the charity, McAuley Community Services for Women, whose vision is that women and children will be safe, supported and empowered to achieve their highest potential. Supporting

women and their children to be safe from family violence by providing 24/7 crisis support and temporary accommodation. The women needing support have experienced, or are at immediate risk, of serious harm: through physical and emotional violence, threats, sexual assault, and stalking. McAuley staff work alongside them to plan their move towards a life free from violence.

2 0 2 0 S T R AT H C O N A M E D A L R E C I P I E N T

Amanda Whitfort


Strathcona was proud to announce Associate Professor Amanda Whitfort (’87) as the 2020 recipient of the Strathcona Medal. Amanda is a shining example of alumnae who has made a positive impact on our world. Professor Whitfort’s research and knowledge exchange in animal related laws have resulted in significant legislative and policy change for Hong Kong. In 2017, she was awarded the University of Hong Kong’s highest award for public benefit, the Knowledge Exchange Excellence Award in recognition of her work’s outstanding societal impact. Amanda continues her good work in Animal Law.


Class of ’87 In January this year Amanda had an article published in the Journal of Environmental Law - COVID-19 and Wildlife Farming in China: Legislating to Protect Wild Animal Health and Welfare in the Wake of a Global Pandemic. Amanda has observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that the current legal framework to protect wild animal health, and consequently human health, is not working. This article contends that, in a significant part, this is because there is no international agreement to protect animal welfare. Amanda joins 16 other outstanding alumnae who have received the Strathcona Medal in the past.

The Strathcona Medal is awarded at Presentation Night each year to an Old Strathconian. The medal is given in recognition of excellence in a profession and exceptional service to the wider community in the spirit of the School motto; Bravely. Faithfully, Happily. All alumnae are eligible for nomination. If you know of a worthy recipient of the medal please contact Mrs Jo Wilson, Director of School & Community Relations,

Stay connected with Strathcona Alumna at old-strathconians-association oldstrathconians

Strathcona Connect




MATILDA the Musical

Two decades after Matilda was released, Tim Minchin was approached by the Royal Shakespeare Company to adapt Dahl’s book into a musical with Dennis Kelly. A great fan of Dahl’s work, Minchin had a strong affinity with his writing and was heavily influenced by Dahl’s books as a child. Minchin’s ability to balance humour with pathos, just as Dahl’s stories did, enabled him to develop Matilda into a musical that honoured the original narrative whilst incorporating the elements necessary for a successful production. “As I got to know Tim, I realised this was made in heaven,” Felicity Dahl (Roald’s widow) later said when describing Minchin’s work.

When the rights to this popular production became available, we jumped at the chance to perform the show. The themes in the script resonated with us as strongly with the music and lyrics. Our plan was to create an inclusive production that capitalised on the ensemble opportunities, as well as taking advantage of the wonderful lead characters that would showcase the skills and abilities of our talented cast. Rehearsing after school, in the holidays and on weekends, students from Years 8 to 12 worked together to create a performance where the process was just as important as the product. Behind the scenes, students played in the orchestra, stage-managed the show, operated the lighting and sound desks and assisted with front of house duties. It was, in every sense, a celebration not just of the outstanding performance skills in the Strathcona community, but an example of collaboration in action. MRS CLAIRE JOHNS Director of Productions and Senior Mentor (Grenfell)


Roald Dahl’s Matilda was published in 1988 and won the celebrated Children’s Book Award. At last, children had a heroine in the shape of a young girl, defined not by her appearance or diminutive size but her intelligence; clever enough to outsmart her horrible parents and brave enough to fight a tyrant headmistress. Matilda’s courage and determination in a world enhanced by aspects of magical realism perfectly surmise why Roald Dahl’s prose is so enduring.

2021 OSA




We are delighted to have been able to schedule Strathcona reunions again following 2020 , the year of uncertainty. This year has been one of catch-up, holding reunions missed last year, as well as the 2021 reunion groups. We have been excited to reconnect with so many alumnae; some who had not returned to Strathcona since leaving school. There has been plenty of chatter and laughter at each event. All photographs from the reunions can be seen in galleries on our alumnae platform, StrathconaConnect. StrathconaConnect provides an online networking, mentoring and engagement platform for the exclusive use of our Strathcona alumnae. Since the launch last year, already over 500 past students have registered with mentor relationships being formed, business details being shared, networks strengthened and classmates reconnected.

To register please visit

Afternoon tea at Tay Creggan, May 2021

Lunch at Tay Creggan, May 2021

Class of 1985 (36-year reunion)

Class of 1975 (46-year reunion)

Class of 1986 (35-year reunion)

Class of 1976 (45-year reunion)

Class of 1990 (31-year reunion) Class of 1991 (30-year reunion)

2021 Remaining Reunion Dates

40-year reunion (Class of 1981) 41-year reunion (Class of 1980) Thursday 19 August, 6.30-8.30pm Strathcona Senior Centre, Canterbury OSA Annual General Meeting Tuesday 7 September, 7.00-8.00pm Strathcona Senior Centre, Canterbury 1960-69 reunion 50-year reunion (Class of 1971) 51-year reunion (Class of 1970) Saturday 16 October, 12.00-2.30pm, Tay Creggan Lunch Pre-1960 reunion Thursday 11 November, 12.00-2.30pm Strathcona’s Creative & Performing Arts Centre, Canterbury 20-year reunion (Class of 2001) 25-year reunion (Class of 1996) Thursday 18 November, 6.30-8.30pm, The Deck, Strathcona Senior Campus, Canterbury 1-year reunion (Class of 2020) Thursday 25 November, 6.30-8.30pm, The Deck, Strathcona Senior Campus, Canterbury

Class of 2019 (1-year reunion) March 2021, The Deck, Strathcona Senior Campus

Class of 2006 (15-year reunion) March 2021, Auburn Hotel


10-year reunion (Class of 2011) 11-year reunion (Class of 2010) Sunday 8 August, 3pm-5pm Auburn Hotel




AS IMPORTANT AS EVER In a world where fake news is more common than ever, school libraries play an important role in ensuring students acquire the research skills and knowledge to identify trustworthy sources of news and information.

The past year has demonstrated how important it is to be wary of reliable sources of information, as individuals are afforded numerous platforms of misinformation. The number of teacher-librarians has dropped in recent years as schools have re-distributed funding from their libraries to other areas. Governments are looking to address this issue by stimulating funds to support teachers to become qualified teacherlibrarians. Additionally, as students progress through school it is evident that they do not engage with books in their later years as much as they do during their primary years, so it is becoming increasingly important to maintain library settings, educating them on the importance of critically analysing multiple sources. Strathcona’s teacher-librarian, Bridget Forster, was presented with the ‘Innovators Award’ for her excellent project that challenged her students, with the help of a mentor, to develop an entirely new skill in just 10 weeks. Having researched how libraries cater to gifted students as part of her Masters, Mrs Forster came up with the idea for the project. The students were tasked with finding a mentor (a master of a particular skill) to assist them in learning their chosen skill. To find a mentor the students needed to use their networks and approach different organisations.

“Experts included a master carver who worked on the restoration of Windsor Castle, the CEO of an app design company and a number of professional artists and musicians”. The students researched the best way to learn and develop their chosen skill. Their resources ranged from online courses and forums to reading relevant articles and books. The challenge also included a report on the history of their new skill which they presented at a Digital Showcase to their Year 8 peers. Mrs Forster is a champion for school libraries and is confident that they will continue to thrive, citing they are an integral part of a 21st century education. “We’re equipping students to be discerning consumers of information and that entails not only being able to identify fake news and the like, but also knowing where to find reliable, authoritative sources of information” Mrs Forster says. Students have access to a wider range of resources than ever before, and it is imperative that while navigating social media and the internet they can critically evaluate what is and what isn’t considered trusted information. The Strathcona community is very proud of Mrs Forster’s achievement on winning this award, and for introducing her innovative project to the students.

I N S I G H T S I N T O S T R AT H C O N A ’ S E T H I C S C L A S S

Individual Choice STRATHCOURIER 2021


Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard shares the idea that whenever we make a choice, it was possible for us to have made a different one. The freedom we exhibit as humans to determine our own actions through individual choice, is what makes us each unique and individual. The choices we make, what we should or should not do, the possibilities of alternatives and which option is best, determines how we interact with and see the world. What values, principles and beliefs we use to guide our decision making, helps us to discover who we are and who we want to be. Ethics are the principles that set a standard for human behaviour. This is the main message to our students who study this course. Our introduction to Ethics in Year 10 encourages students to learn and develop the skills necessary to think about, analyse and discuss ethical dilemmas such as the Trolly and Lifeboat dilemmas. Perhaps the most important aspects of the Ethics course is the way that it is designed to challenge students to examine their own personal answers to each dilemma, to develop a deeper understanding of their own belief system, and to constantly question and consider their personal position

on the various topics presented in class in order to build their knowledge of their own ethical framework. In our Ethics classroom at Strathcona, students are encouraged to explore and evaluate a range of different issues, some of which they are familiar with such as capital punishment and euthanasia, and others they have never previously considered such as surrogacy and designer babies. They are asked to consider a range of varying opinions and competing sources of authority on these issues and then compare this to their own thoughts and position.

critical thinking skills to interpret and challenge these many perspectives and resolve to understand their own position on the topic and how they arrived there. Topics are teased out in class in different manners. We may hold line debates, role-play scenarios, reasoning activities as well as students developing their own podcasts and panel discussions which represent alternative views. It is through debate and class discussions where, as a group, we are able to reflect on opposing views and students can begin to critically

“ Perhaps the most important aspects of the Ethics course is the way that it is designed to challenge students to examine their own personal answers to each dilemma, to develop a deeper understanding of their own belief system, and to constantly question and consider their personal position...” Offering a range of perspectives on a topic allows students to witness the vast philosophical ideas that come into play when making difficult decisions. Sometimes choices can be based on a person’s religion or culture, other times it may be influenced by their gender or past experiences. Students are supported and encouraged to use

consider the ethical issues at play. Through the sharing of personal thoughts, experiences and opinions about the ethical issues presented, students also build confidence and discover that their beliefs and opinions about problems in society are important. MRS MIRANDA GAZIS Head of Gilbert House and Ethics teacher




2020 was a challenging year in many ways. The circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic made it problematic for the Strathcona community to gather together and socialise. We have therefore been heartened by the response to the 2021 events and the record numbers attending.



The Community Relations Department, Strathcona Family Association (SFA) and the year level class representatives have held many successful events with many more scheduled for the year. 2021 commenced with the Welcome Coffee Morning for parents followed by the SFA hosting drinks for Junior School parents at the conclusion of their information evening in February. Unfortunately, due to a further COVID-19 lockdown by the Victorian Government, the SFA Senior School parent drinks were not able to be held. Morning teas were scheduled by our class reps and the Community Relations Office hosted a global morning tea. At the end of February, prior to leaving for Year 7 camp, families gathered on the oval for a picnic and sausage sizzle hosted by the SFA. This event, early in the year, offers an opportunity for new and old families to meet each other in a social setting. March was a busy month with over 70 Strathcona fathers enjoying a night at the Auburn Hotel with guest speaker Andrew Stark, a past parent, talking about his career in the Australian Federal Police and beyond.

The highlight of March was the SFA hosted Dancing Under the Stars evening. The event had 180 parents enjoy the beautifully decorated deck area at Senior campus with plentiful catering, lots of bubbles and great entertainment. Many parents remarked what a wonderful night it was!

We are fortunate and grateful that the Strathcona community has so many wonderful parents who freely volunteer their time and efforts. Their contribution to the School is essential and provides the foundations for a strong connection and sense of belonging, building our great community.

Mother’s Day was another opportunity to celebrate with a group of our Junior School mothers volunteering to organise a Mother’s Day stall. This allowed the Junior School girls to purchase gifts for their mums. The SFA hosted the annual Mother’s Day Breakfast with nearly 300 attending. The final event was the Junior School & ELC lunch held at CRUDO warehouse in Kew.

Finally, the Class of 2020 Valedictory Dinner was held on Thursday 15 April 2021 at the RACV City Club. The night was a huge success with over 140 attending. Wonderful feedback from both parents and ex-students as they were grateful that they could finally celebrate together after a tumultuous 2020. It was interesting to see how relaxed our youngest alumnae were with 2020 exams and university offers behind them and such bright futures ahead of them.



Game of LOANS Competition is fierce as students across the school compete in reading challenges. Junior School and Year 7, 8 and 9 students during Term 2 have all been challenging themselves to read. In the Junior School all students are enrolled in the Premier’s Reading Challenge, where they must read several set books for their level and can read beyond these if they choose. Parents have been enlisted to help the students record their reading and, in the case of younger students, to support them reading. It is great to have families involved in students’ reading as reading is not an individual exercise, but something that generates discussion and communities. This is a great program that runs across the state, and we are pleased to support it. At Strathcona, however, Year 7, 8 and 9 students have been participating in Game of Loans, a reading competition where they compete as form groups to read the most books over the course of the term. Students can read what they like for this challenge, but points adjustments are being made for very hard or very easy books. Many of the students in these year levels have grasped the challenge and are reading voraciously. We look forward to announcing the class at each year level with the most books read as well as the individual prizes! Students in Years 10-12 have also expressed interest in joining the challenge. Many teachers have been asked to read for specific teams. This is a reflection of the reading culture that has developed at Strathcona over many years, and which continues to grow.

It is great to see so many students so engaged in reading across year levels because reading has so many benefits. There is a close correlation between reading for pleasure and academic achievement. Young people get a benefit for reading for fun, whatever they like! Reading helps children and teens to develop skills of concentration and imagination. They must learn to follow increasingly complicated plots and character story arcs. They learn to consider what characters do and why they do it; they think about what they might do in the same situations. As they get older, the challenge of the subject matter increases. Whether in realistic young adult fiction or fantasy and dystopia, readers are faced with challenging situations in books. They follow the protagonists through their adventures and reflect on what has happened. They discuss their favourite stories with friends and often disagree. As such, reading has wellbeing and social benefits that support young readers as they learn about the world around them and the worlds of the imagination. Running the program through wellbeing classes had helped to underline these social and emotional benefits for the students. The wellbeing program has been an opportunity to focus on these broad benefits of reading and to encourage our unique reading culture at the school. Giving class time to reading underlines its importance to us as a school community and gives students the chance to settle into a good book.



“As such, reading has wellbeing and social benefits that support young readers as they learn about the world around them and the worlds of the imagination.” Through programs such as this, wide reading time in English classes and the vibrant Kaleidoscope library group, we aim to support and encourage young readers in the Strathcona community so they can all reap the benefits of reading for pleasure and sow the seeds of a habit that will sustain them through their lives. By the end of the term, Year 7 students had read 587 books,

Year 8s, 165, and Year 9s, 32. The winning classes were 7D, 193 books, 8D, 129 books, and 9GRE, 28 books. Individual prizes were awarded to Janelle Cheok, Elodie Miller, Victoria Toth, Laura Cairo, Rachel Zhou and Hannah Geary. Congratulations to everyone who participated and thank you to the teachers who supported the Game of Loans. MS PENNY ROBERTS Director of Library and Research




Learning to adapt is a lifelong skill that can be developed through participation in sport. Head of Sport, Ms Keira Wills unpacks how sport enables these abilities to build. Change and adapting to situations are a common part of our everyday lives, but even more so for our youth who are continually facing a large number of changes in their life. How youth learn to cope with these changes, challenges and setbacks can help them now and help prepare them for the future. For so many, sport is a vehicle for learning and growth, helping to develop a level of resilience through participation. The America Psychological Association defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress”. Whether it be calls that are made against you in a match, losing a match, not making a certain team, being in a different team or being injured, each of these moments in time present an opportunity to

control emotions and adapt to this adversity. It is this ability to learn how to bounce back from these setbacks, that allows these learning experiences to occur.

“By being exposed to these challenging moments early in life through sport, whereby a refocus and a change in emotion is required, sometimes instantly, we are allowing our youth to gain these skills in a supportive and safe environment.” When these emotions are experienced as part of a team sport, this supportive environment is increased further, whereby our youth learn how to deal with setbacks, all whilst those around them are relying on them and working together towards a common goal. A recent

study in the UK, provided support for this view with study co-author Jason Johnson stating that “Sports teaches kids to participate with peers towards a common cause that’s bigger than the individual, a behaviour that teaches them how to be resilient.” Resilience can also come in the form of refocusing your attention, emotion, and expertise into another area of life when one area, such as sport, is no longer an option for you. One of the greatest examples of how sport has taught me resilience came very early in my sporting career. At the peak of my underage netball abilities, I experienced not one, but three ACL injuries, requiring three separate knee reconstructions all within the space of two years. Whilst this was a bitter pill to swallow and a significantly difficult time in my life, one key takeaway I can now look back on, with the beauty of hindsight, is that these injuries occurred and allowed me to refocus my life into other areas. My first injury occurred in Year 12, and my third injury occurred in my first year of university, whilst loved ones were busy travelling across the world for work. Without these injuries, I may not have had as much time to dedicate to my studies or the opportunity to travel the world with my loved ones. Whilst injuries are an unfortunate part of sport that we never like to see, would I have learnt these lessons, refocused my life into other areas, learnt new skills and built resilience in life if I never participated in a sport in the first place? I choose to believe not. References: news/2019-10-kids-resilient-empathetic-sports. html;


One of the true strengths of the Strathcona community is its ability to band together in times of need.

The now well known; “Strathcona Family Support Fund’’ is a prime example of this. Last year, more than 140 donations were received and over $139,000 raised to support families suffering the financial effects of COVID-19. To say that we were humbled by the care and concern our community showed for those doing it the toughest during this period, is an understatement.

In 1970 Tay Creggan opened its doors to our Year 9 students, a revolutionary step as Australia’s first designated campus for Year 9 girls.

It is not always well known that independent schools are in fact, charities requiring philanthropic support in order to offer those next level programs and facilities they are best known for. Whilst school fees and government grants cover the operational costs of these schools, it is giving that transforms them.

Our donors love Strathcona, and they are proud of the people it produces. They are part of a community that has deeply set values, honoured over generations; a community that is warm, compassionate, welcoming and genuinely connected.

Strathcona is proud of its long history of philanthropy. Our founders, Mrs Livingstone and Miss Hughes believed in and were committed to a woman’s right to the kind of education offered to her male counterpart and her ability to make good use of it. With this resolve and plenty of grit, they financed the school through the sale of Mrs Livingstone’s house, along with Miss Hughes’ modest capital. Again, in 1969 the generosity of another two women, the Mellor sisters, allowed the School to purchase the historical property Tay Creggan, situated on the banks of the Yarra River in Hawthorn.

Whether giving of voice, time, talent or money, generations of Strathcona’s community have followed the lead of these extraordinary women, investing generously in the place our girls benefit from and thrive in today.

Our community gives to provide our girls the opportunity to find their voice and identity. Giving inspires our girls to pursue novel ideas, take prudent risks, maintain a positive outlook and challenge the status quo. They know that being a Strathy girl is about so much more than just being the best. Strathcona gratefully welcomes donations to Scholarships, Buildings, the Library and of course, our Annual Appeal Program. On behalf of our girls, our staff and this unstoppable place we call Strathy, I thank you. Your continued support means more than you know. MRS ELIZA GODING Development Manager

GREEN E VO LU TI O N APPEAL This year, we formalised our giving culture by launching our first Annual Giving Appeal. The Appeal raises funds to purchase game changing IoT technology which will help us reduce our energy expenditure and drive down carbon emissions. WHAT IS IoT? Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of connecting any device (so long as it has an on/ off switch) to the Internet and to other connected devices. The IoT is a giant network of connected things and people all of which collect and share data about the way they are used and about the environment around them. OUR GREEN INITIATIVE We propose to install cutting edge IoT technology to radically transform the way we operate our air-conditioning, water, gas and irrigation assets. By efficiently controlling these selected assets through IoT technology, we believe we can reduce up to 122 tonnes of CO2 emissions, and 140,000kWh in the first year! FAST TRACK OUR GOAL Inspired by our students’ passion for the environment and our Sustainability Strategy, part of this project will be fast tracked through the generosity of our community, allowing us to purchase and implement the technology this year, rather than needing to wait for enough funds to accumulate over a 5 year period.

To donate: Scan this QR code to visit our Giving page or email egoding@







2021 marks the milestone of the 13-year Strathcona School journey for these ten students! Some of our students started their Strathcona schooling journey as bubbly 3 or 4 year-olds in the ELC or energetic 5 year-old Prep students. To commemorate these students who faithfully spent their whole educational journey we celebrate our “Fidelians”. " My journey from Prep to Year 12 at Strathcona has been incredibly fulfilling. I have loved making the most of the opportunities presented to me over the years with the support of the Strathy community. With music, sports, debating and travelling including to Falls Creek, Canberra and America, I am so grateful that my years here have been packed with memories. I am so excited to graduate with my best friends, some of whom I have known for nearly 14 years." Piper Le Page, Class of 2021 " Strathcona has become an integral part of my life. I vividly remember my preprep days in the ELC, exciting primary school camps and first day of Year 7. Along the way, I have made lifelong friends and have been constantly supported by my teachers. Now, in Year 12, I see Strathcona as a steppingstone for my future, one of which I will be eternally grateful for. My memories at Strathcona will stay with me forever. Because beyond being a school, Strathcona became a home." Anjelica Dimitriou, Class of 2021

Back row: Jacinta Li, Annabelle McGregor, Piper Le Page, Romy Rendigs, Michaela Petroro. Front row: Raquel Rodriguez, Renee Katsoulis, Eva Hamilton, Chloe Tremewen, Anjelica Dimitriou.






Hannah Cotching Anne Thompson Eaton



ANNE THOMPSON EATON (’84) married Rev Dean Eaton on 2 August 2020. The photo of Anne’s wedding taken just before Stage 4 lockdown. Anne and Dean felt so blessed that everything came together and it was such a glorious day. Anne felt so special being able to wear her mother's veil, in perfect condition 56 years later.

FIONA MCNEIL (Eldridge ’98) and her partner, Mark, welcomed a daughter, Amelia, on 23 February 2020. Amelia was born on her big brother, Lachlan’s, 10th birthday. She also has another older brother, Jay who is 9.

HANNAH COTCHING (’08) married Tim Hetzel at Abbotsford Convent on 28 February 2020. Five of the bridesmaids attended Strathcona: Emma Cotching, Caitlyn Jones, Stacey McArdle, Jodie Edwards and Laura Liddy (Donoghue), all alumnae from the Class of 2008.

KIRI MARTYN (James ’98) and partner, Cam, welcomed their third baby, Zoe Elizabeth, into the world on 5 September 2020. Zoe is settling in well and is already adored by her older sister, Ella and brother, William. EMMA COTCHING (’08) and partner, Scott, welcomed the arrival of Henry Christopher Cotching-Nicholls (3.3kg) on 15 October 2020. TAHLIA STARRENBURG (Eadie ’10) and partner, Brent, welcomed baby Axel on 5 January 2021 weighing 3.83kg. ALEXANDRA GRAY (’94) and partner, announced the safe arrival of Spencer Grayson Bednarski, born on 19 February 2021 weighing 4.2kgs (9.5 pounds) and measuring 54cms. GIGI SILK (’08) and partner, Danny Meehan, welcomed the arrival of Sylvie Clare Meehan on 3 March 2021, weighing 2.85kg but a solid 44cm.

Georgie Tobias

GEORGIE TOBIAS (’13) married Austin Van Strijp on 4 January 2020 at St Patrick’s Church in Lilydale followed by their reception at Zonzo Estate in the Yarra Valley.

LAURA HARBISON (Harris ’08) and partner, Adrian, announced the safe arrival of Matilda Rose Harbison. Born 22 August 2020 weighing 3.55kg at Northeast Health, Wangaratta.

CLARE WALSH (Warren ’04) and partner, Blake, welcomed the arrival of Alfred Blake (Alfie) Walsh on 24 March 2020 at St Vincent's Private.

SHANA BESANKO (’06) and partner, Andrew, welcomed baby Emma to their family on 16 March 2021 weighing in at 4.36kg! EDWINA JAMES (’10) and husband, Raffael Viotti, welcomed their first baby daughter, Claire Melody Viotti on 15 April 2021 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Julie James (Kirwan ’80) a proud grandma! SARAH PHAYER (Wilson ’10) and partner, Rob, welcomed the safe arrival of Henry Michael Phayer on 7 June 2021 at St Vincent’s Private Hospital weighing 3.2kg.

AMY JAMES (Gardner ’02) and partner, Ian, welcomed Noah to their family on 26 May 2020 at Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildfield, England weighing 4.76kg (yes he was a giant baby!). A baby brother for Luke.


HANNAH COTCHING (’08) and partner, Tim, welcomed their twins Wesley Oliver Cotching (2.5kg) and Archie William Cotching (2.2kg) on 20 August 2020 at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

VANESSA GIOKAS (’12) and Laurance Gogorossis became engaged in 2020 and are excited for their wedding day on 4 December 2021 with the reception booked at the Crown River Room.

ROSIE BYTH (’10) and Daniel Zocco were engaged in November 2019 and their wedding is planned for 6 November this year.

Luke and Noah



Amelia, Jay and Lachlan



Zoe, William and Ella




Pictured above: Laura Harbison (Harris ’08) & Matilda, Emma Cotching (’08) & Henry and twin sister, Hannah Cotching (’08) & Wesley and Archie







PHYL SHERWEN (BRIGGS ’42) passed away peacefully on 20 October 2020. Phyl's daughter, Wendy Ponsford (Sherwen ’77) and granddaughter, Emma Ponsford (’06) also attended Strathcona. We will always remember Phyl for her warmth, kindness and loving nature. JUDY HARD (Munro ’49) passed away on 10 December 2020 aged 88. A Thanksgiving service was held at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Camberwell. Judy was a past student and also mother of past students Jennifer Peterson (Hard ’76) and Sandra Bryant (Hard ’78). As a past staff member, Judy taught Prep and Year 1 in Mellor House for 12 years from 1970-82. Clockwise from above: Phyl Sherwen, Marise McConaghy and Marge, Phyl’s lifelong friend, following the 95th Foundation Day service in 2019; photograph by Lexie Rough, Shirley’s great-granddaughter, who carries on the family tradition and is a current Strathcona student (Lexie’s photograph won the 2020 Boroondara today: Portraits of Boroondara); a young Shirley Balfe; presenting the Balfe Tennis Cup.

KATHIE ZERKEL (’62) past student and past staff member passed away on 30 October 2020 aged 76. Kathie was School Captain in 1962. Kathie taught in the middle schools for various schools including Strathcona (Tay Creggan), Eltham College and Ballarat Grammar. Kathie was highly qualified educator - Grad Dip Ed. Admin, Grad. Dip. Curriculum Studies, Grad Dip Atti Cert Ed, B. Ed, Master of Ed. LYNDAL PASCOE (Bills) passed away in September 2020. Lyndal taught for 14 years (1975-88) at Strathcona. She taught French from Years 7 to 10 with fond memories of Tay Creggan. A popular Pastoral Leader in Middle School and active co-organiser of Presentation Night with Mrs Alison Hamiliton. Co-ordinator of overseas students at the school in the early 80s. Remembered very fondly by many.

HOWARD FEARN-WANNAN OAM, past Strathcona Board Chair (1985-98) passed away peacefully in the early hours of Christmas morning 2020, aged 91 years. Mr FearnWannan’s granddaughter Kirsten graduated from Strathcona in 2014. Mr FearnWannan will be remembered for a full life of faithful service to God as a science educator and musician with a passion for social justice.

Shirley Lowthian

(Balfe ’40) 1925 - 2020

Shirley Balfe could not wait to go to Strathcona. In 1929, not long after her fourth birthday, the enterprising little girl with the dark fringe and impish smile took herself to School. Shirley’s family lived across Prospect Hill Road on a sprawling double block at the corner of Wattle Valley Road in Canterbury. Stan and Alice Balfe’s older daughter, 16-year-old Margery, had been among Strathcona’s first students when the school opened just five years previously. The younger sister longed to join her. To their mother’s dismay, tiny Shirley seized any opportunity sneaking out to follow Margery across the road— cars, fortunately, were few and far between. Shirley would loiter near the iron gate by the tennis courts in Bryson Street, peeping through gaps in the fence as she waited for

an unwitting visitor to open the gate, allowing her to sneak onto the school grounds. By the spring of that year Shirley was four-and-a-half. Her exasperated mother had conferred more than once with Miss Henrietta Hughes and Mrs Florence Livingstone, the teachers who established Strathcona in 1924, in an ivy-clad Victorian house on a rambling property between Scott and Bryson streets. Come September of 1929 Shirley was permitted to don a silky-textured dark-blue uniform and take her place as a kindergarten student. Had Shirley’s life taken a different path, as she left Strathcona before completing her Leaving Certificate, she thought she may have studied medicine, like two or three other

Shirley had been a keeper of memories for the entire 1924–1942 cohort. For decades, despite the challenge of locating people in an era with no internet, when married women routinely changed their names, she kept track of her “girls” and penned regular newsletters. Annual reunion luncheons were initially held at Shirley’s home and later the luncheons moved to Strathcona, bringing the original students back to the place where the old house once stood. At these lunches Shirley would proudly present the Balfe Tennis Cup, donated by Shirley, to Strathcona’s Senior Tennis Champion and as well as the other tennis cups. Shirley would have told you without hesitation, “those girls who were my girls, they’re still my girls. There are very few of them left but I haven’t forgotten anyone, not one.” Shirley’s love of Strathcona will be remembered with much fondness. Her contribution to the School over many years was so appreciated and we will miss her greatly. Shirley passed away peacefully on 7 December 2020 at Hedley Sutton. Shirley was aged 95. Shirley’s love of Strathcona, her contribution to the School and support to foster relationships amongst our alumnae over many decades has always been greatly appreciated.


Strathcona girls from that era. Although a few months shy of her sixteenth birthday when she left school, Shirley was dux of her Intermediate year, winning prizes for biology, botany and French. These academic successes coupled with a packed extra-curricular timetable: Shirley was a prefect, her blazer pocket was crammed with honours (house colours, school colours) and evidence of her many sporting leadership roles.



Global Action Research Collaborative B U I L D I N G P R O B L E M - S O LV I N G C A PA C I T Y, C O N F I D E N C E A N D SKILLS IN GIRLS.

Strathcona is fortunate to be a member of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and their Global Action Research Collaborative (GARC). This year, Mrs Rhiannon Ward was invited to participate as a research fellow for their 2021-2022 cohort, which involves conducting schoolbased research into girls’ education. Exploring the topic of ‘Building ProblemSolving Capacity, Confidence, and Skills in Girls’ over the course of the inquiry, the project culminates with a written research paper to be presented to a global community in June 2022.

“ Groups perform better when they sense themselves as a unified team with a shared sense of responsibility.”


My own initial interest in this exploration springboards closely from my work with the wellbeing of our students, as I have been positioned as a year level coordinator or Head of House over the course of my career and have therefore spent much time considering best practice around improving student welfare. I am interested in the emotional change that girls often experience as they move through the senior years of their schooling. From my view, girls generally begin their secondary journey as bright, bubbly and confident Middle Schoolers, and they progress into the Senior years as sometimes overwhelmed by

anxiety, perfectionism and crippling expectations. I am in the process of researching the reasons for this derailment, and will conduct action research later in the year with the intention of offering some solutions through problem solving and inquirybased thinking skills, which may better bolster these girls through the entire course of their education; 7-12. As teachers, we understand the fundamental necessity of collaboration in our work and lives. Much of the discourse around the problems we faced in 2020 remain embedded in the fact that we could not come together physically for our learning, we could not experience the daily bustle of campus life in our community, and could not share personal experience in a straightforward way. Whilst this style of learning certainly had its merits, so too did it present pitfalls. One such challenge was in our lack of human connection; the joy that people can bring to one another when simply sitting around a classroom together. Educational researchers have noted these dynamics for many years, and Gorse and Sanderson observed that “groups perform better when they sense themselves as a unified team with a shared sense of responsibility.”* Schools are very good at creating explicit experiences for group work and community-based learning, and I hope to tailor this focus to better support collaboration, student connection and social confidence. We are in a privileged position as the educators of girls, and it is with keen interest that we strive to improve educational outcomes for all students in our community, each day. MRS RHIANNON WARD English Teacher and Head of Grenfell House

*Gorse, C. A., and Sanderson, A. M., (2007) Exploring Group Work Dynamics. In Proceedings 23rd Annual ARCOM conference, ed. D. Boyd, 295-304. Belfast, UK: Association of Researchers in Construction Management.


In preparation, the GARC team meet every two weeks via Zoom, and we discuss the expectations of action research, the implications for the literature review and the processes involved in data collection and collation. This research community is driven by our work with our own students, and each of the 26 research fellows has tailored their own design question to their context and interest. These educators are spread across the corners of the globe, so our daily experiences may be quite different, but at the juncture of our connection is adolescent girls and their education.



Top of the State’s Class Each year VCAA invite the highest achieving VCE Unit 4 students from each area of the Arts to exhibit their work or perform in one of the 10 Top Class Concerts as part of the Season of Excellence. In 2020, Alicia Tilley (’20) achieved a perfect score and a Premier’s prize for her work in Drama. She successfully auditioned to perform in a Top Class Concert, held at The Playhouse. Alicia performed her moving solo monologue based on American heiress Ida Wood, who in 1907 moved into the Herald Square Hotel, New York remaining there, locked away for 24 years.

Maya Fehring’s Unit 3 & 4 VCE VET Digital Media animation work for the title sequence for Alice in Wonderland was created using mainly Adobe software. Her work joined Olivia Lee’s website and other outstanding pieces in the Top Design Exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. An exhibition of student work of the highest standard, innovation and interest. Top Acts is the evening concert of the Season of Excellence at The Melbourne Recital Centre which presents up to 20 performers from the Top Class concert series held

earlier in March. Each discipline within the Arts is represented – Dance, Drama, Theatre Studies and all strands of Music – Group Performance, Solo Performance and Composition. As the only Solo Music Performance performer Jeanine Morgan (’21) performed Preludio (Fanfare) the first of three movements from Sonatina for Pianoforte, written by Australian composer Sonny Chua (1967-2020). MRS JENNY MEACHEM Head of Performing Arts

“We teach music because it is unique and good…. We teach music because it acts in a unique way on the heart, mind, soul and spirit of the child, stimulating thought and imagination in very special ways. These are the real reasons for teaching music.” — RICHARD GILL*


Director of Junior School Music, Mrs Anna Miller talks about what Strathcona offers Junior students and the benefits the program has for young minds. I watch in amusement from the piano as one of my Year 4 students collapses in giggles — as she always does when we sing The Puffin. It is the part where the puffin decides to eat pancakes instead of fish for his tea which sets her off, and her class giggles along too. They love singing this song! This sense of delight that comes from being musical together is one of the reasons that good schools like Strathcona make sure their students experience the many joys of making music. From ELC and Prep onwards, Strathcona students have access to weekly class music lessons as well as a two-year String Program for Years 2 and 3, Recorder and Singing Programs in the middle years followed by Band Program experiences in Years 5 and 6. And that is just our regular music curriculum! Co-curricular offerings include a wide range of choirs and instrumental experiences to extend musicians further, as well as providing speech and drama courses, (Speech and Effective Communication) and the range of stage productions in which students participate each year.

Richard Gill (musician, educator, advocate) often spoke about these “real reasons” as being enough to convince anyone of the need to provide music in children’s education. But there are other seriously good reasons why quality Music and Performing Arts provision is recognised as an essential part of a quality primary school education. It is not just about the enjoyment these programs bring, though this is obviously important. A considerable body of research demonstrates that children gain so much from being ‘musical’. Scratch the surface of Google and you will find any number


of studies which reveal how brain function and development are more advanced in children who engage in music-learning; how musical activities incidentally teach children how to regulate their social and emotional responses more effectively; how students who have grappled with weekly instrumental practice are able to apply this grit, focus and perseverance to other areas of their learning and life. Strathcona girls are so lucky. Their school knows how valuable music experiences are. Strathcona provides an abundance of opportunities for the girls to love and to learn from music.





How to enrol at Strathcona YO U R DA U G H T E R ’ S J O U R N E Y S TA R T S H E R E .

Strathcona accepts applications at any time for all year levels. We are an open-entry, independent girls’ school from Prep to Year 12, with a co-educational Early Learning Centre. To assist you in your enrolment journey, here is an example of what you can expect from your Strathcona start and answers to some frequently asked questions.

Learn About Strathcona We invite you to come and experience Strathcona. Learn about our outstanding personal development programs and how our girls achieve to their fullest potential in all areas of life. With results in the top 2% of the state and limited places available, we invite you to book now to attend one of our upcoming Open Mornings or Request a Prospectus to learn more.

Please submit an Application for Enrolment form via the website to be considered for your preferred year level of entry. Copies of your child’s Birth Certificate, Immunisation Record (Medicare Statement), Citizenship Documents (such as Passport, Visa or Certificate), School Reports and NAPLAN summaries. There is a $200.00 non-refundable, administrative fee associated with this submission for each student.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait All applications are immediately placed on a Waiting List for your preferred year level of entry and you will receive confirmation of this from the Admissions Department. Our Admissions Department will be in contact with you as soon as a place becomes available or we commence the intake process for a main intake year level (such as Prep, Year 4, Year 5 or Year 7). Please see our Enrolment Policy for more information.

Enrolment Interview All enrolments are subject to a successful enrolment interview. The enrolment interview is an informal conversation where we hope to learn more about your daughter, her interests, hobbies and learning strengths. This interview also provides an opportunity for your family to learn more about our School values, offerings, expectations of our students and more.

Letter of Offer Once the enrolment interview has been conducted, the School may be in a position to provide a Letter of Offer and Enrolment Agreement inviting your child and family to join our community. To accept this place, we require a non-refundable enrolment fee of $2,000.00 to be submitted ($1,000.00 for ELC students) in addition to the completed paperwork, by the specified deadline.

Welcome to Strathcona Once the required payment and paperwork has been received and processed by our Admissions Department, we will send you a letter confirming your child’s enrolment. Congratulations and we thank you for choosing Strathcona Girls Grammar.

Your Strathcona Start Commencing at a new school signifies a time of growth and tremendous possibilities. Transition, therefore, is of fundamental importance for your child as it ensures they are fully supported as they continue or commence their learning journey with Strathcona. Contact is made with you in the months leading up to Day 1 as your family prepares to join the School and also throughout the first few weeks of attendance. Our structured Orientation Programs are designed to support a strong start at Strathcona. PLEASE NOTE: This is the application journey for domestic students. If your daughter is, or plans to, attend Strathcona on a 500 or similar visa, please visit the International Enrolments page on the website for information about how to apply as a Full Fee Paying Overseas / International Student.


Submit an Application for Enrolment Form

Frequently Asked Questions



Why should we choose Strathcona Girls Grammar for our daughter? At Strathcona we understand that student wellbeing is at the heart of successful learning. Our supportive teachers and professional staff strive to ensure that students are happy and engaged, by providing programs and opportunities that build resilience and connection with peers. Students are encouraged to contribute positively to the community in which they live and learn. Through a balanced academic curriculum and wide range of cocurricular activities, students become creative thinkers, problem-solvers and strive to reach their personal best.

What are the benefits of an all-girls school? We are passionate about girls’ education. There are many advantages to single-sex education for girls. Research shows that girls thrive in an all-girls environment — they do better academically, socially and emotionally. Every aspect of teaching and learning, from Prep to Year 12, is tailored to the needs of girls, developing their confidence and empowering them to pursue any direction their talents may lead. Girls’ schools create a culture of strong academic achievement, within a balanced all-round program. Teaching is tailored to the way that girls learn, which is physiologically very different from boys. Students in an all-girls school do better in science, mathematics and STEAM subjects where they are less affected by gender stereotypes. They are more confident learners, take more risks with their learning tasks and are more likely to achieve better results in external examinations.

Why is Strathcona one of the best schools in Melbourne? Strathcona ranks as one of the top achieving schools in Victoria with consistently strong VCE results. Our academic successes are evidence of what hard work, dedication and perseverance can achieve. We are also committed to developing a sense of social responsibility and global citizenship in our students. We explicitly teach personal and social skills in our wellbeing programs and encourage our students to participate fully in co-curricular activities. We challenge our students to find their strengths. Through the unique Envision program at our Tay Creggan Year 9 campus, our students learn valuable life skills, including critical thinking, communication and resilience. Our Junior School with small class sizes and targeted learning enhancement programs to support and extend classroom programs, ensures students reach their potential.

How do I enrol my daughter at Strathcona? It is easy to enrol at Strathcona by completing our online Application for Enrolment form. We encourage all new families to begin the application process for entry to Strathcona as soon as possible. The main entry levels are Prep, Year 5 and Year 7, however applications are accepted for any year level depending on vacancies. There are waiting lists for entry into several year levels and families are encouraged to apply early. Places are offered in date order of application. Students who are siblings of current students and those with family connections to the School gain special priority for a place. In Victoria, students must be 5 years of age on or before 30 April in order to commence Prep.

We welcome a small number of International students into our Senior School. Overseas students on a temporary student visa 500 have additional requirements for enrolment. Details are available on our website. Students with residency visas are classified as local enrolments.

Does Strathcona offer scholarships? Strathcona offers a limited number of Academic and Music scholarships each year. Scholarships recognise achievement, enable success and assume a commitment to the School’s values and culture. Detailed information about the scholarship process and application forms are available on Strathcona’s website.

Which Language options are offered at Strathcona? In the Junior School, from Prep to Year 6, we teach French. In Year 7 and 8, students study both French and Chinese. Students in Year 9 may continue to study both languages or alternatively study one language and our Digital Futures course.


Do Strathcona students participate in Camp and Outdoor Education experiences? Students are introduced to outdoor education and camps through carefully scaffolded programs that build resilience and confidence from ELC, to Junior School and to Senior School. We currently offer: ELC: Outdoor Explorations: Intro to Camping and Sense of Place Prep & Year 1: In school programs Year 2: In school programs with Late Night at School Year 3: Anglesea Coastal Adventure (2 days) Year 4: Anglesea Coastal Adventure (3 days) Year 5: Sovereign Hill (3 days) and Camp Marysville/ Lake Mountain (3 days) Year 6: Canberra (4 days) and Camp Marysville/ Lake Mountain (3 days) Year 7: Mornington Peninsula (4 days) Year 8: Camp Jungai, Cathedral Ranges State Park (5 days) Year 9: Camp to Campus, Yarra River Journey (7 days) Year 10: Expedition Options (5-7 days) » Falls Creek/Bogong High Plains Ski Tour » East Coast Tassie Adventure » Grampians Arapiles Climbing » Mornington Peninsula Wellbeing Camp

CREATIVE ARTS From dance, drama and music, to photography, art and multimedia production, girls at Strathcona engage fully in our comprehensive Arts program, giving them the opportunity to become well-rounded, creative and confident individuals. There are many opportunities to participate in concerts, assemblies, musicals, and festival performances. Private lessons in Speech and Drama and a range of musical instruments are available. SPORT There are many opportunities for students to be involved in sport, improve their skills and maintain healthy fitness levels. Through involvement in sport, the emphasis is always on co-operation, challenge, team spirit and simply having fun together. A wide range of interschool sports teams are on offer in the Junior and Senior School. Strathcona is a member of Girls Sport Victoria (GSV), one of the largest independent school sporting associations in Victoria. As one of the 24 participating schools, our Year 7 to 12 girls have the opportunity to be

involved in more than 20 sports—in weekly sport competitions, carnivals, tournaments and skill development programs. In addition, students have the opportunity to be involved in other sports that are managed independently of GSV. Activities including aerobics, dance, kayaking, canoeing and rowing are available as well as special opportunities that take place on the Yarra River, which flows past our Tay Creggan Year 9 campus in Hawthorn. All girls are actively encouraged to take part, not only in the inter-school competitions and skill development programs, but also in our inter-house sports. CLUBS A range of clubs and interest groups cater for the wide and varied interests of our students. Options for Senior students include art, coding and robotics, debating, environment, Future Problem Solving, Library, conversational languages and STEM activities among others. Our Junior School students can participate in groups that include chess, coding, green team and design clubs. There is something for everyone.


Every girl at Strathcona has the opportunity to explore a range of activities beyond the curriculum, to discover her own personal passions in the creative arts, sport and beyond. Co-curricular activities such as debating, drama, music and competitive sports allow girls to develop personal skills such as empathy for others, communication, leadership and teamwork.

Stay connected ONews An exclusive email for Old Strathconians. Do we have your email address? If we don’t be sure to update your details so you don’t miss out on the latest news. strathconagirls StrathconaGirlsGrammar strathcona-girls-grammar

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Early Learning Centre 34 Scott Street, Canterbury VIC 3126

Junior Campus 173 Prospect Hill Road, Canterbury VIC 3126

Year 9 Campus 30 Yarra Street, Hawthorn VIC 3122

Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar

A Child Safe School

ABN 75 073 413 626


Middle & Senior Campus 34 Scott Street, Canterbury VIC 3126

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