01 Sep 2020

From the Principal

This week we have a special guest introduction from Brett Trollope, Head of Middle School…

“She Said, He Said – The Differences in Teenage Brains”

How the human brain works and processes information is something that has been studied for a very long time; however, there has been a real acceleration in this since the early 1990s as neuroscientists begin to discover new ways to measure brain activity. These new methods include the ability to observe changes in blood flow within the brain and more specifically, to the different regions of the brain that activate during different activities. This has been a huge discovery for the education industry and in the development of our understanding as to how we learn; more so, how boys and girls learn differently.

The left side of the brain is responsible for controlling the right side of the body. It also performs tasks that have to do with logic, such as in science and mathematics. On the other hand, the right hemisphere co-ordinates the left side of the body, and performs tasks that have do with creativity and the arts. There are many variations in the brain development of teenage girls and boys, however two significant differences that have a huge impact on teaching and learning for adolescents are the pre-frontal cortex and the corpus callosum. The pre-frontal cortex is our decision making and organisational part of the brain, whilst the corpus callosum is the bridge between our left and right side of the brain. This part is responsible for our ability to process information and share between both sides of our brains.

The functions of the pre-frontal cortex and the corpus callosum are obviously incredibly important for the ability of our adolescent girls and boys to learn and it is here where significant challenges lie. During adolescence, the Middle Years at school, there are generally huge differences in the developmental stages of these brain parts between the two genders. There are of course differences within genders, however, the differences when looking at the data by gender is significant.

  • Pre-frontal Cortex: This is one of the last parts of the brain to mature and is sometimes referred to as the CEO of the brain. It is in charge of the executive functions such as organising, planning, setting priorities, making sound judgements, calming unruly emotions, and handling confusing information. This part of the brain generally matures far quicker in females than it does in males. Because of these differences, girls are less likely to be involved in risk-taking behaviours compared to boys and are more capable of coping with their school day in terms of organisation and self-management. Boys on the other hand find it more challenging to remain calm, to resist risky behaviours and control impulsivity, and find it harder to develop their organisational patterns and behaviours.
  • Corpus Callosum: This part allows our two sides of the brain to talk to each other. For girls this connection is denser and larger than for boys, resulting in a greater ability for cross-talk to occur between their two hemispheres. This allows them the potential of greater success in multitasking including watching, listening and writing notes at the same time, and connecting feelings and emotional content to thoughts and verbal processes quicker. Boys generally therefore require further time to process information and respond accordingly, especially when required to respond in words.

This information is by no means meant to highlight the failures of the boy brain, more so, the importance of understanding these key differences in brain developmental stages by gender and then approaching the teaching and learning in a way that is based on an understanding of these key brain developmental differences. Our parallel model at Tintern has been developed because of these and other key differences.

Our staff are passionate about understanding the differences between boys and girls and therefore what this means for their classrooms. An outcome for a particular topic in a Year 7 subject may be the same for both genders, however, the approach to teaching this content may vary significantly between the girls’ class and that of the boys. An example of this may be the text(s) we use at each year level for English. One of the challenges sometimes faced in adolescent boys is to engage them in reading and therefore look to improve their ability to comprehend information being presented. Doing this in a co-educational classroom results in challenge to find a text that suits both genders in terms of interest, but also in terms of complexity. Our English classes have the luxury of choosing texts that suit each gender more and therefore provide greater opportunity to engage and develop the outcomes we are chasing. This is just one example of how we are doing things differently across the genders to maximise the learning of both boys and girls. Other key factors include:

  • Providing the girls with an environment that allows them the ability to take greater risks with their learning.
  • Recognising the importance of movement in the classroom for boys and that there is generally going to be a higher level of energy (noise, discussion, movement, etc.) than in the girls’ classroom.
  • Choosing topics/themes in subjects that are more specific to the interests present in our gender separate classes.
  • Providing elements of challenge and competition appropriate to the boys’ and girls’ classes.
  • Encourage leadership and social justice in our girls by helping our girls practise respectful assertiveness.
  • The development of a pastoral program aimed at the age and stage development of each gender.

The above points, along with many more, highlight the strengths of having separate gender classes, particularly during the Middle Years. Our parallel model is further strengthened when, once out of the classroom, our students have the ability to socialise and integrate with each other through recess and lunchtime activities, co-curricular activities, house events and camps. This allows for the development of important friendships to occur across genders and helps in their future transition to the Senior College where they embark on their final three years in a co-educational environment, before heading out into a ‘co-ed’ world.

The three years our students spend in the Middle School are aimed at inspiring them to gain a love of learning, to develop their confidence, an understanding of who they are as individuals, and to aspire them to becoming key contributors in creating a better world. An ability to understand, and then utilise effectively, the key differences in the teenage boy and girl brains during these three years of Middle School is crucial, not just for us as educators, but also for those who are parenting girls and boys of this age.



Music Matters

Dowling sisters reach out to local community with their music

On Wednesday 20 August, my sister, Ashleigh and I had the pleasure of performing for the residents, including my grandpa, at the Olivet Aged Care Facility. While stage four coronavirus restrictions prevented us from visiting the nursing home, we were still able to give a live performance over Zoom during the afternoon.

We played some old classics on piano, including Daisy Bell, Edelweiss, and a spectacular performance by Ashleigh of Danny Boy (my grandpa’s favourite), as well as a duet with Ashleigh playing drums and myself on piano. We performed for around 40 minutes, and the residents seemed to enjoy it. We would like to thank Mrs Bezaire and Ms Bortolussi, who kindly gave up their time to support us and watch our performance. I would highly encourage anyone who plays an instrument to perform for your own grandparents over Zoom. It is a great way to entertain and connect with them.

Olivia Dowling

Year 10

Olivia and Ashleigh’s Grandpa in the back left corner

Ashleigh hosting


Ashleigh on piano 

Olivia on piano 

Ashleigh and Olivia playing together



About a month ago, the Tintern Clarinet Ensemble was invited to take part in a collaborative project being run by Monash University’s School of Music. This project focusses on the different methods which a musical ensemble can use to rehearse and collaborate in an online space, considering the strange circumstances that we currently face.

Over the past couple of weeks, the members of the ensemble have been working together on this project led by Dr Nicole Canham, the Program Co-ordinator of Winds at Monash University. By the end of the project, we will have created a final performance which will be presented at the Online Woodwind Day being held on Sunday 13 September. All of us have found this new method of rehearsal new and exciting and, hopefully, soon you will be able to see the fruits of our labor. We would like to thank Mrs Clarke for arranging this opportunity for us whilst we are in lockdown.

Lilli Holliday-Ryder

Year 11



On the evening of Monday 24 August, the Woodwind and Brass students gathered their snacks, made themselves comfy on the couch with their parents, and were treated to a wonderful variety of performances by our hard working and talented Tintern Grammar musicians. An entirely new way of producing concerts has been born out of our desire for our students to continue to hone their craft and share their work with the Tintern Community. Although we miss the sense of community that our music concerts provide, I, personally, was struck by the intimate and heartfelt moments this concert provided, as we were invited into people’s homes to experience their music making.  

The performances consisted of solos, duets and ensemble pieces from our youngest of students in Year 7 who have not been learning all that long, through to our most experienced of VCE students and, I can tell you, a lot of effort went into producing these videos. I was told by one student, ‘I recorded it about 100 times Mrs Clarke’, and my response was, ‘Well, you will be 100 times better at it now’. The level of improvement in the students, no doubt, was seen by many of us who have had a chance to view the concert. Although a different experience of concert performance, it was a no less challenging or rewarding experience for all who contributed. If you haven’t had a chance to view the concert, there is still the opportunity by following this link: https://youtu.be/kf1bRERA5fE.

Congratulations to all the students who took part, and thank you to all our impromptu videographers who assisted the students with the technology, to our Music Administrator, Liz Feenane who co-ordinated the program, Matt Collens in the AV Team, who crafted the video, to Heather McKenzie for her wonderful accompanying at the piano, and to all our brass and woodwind instrumental staff who assisted students to prepare these performances.

Mrs Lisa Clarke

Head of Music – Instrumental




Sport Matters

Amelia Qvist 1st in Victoria Interschool Eventing EA80 2019/20

Despite a shorter season, a total of 10 Horse Trials were held from 5th October 2019 until 1st March 2020. The Interschool Victoria Committee compared the best four results submitted from all riders in Victoria and Amelia scored the lowest accumulated penalty score of only 29.20 and finished top of her EA80 Eventing discipline, which includes dressage, show-jumping and cross-country-jumping at 80cm.

Amelia’s results

















Avenel HT










Tooradin HT




































Both Amelia and her buckskin Springwood Junior cannot wait to get back out there.

You can watch Amelia’s winning round at the Avenel Horse Trials:



Community Matters

Tintern Parent Group – A Gift for the Year 12 Students

The Tintern Parent’s Group recently reached out to all Year 12 students, gifting them each a $25 Uber Eats voucher.

They were aware that this year’s Year 12 group are experiencing a final year of schooling like no other.  Many of their activities and highlights for their final year of schooling at Tintern being cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions.  As their schooling has been moved to online delivery and exam dates have been moved, the TPG wanted to make a contribution to brighten their day.

Sent by email to each Year 12 student on Monday 17 August, the vouchers were well received and appreciated. 

Tintern Grammar Community Business Listing

To further support our strong community and fellowship, Tintern Grammar has established a Community Business Directory. You can view the current listings here,  we invite you to support these local businesses.

We understand that the constantly changing situation with COVID-19 has impacted businesses across our community, therefore if you are currently reshaping your business model to accommodate the changing landscape or simply wanting to share new business offers, you can now join our business register by filling out our online form here

we look forward to supporting your business. 


Working With Children Check

Tintern Grammar requires all volunteers to have a current Working With Children Check (WWCC). Our volunteers are a vital part of our Community, whether a member of one of sour Community groups, or assisting at an event If you are intending to volunteer at Tintern in the future:

If you have a current WWCC

If you don’t have a current WWCC

  • Applying as a Volunteer is free and easy. You can register online here.
  • Please ensure you register as a volunteer of Tintern Grammar, and include any other organizations at which you volunteer.
  • When completed, send the confirmation through to us at communityrelations@tintern.vic.edu.au as soon as possible.

Online Parent Group Catch Ups

With the current Social Distancing requirements it has been almost impossible for our parents to catch up. Some of our Parent Representatives have been organizing online meet ups via Zoom, House Party, Whats App or any number of other social apps. Look out for communications regarding any year level catch ups for your class.

Although this looks very different to the dinners, morning teas and mini golf sessions that many were planning at the beginning of the year, it is equally important that as parents and guardians you stay connected with each other, as well as your children stay connected with their school and friends.

Please remember if you hear of any distress, concerns or questions within your year level, please do not hesitate to let your immediate class room teacher/pastoral mentor know or feel welcome to reach out directly to your Head of School. If you are not sure, you are always welcome to call or email me as well (dlacey@tintern.vic.edu.au or 9845 7893). I am working both from home and in the office so any messages left on my phone will be received, so please feel free to leave me a message if you do prefer to phone in.

We still have a number of junior school year groups along with the Year 12 cohort, who do not have ‘official’ parent reps. If you have a son or daughter these years please let me know if you, or someone you know could help out, or you may know of someone already doing the role.











As they saying goes “We are all in this together” so please do not hesitate to reach out if you need.

Community Committee Dates 

Please note that due to Tintern moving to online teaching in response to the Covid19 virus, all Community Group Meetings will be held online.

Further information will be provided.

  • Tintern Parent Group (TPG) –Next meeting: Tuesday 8 September at 7.30pm President: Haidee Wallace Zoom: Click here to join meeting Password: TPG
  • Friends of Music (FOM) – Next Meeting: Wednesday 14 October at 8pm President: Debra Fryer Zoom:  Click here to join Meeting   Password: FOM
  • Friends of Young Farmers (FOYF) – Next Meeting: Monday 5 October at 7.30pm President: Michael Biggs Zoom:  Click here to join Meeting   Password: FOYF
  • Friends of Equestrian (FOE) – Next Meetings: TBC

Upcoming Reunions:

  • YG 2015 5 Year Reunion – Postponed to Friday 9 October, pending restrictions, offsite- Book Here
    • This event may be postponed depending on Government regulations.

Community Group Fundraising

Entertainment Books

We are thrilled to announce that Entertainment is going 100% digital. New Entertainment Memberships that we know and love, will only be available via our App from next season onward. Excitingly this means that you Membership is valid for 12 months from the date of activation

With many new offers and all the old favourites the value of this book is incredible!

You can purchase a membership now, for yourself, friend or family member, and activate at any time over the next 6 months (extended from 60 days). You then have 12 months to take full advantage of the many wonderful offers!

You can purchase Woolworths Wish e-vouchers for a 5% discount. Whether purchasing to do your weekly groceries, shopping at Big W, or stocking up on Essentials at BWS, Cellarmasters or Dan Murphy’s, or even getting petrol at Woolworths Caltex, the savings can add up:

Please click here to order your Entertainment book from Tintern Grammar. Instantly purchase and access a digital membership which can then be used on two separate devices.

Please contact Community Relations on 9845 7877 for further information.

All proceeds raised go towards the fundraising for the TPG!


ELC News

I know the phrase – “We are all in this together” has been delivered to us in a million ways. From celebrities, to advertisements on television and through social media.

Moving to online learning within an Early Childhood setting has been a ride of bumps and triumphs.

The staff onsite miss the children who are home and through our Zoom meetings, we see that the children at home are missing their teachers and friends.

This said, for the staff it has been wonderful to see the growth and development in the children. To engage one on one with a child in a Zoom meeting, to have no distractions within a room setting but to concentrate just on the little person in front of you has been rewarding and deeply satisfying.

We have observed the children go from being shy on Zoom, to learning how to enter, mute, unmute and leave a meeting fully self-sufficient.

My greatest joy during these weeks has been to spend time with the children, developing deeper relationships with them.

My greatest learning curve has been to release some control when the children are in a large group Zoom session. To sit back and listen to the children call to each other, interrupt what has been planned to tell us all something and to share a little of their home life with us.

I am very keen to have all the children return to learning onsite but a small part of me will miss the very special nature of our crazy loved filled Zoom meetings.

We are all in this together has never been more relevant than when 15 three years old’s are showing and sharing their toys and pets at the same time.


Junior School News

Girls’ Junior School

During Term 3 all girls in years 3-6 participated in the inaugural Girls’ Junior School Public Speaking Competition.

This competition asked the girls to come up with a short speech about something of interest for them. The Junior School Girls were amazing in the breadth of topics they came up with, along with the manner in which they expressed themselves. Thank you to all students for the willingness to have a go, and to put yourself into a space which is not necessarily comfortable for all.

Last Tuesday our community was fortunate enough to have Mr Mc Manus join us as an adjudicator for our final whereby the following girls represented their classes.

Year 3 Finalists:

    • Sarah White – Why cats would make great parents.
    • Riya Yogesh-Kumar: What would it have been like to live in the time of the Spanish Flu?
    • Linna Yue: Be Kind in the Virtual World

Year 4 Finalists:

    • Grace Clarke – Playing Drums
    • Senudhi Karayawasam – Kindness
    • Alysha Veith – Paediatrics

Year 5 Finalists:

  • Jaymie Ashman – What its really like at a Dance Competition
  • Maddison Bailey – A real-life Superhero
  • Avie Lee – Ways to help the Environment

Year 6 Finalists:

  • Madelaine Jennings – Stop Killing our Brumbies
  • Isabel Pham – Why You Should Never Buy Caged Eggs
  • Sienna Hams – All Parents/Guardians Should Teach Their Children to Cook

Mr Mc Manus was incredibly impressed with the stand of speeches by the girls and noted the highly developed manner in which the girls were able to link their ideas and coherently speak to the audience. Congratulations to these students!

The winners of our competition were:

Year 3: Sarah White

Year 4: Alysha Veith

Year 5: Avie Lee

Year 6: Isabel Pham



Boys’ Junior School 

Each week our Junior School Boys are presented with a weekly Well-being Journal, and the theme for this week’s is diversity. To complement this week’s theme, they have been presented with the Rosa parks story, a celebration of the Boys’ Junior school recent Tintern’s Got talent competition, the aforementioned Cole Blakely talk, and the uplifting song celebrating uniqueness, This Is me.


In our most recent prep-Year 2, and Year 3-6 Assemblies, we celebrated and discussed “Wear It Purple” Day. The acceptance and celebration of diversity, the reinforcement of being proud of ourselves, and the importance of understanding that we are all unique, is such an important message. Whether it be hair colour, body shape, hobbies, interests, strengths, challenges, who we play with or how we dress…as long as we are respectful and kind, we should be proud of ourselves.


On Monday morning we watched the inspiring Tedx talk by Cole Blakely who celebrates differences as he describes his beautiful friendship with Steven, a 44 year old man with Autism.



Middle School News

The Great Pizza Cook-Off 

This term our Year 9 Students took part in a pizza making competition at home and the results are finally in…







Staff Winners

Emma Lowing 

Head of Outdoor Education


Senior College News

Senior College News

Spring is here and as we near the end of Term 3, after a challenging few weeks adjusting to restrictions and remote learning, it is heartening to see new case numbers getting lower. In the Senior College we are looking to keep positive and maintain high energy levels to finish out the term. In the coming two weeks our pastoral focus is around wellbeing and community and we are providing students with an opportunity to have fun and enjoy time together through involvement in various activities including Year 12 Trivia, fitness sessions including yoga, HIIT workouts, Capoeira and Hip Hop and our Year 10 students are participating in ‘The Studio’, a two-day enterprise incursion that will see them develop and produce a podcast. Our Year 11 and 12s will also hear from Tim Cope, an adventurer, author and film-maker who will be speaking to them about his experiences and covering topics such as resilience, dealing with isolation and the value of friendship.

Over the past few weeks our Year 11 students have been introduced to the process of applying to be a leader in 2021 and they have now submitted applications for School Leader (including Captain/Vice Captain/International Student Leader) and House Captain. It has been wonderful to see so many students putting themselves forward to nominate themselves for their significant positions. Nominees are presenting pre-recorded speeches to students and staff throughout this week before staff and students are given the opportunity to give input through voting. All applicants will also be interviewed by staff as the final stage of the process. Thank you to all students who have nominated and congratulations on your presentations so far which have shown great creativity, initiative, thought and consideration. Nominations for Co-curricular Captains will be sought in early Term 4.

In preparation for their final examinations our Year 12 students that are taking examinations (and Year 11 students studying a Unit ¾ subject) are scheduled to sit mock examinations in the upcoming term break. The mock exams are scheduled to take place in last week of the Term 3 holidays (28 September- 2 October). As students will be unable to attend the campus for these (as they are not ‘mandatory assessments’) we are currently working on a communication to students regarding how these can occur remotely. In planning ahead for the break we would ask that students keep this week free of commitments to enable them to undertake these exams as they are a crucial part of preparation for the end of year exams.


Year 10 Road Smart Program

The Year 10 Road Smart Program

On Wednesday 26th of August, the Year 10 cohort participated in an online Road Smart program. This essential and free program is fully funded by the Victorian government and facilitates small online classrooms to teach young people how to become safe and independent drivers on the road. As many of our Year 10s will soon be behind the wheel as beginner drivers, if not already, Road Smart aims to build upon the existing road knowledge and skills of the students.

The virtual classrooms were delivered by experienced and engaging facilitators, and the participation of our Year 10 students was excellent, many of whom gave thoughtful answers to questions asked throughout the session. A key aspect of the lesson was on the responsibilities of the driver, it is so important for young people to understand how each decision they make whilst driving can affect not only their own safety but the safety of others.

As young people continue to be over-represented in road crashes, the Road Smart program on Wednesday offered the students an opportunity to learn road safety messages and it gave them tools to be safe on the road. The lessons were practical and interactive, and the feedback from students was very positive, with many of saying they found it worthwhile, and averaged a 4/5 for the presentation.

The students will be able to hit the road to learn more about safe driving with a free in car driving lesson with a professional driving instructor. More information will come on this as the lessons will only become available later in the year after the easing of restrictions due to COVID 19.




A Day in the Life of Tintern

On Monday 17 August, we captured ‘A Day in the Life of Tintern’ , thank you to all the members of our Community who were able to contribute images to support this wonderful initiative created by our School Leaders. Please enjoy this video, it features many familiar faces and beautiful lyrics written by our School Captain, Ashleigh Dowling.


People of Tintern


Live now on the School Portal, get to know our students, staff and members of our community. 
Get to know our 2020 School Captains Ashleigh Dowling and Jeremy Yuen-Love in the video below. 


Helen Reddy (YG 1958)

Have you seen Helen Reddy’s (YG 1958) biopic ‘I Am Woman’ on Stan?  Released last Friday to wonderful reviews, this original film tells Helen’s story; a fearlessly ambitious and passionate singer who wrote and sang the song “I Am Woman”, which went on to become the anthem for the women’s movement in the 1970s.
An inaugural Tintern Avenue of Excellence inductee, you can read more about Helen here – https://www.tintern.vic.edu.au/community/avenue-of-excellence/

Erin Brodie (YG 2009)

Congratulations to Alumna Erin Brodie (YG 2009) for winning the Monash University Three Minute Thesis (3MT) final this week. Erin will be representing Monash at the Asia-Pacific final in October, you can view her winning entry here.

Naomi Baulch (YG 1991)

Congratulations to our magnificent Alumna and Geography Teacher Naomi Baulch (YG 1991) for winning the Alex Lyne Fieldwork Award for best practice in her virtual fieldwork on Year 10 Environmental Change and Management at McCrae Beach.
The Alex Lyne Fieldwork Award is an internationally contested award open to all Geography teachers which focuses on creating exciting and challenging fieldwork experiences for students and holds great prestige amongst Geographers.
The task was presented with very clear instructions for Year 10 students and was well scaffolded to develop geographical skills in relation to writing a fieldwork report. It was clearly linked to the curriculum in terms of the content and skills addressed. It contained excellent use of spatial technologies and used a range of source materials such as aerial images and photos which enabled the development of fieldwork skills such as sketching and interpretation although the task was unable to be undertaken in the field. Overall, a fine example of best practice remote Geography fieldwork.
Well done Naomi.Congratulations to our magnificent alumna and Geography Teacher Naomi Baulch (YG 1991) for winning the Alex Lyne Fieldwork Award for best practice in her virtual fieldwork on Year 10 Environmental Change and Management at McCrae Beach.

Wear it Purple Day


On Friday 28 August we celebrated Wear it Purple Day, an annual day dedicated to support LGBTQI+ members of our community. The mission of Wear it Purple Day is to foster supportive, safe and accepting environments for rainbow young people.