10 Nov 2020

From the Principal

Situation normal? Nearly, but not really?

As I write this, it is Friday afternoon, 6 November. We have had five weeks of term and four weeks of teaching on campus for most students, with a fortnight for our Years 8 to 10 students. There is a developing feeling of normality, aided by our Year 12 students being either well into the final examinations (IB students) or about to start them (VCE students).

Students and staff are masking, sanitising, and distancing as a matter of course, while online assemblies, Zoom meetings and a cashless canteen also now feel like ‘new normals’. Some of these will certainly change in the future, but we have reached something of an equilibrium, just in time for the Premier to announce and enact further changes on Sunday (two days away from me as I write this, and two days ago when you read it!).

So what changes are coming for schools? In short, not a lot, it seems. We have been sent three progressively updated Schools Operations Guides in the last twelve days, each with only incremental changes in it. I suspect we are now trending to what will be the medium-term ‘COVID-normal” for schools.

From Monday we will be able to conduct larger school gatherings (assemblies and similar), but parents will still not be able to attend campus for them, or anything else. I suspect that gatherings of staff will also still be restricted – I expect that this reflects the differences in transmission, susceptibility, and effects, of COVID-19 in adults compared to children.

And how are our students and staff in this ‘COVID-normal’? In many ways, school activity looks very normal, and other than mask and hand sanitisers, requiring a close look to see the differences. As students resumed on campus, there was understandable uncertainty for some, but that seems to have largely disappeared now and the whole campus has a purposeful and calm air to it.

In today’s Principal’s Assembly, our theme was (Movember-related) men’s health. And it is these things returning to our Tintern-normal, where we address, discuss and act on significant issues and concerns in our society, that really feels ‘normal’ to me.

Factis non verbis


Curriculum Matters

November Curriculum Matters

Our IB examinations are well underway and will conclude this week and the slightly delayed VCE written examinations will be commencing this week and will conclude on 1 December. A number of VCE performance and oral exams already have taken place over the past few weeks. We acknowledge the significant disruptions all staff and students have experienced this year due to COVID-19. Our staff have worked tirelessly during the 6 months of remote learning to ensure that all of our students, but especially our Year 12 students have experienced the best tuition and educational experiences possible under the distance regime. We wish our Year 12 students all the best as they make the most of what has been a challenging year and demonstrate their skills and ability to apply their knowledge alongside all other IB and VCE students who have endured similar challenges in 2020. We will await the publication of their results on 30 December (VCE) and 2 January 2021 (IB). It could be said that, having survived (and in many cases, thrived) during the COVID-19 pandemic in their final year of schooling, these Year 12 students are more even more prepared and capable than they might have been of facing whatever life presents to them as they venture into the world beyond Tintern. I know the whole community joins me in congratulating them all on their persistence and resilience during 2020.

This also is a busy time for our Years 9 to 11 students, as they prepare for the upcoming brief examination period. We trust all students will do their best and take away as much learning as possible from the outcomes of this period.

Final projects are being submitted and assessments undertaken to allow our teachers across Years Prep to 8 to commence their end-of-semester reporting on the progress made by each student in their various classes. Our standard ongoing progressive reporting regime covers class results in Years 7 to 11 and we are beginning the process of expanding these in 2021. We will trial a change to our reporting system with Year 7 students next year, whereby they will receive Progressive Reporting Assessments through the school’s Portal interface which not only will provide a grade for a task, but include a formative comment giving feedback on the level of achievement, areas for improvement and strategies to achieve those improvements. These regular updates and more expansive feedback on individual assessments will keep parents better informed of their child’s progress and facilitate more timely and useful reflections, regular conversations and opportunities for goal setting between parents, students and staff. The Year 7 end-of-semester reports in 2021 will be a composite of these Progressive Reporting Assessment Tasks (PRATs), with the aforementioned gradings and comments, and an overall grade for each subject alongside gradings for behaviourals, as currently appear on reports.

We know that the skills and attributes our students have had to develop in this extraordinary school year will be consolidated and built upon as they move into their next year of schooling. To this end, and to encourage our students to look forward with anticipation to the year ahead, we will enact a transition phase into the 2021 timetable for students currently in Years 7 to 11, commencing Friday 27 November. Thursday 26 November is a non-school day for Years 7 to 11 students, allowing staff time to correct exams and tests and to write reports.

Students then will commence a unit of work in each of their 2021 subject areas on Friday 27 November, and there may be some assessments in some subjects. It is, therefore, imperative that students attend and continue to maintain their focus for this period immediately after the examination/testing sessions. Years 7 and 8 students will continue with their transition classes the following week and through to the last day of term, Tuesday 8 December. Year 9 students will be engaged in their Summer Expeditions from 30 November to 4 December, pending government regulations allowing these activities to proceed. Alternately, they may be involved in onsite and local life skills activities if a journey to various camp locations is not permitted.  Either way, they will return to participate in a final two days of Transition classes on 7 and 8 December. Year 10s and 11s will have a full 8 days of transition classes from 27 November to 8 December.

I wish you all a happy and safe holiday break. I know we will all appreciate the opportunity to move about far more freely during the summer period than has been the case for much of this year.


Community Matters

TPG Mangoes 2020 -Thank you!

Thank you to our incredible Community who have purchased trays of mangoes.

Due to arrive late November, please watch your registered email for the date and information on the COVID safe collection process.

Ritchies Community Benefit Program

The Ritchies Community Benefit Program has contributed more than $50 million dollars back to the local community across Australia over the past 26 years.

The Community Benefit Program has now moved to a new Ritchies Card App, available from the App store or Google Play, and or you can get a new physical Ritchies Card in store.  You can to download the App, or apply on line at www.ritchies.com.au/loyalty, and then choose a charity, school or club they wish to direct their financial support.

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 10 November at 7.30pm President: Haidee Wallace Zoom: Click here to join meeting Password: TPG
  • Friends of Music (FOM) – Next Meeting: Wednesday 18 November at 8pm President: Debra Fryer Zoom:  Click here to join Meeting   Password: FOM
  • Friends of Young Farmers (FOYF) – Next Meeting: 2020 President: Michael Biggs Zoom:  Click here to join Meeting   Password: FOYF
  • Friends of Equestrian (FOE) – Next Meetings: TBC Zoom:  Click here to join Meeting   Password: FOYF

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 3% 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!


Music Matters

Online Twilight Concert

Last Friday brought the first (and final!) Twilight Concert for 2020 to the ‘stage’ at Tintern. With COVID-19, what is usually a series of concerts had disappeared for a while, but we were thrilled to present a bumper crop of performances last week. This event brought together Year 7-11 students on a range of instruments, including lower strings, wind, piano, songbirds, guitarists and poetry recitations – a little something for everyone! The concert was a pre-recorded, online offering which ran for approximately 55 minutes.

Please click on this link if you would like to view the event: https://clickv.ie/w/kDNo

Performers (in program order) were:

Voice: Freya Bryson (Year 11)

Clarinet: Amy Zhang (Year 7)

Piano: Ella Jones (Year 9)

Alto Saxophone: Katherine Howell (Year 8)

Voice: Zöe Leonard (Year 8)

Bass Guitar: Jack Sprake (Year 9)

Drama: Odette McCallum (Year 7)

Voice: Ella Jones (Year 9)

Clarinet: Daniel Fu (Year 9)

Poetry Recital: Jasmine Xiong (Year 7)

Alto Saxophone: Matthew Zhu (Year 9)

Clarinet: Shuai Chen Lin(Year 9)

Piano: Oliver Heathcote (Year 7)

Voice: Ashley Honan (Year 8)

Guitar Duet: David Zhang (Year 7) & Mr Dave Bathgate

Clarinet: Ethan Hoole (Year 7)

Piano: Haochen Zhang (Year 7)

Voice: Emily Stokes (Year 8)

Tenor Saxophone: Zachary Ho (Year 9)

Piano: Sarah Zhu (Year 8)

Cello: Matilda Robson (Year 7)

Voice: Jonah Fleming (Year 11)

Piano: Aryan Chekka (Year 8)

Cello: Holly Ming (Year 7)

Clarinet: Elina Ma (Year 7)

Voice: Laura Mitcham (Year 11)




ELC News

NAIDOC Week in the ELC

 “Always Was, Always Will Be” is NAIDOC Week’s theme in 2020. It recognises and acknowledges that First Nations people have occupied and cared for Australia for over 65,000 years. Evidence tells us that experiences in Early Childhood have the greatest impact on a child’s school readiness and educational engagement which feed into health, social and well-being outcomes. It is essential that both Aboriginal children and non-Aboriginal children learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture because learning about diversity and building our cultural competence fosters understanding and acceptance. Every child should see themselves, their identities and culture reflected in the curriculum. It shapes who we are, who we set ourselves to be, and how we view the world around us. Representation matters.

One of the ways that we embed Koorie culture and language in ELC is through our Acknowledgement to Country which is a significant aspect to our morning group time.

This is the land, this is the sky

Here are my friends and here am I.

We thank the Wurundjeri People for the land in which we’re on.

Hands Up! Hands Down!

We are on Wurundjeri ground.

To celebrate NAIDOC Week, we will watch a milestone ABC Kids TV episode of Play School– “Acknowledgement to Country” to reinforce this learning. Using the provocations in the episode, the children will discuss and reflect on the colours of the Aboriginal flag, extending on their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture with a collaborative artwork. Story-telling shares a vital role in Australian Aboriginal culture and Early Childhood, they help children to make sense of the world around them. The children will be read “Rainbow Serpent”, a traditional Dreamtime story and focus on an art-based technique known as “dotting” to create a serpent of our own.



Anita Mathews


Girls’ Junior School News


Our Year 5 girls recently took part in our inaugural Student Leadership Day hearing from a number of leaders across our school, reflecting upon their leadership journeys and sharing some leadership tips with the girls. The Year 5 girls were incredible, demonstrating great inquiry and reflection as they considered the sessions.

Many thanks to our speakers for the day which included: Ms Price, Mrs Batty, Mr Kenny, Mr Trollope and the Middle School Leaders, and our Principal, Mr Fry.

These girls will shortly be applying for leadership positions in our school, and we know the information they learnt this week will prove to be useful during this process.



Recently some of the Junior School classes have been trialling a new form of parent emails whereby the girls are preparing the weekly newsletter or portal page. This approach is allowing girls to have an authentic purpose for their writing, as well as encouraging them to utilise their voice to express what is happening in class. Junior School families should look out for this interesting new form of communication!


Earth Week was a wonderful time for Junior School Girls to stop and reflect upon the amazing physical environment we have here in our school and what we can do as a community to look after it. The girls were led through a number of activities by our awesome Green Team, having fun and learning valuable lessons at the same time!



Boys’ Junior School News

Ron’s Big Mission

In our Boys’ Junior school Assembly yesterday, we discussed the story “Ron’s Big Mission”.

One summer day in 1959, nine-year-old Ron McNair, who dreams of becoming a pilot, walks into the Lake City, South Carolina, public library and insists on checking out some books, despite the rule that only white people can have library cards.

Ron makes a stand (literally) and in an assertive yet respectful manner, demands the right to a Library card.

His story is very similar to that of Rosa Parks.

Ron McNair ultimately became an astronaut and was one of the seven NASA crew members on the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger that exploded in 1986, killing all crew.

The Library where Ron McNair asserted his rights was subsequently named after him.

Earlier this year, a parent in the American Rockwood school District complained that such a book could be read to a school.

The Principal responded by reading the story to all of the school, online.

In our Assembly, we discussed the importance of vOice (our O of GROICK), and especially its use in a safe and respectful manner.

The actions of Ron, having a voice when he felt injustice, and even the voice of the parent, were delivered in a manner that was ‘safe, kind and fair’.

As always, our boys were mature and compassionate as they discussed the different perspectives on offer, and were very much aware of the need for there to be equal opportunities and experiences, not exclusiveness based on gender, race or other characteristics.



Middle School News

Although limited in the extra-curricular activities that students are able to do at the moment, it has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm and excitement that our students are displaying for simply being back at school with their friends. The energy around the school; whether it be on the basketball courts, the football ovals, the downball area, or even just those relaxing in the beautiful Year 9 Courtyard, is a lovely thing to be back in and amongst. Something that we have all definitely missed this year.

We are fast approaching the end of the academic year and consequently there has been a gradual increase in the amount of work that is due for the girls and boys. Our pastoral and academic staff have continued to scaffold the set work and provide learning support and guidance for those who need it in order to stay on top of things. To help provide students with extra support for their learning, we are running academic assistance sessions that are open to all students over two lunchtimes a week. This is an opportunity for students to come along for help with any piece of work they have, or just use the time and space to work on some of their homework under the guidance of different staff.

A number of our regular end of year activities are having to be either altered this year due to restrictions, or in some cases even being postponed until next year. Our Year 9 Summer Expeditions remains a possibility still with the recent easing of restrictions. We are currently planning on being able to run the programs in full as they are all now Victorian based; however, we will allow ourselves until Friday 13 November to confirm whether or not any further lifting of restrictions allows us to go. It is an experience that our students absolutely love and hence the real desire from the school to be able to provide this opportunity, given they missed their Winter Camp this year.

Our Transition Program is where all of our students across the Secondary School step up into their classes and timetable for the coming year. Our Year 7s and 8s move up into Years 8 & 9 respectively, whilst our Year 9s move up into the Senior College to begin their classes around their Summer Expeditions. It is an important opportunity for them to develop a feel for their new expectations whilst also beginning to develop working relationships with their new teachers for 2021. This program begins on Friday 27 November and runs through to the end of the school year on Tuesday 8 December.

Leadership development and opportunities are something we continue to provide for our students and recently a group of our Year 9 girls were involved in the Year 5 Leadership Day in the Junior School. Our girls hosted Microsoft Teams meetings with small groups of Year 5 girls to discuss what leadership means to them, qualities of a good leader, and opportunities they have taken up throughout their journey. It was really great to see the connection this opportunity provided for the two groups of girls.

Cricket training has continued for the Year 7 & 8 boys looking to be part of the team that is scheduled to play a 20/20 match against Mount Scopus in Term 1 of 2021. With over 20 boys attending training it has been great to see the enthusiasm and determination that has been on display, along with the impressive skill level that has been demonstrated. It will be a challenging task to narrow this squad down to 13 at the beginning of the year, but promises to ensure we have a strong team to take on Mount Scopus.

One thing the restrictions in 2020 have highlighted for everyone is the importance of maintaining exercise and fitness in or daily/weekly routines. For our students this is also extremely important and with the recent easing of restrictions the opportunity to be using our school gym is again available for our Year 9 (and above) students on two mornings a week. This opportunity enables them to be guided through a fitness program developed for them by a qualified fitness instructor, focussing on core strength, muscular strength,  stretching and fitness.

One of the many activities to be restricted this year has been cross-country running. To counter this, EISM are offering a virtual cross-country competition where students have until the 25 November to run their best 3km time and submit this as their actual run time. This needs to be collected using an app such as Runkeeper, Strava or Garmin and then submitted and verified by our Head of Sport Mr Viney. It has been great to see many students out already endeavouring to build up to their best times for the 3 kilometres.

Among many of the things interrupted this year due to COVID-19, the Tintern Trips & Tours program has come to an abrupt halt. It is also challenging for us to have any certainty over the trips and tours that we did have scheduled for both our Middle School and Senior College in 2021 and beyond. With this in mind we have already made significant alterations to the program to be able to provide alternative trips that are within our country or Pacific Region and still provide students with an enriching and potentially life changing experience. For our Middle School students, we are hoping to offer an Indigenous Immersion experience in September 2021 with more information on this to be announced in Term 1 next year.


Senior College News

News from the Senior College

With IB Exams well underway and the first of our VCE written exams commencing today, our Year 12 students and Year 11s undertaking Unit ¾ studies are maintaining their focus through the final weeks of their assessments. Students have continued to show optimism and maintain their positivity and again I congratulate our students on their superb commitment, attitude, willingness to always support each other, and resilience throughout the whole of 2020, and in particular over the final weeks of their formal schooling at Tintern. I want to also acknowledge the fantastic support that has been ongoing from our staff working closely with the Year 12s this year including our VCE and IB subject teachers, counselling staff, the team in Learning Enhancement, careers staff, Andrew Cho (VCE Co-ordinator), Nola Brotchie (IB Co-ordinator), Julie Ennor (VASS Co-ordinator and IB Administrator), Heather Ruckert (Year 12 Co-ordinator) and our Year 12 Mentors Chris Millgate-Smith, Shirley Wang, Sebastien Lauret, Jeanette Kropp and Tisha Eggleston.

As all families would be aware, this year’s Celebration Evening for our Class of 2020 is being screened on Saturday 5 December at the Coburg Drive-in – guests to arrive at 8.30pm. This is a very special evening, in a very unique format for 2020(!), which enables us to share the presentation of students with subject prizes and awards and to celebrate together as a community as we farewell our Year 12s. Year 12 parents will receive a booking link for this event by early next week.

Our Year 10 and 11 students are also fast approaching their examinations, which begin on November 20 and they are encouraged to implement good study habits over the remaining time they have before their exams, including the ‘Study Day’ on Thursday 19 November. Students should reflect on their work practices in the lead up to their last set of examinations and assessments and consider some strategies for improvement. These could include:

  • concentrating and working effectively in class during Term 4
  • seeking teacher support and clarification where needed
  • beginning examination preparation early
  • factoring in and planning ahead to manage any work, sporting and social commitments that may coincide with exams/preparation
  • changing study routines to focus on understanding of content
  • increasing the number of hours spent on homework and revision

At this time of the year I think it is timely that parents of Senior College students consider the resources available through SchoolTV in the ‘exam jitters’ edition which includes expert interviews, fact sheets, parent quiz and recommended apps. It answers questions such as ‘what students can do the night before or morning of an exam’, ‘is cramming helpful’, ‘how important are practice exams’ and gives advice on how to deal with stress, and much, much more. I encourage you to visit https://tintern.vic.schooltv.me/ and click on ‘All editions’ to see the resources available to you.



How to get a good night’s sleep.

How to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleeping well is a huge part of feeling well, but getting enough sleep isn’t always easy. If counting sheep isn’t doing the trick, there are some simple things you can try to make falling asleep and staying asleep more achievable.

Getting into a sleep routine

Research has shown that adolescents and young adults need at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night. A good sleeping routine will help you get the hours you need on a regular basis.

Let’s start with the basics;

  • Stick to a routine setting your alarm for the same time each morning and going to bed at the same time each night
  • Avoid caffeine before bed, as it can make it harder to get to sleep or may disrupt your sleep
  • Keep calm, but yes you need to turn off your television, mobile phone and laptop or tablet at least 30 minutes before bed .The light from these devises can trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime
  • Practice relaxation and meditation techniques to help you switch off your mind in the evening. Smiling Mind is a free, modern meditation program with exercises that can help you reduce stress and relax.


  • Try not to nap during the day.
  • Exercise first thing in the morning, outdoors. Sunlight can help reset your body clock.

Still Struggling; still tossing and turning in your bed at night? There are some other things you can try:

Your environment

  • Create a sleep playlist with soft , gentle music to slow your heart rate and help unwind
  • Check the room temperature _ is it too cold or too hot
  • Keep light and noise to a minimum. If outside noise is disturbing you, wear ear plugs or garb some headphones and play gentle music.

Your body

  • Drink warm milk or chamomile tea to calm your body
  • Try some progressive muscle relaxation techniques https://headspace.org.au/blog/mindfulness-magic-all-the-ways-progressive-muscle-relaxation-can-help/
  • Practice deep breathing


Your brain

  • If you are stuck in a half-awake, half asleep state, get comfortable, close your eyes and try to stay awake instead of falling asleep. This disruption can trick your mind into resettling itself.
  • Escape into your imagination.

If nothing’s working, give yourself a break. Turn on a dim light and read a book, do some light stretching, or walk around the house for a few minutes. Breaking the frustration loop of not sleeping can help you reset and feel drowsy.

If you have tried these suggestions, and you are still aren’t sleeping well, talk to a GP, a counsellor, psychologist or a sleep specialist about other options.

Catie McNamara

Director Student Welfare Services



Stephanie Hains (YG 2009)

The Tintern Community congratulate alumna Stephanie Hains (YG 2009) who married Christian Nilsson on 10 October at the Green Building, an events space in Brooklyn, New York. There was nothing normal about their courtship and as the saying goes, distance does make the heart grow fonder. Read all about their journey for love here in the New York Times.