There has been much commentary recently about the use of technology in schools and particularly whether or not students should be permitted to access mobile phones at school.

Some schools, and school systems, have adopted a zero-tolerance approach, banning phones altogether, others are more relaxed in regard to their policies, while most fall somewhere in the middle of these expectations. The debate continues to rage in Australia and is now truly on the political agenda for both major parties. As educators we tend to look at the evidence. For example, we now have research that suggests that, not only are bans often ineffective, but also that schools that do not allow students to use phones have a higher rate of cyberbullying (16.4%) than schools that allow phone use (9.7%). The report is available to here:

At Balcombe Grammar School we recognise that students will bring mobile phones to school and as a result, we aim to provide educative sessions and clear direction in regard to mobile phone use. In a school setting there are opportunities for young people to use electronic devices for a multitude of positive purposes, including educational apps and management of their school program through the use of an online calendar.

In addition to this, it is acknowledged that the proper use of mobile phones can be a valuable asset, support communication and can also enhance student safety. The school recognises that access to mobile phones can aid communication between students at school and their family and friends beyond school, but we also recognise there needs to be clear directions on when and how this occurs.

We also acknowledge that, whilst there are many positive uses for a mobile phone, we also understand that, if used inappropriately, mobile phones can impact negatively on learning, relationships and wellbeing. We need to be clear about what is acceptable in our school context.

As part of our annual policy reviews we have produced a set of detailed policies to support healthy mobile phone usage on campus grounds. For full details please refer to the specific policy for your child that will be sent via Care Monkey shortly. In summary the following guidelines are in place for 2019:

  • Foundation – Year 9: a zero-tolerance policy in regard to mobile phone usage. If a phone is brought to school it is to be kept out of sight, preferably in a locker or bag.
  • Year 10 – 12: phones may be used for educational purposes when instructed by the teacher and during breaks within the immediate vicinity of the Senior Centre.

We have a connected and active student community and feel that it is important for our students to remain active during breaks, but also to communicate regularly face to face and not online while here on campus. Our culture of phone use is healthy and we anticipate that our clear guidelines for specific year levels will further enhance this culture whilst also providing opportunities for more senior students to develop one’s self-regulation skills as they move towards adulthood.

Mr Ross Patterson


We may only be half way through Term 1, but we are well and truly under way with House activities.

The Primary House Swimming Carnival was held in pleasant conditions at the Crib Point pool. Our Primary students never fail to provide endless amounts of enthusiasm and energy at this event and this year was no different. It was wonderful to see so many students dressed in House colours arrive at school early in the day ready to represent their House and cheer on their team mates. It was also pleasing to see so many parents attend the event providing support to all the students as well as enjoying some time in the sun.

The theme of Swimming Carnivals continued this week with the Secondary Sports held on Monday. This event involves transporting the entire Secondary School population (no mean feat) to the Pines Aquatic Centre, which features a 50m Olympic sized pool. Once again, we were amazingly lucky, with the weather conditions being absolutely perfect for a water based activity. The number of students involved was at an all-time high with every student attending involved in at least one event. It was great to see the outstanding level of House spirit displayed in so many ways, varying from vibrant costumes to fun filled novelty races and of course some amazing feats of extremely fast swimming in the pool. The final results for both Swimming Carnivals will be announced at the upcoming school assemblies.

Looking forward, Term 1 continues to provide plenty of opportunities for our students to be involved in House activities, both from a sporting and cultural perspective. Details will soon be available outlining our inaugural Chalk Asphalt Art competition which will involve students from all levels of the school. We then continue our Term 1 carnivals with both the Primary and Secondary Athletics held towards the end of the term at Mace Oval.

Throughout the year we plan to introduce a greater variety of House events to give all of our students the opportunity to participate in activities which will be both enjoyable and rewarding. These will be in various fields including, Performance, Arts, Music, Debating and Sport.

In finishing, I would like to thank this year’s House Leaders and Captains for their enthusiasm, energy and organisational skills. Without them, these events would not be possible.

  • Casey House: Leader - Mr Alan Wharton, Captains - Ashleigh Mascitti and Oscar Burns
  • Leaver House: Leader - Ms Ash Whalley, Captains - Madeleine Kelly and Luke Nestor-Knox
  • Norman House: Leader - Ms Merryn Johnstone, Captains - Alyssa Spears and Aron Palmer-Poynter
  • Weston House: Leader - Mr Andrew Shelton, Captains - Alice Larsen and Henry Driver

Mr Damon Pascoe
House Co-ordinator


Another brilliant day of swimming with students throwing themselves into events to gain points for their House. The energy from the first heats was electric, with all houses decked out in a myriad of colour, waving banners and singing House chants. There were some excellent individual performances with Kai Gilbert, Ella Caldecott and Logan Shelley dominating their year level. However, it was the ‘have a go attitude’ and the obvious pride in winning valuable house points that shone throughout

Mr Andrew Martin
Sport Co-ordinator


On the weekend of February 23-24, 50 students from the cast and crew of this year’s production of ‘The Addams Family’ stayed at Camp Manyung to rehearse and enjoy being a part of the show. Cast members worked hard to learn the choreography of the big chorus numbers and combine the singing and dancing in the show. A stage was marked out and with very little time to relax, much was done to progress with rehearsals. With the talents of the two choreographers, Kate and Leizl, both ex-students from Balcombe, who gave of their own time to lead the actors on stage, we can’t go wrong! Music students joined the cast and crew on camp to rehearse the score with their music tutors, and begin their journey in the band. Sound, set and lighting cues were documented, and props and costumes were sourced and organised by the hardworking backstage crew who also came along to the camp to get to know the show. Another highlight of the weekend was a Gothic Disco on the Saturday night to celebrate the spooky character of The Addams Family musical. It also gave us an opportunity to admire Ms Mormile and Mr Rampant’s dance moves!! Many thanks to the staff and students involved for making this a worthwhile and enjoyable experience for everyone. The beautiful venue, the sunshine and good food helped as well. It’s going to be a wonderful show!

Ms Christina Burton
Performing Arts Co-ordinator


We are pleased to bring to your attention a new school resource that you may find useful – SchoolTV.

Today parents face a multitude of modern day challenges in raising happy, well and resilient young people. Whilst there is a great deal of information available, this can often be confusing and overwhelming for parents who are looking for guidance.

SchoolTV (see link below) provides comprehensive videos from leading experts, fact sheets, suggested books, apps, websites and resources for a range of topics, including: Gambling; Internet Addiction; Online Porn; Social Media & Digital reputation; Sexting; Cyberbullying; Drug & Alcohol use; Suicide & self-harm; Depression and Anxiety. We trust that you find this resource both insightful and useful; however, as always if you require further support please contact our counselling team, your child’s Tutor or Head of Sub-School. 

Mr Ross Patterson

Link to School TV


On Monday 25 February the Outdoor Environmental Studies (OES) students began their scuba camp in Portsea. During this camp students were taught how to scuba dive and developed their skills throughout the many dives they completed. Students began their experience as new divers in a 3 metre pool, and finished their experience by immersing themselves 10 meters below the ocean’s surface at Popes Eye in the middle of Port Philip Bay. This is where we sighted sting rays, many schools of vibrant fish and much more. The entire OES scuba camp provided individual challenges for each of the students which built on their resilience. The OES scuba camp delivered exciting adventures into the deep, as well as on dry land, for all.

Larissa Denny
Year 10


On Wednesday 27 February, the Year 11 students visited Monash University, Clayton campus, to discover the different tertiary opportunities available as well as learning a little about life at Monash. With over 25,000 students, approximately 30 restaurants and its own a postcode, Monash University is an eye opening educational facility for our students. The students were given a general overview of the courses available and then more specific presentations on the area of interest to each student. This was followed by a campus tour and lunch. It was a very exciting and informative day for our Year 11’s. A few thoughts of our students include;

Tahlia Moore: ‘After an introduction we were split into Science or Humanities based lectures depending on our interests. We were told about the different courses that we could take under the key topics of Science and Humanities, including the pathways they could open for us in the future. The experience was very educational and helpful for students to learn about the different choices after school.’

Renae Potts: ‘In STEM we talked about the specialized science related courses which I found really helpful as I was able to ask many questions. We then had the opportunity to get lunch and walk around the campus, which was my favourite aspect of the day. My group and I had lunch at the campus centre and then went for a walk and we ended up at the Biomedical buildings. These buildings were amazing and it excites me that this is where I could end up.’

Annabel Deegan: ‘At the Year 11 Monash excursion last week I got a real feel for the Monash Clayton Campus and what life at University would be like. I participated in the Bachelor of Arts information session with many other students and got a real insight into the degree and the options that I have available after I finish school.’

Mr Philip McDonald
Careers Co-ordinator


In 2015, Balcombe Grammar was awarded the title of ‘Maths Active School’ from the Mathematics Association of Victoria. We have since continued to maintain this status which has been a very special honour, as there are only 29 schools throughout Victoria with such recognition. For our students, this means they are engaged in the learning of Mathematics through the use of concrete materials (blocks, shapes, etc.), participate in problem solving and investigations, and are excited and innovative in their use of mathematics. Balcombe Grammar teachers provide opportunities for both the invention and practice of mathematical skills. They support and encourage co-operative, small-group learning alongside whole-class discussions. Teachers make use of concrete materials at all levels of the primary school in order to make mathematics learning real and relevant. Our main aim when teaching Mathematics is for the children to become numerate. That is, to be able to use the processes taught in Mathematics in every day and real life situations.

Mr Paul Tuchtan
Maths Co-ordinator  (F-6)


Wow! What an awesome team effort for the second match of the Year 10 Girls SIS season. BGS dominated the entire match taking home the win. Scores were Balcombe 21 to Woodleigh 7.

Mackenzie Eardley set the tone shooting a skilful 10 goals accompanied by Katie Styles dominating from the top of the circle with six goals for the match followed by Willow Argus shooting three and Charlotte Lawyer with two goals from the corner circle. Chloe Holmes and Maja Bradshaw fended off shot after shot holding down the goal circle and keeping Woodleigh to single figures. An exciting game played by all members of the team.

Mrs Ponsioen
Year 10 Sports Coach


After our bye in Round 1, we travelled down to Beaconsfield to play St Francis Xavier in our first game of SIS Handball. Although we had the week off last week, it didn’t look obvious, with some incredible defending and a goalkeeping masterclass from Taj in the first quarter. Xavier got our only goal as we nullified our skilful opposition by going into the first break at 1-1. In the second, SFX’s ability shone through, and despite a valiant effort, good keeping from Barnaby and Henry copping many balls to the face, we went into the half 6-3 down. Early in the third quarter, we gained momentum, with awesome shooting from Mitch and Matt closing the gap. Our defending was once again tight knit, but we still had work to do, as the deficit was four heading into the final stretch. We looked down and out at three quarter time, but we saved our best quarter for last. We displayed incredible fight and drew level midway through the final quarter, with a flurry of goals putting us on top. This was quickly quashed though as they scored the final three goals to run out 14-11 winners. Although we ended up on the losing side, the never say die attitude was clear to see and holds us in good stead for the rest of the season.

Oliver Walker-Peel
Year 10


When students are absent from school parents are requested to phone the school by 9:00am on 5970 1111 (24 hour voicemail). For reasons of duty of care the school will endeavour to communicate with you by text message if a phone call has not been received. You may also email:

TERM 1 2019, WEEK 7

Monday 11 March
Labour Day Public Holiday

Tuesday 12 - Friday 15 March
Year 5 Camp

Tuesday 12 March
Year 11 & 12 VCE Theatre Studies

Wednesday 13 March
Division Swimming
Year 10 Buddy Day with Year 5 Camp

Thursday 14 March
Founders' Assembly and
Principal's Commissioning 10:30am
 (book online via website)
Year 10 SIS Handball 
Year 7 Camp Information Evening 6.30 – 7.30pm  

TERM 1 2019, WEEK 8

Monday 19 – Thursday 21 March
 Year 8 Camp

Tuesday 19 March
 Teen Chef – Open to Year 9 - 11

Wednesday 20 March
 French Film Festival
OES Surf Excursion
 PFC Meeting 9-10am
 BGS Open Day 10am
(book online via website)
Friday 22 March

 BGS House Teen Chef – Open to Year 9 – 11
Year 10 SIS Handball

BGS Intranet Calendar
Facebook Twitter Rss Youtube

Primary and Secondary Co-education
389 Nepean Highway Mount Martha Victoria 3934 Australia
Telephone: +61 3 5970 1100 Facsimile: +61 3 5974 2755