This week we took the opportunity to induct new staff into our School, a process that we complete twice a year. While the induction has a compliance component around School policies and procedures, we also take the opportunity to ensure that new team members understand and commit to our School culture.
When I first attended a Gippsland Grammar induction six years ago, the verbal description of our School culture seemed a little vague, even though the culture itself was strong and healthy. Today, I am confident that our culture is well defined and readily articulated. Our School values of Compassion, Leadership, Excellence, Responsibility and Respect can be transposed across almost any situation within our School and used to guide our actions and decision-making. If every member of our School community upholds these values, our School culture will not only survive but also thrive - well into the future.
Our culture is built on a strong and vibrant history. The School was formed in 1924 by the Church of England to cater for the academic needs of young women in Gippsland. From that early incarnation led by Miss Constance Tisdall, it moved to the current site in Raymond Street in 1936 and began to grow its reputation for high standards and excellent results. The early leaders of the School, Miss Tisdall and Miss Sparrow, instilled a strong sense of values and a great work ethic. The original name was the Church of England Girls Grammar School or CEGGS, before becoming St Anne’s Church of England Girls Grammar School.
In 1960, Gippsland Grammar boys’ school opened on the current site of Garnsey campus, led by Reverend Bert Neil as founding Principal. The two schools worked together in a cooperative and collaborative manner and, in 1971, merged under the leadership of Charles Sligo to become St Anne’s and Gippsland Grammar School, or STAGGS. In 1997, we became Gippsland Grammar and in 2006, under the leadership of Mike Clapper, the Bairnsdale Campus was opened to cater to the needs of our East Gippsland families.
Throughout my career, I have worked at many independent schools, and know many others through my network of Principals and other colleagues. As I reflect on our sector and its history, I feel particular pride in Gippsland Grammar, as well as a keen sense of responsibility. We all have a duty to work together to maintain a legacy of ideals and values built over more than 90 years through the early work of our founding teachers and Principals.
Acknowledging our history is particularly pertinent today as we celebrate St Anne’s day at our junior campus in Sale. This is a wonderful day in the School calendar - a day to recognise our origins and the founders of our School. It was lovely to catch up with the ‘Green Grubs’ who were able to attend today, and to hear their wonderfully colourful descriptions of the early life of students at St Anne’s.