Reordering and landscaping of FHS garden beds

The school’s staff, students, school council, City of Yarra and members of the local community have been involved for a number of years in an ongoing project to improve the school’s garden beds.

What are the objectives of this reordering and landscaping program?

To create much improved: amenity, biodiversity, representation of indigenous plants, teaching spaces and generally peaceful and welcoming precincts for staff and students to enjoy.

One of the specific objectives of the program is to provide the school with four, of the nine, Ecological Vegetation Communities (EVC) within the City of Yarra.

A further specific objective is to provide additional habitat for local fauna thereby further increasing the biodiversity of the school grounds.

What are the educational advantages from this garden beds program?

To support, expand and enhance the overall Education for Sustainability (EfS) objectives of the school, including involvement of: all teachers and students, particularly the VCAL teachers and students, with formal and informal links to the curriculum, the local community (they have already been involved with the tangential Community Compost Bins Project), parents and School Council. For a number of years the school has taken part in the ‘Resource Smart Schools – Sustainability Victoria’ Program and this reordering of the school’s garden beds adds to the school’s sustainability credentials via this program.

It is apposite to look at the ‘…three focus areas’ of the school’s ‘EfS policy’ outlined in that school document. It states that they are:

• curriculum;

• management of school resources;

• management of school grounds.

To achieve the objectives of EfS, Fitzroy High School will address all three focus areas in ways that are meaningful to the students, teachers, school council and the whole school community.”

It is also interesting to note that in a major report titled ‘Ecological Education at Fitzroy High School: a Report of Research Conclusions and Recommendations’ compiled by Alicia Flynn in November 2018, she outlines three things that are essential for ecological education. They are: ‘Learning with other species’, ‘Learning with materials’ and ‘Learning with other places’.

From Alicia’s report it is possible to conclude that enhanced FHS gardens would provide an opportunity for students who participated in any inquiry using garden spaces to relish the opportunity to learn in such a diverse multispecies community and precinct. The teachers and other adults who participate would also benefit by experiencing a sense of space, calm, fun and ‘a different relationship with students and learning’. 

Therefore it is possible to say that in addition to the direct educational advantages outlined above, an enhancement of the general health and well being of staff and students flows from the improved ambience of the school’s surrounds.      

What has already been achieved?

The earliest stage of the garden bed program took place a few years ago when the garden area facing Falconer Street – the gateway to the school’s main entrance, was reordered with garden beds of indigenous plants and the provision of timber surrounds and seating areas. The beauty, sustainability and utility of this first step of the program was recognised with the school gaining an environment award from the City of Yarra.

Some work on a new and revamped program took place in 2018. The first stage of this program, ‘The Escarpment Shrubland’, involved the complete reordering of the area in the south-east corner of the school, adjacent to the Michael Street driveway. Many of the unsuitable existing trees, shrubs and grasses in this area were removed, the ground was tilled and suitably mulched, and many new plants were established in the landscaped garden.

In 2019 it was hoped that another stage, and a more ambitious part of the program would be reached. The gardens on both sides of the ‘Corridor Area’, running north-south between the main building and science block, was to be reordered in a similar way to that of the first stage outlined above. Unfortunately the maintenance and painting work on the timber windows on the western side of the main building took precedence. It was not possible to guarantee that the newly established gardens, adjacent to the main building, would not be impacted by the machinery or scaffolding that was required to complete this work.

What is planned for future years?

The garden and landscaping of this ‘Corridor Area’ will now take place in 2020.

Further stages of the whole program are planned for coming years and in particular the creation of a ‘sensory garden’ which is likely to be located on the eastern side of the school; existing garden areas would be suitable for this part of the program. In 2018, the outline of possible approaches that could be used in creating a sensory garden was provided to the School’s Council by an interested parent, Ms Tonya Slee, who was a member, at that stage, of the ‘Master Plan Subcommittee’ of FHS Council

The stages of garden reordering outlined above have been under the oversight of the school principal, Linda Mitchell and member of the Buildings and Environments Subcommittee of FHS Council using the plans, principles and guidelines provided to the school by Ms Jenny Harrington of the Victorian Indigenous Nursery Corporation.

The School Council endorses this program and does so in the knowledge that it has already provided many aesthetic and educational benefits for staff, students, the school’s neighbours and members of the school community, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

It has always been a major aim of this program to create model gardens that will create additional resources for teachers and students and the local community to enjoy. 

How can you help?

The school has already raised over $1000 to support the purchasing of plants, mulch and general landscaping.

In the future, when we can all assemble again, we will have at least one school ‘Maintenance Day’ where we will work on the school’s garden beds.

Roger Smith

Community Representative and Convenor of Buildings and Environments Subcommittee of FHS Council  



Setting Career Foundations
It is crazy to think that we are already at the end of Term 1. Hopefully by now your student feels that they have settled into their year level, subject load and the routine of school. In terms of the career calendar in Term 1 it is relatively light with our focus at the start of the term being supporting the recent graduates of Fitzroy and ensuring they have a smooth transition, while also supporting students in developing an understanding of the career education opportunities that they will receive in the year to come.

What certain year levels can expect over the coming months?

Year 9

The My Career Insights program is predicted to go ahead, with testing for the Fitzroy student community to commence on the 2nd week of Term 2. The great news is that all assessments can be completed at home and online if schools do need to close amongst the impact of CO-VID 19. The student will then complete and unpack the profile starting in June till the end of term 2. For further information for parents on My Careers Insights, click here.

Year 10
Students will be completing their year 10 subject counselling in Term 3, discussing all things senior school and pathways. We are encouraging all students to revisit their Morrisby Report, as a part of their My Career Insights program they completed in Year 9 as well as their career action plan. Students can log back in and review this at, if they
are having difficulty accessing their profile, send an email to

Year 11
The Year 11s are settling into their senior school studies and will have access to organise a career session based on anything they would like to discuss about pathways, year 12 and life beyond Fitzroy. All students can organise a session both online or face to face through the career session booking app. You can access it here.

Year 12
Given the current climate and the predicted impact of CO-VID19 the careers department is actively speaking with institutes and pathway providers to learn of the cancelled events and online resources that are becoming available for students during this time. The VTAC process begins for Year 12s across the state at the start of August with further communication to follow for students on how to navigate this process. Students who are eager to explore their options in tertiary education are encouraged to explore courses and pathways through the course search function on VTAC. For students who are exploring apprenticeships you can find more information here.

COVID-19 Impact
We are working with the school leadership team to determine how best to support students through these uncertain times. We will make sure that each and every student will be able to gain what they need to continue to design and develop the foundations of their career. It is highly likely that we will be using platforms like google hangouts to complete counselling sessions and will be continuing best practice and continuing to cooperate with the schools privacy policy, The DET guidelines and the Careers Education Association of Victoria (CEAV) guidelines of E-Counselling.

Tyson Day, Careers Counsellor, Fitzroy High School

Wellbeing Support

Dear School Community,

In addition to the message sent via Compass on Wednesday March 25 in relation to the provision of school’s Wellbeing and Engagement services if/when working remotely to support learning and wellbeing continuity, please find below some tips to assist families:

Students who have existing appointments with a member of the well-being team are welcome to have a phone session.  This will need to be scheduled and arranged directly with either Linda, Jamie or Jo via email. 

Students/ parents are also welcome to email if they have any concerns about their child’s wellbeing during school working hours 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday, where further support/ information can be provided in more specific contexts. 

Tips for Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety
As the number of coronavirus cases rise across Australia, the level of anxiety within the community is increasing. Feelings of worry and uncertainty can be expected. It is important that we learn to manage our stress before it turns to more severe anxiety and panic (APS, 2020).

This following information outlines some useful strategies which can help both adults and children cope with the stress or anxiety experienced as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

 Listen to the child and acknowledge any fears. Reassure the child that, given widespread media attention on COVID-19, it is understandable that they are worried about what is happening and how it could impact their lives.
 Normalise the child’s feelings. Let the child know that media exposure or hearing adults talk about worrying events such as COVID-19 might lead to heightened feelings of fear and apprehension, that this is normal, and such feelings will subside. Provide perspective.
 Respond to incorrect information or assumptions. Explain how information can be distorted when it is passed from one person to the next, as in the game known as ‘Chinese Whispers’ or ‘Broken telephone’
 Know the facts. Don’t speculate — keep up to date. Inform the child or your class about what is happening in a way that does not promote further anxiety. Refer to the Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus
(COVID-19) resources.

Learn the facts
Constant media coverage about the coronavirus can keep us in a heightened state of anxiety. Try to limit related media exposure and instead seek out factual information from reliable sources such as the Australian Government’s health alert or other trusted organisations such as the World Health Organization (APS, 2020).

Practise self-care
To help encourage a positive frame of mind, it is important to look after yourself. Everybody practises self-care differently with some examples including:
 Maintaining good social connections and communicating openly with family and friends
 Making time for activities and hobbies you enjoy
 Keeping up a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting quality sleep and avoiding the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs to cope with stress
 Practising relaxation, meditation and mindfulness to give your body a chance to settle and readjust to a calm state.

Tips for talking with children about the coronavirus
Children will inevitably pick up on the concerns and anxiety of others, whether this is through listening and observing what is happening at home or at school. It is important that they can speak to you about their own concerns.

Answer their questions
Do not be afraid to talk about the coronavirus with children. Given the extensive media coverage and the increasing number of people wearing face masks in public, it is not surprising that some children are already aware of the virus. 
You can do this by:
 Speaking to them about coronavirus in a calm manner
 Asking them what they already know about the virus so you can clarify any misunderstandings they may have
 Letting them know that it is normal to experience some anxiety when new and stressful situations arise
 Giving them a sense of control by explaining what they can do to stay safe (e.g., wash their hands regularly, stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing)
 Not overwhelming them with unnecessary information (e.g., death rates) as this can increase their anxiety
 Reassure them that coronavirus is less common and severe in children compared to adults
 Allowing regular contact (e.g., by phone) with people they may worry about, such as grandparents, to reassure them that they are okay.

Talk about how they are feeling
Explain to your child that it is normal to feel worried about getting sick. Listen to your child’s concerns and reassure them that you are there to help them with whatever may arise in the future. It is important to model calmness when discussing the coronavirus with children and not alarm them with any concerns you may have about it. Children will look to you for cues on how to manage their own worries so it is important to stay calm and manage your own anxieties before bringing up the subject with them and answering their questions.

Limit media exposure
It is important to monitor children’s exposure to media reports about the coronavirus as frequent exposure can increase their level of fear and anxiety. Try to be with your child when they are watching, listening or reading the news so you are able to address any questions or concerns they may have.

Further Resources to Assist Parents and Carers to Communicate and Support their Child:
Please find some further helpful resources below:
Lifemind Australia has established accessible links to vital connections and resources which are designed to support the mental health and wellbeing of those experiencing an indirect or direct impact from COVID-19.
Emerging Minds has a helpful video, factsheets and many tips to guide your discussion.

Top Class: Theatre Studies Filming Invitation

Last year, I completed the VCE subject Theatre Studies, achieving a high score in my final monologue examination. Students were required to perform an interpretation from an assortment of prescribed monologues, as either an Actor/Director or Designer. I selected the character of Elizabeth Appleyard from Tom Wright’s adaptation of Picnic At Hanging Rock, set in the early 1900s. I created an abstract representation of the world of the play and theme of nature through my ‘clocklike’ arranged set design.

In late January, I was invited to audition for Top Class Season of Excellence 2020. This is an opportunity for twenty five outstanding students across Victoria to showcase their monologue to future Theatre Studies students, teachers and the general public. Early February, myself and Tallulah Thornton – Lawrence were officially chosen to perform in the show, although the performance itself was cancelled because of Covid-19.

Subsequently, Drama Victoria has chosen myself and six other performers to be filmed as an educational resource for schools across Victoria.

I am extremely grateful for these opportunities and has proved to me that hard work really does pay off.

Matilda Komene, Year 12

Private singing, piano or acting classes online

Private singing, piano or acting classes online with professional actor and singer Belinda Jenkin.

Are you wanting to learn a new skill or continue practising while at home? 

I am a graduate of NIDA 2015 (DMT) and Musical Theatre CAP21, New York.

My professional musical theatre tour was recently postponed due to our current circumstances so I am offering affordable online private classes for any of your performing arts needs.

I teach piano, singing, musical theatre, acting for stage and screen and songwriting to all ages.

I can also assist you with VCE subjects such as VCE contemporary voice, VCE Music theory, VCE Drama (monologue preparation, performance and theory) and VCE Theatre Studies.

Feel free to contact me if you would like a lesson anytime! You are also more than welcome to pass on my details if you know anyone else who might be interested in lessons during this time or in the future!

PHONE: 0402292048



For more information about me:

Performing credits include: Eleanor, Summer Heights High (ABC), Jade, in the new television comedy Metro Sexual(Nine Network), Magnormos’ Anyone Can Whistle, HouseWarming, Until Tomorrow, Prick the Musical, Motor-Mouth Loves Suck Face, Gilligan’s Island the Musical, Chronic, Salty Theatre’s Top Gun the Musical, the Toronto production of People Suck, presented at Theatre Works and most recently the Australian tour of 50 Shades! The Musical Parody (DVE).

Writing credits include: several cabarets, as well as musical collaborationswith William Hannagan such as the Apocalyptic Song Cycle Until Tomorrowand HouseWarming the Musical. HouseWarming was presented at The New York Musical Theatre Festival, New York in 2014. Then under the new name The Gathering it had its professional Melbourne season at fortyfivedownstairs with the support of The City of Melbourne. 

Introduction to Tyson Day and Careers Services

I’m personally very excited to be involved with the Fitzroy High School community as the Careers Counsellor, supporting Sandra Dickens while she is in her role at the Department of Education. It is my third year of being involved in the school, as in 2018 I supported the Year 10s with VCE subjects, 2019 I supported Years 10s and 12s with subjects and pathways, so it’s great to feel a deeper connection to the school community in 2020. When I’m not at the school, I’m working in my own business, Arrive & Thrive, supporting young people in the transition process through workshops and individual counseling. I have worked in all aspects of career development, including universities, corporate, athlete transitions and secondary education. My main priorities in the school are supporting students in career exploration, bringing further awareness to the support that they have and working closely with teachers to help each student develop a career plan that aligns with their personality, interests and strengths. I’m looking forward to working with parents in this process and bringing about further discussions and career conversations at home while further embedding the amazing work that Sandra has been doing over the past few years. Please feel free to contact me on

Tyson Day

Term 1 School Council President Report

Dear Fitzroy High School Community,

For those new to the school this year: welcome to Fitzroy High School!  We are so happy that you have chosen to be a part of our wonderful school community and look forward to getting to know you as you explore the many opportunities for learning and growth that Fitzroy High School offers our young people.  For those returning: welcome back! We hope you had a great break over the summer and have come back refreshed and ready to engage with our outstanding program.

The start of any school year is always a busy time for teachers, school leadership, parents and students.  This year we have the added task of completing a formal school review in Term 1. School reviews are undertaken every four years by the Victorian Department of Education as part of their improvement and quality assurance cycle.  School leadership and School Council have been engaged with this since late last year, as we work through the process of completing the school’s Pre-Review Self- Evaluation and move on to the site visits by the review team in March. The school has run a number of focus groups with parents and students to gather feedback and teachers and school leadership have been examining policies, practices, strategies and outcomes to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are and where we’d like to get to.  I’d like to thank all the parents and students who have come along to the focus groups for their input. And special thanks to members of School Council, school leadership and teachers for all the work they have put in and will continue to put in through the review process. We will keep you informed of the results of the review and the goals established for the next four year cycle. 

The first regular meeting for School Council for 2020 was on Wednesday 19 February.  In that meeting, School Council reviewed and approved the Year 8 Roses Gap camp and the Year 9 Bogong Leadership camp.  Monitoring camps and major excursions is one role of School Council, which has an oversight role in relation to risk/child safety and financial/equity issues and can provide support and advice around education and other matters.  School Council also resolved to undertake a full review of the Fitzroy High School dress code. As you know, Fitzroy High School does not have a uniform but there is a dress code and dress code policy, which must be regularly reviewed and endorsed by School Council.  Late last year, students from the Feminist Collective club (FemCo) wrote to School Council with a number of concerns around the dress code relating to both the substance of the code and the manner of its implementation. School Council has now commissioned the Community Subcommittee to undertake a community consultation and full review of the dress code. Sharlene Farrugia, a parent member of School Council, will lead that review.

If you want to know more about our February meeting, you can find the minutes for that meeting and all School Council meetings in Compass in the documentation section.

The next meeting of School Council on Wednesday 25 March will be the last meeting for School Council members whose two-year terms are expiring and the first for newly appointed members.  It will also be the meeting at which we elect the office bearers (President, Deputy President, Treasurer) for 2020 and appoint the heads of the three subcommittees. There are four parent member positions, two Department member positions and up to two community member positions that need to be filled.  Parents who are interested in joining School Council are encouraged to nominate. You don’t need any particular experience or knowledge, just a willingness to participate and make a contribution. Information about the nominating and voting process has been posted on Compass. 

Of course joining School Council is not the only way to get involved and make a contribution to our wonderful school!  One possibility is to join a School Council subcommittee. School Council has three subcommittees: Education, Community and Buildings and Environment.  These subcommittees are a critical part of school governance and provide essential support to School Council and core and extra-curricular school programs.  All parents and teachers are welcome to join those subcommittees, which usually meet two weeks before School Council to review and discuss work in their area and make recommendations to School Council.  You don’t have to be a member of School Council to join a subcommittee and subcommittee meetings are open to all members of the school community. The dates for the subcommittee and School Council meetings are published on Compass. 

If you want to know more about joining School Council, participating in a subcommittee or other volunteering opportunities, please feel free to contact me.  My school email is

Ralph Saubern
President, School Council
Fitzroy High School

Instrumental Music Program 2020

Fitzroy High’s Instrumental Music Program is well and truely underway. We have a great lineup of ensembles again this year and some new faces that have joined the team. I would like to introduce Matt Sheers our new Strings teacher who is leading both The String Ensemble and Filharmonica and teaching violin, viola and the Uke. Another new face is myself, Emily Wearne! Taking the lead from Matthew Hovell who did a terrific job last year coordinating the Instrumental Program, I will be answering your emails, facilitating performances and helping out in anyway possible to ensure a smooth year of lessons and performances, if anyone has any suggestions or questions regarding the program please contact me at this email , and I will endeavour to help where possible. 

For this year we hope to have a few external and internal concerts to showcase the hard work put in by both student and teacher to learn an instrument and play in an ensemble. I encourage staff, friends and family to attend these events and support students in their extra curricular activity. That is it for now, I hope everyone is settling into the new year with ease and we can all have a fab 2020!!

Emily Wearne

TARA workshop (Teenage Aggression: Responding Assertively)

The T.A.R.A Program – A workshop for parents of adolescents who are behaving with aggression and violence – is a Course that runs over two mornings (attendance required for both sessions) Thursday 12th and 19th March at 9.30am -12.30
Please call intake to secure a place on the number below.

Collingwood Basketball

Collingwood Basketball Club is a community based, not for profit sports club. We offer a variety of basketball opportunities for beginners, experienced and high performance players.

Registrations for our Summer domestic teams, for players from under 9 to under 19, are now open, and I am hoping that you can place either the attached notice, or the text based information below, in your next newsletter, in order to promote the program to your students and their families. The teams are open to beginners and experienced players.

Information and online registration: