Yarra Valley Grammar Overview
Established in Ringwood in 1966 and set on a spacious 29-hectare single campus, Yarra Valley Grammar overlooks the picturesque Dandenong Ranges. Our students excel under the guidance of great teachers who love what they do and seek to inspire them to strive for excellence. The School offers an extensive range of contemporary opportunities and sets high standards of performance, encouraging all students to achieve their personal best.
Great teachers are able to communicate complex concepts in simple ways. They can vary the way they teach to suit the way each student learns. This takes patience, flexibility and the ability to see things from the students’ perspective. Yarra Valley Grammar’s team of teachers know their material, love their subjects and love to teach. They have a genuine interest in getting to know their students, so they can teach them effectively, encourage them to achieve their best, identify issues or problems, and care for their welfare. Our teachers are also role models for our students, promoting the School’s core values such as respect, concern and action for others, and treating others as they wish to be treated.
Yarra Valley Grammar’s broad curriculum is responsive to individual student needs, with extra opportunities for enrichment and support. Key Learning Areas include English, Science, Humanities, ICT, Languages, Mathematics, Art and Design, Business Studies, Design Technology,Physical Education and Outdoor Education. Students study a common curriculum until the mid secondary years but beyond this, many electives are available from which students may choose. The School also enjoys exchange programs with schools in France, Japan and China.
Yarra Valley Grammar students enjoy a diverse range of extra-curricular opportunities, including academic, sporting and special interest clubs, debating, drama productions, private tuition in singing and musical instruments, band, orchestra and ensembles, the Community Links Program, participation in state and national academic competitions, and specialist enrichment and support programs.
Involvement in sport is expected and is typically held on Saturday mornings during the school term for Secondary School and mid-week for Junior School. The School is a member of the Associated Grammar Schools of Victoria (AGSV).
A broad range of sports offered include athletics, badminton, basketball, canoeing, cross-country, cricket, football, golf, hockey, netball, softball, skiing, snowboarding, soccer, swimming, table tennis, tennis and volleyball. There is an extensive inter-house and inter-school sports program and a comprehensive Outdoor Education program.
The Head of Student Wellbeing, along with the School Chaplain, oversees the School's pastoral care program. Students are encouraged to accept responsibility, leadership opportunities and a sense of community through a School-wide program called Community Links. Students are encouraged to become involved in fundraising for various charities throughout the school year as well as hands-on involvement in local community projects such as Refugee Toast and Tutoring helping new immigrants with English and Mathematics at a local primary school before school. The objective is to ensure our students are well-prepared for life after school and understand the importance of contributing to society in a meaningful way. The School has recently implemented a wellbeing framework across all levels in conjunction with The Resilience Project to develop our students sense of wellbieng, confidence and resilience.
A unique aspect of Yarra Valley Grammar is its spacious grounds and extensive onsite playing fields, including a Physical Education and Sports Complex incorporating a gymnasium and basketball courts, tennis courts, netball courts, hockey pitch and new indoor swimming pool.
Yarra Valley Grammar’s Early Learning Centre, opened in 2009, consists of three learning spaces and multi-purpose space catering for full and part time programs for 3 and 4 year olds.
The Upper Primary Building is a specifically designed, flexible learning space for Years 4, 5 and 6 students, while the Year 7 Centre is a dedicated facility to support students in their first year of secondary school. Similarly, the contemporary Senior Student Centre provides flexible learning spaces for Year 12 students.
There are also superior facilities for music, drama and dance within the School’s 900-seat Performing Arts Centre and state-of-the-art Music School, as well as two resource centres and a high-tech facility for the School’s internationally acclaimed Hearing Unit. Wootton Lodge, the School’s country property in eastern Victoria provides focus country retreat opportunities for students and some of the Outdoor Education Program.
Our state-of-the-art Science and Mathematics building is proudly home to 300 Senior School students and features six science laboratories, an outdoor environmental studies lab, nine open-plan mathematics learning spaces and soundfield technology to assist auditory clarity in the classroom. The new building also features a 130 seat lecture theatre with web cameras for lecture streaming school-wide.
An extensive computer network covers the whole School with wireless internet connection and technology integrated throughout the curriculum. Senior School students have access to ten information technology laboratories and two multimedia laboratories whilst Junior School students have access to two information technology laboratories and computers in every classroom from ELC to Year 6.
Before and after-school care programs and a holiday care program are also available.
Early Learning Centre
Children are learning from the time they enter the world and, from the time our youngest students enter Yarra Valley Grammar, we work with parents to continue to foster that sense of wonder and awe. Kindergaten programs are available for both three and four year olds as follows:
All ELC sessions run from 8.45am to 3.00pm.
Before and after school care is available.
The primary years are a time of skill acquisition, equipping our students with the capabilities they will need to become effective lifelong learners. In small classes with exceptional teachers, students develop the confidence to become independent learners, willing to ask questions, listen to others and absorb new learning. Our students enjoy all the benefits of a separate, small primary school, while at the same time having full access to the outstanding facilities and opportunities offered as part of a whole-school approach to continuous learning.
The Junior School curriculum focuses on establishing strong skills in the key areas of literacy and numeracy, complemented by a diverse specialist program. E-learning also plays a prominent role in the curriculum, with a mixture of personal and shared devices provided for students. Planning for different rates and styles of learning is a key feature of our curriculum and our teachers are experts at adapting their lessons to include multiple delivery methods.
“Our philosophy is one of individuality, where each student’s strengths, interests and needs are recognised and catered for. Our teachers work hard to differentiate the learning experience so that each student can achieve their best.” Mr Chris Lawson, Deputy Principal and Head of Junior School
The Junior School’s pastoral care program includes regular opportunities to monitor and discuss each child’s welfare, with formal programs such as buddy activities, leadership opportunities and transition programs supporting the wellbeing of students. Programs such as MPower Girls, which discusses what happens in friendship groups and how this affects them, and Revved Up Boys, which helps boys understand feelings of anger or frustration, are just one of a range of strategies we use to help our students establish and maintain positive relationships. The comprehensive transition to a secondary school program commences mid way through Year 6 with a series of visits, and linkages with students in Middle School.
The relationship between home and school is very important and, in partnership with parents, the School fosters an environment of respect, connectedness and wellbeing. There are many opportunities for parents to be involved, including reading activities, excursions, incursions, or via various parent groups. Parents are encouraged to speak with their child’s teacher should any questions or concerns arise.
Years 7 to 9 are a period of transition for students, as they cross the bridge between primary learning and their Senior School years.
Our Middle School is a caring, secure and welcoming place where students develop the confidence they need to successfully learn and grow. Recognising that students in this age group are experiencing a period of self-discovery, our Middle School program is structured and supportive, while at the same time catering to students’ increasingly individual interests.
A comprehensive 12-step transition program begins in Year 6 and tutors are in regular communication with families throughout the settling-in period. Our Year 7 students have their own dedicated home in the Year 7 Centre and meet daily with their tutor, who is the main carer during their first year of secondary school. They also attend pastoral and Outdoor Education camps early in the year, helping to establish positive relationships with their peers and teachers.
Our Middle School philosophy and practice is to ensure that every Middle School student is engaged in their learning. This means they are actively listening, watching, reading, thinking, making, speaking, performing and writing in a manner that indicates they are focused on, and interested in, their studies. The learning program is relevant, engaging and inspiring. Our curriculum is designed specifically to capture the interest and imagination of students at this stage in their learning journey, and it’s taught by dedicated teachers with a passion for the middle years.
We set high expectations with regard to academic rigour and encourage our students to think of themselves as learners and thinkers. Strong teacher-student relationships mean our students feel comfortable seeking assistance, and understand why they are learning specific content, concepts and skills. Our teachers also seek feedback from students, with our Year 7 students challenged to answer the question about what they would do if they were Principal for a day.
The Middle School Enhancement Program takes our Middle School students beyond the four walls of their classroom to reinforce their learning and to challenge their thinking. The traditional, classroom-based delivery of the curriculum is complemented and enhanced by the Inquiry Model of learning. Together, these two educational approaches encourage and empower our students to think independently and to develop a large range of skills needed for independent learning, which is so important beyond Year 9.
“I look forward to the continued development of a range of teaching and learning approaches that will challenge our students to step outside their comfort zone. For as Laurie Lawrence wrote in his Olympic book ‘Five Ring Fever’, ‘character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through the experiences of trial and disappointment can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.’” Mrs Julie Hall, Deputy Principal and Head of Middle School
Students in the Senior School are completing their final, important years of secondary education, and making significant choices about future study and career paths.
“Our aim is to provide an education with a particular focus on academic excellence. Our programs, subject offerings, teaching and learning practice, standards and expectations are all geared towards our students achieving a personal best in their academic results that will allow them to proceed into their chosen tertiary course or career.” Mr Andrew Hocking, Deputy Principal and Head of Senior School
This specific focus on academic rigour in the senior years starts at Year 10, where a uniquely designed pre-VCE curriculum is offered to prepare students for their final two years. Each Year 10 subject incorporates a theoretical component equivalent to its VCE counterpart, building our students’ capacity to tackle increasingly complex concepts. Our Year 11 and 12 students can then approach their studies with confidence and preparedness. Senior School students have access to valuable careers information and guidance, and are provided with assistance in their subject selection to ensure they meet relevant tertiary qualification requirements.
The relationship between teachers and students in Senior School is one of mutual respect. Our teachers are passionate about their teaching and are specialists in their subject areas. They know their students well and guide them in their studies to ensure they are focused on achieving their individual goals. The positive learning atmosphere at our School, fostered in the early years, means our students want to do well and there is an atmosphere of encouragement and excitement at achievement between the students. Communication with parents regarding academic progress is regular, and parents may contact tutors at any time with concerns.
We also understand the intellectual, emotional and social needs of students during what can be a very demanding time. The support we provide them at this level, and our deliberate encouragement of a school-life balance, enables them to manage priorities. Our purpose-built Senior Student Centre provides a dedicated environment for our senior students, including classrooms and working spaces for VCE subjects, as well as open spaces that reflect the tertiary study environment.
Senior School is also a time of increasing responsibility and our senior students proudly take on leadership responsibilities, acting as role models for the entire student body. Our goal is to prepare young people with the skills, confidence and independence they will need to lead fulfilling lives as active and contributing members of the community.
The Senior School experience is rounded out by an array of co-curricular activities including sport, camps, music and drama performances, academic competitions, debating, art programs, community service and social activities, and international tours and exchanges. This comprehensive program and our focus on academic rigour in the senior years provide the ideal environment for our students to achieve their very best.
Academic scholarships are offered in Year 5 and Years 7 to 11; music scholarships are offered in Years 7 to 11; and general excellence scholarships are offered in Years 7 to 11. Applications for Scholarships open in Term 3, please check our website for details.
For further information or to book a tour, please contact our Director of Markeitng and Admissions, Mrs Gagan Arora, on 9262 7700 or visit our website at www.yvg.vic.edu.au.
Building resilience across the school community
Every good school wants to look after the young people in our care but at Yarra Valley Grammar we believe that we needed a targeted, deliberate and progressive program to build resilience. We want to help our young people navigate their way through school, whether it's dealing with new technologies or online bullying or the rigours of VCE.
The statistics regarding mental health amongst children and adolescents is concerning:
So this year we have partnered with The Resilience Project, a Melbourne-based organisation that helps schools, sports clubs and businesses incorporate mental-health and wellbeing education into their communities. And as we were putting it together, we realised that our parents and friends were actually crying out for more in the area of mindfulness and positive psychology.
The new wellbeing framework has been developed by The Resilience Project to provide evidence based, practical strategies to build resilience. The key areas that will be explored and developed are Gratitude, Mindfulness, Emotional Literacy and Empathy.
There are curriculum changes, programs and presentations by The Resilience Project for all students; Early Learning to Year 12 as well as to our staff, parents and Old Grammarians. Our junior and secondary school students will be asked to keep journals; a place for them to record their thoughts, feelings and reflect on their experiences. We will also maintain an individual wellbeing and resilience assessment that will track their progress over time.
Just like teaching a young person to count, read and write, we need to teach young people interpersonal skills and techniques to navigate through it all positively. We see this as part of the School’s mission to nurture and educate the children in our care.
Dr Mark Merry
Yarra Valley Grammar
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