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The Multicultural Youth (MY) Education Awards recognise excellence in the learning support sector. The Awards showcase outstanding contributions students, schools and Out-of-School-Hours Learning Support Programs make to the learning and engagement of students from migrant and refugee backgrounds in Victoria. Woodleigh's Homework and Learning Support Initiative (in partnership with the Brotherhood of St Lawrence and MiCare) received the Runners Up Award for Outstanding School-run Out of School Hours Learning Support Program.

Liah Muot accepts the award on behalf of the Homework and Learning Support Initiative. 

The Awards were presented at the Immigration Museum on 17 October. Woodleigh staff member Liah Muot (Youth Liaison – Homework and Learning Support Initiative) proudly accepted the award on behalf of the Homework and Learning Support Initiative.

You can read more about the Awards here.
Congratulations to everyone involved!

The VCE Season of Excellence is a five-month annual arts festival showcasing outstanding senior secondary student work from Victorian schools. The Season presents works created by VCE students in design, technology, multimedia and the cinematic, visual and performing arts through exhibitions, screenings and performances.

This year, we are proud to announce that six Woodleigh students have been selected to share their work at the festival. Congratulations to all!


Savanna Hopkinson and Alex Syme (Y12 2017)

Alexandra Syme
Suburban landscape 2017
enamel paint on stoneware
13.0 x 70.0 x 70.0 cm (variable)

Suburban landscape investigates the concepts of perception and reality. The didactic forms and loud contrasting colours provided by the materials help to reflect an idea of a child’s building blocks but also of a bustling suburbia. The strength and sturdy aesthetic of the white raku clay help to amplify the idea of buildings. Through this, the sculpture aims to explore naive perceptions of perfection within the space and structures, revealing the flaws intrinsic in space. (Text from NGV Top Arts website.)

Savanna Hopkinson
Equilibria – Phenomena 2017
charcoal and oxide stain on porcelain, cotton (thread), synthetic polymer paint on composition board
180.0 x 78.8 x 40.2 cm (overall)

For Equilibria – Phenomena I wanted to convey that the negatives and positives in life balance each other out. This has provided the conceptual foundation for this artwork, culminating in the beauty and necessity of imperfection and the beautiful, ambivalent perfection it ultimately creates. (Text from NGV Top Arts website.)

Please visit the Top Arts 2018 exhibition and support Sav, Alex and Woodleigh at the NGV Australia, Federation Square, Ground level, NGV Design Studio, 23 March–15 July. Open 10am–5pm daily. Free admission.

Congratulations, Sav and Alex!

TOPshots 2017

Cameron Myers (Y12 2017)

Congratulations to past student Cam Myers (Y12, 2017) for being selected to include his 'Pier' photography in the 2017 Monash Gallery of Art TOPshots exhibition. 

‘Moonlit Portsea Jetties’ Photographic print on pearl photographic paper 59cm x 59cm 

Cam has been experimenting more and more often, using the moon as the main/only source of light in his images. In his 'Moonlit' series he has used a full moon with long exposures to illuminate his landscape images. These images were taken between 10.30pm and 12am. 


Ashley Scott (Y12 2017)

The Premier's VCE Awards recognises outstanding results of individual students. Ash's 2017 Unit 3-4 Business Management achievements were celebrated as among the very best in the state of Victoria. 

The award ceremony was held on Tuesday 15 May at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. But in typical Woodleigh style, Ash was busy volunteering in the UK and couldn't attend the ceremony. We wish her all the best for a safe and successful trip, and congratulate her on this impressive achievement.


Alex Ferguson (Y12 2017)

Dux of the Class of 2017, Alex Ferguson was selected to perform his original Music Investigation composition ‘La Valise’ at the VCAA Season of Excellence ‘Top Class Sound’ event at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Friday 23 February. 


Tom Poyser (Y12 2018)

Congratulations also go to Tom Poyser (Y12 2018), who was selected to perform at Top Class Music at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Tuesday 6 March. 


Both Top Class Music and Top Class Sound feature the work of incredible students who received very high grades for their VCE performance examinations in 2017. The performances are compered by Assessors and the VCAA’s Curriculum Manager for the Performing Arts, and both Alex and Tom should be incredibly proud of their achievements.

Year 5 is an exciting time join us at Woodleigh School. With a second stream of students starting at our Minimbah and Penbank campuses, classes move into the Year 5/6 Homesteads with new zeal and energy for learning.

On the outside, our Homesteads are beautifully designed buildings; purpose built, collaborative learning spaces. But the heart of Homestead is community. A community of students who are empowered to step up, to lead by example and thrive in their development as confident, insightful, and compassionate young people.

We express our trust and confidence in students through the responsibilities we give them. Year 5 and 6 students are guided and encouraged to develop skills that allow them to monitor, manage and direct their own learning. Students engage in a diverse program of activities designed to educate them about the world in which they live and how they can make a positive contribution to their community.

At Woodleigh, students discover and follow passions, grow in a culture of mutual respect, cultural freedom and inclusion.

And they have fun along the way! From Canberra to Beswick in the NT, Wilsons Prom to Sweetwater Creek, Woodleigh students enjoy all the benefits of exploring in nature together, embedding friendships and taking time out to reflect on and appreciate the little things.

Woodleigh students come together for cross-campus activities; whole-school musicales, cultural days, festivals, sports, excursions, peer-teaching activities and lessons spent in the Wildlife Reserve. Students get to know their way around each campus, meet other teachers, experience the environment at the Senior Campus, and ignite their excitement for the years of learning that lie ahead.

By the time students arrive for their first day of Year 7, they are confident and comfortable. With a smooth transition and academic continuity, they are ready to hit the ground running.

To join us for Year 5 in 2019, or for more information about our programs, please contact our Enrolments Team on 5971 6100 or

I have such a privileged position here at Woodleigh. I am lucky enough to be able to see students excel and demonstrate skills and leadership that was not always evident before in the classroom. I hear stories from parents about how their children returned from a program ‘…a little bit less of a child and a little bit more of an adult.’ I read comments from students in their reflections and chat to them back at school about how what they have just done was ‘…their best experience at Woodleigh.’

Having just finished Hattah, I witnessed some phenomenal displays of physical and emotional strength and of students validating what the culmination of the Woodleigh Outdoor Education program can achieve. The staff who were lucky enough to participate were amazed at the competence and sheer grit that the current Year 10s displayed during their time in that magical place. It was hot, it rained, it was windy, some did not pack enough food, the blisters were plentiful, backs were sore, spinifex was spikey and flies were persistent. Through all of this, we saw a group of young women and men look after each other, make real decisions for themselves with real consequences and grow in confidence as they realised they really did have the skills and knowledge to be able to look after themselves in the bush. This level of cohesiveness and resolve bodes well not just for VCE, but also for life beyond secondary school.

This has also led me to reflect on the Woodleigh Outdoor Education program as a whole. With myself and Nick Harrison being new to the roles of Director and Deputy Director of Outdoor Education, and Activities Week coming up in August, we have considered why it is that we do what we do. We keep coming back to this idea of grit; the perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal. The overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie on the path to accomplishment. (Thanks Wikipedia!) 

I think grit is at the core of Outdoor Education at Woodleigh. Students have grit when they participate in a camp that is outside their comfort zone. They show grit when they doggedly practise and learn a new skill. It takes grit to work with a  group of people who they don’t know very well. Outdoor Education at Woodleigh plays a vital role in the development of this essential skill.

And so, to students, with the Activities Week ballot coming out in the middle of this term, I encourage you to think about balloting for camps which will allow you to show some ‘grit’ and to be aware that there are still fantastic learning opportunities in not being given your first preference. Base your ballot on what inspires you, not on what your friends are doing. And, to parents, I ask that you counsel your children as they are balloting and be on board with the importance of the program and that there are fantastic opportunities in all of the camps Woodleigh has to offer. I look forward to hearing more stories and reading more reflections at the end of Term 3.

Andrew Peach Director of Outdoor Education

This is a time of enormous change in education, driven by massive technological, societal and cultural transformation. To keep pace, schools need to shift from looking backward, to facing forward – preparing children for their futures, not our past.

As workforce needs evolve, what employers now need are people who can apply knowledge and manipulate it in creative ways – people who can solve problems and develop solutions. Increasingly important are communication, critical thinking, complex problem-solving and vocational skills – to do all those jobs that robots can’t.

At Woodleigh, we see the development of academic learning, personal wellbeing, and student engagement as interdependent. Our approach to teaching is paced to students' learning needs, tailored to their learning preferences, and built around their specific interests and passions. 

But education should not just be about getting a job.

It’s about developing young people with character, people who are concerned, ethically conscious citizens committed to making the world a better place. At Woodleigh, we offer a real experience of life. We want students to be productive, to make things, to learn in a variety of settings, to practise the process of drafting and refinement in an effort to create work they are proud of, works of excellence. Work that will have a positive impact on the world.

Jonathan Walter

The careers of today’s students will be very different to those experienced by the vast majority of their parents. And in their future, the world will be one where ‘soft skills’ – capabilities like problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, emotional intelligence and sound judgement – will be more critical than ever before.

As workplaces and careers become more fluid; the ability to adapt and have the foresight to understand what the next change will be, will be a distinguishing factor. And while automation will replace many jobs, these key, human skills are irreplaceable and will only become more important professional assets.

Yet in many cases, schools place little importance on the development and acquisition of these skills. At Woodleigh however, our curriculum is structured to provide students with opportunities to develop what we see as essential skills for living. From ECC to VCE, age and stage appropriate programs which include Outdoor Education and Camp Programs, the Activities Program, Round Square and Exchange Opportunities and a variety of Service Learning opportunities develop these essentially human skillsets in our students.

What makes these learning experiences so powerful is the fact that they engage students in the real world. By working to solve real problems and then presenting their findings to real audiences, our students connect deeply with their learning – they are empowered to find their voice and be active in their learning, rather than solely being acted upon.

In a world which no longer rewards people for what they know, but for what they can do with what they know, it is these human skills that will enable our young people to be adaptable and successful. We are proud to see our students taking responsibility for the choices they make and bringing about positive change in the world through their learning.

Jonathan Walter

Between the Bays Festival 2018 was another incredible day. It showcased the amazing talents of our students as well as some of Australia’s best professional musicians. I think we all love Dan Sultan a little bit more now. The festival also brought us together as one school community. Thank you all for your support.

We enjoyed the Peninsula’s best food and wine whilst picnicking amongst the beautiful gardens and surrounds. Families relaxed whilst children ran and played together, taking part in activities, rides and workshops. Between the Bays is the perfect event to get to know other families within our Woodleigh community.

The quality of our student performances on the stage was outstanding and I congratulate and thank White Ivy, Crocs In Socks, Aurelia P., Tabitha P. and the Woodleigh School Choir. Thank you also to Andy Khoza and Jeff Box for arranging the student performances. 

Between the Bays is an amazing day for our school with all funds raised going towards our Community Fund. This fund helps support the various programs and partnerships Woodleigh School has with remote and local Indigenous communities, the Sudanese Homework Club and Woodleigh’s Scholarship Program. Between the Bays helped raise just over $14,000 which will be distributed evenly amongst these programs.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank some Woodleigh School families and businesses that we received financial support from. This money helps support the festival and the Community Fund. 

To KISS Print Services, Lloyd Group, Driver Coastal, JJ Richards, Comp Now, Progress Signs and Endota Spa – THANK YOU all for your generous contributions.

Between the Bays Festival will be back in 2019. Keep an eye out for some exciting announcements later in the year. I do encourage you to come along to the next Between the Bays Festival and help support our school community. It is a great day for all!

Paul Thompson
Director of Alumni and School Development

The Woodleigh School Class of 2017 are to be congratulated on their wonderful achievements throughout this year. As Principal, I have been thrilled to watch the way they have worked; maximizing their talents and making the most of the opportunities our School affords its’ students.

As a group, the Class of 2017 have performed incredibly well and they are now well set to follow their chosen, post Woodleigh paths. In 2017:

  • 11.5% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 95 or more.
  • 23% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 90 or more.
  • 42.5% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 80 or more.
  • And 92% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 50 or more placing them in the top half of the state.

Every student from the Class of 2017 has undertaken a broad range of learning experiences beyond core academia and as a result, leave Woodleigh ready for life. Our efforts throughout the fifteen years of tuition are focused on so much more than what the lens of an ATAR reflects. Our stories of success have never been limited to those who achieve top academic scores, and each year I remind students that an ATAR does not define them as a person. More important to us is the individual growth, the new-found talents, personal bests and the strong sense of self that comes from a Woodleigh education.

LtoR: Jonathan Walter with Alex Ferguson and Anna Van Vliet.

Persistence and consistent application has produced a large number of personal bests, with students achieving results beyond expectations, some against significant personal odds. As a School, we are proud of them all.

This year I am delighted to announce Alex Ferguson as Dux of Woodleigh School for 2017. Alex’s ATAR of 99.65 caps off his outstanding career at Woodleigh School – one that started in 2003 in our Minimbah Campus’ 3-Year-Old ECC program. Throughout his time at the school, Alex’s contribution to the life of Woodleigh has existed well beyond the realms of Academia. His contributions to social justice programs such as the Oaktree Foundation’s Live Below the Line appeal, as well as to the musical and theatrical life of the school, have been phenomenal. He has also excelled academically and can count a perfect study score of 50 in English among his many individual achievements.

Woodleigh Prize winner and VCAA VCE Leadership Award Finalist Anna Van Vliet also achieved an ATAR of more than 99, capping off a year for which she can be hugely proud. I would also like to acknowledge Max Wiggins, Katie Lee, Felix Friedlander, Sean Parker, Ashley Scott, Chelsea Gardner, Ryan Taylor and Ed Wiggins who all achieved scores over 95. Chelsea Gardner and Ashley Scott also both achieved perfect study scores of 50 in Business Management, as did Max Wiggins in History and Alex who excelled with a 50 in English.

Each year Woodleigh School farewells a group of well-rounded, articulate, mature young adults who have developed the confidence and skills necessary to find their way and succeed, whatever their interest or inclination for the future. The investments made by our students, in time and effort, are massive. The work our teachers do, is remarkable. It is most gratifying as their Principal, to see this determination and diligence rewarded.

As a community, we wish all students from the Class of 2017 the very best as they head off to University, TAFE, work, travel and service programs abroad. Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year,

Jonathan Walter – Principal

At our recent Valedictory Ceremony and Dinner, we celebrated the efforts and achievements of the Woodleigh School Class of 2017.

So many of this group, over their time here have taken a stand on issues and articulated what it is that they care about. It is a year level that has impacted our school culture in ways which I hope will last a lifetime.

The Class of 2017 have shown commitment to tackle the big issues. They have challenged the status quo and imagined a better future. These attributes fill us all with enormous hope. They are an exceptional group – as varied in their talents and interests as they will be in their paths beyond the school. Their drive, to strive for personal excellence be it in the Arts, on the Sporting field or in the Academic program – these achievements define both their individual character, and the way they operate as a group.  

As the confines of the school are released and a global world presents itself, we know they will put those skills into action and make a difference.

In her Valedictory speech, Woodleigh Prize Winner Anna Van Vliet reflected on the community who have come together to create this group. “Looking back on it all now I can see just how special Woodleigh is. And how honoured I am to have shared it with all of you. I’ve come to realise that part of the reason Woodleigh is the way it is, is because of the people.”

I agree with Anna, it is “Quite hard to work out what makes Woodleigh, Woodleigh,” but the people and the relationships that exist here at our school are key to the experience of students, staff and parents alike. The experiences we offer and the relationships they build mean that students at Woodleigh understand me when I say that the value of our lives is not determined by what we do for ourselves, but rather what we do for others.

These young adults will not be bystanders who blame the world for the problems we face.  As they leave the safe confines of Woodleigh ready for the excitement and challenge that further study, travel and work present, we wish the Class of 2017 every success in the futures they design for themselves.

Jonathan Walter – Woodleigh School Principal

The Woodleigh Prize

Anna Van Vliet

Award Citation

Anna Van Vliet is an exceptionally talented young woman. She was the recipient of the Year 10 and Year 12 ADF Leadership and Teamwork Awards, the King Constantine Medal for her commitment to, and leadership of, Community Service initiatives, and is a finalist in the 2017 VCAA VCE Leadership Awards. She was awarded the Year 12 Personal Development Faculty Prize.

Her academic award list is impressive indeed. As well as receiving numerous Certificates of Achievement every year of her secondary schooling and a clean sweep of every unit of her VCE, she has been awarded Certificates of Academic Excellence over the past three years.

Anna’s Community Service involvement is unsurpassed. She has given tirelessly to the Brotherhood of St Laurence Homework and Learning Club and to the Oaktree Foundation. She has shown outstanding leadership through the Woodleigh Committee and has volunteered for an endless variety of tasks within the school community, including organising and presenting at Assemblies and speaking or volunteering at parent evenings. Her fundraising efforts for multiple causes are phenomenal.

Anna is not only a fine scholar, but also a young woman with outstanding personal qualities, including passion, empathy, and the drive to make a difference to the world around her. In recognition of her many fine achievements and her enormous contribution to the life of the school community, she is a most worthy recipient of the Woodleigh Prize for the Best All-Round Student in the middle and senior years at Woodleigh School.

Faculty Award Winners

English Katie Lee and Edward Wiggins

Mathematics Sean Parker

Humanities Max Wiggins

Personal Development Anna Van Vliet

Science Felix Friedlander

Arts Alex Ferguson

LOTE Alex Ferguson

Principal's Award Winners

Samantha Beaumont, Alexander Ferguson, Felix Friedlander, Kaya Grocott, Rebecca Gynes, Katie Lee, Ella McCarthy, Alex Simpson, Ryan Taylor, Edward Wiggins and Max Wiggins


Last week Woodleigh’s creativity was flowing strong as we celebrated our 19th annual Woodleigh Arts Festival – Adventurous Arts.

It was a week of music, comedy, competitions, dressing up (Spookleigh style!), workshops, performances, exhibitions and celebrations of our Adventurous Arts Minds. Weeks like this make us all proud to be part of our exceptionally awesome Woodleigh Arts community.

A huge thanks to our Artists in Residence for an inspiring week of workshops, performances, insights… and huge belly laughs.

Our heartfelt thanks to:

Chaco Kato for her magnificent rope installation in the Agora (cheeky mention to the rope-meister Greg Davies for all his time on the knots!) 

Lee Zachariah (alumni) for sharing his scriptwriting skills

Jack Richardson (alumni) for inspiring students in his Drama workshops

Matt Steadman (alumni)  for sharing 20 years of professional experience in radio

Mal Webb for his multi-instrumental and vocal looping sessions with the Woodleigh and Ampilatawatj students 

Ryan Wheatley (alumni) for his photography shooting and editing masterclasses

Zeal Theatre (Stefo Nantsou and Tom Lycos) for an amazing performance of Lucky Country and their Drama workshops

Girlatones (Jesse Williams, Leah Senior, Jacob Booty, Tam Matlakowski) for their lo-fi, surfy rock vibes and special thanks to Jesse for his harmonica workshop

Valanga Khoza for awesome African drumming and sharing his culture and love for music

The Decent People (Sarah Kinsella and Russell Fletcher) for their hilarious improvisation performance and Drama workshops

FoRT Theatre for their very playful performances at Penbank and Minimbah

Andrew Wood for sharing his experience and insight into the process of making a film

Fablice for inspiring our students with his high energy Hip Hop and Dance workshops, and sharing his message of hard work and persistence with the Homework Club

Adam Knox (alumni and 2006 Melbourne Comedy Festival Class Clown winner) for all the laughs!

Wendy Clarke for sharing her Woodwind skills with us

Robb Dabbs for his magnificent Ableton workshops

Very special thanks to Festival Director Carey Saunders and Arts and Music Faculty staff for pulling this fabulous festival together!

ADVENTUROUS MINDS tell important stories.

This week, we were gripped by two captivating performances of the Woodleigh School Production, The Laramie Project. 

The Laramie Project is a play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project about the reaction to the 1998 murder of University of Wyoming gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. It’s a challenging topic for a school production and I’m so proud that our school community has the courage to tackle the themes of hatred, intolerance and bigotry head on. Another underlying theme of the production though is one of ‘HOPE’, modelled so movingly and with such authenticity by our students. I was lucky enough to witness the rehearsals last week, and to see the preview and first night performances this week. It’s an incredible production, and a privilege to be part of a school capable of creating art of such quality and profundity.

The production is a tribute also to the expert guidance of the staff here at Woodleigh, particularly Directors Carey Saunders and Lucy Wharington.

Congratulations to everyone.

David Burton
Head of Campus

The announcement of the ‘Cocoon’s’ visit was met with both enthusiasm (and some mild horror) by the Year 11 Studio Arts classes.

I, for one, really enjoyed watching the Minimbah student’s reactions to our artworks in the Dame Elizabeth Murdoch Gallery. The artworks were created through a creative process, which included our classes curating the exhibition. We loved sharing the both the process and the artworks with the children. We enjoyed seeing how they could be used as inspiration by others was fantastic.

It was amusing to watch my classmate’s reactions as the children declared which artwork was their favourite and endearing to watch the Year 11s discuss their work.

“Lines in art are interesting. I am going to do art with lines. “ Anokhi

For many others, it was a similar experience. Some of them had limited experience with children of such a young age and felt a little awkward. However, being given a talking point which could be enjoyed by anyone, no matter their age, meant that by the end of the day they were all sharing high fives.

They helped me with my drawings.” Gabby

Though there was a certain amount of trepidation involving the visit, it resulted in being a whimsical experience which we all enjoyed and learnt from. Hopefully, the kids from the ‘Cocoon’ enjoyed the experience as much as we did. We’re all looking forward to seeing their artworks and meeting them again soon.

Georgia How – Y11

Thank you to everyone who made Saturday's Beanie Festival such a wonderful, warm, community-focused event.

To the organisers and volunteers, students, staff and parents – you did a mighty job of bringing the three campuses of Woodleigh School, as well as the wider community together as one whole.

The funds raised have ensured this year's visits by students from Miwatj and Ampilatwatja are fully funded!
Awesome effort! Fantastic fun!

Thank you, and congratulations!

Get all the information at

Recently, four Woodleigh School students competed at the Australian Sport Climbing Youth Nationals event in Melbourne.

Held over three days, across three different climbing gyms, the Youth Nationals featured a different type of climbing each day. More than 200 climbers between the ages of 8 and 18, from all over Australia, competed in the three disciplines of Boulder, Lead and Speed Climbing.

The event also doubled as the selection event for the Australian Youth Team.

It was a very intense competition, both physically and psychologically.

Ned Middlehurst finished 1st in Boulder, 1st in Lead and 2nd in Speed in his age group (Youth A, 16-17 year olds). He also came 1st in the Overall Rankings, a result calculated by combining each athletes ranking from the three disciplines.

Ned’s results mean that he has now been selected for the Australian Team. He will be competing at the World Youth Championships later this year in Innsbruck, Austria.

Our other students competing in the championships, and their results were:

Edward Lewis – Youth B Boulder – 20th Lead – 18th

Will Marsh – Youth B Boulder – 22nd Lead – 6th

Oscar Landman – Youth A  Boulder – 10th Lead – 10th

Ned Middlehurst – Youth A Boulder – 1st  Lead – 1st

Photo Credit:

Strong demand for a Woodleigh education has seen growing enrolments at all three campuses of our School. With four full Year 6 classes now moving from Minimbah and Penbank to Year 7 at Woodleigh, opportunities for Year 7 entry have become increasingly difficult to secure.

In order to cater for those families seeking a Woodleigh education for their child’s secondary years, the School Board and I have decided to add an additional Year 7 class in 2019. Ultimately leading to a larger student population (currently 600, projected to increase to 725 in six years’ time), the additional student numbers will support our endeavours to broaden the range of educational experiences on offer, while bringing further strength and diversity to our learning community.

We welcome enquiries regarding these, and other new opportunities at Woodleigh School. For further information about our programs and philosophy, Information Evenings and Campus Tours, please see our website or call the Enrolments Office on 5971 6100.

Jonathan Walter

I was first introduced to Woodleigh School when my brother started Year 7 way back in 2005. I still remember, at the age of seven, looking forward to the day when I entered a school where the possibilities seemed endless.

While my brother and I may have had different experiences once we entered into the school, they were equally amazing. This I attribute to one of Woodleigh’s core principles: equality.

Woodleigh values equality, not just between genders but across all boards. This is a school where there are many and varied pathways to success, with the freedom for students to forge their own.

My interests have always been very diverse, and this was supported at all times in both my academic and creative studies. Acceleration opportunities in Mathematics and the Sciences allowed me to expand my mind intellectually, while the Activities Program and Arts subjects allowed for my creativity to flourish.

The love for learning that is cultivated at Woodleigh crosses all classes and curriculum areas. Teachers and staff understand the diversity of interests that students have and accommodate them. My own VCE was a broad and disparate mix: Maths Methods, Chemistry and Biology, as well as English, History Revolutions and Studio Arts. I loved every one and had fantastic teachers for all.

I thrived at Woodleigh and I know that many of my female friends felt the same way. The co-ed environment produces driven, confident, and intelligent young women who know how to respond to the challenges of a co-ed world. Woodleigh’s sense of community creates a support structure that encourages high achievement, personal bests and hard work, regardless of gender or interest. And they are great people! Without the support of my friends … many of whom are guys … I would not have achieved the VCE results that I did last year.

The Woodleigh School environment is one where all young people are encouraged to be strong, resilient and innovative – boys and girls alike.

Katherine Robertson –

2016 Dux of Woodleigh School
99.65 ATAR – Perfect study scores
of 50 in both English and Studio Arts.

Current AFL Arts Trainee @ Woodleigh

Twice a year, lessons at Woodleigh Campus stop for what I and our teachers regard as a critical part of the educational experience offered at Woodleigh.

Our Homestead Camp and Activities Week Programs offer a week-long, immersive program where students are directly engaged in real-world learning. Out of the classroom and working together, Woodleigh students have a chance to live by the consequences of their actions and, as a result of the 24/7 nature of the experience, develop deeper relationships with their peers, while connecting with staff on another level.

Collaboration and teamwork are non-negotiable. Ask any Outward Bound veteran! And as a result of the challenges faced by students they stretch beyond their usual boundaries, developing new skills, resiliency and taking the opportunity to put their personal values into action.

Last term I had the great pleasure to once again journey the Overland Track in Tasmania with a group of Year 11 and 12 students. Our route of some 80 kilometres took us through some of this country’s most pristine and spectacular wilderness. Seeing students working to support each other was most rewarding. Refreshing too was watching them connect with and appreciate the natural environment, while finding new ways to chill out and play without the distraction or aid of technology.

Once again, our students were a true credit to our School. Their interactions with other hikers along the track, and the way in which they respectfully supported them on their journey, made me very proud.

Woodleigh is the only school I know of where all teachers take an active role in delivering the School’s Camp Program. I want to thank all the staff for their amazing work that ensures we are able to offer these transformational learning opportunities so regularly for all our students as they journey through Woodleigh.

Jonathan Walter – Principal

Today we are immensely proud of the Class of 2016. These fantastic young adults have worked incredibly hard all year; their persistence, dedication and determination to be their best is exceptional. Their individual efforts have collectively earned Woodleigh our best ATAR results ever. A truly outstanding achievement.

With results as strong as these, it is easy to get caught up in the numbers. But it’s not just about scores. More important to us is the individual growth, the extent to which students have outperformed expectations and reached their full potential. It is most gratifying to see our students’ tenacity rewarded not only with excellent results, but with personal bests and clear pathways to future success.

I am delighted to announce that the Dux of Woodleigh School for 2016, with an ATAR of 99.65, is Katherine Robertson. Katherine was one of three students who received an ATAR of 99 or more. Her perfect study scores of 50 in both English and Studio Arts are a further credit to her efforts, talents and creativity.

I would also like to acknowledge the results of Catherine Crotty and Luke Myatt. Their respective scores of 99.40 and 99.25 place them in the top 1% of students in the state. Catherine’s perfect score of 50 in Legal Studies is a further reflection of her talents in this field.

This year we had 73 students complete a scored VCE. (An additional ten students completed a scoreless program.)

Catherine Crotty (L) and Luke Myatt (R) with Principal Jonathan Walter and Katherine Robertson (from afar!).

The Class of 2016 have achieved the following results:

  • Three perfect study scores of 50 in English, Legal Studies and Studio Arts.
  • A further three study scores of 49 in English, Further Maths, and Outdoor and Environmental Studies.
  • 12 study scores of 45+, placing those students in the top 2% of statewide results for that subject.
  • Three Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR above 99 (4% of the cohort)
  • 12 students achieved an ATAR above 95 (16.5% of the cohort)
  • 23 students achieved an ATAR above 90 (31.5% of the cohort)
  • 57% of our students achieved an ATAR of 80+
  • 82% of our students achieved an ATAR of 70+
  • 97% of our students achieved an ATAR of 50+

Our median study score has increased to 35, and our median ATAR is an impressive 86.1.

It is only as a result of a commitment to the individual that we are able to achieve these sorts of outcomes. The work our teachers do is phenomenal.
We congratulate all of our students and committed staff on their efforts.

Each year we farewell a class of articulate, confident and personable young adults who have developed the necessary skills to find their way and succeed in their chosen vocation. Each year, our students leave Woodleigh with much more than a list of academic successes. They leave with an understanding of who they are, if not exactly where they are headed.

We wish all students from the Class of 2016 the very best as they head off to write the next chapter in their lives – be it University, TAFE, work, travel or community service programs abroad.

Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

Jonathan Walter


Apply Now For 2018 Entry Scholarships!

Penbank was transformed on Thursday night for the Finale of 'Arts for Children @ Penbank – Australia. Story. Country.'

Scenes of colour, song, dance, drama and humour, showcased the talents of all students, from Prep to Year 6!

Special thanks to Katherine, Chris, Andy, Justin and Janine for bringing all Penbank's artistic endeavours and talents together for one gala performance!

​Students, staff and families from the three campuses of Woodleigh School came together in the Bush Chapel at Woodleigh Campus for our traditional Carols performance and nativity play.

After two years where poor weather has forced us indoors, it was wonderful to again be outdoors for this event which heralds the coming of Christmas and the festive season, reminding us of the joys of friends, family and giving.

Choral performances by students from all campuses were punctuated by student reflections, poem recitals and an inspiring speech by Year 11 student Ed Wiggins on why he continues to dedicate his time and efforts toward supporting the Homework and Learning Club in Frankston.

But as is the case every year, it was the Minimbah students and their Nativity performance which stole the show!

Thank you to all who joined with us to celebrate Christmas at Woodleigh.


Ladies and gentleman, Woodleigh School proudly presents the Minimbah Campus Year 5/6 Camp video.

Starring... Years 5&6, staff and the Licola Camp dogs.

Many thanks to Mr Hicks whose immeasurable skills made it happen!

Thank you to all the stall holders, artists, cooks, crafty types and of course all the shoppers who made The Arty Market #2 such a hit! Hope you went home with plenty of beautiful handmade items for your family, your friends and yourselves too!

WINNERS AGAIN! Woodleigh's Senior HPV Team 'A Little 2 Aero' rode a new race distance record of 978.88kms to win the RACV Energy Breakthrough for the second year in a row!

After a year with mixed results and bad luck (absent students, illness, injuries and race-ending crashes), the Woodleigh HPV teams headed to Maryborough last Thursday morning as defending champions.

Their team managers, Jono Keane and Tom Angelico, had done a remarkable job to prepare the vehicles and students.

A Little 2 Aero (LtoR) Alex Wardrop, Will Allchin,Ben Rawlings, Luke Myatt, Tim Mauerhofer, Dom Angelico and Lachlan Evenden.

Asphalt Melter(LtoR) Jazzy Evenden,Alexei Guy-Toogood,Max Vorbach, Oakley Davis, Dylan Dowden, Oscar Landman and Michael Hobbs.

The senior team, in their vehicle “A Little 2 Aero”, were not optimistic as they hadn’t managed to win an event this year, and were up against some very strong competition compared to last year.

The vehicle was only completed on Tuesday evening and early testing seemed good.

The event was held on a new, extended, smoother track this year, which suited our vehicle well. Presentations and scrutineering went well on Friday, and the evening practice session also went well putting us in 2nd place on the starting grid.

The initial six hours saw a lot of lead changes as teams pitted and changed riders every 45-60 minutes in the 30 degrees plus heat (over 40 degrees in the vehicle!).

Slowly but surely, however, we managed to creep ahead till we had an eight-lap lead by midnight, and were on track to reach 1000 km!

At one stage during the night the lead was pegged back to less than a lap, but we again pulled away around dawn to successfully defend our title, going on to win by 10 laps in a new event record distance of 978.88 km.

The title has not been successfully defended since 2006.

Lachlan Evenden also set the race lap record of 2.08 minutes in a late burst “hot lap” 20 minutes before the end of the race. (The next fastest time was 2.12 minutes.)

The team also won the Design and Construction category, to give them the overall title. (The race only counts towards 50%.)

Our junior team, in “Asphalt Melter”, were also very competitive, finishing in the top 25 out of the entire field of around 140 vehicles.

Congratulations to both teams!

Alphonse Landman
Science and Technology Teacher

Check out the video put together by Ben Rawlings!

“We’d like to thank our parents for choosing to send us to this amazing school, our close friends for the banter, and the entire Woodleigh staff who make this school the unique and inspiring environment it is.”

Romy Lipszyc and Nixie-Claire Lepore – 2016 Woodleigh Prize Winners.

Jonathan Walter with Romy (L) and Nixie (R)

At our recent Valedictory Ceremony and Dinner, we celebrated the efforts and achievements of the Woodleigh School Class of 2016. Our graduating class are an exceptional group – as varied in their talents and interests as they will be in their paths beyond the school. A group of true individuals, who leave the safe confines of Woodleigh ready for the excitement and challenge that further study, travel and work present.

In her Valedictory speech, Woodleigh Prize Winner Nixie Lepore described Woodleigh as, “A school that does not just preach respect, but demonstrates and inspires its students to sincerely practise it. As a result, strong, passionate, independent, hardworking and kind leaders emerge.” These qualities – strength, passion, independence, kindness and hard work – these are the attributes that will deliver success, happiness and prosperity to students after they leave our care. And these are the leaders our world needs today and in the future.

We congratulate the Woodleigh School Class of 2016 and wish them every success in the futures they design for themselves.

Jonathan Walter – Woodleigh School Principal

Faculty Award Winners

Nixie-Claire Lepore and Katherine Robertson

Luke Myatt and Lachlan Muirden

Katherine Robertson and Catherine Crotty

Personal Development
Kelsie Vickery

Luke Myatt and Lachlan Muirden

Torren Powell and Daniel Macdonald

Romy Lipszyc

Principal's Awards

Liam Cornfield
Catherine Crotty
Sofia Grage-Moore
Rupert Hodgkins
Sammy Nutt
Katherine Robertson
Genevieve Siggins
Elise Wiltshire
Catherine Yeong

The Woodleigh Prize

Nixie-Claire Lepore and Romy Lipszyc

Award Citations

Nixie-Claire Lepore is an exceptionally talented young woman.

She was the recipient of the Year 11 and the Year 12 English Faculty Award. She received the King Constantine Medal in Year 11 for her commitment to, and leadership of, Community Service initiatives.

Her academic award list is impressive. As well as receiving numerous Certificates of Achievement every year of her secondary schooling, she has been awarded two Certificates of Academic Excellence.

Nixie’s Community Service involvement is unsurpassed. She has given tirelessly to the Brotherhood of St Laurence Homework and Learning Club, the Gatehouse Centre Dandenong, City Life and the Oaktree Foundation. She has shown strong leadership through the Woodleigh and Gender Equity Committees, the Social Justice and Environment groups and the Indigenous Education and Middle Kinglake programs. She has volunteered for an endless variety of tasks within the school community, including presenting at Assemblies.

Nixie is not only an outstanding scholar, but also a young woman with passion, empathy, and the drive to make a difference to the world around her. In recognition of her many fine achievements and her enormous contribution to the life of the school community, she is a most worthy recipient of the Woodleigh Prize for the Best All-Round student in the middle and senior years at Woodleigh School.

Romy Lipszyc is an extraordinarily talented young woman.

She was the recipient of the Year 10 and Year 12 ADF Leadership and Teamwork Awards. She attended the National Youth Science Forum and was awarded both the Year 11 Science and LOTE Faculty Prizes as well as the Year 12 LOTE Faculty Prize.

Her academic award list is impressive. As well as receiving numerous Certificates of Achievement every year of her secondary schooling, she has been awarded two Certificates of Academic Excellence.

Romy has made numerous outstanding contributions to the school through Community Service initiatives. She has had a long involvement with the Indigenous Education Program, The Woodleigh Committee, The Social Justice Group and The Field Gnats. She has also been involved extensively in sport, particularly Swimming where she was Swim Captain. She has volunteered for an unsurpassed number and variety of tasks within the school community, including speaking and presenting at Assemblies and Parent Evenings and as a student guide.

Romy is not only a fine scholar, but also a young woman with outstanding personal qualities which she has demonstrated through an exceptional variety of school involvement. In recognition of her many fine achievements and her enormous contribution to the life of the school community, she is a most worthy recipient of the Woodleigh Prize for the Best All-Round student in the middle and senior years at Woodleigh School.

Paintings, carvings, barks, weavings, artefacts and ceramics by new and established Indigenous talents.

Profits from LITTLE BIT LONG WAY will be used to fund the travel costs of visiting students and Elders from two Yolngu homelands of Dhalinybuy and Garrthalala in Miwatj (North-East Arnhem Land) and two Alyawarre communities, Ampilatwatja and Irrultja (Central Australia). Part of a two-way learning exchange with Woodleigh School.

Presented by McCulloch & McCulloch the exhibition comprises more than 80 works from 25 leading Aboriginal-owned art centres of the Central, Western and Eastern Deserts, Utopia, the Kimberley, Arnhem Land and the Pilbara. Featuring works of Baluk Arts: Indigenous artists of Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula.

With this diversity and quality of works LITTLE BIT LONG WAY adds an important dimension to Woodleigh School’s Indigenous program. With your generous patronage and support, this program will continue to make a significant difference to the lives of Indigenous children in remote communities.

Friday 11 November 7pm
Welcome to Country, didgeridoo performance, traditional fire-lighting and smoking ceremony.

Tickets $20 – Purchase via or at the door.

The Ampilatwatja mob at Seawinds on their most recent visit

Weekend Gallery Hours
Saturday & Sunday 12 & 13 Nov 10am-4pm. Tickets $5. Includes curators’ floor talk on Saturday at 11am.

In Conversation With
Sunday 13 November 3pm
Peter Aldenhoven and Susan McCullloch discussing arts works from Miwatj and Ampilatwatja. Tickets $10 – includes afternoon tea.

Contact Peter Aldenhoven at Woodleigh School for more information.

Phone 5971 6100 or email

It’s a bittersweet thing seeing Year 12s finish.

Six years is a long time.

We spend it watching, supporting and guiding the way for young people, who pay us back with their wit, humour, brilliance, charm and intellect.

Though we farewelled our Class of 2016 yesterday, they still have work to do – there are exams to sit, plans to make and goals to achieve.

We’ll be seeing this lot at Valedictory in a few weeks’ time.

Best wishes 'til then... you've got this.

Woodleigh School’s production of Little Shop of Horrors is a show that lacks nothing, save for a sequel. As parent Sally Baillieu commented, “What a collection of talents: Amazing voices, characterisations, musical accompaniment, staging, lighting and stagecraft, all so deftly handled and laced with pathos and comedy. I was spellbound!”

Year 12 students Dan Macdonald and Rupert Hodgkins delivered laugh out loud moments of physical and situational comedy, as well as amazing vocals as flower shop owner Mushnick and Orin, the sadistic ‘motorcycle dentist.’ Alex Ferguson’s portrayal of the perennially overlooked and downtrodden Seymour was layered with slapstick and wit – his struggle against the will of the plant (voiced and brought to life by Y11 students Ed Wiggins and Haz Carter) was wonderfully paced and executed with great maturity.

Ed and Haz combined to give life, soul and immense character to Audrey II, their vocal and physical pairing producing some of the finest comedy of the show. Finally, Holly Heron (Y12) brought more than a few tears to the audience when she sang of her dream of a clean, plasticky suburban life, in her portrayal of Audrey, the Skid-Row native who could find and see the best in others, but never herself.

Individually, each performance was brilliant. When pulled together by the trio of Skid-Row urchins, Crystal, Chiffon and Ronette (Sofia Grage-Moore Y12, Emily Thomas Y10 and Maddi Fletcher Y12), the show became a seamless journey from beginning to end, with no bum-notes or missteps, enough hilarious (and occasionally unsettling) cameos to surprise and delight the whole way through.

The ensemble cast of performers moved, looked and sounded the part the entire night through, their efforts, together with the band, sound and lighting and stage management crew combining to produce a piece of theatre that, whilst conventional in nature, was completely exceptional in its execution.

Congratulations to the entire cast and crew on a phenomenally successful show, and to the directorial team of Sue Fletcher, Nick Donaldson, Mike Fletcher and Musical Director Max Rowe (Y12 2015), we can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in 2018.

Adam Liddiard
Director of Community Relations


Crystal Sofia Grage-Moore • Chiffon Emily Thomas • Ronette Maddi Fletcher • Mushnick Dan Macdonald • Audrey Holly Heron • Seymour Alex Ferguson • Orin Rupert Hodgkins • Audrey II Ed Wiggins • Puppeteer Haz Carter • News Reader Jonathan Walter • Customer #1 Alice Bertram • Old Chinese Man Daniel Cooke • WSKID Radio Announcer Jon Arnheim • Customer #2 Katie Lee • Customer #3 Lily Grage Moore • Ms Bernstein Felicity Bertram • Miss Luce Sam Davis • Skip Keeley Baptist • Snip Bec Gynes • Patrick Martin Joe Van Den Dungen • Dentist Patients Juliet Hosler, Max Gilbert, Liv Mauerhofer & Jussy Poyser


Jon Arnheim, Keeley Baptist, Alice Bertram, Felicity Bertram, Daniel Cooke, Georgie Cooney, Sam Davis, Gemma Dawson, Jess Donnelly, Tara Garry, Max Gilbert, Addis Grande, Lily Grage-Moore, Tamsin Griffiths, Erin Grocott, Bec Gynes, Isy Hoffmann, Sophie Horgan, Juliet Hosler, Maddy Kaindel, Lana Kavanagh, Bella Kiely, Hannah Kotsimbos, Katie Lee, Charlotte McCarthy, Liv Mauerhofer, Jussy Poyser, Stetson Prebble, Noah Sahely, Emma Sherrington, Joe Van Den Dungen, Lachlan White

Radio DJs Lachie White & Max Gilbert • Trio Choreography Sarah Thomas & Maddi Fletcher • Movie TrailersJuliet Hosler & Keeley Baptist


Conductor Max Rowe • Keyboard 1 Sue Fletcher • Keyboard 2 Marney Pope • Guitar Chris Le Won Po • Bass Jeff Box • Drums Ruben Jakob • Percussion Bryn Bowen • Reed 1 Hayley Blakiston • Reed 2 Hayden Brown • Trumpet 1 Michael Scott • Trumpet 2 Jordyn Pope


Backstage Siena Garde • Props Felicity Bertram • Sound Design LSS Productions • Sound Operator Jake Sipcic • Mic Tech Felix Friedlander • Lighting Design Starlite (Daniel Jow) • Lighting Operator Liam Matthews • Directors Nick Donaldson & Mike Fletcher • Musical Directors Sue Fletcher & Max Rowe • Other Choreography Sarah Thomas, Nick Donaldson, & Mike Fletcher • Set Design Mike Fletcher • Set Poster Printing Kristen Guthrie • Plant Hire Gary McDonald • Poster Design, Ticketing, Program & PR Adam Liddiard

Special thanks to

Sarah Thomas, Kristen Guthrie, Veronique Lapierre, Shelley Pendlebury, Cornelia Cefai, Woodleigh Staff, Hocking Stuart Mornington

On Thursday 18 August, Woodleigh’s Minimbah Campus was overtaken by robots, mad scientists and young engineers intent on testing the laws of physics!

Minimbah’s ‘STEAMing Ahead’ night brought students and their parents together, for two hours of amazing Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematical investigation.

Vying for the title of ‘Most Popular Exhibit,’ was the Year 4s' presentation of their basic coding skills, learned by programming robots! Students from this year level took turns in explaining the coding process to parents and illustrating their work by having four of the robots regularly perform a carefully choreographed dance to Ram Jam’s 1977 hit, ‘Black Betty.’

The night put sharp focus on the work being done by Woodleigh teachers to excite and engage all students in their learning.

Adam Liddiard – Director of Community Relations

The entire Woodleigh School community have become overnight archery experts after watching Alec Potts (2013) became the first Woodleigh graduate to win a medal at the Olympic Games.

Alec’s bronze medal win in the Men’s Archery Team event came after he, together with Ryan Tyack and Taylor Worth, outpointed the Chinese team to take the match 6-2.

For staff, there was immense pride in watching the young man, who, as a senior student, would spend spare periods shooting arrow after arrow at a special ‘range’ built way back behind the wildlife reserve. We watched on as Alec, Ryan and Taylor performed on the biggest stage in world sport – focused, assured, and, pardon the pun, completely centred on the task at hand.

"I remember a few years ago, Alec shot a flaming arrow across the front of the Hall at an assembly – It had to be a flaming arrow, we weren’t going to be satisfied with your common, garden variety arrow…"

Tonight (Tuesday night) will be a late one with the individual elimination rounds beginning at 11pm, but win lose or draw, one thing is certain – at 20 years of age, this is just the beginning of a long international career, one which according to proud mum Shona, Alec will handle with aplomb. “That's the Woodleigh boy in him – that quiet confidence and belief that you can have a go and aim high and if you fall, it's just another step in the journey, not a stop – that's what Woodleigh has given both our kids.”

Best of luck to Alec and his fellow Australian Archery competitors.

Non-Olympics images taken from Woodleigh School's 40th anniversary publication 'Independent Thoughts.'

Photography by Amy Woodward. 2015

Buy a copy of Independent Thoughts

​If you weren’t at Woodleigh’s inaugural Beanie Festival on Saturday the 23rd July – boy, did you miss out!

Inspired by the community-based event that began in 1997 in Alice Springs with the aim to integrate Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians as one – with a common love for wearing, making and appreciating beanies, tea cosies and more – Woodleigh’s very own Beanie Festival was born. Two parents worked passionately with the support of school leadership, the PFG, students from all three campuses, staff and the wider Woodleigh community.

Two sections of beanies were created. One filling the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Gallery with high profiled ‘competition beanies’ made from an array of materials ranging from shell adorned and recycled plastics bags, to the more conventional felt and wool. The other section (to some a mess, to others a haven) included hundreds of beanies of all shapes, sizes, styles and colours — covering tabletops with the hope of being picked up, bought, and forever loved. Even if you weren’t in need of a new beanie, the sheer amount of work and pride that was bursting from these beanies was enough for some of us to buy one, or maybe even three, too many beanies.

This well-spent Saturday was raising awareness and money for Woodleigh’s Indigenous Exchange Program, something I have been a part of for almost as long as I’ve been at Woodleigh. Sending students to communities in Central Australia and North-East Arnhem Land, this program grants Woodleigh students invaluable experiences at such a young age, which broadens our understanding of the Australian culture and heritage, and the significant role we can play with regard to Indigenous rights and well-being. One of the most influential aspects of the program is to raise funds to bring the Indigenous students down to the Mornington Peninsula where we can introduce them to our lives and cultures just as they have done for us on our trips north, further closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. I have numerous memories of showing close friends through the Woodleigh school grounds, Melbourne CBD, down to Phillip Island (some kids have never seen the ocean before) and up to Arthurs Seat. I cannot express enough the profound appreciation I have for Cathy and Jacki's efforts and all those involved with the Beanie Festival for increasing the chances for the students, teachers and elders from the communities to come down to our school.

Not only were the participants of the Beanie Festival wowed with endless creations from knitters, crocheters and felters, but were also delighted with the harmonious sounds of Woodleigh’s musical talents. Devonshire tea was served by some of our most loved Woodleigh community members, the MOPS (Mothers of Past Students). Indigenous Boon Wurrung members, close friends of Woodleigh School, kindly provided the Festival with a smoking ceremony, cultural lessons regarding our surroundings, traditional music and therapy, and much appreciated banter.

Wood-fired pizzas were devoured, faces were delicately painted, children were finger knitting, stories were told, sheep were petted and brains/craniums/heads/thinking tanks were warmed. With felting and spinning demonstrations on throughout the day, nobody was left without intrigue and a greater understanding of the impact one beanie can have on a community.

The Woodleigh Beanie Festival is the next best thing to sliced bread, and sliced bread is amazing! If you couldn’t attend, try not to cry for more than an hour, as without a newly found beanie, we don’t want your head getting cold from the loss of water – that’s a thing.

To all those who made it to the Festival, or who went out of their way to create a masterpiece for the day, whether it was a beanie or some awe-inspiring ‘yarn bombing’, your time, work and love for the Indigenous Exchange Program is greatly appreciated. I hope more than anything that after this year’s success, we will have the chance to rejoin again next winter, with new beanies and new beanie lovers, to support the Woodleigh community and our love for warmth and wool.

Romy Lipszyc
On behalf of the Woodleigh Committee

On Wednesday 27 July, the first three of a planned eight critically endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoots found new homes in Woodleigh School’s unique Wildlife Reserve, sharing with a mob of swamp wallabies and our two resident emus. The bandicoots, now considered extinct on the Australian mainland, have been part of a Zoos Victoria breeding program which hopes to reintroduce bandicoot populations into the wild in the coming years.

Woodleigh’s role is to house and monitor post-reproductive animals, freeing up space in the Zoo’s captive breeding pens for younger reproductive pairs to continue to produce new young.

Year 12 student Romy Lipszyc said, “Being able to take in, care for and monitor such a critically endangered species is an amazing opportunity for students and cements Woodleigh’s core value of Respect for the Environment.” The release of the bandicoots has been eight years in the making and is a significant milestone in the School’s partnership with Zoos Victoria.

"Being able to take in, care for and monitor such a critically endangered species is an amazing opportunity for students and cements Woodleigh’s core value of Respect for the Environment."

We won’t be short on interested students to help care for the Reserve’s newest inhabitants either! Four senior students have been accepted to attend the National Youth Science Forum in Canberra next January, joining students from across the Asia Pacific Region for two weeks of intensive Science education and networking opportunities with other students, researchers, scientists and professors from across Australia and abroad.

We look forward to having these four, and many other students, continue to involve themselves in the wide variety of Science programs at Woodleigh School; from aviation and flight, through to animal husbandry and conservation, and everything in between.

Thursday’s game between the Warriors and Thomas Carr College began with torrential rain (and grimacing face) but by the time the final siren sounded, it was all sunshine and smiles for Woodleigh.

This was the second year in a row that Woodleigh has played for the Herald Sun Shield, and our semi-final win was a hard-fought team victory. A muddy slog-fest, punctuated by moments of individual brilliance. The final score was:

Woodleigh – 29
Thomas Carr College – 1

The final, between Woodleigh and Sacred Heart College Geelong, will be played at a date and ground yet to be confirmed.


Adam Liddiard
Cheer Squad Member

Congratulations and best wishes to Alec Potts (2013) who has been named in the 2016 Australian Olympic Games Archery Team. Alec holds over 300 State Records and over 80 National Records. He has been six-time Youth National Recurve Champion and has now been selected to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Alec began his archery career as a 12-year-old, quickly rising to the top of the Australian field. During his Year 12 studies, he could often be found spending his spare periods practising his skills in an area behind the Woodleigh Farm, where disturbances and visitors (aside from the curious kangaroos) were few and far between.

We wish Alec all the best for the coming Olympics, and will be up early watching and cheering on Woodleigh’s first Summer Olympic Games Competitor. Archery competition begins at 9am (Brasilia Time) 10pm AEST on Saturday 6 August.


  • The distance between the archer and the target (1.22m diameter) is 70m. The target score varies from 1 to 10, according to the proximity to the inner circle.
  • The archer has 40 seconds to shoot each of their six arrows.
  • In the finals, the archer has 20 seconds to shoot each of their three arrows.
  • In the air, an arrow can travel at more than 240km/h.

Minimbah students raised the roof of the George Jenkins Theatre at Monash Peninsula Campus. Strings, horns, flutes, pianos, choirs, bands, solos and so many horrible, horrible jokes!

A proper Woodleigh Musicale then!

Congratulations to all the performers and thank you to all of the staff who were involved in putting the night together.

This year, some of our Year 9 students trialled the production of individual projects as part of their City Bound experience.

This video, created by Gabby Stocker, explores her observations and interactions with peers and the public during the two weeks Woodleigh Year 9 students spend at City Bound.

Woodleigh School’s new Homesteads development has won the 2016 Learning Environments Australasia Award for best new construction/major facility.

Woodleigh School Principal Jonathan Walter said the award was an “outstanding result” for the school, especially considering the standard of competition within Australia and beyond.

“Our Homesteads provide a home away from home for students at school,” Mr Walter said. “They blend social learning spaces with open-planned, flexible teaching spaces, and connect beautifully with our natural environment.

“This is an exceptional project, chiefly because the design team’s deep understanding of the school’s educational philosophy is manifest in every aspect of the Woodleigh Homesteads design. Woodleigh’s commitment to environmental education is visibly embedded in the environmental function of the buildings.”

The Woodleigh Homesteads are now part of a major research collaboration called Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change, an Australian Research Council Linkage project that will run over the next four years and will investigate the impact of new learning spaces within schools.

To me, the Wugubank partnership is all about sharing. We share our different cultures, and accept each other for who we are. We put aside our differences, and learn off each other. Together, we are able to show each other our country, share stories and have a great time. Penbank students are able to go to many amazing places such as Top Yard and Beswick Falls, where we learn about the country. Wugularr students will visit the city and the snow, where they can learn about our way of life.

On each trip, we have many stunning experiences, and create new friendships. I was able to make friends with lots of different people just by smiling at them. We spent time together, getting to know each other a little better. We were able to socialize despite our culture and language barriers, and also learn off each other.

Many of the Penbank students talk a lot, and the Wugularr mob have taught us to look and observe our surroundings before we ask questions. We have learnt that life isn’t about ‘I’ and ‘me’, it’s about ‘us’ and ‘we’. Even though they have so little, they are grateful for everything and smile every time you see them.

Just walking through the streets in Beswick, you are greeted by smiling faces. Everyone is excited to see you, and as soon as you hop out of the car people run over to see you. The school is crowded with happy children, excited to see each other again. At night, when the red dust finally settles, I wave boh-boh to the Wugularr mob, sad to say goodbye.

Barunga celebrated culture, and the amazing animal sculptures hanging off the trees are bright and colourful. Bats are dripping off the trees, and both white and black people can walk around, smiling at each other. All of us were extremely happy, and when we found out that the Wugularr footy team; the Beswick Bears have won the premiership we let a huge cheer out.

When it is time to go, we are sad to say goodbye. We have had such a good time together, and we are already looking forward to seeing each other again. As black hands hold onto white, the sun sets on a fabulous day. We have left, although I still have memories. Shashianna and Shauntay laughing in the sunlight, and Jonita running up to hug me as we meet again. Richelle painting snakes on our canvas, and Leah grinning across the playground. I am so grateful to have had these amazing experiences, and will cherish these memories forever.

We have a lot to be thankful for, and going up to see the Wugularr mob is definitely something to be grateful for. There were so many amazing opportunities, and places and people to learn from. I was lucky enough to have a tour of the art and culture centre, where my friends from Wugularr explained what each painting was about. Wugularr is such a happy place, where right from the beginning you feel welcomed.

I have learnt so much, and I hope to put all of that into practice. I will think of others before myself, be grateful for every opportunity I have, and make the most of them. I will also observe what others are doing, before I ask questions that aren’t really needed. Wugubank is a fantastic program, and I am excited to see what other exhilarating things we will be able to do together.

Written by Tealia H – Y6

This year, we celebrated a very beautiful Reconciliation School Meeting at Penbank. With Bunjil the eagle flying above, and the morning fog lifting to reveal a divine morning sun, our school gathered together for a commemoration and smoking ceremony. Sharing warmth and respect at this most special School Meeting.

David Quin and Peter Aldenhoven, together Aunty Roseina Woods, Lionel Lauch and Wenzel Carter spoke of the significance of our new Corroboree Area, now called Ngargee Ground (meaning a meeting or performance space in Boon Wurrung language). This name was suggested by Woodleigh School's Director of Indigenous Education, Peter Aldenhoven, as one which would honour the language of country, a most appropriate name for this place. Absolutely!

Thank you to Lindsey Veale and Marc Schneider (Property and Grounds) for the creation of this beautiful meeting place. And many thanks to our guests, Aunty Roseina Woods, Lionel Lauch and Wenzel Carter for joining us on the day.

STEAM or STEM? No matter what you call it, Year 4 students at Minimbah are loving their integrated Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths studies!

Year 4 STEAM investigations and projects from Woodleigh School on Vimeo.

They've peppered things with a good dose of creativity and future-focused thinking and are now learning how to identify and create opportunities to make life better for everyone... toast eaters included.

​RIGHT ACROSS OUR THREE CAMPUSES, Woodleigh School is deeply engaged in the continued development of our learning programs. Our collaborative research projects with Harvard University, the University of Melbourne and Claire Warden’s Nature Pedagogy network each give Woodleigh a key role in developing action-based enquiries into existing programs, as well as informing updates and opportunities to develop new programs for the future.

By reaching out and broadening our network Woodleigh is able to draw on the ideas and experiences of others and, importantly, have a platform to share our model and its various successes, both in Australia and internationally via the Round Square Schools Network.

Through these collaborative projects we consistently find that Woodleigh School’s teaching and learning programs, and our approach to learning environment design, are widely regarded as at the leading edge of educational thinking. Most important, however, are the consistent findings that our methods and environments are highly successful in achieving the outcomes all contemporary educationalists strive to achieve: a strong academic foundation for the future, and the development of lifelong learning skills which prepare students well for their futures.

Time and time again we see that the authenticity of our learning, and the fact that we are able to engage our students in real, lived learning experiences, is the driver of this success.

The research continues to promote the theory that it is programs which encourage students to engage directly with the world that best prepare students for futures that are unpredictable and unknown – to adapt, and develop the skills to respond accordingly. As the educational sector struggles to find the best way to evolve to meet the rapidly changing learning needs of our students, it is good to know that the Woodleigh model of student-centred, experience-driven schooling is increasingly referred to as a reference point for others.

Jonathan Walter – Principal

In 2015, more than 48,000 Victorian students studied English as part of their VCE. Last month, Casley Rowan (2015) was one of just 24 students to receive a Premier’s Award for her perfect study score of 50 in English. Woodleigh School Principal, Jonathan Walter, and Casley’s VCE English teacher, Christian O’Toole, were there to help celebrate this fantastic individual achievement.

“My Woodleigh journey only really came to a close a few weeks ago when I was invited back to Melbourne to receive a VCE Premier’s Award – an achievement that culminated six years of incredible experiences and two years of dedication with my VCE English teacher, Christian O’Toole. Woodleigh fostered in me a sense of independence, adventure and, especially throughout Year 12, a love of literature and writing.

Now, I am living in Canberra and attending ANU, and can safely say that I have thrown myself into life as a University student. My double degree of Law and International Security Studies keeps me very occupied with copious amounts of reading, which I balance with my role as social representative for UniLodge and the College of Asia and the Pacific Society. This winter I will be undertaking a course in Paris for a month which will give me credit towards my studies and I am very excited to revisit the friends I made on Woodleigh’s Year 10 French Exchange.

To this point, life after Woodleigh has been very exciting and successful, and I am grateful for the solid grounding the school has given me in order to take on life’s new challenges.”

Casley Rowan – Woodleigh School Graduate 2015, 2016 Premier’s Award Recipient for English.

Dear Parents and Friends of Woodleigh School, So much time and effort goes into the final years of schooling. The investments made by our students, in time and effort, are massive. The work our teachers do, is phenomenal. It is most gratifying then to see students’ persistence and application rewarded with excellent results, personal bests and clear pathways to future success. Today we are particularly proud of The Class of 2015. A fantastic group of young adults who have had great success this year.

I am delighted to announce that the Dux of Woodleigh School for 2015, with an ATAR of 99.45, is Rebecca Sherrington. Bec was one of nine students who received an ATAR of 95 or more, a result that caps off a fantastic year of achievement for her, having already been named, together with Rhiannon Van Vliet, as a joint recipient of The Woodleigh Prize.

I would also like to acknowledge the results of Liam Bullard, Tea Christmas, Mayra Cuming, Fraser Dawson, Julian Lee, Eliza Nowicki, Casley Rowan and Bobbie Viney, who all achieved scores over 95, as well as celebrating Casley Rowan’s perfect study score of 50 in English. A most impressive, and well deserved result.

As a group, The Class of 2015 have performed incredibly well and they are now well set to follow their chosen, post-Woodleigh paths.

In 2015:

• 10.3% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 95 or more.
• 24.1% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 90 or more.
46% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 80 or more.
And 90.8% of Woodleigh students achieved an ATAR of 50 or more placing them in the top half of the state.

Stories of student success at Woodleigh are not limited to those who have achieved top academic scores. Every student from The Class of 2015 has undertaken a broad range of learning experiences beyond core academia and as a result, leave Woodleigh School ready for life. Our efforts throughout the fifteen years of tuition offered at Woodleigh School are focused on graduating mature, independent, resilient individuals. A Woodleigh education is about so much more than an ATAR.

Each year we farewell a class of articulate, confident and personable young adults who have developed the necessary skills to find their way and succeed in their chosen vocation. Each year, our students leave Woodleigh with much more than a list of academic successes. They leave with an understanding of who they are, if not exactly where they are headed.

We wish all students from The Class of 2015 the very best as they head off to write the next chapter in their lives – be it University, TAFE, work, travel or community service programs abroad.

Best wishes,

Jonathan Walter – Principal

Following the opening of three new Homestead spaces at Woodleigh Campus last year, the students and teachers in Years 4-6 at Penbank Campus have started Term 1 by moving into their new Homestead building and making it their home.

The Penbank Homestead, much like those at our Minimbah and Woodleigh Campuses, comprises classroom, shared and social spaces to promote cross-age learning opportunities and interactions. Sitting within Penbank’s beautiful natural environment, the Homestead continues the design philosophy of the existing teaching and learning spaces. These follow the Reggio Emilia practice where learning environments join parents and teachers as a third teacher, to provide the space, tools and resources to promote rich learning opportunities.

Designing the Homestead this way supports and enables our dedicated, expert teaching staff to develop self-directed and co-operative activities that cater to a variety of learning situations and styles. Personalised, flexible programs give space for students to find talents and areas of interest which work to establish and drive a love of learning and enquiry. State-of-the-art teaching technologies and a full range of specialist, extension and support programs complete a school experience which sees students approach the transition to secondary schooling at our Woodleigh Campus with confidence and excitement.