On many school days, Westminster students have the opportunity to learn from guests who are experts in their field. These special visitors might talk to students in the classroom, work with all students in a particular subject area, or they might present at Assembly. We are fortunate to be able to tap into our extensive network of Old Scholars, parents and wider community in a way that broadens students’ horizons and adds significant value to the curriculum. We believe that programs like this bring important, real world learning to the classroom and let students benefit directly from high calibre guests’ talents and life experiences.

Here are three reports of recent ‘experts in residence’ to provide invaluable experiences for our students and staff: 

Music Week

This week is Music Week, leading into our premier musical showcase Music Night this Friday 18 August. ‘Hunky Dory’ is a tribute to renowned international and local musicians who recently passed away.

For Music Week, our Head of Performing Arts/Director of Music Mike Degenhart organised five outstanding musicians to work with our students:

  • Ross Irwin (trumpet) who is the artistic director of Generations in Jazz, who performs with the Cat Empire and the Bamboos as well as works at the James Morrison Academy of Music.
  • Adam Page (saxophone and loops) who won the best Fringe act in this year’s Adelaide Fringe festival.
  • Julian Ferraretto (violin) who lived and worked in London for 11 years as a jazz and classical violinist.
  • Nick Mulder (trombone) who is an outstanding jazz trombonist and Head of Performing Arts at Carey Grammar in Melbourne.
  • Emma Pask (Jazz singer) who toured with James Morrison for 20 years and performed superbly at Westminster some years ago when touring with James.

Their knowledge of music is phenomenal and our guests have been improving our students’ skills by working with them in ensembles and individually. They have been inspiring students with their mentoring and advice that goes well beyond the curriculum. Having this experience over a week in the lead up to Music Night is something truly special, with five artists on hand to cater for a range of instruments and voice. Music Night is a powerful experience that takes our student musicians to a new height of performance, thanks to our wonderful Music staff and amazing visiting artists.

Sportsperson in Residence

Head of Sport Development and High Performance Jane Woodlands-Thompson recently organised elite sportsperson Laura Hodges as our Sportsperson in Residence to work with Preparatory School classes for a week. Laura is an Australian Opals basketballer who competed at the World Championships and the Olympic Games. As well as sharing her journey from primary school to the world stage, Laura helped our students to focus on areas such as resilience, managing pressure, overcoming challenges, and dealing with being uncomfortable.  She is a fantastic role model as someone who has achieved through dedication, perseverance and hard work. As well as getting to touch Olympic medals, students had important messages reinforced -  balancing studies with sport, making healthy choices, getting along with others, and having to work hard to achieve the end rewards.


Creative Artist in Residence

An Artist in Residence enriches student learning in many ways to change the dynamics of a classroom. In Term 2 the Year 10 Visual Arts students worked with Balinese sculptor Wayan Dudug over a five week period. Students learnt about carving techniques, materials and cultural motifs he uses, as well as being mentored through their individual sculptural project. Dudug also demonstrated his considerable expertise as he worked on a piece for the School collection to combine his Balinese background with Westminster history. This proved to be a valuable learning experience for staff and students.

There are many more examples of visiting guests willing to share their knowledge gathered over years of practical experience.   Last term we invited professionals who use mathematics in their work to present at our Year 10 Maths in Industry afternoon. At the end of Old Scholars’ Week at the beginning of Term 3, a panel of Old Scholars answered questions asked by the Year 10 cohort (embarking on their Personal Learning Plan) about their varied working lives and journeys. There have been other Old Scholar visits from highly experienced legal practitioners and scientists to talk to senior students.

We welcome these guest speakers, artists, performers and elite athletes who make the time to visit us, and we greatly appreciate the considerable expertise they bring as part of the exceptional all-round education that we offer our students at Westminster.

Tickets for Music Night are available through www.trybooking.com/QMSH - we hope to see you there!

Grant Bock
Acting Principal