In an age bursting with technological innovations and an overwhelming abundance of information, the present era appears to be characterised by a swift and unrelenting pace of change. Our society, young and old alike, finds itself constantly bombarded with provocative and sensationalist narratives. The media floods our consciousness with constant streams of global dilemmas, highlighting the flaws of our leaders, uncovering corporate or political scandals, and bringing conflicts and tragedies both locally and from abroad immediately to our screens. This relentless exposure poses significant challenges within educational settings, and schools like Toowoomba Grammar School (TGS) stand at the forefront, equipped to help students navigate their responses to such ubiquitous stimuli.

The ascent of character education in Australia and other locations signals the critical role it plays in shaping the foundations of our youth. This educational imperative is underscored by declarations and policy frameworks that herald virtues like honesty, resilience, empathy and respect. But beyond the compulsion of mandates, our passion for nurturing character is a deliberate response, amongst other things, to the excess of disheartening narratives and the unease that appears to be ever-increasing today.

Since its foundation in 1875, TGS has remained steadfast in its commitment to the development of character. In our contemporary landscape, this commitment has only intensified, emerging as our raison d'être. It is a reason for being. At TGS, we regard the nurturing of character in our students as an essential extension of our educational mission, which transcends the traditional confines of classroom instruction. We endeavour to mould individuals who possess not only the intellectual prowess required to thrive in their professional pursuits but also the moral clarity to navigate life's complexities and challenges with grace and integrity.

The true impact of the School's endeavours is not immediate; it unfolds over the years, often long after the boys have moved on — when they are aged 25, 30, 35 and 40. It is then that we begin to discern the School's influence through the lens of the contributions these young men make to society. The formative work at TGS is thus foundational, laying down the groundwork from which boys can evolve into men of character, ready to face the world once they step beyond our gates.

Our children are maturing in a world marked by continuous transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored our vulnerability but also highlighted our capacity for adaptability and resilience. As we stand on the cusp of the generative AI revolution, the very fabric of how we access, analyse and interpret information is being reshaped, presenting even greater challenges to educational institutions. Amidst such a dynamic backdrop, the question of character assumes an ever-greater significance.

TGS boasts a proud history of not only achieving outstanding academic results but also preparing students for the unpredictable nature of life. The Old Boys' Wall of Achievement is a testament to this. Today, the pressures of modern existence — mental health concerns, technological immersion, social dynamics and family complexities — amplify the School's role in fortifying students to manage the challenges they will inevitably encounter in the future. Our purpose is written in our Strategic Plan (2022–2026) as "Educating boys and developing their good character for life". This speaks to our core business of teaching and learning, but what we also seek to do beyond academic instruction. It is about sculpting the very character of our students, enabling them to stand steadfast against the deviations of life.

Today, schools are playing an increasing role in the shared responsibility we have with parents to nurture and educate children. The moral foundations traditionally laid by family and local community organisations continue to be vital, but it is undeniable that schools like TGS are playing a growing role in this domain. Challenges arising outside the School gates frequently find their way back into the schoolyard, necessitating the guidance and objective support of key staff at the School.

A TGS education encompasses a broad spectrum, addressing the comprehensive needs of our students. Our approach seeks to develop the whole child holistically through an all-round approach. This is achieved through our traditional academics but also by fostering confidence, character and self-worth. We invite parents to collaborate closely with us, establishing a unified vision aimed at shaping the minds and characters of our boys, equipping them for a lifetime of positive contributions to society and the world at large. Our educational philosophy is deeply rooted in the conviction that fostering good character is not merely a scholastic aspiration but a societal imperative.

Our advocacy for character education is intentional and dual-faceted. We believe that character is both "caught" through the influence of positive role models — staff, students, coaches and parents — and "taught" through explicit instruction. This is embodied in our diverse School activities, such as outdoor education, service, sports and cadets, which challenge students and offer opportunities for self-reflection. Moreover, our structured Wellbeing and Character Development program integrates immersive lessons on virtues-based actions and reflections into the curriculum. Under the expert guidance of educational leaders, the program endeavours to embed virtues seamlessly into the educational experience, aligning classic pedagogical methods with the nurturing of character.

This balance is critical; it prepares students to navigate future challenges with integrity and purpose. The School's ethos is not just about achieving success but fostering well-rounded individuals who can lead fulfilling lives enriched with self-worth, continuous learning, leadership and community service. By cultivating these virtues, TGS contributes to shaping balanced and purposeful men aligned with the Aristotelian ideal that true happiness stems from virtuous living. In this way, TGS addresses the vital question of our time by educating for character — preparing students not only for the workforce but for a meaningful life.

Fidelis in Omnibus.

- Dr John Kinniburgh, Headmaster


Latest Blog

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Thursday, 13 June 2024

NZ Rugby Tour success, more than winning matches across the Ditch

The teams were undefeated and it was a trip the players will never forget. This tour was years in the making and heralds a new era of touring and hosting different rugby schools to give our players opportunities for growth as athletes and as people. Head of Sport - Rugby, Mr Lincoln Clapham, explained they selected 46 students to take part in the ten-day tour and began training last year. From Term 1 onwards, the squad trained twice weekly on the oval plus two and sometimes three gym sessions…

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Thursday, 06 June 2024

Aussie Teen Reading Habits Revealed

I was recently sent an article, summarising some research from Deakin University around the reading habits of teens in 2024. Some of it was, as the title suggests, surprising. Some was not. However, all of it was built around the importance of reading, and supporting our teens to read, which is something that every one of us should do. While we tend to see our teens as digital natives, recent research from Deakin University suggests that the average Aussie teen reader would rather flick through…

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Community Engagement
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Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Now More Than Ever

The one-of-a-kind Indigenous artwork is emblazoned across the shirts for the First IV Tennis team, jerseys for the First XI Football team and First XV Rugby team and First V Basketball team's singlets. National Reconciliation Week is a significant date on the calendar for all Australians, running from Monday, 27 May to Monday, 3 June. The incorporation of this Indigenous design in our uniforms is a significant milestone for our School, especially for our 47 Aboriginal and Torres Strait…

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Teaching & Learning
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Friday, 17 May 2024

It's a numbers game, making mathematics mainstream

Term 2 has been a busy one in the Mathematics department; from multiple year levels having extended assessment tasks to competitions run inside and outside the School. Using mathematical equations to recreate artwork The Year 11 Mathematical Methods students got a chance to be very creative with their assessment - using numbers to reproduce artwork. The boys visited the 2024 Grammar Art Show in Term 1 and were given the task to reproduce a chosen work using their knowledge of mathematical…

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Boarding
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Thursday, 16 May 2024

Bucolic beginnings, boarding and becoming a bowel surgeon

Coming from a cattle property near Injune I was in awe of the School’s ovals with lush, green grass and immaculate facilities. I found being able to throw yourself around and not risk skin cuts and grazes quite novel. Sharing the same field where many Old Boys and past heroes trotted was inspirational. I found the comradery among the boarders my most overwhelming memory. It was like having 60 brothers with similar interests all living under the same roof. There was always someone around to kick…

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Boarding
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Wednesday, 08 May 2024

Our Other Mother

Meet Ms Janelle Fletcher, the House Mum of Corfe, whose journey at TGS began back in 1992 as an instrumental music teacher. Her story is one of deep connections, love for the arts and an unshakeable bond with the students of TGS. From the time that Janelle first stepped onto campus and shared her musical talents with young minds to now creating her own “mum moments” in Corfe — she has nurtured a profound sense of community and established connections that have lasted through generations. Her…

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The Arts
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Wednesday, 01 May 2024

Fostering a creative generation and getting exhibited at GoMA

2023 Visual Arts student Ben Rosenberg (TGS 2019-2023) had his film “Mitchell” selected and it's now on display as part of the 2024 Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Visual Art at GoMA. For 30 years the Awards have recognised and promoted excellence in senior visual art education throughout Queensland schools. Secondary schools typically enter the work of up to four Senior students. Previous winners from TGS include Sam McCosker (2013) and Austin Reed (2017). Ben is a filmmaker and…

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Old Boys
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Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024

In memory of Light Horse Field Ambulances

Toowoomba Grammar School would like to acknowledge our admiration for the loyalty, service and bravery exhibited by TGS Old Boys who so valiantly served. We are all the beneficiaries of their sacrifice, and their selfless actions continue to inspire a spirit of service amongst our current students. Today we focus on the contribution of one TGS Old Boy who made a significant contribution to World War I. Here is some of the incredible story of Major Avery, DSO and if you visit the School Museum…

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Character & Wellbeing
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Wednesday, 17 Apr 2024

New Caledonia, new horizons and travel through an educational lens

The opportunity to travel not only opens doors to new experiences but also fosters an increased intercultural understanding and empathy, both essential qualities for navigating and existing within our diverse world. For a group of language students travelling to New Caledonia, our recent French Language and Cultural Tour was a unique opportunity for such experiential learning, where language acquisition went beyond just learning vocabulary and grammar - and instead became a gateway to connect…

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