Principal’s Update: The Colonnade Model and Changes to Prep

May 23, 2024  
Dr Julie Greenhalgh - Principal

The Colonnade Model

Since starting at Illawarra Grammar, I have been asked many times by parents and visitors for an explanation of “a TIGS education”.

As a result, the senior staff and I decided to compile a model that summarised and explained the education that we offer at Illawarra Grammar.

Called The Colonnade Model, the diagram of brickwork, right angles, clean lines and precision that are representative of our colonnades are also meant to represent the strength that is found at a traditional grammar school and, indeed, at our School.


The base of the model is the Christian Foundations of the School. Not only is the good news of Jesus regularly presented through Biblical Studies and Chapel in our classrooms and timetable, the prayer of the school community is relied upon as we seek God’s guidance and help in all that we do.

Furthermore, the pastoral care program at the School and the valuing of every student and staff member at School are reflective of our Christian Foundation. People matter at Illawarra Grammar. Service, further manifestation of the Christian Foundations, is prevalent at Illawarra Grammar.


The first pillar is Academic Excellence. Teaching and learning must be the core business of any school, and the fullest development of the minds of students should be the aim of school educators.

This responsibility rests heavily on the hearts of the senior leaders of Illawarra Grammar. Consequently, every possible step is taken to ensure that classrooms are places of learning that is rigorous, engaging and purposeful, and that the School acknowledges and values academic pursuit and achievement.


The second pillar is Co-curricular Opportunities. We believe in the worth of holistic education that allows students to discover and then nurture their interests and talents. Ensuring that students leave the School with an impressive CV is important to ensure that post-school opportunities are made available to our graduates.


Thirdly, Character Development. It is claimed that educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. At Illawarra Grammar, we also believe that educating the heart – developing the character of our students – is achieved through the expectation, declaration and practice of values.

The values that we espouse are as follows:

  • Gratitude – thankfulness, appreciation, saying thank you
  • Grit – perseverance, courage, endeavour, hard work
  • Grace – forgiveness, calmness, turning the other cheek
  • Goodness – righteousness, citizenship, doing the right thing
  • Generosity – kindness, empathy, service, giving to others
  • Gladness – happiness, optimism, hope.

Opportunities for these values to be taught and learnt are abundant in our School.


And finally, Future Readiness. We want to ensure that our students leave school ready to take their place in public and professional spheres in a positive and meaningful way. In order for this to happen, these young men and women need to have competent and contemporary skills in public speaking, teamwork, leadership and technology.


Changes to The Piper Centre

The School Council and I have made the important decision to change the education offering at our Piper Centre. Rather than offering a long day care centre for three and four year olds, it is planned to introduce a Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) program in 2027 that is more in line with the operations of the rest of the School. It is also planned that the transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten will be very smooth and that the Pre-K children will be clearly identifying their education journey as beginning in Pre-K. Unfortunately, there is no Child Care Subsidy for the Pre-K program.

The main features of the change are as follows:

  • The current Pre-Prep (3 year old) program will be offered in 2025 – applications open
  • The current Pre-Prep (3 year old) program will not be offered in 2026.
  • The current Prep (4 year old) program will be offered in 2025 and 2026 – applications open.
  • The School will introduce a Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) program in 2027 for children in the year before they commence Kindergarten.
  • For those children who come through our Prep program in 2026 but who are too young to commence Kindergarten in 2027, a one-off opportunity will exist in 2027 to repeat Pre-K so that the children join their age-appropriate program in 2028. More details will be available soon.








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