Dr Paul Burgis

Dr Paul Burgis 2011 - Current

PLC Sydney’s current Principal is Dr Paul Burgis who, since his appointment in 2011, has further developed the College’s Christian ethos and commitment to academic excellence.

Paul Lindsay Burgis (b.1961) grew up in Sydney’s southern suburbs and received his DipTchg from the University of Wollongong, his DipDiv&Miss from Sydney Missionary & Bible College, his BEd and MEd from Deakin University, and his PhD from the University of NSW.

For five years before coming to PLC Sydney Dr Burgis was Principal of Inaburra School, where he had also taught English and History. Other teaching appointments included Eaglesvale School in Zimbabwe, Hillcrest Christian College in Queensland, The Scots College in Sydney, and St Martins College at the University of Lancaster in the UK.

Dr Burgis believes that a Christian model of education should be “based on the idea that we should have an open and honest society that can address the full range of questions that humans ask. A strong theological and philosophical education is important for each child to do this.”1 Accordingly, a course in philosophy and theology has been introduced, the annual Pamela Nutt address exposes pupils to thought-provoking speakers of world renown, a service learning program has begun at Allowah Presbyterian Children’s Home and the Chaplaincy allocation has been increased.

The opening of the Hamilton Junior School for Years 3-6 has enabled aspects of the curriculum to be expanded by including break-out spaces, specialist STEM rooms, amphitheatre, turtle pond, bee hotel, vegetable gardens, arthropod house, and play equipment. Specialist teachers in Science and Technology enhance classroom experiences. 

In the Senior School specialist “in residence” teachers in Mathematics, Science and Physics provide enrichment programs in STEM subjects to ensure more students are better able to enter these important fields of study. New, state-of-the-art science laboratories underpin this approach. 

An affiliation with Cambridge University enables pupils to choose to take Cambridge IGCSE subjects that provide instruction in areas not available within the standard curriculum. The Certificate encourages learner-centred and enquiry-based approaches to study. Cambridge University has named the College as one of the world’s hundred most innovative schools.

PLC Sydney musicians can now make music in a full symphony orchestra, a Baroque ensemble or the expanded Pipes and Drums as well as in various choral, string, instrumental and bellringing groups. The Drama Company gives added scope to those wanting involvement in acting and stagecraft. In Sport, a fitness gym and aerobics encourage the habit of life-time physical fitness; the Winter School program for skiers has been redeveloped and diving and gymnastics programs have been strengthened.

Bird photography, quiz and Chinese debating join the ever-expanding number of co-curricular activities, while overseas exchange programs have grown to include new schools in Brazil, the UK and Italy. The Learning Virtues and the Women in Enterprise programs seek to encourage, support and inspire students to broaden their academic horizons.

As a whole, this educational approach aims to mould “young women of integrity and purpose” who will, indeed, leave the school gates “To make the world a better place, And life a worthier thing”.

  • Tsering Hannaford (b.1987) is a portrait, landscape and still life painter based in South Australia. She has been a semi-finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. Her works have been selected on four occasions for the Archibald Prize; in 2015 she and her father, Robert Hannaford, were the first father and daughter selected as finalists for the Archibald Prize.

1 Teaching Well Insights for educations in Christian schools, edited by Ken Goodlet & John Collier, Barton Books, 2014. Chapter “Christian education in a secular environment”, Paul Burgis, p. 121.



Dr Paul Burgis
Portrait by Tsering Hannaford, 2017