Looking to the future


A.B. Paterson College Principal, Mr Brian Grimes explains his vision on the development of our youth.

Pursuing my passion for chemistry and biochemistry, I entered a Bachelor of Science degree course at the University of Western Australia. Throughout my degree, I studied under some of the most inspirational and leading researchers in their respective fields. Two of the most influential academics, who mentored and encouraged my development at this time, were Professor Bob Bucat (Chemistry) and Professor Paul Attwood (Biochemistry).

On completion of my degree with majors in both Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, a car accident provided a life-changing experience that had a lasting impact upon my life and changed the direction of my interests. Subsequently, unable to continue with my research for a period of time, I undertook to teach a laboratory program to second year science students in the discipline of biochemistry. I found this work to be invigorating and inspiring, but it led to an awareness that many of the misconceptions developed in theoretical biochemistry at tertiary level, were in fact due to basic misunderstandings in high school level chemistry.

Once cleared medically to return to my Honours research degree, I struggled with the understanding that so many students found tertiary study challenging as a result of significant misconceptions in secondary science. I researched the experience of numerous teachers in secondary schools, and discovered that many had little experience in tertiary science. At the time, I considered that this might indeed correlate with the number of misconceptions found in our university students.

From that moment, I changed course and directed my career towards the education of science and, in particular, chemical education. Stirred with the passion of my university mentors, the aim to significantly contribute to the education of young men and women became a realistic goal and aspiration.

My path and journey have been driven by this aspirational goal since that time, and have seen me undertake numerous roles in both single gender and co-educational schools, including Head of Chemistry, Head of House, Head of Senior School, Deputy Principal and now Principal in two co-educational schools.



Unfortunately, in my teaching career I have seen too many young people make damaging choices and take destructive paths in life.  It is my hope that through the development of the head, the heart and the hand, we can bring young people to a more positive and engaging space – one which is affirming, one that is respectful of all, and one that provides hope.

The role of education has changed so much since my first day of walking into a classroom many years ago, and so have the techniques and pedagogies utilised to best support students and to prepare them for life beyond school. Nearly eight years ago now, my deep attraction to, and interest in A.B. Paterson College stemmed from the pedagogy utilised within the College, and the College’s Mission: To Challenge the Individual to Achieve, and to Act with Purpose and Character.

My Vision for our College is to develop within our young men and women the skills, the knowledge and the essential attributes that will enable them to contribute to our social and capital economy. A vision that will, most importantly, also develop within our young people the heart, the mindfulness and the capability that will see them make a difference in our world. These attributes and the accompanying values are the things I look for when enrolling new families into our community. These are examined and discussed in some of my video blogs – ‘Talk Times with Grimes’ on our College’s Facebook page and online at

I welcome your enquiry to our College, whether it be to share your story, join us as a valued partner, or as a potential member of our community.