Welcome to Headland Technology Client log in

St. Johns Grammar school logo
Case Study

How St John’s Grammar School is equipping students for successful academic performance and future careers


Australia, at the system- and school level, acknowledges that there is a growing challenge to prepare young people for a working life that is radically different from that of previous generations.

Numerous reports have raised awareness of the types of knowledge, skills, and attributes that young people will need to manage a successful career in the rapidly changing world of work.

The interest in learning from practice and experience has been recognised and schools supporting career education are part of a bigger push in the education system to respond to the learning demands of the 21st century.

In today’s rapidly changing and competitive world, it is crucial to equip young people with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively navigate working life.

We need a mechanism that encourages the development of career education practices and provides valuable experiences for our youth.

St. John’s Grammar School has invested in this advanced technology and incorporated it into their curriculum, their Technology and Enterprise Department is committed to providing their students with the tools and knowledge they need to excel in their academic pursuits and future careers.

Using technologies in the classroom to solve challenges

We asked Tom Oliphant, Head of Technology and Enterprise who manages the Technology and Enterprise area with its staff what challenges they faced. He replied:

“We offer a comprehensive curriculum centred around empowering students to design and manufacture intricate components and products. Our program has consistently prepared students for advanced studies in the fields of design and engineering. While we already possess state-of-the-art equipment such as laser cutters, CNC machines, and a range of 3D printers, we have recognised a need for precise metal-cutting capabilities.”

To address this limitation, they identified a unique opportunity to combine precision metal cutting with laser cutting and 3D printing technologies. Their goal was to enable the creation of multiple components that seamlessly fit together using these advanced machines. By leveraging this innovative approach, they aimed to enhance students’ ability to work with diverse materials and expand the possibilities of their design projects.

Tom Oliphant partnered with Headland Technology to find the perfect technology solution for his team’s challenge. Together, we identified the missing piece and provided them with an Omax Protomax Waterjet cutter. With the integration of precise metal cutting, laser cutting, and 3D printing, their students will gain a comprehensive skill set that bridges the gap between traditional manufacturing techniques and cutting-edgetechnologies. This integration not only opens new avenues for creativity and design freedom but also ensures that our students are well-prepared to meet the evolving demands of the design and engineering industries.

Reaping the benefits of our technologies and innovations.

We drilled deeper and asked what attracted them to the Omax Protomax Waterjet cutter? Tom explained:

“The Omax Protomax Waterjet cutter offers a cost-effective solution for precision cutting of metals and other materials that cannot be laser cut or CNC machined.”

Their projects succeeded using this machine thanks to the empowering software and user guides, enabling students to set up and complete tasks independently. The CAD drawing compatibility with Protomax expanded design options, enhancing the manufacturing process. This streamlined workflow saved time and allowed for iterative design improvements. The integration of software and manufacturing processes enriched the learning experience, preparing students for real-world design scenarios.

How did the machine solve your challenges?

Tom further explains:

“Introducing the Protomax waterjet to our CAM equipment lineup unlocked boundless design opportunities for our students. Whether they were enrolled in product design, engineering, or metal fabrication courses, the Protomax expanded their creative horizons and showcased the vast possibilities available. It became a catalyst for emphasising the significance of the CAD/CAM process and introduced students to a crucial tool in advanced manufacturing.”

He continues to say:

“An essential aspect for us was ensuring that the Protomax was accessible and usable by the students themselves, rather than being limited to educators only. This approach fostered a genuine sense of accomplishment among the students, and it was truly gratifying to witness their achievements. The successful integration of the Protomax in the Technology and Enterprise subject area has garnered attention from other disciplines as well. As a result, we are planning to pilot product solutions with Visual Arts and Science departments, expanding the impact of this innovative tool across various subject areas.”

By incorporating the Protomax into their curriculum, they now have instilled a mindset of limitless exploration and creativity among their students. Its implementation not only demonstrates the importance of cutting-edge technology in the manufacturing process but also highlights the value of hands-on learning and individual achievement. Tom now looks forward to witnessing the continued success and cross-disciplinary impact of the Protomax as they expand its utilisation across different academic domains.

We also asked what bonus or value you have noticed from using this technology Tom replied:

“It mainly increased engagement from students and staff, being exposed to a new technology has created a buzz in the classroom, and in the staff office and has given the department a breath of fresh air.”

We ended up by asking why Headland and how was your experience with Headland. Tom did not hesitate to state:

Dealing with Headland was an excellent experience. Access to technical and sales staff was easy, and all my questions were answered. Onsite installation and training were excellent and allowed us to get up and running as soon as possible.

As a conclusion, this powerful tool will empower their students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their academic pursuits and future careers.

More about St John’s Grammar School:

St. John’s Grammar School is a co-educational independent day school in Belair, SA with three campuses. Established in 1958, it started with 41 Junior Primary and Primary students and gained a reputation as a distinguished preparatory school.

The Junior School now has nineteen main classrooms and special facilities for Physical Education, Art, ICT, Media, a Centre for Creativity, an Extension Program, and an Early Intervention Program. The school expanded to include a purpose-built Early Learning Centre for three and four-year-olds. In 1997, the Board of Governors acquired a significant property on Gloucester Avenue, which included St Barnabas’ Theological College and Retreat House. In 2002, the school celebrated its first Year 12 graduation. A master plan has been developed for all campuses to accommodate ongoing growth and progressive teaching philosophies. In 2017, the Secondary Campus completed the construction of The John Bray Centre for Performing Arts. Their core business lies in the education industry as well as having an additional technology and an enterprise learning department.

The St. John’s Grammar School has a staff of 100 employees, with 8 dedicated to the Technology and Enterprise Department. This department is focused on preparing students for future careers, offering a comprehensive curriculum that empowers them to design and manufacture intricate components and products for advanced studies in the fields of design and engineering.


We extend our gratitude to Tom Oliphant for the insightful interview and his valuable contributions regarding St. John Grammar School and its Technology and Enterprise Department. We commend their efforts in preparing students for the workforce and wish them all success.




OMAX ProtoMAX Data Sheet

pdf730 KB

Our Experts

Matthew Weaver

Matthew Weaver

Product Line Manager – Fabrication Division

1300 138 258