From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

The enthusiasm and spirit evident during the swimming carnivals over the last week have dominated talk on the Hill Campus. I congratulate the Age Champions and winning House, Hunter on their achievements and look forward to the K-4 carnival tomorrow. >Click here to see some photos of the Berkeley Carnival.

Over the course of this term, the staff are working hard to meet the requirements of the BOSTES registration and accreditation process for schools. Every five years, all Independent Schools in NSW go through this process where curriculum, policies and procedures, teacher training and credentials and governance and management practices are examined. The process involves an extensive electronic submission of documentation at the end of March and then a physical inspection of the School to examine these policies in practice, later in the year. This is an excellent process that ensures that schools can reflect and improve and I look forward to reporting back to parents later this year.

Student leaders on the Hill Campus will be inducted as part of their Chapel service on Thursday and Friday. We welcome their parents to each of these services. I am pleased to announce the appointment of Father Paul West, who will take a position at Christ Church Cathedral in May and at the same time, will begin work at Newcastle Grammar School in a part time capacity as the School’s Chaplain. >Click here to read a biography of Father Paul West.

A reminder that the first parent forum is on Thursday, 3 March at 6.30pm in HS1 (Holland Building, Hill Campus). Please contact Glenda Young at if you would like to attend. Parents will have the opportunity to meet some of new staff and other parents.

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

Social Media and the Impact on Adolescents Part 2:

I recently wrote the first of three articles on this topic of social media and the impact on adolescents for the school newsletter. In that I defined social media as any internet site that allows for interaction between people. A broad definition for sure but the most accurate one. We all know for example that most of our students will have a presence on Facebook but how many parents are aware of their interactions on sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, Whisper, Skout and Tinder? Anyone can use their smart phone to take a photo and upload it instantly to the web. No time to ask the question: “Can any good come of this?” Impulsivity – the downfall of too many adolescents. And of course that instant decision to post then becomes a permanent record on the young person’s digital footprint.

Statistics from a 2009 online research project reveal the following about teenagers and social media interactions (Saritzky, 2009):

  • 22% of teens check social networking sites more than 10 times a day, while only 4% of parents believe kids are checking that much
  • 51% of teens check social networking sites more than once a day, while only 23% of parents say their kids check more than once a day
  • 28% have shared personal information that they normally wouldn’t have shared in public
  • 25% have shared a profile with a false identity
  • 39% have posted something they regretted
  • 26% have pretended to be someone else online
  • 54% have joined an online community or Facebook group in support of a cause
  • 34% have volunteered for a campaign, nonprofit, or charity

Given the exponential increase in devices such as smart phones and tablet computers, it is safe to say these figures won’t have decreased over the past 6 years. So if we ask ourselves the question when talking with our sons and daughters about their lives online and their use of social media “Can any good come of this?” we really need to be aware of both sides of the discussion. Life online is not all bad. Like so much in our lives; food, alcohol, work and play, even sunshine, it’s a question of moderation, balance and wisdom. Research does support the idea that there are clear benefits available to children and adolescents through the utilisation of social media. O’Keefe, to whom I referred in my first article, identifies the following positive outcomes of social media (O’Keefe, 2011):

Socialization and Communication

Teens through the use of social media are able to accomplish online many tasks that are a priority to them offline. These include staying connected with family and friends, making new friends, sharing photographs and exchanging ideas.

Social media also provides opportunities to engage in charity and fund raising philanthropic events, developing creativity and sharing artistic or musical items, creating and posting blogs, podcasts and videos and engaging in global forums that enhance respect and tolerance for people of differing backgrounds.

Enhanced Learning Opportunities

Students are able to connect via Facebook or similar social media programs to collaborate and exchange ideas about homework assignments. Blogs and forums can be set up on sites such as Schoolbox enabling students to participate in online discussions with or without their teachers outside of the classroom. Learning becomes an “anytime, anywhere” activity.

Accessing Health Information

Young people are finding increasingly accurate and useful health information readily available online. Topics might include stress management, signs of depression and chronic illnesses. Support groups for young people suffering depression or chronic illness are available to join online.

The uptake of mobile technologies such as smart phones and texting are resulting in improved adherence to medication regimes, better understanding of medical conditions and fewer missed appointments (Krishna, Boren, & Balas, 2009). Because of their young age, teenagers can encounter inaccuracies during these searches and parental advice and involvement not only ensures greater relevance and accuracy but also stimulates discussion of these topics.

Risks of Youth Using Social Media

Our young people also face significant risks online. Most of these risks fall into the following categories (O’Keefe, 2011):

  • Peer-to-peer
  • Inappropriate content
  • Lack of understanding of online privacy issues
  • Outside influences of third party advertising

I will look at these risks in my third article in this series. Meanwhile, I encourage parents and teachers to spend a little time keeping ourselves informed of the latest trends through sites such as


Krishna, S, Boren, SA, & Balas, EA. (2009). Healthcare via Cellphones: A Systematic Review. Telemed E Health, 15(3), 231-240.

O’Keefe, Gewenn. (2011). The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families. Pediatrics: The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 54(127), 800-804.

Saritzky, Marlene. (2009). Is Social Networking Changiong Childhood? Program for the Study of Children and Media  Retrieved 22 May, 2013, from

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From the Director of Learning and Teaching
Mrs Lisa Peterson

From the Director of Learning and Teaching image

Information Evenings

Parents and students of Year 5 & 6  are warmly welcomed to ‘Meet the Teachers’ at 6.00pm Wednesday, 17 February.

Year 7 Information and Meet the Teachers will also be held at 6.00pm Wednesday, 17 February.

From The Dean of the Cathedral
Father Stephen Williams

Confirmation Service and Preparation Classes

Confirmations in 2016 will be at 8.00am on Easter Sunday. Father Stephen Williams will be conducting weekly preparation classes during NGS lunch hours at CCC for students interested in being confirmed this year.

Students who are interested should come to the first meeting in Reception at Berkeley and find out more information.

– Thursday, 18 February
– Thursday, 25 February
– Thursday, 10 March
– Thursday, 17 March
– Thursday, 24 March

Parents who are interested in enrolling their son or daughter should contact Father Stephen Williams

From the Director of Primary
Mrs Alicha Dyer

From the Director of Primary image

As many children know The Hogwarts School in ‘Harry Potter’ is divided into four houses:  Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and  Slytherin. Children who have read the series understand that teamwork, participation and community are essential elements of the House system. Our Kindergarten to Year 4 students will participate in our Swimming Carnival this Thursday at Mayfield Pool. The cheers and excitement already shared in House group meetings this week have provided opportunities for children to form closer relationships with other students in the same House. Time spent in House groups also gives children an opportunity to create a community within a community and share comradery and House spirit. Who will win the House Spirit Cup on Thursday? Best wishes to all!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank parents for attending and supporting our Kindergarten to Year 4 Information Evening last week. Please may I remind parents that the Year 5 and Year 6 Information Evening will take place on Wednesday, 17 February commencing at 6.00pm. We will gather in the Holland Building, room HS1 at the Hill Campus.

From the Director of Pre-school
Ms Angela Tapp

From the Director of Pre-school image

As mentioned in the last newsletter, this week at Pre-school we started our music programme with Miss Jane (Parkes) on Mondays and Thursdays. This complements our library visits with Mrs Tonks on Fridays. These specialist programmes are a big occasion for the children – there is a new routine and transition process to learn and, for four and five year olds, this process is complex. In relation to the Early Years Learning Framework, this part of our curriculum covers a lot of learning outcomes – in particular it allows the children to develop a sense of belonging to groups and the wider school community (Learning Outcome 2.1) and to become confident and involved learners (Outcome 4).

When it is time to prepare for music or library, the tambourine will ring and the children are encouraged to stop what they are doing and listen. They are then asked as “Groovers” or “Shakers” to collect their shoes from the shoe basket, put them on; go to the bathroom and/or have a bubbler drink; take their hats, put them in the basket and line up at the gate. This sounds simple enough but for the children, at the beginning of the year, this is quite a difficult process. First they have to remember whether they are a “Groover” or a “Shaker”; then they have to remember what shoes they were wearing and what basket they put them in and then they have to try and put on their shoes. If they can’t do their shoes by themselves they are encouraged to ask for help.  Once all this has been completed they are encouraged to make a line (as they would in School) and walk sensibly across the school to the Library or Music room remembering to be quiet in ‘the big school’ because of all the ‘hard work’ that the big children are doing.

So, as you can see, there is a lot for little minds to take in and learn when experiencing a new transition. It’s understandable why many of them are tired at the end of the day. We have to say though… they have all done very well!

Pre-school cuteness… When lining up for their first time library visit, one of the Shakers called out “Miss Amber! I just have to duck home.” When Miss Amber asked why, he replied “because I haven’t brought my library borrowing card with me!”

1603 Park PS

1603 Park PS 2

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Head of Co-curricular
Mrs Corey Rowntree

Head of Co-curricular image

Many 2016 Co-curricular activities commenced this week.

Information regarding the activities commencement dates and finer details for the events can be found on Schoolbox. Please do not hesitate to spend time with your child going through these expectations.

Please if you have any questions regarding the activity of your choice please do not hesitate to email the MIC of the activity which you will find on the School website in the Co-curricular handbook.

>Click here for a list of the activities and the venues.

From the Coordinator of Gifted and Talented
Mrs Simone Muddle

STEM Pilot Programmes at NGS

The interdisciplinary study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths is emerging as an important area for educators if we are to prepare our students to make effective and successful contributions in the future. With the ever-increasing demand for technology-based careers, students will need to be empowered with critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as technical skills. The study of STEM, where students focus on solving real-world problems, encourages innovation in a collaborative working environment.

Newcastle Grammar School is very excited to be one of only 9 Hunter primary schools to pilot the STEM projects. In conjunction with Regional Development Australia and BOSTES, NGS will be trialling new programmes with the vision of incorporating STEM across K-6 as part of our increasingly rich curriculum.

In Term 1, a small group of Year 5 and 6 students will be investigating, evaluating and designing various sheltered areas around Hill Campus. At Park Campus, all Year 4 students will look at sustainability with a particular focus on food production. Updates on these projects can be found in the newsletter throughout this term. We look forward to working with Stage 2 and 3 this term on these innovative projects.

From the Director of Sport
Mr Leigh Carroll

From the Director of Sport image

HRIS Open Boys Tennis

Last week NGS Open Boys Tennis team contested the HRIS Championships at District Park, with an excellent result in the first HRIS competition of the year.

The NGS team comprised: James Griffiths (Year 12), Jay Garrett (Year 10), Kieran Fallon (Year 10) and James Lilleyman (Year 9).

The NGS boys finished in equal 3rd position on the day after winning their pool. They were defeated in the semi-final.

Considering it is an Open competition and the fact that three of our players were playing up several age groups, this was an excellent result.

NGS defeated Scone Grammar School, Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College and St, Philip’s Christian College-Newcastle No. 2 team in their pool.

They then defeated St. Philip’s Christian College-Newcastle No. 1 team in the quarter finals before being defeated by Macquarie College in the semi-final.

The HRIS Junior Championship is on Tuesday, 23 February and we look forward to continued success in that competition.

HRIS Senior Basketball

Last week, trials to select Hunter Region Independent Schools (HRIS) Open boys and girls Basketball teams were held in Maitland. These HRIS teams then go on to Sydney later this term to contest the Association of Independent Schools (AICES) Basketball Championships against the six other associations which comprise AICES.

Three NGS students attended these selection trials and all gained success:

Charlotte Thomas (Year 11) and Allysion Loveless (Year 9) were selected in the Open girls team which is commendable, seeing that they have the potential to make this team for the next one and three years respectively!

Keegan Harvey (Year 9) also attended and was selected as a shadow player for the Open boys team. Keegan also playing well above his age group, also has the potential to make this team for the next three years.

Congratulations to all.

Berkeley Swimming Carnival Results

The Berkeley Swimming Championship was held earlier this week on Monday, at Lambton Pool.

On what was perhaps the hottest and most humid carnival date in the past 25 years, it was great to see so many students became involved and participated in so many events!


Of particular note was the number of students who gave up their afternoons to swim the pre-carnival events-we had over 90 students for the 200m F/S and over 40 for the 200m Individual medley events-fantastic!.

The various results of the day are as follows.

House Swimming Championship
1st: Hunter  – 2698 points
2nd: Shortland – 2391 points
3rd: Tyrrell – 2144 points
4th: Macquarie – 2050 points

House Cheering Display
1st: Macquarie

Age Champions
14 years boys: 1-Kishok Pradeepan, 2-Jackson Lane
14 years girls: 1-Jade Williams, 2- Jessica Barnett, 3-Annika Liebbrandt
15 years boys: 1-Connor Henderson, 2-Ryan Box, 3-Nicholas McGrath
15 years girls: 1-Gabriella King, Bronte Anscombe, 3-Kirsty Rochow
16 years boys: 1-Lorcan Redmond, 2-Alex Ferch, 3-Sam Barnett
16 years girls: 1-Claudia Ackhurst, 2-Imogen Patey, 3-Sarah Dykes
17 years boys: 1-Caleb Agostini-Morrow, 2-Will Gardner, 3-Lachlan Rae
17 years girls: 1-Seraina Danuser, 2-Alice Bright, 3-Sophie Sherman
18 years boys: 1-Bronson Elsley, 2-Nathan Young, 3-Joshua Barnett
18 years girls: 1-Claudia Kerr, 2-Laura Flack, 3-Monique Bower


A team will now be selected to represent the school at the HRIS Secondary Schools (Years 7-12) Division 1 Championships to be held at Lambton Pool, on Thursday, 10 March.

That team will be posted on Schoolbox and also on both the Merrick and Stewart notice boards.

Stewart Swimming Carnival

Congratulations to all the Stewart students from Years 5– 8 who participated with amazing energy in the 2016 Stewart Swimming Carnival.

Some amazing performances were seen throughout the day with maximum participation making it an enjoyable event.

Final House placings
1st: Hunter 1087 points
2nd: Tyrrell 942 points
3rd: Shortland 587 points
4th: Macquarie 510 points

Age Champions
Boys 10 years – Kalen Routley
Girls 10 years- Tatum Gilmour
Boys 11 years – Gabriel Jeffery
Girls 11 years- Alexandria Smith
Boys 12 years- Scott Philpotts
Girls 12 years- Amy -Jorjia Barnett
Boys 13 years- Oscar Jeffery
Girls 13 years- Isobel Prince
Boys 14 years- Hamish Bell
Girls 14 years – Lara Ferch

Some long standing records were also broken at the carnival and at the pre-events
Tatum Gilmour – Shortland
10 years girls 50 m Backstroke 45:08
10 years girls 200IM 3.24.88

Gabriel Jeffery – Tyrrell
11 years boys 200m Freestyle 2.38.31

Boys 14 years 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay – Hunter 2.15.53
Jadon Routley
Athan Siderovski
Joel Owers
Kyle Riley

Mixed All Age Relay – Tyrrell
Chanel Holmes, Emma McGrath, Tia de Silva, Halle Smith, Hamish Bell, Oscar Jeffery, Gabriel Jeffery, Scott Philpotts 5:11:70

A huge thank you to all the staff for officiating on the day. Thank you to Mrs Jenni Bell and Mrs Mary Webster for operating our Meet Manager system and Mrs Jodi Routley and Mrs Aznive Beesley for their ongoing help and support at carnivals.

Park Campus Swimming Carnival

The Park campus Swimming Carnival will be held on Thursday, 18 February (Week 4) 2016 at Mayfield Pool, Mayfield.

Students will be required to nominate for particular events prior to the carnival and hand this form to Miss Byrnes, Mr Taylor or their classroom teacher.

Years 2 – 4 will travel to the pool at 9.00am to participate in their events and K-1 students will travel out to the pool after recess at 11.15am to participate in their modified water events.


New ruling for 7 year old primary competitors at HRIS/CIS representation

Last year there was a decision passed from Combined Independent Schools and Hunter Region Independent School Sport Committee’s stating that all primary athletes MUST be turning or turned 8 years of age in that calendar year. Therefore, this omits athletes in Year 2 that are 7 years of age born in 2009 from representing in 2016.

Please note that this decision was made at a State level and therefore must be enforced throughout every school in the Independent system.

Jackson hits new heights in Tennis career

Jackson Campbell, Year 5, will represent Hunter Region Independent Schools on Monday, 22 February when he takes on the best tennis players from the State at the Combined Independent School’s Tennis Championships in Sydney.

Jackson follows in his talented sister, Maddy’s, footsteps when it comes to tennis talent with both Campbell siblings representing at such a high level.

We wish Jackson the best of luck for a successful tournament.


NSW State Champions – Mens Under 16 Coxed Quad Scull wins Gold.

Over the weekend 31 NGS Rowers represented the School at the NSW State Rowing Championships. This hotly contested regatta has become the precursor to the National titles with 1800 athletes from 107 Clubs and Schools from around the country battling out over 3 days of competition.

NGS crews put on some great performances, with  13 Crews racing in Finals.

NGS qualified for 9 finals of the 15 events entered, from which we took away 4 medals. NGS rowers won 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze medal- a fantastic effort!

NGS continued our strong legacy in the Under 16 Boys category as our top Year 9 boys performed exceptionally taking out Gold in the Quad Scull as well Silver and Bronze in the Double Scull. Vincent Unie also finished 6th in the Single final

Congratulations to State Champions Jack Thomas, Vincent Unie, Max Boyd, Nick McGrath and Cox Dan Turner.

Jack and Vincent Finished 2nd in the double just ahead of Max and Nick who took out Bronze behind a crew from Queensland.

Year 12 Boys Bronson Elsley, Nathan Young, Connor McDonald and Jackson Gosling coxed by Gabby Angus, Year 11, won Silver in their pet event- the Schoolboy Coxed Quad Scull in a strong field. It was great to see 2 NGS crews qualifying for the final of this event with our younger 2nd crew of Emerson Gosling, Sebastian Young (heat) Saxon Liebbrandt (final) William Gardner, Finn Wilson and cox Ryan Philpotts finishing 8th.

NGS also had 2 crews qualify for the Men’s Under 17 Quad and Double Sculls. In the quad, NGS Finished 5th and 8th, while in the Double Sam Barnett and Max Routh finished 4th, while Eoin Brown and Alex Oakley were 6th with Queensland crews in 3rd and 5th.

Another stand out performance was Sebastian Young of Year 10 who is really starting to excel in the single scull. Sebastian raced comfortably through heats and semi-finals after competing in the under 17 quad heat and final earlier in the day to finish in 6th place in the under 17 Mens Single final.

Congratulations to all NGS rowers that competed at the State Championships! Full results can be found at;regatta=2148;club=169


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Golden Ticket Draw - Rowing Fundraiser


Uniform Shop
Trading Hours for 2016

The Uniform shop hours are as follows.

Monday: 8.00am – 2.00pm
Wednesday & Friday: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Canteen Duties

Hill Campus

Mon 22 February:
Natalie Tonks
Leonie Young

Tue 23 February:
Alette Schot

Wed 24 February:
Elizabeth Sprott
Kathryn McGowan

Thu 25 February:
Carmen Cox

Fri 26 February:
Chris Downs

Park Campus

Mon 22 February:
Claire Park

Tue 23 February:
Christine Ettridge

Wed 24 February:
Amanda Fopp

Thu 25 February:
Rachael Heslop

Fri 26 February:
Michelle Smith