From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

Year Seven students have been enjoying camp this week at Somersby on the Central Coast. They have been challenged to step up by taking on activities outside their comfort zone and work with students not in their immediate friendship group. After tentatively walking off the 10 metre drop in their first abseil attempt, I saw students confidently negotiate the 20 metre abseil less than 40 minutes later. Other students squealed with joy as they flew down the valley on the flying fox. I thank the staff involved with this camp for their hard work and hope the students return later today, tired but ready to tell lots of stories from their time away.

Bronson Elsley and Phoebe O’Keeffe, our 2016 School Captains put together a short film to show this week’s Hill Campus Assembly some of the highlights from this term. Please >click here to see this snapshot of the first five weeks of Term 1. The Student Representative Council and Social Justice Group also made presentations to the students about their plans for the year. Our Senior Prefects unveiled a plan for Tuesday and Thursday lunch activities for students on Hill Campus. At the Park Campus Assembly last week students were able to see the exciting activities for lunch time clubs that will take place in the coming weeks. Mrs Dyer also reported on the suggestions that were flowing in through the Post initiative– including a very popular suggestion that we should put a small aquarium in Reception at Park Campus. It is great to see students of all ages having a voice in the School and promoting activities and events that build student engagement and the sense of community.

Please note, AHISA have recently changed the term dates for 2017. Semester 1 will now conclude on Friday, 23 June 2017 with Semester 2 commencing Monday, 17 July 2017. The School calendar on the website has been updated to reflect these changes.

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

Social Media and the Impact on Adolescents Part 3

In my last article, I examined the benefits that exist for children and teenagers using social media. In the third article in the series I will be looking at the risks young people face when they engage with social media.

There is clear evidence that parents do worry about their children’s exposure to the internet. Interestingly, in a study examining parental concerns, those parents that expressed the greatest concerns themselves displayed a lack of skill and knowledge of the Internet, a feeling of insecurity and an attitude that the Internet is important to their children. They recognise social media as being an important agent of socialization for their children but feel they lack any control (Sorbring, 2012).

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

The most common online risk for all teenagers and a peer-to-peer risk, cyberbullying is the use of social media to communicate false, embarrassing or hostile information about another person. According to O’Keefe (2011) “cyberbullying is quite common, can occur to any young person online and can cause profound psychosocial outcomes including depression, anxiety, severe isolation and, tragically, suicide.”

Australian data on cyberbullying (Australian Government: Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2013) suggests that:

  • 7-10% of Year 4 to Year 9 students had been cyberbullied over the duration of a school term
  • Over a 12-month period, between 10-20% of children and young people have been cyberbullied, with 10-15% students experiencing cyberbullying more than once
  • One in five Australian teenagers aged 12-17 years received hateful messages via their mobile phone or through an Internet-based medium during the current school year

Sexting is defined as the sending, receiving or forwarding of sexually explicit messages, photographs or images via a digital device. Once sent, these images are rapidly distributed across the Internet and now form part of an individual’s permanent digital footprint. An Australian national survey conducted in 2010 found that 59% of teenagers have sent suggestive emails or messages (Fisher, Sauter, Slobodniuk, & Young, 2012). Given that underage sexting in Australia is illegal and classified as child pornography, young people need to be aware of the consequences (legal, social, emotional and psychological) and dangers associated with this practice.


Privacy Concerns and the Digital Footprint:
The Oxford Dictionary’s “Word of the Year” for 2013? Selfies. “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” There are 57 million photos bearing its hashtag — #selfie — on Instagram alone. And the vast majority are no doubt harmless. But…

The main risk to today’s teenagers online is the posting of too much information or inaccurate information about themselves or others. These posting put at risk their privacy. Adolescent and pre-adolescent children that lack an awareness of privacy issues post inappropriate messages, pictures and videos without comprehending that what goes online stays online. These actions then add to their digital footprint and will affect their future reputations. In turn, this may jeopardise future employment and relationships.

Advertising on Social Media:
Through sophisticated tracking software, social media sites such as Facebook are able to target advertisements on individual sites that reflect the web-browsing behaviour and online profiles. This can affect not only the buying tendencies of adolescents but also their perceptions of what is normal online behaviour (O’Keefe, 2011). Parents need to be aware of these behavioural advertisements on their children’s social media sites as they operate by gathering information on the person from their browsing and their posts and then specifically targeting their individual profiles.

It’s All About Education:
Various government reports and research articles support the obvious conclusion that, in order to ensure as best we can the online safety and well-being of our children, we need to take steps to develop our understanding as parents and teachers of the online world of which they are a part, and to strengthen our trust relationships with our teens. “A teenager’s willingness to disclose increases if the teenager has good experiences of talking things over with the parent, as well as if the parent is viewed as someone to trust. For some parents it might be that the way to gain knowledge, and hopefully reduce their worries and concerns, especially regarding their children’s internet use in this new setting” (Sorbring, 2012).

Australian Government: Australian Institute of Family Studies. (2013). Parental Involvement in Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying  Retrieved 27 May, 2013, from

Fisher, Stephanie, Sauter, Amy, Slobodniuk, Laura, & Young, Claire. (2012). Sexting in Australia: The Legal and Social Ramifications. (Submission No. S7). Melbourne: Parliment of Victoria.

Moreno, Megan, Jelenchick, Lauren, Cox, Elizabeth, & Young, Henry. (2011). Feeling Bad on Facebook: Depression Disclosures by College Students on a Social Networking Site. Depression and Anxiety(28), 447-455.

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.

Sorbring, Emma. (2012). Partents’ Concerns About Their Teenage Children’s Internet Use. Journal of Family Issues, 20(10), 1-22.



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Director of Learning and Teaching
Mrs Lisa Peterson

Director of Learning and Teaching image

The Learning Centre

The Learning Centre provides students on the Hill Campus with the opportunity to get some extra assistance with their studies. This service operates in the Library from 3.15pm to 5.00pm Monday – Thursday. Students are welcome to drop in for as long as they need. Just sign in at the Library counter. The schedule is as follows:

Monday – Dr Diskin (Science and Mathematics)
Tuesday – Mrs Roberts (Study Skills and Geography) and Miss Armstrong (Mathematics)
Wednesday – Mr Parr (English)
Thursday – Mrs Wood (English) and Mr Fielden (History)

From the Director of Primary
Mrs Alicha Dyer

From the Director of Primary image

A huge congratulations to the HRIS Primary Swim Team on their outstanding win at the recent carnival. We are very proud of all of our competitors. Well done!

Respect. It’s a word children hear frequently, although many young children have a blurred idea of how it applies in their lives.

What they do know is that they themselves want to be treated with tolerance and understanding. According to psychiatrist and Harvard professor Robert Coles, the years between Kindergarten and Year Six are the ideal time to teach children to value respect. Children learn about respect, like most other values, from the adults around them. The most important role model children have are the important and trusted adults in their life.

I am becoming concerned at the number of families who are double parking at drop off and pick up, parking across and in driveways and speaking indecently to our neighbours. Please may I ask that we not only teach our children about respect but that we continue to model it when we are parking in the surrounding streets. Your support with this matter is very much appreciated.

Winning team shot

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From the Director of Pre-school
Ms Angela Tapp

From the Director of Pre-school image

It is the end of Week 5 at Pre-school and now that the children have settled in to the routine, made friends and feel comfortable with the educators,  we have turned our attention towards brightening up the rooms and displaying some of the ‘hard work’ the children have competed. In both rooms are displays of colourful chalk drawings and ‘find the different shape’ tasks and the children have really enjoyed looking at, and ‘showing off’ their accomplishments.

These activities, as well as having an aesthetic value, allow the educators to begin to observe the children’s fine motor, language and cognitive skills as the children follow instructions, identify colours and shapes, and use / hold chalk and textas.

Observations are more formally noted each term as educators complete a developmental checklist for each child. The checklist covers the developmental areas of cognition and language as well as social, emotional, self-help and motor skills. In third term these observations form the basis of the children’s School Readiness Report. So the children have gently begun their long journey of school observations and assessment.

Of course it is still a lot of fun and this was encapsulated by the comments of a Shaker boy today. When he was complimented on his climbing skills, he responded that he was a good climber because he was ‘intelligent and a bit cheeky’ – not a bad combination for a pre-schooler.

1605 - PS

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Head of Co-curricular
Mrs Corey Rowntree

Head of Co-curricular image

With the 2016 Co-curricular season well underway may I say how wonderful it has been to see so many students embracing the various  opportunities.

As of this Friday students will no longer be able to withdraw from activities as registrations for teams and equipment has been purchased to run the activities. In an unforeseen circumstance that a change needs to be made all students need to see me.

1605 - Corey

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Inquiry Learning - Refugees in Australia
Stage 3 Teachers

On Monday, 29 February 2016, students in Year 5 and 6 had opportunity to work with Sister Di Santleben, a local refugee worker, as part of their unit of inquiry into migration in Australia. Sister Di spoke to the students about the experiences of local refugees who have relocated to Newcastle and why they made Newcastle their home.

She was accompanied by Clement Saidi, a Congolese refugee, who spent 12 years in a refugee camp before relocating to the Hunter Region with his wife and children. Mr Saidi spoke about his experiences in his home country and how he eventually made his way to Newcastle. He spoke passionately about how freedom shouldn’t be taken for granted and how happy he is that Australia is now his home. Mr Saidi and his wife have 10 children, one of which has commenced university this year.

1605 - Trent Daly

Students had an opportunity to ask questions and showed great respect and interest in Clement’s experiences. Questions included-Did you choose to come to Australia? Did you bring your own traditions with you? Was it easy making friends in Australia?

Students showed great maturity throughout the discussion and had the opportunity to reflect on their learning upon returning to class. Many are curious about how they can assist others in our community.

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Hill Campus Library
Ms Sue Bright

Study Guides and Exam Preparation for Year 12

Students can find past NGS exam papers in SchoolBox under Learning Resources > Tyrrell Library (Hill Campus) > Past Exams.

The Year 12 Half-Yearly Exams are approaching quickly. Library staff have developed a display of books which may be useful for study and exam preparation.

Please encourage your child to borrow these resources and see Library staff if they have questions, or if we can assist in any way.

1604 - Library -2 Study guides display V2

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From the Director of Sport
Mr Leigh Carroll

From the Director of Sport image

Newcastle Grammar School Crowned 2016 HRIS Primary Swimming Champions

It was absolute excitement when Newcastle Grammar School was named Division 1 Primary Swimming Champions for 2016.

1604-Sport 1

There were great gutsy performances by all swimmers throughout the day, with many athletes doing personal bests in each event culminating in a fantastic team result.

NGS had 3 HRIS Age Champions on the day:
Tatum Gilmour 10 years girls
William Jeffery 10 years boys
Gabriel Jeffery 11 years boys.

NGS also won two Age Division pennants:
11 years Boys pennant- Gabriel Jeffery, Connor Johansen
10 years Girls pennant- Tatum Gilmour, Alice Jeffery, Hunter Rowntree, Eliza Ginns.

1604-sport 2

NGS had some excellent relay results with the Under 10 years 4 x 50 Freestyle relay coming in first position including: William Jeffery, Connor Johansen, Aiden Manning and Kalen Routley (pictured).

The U10 year’s girls 4 x 50 m Freestyle relay including Alice Jeffery, Tatum Gilmour, Hunter Rowntree and Eliza Ginns also came in first in their relay.

An honourable mention goes to our wonderful AWD athlete Luke Talley who was outstanding all day showing determination in the pool in all his events to gain some handy points for NGS.

A huge congratulations to this wonderful group of swimmers and support team who cheered all day and Mr Sam Taylor for his support as manager on the day.

From this carnival and the HRIS Division 2 carnival a HRIS Swimming Team will be selected to compete at the CIS Primary Swimming Championships at Homebush on Tuesday, 22 March.

All students will be notified when this team is announced.

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Tatum and Alice with their 10 years girls’ age pennant

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Amy Jorjia Barnett, Tatum Gilmour, Scott Philpotts and Gabriel Jeffery proudly display the winning shield.

NGS Cross Country

The event will be held at Stevenson Park, Mayfield West, on Tuesday, 8 March.

Nominations for Berkeley and Stewart competitors will be taken in Mentor time.

Park Campus competitors will leave school at 8.50am and return by 12noon.

Stewart competitors will leave school at 10.20am and return by 1.35pm.

Berkeley competitors will leave school at 12.00noon and return by 3.00pm.

Students participating in the Cross Country may wear their (complete) sports uniform to School on this day. Students MUST wear their House polos when competing.


8/9/10 years boys and girls: 2km – 1 lap
11/12/13 years boys and girls: 3km – 1.5 laps
14 years boys and 15/16/17/18 girls: 4km – 2 laps
15/16/17/18 boys: 5km – 3 laps

The results of both the Stewart and Berkeley events will contribute to their respective House Shields which are presented later in the year.

NGS Netball

84 girls have now registered for the 2016 season and 9 teams will now represent the School in the Newcastle Netball Association’s winter (Saturday) competition.

Training for all teams will commence next Wednesday, 9 March at National Park, Smith Street side.

A bus will transport players to and from the courts, departing Hill at 3.15pm and picking up at Park Campus at 3.25pm.

Training will finish at 4.45pm and a bus will return to Park Campus (if needed), then Hill Campus, to return by 5.00pm.

Girls may be collected from the courts; however, any girls not collected by 4.45pm will be returned to Hill Campus.

A note detailing the expectations for the season will be distributed at this first training session.

HRIS Open (Secondary) Football Selection Trials

Trials to select HRIS Open girls and boys Football teams to represent the region at the AICES Championships in Sydney, will be held in Week 8.

Any student wishing to trial for those teams must see me by the end of School this Friday, 4 March to collect an information sheet and permission note.

HRIS Secondary (Secondary) Swimming Championships

 Congratulations to the following students who have been selected to represent NGS at the HRIS Secondary (Years 7-12) Division 1 Swimming Championships to be held at Lambton Pool next week, on Thursday, 10 March.

Information sheets detailing all arrangements will be distributed to all team members later this week.

NGS Swimming Team 2016
12 Years – J Fensom, F Petralis, F Clark
13 Years – O Jeffery, B Henderson, W Carraro, A Tait, F Bonus
14 Years – J Routley, H Bell, K Riley
15 Years – C Henderson, R Box, N McGrath
16 Years – S Barnett, L Redmond, J Myles, A Ferch, J McGaffin,J Carraro, E Turner
17 Years – C Agostino-Morrow, W Gardner, J Davis, L Rae, L Venter, M Rewitt
18 Years – B Elsley, N Young, J Winchester, J Barnett

12 Years – I Harbury, B Stubbs, A Carraro, G Macready, T Burley
13 Years – M Broad, E McGrath, I Prince, V Kuru, S Simpson, Z Roberts-Thomson, L Bagga
14 Years – J Williams, J Barnett, A Liebrandt, E Carter, S Behne-Smith
15 Years – B Anscombe, K Rochow, S Finlay,  A Cameron, G King, E Bell
16 Years – I Patey, C Ackhurst, L Bower, A Utiger, S Dykes
17 Years – A Bright, S Danuser, A Pawley, S Sherman, S Cominos, E Turner
18 Years – C Kerr, L Flack, M Bower, B Doolan, A Ryan, S Melrose, P Rowan

HRIS Primary Netball & Football Trials

NGS internal selection trials will be held for any interested student from Years 5 & 6 who would like to trial for the HRIS Primary Netball and Primary Football teams. Students must be current players with great knowledge of the game.

Netball – Thursday, 3 March – lunchtime on the courts. –Girls only

Football – Friday, 4 March -lunchtime Courts/Oval. – Girls/Boys

If you are interested in trialling for this team please see Ms Byrnes in the PDHPE Department.


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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 7 March:
Edwina Forrest

Tue 8 March:
Jacquelene Doran

Wed 9 March:
Sue Clark

Thu 10 March:
Allison Elvish

Fri 11 March:
Emma Brown

Park Campus

Mon 7 March:

Tue 8 March:

Wed 9 March:
Amanda Folpp

Thu 10 March:

Fri 11 March:
Lesley Filby
Marie Williamson

Kid Coders School Holiday Camps

We have some new and exciting games planned for our 2016 Kid Coders School Holiday Camps. Our next school holiday camps are in April and we would love to see you there. Bring your friends and have some school holiday fun.

>Registrations are now open.

Our Kid Coder Camps run for 3 hours on a single day only (morning or afternoon session available).

If you would like to attend 2 camps we will be doing different course work on the Monday & Tuesday and repeating it the following week. For example you might like to attend a Monday camp during the first week and a Tuesday camp the following week, but not the Monday of both weeks as this would be the same course work.