From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

This week the School hosts the Nexus Art Exhibition. Opening Night is on Friday at 7.00pm and will display over the weekend. I encourage families to attend. Approximately 70 artists have work on display – all are professional artists who have exhibited works locally and many nationally and internationally. A great diversity of art forms are represented including painting, drawing, collage/ mixed media, photography, sculpture, printmaking, jewellery, ceramics and illustration. Monies raised from the exhibition will benefit the Nexus Paediatric and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at John Hunter Hospital. I particularly thank Mrs Laura Wilson who has made a significant contribution and Mrs Lea Rugg who has also dedicated time to the upcoming event.

Well done to all our competitors who represented Newcastle Grammar School at HRIS Cross Country last weekend. 117 students from Years 3-12 made up school teams, with our primary team placing 10th and our secondary team placing 2nd.

It is a busy time of the term with NAPLAN examinations this week and examinations for Years 7-10 later this month. Year 12 students will have the opportunity to hear from representatives from UNSW next week and visit the careers expo on Thursday. It was terrific to hear the trio of Ricky Park, William Carraro and Isaac Duncan-Daley play a piece written by Mr Kevin Young in assembly this week. On Thursday evening we host the Rostrum Public Speaking competition and wish Jadon Routley good luck in his section.

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

Winter Uniform

There will be a two week transition period in which students will change over from Summer to Winter uniform, commencing Monday, 16 May.  By Monday,  30 May, we would expect that all students attend School in complete Winter uniform. Students need to be very clear in understanding that they must wear complete Winter uniform including blazers during travel from home to school each day. This includes any visits to shopping centres and the like during the journey home for example.

Our students have a tradition of wearing their uniforms with pride and respect and I commend them for that. The respectful corporate image they present to the community can only be of benefit to them. Parents’ support with maintaining these high standards is appreciated.

Engagement at School

Australia, the OECD, Wellbeing and Student Engagement

I indulged myself on the way to work this morning. I walked, taking the long way round from home, via the Honeysuckle waterfront, stopping in at a coffee shop overlooking Newcastle Beach for a flat white before walking up the hill to Grammar. Sometimes you just have to stop and reflect to yourself “How lucky am I?”. There can’t be too many places on the planet as special as this. So compared with the rest of the planet, how well are we doing?

On reading tonight the OECD’s 2015 Better Life Initiative Report, “How’s Life in Australia?” it becomes clear that we are doing extraordinarily well. The graph below illustrates our ranking in comparison with other OECD nations when measuring overall wellbeing (Durand, 2015). It is clearly true that we live in the lucky country. Perhaps we need to ere on the side of caution when we look longingly at the educational systems of other OECD countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea. While no doubt we can learn much from the educational priorities, programs, assessments and systems of these countries, we need to be aware of and value what it is that we do well.

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Australian students, on average, have better reading and creative problem-solving skills than the average student in the OECD. Given much recent educational research that emphasizes the need for our young people to find themselves in creative professions that cannot be easily mechanized or outsourced, our students are overall in a very good place. Another quite different but very positive statistical finding for Australian children – on average, Australian children spend 256 minutes per day with their parents, more than children in any other OECD country.

What can we do better? Educationally, Australian students overall report a relatively low sense of engagement in school. Given the research that indicates a significant correlation between school achievement and engagement and student resilience and engagement, it is worth investigating what we at NGS can do to maintain and improve our levels of student engagement. Fredericks (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004) describes three categories of school engagement;
1. Behavioural – compliance and participation; crucial for positive outcomes in both curricular and extra-curricular activities
2. Emotional – measuring positive and negative reactions to teachers, peers and school with positive reactions varying form liking to strongly identifying with the school.
3. Cognitive – the willingness to commit and exert effort. The innate need to understand and master content, moving from simple memorization to deep self-regulated learning strategies.

Student engagement can then be considered a multidimensional construct in which all three factors are interrelated. How can we continue to develop and strengthen this educationally and socially protective characteristic of our school? Lee and Smith (1995) found schools that offered opportunities for student voices to be heard, that exhibited fair, reasonable and transparent assessment practices and discipline procedures and held students accountable for compliance with high behavioural standards resulted in greater levels of overall student engagement. The “First Things First” report (“First Things First,” 2003) goes further to identify teachers’ high standards in their classrooms, employment across the curriculum of diverse learning tasks and the inculcation of corporate responsibility for upholding school principles and values as strong positive influences on school engagement.

Finally, Ryan (2000) confirms through her research that which we anecdotally know – peer acceptance, especially in the adolescent years, is a significant influencing factor. Children at school, then, tend to adopt similar levels of school engagement as the members of their friendship groups.

In summary, in order to maximize our students’ school commitment and success, we need to be aware, as parents and teachers, of the level our students’ behavioural, emotional and cognitive engagement with school. We need to ensure that academic and behavioural expectations and standards are fair and reasonable and not compromised.  We should maintain high expectations and standards for our students, employ a diverse range of learning experiences, encourage corporate responsibility for the upholding of our values and recognize the influence of our children’s peers on their wellbeing.

Having done all that, we can then find ourselves a café overlooking Newcastle Beach and enjoy a strong flat white.

Durand, M. (2015). The OECD Better Life Initiative: How’s Life? and the Measurement of Well‐Being. Review of Income and Wealth, 61(1), 4-17.
First Things First. (2003). Science, 299(5613), 1621-1621. doi:10.1126/science.299.5613.1621o
Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School Engagement: Potential of the Concept, State of the Evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59-109.
Lee, V. E., & Smith, J. B. (1995). Effects of high school restructuring and size on early gains in achievement and engagement. Sociology of Education, 68(4), 241.
Ryan, A. M. (2000). Peer Groups as a Context for the Socialization of Adolescents’ Motivation, Engagement, and Achievement in School. Educational Psychologist, 35(2), 101-111. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP3502_4

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From the Head of Primary
Mrs Alicha Dyer

From the Head of Primary image

Our Mothers’ Day High Tea last week gave our students the opportunity to thank the special women in their lives.  Our Minims, Semitones and Tones choir’s performed touching tributes to our beautiful Mums.  Jack Welsh and Lucienne Roberts were outstanding comperes.

Last night, we welcomed many families to Park Campus to discuss the Transition to Kindergarten.  Miss Amy Bibby our Primary Head of Learning and Teaching spoke about the education pathway and discussed the stages of development for early Stage 1 and where we believe our learners need to be by the end of Kindergarten.  I focused on our Kindergarten learners in a 21st century learning environment, content vs learner attributes, the parent’s role and what they can be doing now to prepare their child for School along with some very practical advice.  Parents enjoyed their tour in our K Learning spaces.  The evening was a great success.


We wish our Year 3 and Year 5 students best of luck this week as they do their very best in NAPLAN.


School pick up and drop off is a busy time. Parents of Park Campus please use the designated drop off zones. We have had several cars parked in the disabled area and it is causing difficulty for those who need it. Avoid being penalised by the Newcastle City Parking Officers as they will be targeting schools in the Newcastle region. Thank you.

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From the Director of Pre-school
Mrs Angela Tapp

From the Director of Pre-school image

We hope all our Pre-school mums had a wonderful Mothers’ Day. We also hope that you loved the special gift that your clever Pre-schooler created for you. The gifts were made with a huge amount of love and with a lot of secrecy which the children loved.

Since the commencement of Term 2, we have been working on making sure we are composting our left over food scraps at the end of lunch and afternoon tea. The children are going really well at separating compost waste from general rubbish. As an extension of this, and as part of our Sustainability Policy and The National Quality Framework, we are talking to the children about our “low waste lunch week” which will occur in Week 4. Families will receive a note asking them to pack lunch boxes with as little packaging as possible or with no packaging or waste. We know it is not always easy for busy parents to create lunch boxes while limiting waste. During low waste lunch weeks families are asked to think about:

  • Reusable lunch boxes and containers
  • No pre-packaged foods such as fruit cups, cheese wrappers etc.
  • Reusable drink bottles for water
  • No cling wrap, foil or snap lock bags
  • Reusable cutlery
  • Appropriate proportion sizes

It is interesting to know that by buying lunch box food in bulk and by packing a low waste lunch, families can save up to $400 a year and help the environment as well.

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From the Head of Co-curricular
Mrs Corey Rowntree

From the Head of Co-curricular  image

Career Information Sessions

Wednesday, 18 May – UNSW will be in HS1 at lunchtime to advise students on the co-op scholarships and the various courses at UNSW.

Wednesday, 18 May – St Andrew’s College will be presenting to the students on the college application process and what college life is like from a current and ex Newcastle Grammar student.

Thursday, 19 May – Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Career Expo

From the Hunter House Coordinators
Ms Marnie Thomas and Ms Chantal Byrnes

This week Hunter House continues its celebration of Hope on both Hill and Park Campus. On Tuesday at Assembly in the Cathedral, senior students listened to Paul Simon’s song, ‘Boy in the Bubble’ as stimulus for a discussion about the importance of identifying Champions of Hope. While, Paul Simon’s collaboration with South African artists on his ‘Graceland’ album was critically acclaimed it was also dogged with political controversy and even now sparks passionate debate. What the album offers us is a deep understanding of the way empathy, respect, social justice and a genuine cultural dialogue can open hearts and minds. Indeed, music and art have the capacity to transcend politics and communicate the true meaning of hope. Please >click here to read Azleena Akhand’s (Year 12) thoughtful and engaging Assembly speech on ‘Champions of Hope’.

Park Campus Chapel

On Friday, the Hunter House Coordinators, along with a group of Stewart and Berkeley Hunter students, will be joining Park Campus for their Chapel Service. This service will introduce the strength of Hope the students and parents of Park Campus and provide a lovely opportunity for a shared connection between the two Campuses. We really look forward to this special Chapel Service.

Hunter House Day

Finally, we are very excited to announce some initial details about Hunter House Day. This day will be held at Hill Campus on Wednesday, 1 June and Park Campus on Friday, 3 June (Week 6.) On these days Hunter House will be hosting a festival-inspired ‘Day on the Green’ which will consist of beautiful banquets of food to share (Hill Campus), picnic rugs, live music performed by our students, plenty of fun activities and of course…HOPE. All funds raised on the day will go to supporting the NGS Vietnam Project as well as Allambi. In addition to Hunter Day, Hunter House Chapel will occur on Friday, 3 June on both Campuses. We really look forward to everyone helping us in Week 6 to ensure HOPE FLIES.

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Da Vinci Decathlon

Da Vinci Decathlon Victory

On Thursday, 5 May 2016, Year 5 and 6 students travelled to Port Macquarie to compete in the Mid North Coast Regional da Vinci Decathlon at St Columba Anglican School. In total, there were 19 teams contesting the decathlon with around 150 students taking part.

Throughout the day, our teams completed ten separate challenges in the areas of Science, Engineering, English, Philosophy, Cartography, Code Breaking, Creative Producers (Drama), Mathematics, General Knowledge and Poetry/Art. There were some outstanding individual team results, with our Year 5 team placing 2nd in the Science and General Knowledge questions, and third in the Creative Producers task. Our Year 5/6 team scored 1st in English, Philosophy, Cartography and General Knowledge, 2nd in Code Breaking and 3rd in Engineering.

Overall, our Year 5/6 team were successful in winning the decathlon. As this is the first year that Newcastle Grammar School has entered teams in this primary competition, to come home victorious is an incredible achievement. Our Year 5 team should also be very proud of their achievement, finishing 4th out of the 9 Year 5 teams, and 10th overall. They will undoubtedly be fierce competitors next year!

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1st Place: Lily Webster, Jasmine de Silva, Milan Umesh, Eve Thomson, Jordan Muddle, Athanasia Petrelis, Hannah Choi, Alexander Macdougall Year 5 Team: Prakriti Goel, Allie Martinelli, Eliza Ginns, Megan Galettis, Kalen Routley, Sebastian Spencer, Lillian Miller, Kieran Kabir

Congratulations on your achievements.

Mrs Murdoch & Mrs Muddle

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From the Director of Sport/PDHPE Coordinator
Mr Leigh Carroll

From the Director of Sport/PDHPE Coordinator image

HRIS (Secondary) Cross Country

The 2016 HRIS Cross Country Championships were held last Friday, 6 May at Avondale College, Cooranbong.

Although a number of runners were late withdrawals which was very unfortunate, each and every one of the students who participated are to be commended on their outstanding efforts.

On what was a very hot day for May, a number of students were asked to fill in for missing athletes and they did so with no trouble at all. Everyone finished their races, regardless of discomfort and that is all we can ask of our students.

I have listed below the results, performances of the day.

Final School Championship results (top 5 of the 16 schools)
1st: Hunter Valley Grammar School (1159 points)
2nd: Newcastle Grammar School (1160 points)
3rd: Avondale High School (1447 points)
4th: St. Philip’s Christian College, Newcastle (1535 points)
5th: St. Columba Anglican School (1545 points)

NGS Individual Age Champions (NGS had 4 of the 14 Age Champions)
Connor Henderson – 15 years
Lorcan Redmond – 16 years
Caleb Agostino-Morrow – 17 years
Phoebe O’Keeffe – 18 years

NGS Age Group Championships (NGS won 6 of the 14 Age Group Championships)
15 years boys: Connor Henderson, Ryan Box, Nick McGrath and Oliver Wentworth
16 years boys: Lorcan Redmond, Saxon Leibbrandt, Nick Tonks and Ryan Philpotts
16 years girls: Karma Randall, Caitlin Spencer, Kate Hackett and Sarah Dykes
17 years boys:Caleb Agostino-Morrow, Lachlan Rae, Nick Gentizon and Michael Sharpe
17 years girls: Phoebe O’keeffe, Seraina Danuser, Sophie Sherman and Lucie Zangger-Paige
18 years girls: Laura Flack, Rebekah Stuart, Isabelle Todhunter, Gabbi Boyer and Elizabeth

NGS Age Group Placings (out of 16)
12 years boys: 14th – Miruthun Kumar and Foti Petralis
12 years girls: 4th – Niamh Harrigan, Lauren Harvey, Alice Carraro, Joyeta Saha and Brilee Stubbs
13 years boys: 8th – Takoda Nicetin, Edward Fagan and Dominic Leishman
13 years girls: 10th – Molly Broad, Lauren McLardy, Emma McGrath and Skye Simpson
14 years boys: 6th – Henry Knights, Jadon Routley, Athan Siderovski and Jack Sherman
14 years girls: 6th – Madison Campbell, Elizabeth Carter, Emily Prickett, Lara Ferch and Annabel Brown
15 years girls: 7th – Corbyn Holmberg, Gabby King, Chloe Banks and Madison Mongomery
18 years boys: 2nd – Bronson Elsley, Theo Sam, Henry Riddell and James Carraro

Special Mentions
– Henry Riddell – who due to another student’s late withdrawal was asked to run in the 18 years event. Considering Henry is only 15 and had only 10 minutes notice and had to run 6km instead of the 4km he was expecting, this was a great effort! Henry finished in 12th position, just outside the top 10 who get selected for the next level.
– James Carraro – who, also due to a late with withdrawal and who also had only 10 minutes notice and is only 16 also had to run in the 18 years event. James finished in 13 place, also just missing HRIS team selection.
– Miruthun Kumar and Foti Petralis who were our only 12 year old male competitors who faced a daunting task of facing 4 runners from each of the other 15 schools. Both boys did extremely well and should be commended for their efforts and achievements on the day.
– Madison Montgomery – who ran up two age groups, in the 16 years division, which meant running an extra 1km, and still showed great determination to finish in 23rd position out of the 64 competitors-another great effort.
– Chloe Banks – who was only asked to run in the event the day before due to illness, and did so with no hesitation-demonstrating great school spirit.

Although the team list has not been announced, it looks like NGS will have over 25 students selected in the HRIS team to contest the AICES Championships on Thursday, 2 June.

That team will be announced as soon as possible.

NGS Futsal

On Monday, 2 May, NGS U14 and U16 boys competed at the Regional Futsal Championships held at Howzat. Both teams performed to an extremely high level, progressing into the finals as the top team in their pool.

The U14s who scored an average of 5 goals a game during the tournament, impressed the crowd with a flamboyant style of play. Unfortunately, they were beaten by Kotara HS in the Semi-Final meaning their day ended with that 2-1 defeat.

The U16s were able to progress to the Grand Final, on the back of some spirited comebacks and physical performances. Although they were beaten in a tight match 3-2 by Newcastle HS, they have now qualified for the state championships to be played later in the term.

 The Under 16’s-Lachlan Keane, Jazz Cooper, Vincent Unie, Maxwell Ventura, Isaac King Oliver Wentworth and Connor Henderson

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The Under 14’s-Isaac Duncan-Daley, Michael Papadopoulos, Benjamin Henderson, Jackson Lane, Nicholas Marlette, Kyle Riley, Will Pederson, Desmond Doolan and Athan Siderovski

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A special congratulations Isaac Duncan-Daley! Our super Futsal player of Year 8 has recently been travelling the world embarking of a trip of a lifetime with his fellow National Select Touring Squad members. Isaac has now made several of these touring teams and we whole-heartedly congratulate him for his fine achievements.

HRIS Primary Cross Country

Congratulations to the Newcastle Grammar School Primary Cross Country runners who took on a tough Avondale course last Friday.

Newcastle Grammar School came in 10th position overall with some outstanding individual results.

Thomas McGrath: 10 years Boys – 8th
Alice Jeffery: 10 years Girls – 3rd
Hunter Rowntree: 10 years Girls – 12th
Cameron Carson: 11 years Boys – 3rd
Alexander Macdougall:11 years Boys – 9th
Hannah Choi:11 years Girls – 8th

From these results a HRIS Cross Country team will be selected to compete at the NSW CIS Primary Cross Country Championships at Eastern Creek International Raceway on Thursday, 16 June 2016.

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Mr Lloyd with 10 years Boys

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HRIS Primary Netball

Congratulations to Mary Dundas-Sharad and Kiara Bower who competed at the NSW CIS Primary Netball Championship on Friday in the HRIS Primary Netball team.

The team played strongly all day and came in 6th position overall.

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Kiara Bower pictured in WD and Mary Dundas Sharad in GK

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Girls Rowing
Mrs Sarah Ellis

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For more details and the permission note, please click here.

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Winter Concert

Winter Concert image

Performing Arts Concert

Performing Arts Concert image

NGS Gala Ball
Sponsorship Packages Now Available

We are pleased to announce the introduction of sponsorship packages at this year’s inaugural NGS Gala Ball.

Sponsorship Packages include the opportunity for businesses to gain significant and positive exposure both leading up to and during the evening. 

Silver sponsorships can be purchased for $250 and Gold sponsorships can be purchased for $1000. 

Anonymous sponsorships-both corporate or personal- are also welcome and privacy will be respected. 

For more information about these packages and what they include,  please contact Lisa Foster on 4925 2121 or


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The Blog
From the Head of School

School Chaplain
Assistant Dean Paul West

School Chaplain image

Father Paul West will begin his role as School Chaplain in the coming weeks. Parents are invited to the Cathedral for Father Paul’s installation on 15 May at 6.00pm. Parents are also invited to our Chapel Service on Friday, 20 May at 10.30am. Father Paul looks forward to meeting any parents after this service.

NEXUS 2016
Opening Friday, 13 May 2016


Please >click here for more information on Nexus

Carol Service - Calendar Change

The Carol Service has also moved and will now be held in the Cathedral at 11.30am on Tuesday, 29 November.

Uniform Shop
Winter Uniform

We will have two weeks of optional uniform starting from Week 4 of the school term. Between 16 May and 27 May students may wear either summer or winter uniform to school. At this point, we expect to be able to move to winter uniform on 30 May. If the weather remains warm we will review this.

A reminder the uniform shop hours are as follows;

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


Canteen Duties

Hill Campus

Mon 16 May:
Natalie Tonks
Leonie Young

Tue 17 May:
Alette Schot

Wed 18 May:
Sue Clark

Thu 19 May:
Carmen Cox

Fri 20 May:
Beth Winzer
Suzi Draper

Park Campus

Mon 16 May:

Tue 17 May:
Sam Haines

Wed 18 May:
Cass Worpell

Thu 19 May:
Lesley Filby

Fri  20 May:
Michelle Smith

Hill Campus

Hill Campus Chess News

Our Year 7 – 12 team plays Round 2 of the NSW Junior Chess League Knockout Competition this Thursday, 5 May. We wish our team well in this competition.  Our team is:  Elizabeth Behne-Smith, Jakob Reid, Jett Robinson and Tors Webster.

Our School Chess Championships have started this week.  If any student would still like to enter this competition, the absolute last date for entry is this Friday, 6 May.  Students should see Ms Bright in the Library if they would like to enter. The competition runs each Monday at lunchtime in the Library.  Our School teams for competitions are selected from results of these Championships.

Ms Sue Bright
Hill Campus Chess Coordinator

Headlice Notification

There have been several outbreaks of Headlice within the School over the last few weeks.

Could all families please check their child/ren’s hair on a regular basis and treat as necessary.