From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

Comprehensive research surrounding performance on the 2012 PISA examinations was conducted by the Association of Independent Schools NSW Institute and released to schools this week. The research examined the performance of students in the Independent School sector against the performance of students in other countries. The results help to counter negative media publicity showing Australia slipping in its world ranking and highlight the good performance of the Independent sector. We have never been privy to this type of data before. >Click here to see the full report.

This week, many of our students are challenging themselves by taking part in first of the 2016 ICAS tests (The International Competitions and Assessments for Schools). These tests can be a positive experience for students – both in improving their test taking skills as well as measuring their performance on a wider scale.

It was a busy weekend. Our Chamber Choir travelled to Sydney on Sunday where they performed in the Sydney Eisteddfod. They sang beautifully and represented NGS superbly. The SATU participated in a two-day Survival Skills Bivouac and we held a girls’ rowing camp on Lake Macquarie. We ran the Community Lunch here on Sunday and as usual had many students involved in Saturday sport. Positive reports came from all these activities and I sincerely thank the many staff involved in ensuring these events ran smoothly.

The Hunter House Days at Hill Campus (Wednesday) and Park Campus (Friday) will raise money for both the Allambi Care organisation ( and our Vietnam Project. Our next main goals in Vietnam are to enable the school and orphanage to build a library and a soccer field for the students in their care. We look forward to reporting more about these projects and how we aim to achieve these goals in coming newsletters.

All students are involved in athletics carnivals over the coming weeks and we look forward to celebrating individual talents, House spirit and school community.

Thursday, 2 June – Stewart Athletics Carnival (Glendale)

Monday, 6 June – Berkeley Athletics Carnival (Glendale)

Thursday, 9 June – Park Campus Athletics Carnival (Newcastle Athletics Track)


From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

Has the Self Esteem Movement Helped or Harmed our Children?

If I tell my child that she/he is a winner when she/he does well, am I indirectly telling her/him that, when she/he doesn’t do so well, she/he must be a loser?

If I praise my child’s intelligence if they succeed in an assignment, am I labelling them as “dumb” if they do badly?

According to psychologist, John Rosemond, (Rosemond, 2010), the research finds that high self-esteem is associated with fear of failure. The child who has been praised indiscriminately by parents and teachers — which has been the unfortunate lot of many kids over the past forty or so years — may tend to shy away from an unfamiliar challenge.

On the other hand, the child may overestimate his/her abilities and often end up failing, which is why the research also finds that people with high self-esteem are especially prone to depression. In other words, depression is not necessarily the consequence of having too little self-esteem, but rather having too much.

Teachers were told that constant praise would elevate academic performance, but social scientists have found that people with high self-esteem consistently underperform. They believe anything they do is worthy of merit; therefore, they tend not to put forth their best efforts. It is worth mentioning that as praise in schools has gone up, test scores have gone down.

These research findings on the effect of efforts to raise the self-esteem of our children, according to Dr. Carol Dweck, promote a fixed mindset in the child (Dweck, 2009). In the last two newsletters, I have investigated this concept of Fixed vs. Growth Mindset. In summary, the differences between the two can be seen in the diagram below:

1616-Alan Parsons

In brief, the research recognises that, if we place too much emphasis on giftedness, talent and highest scores, we create students who feel they have to be infallible. We produce students with a Fixed Mindset.

Students who have a Growth Mindset, that believe their talents and intelligence can be developed, value their grades but place even greater value on learning. They identify effort and persistence as the pathway to success. They have an Optimistic Explanatory Style, recognising that they can influence and improve outcomes through self-discipline, self-regulation, delayed gratification and what Angela Lee Duckworth refers to as Grit – passionate perseverance for long-term goals with sustained commitment even in the face of setbacks. Duckworth’s research has shown through longitudinal studies that acceptance of a Growth Mindset by students leads to sustained improvements in academic outcomes in the long term.

Clearly we need to gear our positive interactions with our children towards the development of a Growth Mindset, a belief that intelligence can be developed, a belief that is supported by the research of such highly regarded scientists as Lawrence Steinberg whom I referred to last week that proves absolutely that the adolescent brain is plastic and malleable.

Next week, in my final article on Mindset, I will explore the “Three Mindset Rules” and the impact of different styles of praise on the development of either a Fixed or Growth Mindset.

Dweck, C. (2009). Who Will the 21st-century Learners Be? Knowledge Quest, 38(2), 8-9.Rosemond, J. (2010). High self-esteem is bad for kids, society.   Retrieved from



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From the Director of Studies
Mr Philip Fielden

From the Director of Studies image

The Right Strategy After Exams Or Assessment Tasks

(This is an overview of my recent presentation to students in Year 7 and 8 at Assembly)

When you’ve finished a set of examinations, or completed a major assessment task, it’s very easy to imagine that your work is complete; that it’s now time for some serious sleep or PS4 action. You may wish, literally or figuratively, to put your feet up and wait for the results to come back.

Job done!

But you’d be wrong.

While the most stressful part of the task has certainly been done, you have one very important job left; the evaluation.

For you to get better at your studies, to improve from task to task and to lock-in that improvement, you must practise high-quality reflection and evaluation of your performance.

I don’t mean something simplistic, like ticking a box that says “Excellent”, or “Good”. Or taking yourself away to meditate in a forest…

I mean something more rigorous and complex. A process of analysis and evaluation; a discussion with yourself about the effectiveness of your approach, the meaning of the comments & data that you have received from your teachers. Above all, the searching question as to what you can learn from your experience.

Those of you who play sport would do this without question, you would call it training. So why don’t you do it for your academic learning?

The key questions:

  • What did I do well?
    • Why was I able to do this well?
  • What can I improve upon?
    • How am I going to make these improvements?
  • What steps am I going to take to improve my performance next time?

Then you implement these changes to your routine and/or study methods.

Did you notice how many times the letter “I” was used? This is too important to be left to others. You need to take charge and make the important changes for yourself.

In conclusion:

  • Ask for feedback,
  • Analyse your performance,
  • Reflect upon it.
  • Then act on your conclusions.

From the Director of Pre-school
Mrs Angela Tapp

From the Director of Pre-school image

Our Term 2 Newsletter went out to families this week and we have received lots of positive feedback. Families are appreciating being able to communicate with staff each morning and afternoon and it appears that this open communication strategy is working effectively. Thank you.

Thank you also to all the parent helpers who have made themselves available for our Fire Station Visit in Week 7. We cannot emphasise enough, how welcome parents and caregivers are to join in our daily programme, for as little or as long as they feel appropriate or have time for. We often have parents and caregivers staying to enjoy some of our morning activities with their child or popping in to read a story. Others find it more convenient to phone and see how their child is going. And, with the introduction of schoolbox coming to soon Pre-school, families will have even more of an opportunity to interact with their child’s Pre-school environment.

Over the past term, we have been fine tuning another form of communication with families and we are pleased to say that our daily ‘PowerPoint’ presentation is up and running and being enjoyed by children and parents alike. Instead of reading a little bit about your child’s day on our communication sheet, families can now watch a short PowerPoint presentation on the laptops displayed in each room. Not only are the families enjoying seeing a visual record of their child’s day, but the children also enjoy showing it to their families. We are now working towards the children being able to create these PowerPoints by themselves.

In terms of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), achieving these goals will allow us to exceed in Learning Outcome 2: Children are Connected with and Contribute to their world; Outcome 4.4: Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials and Outcome 5.5 Children use information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking.

With the increasing technological gains that we are making at Pre-school there are exciting times ahead and we look forward to sharing them with you. Stay tuned……Kid Coders starting Tuesday.

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

A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes to everyone who is working so hard to help make Hunter Day on Hill Campus such a wonderful success today! Please keep your eyes on the newsletter next week and the NGS Facebook page for some photos and a tally of how much we have raised for Allambi and the NGS Vietnam Project.

We are really looking forward to taking our Hunter House Day to Park Campus on Friday and celebrating the importance of Hope with all the Kindergarten and Year 4 students at lunch. We will also be hosting our Hunter House Chapel on Friday for both campuses. The service in Christ Church Cathedral will start at 10.40am and the Park Campus Service will start at 2.15pm before assembly. All parents are welcome to join us for these special services.

Thank you again for your helping us to ensure HOPE FLIES this term!

Ms Sue Bright

Chess image

Chess Team Success

Our School Chess team played Hunter School of Performing Arts (HSPA) in Round 2 of the NSW Junior Chess League State Knock-out Competition.  As HSPA were the State Champions for the last two years, we were not highly confident of winning before the match.

Our Team won 4-0.

The team is: Elizabeth Behne-Smith, Jake Reid (Year 12), Jett Robinson (Year 7) and Tors Webster (Year 8).

We wish them well for their future matches.

1616 KO Team Photo Official 2016


Ms Sue Bright (Year 7-12 Chess Coordinator)

NSW da Vinci Decathlon
Mrs Murdoch & Mrs Muddle

On Thursday, 26 May, eight Year 5 & 6 students travelled to Knox Grammar to compete in the NSW da Vinci Decathlon. In total there were around 1000 students competing from across the State.

The Decathlon competition places particular emphasis on higher order thinking skills, problem solving and creativity. Throughout the day, our team competed in ten separate challenges in the areas of Science, Engineering, English, Philosophy, Cartography, Code Breaking, Creative Producers (Drama), Mathematics, General Knowledge and Poetry/Art.

The students involved represented NGS with fortitude and esteem. Their participation in the state competition was a rewarding and valuable experience for all involved. Competition on the day was fierce and 1st place was awarded to Knox Grammar Primary.

Congratulations on your achievements: Lily Webster, Jasmine de Silva, Milan Umesh, Eve Thomson, Jordan Muddle, Athanasia Petrelis, Hannah Choi and Alexander Macdougall.


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From the Director of Sport/PDHPE Coordinator
Mr Leigh Carroll

From the Director of Sport/PDHPE Coordinator image


Girls Rowing Weekend
From the 27- 29 May, 32 girls participated in the Girls Rowing Weekend at Club Macquarie. The weekend was full of fun, laughter and cold fingers.

Senior rowers helped out by coaching the younger girls, as they learnt how to row. Many of the girls had never rowed before and by the end of the weekend had picked it up really well.

We also had a special visitor, Esther Verburg, from Sydney University who came down to teach the senior girls some tips and technique from her own experiences.

All the girls enjoyed the company of each other and many new friendships were made. In all, it was a great weekend and we thank Mrs and Mr Ellis and the coaches for their effort and commitment.

By Students: Kate Hackett and Lili Farragher – Hoey

Representative Honours

Congratulations to the following students on their various representative selections:

  • rugby
  • Ryan Philpotts, Kieran Fallon and Jackson Bartley, all of Year 10, for their selection in the HRIS Under 16  Rugby side which contested the AICES Championships in Sydney last week. The boys are pictured below.
  • Kieran Fallon who, following the AICES Rugby Championships was selected in the 2016 Under 16 AICES Rugby side which will play the Combined High Schools (CHS) and Combined Catholic Colleges (CCC) sides in Sydney later this term.
  • Mitchell Bison (Year 11) and Jaydon Bisson who were selected in the HRIS Open Hockey side which recently contested and won the AICES Championships in Bathurst-a remarkable achievement. A special congratulations to Jaydon who was selected in this Open side even though he is only in Year 8!
  • Mitchell Bisson who was selected in the AICES Open Hockey side which will play in the NSWCIS Challenge later this term
  • Congratulations Isabella Ida in Year 5 for being one of 24 selected in the 11 years Girls Newcastle Netball Representative team for 2016. This is recognition for Isabella’s commitment and passion for netball. The squad will compete against other representative Netball teams throughout 2016. We wish Isabella all the best for a successful year.
  • A huge congratulations to Emma McGrath who competed in the Australian Gymnastics championships at Hisense Arena, Melbourne last week. Emma competed in both team and individual events over two days of competition. Emma’s team came in first place overall and she received a gold medal in her floor routine in her individual competition. Emma was ranked 8th overall after all individual events. Emma trains 5 days a week at Blacketts Gymnastics. This is such a fantastic reward for many hours of training. Well done Emma.

Stewart Athletics Carnival

The Stewart, House Athletics Championships will be held on Thursday, 2 June at Hunter Sports Stadium, Glendale.

Students have been asked to return a permission slip indicating how they will be travelling to and from the venue. Please return this to Mrs McGowan in the office.

An early bus will leave Hill Campus at 7.30am for any 1500m competitors and all other buses will leave Hill Campus at 8.35am once all remaining services have arrived.

A comprehensive canteen will operate throughout the day and we ask all students to wear House polo shirts and sports shorts.

We wish all students the best of luck for a successful day at the track.

Berkeley Athletics Carnival

The Hill Campus, Berkeley Athletics Carnival will be held next Monday, 6 June.

Please note the details which follow.




Hunter Sports Centre, Glendale.
Permission Slips


Students must return permission slips by Friday lunchtime at the very latest as buses need to be confirmed and rolls collated.
Uniform School PDHPE uniform is to be worn to and from the venue. This includes the House coloured polo shirt, NOT the sports polo. Students should come prepared for all types of weather. This includes hats, tracksuits and warm clothing as well as sunscreen.
Timings Students must be at the venue by 8.45am.

Students will be dismissed at 3.350pm.

Canteen A canteen selling a wide range of food and drink will be in operation at the venue throughout the day
Wet Weather Only particularly inclement weather will force the postponement of the carnival. If this is the case a message alert will be sent to all families as soon as possible. If the carnival is postponed students will attend school for a ‘normal’ Monday Week B.
Attendance Attendance at the carnival is, of course, compulsory. Students who, due to injury or illness, are unable to compete can certainly assist their House through support on the day.
Questions To Mr Carroll-


Mr L. Carroll-Director of Sport (

Park Campus Athletics Carnival

The Park Campus Athletics Carnival will be held in Week 7 on Thursday, 9 June at the Newcastle Athletics Track.

Please ensure permission notes are returned to class teachers by Friday, 3 June. If you have not received a note, please contact Mrs Foster at Park Campus reception.

Whilst a canteen will be open and selling a limited supply of sandwiches and hot food, lunch orders will not be available on the day, students are encouraged to bring a packed lunch and recess.

In case of wet weather an announcement will be made on the NGS APP, NGS Facebook site and at Park Campus on (02)49252121. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions concerning the day.

Mr Ben Lloyd (Park Campus Sports Coordinator


NGS Tennis Co-curricular Activity

Newcastle Grammar School gives students from Year 5 through to Year 12 the opportunity to develop their skills at Tennis.

Commencement Date:

Training commences Term 2, Week 7 on Wednesday, 8 June from 3.05pm-5.00pm.


Wednesday training sessions and Saturday games will take place at District Park Tennis courts, Broadmeadow.

Transport arrangements:

Students will catch a bus to and from training. If required, students can be picked up from the courts at 4.30pm, however, they must supply a note stating the person who will be collecting them at the courts. If parents are not at the courts by 4.40pm when the bus returns to School, the student must return to School with us.

Competition arrangements:

The inter district competition will commence at District Park Tennis courts, Broadmeadow, on Saturday, 23 July ( week 1, Term 3) and the finals will be held on Saturday, 17 September 2016 (week 9, Term 3).


Students are to wear their full sports uniform to training and games, with appropriate joggers for every session. All players will need a hat and their own racquet.

If you have any questions regarding the arrangements, please contact Mrs Dart as soon as possible as we are now finalising player/coaches ratios.

My email address is:

Mrs V. Dart-MIC Tennis


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Winter Concert
Mr Kevin Young

Winter Concert image

Performing Arts Concert
Mrs Corey Rowntree

Performing Arts Concert image

A night with NGS Players
Year 9, 10, 11 and 12 Drama students

A night with NGS Players image

NGS Gala Ball Donations
Prize and Auction Items

Prize and Auction donations for the NGS Ball being accepted now

The fundraising efforts at the NGS Gala Ball rely heavily on the generous prizes donated by both our school families and their businesses and outside businesses.  These donations are used both in our Platinum Raffle and to create exciting packages for our Silent Auctions.

This year, we are pleased to announce that the funds raised at the Ball will go towards renovations of our Horbury Hunt Hall. The Hall is a valuable and central part of the School. The current state of the stage means that we are very limited in regards to activities and productions that can presented in the Hall. We envisage that the funds raised will go toward renovation of the stage, including the flooring and lighting etc. This will enable us to use the Hall in its full capacity.

We would now like to request prizes and donations for the Ball. This is a great opportunity for businesses to gain significant and positive exposure during the evening. We also welcome prizes donated by families and will respect the privacy of those making anonymous donations.

Some ideas that might help you – bottles of wine/ champagne, gift vouchers, perfume, art, sculpture, beauty gift packs, breakfast, lunch or dinner vouchers, electrical and technical appliances, kids’ activity vouchers, homewares, sporting vouchers, an ‘experience’ prize that could be used as an auction prize (flight simulator, balloon flight, tickets to sporting/ concert events, hotel accommodation etc).

Please note that if you donated prizes at our last Ball, we will automatically be back in touch with you soon.

For further information about prizes including ideas on what vouchers would complement our packages, please email Lisa Foster at Park Campus on who will put you in contact with the relevant people.

Please note that all prizes should be dropped to either Park or Hill Campus Reception by no later than Friday 17th June. Please include who the gift is from so we know who to thank.

We thank you in advance for your generosity and look forward to a wonderful evening together

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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





The 98th Gala Ball

The 98th Gala Ball image

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The Blog
From the Head of School

Year 11 Presentation Ball
Gallery Tickets

Gallery Tickets are available for purchase at Hill Campus Reception

Cost: $5.00 (all proceeds will be donated to the Vietnam Project)

The Presentation Ball will be held on Saturday, 4 June 2016 at Town Hall.



Uniform Shop
Winter Uniform

Winter Uniform begins on Monday, 30 May for all students.

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 6 June:

Tue 7 June:
Alette Schot

Wed 8 June:
Monica Mamonto

Thu 9 June:
Marnie Coulton
Jo Macdougall

Fri 10 June:

Park Campus

Mon 6 June:
Helen Cornwell

Tue 7 June:

Wed 8 June:

Thur 9 June:

Fri  10 June:
Jacqui Mejia
Sarah Tame