From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

NAPLAN results will be sent home this week for students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9. I congratulate these students on the way they approached this test and remind them that they will have improved in most areas since these tests were taken in May. Newcastle Grammar School has performed well above State and our region in all areas of both the Literacy and Numeracy components. NAPLAN will move online next year and we are hoping the results will be available to schools more quickly. This will enable the test itself to become more useful as an educational diagnostic tool.  Parents are urged to contact Mrs Dyer (Years 3 or 5) or Mrs Peterson (Years 7 and 9) should they wish to discuss the results of these tests.

The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) has announced sweeping changes to the Higher School Certificate from 2020. These include curriculum changes in English, Mathematics, Science and History (other subjects will follow). One of the most significant changes, is the announcement that minimum literacy and numeracy standards will need to be met in order for students to be awarded an HSC. Our current Year 8 group will be the first group who will be eligible to reach these standards when they sit for their NAPLAN tests in Year 9, 2017. Students will need to meet a Band 8 standard in these tests. If they don’t reach this, they will have plenty of opportunities from Year 10, 2018 when they will be required to complete online testing to display an achievement of the standard. A new Science Extension course for Year 12 should be of great interest to our students as well as a reduction in the number of assessments for Year 12 students – to a maximum of four per course – designed to reduce stress levels. See for further details.

In our Years 5 to 8 assembly this week, it was pleasing to see the diversity of awards given for Music in the AMEB examinations; Chemistry crystal growing competition for students in Science Club; Sailing Certificates from Co-curricular sailing and Age Champions at HRIS Athletics.

Well done to the following students:

  • Age Champions at HRIS Primary Athletics:   Hayden Martenelli and Kalen Routely.
  • Tan Hasdarngkul who placed Second in the Nan Price Piano Scholarships. This is a prestigious Scholarship and requires a great deal of preparation. Tan has been rewarded for his commitment to his piano studies.
  • Year 12 who are getting towards the end of their Trial examinations.

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

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For many of us, it is fair to say that procrastination can be a common enemy when faced with tasks we are just not too keen to attack. For our adolescent students, as they face the challenges of reaching their academic goals, procrastination really can be the thief of time. This is not new to us – we have all found reasons to put off important tasks by filling our time with “busy work”.

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So how do we help our sons, daughters, students overcome this time thief and improve their efficient use of the time they have available to complete set tasks?

Our students are very familiar with the 24 Character Strengths identified by Martin Seligman and his colleagues. Over 3 million people have completed the adult online strengths survey found at An individual’s top five strengths are referred to as “Signature Strengths” and their distribution through the population are illustrated in the graph below.

Interestingly, self-regulation, the strength proven to be most influential and important in achieving successful outcomes and clearly required to overcome procrastination is a signature strength of only around four percent of people. That’s not to say our students don’t exhibit self-regulation – we know that they do, but it is a characteristic that most of us need to work at as it doesn’t come naturally.

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What is the Cause of Procrastination?

Procrastination is a fight that has been sparked between two parts of the mind when it is faced with a tedious task. The limbic system, the primitive reptilian structure just above the brain stem that is responsible for emotional reactions, flight or fight responses and differentiating between pleasure and pain and the prefrontal cortex that allows us to plan ahead and make wise decisions. When the limbic system dominates, which is pretty often, the result is putting off until tomorrow what could be done today. This system responds to tedious tasks in the same way as it responds to pain. Procrastination then is no more than a normal reaction by our nervous system wanting us to avoid pain.

Once our students understand the normality of procrastinating, we can teach them strategies to overcome this thief. In next week’s newsletter, I’ll outline a couple of very effective evidence based strategies easily employed by our students to assist them in this.


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Parent Presentation: Claire Madden 'Future Proof your Career'

Parent Presentation:
Claire Madden ‘Future Proof your Career’

On Tuesday, 23 August commencing at 6.00pm in the Horbury Hunt Hall, Newcastle Grammar School will be presenting Ms Claire Madden, MA, BA in a very special presentation to parents, following an afternoon workshop session with our Year 11 and 12 students.

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Claire Madden is a social researcher, media commentator, keynote presenter, TEDx speaker, business consultant and founder and director of the strategy and communications agency, Hello Clarity.  Claire is in demand for her skill in effectively identifying the emerging trends and assisting business leaders to strategically respond to them. With academic qualifications in communications and postgraduate studies in leadership, Claire brings robust, research-based content to her engaging presentations and consulting.  Claire is on the board for a financial services company and on the Advisory Board of UTS Business School.

In addition to delivering keynote presentations at conferences in Australia and overseas, Claire is booked to conduct training days for corporate and not for profit clients, facilitate panels across an array of industries and deliver workshops across diverse generations. Claire is uniquely placed as an expert on social trends, organisational culture and generational engagement. From her role on TV, radio and in print as a media commentator, to delivering keynote presentations at business conferences, Claire is in demand as a social researcher who is also an engaging communicator.

Claire’s presentation/workshop session with our senior students and evening session with parents will be based on the theme: “Future-proof Your Career.” In this session, Claire will outline the key generational, educational, financial and global trends redefining careers, including:

  • Demographic and workforce changes and emerging sectors
  • Which tertiary courses are growing and what are the new opportunities
  • Global workforce flows and the new global careers
  • Attracting and retaining top talent – what the best employers look for
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation – why these characteristics are key for all employees
  • Technology trends and dead-ends – what you need to know!

I would strongly urge all parents, particularly those with children in the final few years of school, to attend this evening session.  Please note, this presentation is free of charge to all NGS Parents, please phone Reception on 4929 5811 to reserve your seat.

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From the Director of Studies
Mr Philip Fielden

From the Director of Studies image

2016 HSC Exams

Believe it or not, the 2016 HSC exams have begun already. Last week, two NGS students completed their HSC German orals and, in a sign of the times, they did this online from school using a similar piece of software to Skype. Sitting in the school Boardroom, they conversed in German with the examiner who was sitting in the BOSTES offices in Sydney. The students reported that the orals went well and that they were comfortable with the new process.

Similarly, our Year 12 French students will be doing their oral tasks this Saturday. They will be doing this in the usual face-to-face way, at Merewether High School, although maybe this will change in 2017 and beyond? We wish them and their teacher, Mrs Roberts who will be helping them in the lead-up and on the day, every success.

Year 11 (2017) Subject Selection Evening

On Thursday evening (18 August) from 6.00pm, our current Year 10 students and their parents will have the opportunity to meet with Heads of Department to learn more about the subject options they have for their HSC years. There will be two opportunities to meet the teachers and there will also be a briefing on the subject selection method at NGS, plus the HSC and ATAR processes. Following this, students will make their first round of choices online via SchoolBox.

We look forward to meeting everyone at this evening, which marks the start of an exciting, if probably a little daunting, period of time for our Year 10 students.

If you wish to discuss any of these issues, or raise any other curriculum or assessment ones, please feel free to contact me at school via phone 4929 5811 or email


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From the Director of Operations
Mr Duncan McKensey

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NSW School Vaccination Program 2016

School vaccination clinics continue into Terms 3 & 4.  The final vaccination clinic date for this year is 6 September 2016.  If your child has missed any vaccinations he or she will be offered any missed doses at this next clinic. If your child is in Year 7 and has not received all HPV Vaccinations before the end of 2016 this can be caught up in 2017.  Additionally any Year 8 Student who commenced HPV vaccination while in Year 7 and are yet to finish all 3 doses of HPV (and who has not received any from their local doctor) can still receive these at the next clinic.

Don’t forget a Record of Vaccination is given to each student for each vaccination.  Parents/Caregivers should ensure that this record is kept for future reference and should not assume that their child has been vaccinated if they do not receive this Record of Vaccination.

Should you have any questions regarding vaccinations please visit the NSW Ministry of Health website >click here

Please >click here for further information regarding Year 7 vaccinations

From 1 August 2016 all customers travelling inside the Opal network will need a valid Opal card or Opal single trip ticket. This will change how you plan your school excursion travel. Make sure you include ticketing and travel arrangements in your planning.

 Opal cards

School Opal cards are valid for trips to and from a student’s school and home. They are not valid for travel on school excursions, or for school excursion travel.

Opal ticketing options

All students and adults will need a valid Opal card or Opal single trip ticket. For students this will be a Child/Youth Opal card or a Child/Youth Opal single trip ticket which can be bought on the day of travel. Single trip tickets are available at certain train stations and light rail stops. Adults will need to travel with an Adult Opal card or an Adult Opal single trip ticket which can be bought on the day of travel. Adult and Child/Youth Opal single bus tickets are available on non-prepay buses.

Schools will need to decide well in advance how they want to manage this. Options include:

  • Students use their own Child/Youth Opal card.

Child/Youth Opal card is used by children/youth for travel. Please note: parents/guardians should ensure they have enough credit on the Child/Youth Opal card to cover the travel. School Opal cards are valid for trips to and from a student’s school and home. They are not valid for travel on school excursions, or for school excursion travel.

  •  Schools manage the Child/Youth Opal cards on behalf of their students.

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From the Director of Pre-school
Mrs Angela Tapp

From the Director of Pre-school image

Newcastle Grammar Pre-school is part of the Newcastle Grammar School community and is also licensed as a Community Based Pre-school. As part of our licencing agreement as a community based service, we offer the opportunity for families to participate in community based initiatives. One such initiative is the State-wide Eyesight Pre-schooler Screening (StEPS). This initiative of the NSW Ministry of Health offers all 4-5 year olds a free vision screening assessment. It is highly recommended all 4 to 5 year old children participate in the vision screening program as many vision problems can remain undetected unless a child’s vision is screened by a trained vision screener. The children are screened one eye at a time with no drops used. If a vision problem is detected, families will receive a letter asking them to have their child’s vision fully tested by an eye health professional.

The screening took place at NGS Pre-school on Tuesday, 9 August and will be conducted again on Friday, 19 August. The vision screening process is also a wonderful opportunity for children to take responsibility for their own health (EYLF Outcome: 3.2 – Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing). On the day, the children are given the permission form that has been signed by their parent/guardian and they walk out with a friend to Libby who has set up a vision screening area. The children then sit and wait for their turn, watching their friends go through the process as well. Once it is their turn, they hand their form to Libby, tell Libby their name and age and then participate in the screening process. They all feel very grown up and actually enjoy the screening activities that Libby has set. The bonus of wearing funny glasses also makes the process lots of fun.

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From the Director of Sport
Mr Leigh Carroll

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HRIS Primary Athletics Championship Results

Congratulations to the NGS Primary Athletics team who performed with confidence and courage last Thursday at the Division 2, HRIS Athletics championships.

NGS finished in third position after the completion of all the events.

Kalen Routley won the 10 years Boys Age Champion and Hayden Martinelli won the 11 years Boys Age championship. Well done to both boys.

NGS also won 3 x Age Pennants in the 10 years Boys, 11 years Boys and 11 years Girls. Congratulations to all the competitors in these age groups.

Kalen Routley broke a record in the boys 10 years 800m with a time of 2:39:34 crumbling the old record of 2:43:50.

A huge thank you to Mr Lloyd and Mrs Luxon for their help on the day and all the NGS parents who supported and cheered athlete on all day.

Another thank you to Mr Denis Pitt and the wonderful athletic coaches who have helped develop our NGS athletes through the Co-curricular Athletics program.

Ms Byrnes-Stewart Sport Coordinator

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A big congratulations to our 13/2 team who played such a great game in their Semi-Final against Souths on Saturday. A close game for much of the time, the NGS girls demonstrated great team-work and incredible passing skills to forge ahead in the final quarter to take the game by 41 goals to 33. The NGS team now go on to the Preliminary Final in a fortnight’s time.

NGS now have three team into the semi’s and on behalf of the School I would like to wish all of those teams every success in those games over the next few weeks.

A full list of results and upcoming games in tabled below.

Netball 2016 – End of season status/results >click here (as of 8 August)

Mr L Carroll (

Co -Curricular Summer Touch

Summer Co-curricular Touch is fast approaching. Please read the information below if you are interested in playing Touch this season.

Wednesday Afternoon Training – This will commence for ALL teams on Wednesday, 7 September 2016 (Week 8). Training will run from 3.15pm – 4.45pm (Stewart and Berkley) and 3.15pm – 4.30pm (Park Campus) at National Park Fields opposite the Junior School, Union Street.

Tuesday Night Games – Competition Games will commence Tuesday, 11 October (Week 1, Term 4) with all games being played at Gibbs Brothers Oval, Merewether. Part of the Merewether Carlton Junior Rugby MJRU Touch Competition.

Divisions are U/8s, U/10s, U/12s, U/14s and U/16s – Boys, Girls and Mixed.

Attendance -Players are required to attend all Tuesday games and Wednesday training sessions.

The following students have signed up for 2016. Please see Ms Byrnes if you are interested in playing this season

>click here for teams.

Ms C Byrnes – MIC Touch

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From the ICT Integrator
Mr Lee O'Brien

From the ICT Integrator image

Schoolbox Parent Portal – Permission Notes

We have now officially launched the Schoolbox Parent Portal and ran 3 successful information presentations for parents. The portal contains a wealth of information on learning, activities, Co-curricular and events at Newcastle Grammar School. All parents should have received an email on 21 July from Lisa Peterson detailing the login process, (if you didn’t receive an email or you are unsure of the process please contact me at

One of the most requested and eagerly awaited aspects of the portal is easy access, in a single location, for all permission notes.  It is our intention to have all permission notes accessible through the calendar component of Schoolbox. This gives parents an overview of upcoming events and online access to the associated permission notes.  If you are unsure about the process for using Schoolbox to access permission notes you can watch an informative video by clicking here ( .

If you would like to offer any feedback on the Parent Portal, please use the feedback forum ( within Schoolbox or email me directly at 


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Kids Health Seminar
Public Event

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Living well through the HSC

Living well through the HSC image

Friends with Dignity

Friends with Dignity image

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Leave Requests

A number of families have requested leave for family holidays in the middle of this term. While some trips are unavoidable, parents are reminded that missing school is not in the interests of their son or daughter’s education. All leave requests over two days require additional documentation to be filled out and approved by either Mrs Dyer or Mrs Thomas. The School has obligations to encourage school attendance for all students, for all days during school terms.

Newcastle School Portraits

Newcastle School Portraits have attended several events during the 2016 school year. If you would like to view them please go to:
Enter the code: 72472AZ

Uniform Shop

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 22 August:
Edwina Forrest

Tue 23 August:
Alette Schot

Wed 24 August:
Elizabeth Sprott
Kathryn McGowan

Thu 25 August:
Carmen Cox

Fri 26 August:
Emma Brown

Park Campus

Mon 22 August:

Tue 23 August:

Wed 24 August:
Lisa Griffiths

Thu 25 August:

Fri  26 August:
Allison Elvish
Marie Williamson