From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

During the school holidays, Newcastle Grammar School was able to send money to our Vietnam Project. This meant that the school we are supporting near Vung Tau in the South of Vietnam has, for the first time in its history, been able to set up a library. We purchased the shelving and seating for the library and their first books were donated by a Rotary Club in Western Australia. What a thrill it has been for our staff and students to see immediate improvements because of our fundraising. The NGS students who visit in December will now be able to see the hairdressing training facility and the library – both reminders of the contribution we have made to this school throughout 2016. >Click here to see photos showing the library being set up.

Well done to two of our NGS Piano Trio’s who competed in the Lake Macquarie Eisteddfod last Friday. The students performed beautifully and represented the School very well. The senior Piano Trio (Niamh Leonard-England, James Carraro and Tan Hasdarngkul) were awarded First Place in their section. The Piano Trio (Emily Bell, Georgia Ferguson and Jackson Boden) were awarded Second Place in their section.

Also last Friday, well done to  the Years 5 and 6 students who represented us at HRIS Primary tennis. Jackson Campbell in Year 5 was the eventual winner in the boys’ singles. Three members of staff accompanied 18 students from Year 9 up on the annual surf camp last weekend. In superb conditions, the students learnt skills to improve their surfing and had a great time together. Our rowers enjoyed their regatta in Port Macquarie on Saturday.

The HSC started well on Thursday. In English Paper 1 students were asked to compose a piece of imaginative writing that explores the relationship between place and individual discovery using an image from a selection of five images. They were also asked “to what extent do the texts you have studied reveal both the emotional and intellectual responses provoked by the experiences of discovering?”  This is the only common paper that all 77,000 students studying the HSC in 2016 complete. The HSC continues this week with Languages, Modern History, Biology and Mathematics.

Save the Date: NGS and Vung Tau 5-a-Side Soccer Tournament – 25 November

NGS’s first ‘Hands on Humanity’ tour to Vietnam is only a few weeks away now. So far this year, our community through the four Houses has been very generous in their support of My Huong Li and the work she is doing for orphans and underprivileged young people in Vung Tau.

The students on the tour are working with an enthusiastic parent committee to raise funds to make possible the building of a soccer pitch at the school for the children. Such a facility would be a wonderful resource, not just for the students at the school but for the entire community. It would enable the integration of these students who currently live in poverty into the wider Vung Tau community.

A major fund raiser is being planned for Friday, 25 November. The students are keen to organise a 5-a-side soccer competition to be held on the courts at the Hill campus. Food and refreshments and other stalls will be operating on the day. I would encourage as many of our community as possible to get behind and support this initiative by entering a team for the day. Further details on registration and times will come out soon. Meanwhile, please consider supporting the students of NGS and Vung Tau by coming along to the competition on November 25.

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

Deliberate Practice – Part 2; Characteristics of Deliberate Practice

The reality is that for most people in practice, we focus on things we already know how to do well. We have developed our skills in an area such as netball, chess, futsal, golf, playing a musical instrument, mathematics, to a stage that we are comfortable and find the activity enjoyable. When we train for netball or rowing or futsal, the most enjoyable part of the experience is training with the team or being part of the group.

So while we may spend hours and hours and even years practicing doing what we can already do, that won’t lead us to expertise. As Ericsson says (K. A. Ericsson, Prietula, & Cokely, 2007), “living in a cave doesn’t make you a geologist”. To become expert requires more than simple repetition and practice. It requires a specific kind of practice labelled Deliberate Practice (A. K. Ericsson, 2008).

  • Deliberate practice “requires considerable specific and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well, or even at all” (K. A. Ericsson et al., 2007), to learn and perfect a new skill.
  • Deliberate practice is not fun. In fact quite the opposite, it can be unpleasant, frustrating and confusing. It places you at the very edge of your skillset attempting to push your boundaries and move out of your comfort zone well and truly into your stretch zone, just avoiding your panic zone.
  • The temptation is always there to give in and to return to an easier task, but the reality is that we can only become the expert we want to become by working on skills we have not yet mastered.
  • Deliberate practice requires us to think deliberately. To engage in metacognition. To think about our thinking. This is the fifth of Costa’s sixteen “Habits of Mind” (Costa & Kallick, 2008). Metacognition is:
    • The ability to know what we know and what we don’t know
    • The ability to plan strategy and to be aware of our strategies when solving problems
    • An increasing awareness of our actions and the effects of these on ourselves and others
    • The ability to mentally rehears prior to a performance and to take time post performance to reflect on the experience
  • Finally, a key characteristic of deliberate practice is that it requires teachers, coaches and mentors to provide constructive and at times painful feedback. The sort of feedback that requires a Growth Mindset to accept and internalise as motivation to improve. The reason why Roger Federer has moved on over time, seeking new coaches to work with him to hone his skills (Hodgkinson, 2015).

Malcom Gladwell describes the “10,000 hour rule” in his book “Outliers”. He talks about 10,000 of deliberate practice required to become world class (Gladwell, 2008). Clearly that is not achievable for each of us in each of our interests and areas of passion, but many of our students are on their way as they exit their HSC exams feeling the rewards of deliberate practice over years in their studies or perform brilliantly in eisteddfods and concerts.

The reward for their years of deliberate practice along with the confusion, frustration and unpleasantness that is so often a part of it is that wonderful sense of Flow (Shernoff, Csikszentmihalyi, Shneider, & Shernoff, 2003) described as the experience in which individuals are functioning at their highest capacity and the experience itself is its own reward. An experience where high levels of challenge are met with equally high levels of skill. An experience that is totally engaging and absorbing such that time itself seems to stand still. Whether we refer to Mozart or Federer, neither was born an expert – they became one after years of deliberate practice.

– Costa, A. L., & Kallick, B. (2008). Learning and leading with habits of mind: 16 essential characteristics for success. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
– Ericsson, A. K. (2008). Deliberate practice and acquisition of expert performance: A general overview. Academic Emergency Medicine, 15(11), 988-994. doi:10.1111/j.1553-2712.2008.00227.x
– Ericsson, K. A., Prietula, M. J., & Cokely, E. T. (2007). The making of an expert. Harvard business review, 85(7/8), 114.
– Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The story of success: Hachette UK.
– Hodgkinson, M. (2015). Wimbleton 3 July – 16 July 2017.   Retrieved from
– Shernoff, D. J., Csikszentmihalyi, M., Shneider, B., & Shernoff, E. S. (2003). Student engagement in high school classrooms from the perspective of flow theory. School Psychology Quarterly, 18(2), 158.

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From the Director of Studies
Mr Philip Fielden

From the Director of Studies image

Change of Dates

Year 8 Subject Selection Evening for Year 9 Electives – Thursday, 20 October

The Subject Selection Evening for Year 8 students and their parents will now be held on Thursday, 20 October at 6.00pm, rather than the Tuesday, which I stated previously. This change of date was caused by a clash of events and I apologise for the disruption that this may cause.

In Year 9, students choose two subjects (known as Electives) to study, in addition to the mandatory ones. This is an exciting moment for our students as it gives them their first chance to focus on areas of interest to them. We will start at 6.00pm in the Horbury Hunt Hall.

Year 7-10 Exams In Term 4 – Week 5; 7-11 November

Last term, the Academic Committee took the decision to bring together all of the Year 7-10 exams into one week this term, in order to reduce the disruption to the wider school community and to create uniformity with the Semester One process.

Therefore, all of the 7-10 exams will take place in Week 5 this term, from 7-11 November.

From the Head of Primary
Mrs Alicha Dyer

From the Head of Primary image

Why do strengths matter?

When we are able to use our strengths, we are satisfying our natural urges. We feel good about ourselves—we thrive and we feel invigorated. We perform better. We are more productive. We have greater contentment and satisfaction. There is a sense of accomplishment and meaning in our work and personal life.

“Character strengths are the psychological ingredients for displaying human goodness and they serve as pathways for developing a life of greater virtue. While personality is the summary of our entire psychological makeup, character strengths are the positive components-what’s best in you”. – VIA Institute, 2014


At our Assembly last week we launched Professor Empowerment’s tool, ‘The Mirror of Me’. Behind the mirror are 24 Character strengths that we will endeavour to learn about during Term 4. Our students will become aware of their strengths and understand how when they use them in their everyday life it contributes to their overall happiness. By exercising strengths, our students are more likely to experience positive emotions, to engage in valued activities, to achieve a sense of meaning and purpose in life, and to build positive relationships with other people. These experiences in turn lead to a more productive, satisfying and flourishing life.

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From the Director of Pre-school
Mrs Angela Tapp

From the Director of Pre-school image

We’ve had an incredibly busy first week back. The children have settled in beautifully and, as we seem to discover at the beginning of every term, many of our cherubs have had growth spurts.

Week 1 this term has seen us move in to our ‘summer programme’ (when the weather allowed us), where we started the day outside, participating in our outdoor programme. This means that across this term the children will be adding to their morning routine where they will not only be unpacking their bags and placing their lunch boxes in the fridge but they will also have to apply sunscreen and come outside with their hats on.  We will be encouraging the parents to allow the children to do these tasks independently, preparing for their transition to school.

In the next couple of weeks a note will go home detailing what will take place in our ‘News’ weeks that are coming up in Weeks 5 & 6 of this term. Through the implementation of ‘News’ we will extend our focus on sharing and turn taking. The children will be able to bring in an item that has special meaning to them and share it with their peers.  News week encourages them to use their expressive language skills and helps them to become more confident speaking in front of a group (although some of them already love the limelight!). It also provides the children with the opportunity to listen to others, take turns in a formalised situation and ask questions to gather information and this is often the more challenging aspect of ‘News’. Finally, it is terrific practice for kindergarten and, in relation to the Early Years Learning Framework it addresses all five learning outcomes.

The children are also beginning to help staff prepare for the Information Evening planned for Wednesday, 26 October for families of children enrolled at Pre-school for 2017. The children’s preparation involves them doing their ‘best big school’ work so that we can display items that demonstrate just how amazing they are! The Groovers and Shakers are loving the fact that new Mummies and Daddies will be able to see their incredible efforts displayed around the room. In relation to the Early Years Learning Framework the children are connecting with and contributing to their world.

17-10-7 17-10-9 win_20161013_09_10_10

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From the Director of Sport
Mr Leigh Carroll

From the Director of Sport image

HRIS Tennis

NGS had 6 representatives (pictured below) from Years 5 and 6 compete in the HRIS Tennis Gala Day at Broadmeadow on Friday, 14 October. Over 70 players represented 13 schools from Tamworth to the Central Coast.

Everyone had a great day playing 4 or 5 singles matches each against players from various schools.

Well done Alana Lumley, Piper Rao, Gabriel Jeffery and Nicholas Perry.

Congratulations to Cameron Bruce-Scott for making the quarter finals.

Well done to Jackson Campbell for taking out the Gold medal for the Year 5 boys’ division. He won in straight games and we were all envious of his skills and focus. Congratulations Jackson.


The Year 6 students recorded their reflections on the day:

Today at HRIS tennis, I played against lots of people that were my age. There was lots of variety of skill levels. I tied for 3rd place and had great fun. – Alana Lumley

HRIS tennis was really fun because there were lots of people around the same age as me who played at the same standard as me, so I had really good games. – Gabriel Jeffery

HRIS tennis was awesome because I got to rally with girls from different schools and then kid around on the tennis wall after I’d finished. – Piper Rao

HRIS Tennis was an enjoyable event. Amazingly, I got into the quarter finals but I was a bit disappointed because I didn’t beat my opponent. Overall, I was happy with what I achieved and can’t wait to see if I get chosen next year to represent the School. – Cameron Bruce-Scott


Jackson Campbell with his Gold medal

Mrs V Dart – MIC Tennis

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Dyslexia Awareness Week

Are you aware that the Newcastle Town Hall clock tower was lit up red on Saturday night to support ‘The Light it Red’ for Dyslexia Awareness campaign? There are many students and adults who have dyslexia. This week there will be a display in the library to assist people in understanding what dyslexia is and how it affects people with dyslexia. Take some time out to see the display as there is a wonderful artwork created by Megan Galettis (Year 5) for the ‘Light it Red for Dyslexia’ Red Letter competition and many posters to help us all understand dyslexia.

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Brass RaZoo & Bamboozle
Dinner Dance


Park Campus Fun Fair


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Strategic Plan

>Click here to see a copy of the School’s Strategic Plan 2016 – 2019

Feedback for the Board and Mrs Thomas can be directed to Mrs Kate Grogan at

Speech Day Sponsorship

Thank you to all of the School families that have continued to sponsor prizes at Newcastle Grammar School’s Speech Day.  This event is a prize giving ceremony for students who have excelled in varying areas throughout the year and it is attended by all students from Kindergarten to Year 12.  Staff, parents and extended family are encouraged to attend the ceremony and this regularly results in an audience of over 1200 people.  This year’s presentation will be held at the Civic Theatre,  Newcastle on Monday evening, 5 December 2016 at 6.00pm.

As we prepare for this event, we would like to provide you or your company with the opportunity to sponsor a prize.  In return for your generous donation, acknowledgement will be provided through the following:
– Business name included in Speech day programme book.

Should you wish to take up this opportunity, please contact me ( as soon as possible to discuss suitable prizes. Please note, prizes will be allocated based on a first come, first served basis.

Group Tour Of Hill Campus
For Year 4 (Year 5- 2017) Parents

A group tour session by our wonderful Year 10 Students will be held on Tuesday, 25 October, 2016 from 8.45am to 9.45am. Parents are asked to meet at the Horbury Hunt Hall, entrance to this is via Gate 8, near the pedestrian crossing opposite Christ Church Cathedral.

Please RSVP by Friday, 21 October to if you would like to attend the tour session.

If you have any questions with regards to this, please do not hesitate to call on 4908 4016. Please note a Hill Campus tour is also part of the Information Session on Wednesday, 2 November for Year 4 going into Year 5.

Functions & Events

All Newcastle Grammar School functions/events will now be sold through Flexischools.

If you would like to purchase tickets and do not have an account please  >click here for instructions.

School Photos

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

If you require a new summer uniform remember the Uniform Shop opening hours are:

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

Changes to the Uniform Shop Opening Hours (Week 3 Only)

Monday, 24 October 8.00am – 2.00pm

Wednesday, 26 October 10.00am – 4.00pm

Thursday, 27 October 10.00am – 4.00pm

CLOSED Friday, 28 October

Co-curricular Commitment

Parents may I please remind you if your son or daughter can’t attend their co-curricular activity for some reason an email to the staff member running the activity prior to the day is expected.

Please do not put medical and other appointments on when your son or daughter is expected to attend these activities.

Canteen Duties


Hill Campus

Mon 24 October:

Tue 25 October:
Robyne Talbot

Wed 26 October:
Yvette Anscombe

Thu 27 October:
Indra Deamer

Fri 28 October:
Beth Winzer
Suzi Draper

Park Campus

Mon 24 October:
Siobhan Marr

Tue 25 October:
Jacqui Mejia

Wed 26 October:
Lisa Griffiths

Thu 27 October:
Karen Forget

Fri  28 October:
Nerida Gray

Rowing Regatta Sponsorship Opportunity

The Newcastle Grammar School Rowing Regatta will be held at Berry Park on Saturday, 29 October 2016.  Last year’s Regatta attracted a large number of competitors for the 72 plus events cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd of supporters.

We would like to invite you to sponsor this worthwhile event.

Race Sponsorship
Sponsorship of $50 per race feel free to sponsor as many as you like.

Sponsor Benefits

  • Sponsors will appear in the program as the race sponsor and on the sponsor’s page with your company logo in colour.
  • Sponsor will be thanked and promoted during the day over the loud speaker.
  • Sponsors are invited to present medals to the winning crews

To register your interest or make further enquiries please contact the Sponsorship Coordinator – Mike Angus email: or Michele Prickett:

A tax invoice will be emailed as required.

Your company logo and marketing information is to be supplied at the time of payment.