From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

Earlier this week, our primary staff were chatting positively about the way our youngest students are getting used to routines and engaging in their lessons. Walking around Hill Campus, I can see that our older students have settled quickly and are negotiating their way around the expectations of up to ten different teachers and the dynamics of diverse class environments. At Information Evenings for every year group across the School over the coming weeks, a common theme will be spoken about: that students should make the most of class time learning opportunities. Recent research has shown that “unproductive students are on average one to two years behind their peers.”  The class environment and teacher are pivotal points in a positive learning environment but as we like to remind our students – our students need to be there with the teacher. Over the coming weeks, I encourage parents to engage in conversations with their son or daughter about what they have learnt and how are they learning. At the same time, our staff continue to have high expectations of all the students in their classroom.  Together, we can create a positive environment that engages and promotes learning.

The Co-curricular programme is gaining momentum. At Park Campus last week, large numbers of students wanted to join in activities and I remind parents that registration for each co-curricular activity needs to be completed. This ensures we have adequate staffing and resources.  It is fantastic to see the enthusiasm around this programme. Some of the most popular co-curricular choices so far this year have included Park Campus Drama and Hill Campus Syntax – Coding and Robotics. Our rowers are getting towards the end of their season and compete in the NSW State Championships this weekend at Penrith. I wish them well. It was also terrific to see a number of our Year 12 students being awarded Bronze Medallions in assembly last week and being recognised for their service to Surf Lifesaving.

Finally, Mrs Julie Harris who has looked after our Before, After School and Vacation Care and has worked as a teacher’s aide at Park Campus for the last 16 years, retires on Friday. Julie is moving to Melbourne and we wish her well. I thank her for the role she has played in this important service at Park Campus. Before and After School Care continues as normal on Monday – while Julie puts her feet up and begins her first day of retirement!

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

Framework for Positive Education & Wellbeing – Part 1

Positive Education and Wellbeing principles at NGS permeate our teaching practice from Kindergarten through to Year 12, with Professor Empowerment at Park Campus, structured Wellbeing sessions during Mentor time at Hill Campus and the Positive Education programme for Years 7, 8 and 9 as the formal vessels through which these principles are taught. Essentially, these principles need to be incorporated into our daily interactions with our students inside and outside of the classroom rather than simply taught in abstraction and isolation.

Following on from his research into the meaning of Authentic Happiness, Universal Values and Virtues, and Character Strengths (2004), Seligman and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania continued their search for the key to personal flourishing, what I  described in last week’s article as Feeling Good and Doing Good (Norrish, Williams, O’Connor & Robinson, 2013). He found through his research that there are in fact five components that lead to flourishing (Martin E. Seligman, 2012). At Newcastle Grammar, our Wellbeing/Positive Education framework will be based on these five components,

  • Positive emotion,
  • Engagement,
  • Relationships,
  • Meaning and
  • Accomplishment, with the added component of
  • Health.

The model follows the development of Positive Education internationally and through the world-leading research out of the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education (Kern, Waters, Adler & White, 2015; Norrish et al., 2013; Waters, 2011). The Framework is based around the acronym PERMA+H and over the next two weeks, I will look at each of these six components starting this week with Positive Emotions and Engagement.

Positive Emotions
– Fredrickson’s “Broaden and Build” theory (Fredrickson, 2001) is at the core of this first component. Through the experience of positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, hope and inspiration, we broaden our perspective, leading to an increasing creativity in finding solutions to problems. Over time, these “micro-moments of positivity” cumulative, building upon each other.

– Over time, the “broaden and build” benefits for our students result in improvements in

  • mental and physical health
  • social relationships
  • resilience
  • academic outcomes

– Engagement in schooling is a significant protective factor in building strengths of resilience within our students (Masten, 2004).

– Positive engagement (Osterman, 2000; Shernoff, Csikszentmihalyi, Shneider & Shernoff, 2003) in the school’s academic and co-curricular programme is associated with

  • Improved wellbeing
  • Enhanced learning
  • Greater levels of accomplishment

Where there is a close match between an individual’s skill level, the complexity of a task and the challenge it offers, students may enter a state of Flow – intense absorption and optimal experience from intrinsically motivational challenges (Bassi, Steca, Monzani, Greco & Delle Fave, 2014; Beard, 2015). Flow is a state of mind in which time seems to stand still, a state of peek personal wellbeing first described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (chick-sent-me-high) of Claremont Graduate University (Csikszentmihalyi, 2013).


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From the Head of Primary
Mrs Alicha Dyer

From the Head of Primary image

Upcoming Primary Dates

Friday, 10 February: Park Campus Chapel and Assembly in SWPC at 2.20pm

Monday, 13 to 15 February: Year 5 Camp 

Monday, 13 February: Kindergarten to Year 4 Information Evening in SWPC at 6.00pm- 7.30pm. Supervision for School age children is available in the Park Campus Library.

Friday, 17 February: Primary Swimming Carnival at Lambton Pool

Chamber Choir

The Chamber Choir will resume next Tuesday, 14 February at 8.00am for students in Year 1 to 4. Please meet on verandah outside the Kindergarten rooms, where we will then walk up to the Speech and Drama room.

From the Director of Pre-school
Ms Angela Tapp

From the Director of Pre-school image

As we write our first Newsletter article for 2017, we are just beginning our second full week at Pre-school. The children have settled beautifully into their new environment and it has been a pleasure getting to know the new children and their families, as well as reconnecting with ‘old’ families. It is always interesting to see those children who attended last year developing into our ‘big helpers’ this year – becoming socially and emotionally confident as they proudly help the new children settle into our Pre-school routine.

After a bumpy start with some rainy days and some extremely hot ones, the children have settled into our (summer) morning routine of unpacking their bag; placing their lunch box and drink bottle in the fridge; putting on their hats; and having their family member sign them in, apply sunscreen and hand gel (or hand washing) before saying goodbye.

Next week, families will also receive their Pre-school Term Calendar detailing all the events, visitors and happenings organised for Term 1. Our first visitor to the Pre-school will be Alicia from Newcastle City Council who will be talking to the children and engaging them in activities about recycling and sustainability.

Finally, just a little reminder of why we love working with Pre-schoolers… we were outside this morning and trying to remember the name of some of the new parents. We asked one of the Groover boys what his dad’s name was. “Just dad” he said. When we asked what other people called him, he said “Mr Smith” before finally coming up with his first name.


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From the Director of Studies
Mr Philip Fielden

From the Director of Studies image

The School Timetable

At the start of this school year, some problems were identified in the new timetable and needed to be fixed. In particular, class lists for Year 9 and Year 10 Science had been not ‘pushed out’ correctly. Students were told to refer to their timetables on Schoolbox while I sorted the problem out and I am grateful to them for their patience and good nature while this happened. A revised timetable on Monday this week was rolled out. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact me at school.

Parent Information Evenings

We had the first of our Parent Information Evenings for 2017 in the Horbury Hunt Hall last night with Year 12 and their parents. Several more events will be taking place over the next 10 days and I would encourage you all to come along to the relevant one. Our aim is to inform you about the important curriculum assessment, learning and wellbeing matters that relate to each year group, with relevant staff also on hand to help you with any questions about Schoolbox and the Co-curricular program.

The Year 7 evening is slightly different. This is our ‘Meet the Teacher’ Evening in which parents can meet Year 7 teachers and also engage in some class activities so that a full and rich understanding of what their children will be doing in the first year of high school, becomes clear.

We have communicated the dates to parents, but if you would like a reminder, here is the schedule:
Year 10 – Wednesday, 8 February
Year 11 – Thursday, 9 February
Year 8 – Monday, 13 February
Year 9 – Wednesday, 15 February
Year 7 – Thursday, 16 February

From the Director of Operations
Mr Duncan McKensey

From the Director of Operations image

School Buses

Earlier this week, the following email was sent to parents whose son or daughter regularly catch the Toronto or Nelson Bay buses. Other parents may find this information useful.

The purpose of this communication is to provide an update regarding Newcastle Grammar School’s Toronto Bus Service and the Port Stephen’s Nelson Bay Bus Service.

Due to several factors these services are not running to schedule and as a result students are arriving late to school.

I have been in regular communication with both companies and the following changes will be occurring in order to minimalise the lateness of these services. 

Newcastle Grammar Toronto Bus Service
After reviewing the morning schedule the decision has been made to bring forward the time of some of the stops. Once Transport for NSW has sanctioned these changes parents will be informed prior to the new schedule commencing. 

Port Stephen’s Nelson Bay Bus Service
Port Stephens have already submitted an amended route to Transport for NSW. They expect the changes to be sanctioned and the new schedule to commence approximately on 14 February.   You can check their website for any updates and we will also send you information when we receive it.


ALL Year 7 Students

– Varicella vaccine (chicken pox) as a single dose – for any student who has not had the disease
– Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) (dTpa) adult vaccine – as a single dose to all Year 7 students who have not received a previous dose.
– Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine – in a 3-dose schedule with 2 month gap between doses 1 & 2 and a 4 month gap between doses 2 & 3.

Vaccinations will occur on Friday, 17 February, Wednesday, 3 May and Wednesday, 6 September.

Please read the linked >article from the NSW Government.

From the Head of Co-curricular
Mrs Corey Rowntree

From the Head of Co-curricular image

Primary Swimming Carnival K-6
Revised Date – Friday, 17 February

The Primary Swimming Carnival will be held in Week 4 on Friday, 17 February 2017 at the Lambton Pool. All students from K-6 will be attending the carnival at stages throughout the day. All students will come to school and be bused out and back to the carnival.

The details of the day are as follows:

Transport: 8.35am – Buses depart Hill and Park Campus.

Canteen: A comprehensive canteen will operate at the venue

Uniform: Full NGS sports uniform with House polo shirt.

Students will need the following equipment on the day:

Sports uniform, which includes their coloured, House T-shirt.
School Bag
School Swimming Costume
Towel/goggles (optional)
Bathing Cap in House Colours (optional as caps are provided for 50m events)
Plenty of food and drink for recess and lunch as children have limited access to the kiosk.
Students are able to wear sandals (no thongs)
Rash shirts may also be worn for extra protection from the sun. Kinder to Year 1 may wear their shirt for all activities in the small pool, which is covered by shade. Years 2 to 6 are to wear covering tops at all times when they are not competing. 

8.35am: Years 2-6 Depart for Lambton Pool.
9.30-12.30pm: 100 metre freestyle, 50 metre events for 7, 8, 9 and 10 year competitors in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly.
12.00pm: Kinder and Year 1 arrive at the pool
12.10pm: Events for Kindergarten and Year 1 in the smaller pool take place.
12.40pm: Lunch Years 2-6
1.00pm: Lunch Kindergarten and Year 1
1.30pm: Relays ( 4×50 metre) commence
2.00pm: Presentation of Medallions and House Trophies.
2.30pm: Depart from pool to Park Campus and Hill Campus for normal dismissal.
3.00pm: Arrive at Hill and Park Campus. 

Competition: The carnival will be run through a program of events before and on the day. All events will run off a heat system. There will be no finals for any event. The times taken from the heats will be ranked into places and points for both AGE and HOUSE Championships and allocated accordingly. Therefore, all swimmers are encouraged to swim as fast as they can for every event they swim, no matter what heat they’re placed in.

Please note: In case of inclement weather and the carnival is to be cancelled there will be an alert sent out to the NGS App and a notice placed on Schoolbox between 7.00am and 7.30am on the Thursday morning.

Whilst students are not competing on the day they must sit in their House area under the supervision of their House Co-ordinators. Please no parents in this area. There are parent shaded areas available on the opposite side of the pool.


CIS Primary Boys and Girls Basketball Nominations 2017 are due and close Friday, 17 February 2017. Any student wishing to trial for these teams please contact Mrs Rowntree as soon as possible.

Nomination Eligibility
Open Primary – students in Years 4, 5 & 6 who currently play basketball.

Co-curricular Activities Term 1 2017

Co-curricular activities for 2017 are well underway. Please ensure you take the time to review the handout on SchoolBox to ensure your son or daughter is at their chosen activities.

These details can be found on >SchoolBox on the Co-curricular homepage under files.

For any questions, please direct them to me at

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From the Director of Sport
Mr Leigh Carroll

From the Director of Sport image

CIS Sport

A list of upcoming ‘Nominations for Representative Selection Trials and Championship Trial Dates’ will be on the Sport Notice Board on Merrick almost weekly. I urge all students who wish to represent in any sport in 2017 to read this notice very carefully. Any questions, please see Mr Carroll in the Sports office in the Stewart building. 

Wet Weather on Training Afternoons

If the weather is inclement on training afternoons, a decision on training will be made by 1.00pm on those days. A notice is posted on the Sports Notice board on Merrick at this time and an alert will be made on the NGS app. If the rain comes after 1.00pm a decision on training will be made as soon as possible, students notified before the end of school and an alert made on the NGS app as soon as possible.

Sport Nomination Deadlines

Throughout the year many of our students will need to nominate for sports in which they wish to attend representative trials. Also, NGS will also be looking at entering as many HRIS and other competitions/tournaments as possible.

For obvious reasons there have to be cut-off dates for these nominations.

If students fail to see either myself (Secondary, Years 7-12) or Primary students/parents contact Mrs Rowntree (Years K-6) by the nomination date, it is very likely that both individuals and teams may not be able to nominate for selection trials/competitions.

PLEASE ensure you take the time and effort to read all Student Bulletins and Newsletters weekly to ensure you do not miss out.

If you have any questions whatsoever, please see me.

HRIS/AICES/CIS and NSWAll Schools Representative Selection Trials – Upcoming

Trials for selection in various HRIS and AICES representative teams occur throughout the year; however, a number of those occur in the next couple of weeks:-

Triathlon: Students wishing to compete at the 2017 NSW All Schools Triathlon Championships, to be held at Penrith on Wednesday, 22 February (individual events) and 23 February (relay events) need to nominate through Mr Carroll by Friday, 10 February. This is for individual and relay nominations.

Swimming Pre-Carnival Events: Years 7-12

As is usual each year due to the large number of events held at the NGS Secondary Swimming Championships, a number of these events need to be conducted prior to those carnivals. These events will be held at Mayfield Pool during Weeks 3 and 4 of this term.

Please note the following details:

Wednesday, 8 February –  Secondary, Years 7-12, 12-18 Years 200m Freestyle events (boys and girls).

 Wednesday, 15 February – Secondary, Years 7-12, 12-18 Years 200m Individual Medley events (boys and girls).

Buses on all days will depart School at 3.15pm and return by 5.00pm.
School swimmers must be worn.
Students will nominate for these events through their House Coordinators.
Students should wear their School uniform and change at the pool or, if they have had PDHPE during the day, they may stay in their PE uniform.
Points from all 200m events will go towards both Age and House Championships.
Training for Futsal, Basketball, Rowing and Surfing will go ahead as usual on Wednesday afternoons, 8 and 15 February; however, players wishing to attend should see their coach and let them know that they will be attending the pre-carnival events, if they can not make it.


Registration for the 2017 season will begin this week with the distribution of information sheets and registration forms.

These forms will need to be returned to the Park Campus office (Park Campus students) or to Mr Carroll (Hill Campus students) as soon as possible and no later than the end of Week 3 – 10 February

If you have any questions regarding Netball for 2017 please do not hesitate to contact me at School.

Interschools Snowsports 2017

After a hiatus of a number of years, in 2016 NGS once again entered a team in this high-profile, very popular, annual competition.

There is a large amount of organisation and travel involved in this competition and particularly so if students progress from Regional to NSW to National competitions, which is what our 2016 team achieved. To that end it is important that organisation begins now to enable registrations to occur, accommodation to be booked, and so on.

The participant numbers are very large across all events, as can be seen from the figures below for 2016:

  • The collective 2016 NSW/ACT/Queensland Regional + NSW State Event entry numbers were 9,515 (8,916 in 2015), which equates to an overall growth of 7% in 2016.
  • Northern NSW Event (4 days – Wednesday to Saturday)2,407 entries (2,392 in 2015 / 1,916 in 2014) – up by 0.6% > 1,099 participants (1,147 in 2015) from 190 schools (189 in 2015)
  • In 2016, there were 23 days of events in total, with a scheduled 25 days of events in 2017 due to the growth in numbers of competitors, and potentially 27 in 2018

Mrs Kathryn Dries, parent of one of our 2016 team members has kindly offered to be the School’s organiser for this event and after participating in the process this year, is well qualified to field any questions.

Kathryn has asked that if there are any parents interested in finding out more about this competition and/or expressing an interest in participating, that they should contact her on either of the following: e: or m: 0434 379 739

For further information on what the Interschools Snowsports Championships is all about, please follow this link to the handbook: >

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The Blog
From the Head of School

Leave Requests 

Please note that all NSW schools have reporting requirements on student attendance. The School policy on attendance states that leave will only be approved for special circumstances. All holidays must be taken in school holiday periods. This year, holidays are on the following days:
Monday, 10 April to Tuesday, 25 April
Monday, 26 June to Friday, 14 July
Monday, 25 September to Friday, 6 October

Any leave request must be sent to the Head of School (Years 5-12) or the Head of Primary (K-4) and require paperwork to be completed well in advance of the leave. Attendance at school is important to all students and achievement and attendance are closely linked. Please support your child’s learning and achievement and only apply for leave for exceptional circumstances. 


Parent Forum

Thursday, 9 March 2017 @ 6.00pm

All parents welcome

Hurbury Hunt Hall – Hill Campus

Co-curricular Activities
Term 1 2017

Co-curricular activities for 2017 are well underway. Please ensure you take the time to review the handout on SchoolBox to ensure your son or daughter is at their chosen activities.

These details can be found on >SchoolBox on the Co-curricular homepage under files. Click here for access >SchoolBox

For any questions, please direct them to

Canteen Duties


Hill Campus

Mon 13 February:

Tue 14 February:
Alette Schot

Wed 15 February:
Maeve Brown

Thu 16 February:
Marnie Coulton
Jo MacDougall

Fri 17 February:
Lesley Filby

Park Campus

Mon 13 February:

Tue 14 February:
Lisa Griffiths

Wed 15 February:
Melanie Howard

Thu 16 February:

Fri 17 February:

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

Before School Yoga
Park Campus (Year 1-4) Starting Soon!

Before School Yoga  image

I am excited to announce that we will start ‘Before School Yoga’ again in Week 3 this term.

A beautiful calming practise every Friday morning 8.00am before school to help the kids finish the week well.

The practise will give them tools to relax and find their own calm space in times of excitement. We focus on movement with the breath, build strength and create flexibility. Yoga is a great way to learn to connect with your body, breath and mind and sharing the practise with friends makes it even more amazing!

Please sign up and pay for the term or per session via >Flexischools to secure a spot. Maximum numbers apply.

Please bring you own mat and a smile.

Alette Schot – Yogalet