From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

It was great to see the high participation rates and the positive spirit during the secondary athletics carnival on Tuesday. The House competition was fierce and individual performances were exceptional. Events such as this help bind our student community and provide opportunities to celebrate our talented sportsmen and women. We will award age champions and the House shield on Thursday at a special assembly. I know our primary students will be watching the weather carefully and hoping for a fine day on Thursday for their carnival – we will communicate with families via email on Wednesday afternoon.

The Year 11 Presentation Ball on Saturday evening was a glamorous event and I congratulate our students for the manner in which they approached the Ball and their enthusiasm on the evening. It was great to see the students co-ordinate their progressive dance and it was clear that everyone enjoyed the Father/Daughter – Mother/Son dance. By the end of the evening, students, parents and staff were dancing together to Brass RaZoo and the wonderful voices of Lily Farragher-Hoey and James Carraro. >Click here for some photos.

We received good staff and student feedback from both the Year 6 and Year 7 camps last week. >Click here to see some photos from these camps.

Over the last week, staff have been involved in a range of professional development opportunities. Mr Fielden attended a NSW wide Director of Studies Conference – focused on developments in curriculum from NESA and innovations in the Independent Sector. Mr Lee O’Brien spoke at this Conference about the Newcastle Grammar School STEM elective. All of our Science staff participated in a workshop with Science teachers from across the Hunter to help prepare for changing syllabi in this subject. A new Science extension course will be offered from 2019 for Year 12 and all senior syllabi – in Chemistry, Physics and Biology are changing. Some primary staff are attending an Inquiry Learning workshop this week. On Monday, I attended a meeting for Heads of Independent Schools where key issues such as the proposed changes to Government funding were discussed. Opportunities like this ensure we all continue to learn and are able to contribute purposefully to the current educational agenda.

Congratulations to:
Lorcan Redmond (Year 11) and Connor Henderson (Year 10) who won the 17 and 16 years AICES Cross Country Championship in their age group on Monday.

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

Goal Setting – Keeping it Real

Setting a goal is easy! Many of us set goals (and then go on to break them) every new year with our New Year’s Resolutions. In my last article, I discussed Mental Contrasting (Oettingen, 1996, 2015) and explained that, of the four ways we can think of wishes, goals or resolutions – Mental Contrasting, Indulging, Dwelling or Reverse Contrasting – only Mental Contrasting is an effective strategy that leads to expectancy dependent goals and improved self-regulation, the key to success.

Next week, I would like to take a closer look at Mental Contrasting and its integration with what Sevincer describes as Implementation Intentions (Sevincer, Kluge & Oettingen, 2014). First though, a little journey into the theory of goal setting.

While setting goals is relatively easy, realising them is not so. Given the resources such as time and willpower needed to bring goals to fruition, is there a definite benefit to us in setting them? Sonja Lyubomirsky (Lyubomirsky, 2008) identifies six wellbeing benefits of goal setting:

  1. We gain a sense of purpose and a feeling of control
  2. When efforts are rewarded with results, we improve self-esteem and satisfaction
  3. Goals add structure and interest to our daily lives. Tasks add variety and growth. We learn new skills and broaden our perspectives.
  4. Goals help us to strategize and prioritize our time.
  5. In times of crisis, goals keep us grounded and focused.
  6. Working on achieving our goals keeps us in contact with other people. We are more driven to collaboration and deepen our connections with others.


Snyder through his research has developed what he labels ‘Hope Theory’ (Snyder, Rand & Sigmon, 2002) in following through with goals. This theory is summarized by the phrase ‘You can get from Here to There”. “There” is the goal; the destination of your journey. He describes willpower as the fuel needed to provide the energy for the journey and ‘waypower’ as the map; the path to follow avoiding blockages and overcoming obstacles. He describes the need for goals to be clear. They should be:

  • Intrinsic, inherently valuable and satisfying
  • Activity oriented
  • Focused on improvement rather than performance
  • Flexible and appropriate.

These goals are more accessible to Incremental Theorists – those of us with a Growth Mindset that believe that the future can be changed and improved and are concerned with learning and expanding our abilities – than they are to Entity Theorists – those people with a belief that our intelligence and talents are attributes that are fixed and cannot be improved in the future, more concerned with demonstrating current abilities than learning new skills (Dweck, 2012).


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Director of Learning and Teaching
Mrs Lisa Peterson

Director of Learning and Teaching image

2017 NSW Da Vinci Decathlon

On the 23 and 24 May, our Year 7, 8 and 9 Da Vinci Decathlon teams travelled to Knox Grammar School to compete in the State Final. All three teams had progressed through to this level after winning their respective divisions in the Hunter Region Decathlon earlier this term.

This academic competition honours the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the world’s greatest thinkers and scholars; a man who embraced learning with a lifelong passion and determination to uncover the unknown. The Decathlon engages students in 10 challenges across 10 disciplines, requiring them to engage in complex problem solving, creative challenges and ideation in a collaborative environment.

Our Year 7 team, who won 8 of the 10 events at the Regional event, took out first place in the Creative Producers challenge at the State Final. This talented team went on to place 5th in the State. This is a remarkable achievement and a true testament to their focus and commitment.

Special thanks go to Ms Daintith, who worked with all teams in the lead up to the State Final and accompanied them on the day. We are truly grateful for your contribution.

The 2017 Da Vinci Decathlon teams were:
Year 7: Jasmine de Silva, Liam Wilson, Milan Umesh, Josephine Armstrong, Zahlee Owers, Eve Thomson, Lily Webster and Jay Roy

Year 8: Sabrina Mancini, Anishika Kendurkar, Lieke Schot, Adam Frendo, Jack Humphreys, Aidan Fay Downs, Olivia Lao and Zoe Roberts-Thomson

Year 9: Max Galettis, Jackson Boden, Jadon Routley, William Carraro, Nicholas Young, Olivia Martin, Indra Ventura and Sophie Franks.

From the Director of Pre-school
Ms Angela Tapp

From the Director of Pre-school image

The School Athletics Carnival is fast approaching and, as we always have quite a few siblings in attendance at Pre-school, we have our own Pre-school Athletics Carnival every year. This year it was held last Thursday, 2 June. The weather was on our side and we had a fabulous day. All the children participated in five events with a lot of enthusiasm and skill. The events were:

  1. Age Race (run down to the fence, touch it, turn around and run back again)
  2. Egg and spoon race (where all the children were successful and amazed at how well they kept their eggs (disguised musical egg shakers) on their spoons (blu tack works a treat)
  3. Long jump (a run up from the grass jumping in to the sandpit)
  4. Shot Put (using bean bags and throwing them as far as possible on the grassed area)
  5. Tunnel Ball (where the children were brilliant at rolling balls through each other’s legs and thought it was hilarious when their teachers demonstrated how to do it).

At the end of the events, each child was presented with a blue ribbon (because everyone is a winner at Pre-school) which they proudly took home. Their participation certificate has been placed in their portfolios along with photos. It was good fun. Congratulations everyone!

Unfortunately, Cooks Hill Fire Station called and are unable to accommodate us this Wednesday. So our scheduled Fire Station Excursion had been postponed from Wednesday, 7 June until Wednesday, 2 August.

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New School Psychologist

Newcastle Grammar School would like to extend a warm welcome to Mrs Natalie Mercer-Thomas who joins us from John Waring and Associates as part of our psychology team.  Natalie will be taking over from Amy Oswald who has taken a position in Sydney.

Natalie commenced her counselling training in 1997, volunteering at Lifeline until she graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2000.  Since then Natalie moved to Brisbane where she worked with the Kids Help Line working across all modalities for children and adolescents.  Natalie also joined the Parentline team providing crisis and ongoing counselling and becoming an accredited Triple P provider.

In 2004, Natalie moved back to Newcastle to pursue her provisional psychological training, working as a Group and Family worker with the Creative Times team, under the auspices of the Samaritans. In this role, she was able to develop and deliver early intervention and resilience building group interventions with children (aged 7-12) who were at risk of harm and from disadvantaged communities. 

Natalie registered as a Psychologist in 2008 and was fortunate to join John Waring and Associates.  Here Natalie has enjoyed providing psychological assessment and interventions for children. 

We look forward to Natalie joining our team where she will be working at Hill Campus each Tuesday and at Park Campus each Wednesday.

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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.

Canteen Duties

Unfortunately, Kaylene will be away for a while. This means we require reliable volunteer support to assist the Hill Campus Canteen.

If you can help, please contact the School Reception on 49 29 5811.


Hill Campus

Mon 12 June:

Tue 13 June:

Wed 14 June:
Amanda Folpp

Thu 15 June:
Monica Momanto

Fri 16 June:
Beth Winzer
Rachelle Krause

Park Campus

Mon 12 June:

Tue 13 June:
Tiffany Parkinson

Wed 14 June:
Ellen Shelley

Thu 15 June:

Fri 16 June:
Allison Elvish
Emily Macdonald

Uniform Shop

Uniform Shop opening hours:

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

If you require an appointment outside of these times or would like to place a phone order, please phone Kerrie at the uniform shop on 4908 4035.