From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

At the end of a busy term, I congratulate the NGS students on their endeavours and achievements. Term Two’s academic focus has been dominated by the examination and reporting period for Years 7 to 10; assessments for Years 11 and 12 and NAPLAN for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Students from Years 7 to 12 were presented with RISE awards at assembly on Monday and students from Years 7 to 10 who had outstanding effort and achievement grades at the end of Semester One, were awarded Honours certificates. Our K-4 students will present their work to parents at the Park Exhibition of Learning evening on Thursday and K-6 reports will be emailed home at the end of this week. Year 7 students experience their first parent teacher night on Thursday and we certainly encourage students to attend and be part of these conversations.

Two key events from last week, the Lantern Festival at Park Campus and the Showcase Music Concert at the Newcastle Conservatorium on Sunday both highlighted the energy and the enjoyment our students gain from our holistic educational programme. The excitement on the faces of our youngest students who proudly displayed their lanterns and sang for the packed Sandi Warren Performance Centre was evident. The skill of our older musicians and the opportunities the music programme is giving to them was also on display. Well done to everyone involved and a special mention to the staff who give so much time and energy. >Click here to see some photos of these events.

This week, several students attended a Commemorative Service in Christ Church Cathedral to recognise the SY Aurora. One of the Aurora’s missions was to set up supplies for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s trans Antarctic expedition – a trip that nearly ended in disaster when in 1915 the ship became trapped in ice for close to one year. The Aurora escaped the ice but was last seen in 1917 when she departed Newcastle bound for Chile. The Year 11 students who attended this service on Tuesday have a very special opportunity later in the year – they are part of a group who will fly to Antarctica for a day – engaging in a science programme while in the air and seeing this magnificent part of the world.

I wish all our families and the NGS staff a relaxing and safe mid-year holiday and I look forward to seeing everyone at the start of Term 3 on Monday, 17 July.

Staff News

Mr Michael Dwyer – Economics and Social Science teacher has retired this week after 31 years of service to the School. Thank you, Michael, for your contribution to many students and the teaching of Economics over the years.

Father Paul West has left NGS to take up a position as Rector of St Mary’s Maitland Anglican Parish. We wish Paul well as he takes on this role within the Church and thank him for his service as the School Chaplain since 2016.

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

WOOP! Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions

In my last few newsletter articles, I have looked at the theory behind goal setting. I have discussed Oettengin’s ‘Fantasy Realisation Theory’ (Oettingen, 1996, 2015) and the four modes people may use when thinking about an important wish:
1. Mental Contrasting – Elaborate first on the desired future associated with achieving a wish followed by present reality that stands in the way of achieving it. “I’d like to improve my grades for maths on my next report, but right now I’m not putting in the time or effort needed.”

2. Indulging – elaborate on the desired future only – “It would be so great if I could get a B+ for maths.”

3. Dwelling – Elaborate on present reality only – “my maths results are lousy!”

4. Reverse Contrasting – Elaborate on reality first, followed by future – “my maths results are lousy. I wish I could improve.”

This week I’d like to look at the only one of the four modes described that is an effective self-regulatory strategy that leads to the pursuit of goals for which there is a high expectation of success, and that is reverse contrasting.

Following on from last week’s discussion of Incremental (Growth Mindset) vs Entity (Fixed Mindset) theorists, research findings indicate that incremental theorists take the future more than the reality as the starting point for mentally elaborating potential goal pursuits (Blackwell, Trzesniewski & Dweck, 2007). This supports the development of self-regulatory dispositions (Oettingen, 2015). Taking the future as the starting point for elaborating wishes provides those of us with a Growth Mindset the opportunity for behaviour change. Mental contrasting improves responses to setbacks and negative feedback – and is available only to Incremental Theorists; to be avoided at all costs by Entity Theorists (Dweck, 2012; Yeager & Dweck, 2012).

MCII – Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions:

In goal setting, Implementation Intentions can be thought of as if… then… plans (Gollwitzer, 1999). These implementation intentions can be combined with mental contrasting to form a goal setting structure that maximises the opportunity for successful realisation of feasible goals.

Mental contrasting converts thoughts about desired and feasible futures into strong goals.

Implementation intentions then link obstacles to specific actions to overcome them.

MCII has been shown to increase self-regulation and academic outcomes in students from Year 5 through to Year 12 (Duckworth, Kirby, Gollwitzer & Oettingen, 2013). While the evidence base is yet to be formalised for students younger than Year 5, there is no reason to believe this process is not effective in developing their self-regulation.

At a recent staff professional development session, Mentor Teachers from Years 5 to 12 were introduced to MCII through the acronym, WOOP (Oettingen, 2015). It is this process that will be followed by our mentor teachers as they work with their students to reflect upon their current academic standing following the Half Yearly reports and look to setting their academic goals for the remainder of the year. While being evidence-based and proven to be highly effective, WOOP’s beauty is in its simplicity and accessibility. Mentor teachers will lead their students through WOOP sessions, following the process outlined below:

  • W – Wish. Looking to the future, what is a challenging but feasible wish or goal you would like to achieve? This might be next week or next month. It doesn’t need to be in the distant future. Think carefully about this future wish and be very clear. Write this wish down in three to six words.
  • O – Outcome. Imagine the best thing, the best possible outcome from achieving this wish. Picture this outcome in your mind. Spend a couple of minutes getting a clear picture in your mind of this outcome. Write down this outcome in three to six words.
  • O – Obstacle. Sometimes things don’t work out as we would like. What is the main obstacle that stands in the way of you fulfilling your wish? What is that that holds you back?
  • P – Plan. Make an if … then … If (obstacle) then (action)

Students will be encouraged to revisit their WOOPs regularly, if necessary making adjustments, until they are able to savour the outcome.

And of course, “there’s an APP for that!”. Oettingen has developed WOOP apps available free from Google play or the App Store.

For those familiar with SMART goals, WOOP goals, to be effective, have the same characteristics, that is they are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achieveable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

In summary, WOOP is an evidence-based goal setting protocol that enhances self-regulation, is easily implemented and enables students (and others) with a Growth Mindset to set feasible yet challenging goals with a high expectation of success. Why not give it a try?


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From the Director of Learning and Teaching
Mrs Lisa Peterson

From the Director of Learning and Teaching image

Year 12 Holiday Workshops

During the holidays, we will be hosting a number of workshops for Year 12 students. The workshops are designed to assist students prepare for their Trial HSC Examinations in Week 4 of Term 3. Students are also reminded that the Parnell Library is open from 9.00am – 3.00pm every weekday during the holidays.

26 June: Design and Technology: 9.00am – 3.00pm

27 June: Extension 2 English: 9.00am – 12.00pm

27 June: Visual Arts: 9.00am – 3.00pm

27 June: Extension History: 10.30am – 12.30pm

27 June: Hospitality: 9.30am – 11.30am

28 June: PDHPE: 9.00am – 12.00pm

28 June: IPT: 1.00pm – 3.00pm

30 June: Visual Arts: 9.00am – 3.00pm

4 July: Modern History: 10.30am – 12.30pm

5 July: PDHPE: 9.00am – 12.00pm

7 July: Drama: 9.00am – 3.00pm

10 July: Japanese: 1.00pm – 3.00pm

12 July: PDHPE: 9.00am – 12.00pm

12 July: Ancient History: 9.00am – 3.00pm

13 July: French @ University of Newcastle

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From the Head of Primary
Mrs Alicha Dyer

From the Head of Primary image

I wish all our Primary families a peaceful holiday break. Our students have had a mighty term and extended themselves in many different areas. Enjoy looking through the Work Sample Folders and reflecting on your child’s School Report, which will be emailed home this week. Rest and rejuvenation is needed within the itinerary plans for the holidays so that we can all come back firing again next term. I hope that it will be a safe and enjoyable family time for all.

HRIS Public Speaking Competition

Last Wednesday, our Primary Public Speaking Team travelled to St Philip’s Cessnock for the HRIS Public Speaking Competition. Crowds were treated to captivating poems and speeches on a wide variety of interesting subjects. It was wonderful to see Newcastle Grammar School students embrace the experience against some of the most engaging speakers in the region, with some of our students taking home medals on the day.

Congratulations to all students who competed and represented NGS  with such integrity, and thank you to all students who tried out for the competition. Ms Bibby and I enjoyed being enthralled and entertained and we’re looking forward to next year!

Congratulations to the following students:

Isabella Ida – Year 6 Poetry Section – 1st Place
Pierra Singh – Year 6 Prepared Speech Section – Highly Commended

Thomas McGrath – Year 5 Poetry Section – 1st Place
Ambrose Raftos – Year 5 Prepared Speech Section – 3rd Place

Jasper Lance – Year 4 Prepared Speech Section – Highly Commended
Adelaide Binnie – Year 4 Poetry

Gabriella Waerea – Year 3 Prepared Speech – 3rd Place
Bronte Feros – Year 3 Poetry

Lantern Festival

There was a buzz in the air around Park Campus on Friday. The Hall was filled with stunning lights and lanterns made by the children in Kindergarten to Year 4. Every single lantern was different and in the fading light we could see how enchanting the Hall was looking. Staff buzzed about decorating and helping with the lights. Parents assisted with the soup and drink set up. The singing presented by the K – 4 students was absolutely outstanding. We had children of 6 and 7 years of age singing rounds in 3 parts. So enriching! Their brains will never be the same again.

The second part of the evening comprised of 4 polished performances presented by the String Ensemble, Bamboozle, Guitar Ensemble and Grammarphones. This was an excellent performance opportunity for these students and marvellous for so many of the younger children to see the older children making music. Our lanterns and music reminded us that just being together as a School community to cherish such a special moment is the very spirit of being human.

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From the Director of Pre-school
Ms Angela Tapp

From the Director of Pre-school image

We cannot believe we have reached the end of Term 2 and we are looking forward to finishing it off with our Teddy Bears’ Picnic on Friday.

We have often written in these newsletters how much the children are learning, contributing and participating in our programme with lots of inquiry based learning taking place every day. However, at a recent staff meeting we realised that it is not just the children that are learning and inquiring – sometimes it is the children who are educating the staff.

This Term, one of the Shaker children introduced us to a “mosasaurus” – he actually made a lego construction of a “mosasaurus submarine”. As the Shaker teachers were unfamiliar with mosasauruses, we spent some time googling them to learn more. We found out that Mosasauruses are extinct carnivorous aquatic lizards. They existed during the Maastrichtian age of the late Cretaceous period, between about 70 and 66 million years ago, in western Europe and North America. The name means “Meuse lizard”, as the first specimen was found near the Meuse River (Latin Mosa + Greek sauros lizard).

The other animals we have learnt about are pangolins – the only mammals in the world covered by scales. The scales are made of keratine, account for 20% of the pangolin’s weight and are one of the reasons pangolins are the most trafficked animals on earth. This is because the scales are used in traditional Chinese medicines and has led to a number of organisations raising money to save them from extinction. Another weird fact about pangolins is that their tongues can be longer than their bodies and are used to collect insects (up to 70 million a year!)

So, as you can see as well as the benefit of spending time with this beautiful group of children, we are also contributing, participating and learning alongside them.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy break. We look forward to seeing you all in Term 3.

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Chess News
Ms Sue Bright

Chess at Hill Campus

Congratulations to our Secondary Team who won their Round 3 Match last week in the NSW Junior Chess League State Knockout Competition.  Our Team defeated Belmont Christian College 3-1 to progress to the next round.  It was a very competitive but friendly match.  Our Team is Harry Pratt (Year 12), Jett Robinson (Year 8), Tors Webster and Susanna Behne-Smith (Year 9).

Our School Competition is up to the final playoffs stage.  This is the strongest year we have had as far as strength and enthusiasm of players across all Years 5 – 12.  We will have our Year division Champions decided by the end of this week.  These Year Champions will play off early next term for Year 5-8 Champion, Year 9-12 Champion, then overall School Champion.

Students playing in our School Chess Competition

School Knockout Team

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From the Director of Sport
Mr Leigh Carroll

From the Director of Sport image

NGS Secondary Athletics Carnival

At the Secondary Athletics carnival, a number of individual records were broken. Congratulations to the following students who established new records:

Lorcan Redmond: 17 Years 800m in a time of 2.07.44m (old record 2.08.38)

Sabrina Kliousis: 17 Years Javelin with a throw of 31.10m (old record 26.62m), 17 Years Discus with a throw of 27.92m (old record 25.22m)

Jacqueline Melvelle: 16 Years 100m in a time of 13.19s (old record 13.60s)

Skye Simpson: 14 Years 400m in a time of 1.07.15m (old record 1.10.50m)

Josephine Armstrong: 12 Years Discus with a throw of 19.25m (old record 18.82m)

Also, with a number of new events this year, congratulations to the following students who established new records:

James Myles: 17 Years, established a new record of 6.54.91 in the 1500m

Caitlin Spencer: 16 Years, established a new record of 5.54.94m in the 1500m.

Elizabeth Carter: 15 Years, established a new record of 5.36.59m in the 1500m

Henry Knights: 15 Years, established a new record of 5.17.00 in the 1500m

Scott Philpotts: 13 Years, established a new record of in the 1500m

Jordan Muddle: 12 Years, established a new record of 9.19.67 in the 1500m

Cameron Carson: 12 Years, established a new record of 5.38.72 in the 1500m

A team will now be selected to represent NGS at the HRIS Division 1 Athletics Championships to be held early on Monday, 24 July (Term 3, Week 2) at Glendale.

That team will be published on Schoolbox this week.

NSWCIS Secondary Cross Country

Following the success of our NGS Cross Country runners at both the HRIS and AICES Championships, 8 students were subsequently selected in the AICES team which contested the NSWCIS Championships which were held at Eastern Creek last Thursday, 15 May.

Those students were:

Lorcan Redmond (17 Years), who was the 2017 NSWCIS 17 Years Champion.

Connor Henderson (16 Years), who was the 2017 NSWCIS 16 Years Silver Medallist.

Corbyn Holmberg (16 Years), who finished 19th in the 16 Years event.

Ellie Carter (15 Years), who finished 25th in the 15 Years event.

…and our 12 Years boys’ team who won the HRIS Championship Schools 12 Years competition, then went on to win the AICES 12 Years competition and had the honour of competing as an NGS team at CIS. Those team members were:

Edward Hunt, who finished 13th in the 12 Years event
Cameron Carson, who finished 23rd in the 12 Years event.
Dylan Danuser who finished 40th in the 12 Years event, and
Alistair Paterson-Clark, who finished 46th in the 12 Years event.

Congratulations to all 8 students on their excellent performances in Cross Country this season.

A special congratulations to both Lorcan and Connor who will now represent NSWCIS at the NSW All Schools Cross Country to be held at Eastern Creek on Friday, 21 July (Term 3, Week 1)

Lorcan Redmond – CIS 17 Years Gold Medallist

Connor Henderson – 16 Years Silver Medallist on the podium 

NSWCIS Primary Cross Country

On Thursday, 15 June NGS had 6 children contest the CIS Cross Country Championships. All six students did a remarkable job in wet and slippery conditions.

The overall results were as follows:

Ella Beattie: 10 Years Girls 2km 51st place with a time of 9.18

Hunter Rowntree: 11 Years Girls 3km 25th place with a time of 15.04

Thomas McGrath: 11 Years Boys 3km 27th place with a time of 13.28

Miecha Blamey: 12 Years Girls 3km 46th place with a time of 15.12

Lillian Miller: 12 Years Girls 3km 49th place with a time of 15.17

Alexander Macdougall: 12 Years Boys 3km 14th place with a time of 12.51

Congratulations to everyone and keep up the great training for next year.

NGS Primary Athletics Carnival

Just a reminder that the NGS Primary Athletics Championship will be held on 17 July which is the first day of Term 3, at Hunter Sports Centre, Glendale.

The first event will commence no later than 9.30am with the final event occurring in time for buses to depart Glendale at 2.20pm to return all students to school for normal home time.

The House Cheers will occur around 1.00pm.

We look forward to seeing the parents coming along and supporting the students on the day.


Please note that Round 10 is on Saturday, 24 June which is also the first Saturday of our mid-year holiday.

Please, if you are going to be away on that day you must let your coach know this week so that they can be certain of who is and who isn’t playing on that day.

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Vietnam Project

My Huong runs the school and orphanage we support in Vietnam. She is in Australia with her two children for a visit and we look forward to welcoming her to NGS and hearing her remarkable story.

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The Blog
From the Head of School

Vacation Care

Booking and payment for Vacation Care has now been streamlined and is available on the School’s Flexischools page. No bookings will be available on the day to ensure that the School is able to fulfil service compliance requirements. Wednesdays are excursion days at Vacation Care. As a result excursion entry prices have been added to the daily care rate, with no more to pay. Unfortunately on these days full day care is only available due to excursion logistics. Any queries regarding the changes, please contact either the OOSH team via Park Campus or the School’s Business office.

Presentation Ball Photos

The Presentation Ball Photos are now online and available for purchase from Newcastle School Portraits. Click on the blue ‘Specialty Photos’ button and use the code: 187905BK to access the images.

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.


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.