From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

Over recent weeks we have welcomed students from different parts of the world to NGS. Our students have been lucky enough to meet other students from China, France, Germany and Canada – all here on short stays during their summer vacation. Helping our students to think globally and understand different cultures is an important part of education. Listening to our exchange students’ stories in classes or assemblies has been an enriching experience for our community. As you can see from the short film created by Year 2 – even some of our youngest students are embracing these experiences.  >Click here to see the Year 2 Global connections presentation. To assist our French language programme, we have formed an exchange partnership with Lycee Victor et Helene Basch in Rennes, France. Ideally students who would be interested in this exchange in the future would host a French student at this time of the year and return to France in the December/January holidays. Year 10 is the ideal age and we are looking to create connections in other parts of the world both to support our different language programmes and provide wide opportunities for our students.

Year 12 have begun their Trial Examinations well. These exams continue into next week. At the same time, the HSC examinations in languages begin. Several examinations that have practical or oral/aural components occur well in advance of the HSC written papers and therefore it is a busy time for those studying languages, drama and music.

Years 3 and 4 are preparing for camp next week. What an exciting time for these students – as they think about the adventures they will experience and life away from home for two or three nights.

On Sunday and Monday, we welcome Heads of Independent Schools from NSW for a dinner and meeting in Newcastle. The Heads meet once per term to look at current issues relevant to the Independent sector and NGS is delighted to be able to host this group.

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

There is an ‘S’ tile on the Scrabble board and your tiles are H, I, U, L, F, O and R. Can you find an 8-letter anagram using the 8 Scrabble tiles?

Learned Helplessness and Explanatory Style.

In 1964, Martin Seligman, who has gone on to be one of the founders of the relatively recently formed forward-looking branch of psychological science known as Positive Psychology, as a young research psychologist, discovered a phenomenon he described as “Learned Helplessness” (Rosellini & Seligman, 1975; Seligman & Maier, 1967). Along with his colleague, Steven Maier, their initial experimental research involved work with laboratory animals. Fifty years later they have replicated their findings from their original research with human participants, utilizing recent advances in neuroscience, with Maier identifying the neural circuitry involved (Maier & Seligman, 2016).

In one of numerous experiments, this one inviting College students to be the participants, Seligman provided one experimental group of subjects with a series of anagrams with no solutions, a second experimental group with a mix of solvable and unsolvable anagrams, and a third control group with anagrams, all of which had solutions. In time, in a second round of experiments, the group initially given only unsolvable anagrams, were not able to solve any anagrams, even those  with solutions – “what’s the point trying – I can’t solve these” being a typical response. Both the second experimental group and the control group could solve the anagrams in the second round. The first group exhibited what Seligman and his associates described as “Learned Helplessness”.

In short, through this research spanning fifty years, Seligman postulates that, when faced with adverse events over which we can impose some control, we can recover from the adversity. The presence of control leads to the inhibition of threat-induced changes, that is the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ responses generated in the amygdala and limbic nervous systems.

Where we are unable to exert control, and overcome the adversity, some people will universalize this inability and give up any chance of future success. He reasons that it is not trauma that produces helplessness, but rather what is perceived to be inescapable trauma. When adversity happens and nothing they do matters, subjects give up and become passive.

Subjects who attribute their helplessness to temporary causes would not show helplessness at a later time in a similar situation. If they attributed helplessness to pervasive factors, for example, “none of these problems has a solution”, they would show passivity across many situations. On the other hand, if they attributed helplessness to a local rather than pervasive factor – “this problem has no solution” – they would only show helplessness in the original situation.

Of significance is the finding that subjects with an optimistic outlook did not become helpless, while pessimism was found to be a major risk factor for helplessness. The good news is that this optimistic outlook that supports the development of resilience, the ability to bounce back from adversity, can be taught. This is what Seligman refers to as an Optimistic Explanatory Style which I will look at more closely in my next article, and which helps lead our young people along the path to FLOURISH – the solution to the Scrabble anagram at the start of this article.



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From the Director of Operations
Mr Duncan McKensey

From the Director of Operations image

As of Monday, 14 August the following changes will occur to the Toronto (morning) Bus Service;
– the entire schedule has been brought forward 7 minutes commencing at the new time of 7.21am
– the service will stop at Hill Campus at 8.11am and then Park Campus at 8.18am.

Please see the new schedule below;|
Toronto Shops: 7.21am
Booragul Roundabout: 7.30am
Warners Bay Shops:7.38am
Mt Hutton Shops: 7.43am
Blackbutt Reserve (Top Carpark): 7.50am
Lookout Rd (Near JHH): 7.54am
New Lambton Shops: 7.59am
Hill Campus: 8.11am
Park Campus: 8.18am

These changes only apply to the morning service, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concern.

From the Head of Primary
Mrs Alicha Dyer

From the Head of Primary image

As part of Year One’s unit of inquiry in Science, they explored Blackbutt Reserve to learn about the animals and their habitats. They spent time with the Blackbutt Rangers sorting photographs of animals based on whether they live in wet or dry environments, patted a python and frilled neck lizard, and worked collaboratively to create suitable enclosures for many native animals to provide sources of food, shelter and water. The students thoroughly enjoyed viewing and walking past many of the animals with endless comments and questions. Of particular interest was the very ‘inactive’ emu laying on the ground. Great excitement was shared when the emu rose to reveal four very large green eggs in a nest.

Here are some of the students’ reflections of what they learnt:

Snakes smell with their tongues – Sarah & Oliver
Tortoises are land animals and turtles swim in the water – Elliana
The boy peacocks are more beautiful than the girls – Isabella
Daddy emus sit on the nest to keep the eggs warm – Bailey
That animals need protection and camouflage to stay safe – Charlie
Some animals live in wet places and some live in dry places – Yao Yao (Oscar)
I learned that an emu makes a drum sound – Olivia
When an animal is next to people and the people shout, the animal runs away – Zach

From the Director of Pre-school
Ms Angela Tapp

From the Director of Pre-school image

On Monday, 24 July, we had a fabulous day at Pre-school. It was another favourite day on the term calendar…. ‘Pancake Day’.  It was just like Junior Master Chef! The children not only looked the part in colourful aprons and chef hats but they all helped measure and mix the self-raising flour, milk, sugar, vanilla essence, bi-carb soda and white vinegar. We used an ‘egg free’ recipe and this led to a fabulous discussion about allergies and anaphylaxis which the children responded to beautifully – an opportunistic discussion to take place before ‘big school’ next year.  The pancakes were delicious and the children enjoyed devouring the end result with big smiles and then finished the day with more cooking – this time in the sandpit (between showers of rain).

Making pancakes is actually a terrific learning experience involving science, maths, safety, sharing, taking turns, patience and persistence. To relate this back to the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)…. the experience demonstrated that the children were open to new challenges and discoveries; co-operated and worked collaboratively with others; recognised their individual achievements and the achievements of others; persisted when faced with challenges and when first attempts were not successful (EYLF outcomes 1.2); celebrated and shared their contributions and achievements with others (EYLF outcome 1.3); showed interest in other children and being part of a group;  and engaged in, and contributed to, shared play experiences (EYLF outcomes 1.4) – just to name a few.

Photo forms are being distributed this week to all children. Photos will take place on Tuesday, 22 August and Friday, 25 August. Please ensure you order your photos on-line. Family packages must be ordered by Monday, 21 August (9.00pm).


From the Coordinator of Library Services
Ms Sue Bright

From the Coordinator of Library Services image

James Phelan Author Visit

Last week our students in Years 6 – 9 were privileged to hear author James Phelan talk and conduct writing workshops. Some of their comments include:

Year 6:
“He was very funny and very nice.  It was amazing to hear how he came to be an author. I liked how he talked about authors being “old dudes”. Overall James was inspiring and great.”

”To me he demonstrated perseverance and determination to follow his dreams. He really helped me to see how long it takes to make your dreams come true.”

“His talk has inspired me to be an author and illustrator.”

When James was five, he originally wanted to open a juice empire, but after his parents ‘squashed his dreams’ he realised that he wanted to be an author.”

“He told us to follow our dreams.”

“James told us about his childhood, when he decided to become an author and some writing tips and tricks. He also told us about the process of writing, editing and publishing a book. We heard many funny stories from James’ childhood (especially about his brother Sam), and he let us in on how he names the characters in his books.”

“Overall his talk was very amusing and engaging, and he had a very nice story.”

Year 8:
“James Phelan’s work is creative. Even if you are not an aspiring writer you would have enjoyed his comedy and open mind.”

Year 9:
“James’s presentation was entertaining and enjoyable.”

“James was a high energy speaker with a lot of great ideas and hints on writing, which he delivered in a humorous way.”

“I participated in his workshop which helped me to see new ways to write and create.  All in all, James Phelan is an amazing author, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”

When James was signing autographs, he wrote on each one “DREAM BIG”.


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Chess News
Ms Sue Bright

Chess – High School Knockout Competition 

Last week, our High School Team played Merewether High School in the Regional Semi-final of the NSW Junior Chess League State Knockout Competition.  All matches were extremely close, but Merewether High were eventual winners of the match.  This result puts our team into the ‘second placed draw’, where we will play Wingham High School in Round 5.

Our team for this match was: Harry Pratt (Year 12), Jett Robinson (Year 8), Tors Webster and Max Galettis (Year 9).

I wish to congratulate all our players on their commitment, sportsmanship and very high standard of play.

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Tournament of Minds - Hunter Region Final
Mrs Simone Muddle

On Sunday, 27 August, Newcastle Grammar School will again host the Hunter Region Final of Tournament of Minds. This year, we are expecting over 420 participants from all three sectors of Education to descend on NGS with the aim of presenting creative solutions to prepared challenges. This year there are 62 teams – 42 Primary and 20 secondary teams, from 31 different schools throughout the Hunter, stretching as far as the Central Coast and Scone.

Teams will be presenting throughout the day in Horbury Hunt Hall and the Holland Building. Spectators are most welcome.

For further information on what ToM is about >Click here

From the Director of Sport
Mr Leigh Carroll

From the Director of Sport image

AICES Athletics Championships

The following students have been selected in the 2017 HRIS team to compete at the AICES Championships, to be held on Wednesday, 30 August (not Thursday, 31 August as indicated in last week’s Newsletter) at Homebush:
Josephine Armstrong: 12 Years Girls Shot Put
Cameron Carson: 12 Years 400m, 12 Years 800m, 12 Years 1500m
Jacqueline Melvelle: 15 Years Javelin
Dane Brouwer: 16 Years Javelin
Connor Henderson: 16 Years 400m, 16 Years 800m, 16 Years 1500m
Corbyn Holmberg: 16 Years 1500m, 15-16 Years 3000m
Sabrina Kliousis: 17 Years Javelin, 17 Years 100m, 17 Years Discus
James Myles: 17 Years 1500m
Caitlin Spencer: 17 Years 400m, 17 years 800m, 17 Years 1500m
Bridie Bland: 18 Years Discus, 18 Years Javelin
Seraina Danuser: 18 Years 800m, 18 Years 1500m
Marshall Unie: 18 Years Shot Put

Information sheets will be distributed shortly and transport will be organised for team members.


Firstly, a huge thanks to all of those parents who were able to assist in the Parkway canteen on Saturday morning. This is not an arduous task, but it does mean those parents miss watching their daughters play for at least half of a game whilst they serve the masses! Your efforts were very much appreciated.

This Saturday, 12 August, sees a very mixed day for NGS netball teams. Four of our teams have now completed their 2017 season. Three teams continue with their remaining games of the regular season. Two teams have this weekend off until they play their Major Semi-Finals on 19 August. Two teams play their Minor Semi-Finals.

Once again, on behalf of the School I would like to wish all of our teams every success this weekend. Our standings and game details, after Round 14 are:

NGS 1: Under 21/2 Finished regular season in 3rd place. Play the MINOR Semi-Final (3rd v 4th) on 12 August v Souths Walnut at 1.15pm on court 3.
NGS 2: Cadet C Season completed. Finished season in 5th position.
NGS 3: Cadet C Finished regular season in 2nd place. Play the MAJOR Semi-Final (1st v 2nd) on 19 August v Cardiff  Hepkatz at 1.15pm on court 3.
NGS 4: 14/1 Currently in 3rd place. Play their final game of the regular season on 12 August v Souths Amethyst at 12 noon on court 6.
NGS 5: 13/3 Finished regular season in 2nd place. Play the MAJOR Semi-Final (1st v 2nd) on 19 August v South Wallsend Legends at 10.45am on court 7.
NGS 6: 12/2 Season completed. Finished season in 7th position.
NGS 7: 12/3 Season completed. Finished season in 6th position (on goal difference!).
NGS 8: 11/4 Season completed. Finished season in 5th position.
NGS 9: 10/3 Finished regular season in 3rd place. Play the MINOR Semi-Final (3rd v 4th) on 12 August v Nova Fireflies at 9.30am on court 15.
NGS 10: 8/Brown Non point-scored ‘competition’. 2 games remaining. No semi-final series in this age group. Play Kotara Tiger Tots on 12 August at 8.30am on court 23.
NGS 11:7/Brown Non point-scored ‘competition’. 2 games remaining. No semi-final series in this age group. Play Souths Peridot on 12 August on court 15


Please note that as per notification on Schoolbox, there are no tennis competition games this weekend (12 August) due to a tournament being conducted at the courts. Training on Wednesday afternoon will proceed as usual.


Although the majority of NGS athletes have finished their commitments this season, there are still a few who are looking ahead to representing HRIS at both AICES (Secondary) and CIS (Primary). The note below from Scott Westcott, former Olympian and Manager of the Fearnley Dawes Athletics Centre has sent in the following information for students wishing to train under qualified coaches in the lead-up to their next event or, indeed, to start preparing for 2018!

We have kicked off a coaching program at the Fernley Dawes Athletic Centre this week with a focus on preparing students for school representative carnivals. The sessions will all be conducted by Athletics Australia Accredited coaches. The details of the sessions are below. (We request parents bring the kids and stay to observe their kids during the session.)

Mondays 4.15pm – Kids Sprint Sessions
For primary and junior high school kids wanting to get faster focusing on speed and athleticism. Sprint group will begin Monday,7 August and run for 7 weeks.
Wednesdays 4.15pm – Kids Jumps Sessions
Doing high or long jump at carnivals? Get better with some technical coaching by an accredited coach. Begins Wednesday, 9 August, runs for 7 weeks.
Wednesdays 4.30pm – Kids distance training 
This group is for kids wanting to improve their speed and endurance. it will target primary and junior high school students and help for school representative carnivals. Begins on Wednesday, 9 August and runs for 7 weeks.

For more information and to register please go to

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Headlice Notification

There have been several outbreaks of Headlice within the School over the last few weeks.

Could all families please check their child/ren’s hair on a regular basis and treat as necessary.

Canteen Duties

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


Hill Campus

Mon 14 August:

Tue 15 August:

Wed 16 August:
Rebecca Webster

Thu 17 August:
Indra Deamer

Fri 18 August:
Liz Wright

Park Campus

Mon 14 August:

Tue 15 August:
Robyn Kenna

Wed 16 August:
Year 4 Camp

Thu 17 August:
Year 3 & 4 Camp

Fri 18 August:
Year 3 & 4 Camp
Lesley Filby

Hill Campus Canteen Specials

Exciting news from the canteen. We have some house-made specials in the canteen this Term.

This Thursday, we have roasted capsicum and sweet potato frittata with tossed salad

Next week’s specials:
Tuesday: chicken tandoori wrap w baby spinach and tzatziki or antipasto toasted wrap with roasted capsicum, grilled eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, baby spinach and feta

Wednesday: Butter Chicken, rice and naan bread

Thursday – spinach and ricotta frittata w tossed salad.

Soup of the week – Chicken noodle soup

Please order on flexischools and see our special Wednesday lunch deals.

Uniform Shop

Summer Uniform Changeover Date
The wearing of Summer Uniform will commence Day 1, Term 4: Monday, 9 October.

All students are required to wear full Summer Uniform from this date onwards.

Uniform Shop opening hours

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

If you would like to place an order via phone or email, please phone Kerrie at the uniform shop on 4908 4035 or


Please remember to advise the School if there are any changes to your family details/address/ emergency contacts/ email addresses and phone numbers or your child’s medical needs so that our database can be maintained with correct and up to date information.   A form is available on the website under Parents/Forms, Update of Information or via email to