From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

Last night we held our first HSC Showcase. Our vision was to bring as many creative and practical courses together on one night to highlight to the community the wide range of works and the skill and application of our current Year 12 cohort. On display were works from the following courses:  English Extension 2; History Extension; Drama; Design and Technology; Visual Arts, and Music. The work our students complete for the HSC is often complex, involves hours of preparation and is at times, a very personal journey. Congratulations Year 12 on an excellent display of your work. I certainly hope this Exhibition will grow in the future.

Congratulations to the girls who played in the Newcastle Netball Association Grand Finals on Saturday. Runners Up were our Under 10 and Under 13 teams. Well done to the Year 10 students in NGS 3 who won their Cadet division: Jessica Barnett; Elizabeth Bruce-Scott; Abbey Cameron; Tyla Casey-Knight; Sophia Drinkwater; Alexandra Earp; Mahlee Harney; Anna Jordinson; Abby Morrin and Emily Prickett.  Good luck to the following Primary students who are competing at CIS Athletics next week at Homebush: Mary Dundas-Sharrad; Elyshia Lodge; Hunter Rowntree and Kalen Routley.

Year 11 finish their examinations today. The students then spend the last weeks of term completing their Year 11 courses and considering any subject changes for Year 12. We strongly advise all students to retain 11 or 12 Units for the HSC. The next Year 11 Parent Teacher evening is on 12 October in the first week of Term 4. This is a chance for students and parents to clarify subjects with their teachers. In addition, Year 11 parents are invited to hear from the team at Elevate at 6.00pm on Thursday, 19 October. Elevate specialise in Study Skills and will tailor the session towards studying for the HSC.

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

The Glass Half Full.

I might describe the glass as being half full, while others might describe it as being half empty. Alternatively, my eldest son, an engineer, would describe the glass as being twice as big as it need be.

These three perspectives of the same reality traditionally illustrate the context of the optimist, the pessimist and the realist. Interestingly, as I described in my article on the Optimism Bias reflecting the research of neuroscientist Tali Sharot, , realists tend to have more of an optimistic than pessimistic outlook (Sharot, 2011).

I also described recently, Explanatory Style and the difference between Optimistic and Pessimistic Explanatory Styles,  , a concept I will re-visit in time. Development of an Optimistic Explanatory Style is one of our objectives through the Positive Education programme we are continuing to develop here at NGS, as this style has been shown to build resilience (K. Reivich, Gillham, Chaplin, & Seligman, 2013; K. J. Reivich, 2010) and overcome adversity.

While recognising the dangers of unrealistic optimism which leads people to ignore potential catastrophe, realistic optimism is more likely to lead to positive outcomes than is a pessimistic outlook. A realistic optimist might employ the motto ‘expect the best; prepare for the worst’.

Optimists can be simply defined as people who expect good things to happen to them while pessimists expect negative outcomes. These two groups differ in how they confront problems, how well they cope with adversity and the level of both their social and socio-economic resources (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010).

Optimism is inversely related to helplessness, a risk factor for depression; it leads to greater resilience and correlates with protective factors for both physical and mental health including social integration and economic security (Carver et al., 2010). An optimistic outlook impacts on expectancy, building confidence that a goal can be achieved, leading to perseverance in the face of adversity. When confronting adversity and the complications of life, people experience a gamut of emotions ranging from the optimist’s enthusiasm and eagerness to confront and overcome a challenge; to embrace the struggle, to the more pessimistic emotions of anger, anxiety and depression where Optimism’s heritability has been estimated at around twenty five percent and it is a changeable character trait. Other predictors of an individual’s optimism include parental warmth and financial security. While dispositional optimism is a relatively stable trait in post-adolescence, there is evidence that interventions can improve dispositional optimism, again pointing to the benefits of encouraging an optimistic explanatory style amongst our students.


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From the Head of Primary
Mrs Alicha Dyer

From the Head of Primary image

The Five Essential Components of Reading

Reading with children and helping them practice specific reading components can dramatically improve their ability to read. Scientific research shows that there are five essential components of reading that children must be taught in order to learn to read. Parents can help children learn to be good readers by practicing these five components:

  1. Phonemic Awareness: Is the ability to recognise and use individual sounds to create words. Children need to be able to hear sounds in words and that words are made up of the smallest parts of sound, or phonemes. I can hear 5 sounds in stamp, it rhymes with damp, has 5 letters and one syllable. The final sound is /p/. This is one of the best predictors of reading success.
  2. Phonics: Understanding the relationships between written letters and spoken sounds. Knowing the relationships between letters and sounds helps children to recognise familiar words accurately and automatically, and “sound out” new words. This should be done with little effort and requires lots of practice.
  3. Fluency: Developing the ability to read a book accurately, at a reading rate equal to that of talking, using punctuation and expression. Children must learn to read words rapidly and accurately in order to understand what is read. When fluent readers read, they recognise words automatically. Readers who are weak in fluency read slowly, word by word, focusing on sounding out words instead of comprehending meaning. Students should master reading fluency to support reading comprehension.
  4. Vocabulary: Learning the meaning and pronunciation of words. Children need to actively build and expand their knowledge of written and spoken words, what they mean and how they are used. Reading rich quality books at home to your child and talking about the vocabulary in books will have a significant impact on comprehension.
  5. Comprehension: Understanding, remembering, and communicating the main idea of a book or summarising a passage is comprehension. Children should be able to relate the text to their lives, others stories they have read and to their knowledge of the world. Children need to be taught comprehension strategies, or the steps good readers use to make sure they understand what they read. Students who are not comprehending do not find reading a purposeful or active process. Once you have read with your child find out if they can tell you the main idea of the story and can summarise the story accurately with age appropriate detail. (Adapted from; Reading Tips for Parents US Department of Education)

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s reading, your child’s classroom teachers can help.

Global Connections

Year One has been making Global Connections with Amity International School Abu Dhabi & Rama International Primary School in Papua New Guinea. Last term, the students from both these schools were asked about their families as part of our History unit on Past & Present Families. The students from Abu Dhabi shared a family Coat of Arms depicting symbolic images of their families. The students from Papua New Guinea sent details about their family roles and responsibilities. Interestingly, many of these students have to collect water for their families each day.

This term, Year One has made further contact with these schools to learn about the similarities and differences of animals and their habitats as part of their Science unit. The holiday period in Abu Dhabi has delayed our immediate contact, however, we have predicted that given the hot climate and desert regions of Abu Dhabi, there will be many different animals to our Australian species. The students in Papua New Guinea have sent us pictures of some interesting insects that are very different to the ones we have found at Park Campus. They included a large moth, wasps, a snail with a cone-like shell and some brown ants on a mango tree in their schoolyard.

We have also been very fortunate to have had a visit from one of our Year One parents, Mr Goldsworthy, who has worked in Antarctica as a research scientist for a number of years. He shared many photos of the animals who live there and discussed their behaviours, diet and appearance.

Further connections are currently being organised with an international school in Hanoi, Vietnam and another school in Louisiana, U.S.A.

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Mrs Simone Muddle

Last week, ten students attended the HICES Gifted and Talented Camp at Eleanora Heights. This five day camp saw students engaged in a core course of learning for four hours each morning and wild topics for three hours each afternoon. Evening activities included a STEM challenge, Disco, trivia night and a talent quest. The Year 6 students who attended were Pierra Singh (Crime Scene Investigation), Alessandra Martinelli (Writing), Veronica Kuru (Crime Scene Investigation), Hannah Choi (Sport Science), Ruby Bush (Writing), Katie Mejia (Writing), Megan Galettis (Visual Arts), Sebastian Spencer (Flight), Alexander Macdougall (Problem Solving) and Kalen Routley (Problem Solving). >Click here to read some of their reflections.

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NIDA at Newcastle Grammar School
Mrs Tonia Martin

Some exciting news for Newcastle Grammar School students.

NIDA – National Institute of Dramatic Arts – through their National Shorts programme sees NIDA Open offer classes in regional centres and capital cities around the country. Newcastle has always expressed a high interest for NIDA Open courses and NIDA Higher Education applications. Because of this, NIDA is offering the opportunity to local Newcastle residents to participate in their upcoming Spring School Holiday Courses.

The current programming for the Spring School Holiday period is:

NIDA Drama School, Grades 3-6: Tue, 3 October 9.00am to Fri, 6 October 4.00pm – $500.00 ($450 early bird)

NIDA Drama School, Grades 7-10: Tue, 3 October 9.00am to Fri, 6 October 4.00pm – $500.00 ($450 early bird)

NIDA Acting 101, Grades 11-12: Tue, 3 October 9.00am to Fri, 6 October 4.00pm – $500.00 ($450 early bird)

Screen Acting Techniques, 18+: Tue, 3 October 9.00am to Fri, 6 October 4.00pm – $500.00 ($450 early bird)

Acting Boot Camp, Grades 3-6: Sat, 7 October 9.00am and Sun, 8 October 4.00pm – $325.00 ($292.49 early bird)

Acting Boot Camp, Grades 7-10: Sat, 7 October 9.00am and Sun, 8 October 4.00pm – $325.00 ($292.49 early bird)

Auditions Masterclass, Grades 11-12: Sat, 7 October 9.00am and Sun, 8 October 4.00pm – $325.00 ($292.49 early bird)

NIDA Audition Preparation, 18+: Sat, 7 October 9.00am and Sun, 8 October 4.00pm – $325.00 ($292.49 early bird)

NIDA will be holding these courses at Newcastle Grammar School Hill Campus. For bookings >click here


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From the Director of Sport
Mr Leigh Carroll

From the Director of Sport image

HRIS Primary Athletics

Congratulations to all students who competed at the HRIS Primary Athletics carnival at Glendale athletics track on the 10 August. The school competed in the Division 2 day and the following individuals are to be congratulated on their outstanding results. >Click here to see the results.

All the very best of luck to Hunter Rowntree, Kalen Routley, Mary Dundas-Sharrad and Elyshia Lodge at the CIS Athletics Championship at Homebush on Wednesday, 13 September.

AICES Senior Athletics 30 August 2017 – Homebush

Newcastle Grammar was represented by 9 students at the AICES Athletics Carnival at Homebush as part of the Hunter Regional Independent Schools team. (HRIS)

All athletes represented the School with distinction, led by Sabrina Kliousis with victories in 17 yrs discus and javelin, and Seraina Danuser winning the 18 yrs 800m. Others placing included two 3rd placings by Bridie Bland in 17yrs javelin and discus, 3rd by Corbyn Holmberg in the girls 16 yrs 1500m, and 3rd by Dane Brouwer in the 16yrs javelin.

Cameron Carson our youngest competitor put in quality performances in his three 12 yrs events, finishing 4th in the 800m and 5th in 1500m. James Myles in the 1500m was with the pack for the first 3 laps and couldn’t quite match a “blistering” last lap by the lead pack and eventually finished 6th. Jacqueline Melvelle competed strongly in the javelin to finish 8th in a quality field.

Congratulations to all students and parents who made the effort to support their School and HRIS, and good luck and congratulations, to Seraina Danuser, Corbyn Holmberg, Sabrina Kliousis, Bridie Bland and Dane Brouwer who will now represent AICES at the CIS carnival on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 in Sydney.


The 2017/2018 Rowing Information Evening will be held in the Horbury Hunt Hall, Hill Campus on Thursday, 7 September from 6.00pm. Students and their parents should attend. We look forward to seeing you there.

HRIS Primary Netball

Last Tuesday, 29 August, Newcastle Grammar School had three Netball Teams compete in the HRIS Primary Netball Gala Day with great success. The School was successful in winning Two divisions and coming fourth in the third division.

The Year 3 and 4 team had a wonderful day with winning the Junior division and remaining undefeated throughout the day. The team consisted of Holly Irvine, Emma Tobin, Lucinda Mott, Scarlett Gray, Neve Blamey, Zahli Ginns, Shilpi Salaria, Vanessa Kuru, Harriett Arnell and Ella Beattie.

The Senior Division B team consisting of students from Year 5 and 6 also had a great day coming home victorious in all games and winning the pennant. This team consisted of Isabella Ida, Hunter Rowntree, Myfina Bland, Sophia Prince, Gabby Mancini, Lucia Clarke, Olivia Prickett, Ruby MacDonald, Lillian Miller and Alice Jeffery.

Our senior Division A team had a very successful day coming in second place in the pool rounds and then fourth overall having been beaten by one goal in the final game. This team consisted of students in years 5 and 6 Isabelle Colbert, Mary Dundas, Ayva Myers, Ruby Robinson, Eliza Ginns, Bronte Simpson,  Katherine Wang, Meicha Blamey, Melissa Carpenter,  Ava Horn and  Amelia Ryan.

Congratulations to all girls for their efforts throughout the day and to Jula Zulic and the coaches from Pivot Netball for coaching our teams on the day.

Newcastle Netball Association

Newcastle Netball Association would like you to join them for some coaching sessions for 10 year old players who will turn 11 in 2018.

This is to encourage players who would like to be selected for the 11’s development team.

Sessions: Thursday, 14 September, Thursday, 21 September, Thursday, 12 October with selections on Sunday, 15 October starting at 9.00am.
Venue: Newcastle Netball Courts – National Park Side
Time: 5.00pm till 6.00pm
Contact: Leigh Whitehead 0418 168 172 for further information

2018 Representative Squad Selection Dates

Representative Squad Selection dates are as follows:
Tuesday, 5 September 5.30pm 17 Years (in 2018)
Wednesday , 6 September 5.30pm 15 Years (in 2018)
Thursday, 7 September 5.30pm 14 Years (in 2018)
Wednesday, 13 September 5.30pm 13 Years (in 2018)
Saturday, 16 September 9.00am 12 Years (in 2018)

Please make sure you take notice of the 12 Years Selection – has been changed from Sunday to Saturday, 16 September 2017

Surf Lifesaving

For students interested in lifesaving or for those who completed the Surf Survival Programme we are offering the Surf Bronze. 

Training / formal lessons will occur at Cooks Hill Surf Club on Wednesday evenings from 6.00pm-8.00pm.

In addition, training will include a 2 hour weekly practical component on Saturday mornings.

This training will allow students to meet the outcomes of the competency based course. Once the course is completed, students will be assigned a time for patrol duty. Students can expect to participate in at least 10 patrols over the summer. As a full member of the club students are eligible to compete in inter-club competitions and have access to the club’s facilities.

Students will need to complete a 400m swim in under 9 minutes as a prerequisite.  The course includes the Senior First Aid Course. Training and materials costs $290, payable to the club.

Students are required to patrol for a second season to meet the requirements of this activity. In the second year, opportunities for further training in advanced resuscitation, IRB and other club awards are offered. 

Club membership fees for the second year are $100 for U18 and $120 for 18+.                                           

Age: This sport will be offered to students in Year 9 to Year 11. Students will need to be 15 years of age to meet assessment criteria for the Bronze. If a student is on the Rookie Patrol and is in Year 7-8, please contact me as they may be eligible to join our patrol for co-curricular.

Contact Person: If you require additional information or clarification, please speak with Mr Lumley.

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The Blog
From the Head of School

Centenary Archive Display

In preparation to Newcastle Grammar Schools Centenary celebrations next year, NGS would like to ask the school community for any items that may be of interest to include in a display of old school memorabilia.

There are two ways to add to the display:

Donate Items- These items will be added to the NGS archives and be used in any future displays and therefore not be returned. Items can be dropped off at Hill Campus Reception, or alternatively, sent to Newcastle Grammar School, PO Box 680, Newcastle NSW 2300. Donations should be made prior to the end of the School Year (Wednesday, 6 December), so that we know what information we will have for the display. 

Copied Items – For items you don’t want to part with, but interesting enough to be included, we will hold collection days on Monday, 16 October & Tuesday, 17 October 2017 at Hill Campus, for you to bring in any articles, photographs or items so that we can copy them and return it to you the same day.

We are also happy to take any electronic versions of anything you may have that would be of interest. These can be emailed to

We thank you for your continued support of NGS and look forward to the celebrations next year.

Centenary Celebrations - Collective Memoir
Contributions required prior to Monday, 16 October 2017

In 2018, Newcastle Grammar School is excited to be marking its Centenary. This will be an important time for the School and the wider community to reflect on the rich history of the past 100 years and to celebrate the School now and into the future.

One of the many exciting projects that are underway is the creation of a special publication. We would like this publication to act as a collective memoir of NGS’s past and present and we encourage contributions from the School community.

We are now reaching out to you all and asking for contributions of written work in the form of anecdotes, memories, letters, musings, poems, reflections, stories or any other form in which you feel compelled to express yourself.

We welcome parents, teachers, and students, past students, staff, and community members to contribute. This is a unique opportunity to express what the School has meant to you and your lives, record memories or moments you hold dear.

This could be a beautiful thing for our community to pull together and create so please take a few minutes to reflect and contribute and encourage others to do the same.

We have compiled a variety of examples to inspire you, your children and your friends. These can be viewed >here and contributions can be made by emailing prior to Monday, 16 October 2017.

Thank you for your continued support in working with us to make this School, the vibrant and dynamic place it is.

Hill Campus Canteen Specials

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

This Thursday, Spinach and Ricotta Frittata with tossed salad and caramelised balsamic dressing. Due to popular demand this is available every Thursday.

Next week’s specials:
Tuesday: Chicken Tandoori Wrap w baby spinach and tzatziki

Wednesday: Hot Roast Beef and gravy roll

Thursday: Spinach and ricotta frittata with tossed salad and caramelised balsamic dressing

Friday: Jacket potato stuffed with sweet corn, bacon and cheese

Canteen Duties

If you can help, please contact the School Reception on 4929 5811.


Hill Campus

Mon 11 September:

Tue 12 September:

Wed 13 September:
Maeve Brown

Thu 14 September:
Marnie Coulton
Jo MacDougall

Fri 15 September:
Lesley Filby

Park Campus

Mon 11 September:

Tue 12 September:

Wed 13 September:

Thu 14 September:
Molly Tao

Fri 15 September:
Sharon Archer
Elaine Mann

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

New Slouch Hat for Pre-school – Year 6

A new wider brim hat is being introduced for Pre-school to Year 6. The new ‘slouch hat’ will replace the existing bucket hat.

A phasing in period will occur from Term 4,  2017 and Term 1, 2018. Throughout this period students may wear either the existing bucket hat or the new slouch hat.

From Term 2, 2018 the new slouch hat will totally replace the bucket hat.

The girl’s panama hat will remain unchanged.

New Sports Cap for Years 7-12

In the near future a new sports cap will be made available to students in Years 7-12.

This cap, along with the new slouch hat (as outlined above) will replace the existing bucket hat.

Upon arrival  of the new sports cap (date to be advised), a phasing in period will occur during Term 4, 2017 and Term 1, 2018. Throughout this period students may wear either the existing bucket hat, the new slouch hat or the new sports cap.

From Term 2, 2018 the new slouch hat and sports cap will totally replace the bucket hat.

The girl’s panama hat will remain unchanged.