Up and Running

We have enjoyed an extremely smooth start to the term. While the students obviously enjoy their holidays, just as obvious is the fact that they also enjoy returning to school and catching up with their friends.

While the weather has still been very kind to those of us who love warmth, attention is turning to the changes that coincide with the cooler months.  The winter co-curricular season is now underway ,and the coaches and students are ready for all of the winter activities.  Different activities, different training afternoons – it all means an adjustment to family routines and logistics.  Similarly, the need to adjust to the winter uniform.  Students can wear the winter uniform all year should they chose to do so, but it is compulsory from the end of Week 3.  This means that all students across the School should be in winter uniform from Monday 21 May.  The blazer is a key part of the uniform and during the winter months it should be worn to and from school every day – unless the student is in sports uniform.  I understand that legs may have grown and clothing been misplaced so please check on the uniform stocks at home prior to the Monday 21 May, and get in touch with Sue in the Westminster Shop if you need to top up any supplies.

Let’s keep NAPLAN in perspective

The main objective of the NAPLAN assessments are to provide governments, education authorities, schools, teachers and parents with a standardised measure to assess the critical numeracy and literacy skills of young Australians. This helps identify national trends, highlight strengths and weaknesses in current education programs and identify areas to focus on in the future.

It is important for parents to remember that NAPLAN provides information at a specific point in time of a student’s progress in literacy and numeracy. The assessments do not provide all the information about your child’s numeracy and literacy skills. They are just one of many assessments your child will complete throughout their school life and complement other forms of school assessment.

Keeping this in mind, students should not be worried or anxious about sitting the NAPLAN assessments, nor should they be disheartened or discouraged by their NAPLAN results. Instead, students should think about NAPLAN primarily as a learning experience, and as an opportunity to work with a different style of assessment. If they can develop skills that allow them to adapt to different assessment styles then they will be able to demonstrate their understanding in a raft of ways.

It would be worth your effort

The School has managed to engage a number of high quality presenters this term, all of which incorporate a parent information evening as a part of their visit to Westminster. There is no cost involved and parents should feel free to invite any interested friends from beyond the Westminster Community. Following a visit from Michael Carr-Gregg this week, we will also be hearing from presenters from The Resilience Project, and The Carly Ryan Foundation.

Martin Heppell will be here from The Resilience Project on Monday 21 May.  Last time we had The Resilience Project at Westminster, the presentation for students during the day and for parents in the evening was simply outstanding. They made a lasting impression with key messages. This initiative is very much in line with our focus on supporting mental health and wellbeing. Free registration for this event is available at www.trybooking.com/VQEL.

On Monday 18 June Sonya Ryan, mother of Carly Ryan, will be presenting to parents on the importance of cyber safety. CEO of the Carly Ryan Foundation, Sonya is a highly respected presenter regarding online safety for children.  This session for parents will follow on from student sessions being held during school (Years 6 to 10). Free registration for this event is available at https://www.trybooking.com/VDLA.

Seesaw App

Over the past two years some of our year levels have been trialling a new application called Seesaw. This application allows students to build online digital portfolios to share their learning in a safe and engaging way. Each student has their own journal where they can document their learning. Parents are able to connect to their child’s journal at home to view the work they are doing.

The feedback has been that this is a wonderful way for our students to share their learning journey with their parents. Recording their learning through photos, voice recordings, journals and even video has hopefully made parents feel very much a part of their child’s journey.

This year we have however had a few complications with extended family members signing into parent accounts. This has caused some issues around the management of the system and privacy. We ask that extended family members refrain from signing into parent accounts to receive notifications.

We hope that you continue enjoy using this resource to watch your child grow and develop.

Round Square

During the holidays, four Year 7 students, Emma Deering, Saleem Khan, Jasmine Parry and Srujan Saxena accompanied by Mrs Jenny Howland, attended the Young Round Square conference at The Armidale School (TAS), NSW.

Over 100 delegates from fifteen schools in the region attended.  The delegation was fully involved in a program of many varied activities. They found the conference to be a truly rewarding experience.

Emma shares her thoughts about the conference below.

The Round Square Conference in Armidale was focused on looking at how we can reflect on our past, how we can shape and enjoy the present and how we can change the future. I believe that we were really able to develop our service skills to fit around this theme by doing amazing activities such as meeting people who have achieved great things and helped others, planting trees, working in groups with people who are from all over the world, canoeing, appreciating the sacrifices that other people have made for us and more.

The best part of the trip for me was being able to reflect on what I can do better and hopefully I can make a difference in the future while using all of the skills that I have learnt from this trip. Like what we learnt from one of the men that came to talk to us, Bernie Shakeshaft. He taught us, with the help with his canine friends, that if we focus 10% of our energy on the past 10% of our energy on the present and 80% of our energy on where we want to go into the future we can achieve our dreams. Mr Shakeshaft has applied this philosophy into helping boys from all around Australia get back on track and working towards achieving their dreams.

Saleem really enjoyed canoeing, bushwalking and a presentation from Anthony Kelly talking about success. Anthony Kelly is a martial artist and in 2012 held 29 records including being able to catch an arrow and later being able to catch a paintball fired out of a gun. He spoke about how to be successful in whatever you do and how to find enjoyment in anything and everything. Jasmine found that the adventure activities were great, and they encouraged her to get involved in the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award program next year. Srujan especially liked working with the cattle dogs and the bushwalk to Lookout Point.

We would encourage other students to go on the next Round Square Conference as this kind of experience can really help develop your skills in service, leadership, environmentalism, internationalism, and democracy.

Chris Haines
Preparatory School Teacher

Car Parking

We are fortunate as a community to have such wonderful grounds at Westminster. We are also lucky to have limited car parking available on site, which is a rarity these days in suburban schools.

To facilitate the smooth flow of traffic, and for our students’ safety, it is imperative that parents do not park in restricted areas or in the two turning circles by the Junior Primary and ELC.

Parents needing to leave their car should not use the drop off zones, but park either on Alison Ave, in the angled parks or in another part of the school.

This includes the drop-off/pick zones at the front of the Prep Office. Parents/carers should not be parked in this area waiting in their cars to collect children from school during the times nominated for drop-off/pick-up. This area is specifically designated to allow for a smooth and constant flow of traffic.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to ensure the flow of traffic and more importantly the safety of children throughout the school.

OSHC and ELC Transition to the Child Care Subsidy - Webinar for parents

The next family webcast information session hosted by the Department of Education and Training will be held this Tuesday 15 May.

The webcasts are to help you understand what you need to do to transition to the Child Care Subsidy. It is essential that you complete an online assessment to receive the new payment.

The webcast will also provide you with the opportunity to ask questions through the live chat functionality.

The session will be held on Tuesday 15 May 2018, 8.00 - 9.30 pm AEST

Please register your interest if you would like to participate.

Seaford Line Timetable Change

We are still in communication with the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Hon Stephan Knoll MP and Member for Gibson Hon Corey Wingard MP, as well as the Metro Area Manager for our region. There has been some media coverage around this matter and as we have yet to receive satisfactory responses we will continue to air our concerns. If you are affected by the timetable changes, please do not hesitate to lodge your own concerns to the two minsters. According to the Office for the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, no complaints have been received about Marion Station services. Speaking from the School’s perspective alone, this cannot be correct! Consequently, even if you have lodged your concerns, we would suggest re-lodging and making sure you have clearly mentioned Marion Station within your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact our Communications Manager, Peter Trenorden (’77), via Email should you wish to follow this up.  

Campus Carpark Update

At the end of the Senior School’s old change rooms (between the Music Centre and Sports and Swimming Centre), there are four stand-alone carparks. These are now to be used for Westminster School fleet vehicles only. New signs will be placed next week on all four parks to indicate as such. Being fleet vehicles, movement in and out of these parks will be frequent on any given day and night so even if a park is empty, we appreciate you not using these parks for general parking.

Diary Dates

  • Bandstand Concert – Thursday 17 May, 7.00 pm, MMC
  • Winter Uniform Changeover  -  Monday 21 May
  • Parent Presentation, Martin Heppell, The Resilience Project – Monday 21 May, 7.00 pm, MMC
  • Casuals Day – Friday 8 June
  • Public Holiday – Monday 11 June
  • Parent Presentation, Sonya Ryan, Online Safety  - Monday 18 June, 7.00 pm, MMC
  • Sing Sing Sing Concert – Wednesday 20 June, 6.30 pm, MMC
  • End of Term 2 – Friday 29 June, 1.00 pm
  • Term 3 commences - Tuesday 24 July

Grant Bock
Head of Preparatory School