It was great to see so many of you at the recent Parent/Teacher interviews and to hear that you are enjoying the use of SEQTA to complement our more traditional communication routes. If you do not know how to access SEQTA, please make contact with myself or our ICT Learning Integrator, Michelle Payne and we will quickly remedy that. Our recent analysis of the Year 8 to 12 parents accessing SEQTA shows that some 90% of Senior School parents have access, which is fantastic.
Please note that some courses within SEQTA such as Careers and Wellbeing@West are not assessable courses and will not have grades, marks or comments attached to them. To avoid confusion, Wellbeing@West has been removed. Careers is staying so that you can view the materials alongside your children.
Parents are reminded that end of semester reports will be accessible via SEQTA in Term 2 and so it will be essential that parents know their access details to review the reports. Effort ratings will be released in Week 3 as usual, celebrated in Assembly and communicated to parents.
Term 1 flew by and was very full. Term 2 will no doubt rush by equally as fast and so I offer a few forthcoming dates.
This year NAPLAN tests will be held from Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 May for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Any necessary catch up tests will be held on Friday 17 May. The timetable of tests is below.
Families of students who sit for the NAPLAN tests will receive a written report of their child's achievement in approximately September 2019. Students in each year cohort complete the same tests at the same time and are measured against nationally agreed benchmarks. Information about the NAPLAN tests has already been distributed, however further details can be found at www.naplan.edu.au. If you have any questions regarding these assessments, please contact Mrs Andrea Sherwood in the Senior School or Mr Stuart Burns in the Preparatory School.
As I have previously commented, students at Westminster are individuals who take every opportunity to learn and extend themselves. Results of the NAPLAN tests are just one piece of information which helps us as educators to understand each child’s progress and learning. They can be useful to inform us where students sit within the cohort and in comparison to the other learning and assessment which happens in School. The tests are designed to be ‘low stress’ and the test results represent, like any form of assessment, a snapshot of learning on a particular day. Unlike the internal assessments we challenge our students with, they allow for a comparison to be made with state and national data. The data we have received will be analysed and combined with our on-going internal assessment as we continue to monitor individual student progress as part of our everyday program of teaching and learning.
Students who benefit from modified programs are usually able to gain additional time in the tests and the School has applied for this time to be granted in advance of the tests. The extra time available to students equates to five minutes per half hour. These provisions are part of the normal procedures when catering for children with special learning needs. Parents are at liberty to withdraw their children from the tests and should contact the School to discuss this. Communication routes regarding NAPLAN tests in the first instances are through the Head of House in the Senior School, and the classroom teacher in the Preparatory School.
You may wish to visit the NAPLAN website at www.naplan.edu.au for more information. If you have any questions about the NAPLAN testing and the contents of this letter then please contact me on T: 08 8276 0205 or via Email or Farley Briggs via Email.
Our children might seem to be keeping cool about Year 12 but we can always offer assistance! Many of you will have attended Michael Carr-Gregg’s session when he visited us last year, and told us that anxiety affects almost half of Year 12 students, while one-third are depressed during their final year of school. Michael recently wrote “it is a high-risk group with 30 per cent at risk from depression, and anxiety affecting 41 per cent”.
In his book, Surviving Year 12 - A sanity kit for students and their parents (Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Finch Publishing 2004), there is a section at the back that is very relevant to you all at this time. After 12 Chapters dedicated to supporting students retain their sanity, Chapter 13 (“the sealed section!”) has this advice for you in how to specifically create the feature of a harmonious home during Year 12. I realise to most of you it will seem very obvious, but there may be some gems in there.
In order to ensure that our young people are able to be resilient, it is essential to have opportunities to fail, to build “post traumatic growth”. What better opportunity to teach young people the skills of preparation and feedback than in mid-year exams! High stress times are part of life and sometimes part and parcel of what is necessary to experience a greater sense of achievement. Mid-year exams offer students the perfect opportunity to practise, not only the examination itself, but the lead-in time, with its revision and rearrangement of usual activities, and the crucial performance feedback at the other end. Sometimes parents have to deal with their own disappointment at this time. I hope that you will be able to support your son’s and daughter’s through this formative process, always keeping in mind the words of the famous Principal, whose letter to his parental school community went viral a couple of year ago:
“If your child does get top marks, that’s great! But if he or she doesn’t… don’t take away their self-confidence and dignity from them. Tell them it’s OK, it’s just an exam! They are cut out for much bigger things in life. Tell them, no matter what they score…you love them and will not judge them. Please do this, and when you do… watch your children conquer the world”
You will soon receive an email from me with the details of the mid-year examination week, along with your child’s personalised timetable. Copies will be available from Rachel Beerworth in the Senior School Office after you receive this email. The generic information is as follows:
Mid-Year examinations begin Tuesday 11 June and classes resume on Monday 17 June.
Generally, students will not be expected to attend School if they have an exam during the day. However, some courses do not have examinations and subject teachers of these subjects will liaise with their classes individually if they wish students to attend.
Many students choose to attend School and the Library can experience large numbers of students attending to study at this time. Please may I take this opportunity to request that you assist us by reminding students that they should be in full school uniform if they come to school and that the library will be a quiet space and is not appropriate for group work or active revision. Year 12 students are welcome to continue to use the Fricker Centre.
Voluntary sessions to finalise the ’10 pages’ of the Research Project and Outcomes will be offered to Year 11 students during Exam week and in Week 8. The timings of these will be published to students in the near future.
As it is important to keep a balance during the examination period, students are expected to attend co-curricular music rehearsals. The Music Faculty request that students let them know if they cannot attend rehearsals during Week 7. In the case where students have a rehearsal on the same morning as an exam, students often attend part of a rehearsal. They have been responsible in negotiating that in the past and are encouraged to continue to do so. All other co-curricular commitments should stand and students are strongly encouraged to attend. Students should approach their coach or team manager if they have conflicting arrangements.
We are now accepting Subject Change Request forms in the Senior School Office to make potential changes to elective choices for Semester 2. Please note that the submission of a subject change form does not guarantee that the change is possible. All students will be notified by email about the success of their application.
Information taken from Surviving Year 12 - A sanity kit for students and their parents is published with kind permission by the publisher (Finch Publishing).
At Westminster, one of our primary goals is that all students undertake study which they find suitably challenging, and in which they are able to be successful and find personal satisfaction. I am pleased to confirm the following Term 3 dates and look forward to seeing as many families as possibly before the 2020 curriculum planning begins.
Monday 22 July 2019
2020 Year 11 and Year 12 Curriculum Information Night - 6.45 pm in the MMC, for current Year 10 and 11 student and parents
Thursday 1 August 2019
2020 Year 10 Curriculum Information Night - 7.00 pm in the MMC, for current Year 9 students and parents
Monday 19 August 2019
2020 Year 8 Curriculum Information Night - 7.00 pm in the MMC, for current Year 7 students)
Director of Learning