A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school on Kaurna Country, Adelaide, South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Acting Principal - Edition 4 - 2023

With so much happening in the last two weeks of term, I can proudly affirm the opportunities for students of every age to do more than they thought possible, will be there every day.

This week we celebrated Harmony Day with all students from Reception to Year 12, recognising that diversity brings us together. This year’s theme is ‘Everyone Belongs’, aligning very closely with our School value of inclusivity. When we see our Preparatory School students and Senior Students interacting and enjoying a day like today, we know that they are learning to live and work with a wide variety of people. We pride ourselves on being a welcoming and caring community that accepts all people. We are a school that offers a vast range of opportunities for every student from academics to sport; performing and visual arts; in class and outside on our spacious playing fields or beyond the School gates. Harmony day is about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.​ We continue to strive for every student to feel that they have a place at Westminster.

Our Senior Student Leaders chose to raise funds during Harmony Day for the victims of recent natural disasters in Turkey and Syria. The students have been looking for an opportunity to support a worthy cause and although these countries are not on our front pages right now, the people in these countries are very much in need. Our 2023 School theme of ‘Be Considerate’ gives us a chance to think of others less fortunate than ourselves. Well done to our community for the way in which this event was supported.

Last week, I experienced my first Preparatory School Junior Sports Carnival and I was impressed with the energy and enthusiasm! Thank you to the parents and caregivers who attended and supported our staff on the day. I am very much looking forward to next week’s Preparatory School Athletics Carnival on Wednesday and then our Senior Athletics Day on Friday. It will be a big week ahead in sport at Westminster. After the disappointment of having to postpone our Swimming Carnival, the students are looking forward to competing in a large-scale House competition. The excitement levels have been building and the friendly competition will begin in earnest with a series of pre-events for the Senior School taking place early next week.

Aside from our sporting carnivals, the last two weeks of Term 1 are jam-packed with other events. We start with our community event Westfest on the Courtney this Sunday to be followed with our moving Tenebrae Service in the Sir Shirley Jeffries Memorial Chapel on the following Sunday. It is then time for our much-awaited School musical Mamma Mia!, with its amazing cast and crew ready to rock the Murray Centre for Performing Arts. You’ll need to book tickets for Tenebrae (free) and Mamma Mia! (ticketed), so please refer to separate entries within this eNews about these events.

Congratulations to our Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students who completed their NAPLAN tests over the past two weeks. These tests can typically create a degree of anxiety for some students, so we were impressed with the overall enthusiasm and mature approach shown by all year levels. These one-off tests aim to provide a snapshot of students’ learning at a particular time. But there are many things that NAPLAN tests do not measure that Westminster and our families value very highly. A standardised test does not measure a person’s ability to communicate with others; it cannot measure their work ethic, compassion, friendships or empathy; it cannot measure their happiness. Every student at Westminster is much more than their scores on any test. We thank all staff who supported our students through this two-week test period.

As I walk around the School, I sense an increasing anticipation amongst students that Term 1’s ‘finish line’ is in sight. It is true that there are only two weeks remaining at School, but a lot can be accomplished in this time. In all year levels, teachers are challenging our students to continue to complete their assessments to the best of their ability. Now is not the time to be absorbed by the upcoming holidays, but a time to focus on the hard work that needs to be completed before a well-earned rest. As always, please reach out to our teaching staff if you would like some up-to-date information on your child’s progress. The Seqta Engage app is the place to find all of the latest assessment data and students will be able to help navigate this. Preparatory School Parent/Teacher interviews have happened during Term 1, but Senior School Parent/Teacher interviews are being scheduled from later in April (start of Term 2). These appointments provide an excellent opportunity to check progress. More information will soon be sent by the Senior School on how to book.

It has been a huge start to the year. I have been privileged to fulfil the role of Acting Principal during Principal Simon Shepherd’s leave and experience what happens across the whole School. With so much happening in the last two weeks of term, I can proudly affirm the opportunities for students of every age to do more than they thought possible, will be there every day.

Andrew Whiteman
Acting Principal