A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Marion, South Australia
Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Preparatory School - Edition 1 - 2020

Finally!

On behalf of all staff across the School, I would like to welcome all families to the 2020 school year.

After weeks of anticipation, the students have finally commenced. The classrooms look fantastic and the various changes and adjustments are completed. The students looked resplendent in their uniforms and polished shoes and the smiles on their faces indicated to me that while the holidays were enjoyable, they were also very pleased to be at school and spending time with their friends.

Like all Australians, our thoughts have been with all of those impacted by the catastrophic fires that raged across the country during the summer break. I suspect that the children will be keen for some of our fundraising efforts at school this year to be directed in this way.

Without the Year 7 students in our midst, 2020 is going to be a different year, and it will take some time to bed down the implications of this change. One positive change has been the location of both our Year 5 and Year 6 cohort that were able to move to larger spaces as the Year 7s migrated across the lawn.

Welcome to Westminster!

We are delighted to welcome the following students to the Preparatory School and the Westminster Community.

Reception - Lilly Burns (Mace), Ollie Burns (Mace), Evelyn Cao (Abbey), William Clarke (Wyvrn), Alice Davison (Wesley), Annabelle Judd (Wesley), Elijah Lovett (Crown), Matilda Lovett (Crown), Sophie Martin (Wesley), Walter Oak (Charter), Zahra Qazi (Charter), Hughson Ruan (Abbey), Lucy Sposato (Abbey), Jaydon Tsai (Wyvern), Percy Walker (Charter), Lemon Wang (Wesley), Alfred Yang (Mace).

Year 1 – Henry Keen (Charter), Hongyi Tang (Wyvern), Allen Wu (Wyvern).

Year 2 – Imogen Evans (Charter), Flynn Hepworth-Smith (Charter).

Year 3 – Kiyan Bakhtiarian (Wyvern), Harry Braggs-Brownson (Wyvern), Chanelle Bouras (Charter), Carter Donnelley (Wyvern), Liam Evans (Wesley).

Year 4 – Daniel Gegenhuber (Wesley), Evelyn Junge (Crown).

Year 5 – Leyla Bakhtiarian (Wyvern), Hudson Donnelley (Wyvern), Thomas Evans (Charter), Ben Gomez (Wyvern), Polly Gratton (Charter), Max Junge (Crown).

Year 6 – Charlie Bradford (Charter), Eva Castro (Mace), Easton Exelby (Charter), Simon Liu (Mace) and Quinn Hammersley (Wesley).

Staffing Changes

Those who were a part of the Prep School Community in 2019 would recall that with the relocation of Year 7 into the Senior School, we have reallocated the deputy roles within the Preparatory School from the start of this year. Mr Danny Page will continue as the Deputy of Junior Primary (Reception to Year 2), Mr Stuart Burns the Deputy of Primary (Years 3 to 6) and in an exciting development Ms Sharyn Darrell has moved into the new role of Deputy of Teaching and Learning across the entire Preparatory School.

One slight change to this structure has already emerged as Mr Burns has been given the opportunity to work for the first half of the year on secondment to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). He will return to us at the beginning of Term 3 armed with new knowledge and experience that will help keep teaching and learning at Westminster moving forward. In order to ensure that the students and staff in the primary classes are supported, Ms Julie Mugford has successfully won the role of Acting Deputy of Primary and we are already enjoying her contribution in this role.

Replacing Ms Mugford in her Year 3 classroom for the first half of the year will be Mrs Georgie Papst who last year guided one of our Transition classes.

We also welcome Ms Grace Le who has joined us taking Chinese for Reception to Year 2. Mr Craig Leith and Mr Michael Genikas are on long service leave for the first term, so we welcome back Mrs Deborah Cope (5G) and Ms Alex Bachmatiuk (3L) to cover for their absence.

One other change has seen Mr Tim Weatherald taking on aspects of the High Performance Sport role right across the School, so we welcome Ms Kara Lucas back taking some Health and PE for Years 4, 5 and 6

Exciting News

PS01

Ms Meg Fitzgerald and her husband Rory have shared very exciting news as they welcomed Jack Fitzgerald McClaren into their family on Friday 31 January. Jack weighed a healthy 3.48 kg and arrived 53 cm in length.

PS02

Rory and Meg are understandably over the moon at the safe arrival of their first child and we wish them all the best at this exciting time as they get to know each other.

They would like to thank everyone for their support across their journey.

Code Camp and Vacation Care

Over the summer break, Vacation Care has been running in both the Early Learning Centre and also in OSHC. The program involved a whole range of activities.

Prior to Christmas we hosted a Code Camp that was a huge success with over 40 children in attendance, including 20 from other schools.

Christmas Lights was also very successful – many thanks to families who attended and to Mr Barry Walker who put his considerable creative talent to use to create the leadlight windows that looked fabulous.

House Leadership

One of the cornerstones of our pastoral care at Westminster is the House system. We have six Houses in the Prep School, and the students from Reception to Year 6 are assigned to a House. If there is a family connection the House is predetermined, but for new families joining us we allocate a House with the aim of achieving gender and number balance.

All staff are also assigned to a House, and there is a weekly meeting for each House where they get together to foster House spirit and get organised for special events. The affinity and connection that students feel for their House is phenomenal and a real credit to the system. Each House is coordinated by a House Head, and we have three new faces in these key roles this year. For 2020 the House Heads are Mr Daniel Mather (Abbey), Ms Lauren Hyde (Charter), Ms Lisa Pannunzio (Crown), Mr Chris Haines (Mace), Mrs Stacey McCue (Wesley) and Mr Jon Dyer (Wyvern).

An Invitation to an Exciting Literacy Evening

We are excited to be able to invite you to spend an evening listening to Australia’s renowned children’s author, Mem Fox. Mem is passionate about writing but also has a wealth of knowledge to share about the the importance of reading to children.

Please take a look at the invitation below and book your seat at this free event at www.trybooking.com/BHXGN.

Mem Fox Literacy Evening

Meet the teacher afternoon

On Friday 24 January, students were invited in to meet their class teacher and check out their classroom before the School term commenced. The aim of this was twofold. It was my hope that it would help the children calm the nerves if they were able to come in and set up their books in the classroom, as well as say hello to their teacher. It also provided the parents and the teacher the opportunity to meet informally and hopefully commence a strong and supportive relationship where the School and the home environments work together to help each student achieve their best.

Not all families were able to attend because the drop off was leading into the long weekend and many families were heading away. In 2021 we are considering having the drop off session a day or so earlier. Feedback from teaching staff has been very positive about this approach, but I would welcome hearing the thoughts of any families about the benefit or pitfalls of the change.

Traffic Flow

As we embark on the new school year I would like to remind parents to please be respectful when driving and parking on the School grounds. The key times that seem to cause the most aggravation unsurprisingly are around 8.20 to 8.40 am and 3.20 to 3.40 pm. There are drop off and pick up areas outside of the Art room and Prep Office, these are not parking spaces during these times. I would ask that parents please refrain from parking in turning circles or stopping on the roadway to wait for children. It is important that traffic keeps flowing and blocking the flow to wait for children to arrive or load into the car is disrespectful to other road users. Members of the Westminster community are very fortunate to be able to drive onto the School grounds and it would be a shame if this access was denied as it is at most schools.

Student Leaders

Recently we inducted the Year 6 student Leaders for 2020. Congratulations to Captains of the Preparatory School, Kate Daniel (Wyvern) and Brandon Wright (Crown). School Leaders for 2020 are Indiana Borowski (Abbey), Jacob Bratkovic (Wesley), Saeed Khan (Mace), Ella Jones (Abbey), Annie Brown (Crown), Lexi Curran (Crown) and Janet Wang (Abbey). House Captains for 2020 are as follows:

Abbey – Adelle Parkinson-Need and Hannah Mori
Charter – Heidi Elliott and Aijay Willoughby
Crown – Isla Begg and Maggie Taplin
Mace – Dayna Harrison and Gerard McGinley
Wesley – Harry Davison and Darcy May-Martin
Wyvern – Georgie Burt and Axel Tucker

We look forward to their ongoing contribution across the school.

Student achievement

During the January holidays, Piotrek Kowalczyk (Year 3 Crown), competed in the Futsal (indoor soccer) AFA National Club Championship 2020 which was held in Sydney.

Piotrek (acting as first squad player and team captain) and his team were the only team in his age group representing South Australia. They had a very successful competition winning the silver medal in the Under 8s Silver Series Cup. Congratulations to Piotrek for this fine achievement.

Why do we volunteer at School?

As a volunteer you provide a positive role model for your children. We, in any society, should take on a responsibility that is beyond the normal realm of our own family needs because we belong to a community that is interactive. Westminster School provides a nurturing, caring, respectful environment in which our children are educated in all life skills.

Volunteers are rewarded by the sense of camaraderie and fellowship, which is involved when people work for a common goal. They are also rewarded by the obvious enjoyment on their children’s faces when they know that you will be in the School.

Volunteering is an enjoyable and social experience. It allows us to form new friendships, to learn new skills and to support our children’s education in a very ‘hands-on’ manner.

Download our Support Flyer below to see a number of different ways that you can support the School through volunteering, including helping out at events such as our Fun Fair, working in the School canteen or assisting with co-curricular activities.

SEQTA Security and Training

Due to a security upgrade, all parents and caregivers with a SEQTA sign-in will have to reset their User ID and passwords next week.

Monday 10 February, between 2.00 and 3.00 pm, all parent and caregiver User IDs and passwords will be deleted. If you happen to be in SEQTA at that time, you will be automatically signed out.

Shortly after that step, all parents and caregivers will receive an email from SEQTA inviting them to create a new User ID and Password. You will be able to type them in or use the QR Code included in the email. It will be a straightforward process and step by step instructions will be in the email. Support will be available should it be needed. An important aspect of the security upgrade is that you will now be able to create your own User ID and Password. Should you wish to continue with what you had before, you will be able to re-enter these as well.

If you are a new parent, SEQTA is our learning management system that you will use to monitor the progress of your child. While we use SEQTA for all students in Reception to Year 12, it ramps up from Year 7. You will also receive the email to set up a new User ID and Password.

Wednesday evening 12 February, 7.00 pm in the Murray Centre Drama Theatre, we will be holding a SEQTA overview session. This will be particularly useful for new parents wanting an overview of SEQTA. It will focus on parents with children in Years 7 to 12 but all parents are welcome to attend, should like to find out more about SEQTA.

An email is being sent today to all parents (Reception to Year 12) which will contain further information about this security upgrade and training session.

Diary Dates

  • Summer Sport matches commence – Friday 14 February
  • Year 6 Camp – Canberra, Sunday 16 to Thursday 20 February
  • Pancake Day – Tuesday 25 February
  • Adelaide Cup Day Public Holiday – Monday 9 March
  • JP Sports Day – Friday 13 March
  • Parent/Teacher Interviews – Week 8, commencing Monday 16 March

Grant Bock
Head of Preparatory School