A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Adelaide,
South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Preparatory School - Edition 1 - 2021

2021 here we go!

On behalf of all staff across the School, I would like to welcome all families to the 2021 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.

Following the far from ordinary year that was 2020, we are all looking forward with enthusiasm and optimism to what 2021 will offer up. While some of the changes forced upon us last year will need to be maintained, hopefully a new normal will emerge that we can all get used to.

Welcome to Westminster!

We are delighted to welcome the following students to the Preparatory School and to those who did not come from the ELC, to the Westminster Community.

The Reception starters are: Leah Al-Heilfi (Abbey), James McKeough (Abbey), Gurbaaz Sidhu (Abbey), Isabella Tan (Abbey), Mahie Dhillon (Mace), Jake Harrington (Mace), Sarah Donaldson (Wyvern), Olivia Griggs (Wyvern), Eva Ma (Wyvern), Alice Forde (Crown), Mitchell Reilly (Crown), Harvey Gill (Mace), Vihaan Khanuja (Wesley), Violet Swalling (Wesley), Stella Zhou (Wesley), Sravani Kristipati (Charter), and Gautham Nair (Charter).

In Year 1 we have Sienna LeCornu (Wyvern), Bauke Naisbitt (Wesley), Jemima Woolcock (Wesley) and Clara Oberdan (Mace). In Year 2 we have welcomed Edith Chan (Crown), Shezad Chowdhury (Crown), Eva Karaban (Wesley), Penelope Woolcock (Wesley), William Scheel (Abbey), Justice Thompson (Wyvern) and Savannah Thompson (Wyvern). Our new Year 3 students are Shaurya Agarwal (Abbey), Maddison Scheel (Abbey), Bailey Bradford (Charter), Kayla Eyles (Charter), Zunairah Chowdhury (Mace), William Gordon (Mace), Valentina Jovanovic (Mace), Lucas von Borell Viana (Mace) and Maxx Le Cornu (Wyvern). Our new students in Year 4 are Emily Wood (Crown), Maximilian Oberdan (Mace), Tate Aistrope (Abbey), Amelia Parkinson (Abbey) and Anastasia Jovanovic (Mace). In Year 5 we have welcomed Indy Green (Abbey), Chelsea Ireland (Crown), and Olivia Rodda (Abbey). Our Year 6 cohort has grown considerably as we have welcomed Suhaan Khanuja (Wesley), Kenzie Lewis (Wesley), Thinus Janse van Rensburg (Charter), Summer Bradford (Charter), Maxwell Wallace (Wyvern), Samantha Gellert (Wyvern), Leo Guan (Mace), Matilda Wilkins (Mace), Zoe Down (Mace), Noah Hunter (Abbey) and Sophie Gordon (Abbey)

Staffing Changes

As is the case with any new year, there have been a number of staffing changes. As well as welcoming new students we have several staff who have returned in different roles. Mr Page is looking after the classes in Years 3 to 6 as Primary Deputy, and Mrs Moody is Acting Deputy of the Junior Primary.

Our class teachers this year are:

  • Reception: Ms McCue, Ms Smyth and Mrs Papst
  • Year 1: Mrs Mather and Mrs Warren
  • Year 2: Ms Fitzgerald (returning from leave), Mr Burns (Term 1), Mrs Moody (Terms 2 to 4) and Ms Mugford
  • Year 3: Mr Leith, Ms Bachmatiuk and Mrs Schreuder
  • Year 4: Mr Jury, Mr Mather and Ms Sullivan
  • Year 5: Mrs Mori, Mr Galanis and Mrs Daniel
  • Year 6: Mrs Dorey, Mr Haines and Mrs Cope
  • Our Specialists are:
    • Health/PE: Mr Weatherald, Mr Thompson and Mrs Job
    • Languages: Ms Kamei (Japanese), and Ms Le (Mandarin)
    • Music: Ms Wandel and Mrs Hunter
    • STRETCH: Ms Madex, Mrs Beck and Mrs Benwell
    • R&VE & Chapel: Mrs Whiffen
    • Art: Mr Walker
    • ICT: Mr Dyer - Mr Dyer is also the newly appointed Head of Year 7 so he is getting his steps up between sections of the school.
    • Librarian: Mrs Baldwin

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.

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 2021 the House Heads are Mr Mather (Abbey), Mrs Baldwin (Charter), Ms Fitzgerald (Mace), Mr Haines (Crown), Ms McCue (Wesley) and Mr Jury (Wyvern).

Canteen and Lunch Orders

We are delighted to have moved into the realm of an online lunch order system from the beginning of this year. For students from Reception to Year 6, parents can order lunches occasionally or regularly – and in advance if that is of benefit. We are utilising the Qkr app (link below) and as long as lunch is ordered online before 9.30 am the food will be delivered to the students at lunch time that day.

Apple Store: ‎Qkr!™ on the App Store (apple.com)
Google Play Store: Qkr!™ with Masterpass – Apps on Google Play

As changes in process and utilising technology can be a slow process for some, throughout February the brown bag ordering system that has been utilised for most of the School’s 60 years is still able to be used, but from the beginning of March only online orders will be accepted.

As a parent in a busy household, I understand that sometimes mistakes happen, and things get forgotten. To avoid any students going hungry we will have a ’Late Lunch Voucher’ system in place, so if lunch is not ordered they can get a voucher from the Prep Office that will entitle them to a plain sandwich, a piece of fruit (fruit fly guidelines permitting) and a drink. Families who access this voucher system will receive an email notification and have the $6 cost added to their school account.

As we gradually emerge from COVID restrictions we are looking forward to having our Prep canteen open each day of the week for students to bring along their pocket money and purchase over the counter items such as an ice cream on a hot day.

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 in most schools.

Please also note that with the return of school, councils across Adelaide have been patrolling school zones at drop-off and pick-up to ensure vehicles are not being inappropriately parked, according to the signage in force. The City of Marion is no exception so please be mindful of patrolling parking inspectors as well as our local residents, particularly during the peak times of traffic movement.

Fruit Fly Update

Even though it took a while for information to be disseminated, PIRSA (Dept of Primary Industries and Regions) updated their map last weekend to better align the movement of fruit with new coloured zones to represent the risk of fruit fly contamination.

Westminster is in the yellow (suspension) zone, which allows students who live in the yellow or green (unaffected) zone to bring homegrown or store bought fresh fruit to School as long as the fruit has been sourced in the yellow or green zone. While PIRSA is asking the movement of fruit be kept to a minimum, the fruit could be taken home again if it is in the yellow zone but cannot be taken home if in the green zone.

If your home is in the red (outbreak) zone your homegrown or store bought fruit cannot leave the red zone and any fruit taken from other zones into the red zone cannot leave this zone.

These rules apply to fresh fruit only and are expected to be in force until mid-April. Any fruit that has been processed, cooked or preserved is OK to move between any zones.

While families are being asked by PIRSA to self-administer these restrictions, we’ll do our best to keep you updated and what it means for fruit at School. You can also visit PIRSA for the latest news: https://www.pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/fruit_fly_in_sa/current_outbreaks

Residential Address and NAPLAN Data Collection

As mandated by the Australian Government for two essential data collections (Residential Address and NAPLAN), all Parents and Caregivers (Reception to Year 12) were emailed Thursday 4 February with a request for personal information to be updated as necessary.

It is an important requirement that when we report this information to the Australian Government we are using current information. In particular, Parents and Caregivers in the NAPLAN testing years (3, 5 ,7, 9) have to check that personal data, including census information (eg education and occupation), is still current.

These downloads will help to ensure personal information is up-to-date:

  • For SEQTA – you can refer to this SEQTA Personal Information Update guide - please note for parents/caregivers of new students and young students, you may not yet know how to use SEQTA and we apologise that this mandatory request is thrust upon you at such an early stage. However, the chances are high that your information is still current but you can certainly contact the Preparatory School Office (T: 08 8276 0218) or Senior School Office (T: 08 8276 0215) if you want to check.
  • Alternatively, you can update your personal details by completing this 2021 Data Collection Form and return to the School via email, E: ws@westminster.sa.edu.au

If you are unsure about these data collections and what to do, please do not hesitate to contact the School through the appropriate Office for your family.

Student Leaders

Recently we inducted the Year 6 student Leaders for 2021. Congratulations to Captains of the Preparatory School, Claire Koukourou (Charter) and Henry Styles (Mace), School Leaders – Jordan Tucker (Wyvern), Ben Gomez (Wyvern), Christina Zhang (Wyvern), Annie Wang (Charter), Grace Welch (Crown), Dyrran Tainton (Crown) and Ellie Rosser (Abbey), and our House Captains; Abbey – Kate Cao and April Brown; Charter – Oliver Maynard and Polly Gratton; Crown – Harry Panton and Sophie Hutchins; Mace – Oscar Moody and Evie Bund; Wesley – Pippa Judd and Ella Lunn; Wyvern – Lila Mather and Neil Anand.

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We look forward to their ongoing contribution across the School.

COVID Precautions

COVID-19 restrictions are still in place within schools and as of Monday 1 February, we have had a COVID SAFE Check-in QR code at Westminster, beginning with the most accessed areas. All adults (parents, visitors and staff) must check into the School by using the QR code or the manual sign-in template if leaving their cars or entering school buildings.

It is vital to note that the COVID SAFE Check-in is being used by SA Health to keep records of where people have been and all data is being treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act. The QR code does not replace the normal sign-in process for visitors - this has to be completed, as well as checking in.

Is there a toddler at your place? Jumping Joeys is back!

Each Thursday morning from 9.00 to 10.00 am, we host Jumping Joeys in in our Forder Centre. Jumping Joeys is a semi-structured kinder gym program held during the School term for children aged 1-3. It promotes the development of fine and gross motor skills through a variety of activities, including running, jumping, rolling, swinging and climbing. Mrs Doe, one of our ELC staff members, hosts the sessions which provide an opportunity for toddlers to explore the gym and sports equipment. They must be accompanied and supervised by an adult carer during the session. There is no charge for these sessions and it is a chance for the children to get some exercise, work on their coordination, become familiar with the school and socialise with similar aged students.

Bookings are preferred, so if you would like to have your toddler attend please contact Kathy Doe on T: 08 8276 0293 or via Email so that you can be added to the communication list for these sessions.

Diary Dates

  • Summer Sport matches commence - Friday 14 February
  • SAPSASA South West Swimming Carnival - Tuesday 18 February
  • Shrove Tuesday - Tuesday 23 February
  • Adelaide Cup Day Public Holiday - Monday 8 March
  • Resilience Project: Parent Webinar - Wednesday 10 March
  • JP Sports Day - Friday 12 March
  • Parent/Teacher Interviews - Week 8, commencing Monday 15 March
  • Year 6 Camp (Canberra) - Monday 15 to Friday 19 March
  • WestFest Community Event - Saturday 20 March, commencing at 4.00 pm
  • Year 3-6 Field Events - Tuesday 23 March
  • Year 3-6 Sports Day - Wednesday 24 March
  • Tenebrae Service - Sunday 28 March

Grant Bock
Head of Preparatory School