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

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Preparatory School - Edition 17 - 2019

Bigger than usual

As parents of students in our Upper Primary would be well aware, this has been a year of change in the Preparatory School. With plans in place for Year 7 to be a part of the Senior School from 2020, we have made every effort to ensure that our current Year 6 students do not miss out on some of the unique activities that come with being the oldest students in this part of the School. This planning extends to some special end of year activities for both the Year 7 and the Year 6 cohorts.

At the Certificate Ceremony on the final Tuesday of the school year, we will need to structure things a little differently. In order to individually introduce both the Year 6 and the Year 7 cohorts to the School, we will not be asking the students from Transition to Year 5 to walk across the stage as they have in past years. They will instead be introduced from their seats. While even our youngest students are quite used to the stage – as demonstrated by the assembly presentations by our Transition classes, I mention this change only to avoid any disappointment that may be caused by parents of the younger children attending in the hope of seeing their youngster walk across the stage.

Swimming was the winner

Since our last eNews we have completed the swimming season in the Preparatory School. Two weeks of aquatic activities for all classes from Reception to Year 7 culminated in a House carnival of races and team games for the students in Years 3 to 7. Mr Weatherald and the PE faculty introduced a few different races, such as the individual medley which was the very impressive final event on the second day. Students who struggle in the pool still thoroughly enjoy the occasion by giving their all and receiving very positive encouragement from members of their House and the parents who gave up their time to attend. Mr Thompson gave the carnivals a professional edge with his encouraging and witty commentary. The boat race is a crowd favourite where often the ‘outboard motor’ appears to be more like an anchor as the children try to coordinate getting the raft to the other end as quickly as possible.

The carnival as always was a chance for the best swimmers in the school to showcase their talents, and for them to receive just recognition for the hard work they put in to this very worthwhile sport.

This year we congratulate the following medal winners:

Year Level Champions
Year 3 Girls
1stSophia Hallam (Wesley)
2ndJessica Jongejan (Crown)
3rdMatilda Ellis (Wyvern)
Year 3 Boys
1stJayden Brijmohan (Abbey)
2ndAiden Williams (Abbey)
3rdLakshay Madankumar (Wyvern)
Year 4 Girls
1stIsabelle Sincock (Wesley)
2ndKate Cao (Abbey)
3rdElla Lunn (Wesley)
Year 4 Boys
1stJordan Tucker (Wyvern)
2ndOliver Maynard (Charter)
3rdJed Papst (Wesley)
Year 5 Girls
1stPoppy Doyle (Crown)
2ndMaggie Taplin (Crown)
3rdTalulah Kovacic (Wyvern)
Year 5 Boys
1stAxel Tucker (Wyvern)
2ndJack Green (Charter)
3rdGerard McGinley (Mace)
Year 6 Girls
1stHarriet Robertson (Mace)
2ndEliza Maloney (Abbey)
3rdOlivia Fok (Mace)
Year 6 Boys
1stZachary Tucker (Wyvern)
2ndTimothy Alver (Abbey)
=3rdJack Alver (Abbey)
=3rdJeremy Shepherd (Charter)
Year 7 Girls
1stIsabella Maynard (Charter)
2ndLily Doyle (Crown)
3rdJuliet Tainton (Crown)
Year 7 Boys
1stFredrick Ramly-Peck (Crown)
2ndKobi Rees (Abbey)
=3rdAngus Stuart (Charter)
=3rdDaniel Turnbull (Wyvern)

After two days of swimming, the Champion House for 2019 was Crown who last took the title in 2009, with Abbey in second place and Wyvern finishing in third.

Digital Technology Awards

The International Competitions for Australian Schools (ICAS) are held annually through the University of NSW in many subject areas. This year for the first time, students undertook the competitions online. The time frame was also altered where the competitions were all completed within a two week window.

There were 30 students who participated in the ICAS Digital Technologies Competition from Years 3 to 7. Of these, Westminster Preparatory students were awarded one High Distinction, nine Distinction, 10 Credit, one Merit and nine Participation certificates.

The student awarded the High Distinction was Sebastian Ireland (Year 7 Crown).

Students awarded Distinctions were Lakshay Madankumar (Year 3 Wyvern), Sophie Gayler (Year 3 Wyvern), Yashika Agarwal (Year 4 Charter), Kate Cao (Year 4 Abbey), Jasmine Gayler (Year 5 Wyvern), Gerard McGinley (Year 5 Mace), Aman Kalro (Year 6 Charter), Samuel Laity (Year 6 Wesley) and Diya Patel (Year 6 Wesley).

Spelling Prowess

In the ICAS Spelling Competition Westminster Preparatory students were awarded one High Distinction, six Distinction, 13 Credit, and three Merit certificates.

The student awarded the High Distinction was once again Sebastian Ireland (Yr 7 Crown).

Students awarded Distinctions were Neil Anand (Year 4 Wyvern), Yashika Agarwal (Year 4 Charter), Adam Lee (Year 5 Abbey), Gerard McGinley (Year 5 Mace), Diya Patel (Year 6 Wesley) and Summer Wong (Year 7 Crown).

Receptions gaining STEAM

Recently the Reception students hosted a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) based Parent Morning. Various missions were set up in the three classrooms giving children and parents a variety of hands-on challenges to complete. It was wonderful to see so many parents engaged with the children, offering them an insight into what we get up to in our Design Technology lessons. Children had to utilise their skills learnt over the course of the year during their Technology lessons to build, create and design. It was wonderful to see so many parents able to attend and engaging with the students.


We have had a number of students recently representing the South West District in the state cricket and tennis carnivals. Students trialled along with the best from other schools in our region, and Westminster has been very well represented.

In the cricket team we had Ethan Williams (Year 6 Abbey), Lachlan Douglass (Year 6 Mace), Lucas Doe (Year 6 Wesley) and William Young (Year 7 Wyvern). The boys had a very successful week remaining undefeated and making it through to play on Adelaide Oval #2 in the Division 1 final which they narrowly lost.


On the tennis courts we were well represented by Charlotte Burt (Year 7 Wyvern), Nikolas Damato (Year 7 Wyvern) and Sebastian Ireland (Year 7 Crown) who all were members of the team that went through the carnival undefeated taking out the Division 1 Championship – an amazing effort. They played in total 16 games during the week. The competition was extremely tough as their team was often up against state and national touring players. Sebastian and Nikolas were paired up to play doubles and together were a dynamic and strong duo. Seven Ding (Year 6 Wyvern) and Georgie Burt (Year 5 Wyvern) were members of the Division 3 team that also had a very successful week of tennis finishing in second place overall. Special thanks to the district tennis coordinator Jamie Meredith who did a great job of helping the students reach these heights.

Nikolas has had a huge year of representative sport. He has been a member of three SAPSASA sporting teams this year; softball (South West were undefeated and won the grand final in April 2019), football (South West were runners up in 2019) and now a member of the South West championship winning Division 1 tennis team. It is so nice when hard work gets rewarded. Well done Nikolas.

State Basketball Selection

Congratulations to Andre Lim (Year 7 Charter) who has earned a place to represent South Australia in the Under 14 basketball team to compete in the Southern Cross basketball tournament in Melbourne during January. He tried out and was selected from about 60 people over a six hour trial over two weekends. A great outcome for Andre!

Haslam Library Summer Holiday Opening

Following on from last year’s inaugural summer holiday borrowing, we are pleased to announce that during the coming summer holidays, families will once again be able to visit the Haslam Library.

Although we did not receive many visitors last summer, for those that did come and borrow we are confident they were appreciative of the opportunity. Always wanting to promote reading and continue to develop students’ engagement with books, we feel that offering these times could help some students to continue their reading through the summer holidays.

During their last Library lesson of the year, students will be able to extend any currently borrowed books and also borrow new titles. Students with any overdue books will not be permitted to borrow extra ones.

We will open the Haslam Library and be available to assist at the following times;
Thursday 9 January – 12.00 to 2.00 pm
Monday 20 January – 9.00 to 11.00 am

Please remember that many of our titles make excellent adult reads, so please feel free to come and browse for yourself also. The holidays may be a good opportunity to choose a book with your child that you will enjoy reading together.

Thank you to all for supporting your children with their borrowing, reading and returning of books. May your holidays be happy and relaxing, with some time for reading for the whole family

Mrs Baldwin and Mrs Mori
Teacher Librarians

Looking for ways to STRETCH yourself over the summer?

Brainways Education in conjunction with the University of South Australia invites gifted and talented students in Years 2 to 8 to participate in the Brainways Summer Camp on Thursday 16 to Friday 17 January 2020. The Summer Camp has two components: a two-day immersion and a challenge in Maths/Science or Humanities.

The following programs are being offered:

Mathematics/Science – for students year levels 2-4

Topics: Villain or Superhero?: An Investigation of Microbes; Ice Cream Chemistry; Reaching for the Stars: An Introduction to the Science of Astronomy; The Mathematics at the Beach

Mathematics/Science – for students year levels 5-8

Topics: Defense Forces: The Science of Immunology; The Heart of a Star: Nuclear Chemistry; What’s Wrong with Reality?: Wave – Particle Duality; Out at Sea: The Algebra of Navigation

Humanities – for students year levels 2-4

Topics: A Headline Act: Writing the Headlines; Creating Mythological Characters; Can Computers Think?; Liar, Liar!: A Formula for Reason

Humanities – for students year levels 5-8

Topics: The Power of Positioning: Advertising and Media; A World Apart? Heroes and Villains; Where Did You Get the Idea?: The Origin of Knowledge; Do the Ends Justify the Means?: An Ethical Debate

Please contact Tanya Madex, our STRETCH Coordinator on T: 08 8276 0219 or via Email for more details on how to register.

UnitingCare Christmas Appeal

It is that time of year again! Last year the people at UnitingCare were overwhelmed by the huge amount of food and gifts generously donated by our wonderful Westminster community during our Christmas Appeal. The donations covered at least half of the step at the front of the Chapel. This year I have challenged our students to see if we can fill the space at the front of the Chapel!

In Chapel services over the past week we have been focusing on what sorts of things we can do to help those in our community who are not as fortunate as we are. Some of the statistics I shared are sobering.

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and UNSW research showed in 2014:

  • Three million Australians lived in poverty (13% of the population).
  • 731,300 children under the age of 15 were living below the poverty line (17.4% of Australian children live in poverty).

Our social service agencies say that the numbers have greatly increased over the past five years. A single mum living in regional Victoria stated, “I hate that I can’t cook proper meals and sit and eat with my child. She always asks why I don’t sit and eat with her, but we don’t always have enough for the both of us to eat. I’d rather miss out so that she doesn’t have to.”

When people in our own community have to choose between feeding their children or eating themselves then we need to be motivated to do something to help those people. Christmas, in particular, is a very difficult time for those living in poverty. Foodbank’s South Australian depots report that each month 134,620 South Australians currently access food relief. The impact of this is multi-faceted, but just one statistic shows that food insecure people are five times more likely to suffer psychological distress than the average Australian.

So, I am humbly asking our community to think about purchasing a few extra things in the next shop so that those in our community might enjoy some joy this Christmas. Luke 14:14 states;

“Then Jesus said to his host . . . When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.”

It is important that the food we bring in is food that we, too, might like to eat at Christmas. The dignity of the people who are struggling is important. Here are some suggestions:

Food: Canned fruit and vegetables, pasta and pasta sauce, rice, spreads (jam, vegemite, honey), cereal, long life milk, coffee, tea, biscuits, Christmas cakes and puddings.

Gifts: Books, toys, giftpacks, skincare, new clothes and shoes, tins of biscuits, chocolates.

Please don’t wrap the presents as UnitingCare will need to see what they are so that they can be distributed accordingly.

Please think about making a donation to our Christmas Appeal. Goods can be placed directly under the Christmas Tree in the Chapel. Westminster is an amazingly generous community. I know we’ll be able to fill that space again this year with wonderful gifts and food.

Jane Edwards
RAVE Specialist

National Mathematics Talent Quest

We recently had a number of students enter the Mathematical Association of South Australia (MASA) Junior Secondary Mathematics Enrichment Project, and at their presentation evening we were delighted to learn that a number of our students were recognised for their mathematical prowess. In the Year 7 Group Investigation category Caitlin Dyer (Year 7 Mace), Megha Sannigrahi (Year 7 Charter) and Summer Wong (Year 7 Crown) won first prize with their Musical Mathematical Mental Meltdown project. In the same category, Sophie Bradley (Year 7 Charter), Charlotte Burt (Year 7 Wyvern) and Lily Power (Year 7 Mace) won second prize with their project titled Empathy of the Ages.

Arguing Constructively

Debating is an important co-curricular activity that can give valuable skills and experience in public speaking and overcoming the fear of getting up in front of a crowd.

Westminster has this year had three Prep School teams participate in the Debating SA Year 6/7 Schools Competition. Each team has met on Tuesday afternoons to prepare their arguments for and against chosen topics, carefully written them out on cards, and then participated in five rounds of Debate. In our division there have been 102 teams.

Topics debated have included:

“That a restaurant owner in Sydney who banned iPads, tablets and phones at his restaurant had the right idea”, “That schools should have a classroom dog to reduce stress” and “That see through bins are a good idea”

We even had a debating excursion to the Adelaide Town Hall where the Adelaide City Council were considering this idea.

One team was particularly successful, winning all five of their debates and proceeding through to the Quarter finals, a Semi-Final and the Grand Final held in South Australian Parliament House. Suhavi Sethi (Year 6 Crown), Rhea Dinesh (Year 6 Charter), Yajat Singh (Year 6 Wyvern), Sara Zeitouneh (Year 6 Wyvern) and Diya Patel (Year 6 Wesley) were asked to argue the negative case for "That School canteens should have a meat-free Monday", which was a challenge, because most of the team thought it was a good idea - the team narrowly lost to Burnside Primary.

That team was presented with runners-up medallions by His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia, at an awards ceremony recently.


We have been particularly fortunate this year to have the service of Ms Sonja Lowen. Sonja is a member of the Board of Debating SA and since 2006 has been the Training and Development Officer.

In this role Sonja is responsible for creating and delivering training programmes for our adjudicators, students, teachers, parents and members of the wider community.

Sonja brings with her an incredible depth of knowledge and experience of debating, teaching methodology and working with schools. We were able to publicly thank Sonja for her help at a recent assembly.

We are very proud of all our teams in their involvement in debating this year.

Reverend Phil Hoffmann

Diary Dates

  • Year 1 Parent Learning Expo - 8.45 to 9.30 am, Friday 22 November
  • Year 7 Japanese Excursion - Wednesday 27 November
  • Year 2 Parent Expo - 2.35 to 3.30 pm, Wednesday 27 November
  • Reception Orientation Second Visit - Thursday 28 November
  • Year 1 Celebration Excursion - Thursday 28 November
  • Prep Casuals Day – Friday 29 November
  • Year 7 Excursion and Dance - Monday 2 December
  • Year 5 Excursion - Thursday 3 December
  • Year 6 End of Year Dinner - Wednesday 4 December
  • JP Celebration Lunch - Thursday 5 December
  • Westminster Nativity and Carols Night – 6.00 pm, Thursday 5 December, MMC
  • Preparatory Orientation Day – Friday 6 December
  • ELC Graduation – Friday 6 December
  • Certificate Ceremony – 2.00 pm, Tuesday 10 December
  • End of Term 4 – Wednesday 11 December (dismissal at 1.00 pm)
  • Christmas Lights Begin - Thursday 12 December

Grant Bock
Head of Preparatory School