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 - 2020

A setback for us all

Just when we thought COVID-19 was loosening its grip on all that we do, the dreaded virus has struck back and reminded us of the need to exercise caution. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some very hasty changes having to be made to some plans that we have had in place.

The Year 3 Strings and Year 5 Band concerts which were to be the culmination of a year of musical development and a celebration of all that the children have achieved have had to be cancelled. The plan was for this evening to also be a showcase of musical development from beginnings in the Junior Primary through to Year 12. While sadly these events were unable to go ahead, we have planned a recording for families to view which will then enable them to share the experience at their leisure.

Excursions to a variety of locations for several year levels that had been planned have had to be cancelled. We are still awaiting developments around several events we had planned for the remainder of the term. There is no doubt that the ability to have parents and other family members on grounds at this time has been severely compromised. While this is not what any of us want – 2020 just continues to throw up challenges that we have no choice but to face.

Athletes restricted

The musical space wasn’t the only area in which our students were denied the opportunity to display their talents. The State Championships in both swimming and track and field were also cancelled. While they have been denied the opportunity to compete at the highest level, the fact that both District teams were to be dominated by Westminster students deserves to be acknowledged. Congratulations to the following students on being selected:

State Athletics Day: Jayden Brijmohan (Year 4 Abbey), Lakshay Madankumar (Year 4 Wyvern), Aryan Kohli (Year 5 Wesley), Jordan Tucker (Year 5 Wyvern), Harry Davison (Year 6 Wesley) Gerard McGinley (Year 6 Mace), Ella Jones (Year 6 Abbey), Adelle Parkinson-Need (Yr 6 Abbey), Jack Green (Year 6 Charter), Simon Zefi (Year 7 Clark), Jazz McKay (Year 7 Clark), Tessa Ebert (Year 7 Carter), Jeremy Shepherd (Year 7 Woollacott), Patrick Hutchins (Year 7 Kelly), Jason Lim (Year 7 Clark), Tim Alver (Year 7 Woollacott), Tigerlily Kovacic (Year 7 Forder), and Zara Chowdhury (Year 7 Woollacott).

State Metropolitan Swimming Day: Jordan Tucker (Year 5 Wyvern), Aiden Williams (Year 4 Abbey), Sophia Hallam (Year 4 Wesley), Jessica Jongejan (Year 4 Crown), Ella Lunn (Year 5 Wesley), Oliver Maynard (Year 5 Charter), Gerard McGinley (Year 6 Mace), Axel Tucker (Year 6 Wyvern), Poppy Doyle (Year 6 Crown), Lara Wright (Year 5 Crown), Quinn Hammersley (Year 6 Wesley), Tahli Charles (Year 7 Dunstan), Zachary Tucker (Year 7 Clark), Jason Lim (Year 7 Clark), Harriet Robertson (Year 7 Forder), Eliza Maloney (Year 7 Carter) and Olivia Fok (Year 7 Fereday).

Remembrance Day

The whole School came together to recognise Remembrance Day, with students from across the School involved in a very moving ceremony to help us remember the fallen who have sacrificed so much for our way of life. The setting was perfect in front of the Thomas Pavilion and it allowed all students from ELC to Year 12 to fan out and recognise the occasion.

Future Problem Solving Success

In Term 3, the Year 6 Future Problem Solving team participated in the qualifying problem for Future Problem Solving Australia and managed to complete it. The qualifying problem is an issue that we had to solve. It then was marked by the FPS judges. We did well enough to come first in our division and made it through to the finals.

In order to qualify for the Future Problem Solving finals, we had to complete a qualifying booklet on the topic Gamification. We were very excited when we received our results, inviting us to progress to the National Finals. Unfortunately, this was different from past years, as COVID-19 prevented us from travelling to Melbourne and staying in a nice hotel, where the finals were supposed to be held. Instead, we got to stay at school and lock ourselves away in a classroom. We had to prepare for the final on the topic of Living in Poverty.

When we had the pleasing news that we were selected for the finals, we had to prepare quickly and well because the finals were approaching. We had to do our research and memorise numerous facts and statistics during the holidays so that we were prepared for the final which was held virtually in Week 1 of this term.

The competition started off smoothly and we felt that we were way ahead of time. This was very good news. As soon as it came to the next half of the section, we started to stress collectively and individually as time was running out.

Unfortunately, during our deliberations, the fire alarm went off at the most inconvenient time and we had to evacuate the room. Fortunately, it was a false alarm. Everyone was annoyed and just wanted to start the fun part of the competition. The fun part being the play which involves dressing up and acting!

We then moved into the action plan skit which we thought was the best part! We got to dress up and make weird costumes, as well as creating a script and acting out scenes into a final video. It was the crowd favourite until we realised how cringy we were in the video.

Following the completion of the tasks we were in a Zoom call awaiting all of the results and to our surprise we won 1st place in the Junior Division. We were all in shock as this was the first time Westminster School has won. We started screaming and crying with excitement. This win means that we get to participate in the International 2021 Future Problem Solving Competition.

In conclusion, we all had the best and most frustrating time ever! We had sore hands and it was a tiring day, but we really enjoyed it! We would definitely do it again. We can’t wait for the Internationals next year.

Kate Daniel (Wyvern), Devansh Singhal (Wyvern), Georgie Burt (Wyvern), Gerard McGinley (Mace), and Janet Wang (Abbey)


2020 Australian Mathematics Competition

Students from the Years 3 to 6 enrichment Maths classes competed in the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC) in August this year. The AMC is a 30-problem competition that is open to students in Years 3 to 12. The challenging questions demonstrate the importance and relevance of mathematics in our everyday lives.

There was an immense effort made by all the participating students.

Congratulations to Gerard McGinley (Year 6 Mace), who placed in the top 0.3% in South Australia. Gerard has received a prize from the Australian Mathematics trust for his achievement in the Upper Primary Division (Years 5-6).

Congratulations to Tina Tian (Year 3 Mace) who achieved Best in School as the School’s Highest Standardised score in the Middle Primary Division and a High Distinction.

Congratulations, also to the following High Distinction and Distinction winners (top 3% and 20% in South Australia respectively):

Upper Primary Division

Year 6 – Gerard McGinley (Mace) – High Distinction; Jacob Bratkovic (Wesley) – Distinction; Janet Wang (Abbey) – Distinction

Year 5 – Hudson Donnelly (Wyvern) – Distinction; Benjamin Gomez (Mace) - Distinction; Annie Wang (Charter) – Distinction

Middle Primary Division

Year 4 – Harry Judd (Wesley) – Distinction; Sophie Gayler (Wyvern) – Distinction; Penny He (Wesley) – Distinction; William Russo (Wyvern) – Distinction; Samuel Shipway (Mace) – Distinction

Year 3 – Tina Tian (Mace) – High Distinction; Piotrek Kowalczyk (Crown) – High Distinction; Anya Rose (Crown) – High Distinction; Marissa Lee (Abbey) – High Distinction; Katharine Ma (Mace) – Distinction; William Martin (Wesley) – Distinction; Rudra Simpi (Abbey) – Distinction.

ICAS Digital Technology

Throughout the year we have students who elect to participate in the University of New South Wales ICAS assessment competitions. Recently we have received the results of the Digital Technology competition. We had 24 students participate and were awarded eight Distinctions, seven Credits and one Merit.

Distinction (top 2-9% nationally) – Devansh Singhal (Year 6 Wyvern), Adam Lee (Year 6 Abbey), Neil Anand (Year 5 Wyvern), Ben Gomez (Year 5 Mace), Lakshay Madankumar (Year 4 Wyvern), William Russo (Year 4 Wyvern), Marissa Lee (Year 3 Abbey), Rudra Simpi (Year 3 Abbey).

Credit (18-26% nationally) – Harry Davison (Year 6 Wesley), Naite Johnson (Year 6 Wyvern), Gerard McGinley (Year 6 Mace), Kaitlyn Pereira (Year 6 Charter), Jed Papst (Year 5 Wesley), Caleb Dyer (Year 3 Crown), Georgia Davison (Year 3 Wesley).

Merit (top 42% nationally) – Aaron Slay (Year 6 Abbey).

Top Scout

As well as the athletic and academic success that Gerard McGinley (Year 6 Mace) has enjoyed recently, he has also completed his Grey Wolf Cub Scout Award as a Seconder earlier this year. It has been a particularly difficult and challenging year for these type of activities with COVID restrictions, but recently when face to face meetings resumed, he was recognised for his achievement.

The major components of the Cub Scout Award Scheme are the Bronze, Silver and Gold Boomerang Badges. These badges aim to help candidates develop skills in awareness, self-responsibility, outdoor scouting, creativity, personal pursuits and interests etc. Cub Scouts can set challenges for themselves to earn Achievement Badges from the areas of Arts, Literature, Nature, Science, Technology, Sports and Recreation and Our World.

The ultimate badge for Cub Scouts is the Grey Wolf Award. This can only be attained by earning a certain number of badges from the other levels of the scheme as well as completing several additional challenges. This is the pinnacle of achievement in the Cub Scout Section.

Congratulations Gerard!


Diary Dates

  • Year 4 Excursion to Port Adelaide – Tuesday 24 November - cancelled
  • Year 5 Planetarium excursion – Thursday 26 November - cancelled
  • JP Celebration Lunch – Thursday 3 December (to be confirmed)
  • Westminster Nativity Performance 1 (Transition, Reception and Year 1 Parents) 2.00 pm, Thursday 3 December, MMC (to be confirmed)
  • Westminster Nativity Performance 2 (Year 2 Parents), 6.00 pm, Thursday 3 December, MMC (to be confirmed)
  • Westminster Carols Night (All Families Invited) – 7.00 pm, Thursday 3 December, Outside new Thomas Pavilion (to be confirmed)
  • Preparatory Orientation Day – Friday 4 December (to be confirmed)
  • Year 5 Latitude Excursion – Tuesday 1 December - cancelled
  • ELC Graduation – Friday 4 December (to be confirmed)
  • Certificate Ceremony - 2.00 pm, Tuesday 8 December (to be confirmed)
  • End of Term 4 – 1.00 pm dismissal, Wednesday 9 December

Grant Bock
Head of Preparatory School