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

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Senior School - Edition 1 - 2020

Welcome

Welcome to all new Senior School students and their families, and welcome back to all returning students and their families. The year has begun very smoothly, which was the result of the amount of work and preparation that a large number of staff put in during the holidays.

A special mention to Head of Year 7, Mrs Jane Edwards, and Head of Year 8, Mrs Kate Johns, and their teams who have been working since late last year to ensure that the transition from primary school to secondary school was as smooth as possible for students. The care and thought that has gone into this process has been outstanding and I thank all staff who have been directly involved in the transition process. The Year 7 students have brought an extra vibrancy to the Senior School and I look forward to getting to know them better and watching them mature over the next six years.

During the last weekend of the holidays the School Leaders along with our Head of Senior Students, Mr Tony Ritson ('93), went to Victor Harbor to set their vision and goals for 2020. I would also like to thank Head of Wellbeing, Liz Collins, School Chaplain, Rev Phil Hoffmann, and Jeffries House Head, Miss Alice Kelly, for their involvement in the camp. This camp provides an opportunity for the School Captain, Kaine Baldwin and Vice Captain, Ruby Liptak, to work with the House Captains, Vice Captains and School Leaders to set the direction for 2020 and plan to achieve their goals. After listening to Kaine’s speech at the recent School Leaders’ Induction Assembly, it is clear there is a real sense of purpose amongst the group and a desire to be inclusive with their leadership style. As was the case last year, the Leaders’ Induction included all leaders from both the Preparatory and Senior School, with students from Year 3 to Year 12 present. It was an excellent way to begin the school year and remind us all that we are one school.

The first Westventure Camp left on Monday 27 January and the students had many new experiences under the guidance of Mr Sam Ferguson ('10), who has replaced Mr Rob McLean ('99) after eleven years of leading Westventure. Sam’s team of instructors, all of whom are Westminster Old Scholars, understand the philosophy of Westventure and the desired outcomes. The aim of Westventure is to provide opportunities for students to work in teams to achieve common goals, while at the same time challenging all students to develop greater independence and confidence to try new activities. There is also a large element of self-reflection throughout the camp, which allows students to review their goals and aspirations.

Parent Seminars

This year we have organised two parent seminars which I believe will provide support for parents to assist their children to grow as individuals and to also have informed conversations around topics such as mental health and appropriate use of digital technology.

On Wednesday 29 April Hugh van Cuylenburg from the Resilience Project will be presenting to parents around how Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness can help to build Resilience. For further information please visit the Resilience Project website. This will be the third time the Resilience Project will have presented at Westminster and the second time for Hugh. The students use the Resilience Project curriculum in their Wellbeing@West time each week.

Jocelyn Brewer will present on ‘Digital Nutrition’ on Monday 10 August. Jocelyn created Digital Nutrition in 2013 – it's a framework to guide parents and consumers to understand the virtual nutritional values of the online media content we consume via apps and games on tablets and screen technology. Digital Nutrition is one of the earliest frameworks using the analogy with food to conceptualise a 'healthy digital diet' - an analogy which is increasingly popular with those working in the space as we come to understand that screen time is not an effective way to consider the impacts of digital devices. More about Jocelyn and what she does can be found on the Digital Nutrition website. This will be the first time Jocelyn has visited Westminster.

Both events will begin at 7.00 pm and more details will be sent closer to each event. I encourage all parents to keep these dates free.

Communication

The Pastoral Care or Student Wellbeing structure in the Senior School is designed to support students and their families. I sincerely invite parents to make contact with the School if you have any concerns which arise about matters relating to your son or daughter. The method of communication can be via phone, email, SEQTA or a personal meeting and I would encourage parents to make contact sooner rather than later if an issue arises. For students in Year 7 or Year 8, the Class Teacher should be the first person to contact followed by the Head of Year 7 or the Head of Year 8. Parents of Year 9 to 12 students should contact their Head of House in the first instance as this can help to gain an overall picture of each student in their House. You are welcome to contact teachers directly to discuss academic progress, but it is always a good practice to copy in the Head of House. I suggest email can be the most effective form of communication, as often teachers will not be able answer phone calls immediately due to their teaching commitments.

The contact details of the above key people and others can be found on our Key Staff Contacts page.

For general enquiries, the Senior School Office can be contacted on T: 08 8276 0251.

I look forward to meeting many of you as the year progresses and again hope that 2020 will be one of growth and success.

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.

David Wallage
Head of Senior School