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

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Senior School - Edition 1 - 2021

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, Mr Jon Dyer and the Year 7 Tutors who have ensured 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. I look forward to getting to know the Year 7 students 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 2021. I would also like to thank Head of Wellbeing, Liz Collins, School Chaplain, Rev Phil Hoffmann, and Jeffries House Head, Miss Alice Kelly, and Woollacott House Head, Ms Michelle Payne for their involvement in the camp. This camp provides an opportunity for the School Captain, Aidan Ross and Vice Captain, Kim Li, to work with the House Captains and Vice Captains and School Leaders to set the direction for 2021 and plan to achieve their goals. After listening to Aidan’s speech at the recent Commencement Assembly, it is clear there is a real sense of purpose among 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 4 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 1 February and the students will have many new experiences under the guidance of Mr Sam Ferguson and the team of instructors, all of whom are Westminster Old Scholars. 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.

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 2021 will be one of growth and success.

Traffic Update

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.

David Wallage
Head of Senior School