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

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Senior School - Edition 15 - 2019

Welcome to Term 4

To those students returning from holiday, welcome back and to the students and families who have joined the Senior School this term I would like to extend a very warm welcome.

Leaders’ Chapel

Each year the School leaders’ present a Chapel service to the rest of the Senior School and the theme this year was about the strength of community which they presented in a thoughtful and effective manner. Part of the service included an address from Year 12 student Fereshteh Jafari who came to Australia from Afghanistan and was offered the Refugee Scholarship at Westminster. Over the years we have heard from Fereshteh about her life in Afghanistan and the differences she has experienced since coming to Australia. Below is what she presented to all the Senior School students as well as the Year 7 students during Chapel services over the past week:

I came to Australia 6 years ago having spent 5 of those years here at Westminster. Before coming here, I was attending Clovelly Park Primary School where I graduated Year 7 from. Initially, it was really difficult settling down in a new country that was so different to what I had been used to especially when English was not my first language. I did not know a single word of English not even the simplest words like hi and bye. The language barrier was so significant that made me feel like I did not fit in at the time, but after a few months, I was able to better communicate with my peers. After applying for a scholarship towards the end of Year 7, having had the support of a Westminster parent, I was offered the Refugee Scholarship. The moment that I found out about this, I was over the moon as it seemed just like a miracle.

I started studying at Westminster in Year 8 and despite my language barrier and the visibility of my religious beliefs, I was able to make friends. My teachers planted the seed of hope in me and supported me in any way they could to make me feel like I belonged. Despite all my differences, you, as the Westminster community, have accepted me and made me feel comfortable in my own skin through your continuous support. I am so grateful that I have been given the opportunity to study at this beautiful school and interact with the friendliest people on the planet. I appreciate those selfless people who have made themselves feel uncomfortable just to make me feel more comfortable. To this day, the staff and the students at Westminster have always been there for me in every step of the way through the ups and downs of my life.

Westminster community, your altruistic acts of kindness and various forms of support over these years have made me realise the true value of this miracle. I will never exchange my time here at Westminster with anything in the world since nothing can ever be as valuable as the life experiences I have gained and the opportunities that I have been exposed to over these years. Without this community and the sense of belonging you have grown in me, I would not have been able to stand here today. I appreciate all your endless support and thank you so much for shaping my life; I hope that one day, I can do the same.

Given the response from the students and staff who heard Fereshteh speak, it was obvious that she made an impact on all who were present. I would like to thank the Leaders and Fereshteh for the thought that went into the services they presented.

Year 12 Students

Friday is the last day of School for Year 12 students. Of course, many of the students will be studying for exams, while others will have assignments to finish off before they can actually say they have finished Year 12 and their Secondary School education.

Our tradition has been for the Year 12 students to celebrate this occasion by having a breakfast for the Year 12s and staff, which is cooked by the parents of the School Leaders. An Assembly exclusively for Year 12s follows this, where the year group entertain each other with various acts and presentations. One of the highlights of the day is in the House Meetings when the current House Captain hands over the leadership of the House to the following year’s leadership team. The Senior School then comes together for an Assembly presented by the Year 12 students and is a celebration of their time at Westminster. The day then concludes with a ‘Guard of Honour’ followed by a lunch for the Year 12 students and staff in the Dining Room.

Since the late 1990s, it has been a day of celebrations, thankyous, and farewells, rather than seeing how much mess can be created. This tradition has been the result of hard work by the number of staff over the years. I thank our Head of Senior Students, Mr Tony Ritson ('93) for all his work in making this a day to remember.

I wish the Year 12 students all the best for their exams and final moderation, and encourage those sitting exams to stick to a structured revision program and access their teachers to discuss any areas of concern.

I encourage all the Year 12 students to make a special effort to attend Speech Day, Valedictory Service and the Valedictory Dinner on Friday 21 November.


On Tuesday 22 October, the Co-curricular Dance concert was held, involving students from the Preparatory School through to Year 12. This evening highlighted the success of the Dance program here at Westminster and the growth that has occurred over the years.

I would like to congratulate all the dancers for the high quality of the dancing which made for a very enjoyable and entertaining evening. We are very lucky to have very skilled and creative Dance teachers in both our Curricular and Co-curricular programs. I would like to congratulate Ms Carolyn Obst for her leadership of the Dance program and Miss Sophie Wilson for all her management of the Co-curricular program.

Shared Chinese Learning Experience

In Week 10 of Term 3, the Year 8 Chinese classes produced a variety of wonderful children’s picture books, demonstrating their creativity and excellent Chinese writing skills. They were so excited to have the opportunity to share their story books with Ms Brooke Cheesman-Smyth’s Reception class and Ms Lynda Millard’s Year 1 class. The students from Senior and Prep School bonded well and had a lovely shared Chinese learning experience. Junior Primary students will commence their Chinese studies next year for the first time in the history of Westminster School. This collaborative learning experience was very rewarding and the positive interaction was enjoyed by everyone!

Here are some students’ reflections:

‘The Reception and Year 1s were very engaged and loved learning about our books. They were very fun to work with and keen to learn about the countries and languages. We really enjoyed making the books, and teaching the younger students Chinese, and gave us a chance to learn more characters as well.’- Ella Williams

‘We thoroughly enjoyed our experience with the Reception and Year 1 students. They were very captivated by our stories and showed a lot of enthusiasm to our writing and drawing skills. They made thoughtful comments and constructive criticism towards our work. They were sad to see us go and farewelled us with a Zai-jian that we had recently taught them.’ - Emily Holzbauer, Charli McKenzie and Joyce Yap

‘This term we wrote our first children’s Chinese book. In Week 10 we were able to share our work with the junior primary classes. This was a great experience to show off our work for that term. The students loved to learn the basics of Chinese ready for next year when they will begin learning Chinese. I really enjoyed this experience.’- Jack Richards

‘During our time with the Reception and Year 1 students we really enjoyed sharing our picture books and teaching them about the language of Chinese and its culture. We also enjoyed creating the books, learning new Chinese characters and drawing the pictures as we were able to be creative and use our imagination to produce a book made for the younger students.’- Michelle Liew

‘The Reception and Year 1 children were very keen and engaged whilst we were presenting our booklets. They seemed to really enjoy the activity and were interactive with their learning, for example, answering questions and trying to pronounce some Chinese words. They used some previous knowledge to guess what the book was about and I think they learnt a lot! Overall, I really enjoyed the activity and I think the junior primary students did as well.’- Veda Muthineni

Wendy Lampard and Jing Zhou
Teachers of Chinese

Term Dates

Term Dates for 2021 have now been published and can be found on our Term Dates page.

Health Centre


With the change of season, this time of year often sees a spike of influenza within the general community so we will see the occasional confirmed case of influenza.

It is important to recognise the symptoms, should your child become unwell.

Our Health Centre staff have prepared an information page to help families understand these symptoms and the treatment of influenza at home.

Please note that this page is intended to provide general information around uncomplicated cases of influenza. If at any stage, the health of child continues to deteriorate, even if after initially consulting a GP, please seek urgent medical assistance.

Links to helpful sites are contained within the page but they are extracted here for your immediate access – just search for ‘influenza’ to find a number of useful references:

Gastric Symptoms

Since the beginning of Term 4, we have seen a number of students come to School who have been unwell with gastric symptoms.

If your child is unwell, please do not send him or her to School where they may spread their illness.

Typically, a child can be contagious until their gastric symptoms have settled. Typically, we suggest that school attendance does not resume for 24 hours following the last symptoms (ie vomiting and/or diarrhoea).

Health guidelines also recommend that swimming in a public pool doesn’t happen for two weeks following symptoms due to some additional complications that may come from swallowing pool water.

Thank you for your assistance.

Traffic and Parking

Since the beginning of Term 4, there have been a few reports about traffic and parking issues in and around the School grounds. Safety of all pedestrians and road users is of paramount importance and we know the majority of families are very respectful of each other and our local residents. Notwithstanding, it is timely after the break to highlight those hotspots that can flare up during peak traffic times.

Alison Avenue

The City of Marion’s Stormwater Project continues to dominate the section of Alison Ave between Andrew and Orkney Aves. We appreciate it is an inconvenience to anyone who is regularly in that space but the City of Marion team has been very cooperative and understanding of the school traffic highs and lows. Consequently, they are trying to reopen the roadways during the morning drop off and afternoon pick up, as well as accommodate the bus movements that take place at these times. However, it will not be possible for the council to be this flexible every day so we ask that you work with whatever arrangements are in place. The next two weeks will see the actual intersection of Orkney and Alison be closed off, which will present another set of challenges for road users. Work on Alison Ave in the zone from Farne Tce to Orkney Ave will continue in waves until early December.

Please also remember that most of this section is a long school zone, which means speed should not exceed 25 km/hr when children are present. There is always a lot of student movement in this area before and after school so please note the signs that clearly define the school zone and speed limit.

Local Residents

We have received complaints from our neighbours that bins placed out on the roadway on Thursdays (local rubbish collection day) are still being moved to allow carparking. This means that some bins have not been emptied as they can’t be reached by the trucks. We have also received reports of cars blocking driveways, overparking yellow lines and waiting across corners, which can make it very difficult for other road users. Our local streets handle a lot of traffic from the School so we ask that families are mindful of any local arrangements when considering where to park or stop.


Families who use the rail line roadway, accessed through Gate 1, will note that we have marked a southern side section of roadway between the ELC playground and the rail line as a no parking zone. This is to avoid the roadway being reduced to one lane when traffic is trying to travel in both directions. Parking is allowed along the northern side of the rail line where parents can substantially pull off the roadway. Temporary markers are in place but permanent signage and road markings will be installed during the term. Thank you for helping us make this hotspot zone safer for all, particularly with so many young ELC and JP students in this area.

David Wallage
Head of Senior School