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In this issue

Message from the Head of Middle School
Key dates
Parent seminar on resilience – Dr Tanveer Ahmed
Study skills
What is the MYP anyway?
Performing Arts @ SACS
Sport news
Message from the Registrar
Mathematics Homework Help
SACS Convenors for 2018
WWC Procedures
Volunteers needed for exam support

Message from the Head of Middle School


Welcome to 2018

A big welcome to our new students and of course Year 7. It was excellent to see them being lead into the Cathedral by Mr Hasler at today’s assembly. I am confident that the students have what they need to settle in well and establish a sound foothold in their secondary studies. I encourage all parents, carers and students to contact their teacher or tutor whenever they have questions. Getting things set up properly early in the year can make things much easier later on.

During the holidays, my family and I went to see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (J. Kasdan 2017). This was a highlight of the break as we enjoyed some of the funny moments and discussed some of the topics. It was also obvious that the film contained themes and messages that were pertinent for many Middle School students. One of the clear concepts that run throughout the film is our desire to fulfil a goal. In the film, the characters had a very clear objective, which was to reach the end of the game so they could return to their normal lives.

Many adolescents would like to ‘do better’ in a number of areas. However, they do not necessarily know what that would mean for them. Part of our role as educators and parents is to help them identify, pursue and measure reasonable goals. It is also important that we take the time to celebrate with the students as they achieve their individual objectives.

Earlier this week students in Years 8-11 began the year by setting measurable and realistic academic goals with their tutor. These goals form part of their Growth Learning Plan, which is linked to the Data Dashboard. This program enables students to view a graphic representation of their progress in relation to their goals. I hope that as the year progresses, students gain satisfaction and motivation from seeing how small achievements can lead to significant growth.

Over the next few weeks, I am hoping to meet most parents at the information evenings. We are intending to keep the presentations short and leave plenty of time for parents to meet one another and ask staff specific questions.

Mr John Partington
Head of Middle School


Key dates


Thursday 8 February – Year 8 Parent Welcome, Heath Centre, SAH

Thursday 15 February – Year 9 Parent Welcome, Heath Centre, SAH

Tuesday 20 February – P&F General Meeting (Wine and Cheese Night)

Wednesday 21 February – Secondary Swimming Carnival

Tuesday 13 March – P&F General Meeting

Saturday 17 March – Kirrikee Picnic Day

Thursday 22 March – Level 4 Opening, SAH

Sunday 25 March – Choir Sunday

Thursday 29 March – Monday 2 April – School closed (Easter weekend)

Friday 13 April – Term 1 concludes


Parent seminar on resilience – Dr Tanveer Ahmed


Resilience – a growing problem with youth in Australia

All parents want their children to be resilient in order to cope with the inevitable hardships of life. However, many commentators note a declining level of resilience among the young people of our nation. How can parents best help their children in this important area? The school has engaged Dr Tanveer Ahmed, a well-known psychiatrist and journalist, who has recently published a book Fragile Nation, on this very matter. Dr Ahmed will run a seminar for parents on Wednesday 28 February from 6pm. This is open to parents with children from Kindergarten to Year 12 and will be conducted in the Heath Centre, Level 5, St Andrew’s House.

In order to assist with the appropriate provision of furniture and catering, please indicate your intention to come by clicking through the TryBooking link:

We believe this is an important meeting for the welfare of our young people.

Dr John Collier
Head of School


Study skills


Guidelines for Goal Setting

Once you start setting your goals for the year, compare them to the checklist below to make sure they are SMARTIES.

  • Specific: Make goals as detailed and specific as possible. Don’t make broad wishy-washy goals like ‘I want to do better in Maths’, make them very detailed and specific. Exactly what do you want to achieve?
  • Measurable: You want to be able to know when you have achieved your goal, so make sure there is some way to measure your success.
  • Action-oriented: Your short-term goals should really be the action steps you need to take to achieve the medium and longer term goals.
    (Another version of SMARTIES has Aspirational instead of action-oriented, i.e. your goals should inspire you and stretch and challenge you beyond your comfort level.)
  • Relevant and realistic: Goals change, so if your goal is no longer relevant, you need to change it too. Although your goals should stretch you beyond your comfort zone, they need to be in some sense realistic. Create challenging goals by all means, but not totally unrealistic ones.
  • Time-based: Your goals need to have a ‘to complete by’ date to give you something to aim for.
  • Interesting: Make your goals about things that you find interesting and worthwhile.
  • Emotional: Use powerful language to express the emotion behind the goals.
  • Success oriented: Express your goals in a positive and success focused way.

You and your parents can learn more about how to achieve your academic goals at by logging in with the details below and working through some of the units.

School Login UserName:     standrews
School Login Password:     163results


What is the MYP anyway?


Welcome to a new academic year at SACS. As parents of Middle School students, you would know they are taking part in the IB MYP, (International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme). Those who are Years 8 and 9 now understand much of what that means but for those students coming into Year 7 and for parents it can seem quite confusing. 

This programme is exploding all over the world as it is seen as a programme which is not only based on research but has proven itself in schools in countries everywhere. Unlike the IB Diploma Programme, it is not separate from NESA (previously known as BOSTES) but uses the curriculum provided by NSW and the Australian Curriculum. Rather, the MYP is a framework for teaching and learning that is internationally benchmarked to ensure high standards of teaching and assessment.

To keep you informed of the MYP, I will be writing regular articles in the newsletter as well as holding breakfasts and afternoons which will be repeated so that parents can come and learn more about what the MYP and the assessment, which is quite different. I spoke to all Year 7 students in the first week to explain a little about the programme and I will continue to meet with them to help guide them.

We very much look forward to working with you this year.

Mrs Kate Layhe
Director of Learning (Middle School)


Performing Arts @ SACS


Welcome back to 2018! I look forward to welcoming many students, parents and friends to our Performing Arts events this year, all of which are looking very exciting and bound to inspire our school community. What follows are some reminders and general information to help your child be involved in serving through our Performing Arts programs in 2018.


Music @ SACS

Music Ensembles start in Week 2 – enrolments still open!

Music Ensemble enrolment is still open and the links to enrol your child in an ensemble can be found on SACS CONNECT under Music – Ensembles. All students 7-12 must enrol, even if they were a member of an ensemble in 2017. The rehearsal schedule can also be found here: SACS CONNECT

Individual Music Lessons

Similarly, we are still taking enrolments for individual music tuition on an instrument or voice. Please find the relevant form and information here: SACS CONNECT

Instrumental Information and Try-out night

If your child would like to explore the possibility of learning an instrument at SACS, we have an Instrument Information and Try-out night on Monday 12 February from 5.30-7pm in the Fairfax Room on level 8 of SAH. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Dr Christian Watson
Director of Performing Arts


Dance and Drama @ SACS

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – 10 Weeks to go!

We are busily preparing for 2018’s Major Drama Production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Students have been rehearsing for this performance throughout Term 4 of 2017, and we are making excellent progress. Our ensemble cast of students from Years 9 to 12 are very excited to present their work from April 4-7, which will be performed in the Monkey Baa Theatre in Darling Harbour. Our production presents a modern twist on the classic play, set in 1979 Sydney. This play features live music, dance and, of course, an abundance of comedy to keep you entertained. Ticket information will be available soon. Don’t miss your opportunity to see this fantastic production!

Theatresports kicks off!

After an outstanding year of Theatresports in 2017, (did I mention that we won the Grand Final for both the state Intermediate and Senior divisions?), we are looking forward to starting these clubs up again for another great year of improvisation. There are three age categories in the Senior School that train in the Drama Centre, room S540, from 3.30-5pm:

  • Juniors, (Year 7-8) on Thursday,
  • Intermediates, (Year 9-10) on Monday, and
  • Seniors, (Year 11-12) on Tuesdays.

Training sessions will commence in Week 3, from 12 February. These clubs are open to anyone interested – no prior experience is necessary. Please come out and join the fun!

Year 7 Drama Club – Monday 3.30-4.30pm

We are excited to once again offer the Year 7 Drama Club at SACS in 2018. The club meets every Monday from 3.30-4.30pm, in the Black Box Theatre on the Ground floor of the BBC Building. Here students will develop their performance skills, character development, and devising abilities. The club culminates in a public performance of devised works in Term 4 in the Black Box Theatre, where students can show off their abilities to parents and friends. The Drama Club is open to anyone who is interested – no prior training is needed. It is a great way to meet some new friends and develop new skills in Year 7.

The Year 7 Drama Club will hold its first meeting in Week 4: Monday 19 February at 3.30pm in the Black Box. We hope to see you there!

Mr Ryan Desaulnier
Leader of Learning – Dance and Drama


Sport news


Welcome to 2018! We are looking forward to another exciting and successful year in sport.

Weekend highlights – Saturday 3 February, 2018

In Basketball, the Junior Girls pulled off two wins on the weekend, first taking down Oxley in a tight match 18-16, then going on to defeat Chevalier in a dominating win to cap a great day. The Inters also got an important win as they look to secure a semi-final spot, whilst the 2nds Girls went down in a nail biter 21-19. The 1sts Girls held on to their lead right to the very end with a 27-24 win over Oxley.

Boys basketball was split across two locations on Saturday. The 13Bs took part in a fantastic match in which they led the entire match, however, went down narrowly at the end. Despite the disappointment of losing, the boys handled themselves very well and did the school proud. It was great to see some improvements in the boys that attended the recent school camp.

In the afternoon at Sydney University, there were two results that particularly stood out. The 14As had a thrilling regulation game and in overtime, went to the golden bucket, with Tony Chen scoring the winning basket in what was an absolute thriller. Later, the firsts displayed their best performance of the season coming out with fantastic intensity to lead throughout the game for a great win. Again, it was fantastic to see the hard work of the boys and coaches from the camp showing dividends on the weekend.


Message from the Registrar


Dear SACS Community,

I am delighted to announce that we started Day 1 2018 with 1282 students. This is just some of the highlights:

  • Biggest ever Kindy group
  • Biggest ever number in Junior School
  • Biggest ever number in Gawura School
  • Biggest ever Year 7
  • Largest ever number of girls in Year 7
  • Largest enrolment in SACS History

Now onto 2019. Just a reminder that it is essential to make sure you have applied for your younger children. We do prioritise siblings but they do need to be on the waitlist first. In particular, if you have another child and you are looking at 2019 enrolment, we really need an application soon.

Similarly, if you have any friends or colleagues who are interested, please direct them to the website and pass on my contact details.

Also a reminder that we do require, as part of the enrolment terms and conditions, 10 school weeks’ notice of withdrawal.

Have a wonderful 2018.

Bruce Perry
02 9286 9507


Mathematics Homework Help


Thursdays – 3.30-4.30pm

For many years the Mathematics Department has run “Homework Help” for Years 7-12 for two afternoons each week of term.

Essentially this required students to bring homework or study materials, to work independently and receive support and assistance from the teacher as required.

In 2018 this model will continue on Thursday afternoons 3.30pm to 4.40pm in room B302.

On Tuesday afternoons the Mathematics Department will provide more targeted and structured support. A program will be distributed through the newsletters each term and the focus will be on skills that commonly cause difficulties for students, affecting their progress. A guide will be provided to indicate the Year Groups for which each session will be most relevant.

Term 1 Tuesday Focus for Years 9-10 – 3.30-4.30pm

Given the Minimum Literacy and Numeracy requirements now in place and affecting students from their Year 9 NAPLAN, Term 1 will focus on Numeracy. These sessions will include practising questions, teaching of numeracy skills and exam techniques. Students should come equipped with calculators, pens, paper and iPads.

These sessions will run from 3.30pm until 4.30pm on the northern end of level 5 of St Andrew’s House and will be relevant to Year 9 and those Year 10 students who are yet to meet the Minimum Standard in Numeracy.

The first session will be on Tuesday 6 February. There is no need to book. Students will be asked to sign in.

Peter Tompkins
Leader of Learning (Mathematics)


SACS Convenors for 2018


We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to be our convenors for 2018

The convenors at St Andrew’s Cathedral School (SACS) play a vital role in providing opportunities for parents to meet, develop friendships and link with other families in their year group. Under the umbrella of the Association of Parents and Friends (P&F), convenors take on the role of fostering a greater sense of community. Many convenors in the past have found this role a very rewarding experience and one that creates life-long friendships with other families.

What is a convenor?

A convenor is a parent volunteer who aims to build closer communication with the school and between parents in their year group and class. Convenors act as a liaison with their year/class group cohort, the P&F and the school.

Who can be a convenor?

Any parent at SACS. We encourage 2-3 for each year group 7-12, and for each class in K-6.

What is the role of a convenor?

Convenors work together to:

  • Welcome families in your class or year group
  • Enable parents in your cohort to get to know each other
  • Arrange simple and fun social/connecting occasions
  • Enhance communication between parents, the P&F and the school
  • Support P&F friendraising and fundraising activities
  • Attend P&F meetings whenever possible.

How do I become a convenor?

Please email the following details to eventsp&

  • First and last name
  • Preferred email address
  • Class or year group that you would like to represent

Please note by agreeing to be a convenor, you are giving permission for your email address to be sent to other convenors for the purpose of coordinating your year group, and for your name to be added to the convenors page on the school website.

Lyn Jarvis
Director of Community Relations


WWC Procedures


Volunteer work assists us in providing an extensive and rich educational program here at school. We are extremely grateful for the dedication of our volunteers and their selfless acts of commitment to assist our school in so many ways. From late 2017, it has been a requirement at SACS that all volunteers have a Working with Children check. This is at no cost to the volunteer and lasts for five years. The procedure can be done online, with a quick visit to Services NSW (formerly called RTA). All volunteers including members of the P&F are requested to email their WWC number to and include their full date of birth in the email so their number can be verified. This step is essential as the number given by Services NSW is valueless until verified by the school.

The SACS Volunteer Fact Sheet is available on our website. We request all volunteers read the fact sheet. It includes important information such as: workplace health and safety; sign-in procedures; use of facilities; child protection; emergency evacuation procedures, food handling, insurance and reporting responsibilities.

We are tremendously grateful to have the support of so many parent volunteers at SACS. Your contribution to the school is immeasurable.

Lyn Jarvis
Director of Community Relations


Volunteers needed for exam support


Join our Volunteer exam team!

Support our students with disabilities, Year 10, 11, and 12 Exams and HSC.

Our SACS Specialised Learning team is always seeking parents to volunteer their time to act as a Reader or Writer for our Senior College exams throughout the year.

Here at SACS we are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated “Army” of exam volunteers made up of parent volunteers from Years K-12, however as our SACS families say goodbye in Year 12 we need to replenish the support team with additional volunteers.  

As a Parent and Caregiver, this is a great opportunity for you to be part of the SACS school community. By assisting in examinations as a Reader or Writer, you will also become familiarised with the curriculum and gain a greater understanding of student learning. You will also get to know fellow SACS parents in a positive and caring environment.

To be part of the exam team, you only need to be a capable writer and a good speller.

The Board of Studies lists the qualities that a Reader/Writer should have:

  • A facility for English
  • Clear, legible handwriting
  • Sensitivity to the student’s special needs
  • Patience
  • An understanding of maintaining confidentiality.

Student support is needed for exams during the examination periods outlined below:

  • Year 12 Semester 1 Exams:
    Tuesday 6 March – Friday 16 March 2018
  • Year 11 Prelim:
    Monday 7 May – Friday 11 May 2018
  • Year 10 Semester 1 Exams:
    Monday 21 May – Friday 25 May 2018
  • Year 12 HSC Trials:
    Monday 6 August – Friday 17 August 2018
  • Year 11 HSC Prelim:
    Monday 3 September  – Thursday 13 September 2018
  • HSC:
    Monday 18 October – Friday 9 November 2018
  • Year 10 Term 4 Exams:
    Monday 5 November – Friday 9 November 2018

Your support would be greatly appreciated at any time. You do not have to be available for all of the above dates, you may choose which exams suit your timetable and interest.  
If you think you would like to join us and assist our students during their exams please contact Annie Grennell on 9286 9605 or and leave your contact details.   

Come and help make a difference in our students’ lives as they prepare for their exams and the HSC.

Annie Grennell
Specialised Learning Admin Aide

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