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In this issue

Message Stick Term 4, Week 4, 2021
Dates for your calendar
Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator
Heart Mind Life Uniform Awards
Library news
Parenting tips
Bebras challenge
Commonwealth Bank school banking update
The Many Faces of Dr Collier exhibition
Academic success in the Middle School - Parent Evening
Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao
Resources for COVID-19

Message Stick Term 4, Week 4, 2021


What a wonderful sight it was this morning to see all of our students return to school. For the majority of them it was their first time back in 14 weeks. There was a buzz in each of the classrooms and even on playground duty today seeing the children running, laughing and having fun was great testament as to how enriching it is to be back at school in person.

For our Yr 6 parents and any Middle School parents who are reading this I would like to recommend to you an online event happening on Thursday this week 28 October. Andrew Fuller is a superb speaker who I have seen several times in various conferences. He speaks beautifully to the space of academic (and social) success in the Middle School. There is an advert in the proceeding sections of this Message Stick. It will commence at 5:30pm this Thursday.

Please see information below re covid testing centres. There is a new vaccination centre on the site of the old Redfern Post Office (119 Redfern St, cnr George St, Redfern) who are offering walk ins and booked vaccinations for anyone who is 12 years and over as well as local GP’s and there is also a hub at Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital located just a few streets back from the main entrance in Mallet St, Camperdown. Please press this link for current information.

There is also a new Covid Testing Centre located at the Redfern Neighbourhood Centre in Hugo St. Please see attached inserts for full information details.

Have a safe and wonderful fortnight ahead.

John Ralph
Head of Gawura


Dates for your calendar


Monday 25 October: Return to School; Years 2-6

Wednesday 27 October, 6pm: The Many Faces of Dr Collier exhibtion (ONLINE)

Thursday 28 October, 5.30pm: Parent evening - Academic success in the Middle School (ONLINE)

Tuesday 9 November:2022 Kindergarten Orientation (ONLINE)

Tuesday 16 November: P&F AGM (ONLINE)

Friday 19 November, 7pm: Gala Dinner: Hats off to Dr Collier - Sold out - waitlist available (IN PERSON)

Thursday 2 December: End of Term 4 (all students)


Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator


Restoring digital health

Last week Mr Wu and I had the pleasure of hosting a parent seminar outlining some of the ways that parents can support their children in the transition back to face to face learning.  If this is a topic that interests you the recording of the session is available at: In the recording chat there is also a link to a summary handout which you may find helpful.

One of the themes which we addressed during the parent seminar was reestablishing digital routines and boundaries. Most households have routines about when children can use their digital devices, as well as boundaries about how long they can be used and what is permitted to be accessed. However, during the past months many of these routines and boundaries have had to be adjusted to allow for remote learning and for online connection with friends and family. As we start to transition back to more normal ways of engaging with one another it will be helpful to reestablish the digital household expectations.

While reading the newspaper last week I came across an interesting example which highlights the importance of this issue. It reported that children as young as 6 years were acting out scenes from the graphic television series, Squid Games, which is rated MA. Obviously, this is of concern and is an important reminder for us to check family settings on our devices and to monitor children’s online activities to support their digital and general wellbeing.

If you would like to find out more about supporting your child in healthy digital habits, some great resources can be found at: the following: LINK


Podcast: Please Explain! Vaccinations

Our own Archie M (Year 5) starred in the latest Please Explain! Podcast, produced by the Sydney Morning Herald.  The episode discussed the questions kids have about the Covid vaccine and if your children have questions you might like to have a listen and discuss it together, click the link here to listen. Great work Archie!!


Bronwyn Wake
JS and GS School Counsellor and Well Being Coordinator


Heart Mind Life Uniform Awards



Please click here for this weeks awardees.


Library news


After so many weeks away from school, there are bound to be some library books that have gone missing. Now is the time to start searching the house (and the garden) for all of your SACS Library books. Bring them back to school with you on your first day back so that you can start borrowing ASAP.

For the first few weeks back, the library will be offering a Click-&-Collect service for students in Years 4-6. Students in those grades will need to reserve the books they would like to borrow using the library catalogue. The books will then be delivered to classrooms on the usual library day. A mobile library will come to the classrooms of students in K-3.

While you have been at home, we have been busy stocking up on the latest and best new releases and we can’t wait to get these new books into kids’ hands! Hooray, we’re back!

Nicole Cotter
Coordinator Information and Digital Literacy – JS & GS


Parenting tips


This article, written back in June 2020 in Parenting Ideas blog, when we first experienced remote learning and then the return to school, is a valuable read for this year on our second return. Michael Grose addresses several important and key points to consider. Please take the time to read it through.


Returning to school anxiety free by Michael Grose


“Going back to school after the enforced COVID-19 break is a source of mixed emotions for many children and young people. Some students, who revel in face-to-face interactions, just can’t wait to reconnect with friends and teachers. Others who have appreciated the break from constantly being emotionally switched on when at school may be reticent to return.Regardless of how your child reacts there’s bound to be a level of anxiety attached to returning to school after such a long break.

Park your expectations
School undoubtedly will be a different experience for students post COVID-19. It may require you to adjust your expectations, particularly academically, so patience is definitely required. Education is a long game, so if you are worried about your child missing the educational beat, recognise that this experience has been a blip on the educational curve. It’s worth remembering that anxiety loves company. Park your expectations for a time, so your child won’t pick up your anxieties.

Understand that their anxiety is real
An anxious child desperately wants a parent to understand that they feel anxious and apprehensive. Even if, you can’t comprehend the impact that a return to school has on their state of mind and physiology, recognise that their anxiety is real. “Ah, I see you’re worried that you won’t know what to do when you go to school” is the type of response that an anxious child wants from a parent. Validating your child’s feelings will help them feel safe and secure, putting them in a good position to make a return to school. “Mum/dad know that I’m feeling nervous” is very reassuring for a child.

Prepare them
Worriers and anxious types in particular, like to know what’s ahead. Prepare your child for a return by discussing the safety procedures the school will be implementing. Let young children know that an adult won’t be accompanying them past the school gate. Ask your child what they are looking forward to and check in with how they are feeling about a return. Check in regularly with how they are feeling and correct any misconceptions.

Focus on reconnection
Make reconnection the theme for your child’s return to school. He or she will have to reconnect with friends, teachers and learning, which takes time. In all likelihood, your child’s teachers will use many strategies to help your child connect with their friends, reflect on their time at home and move them back into full-time learning mode. Support these activities and reassure your child that they’ll feel comfortable very soon with their school experience.

Stay off the roundabout for a while
This period will mirror the start of the school year when your child had to adjust to new teachers, different classmates and a new year level. Adjusting to change takes a great deal of personal energy, so your child or young person may become tired, grumpy, even moody at home. Make allowances for these personal changes and make sure they have plenty of free time to unwind after school to relax and play.

Take care of yourself
In recent months parents and teachers have been doing significant emotional labour. The learning and adjustment curves have been massive, with little time to relax and take a break. Consider your own emotional resources and make your wellbeing a priority, which will make it easier for you to stay calm if your child experiences difficulties.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many difficulties, requiring us all to quickly adapt to new situations. Flexibility is a prime characteristic of resilient people, so if nothing else, getting through these times will make us all more resilient."

Joy Rohrlach
Year 5 Leader


Bebras challenge


Congratulations to Frederick Beck in Year 4 who received a High Distinction in the CSIRO Bebras Australia Computational Thinking Challenge. Computational thinking is a problem solving process that includes a diverse range of dispositions. It involves the skills needed to think about how a computer might solve complex problems and create systems. Computational Thinking draws upon logical reasoning, algorithms, decomposition, abstraction and patterns. The skills assessed in the Bebras Challenge are highly sought after in the digital careers of the future. Below are some reflections from Frederick about the competition.

What did the competition involve?
There were lots of complicated questions. In one there was a song lyric diagram and we were challenged to make the diagram simpler but still get to the same outcome. Another tough question involved deciphering an alphanumeric code. It was fun to learn what the coded messages were.

Was your thinking challenged? In what ways?
Yes it was, especially the last few questions. The alpha numeric codes were confusing and required thinking about three different steps all at one time to figure out what it means. I’m not normally great at doing more than one thing at a time.

What did you learn about problem solving and/or computational thinking?
I learn that sometimes you need to do it again and check your work to make sure. It also helps to test the answer you get against the question. If it doesn’t make sense you try again.

Where there any real world connections you made in the competition?
Code breaking is a real thing and people who do work making computers safer for people to use them are called white hat hackers. I think this competition teaches some of the same skills.

Emma​ Clemens
Gifted and Talented Learning Coordinator ‑ JS & GS




P&F AGM - Tuesday 16th November (ONLINE)

This is your opportunity to join the friendly P&F Executive Committee for 2022. The Constitution states that all roles have to be made ‘vacant’, although some of our current members are happy to continue in their roles unless opposed.

There will be a number of vacancies as some existing members of the Exec stand down due to their children either leaving or heading into their final year of SACS.  We are specifically looking for a treasurer.

The AGM will be followed by the last General Meeting for the year.

The roles in the P&F are:


  • Act as a representative of the P&F
  • Establish good relationships with the school, parents and community
  • Plan and chair meetings in consultation with the Secretary and Committee
  • Follow up on actions from previous meetings and communicate decisions to all school community
  • Respond to correspondence and comments
  • Write P&F newsletter


  • Provide support to the President and Committee
  • Share duties and responsibilities as agreed
  • Attend all meetings


  • Provide Admin support to the President and P&F Executive Committee as needed
  • Create all meeting agendas
  • Take & distribute minutes at P&F meetings
  • Assist with the management of P&F Events


  • Maintain records of P&F finances, including receipts and expenditure
  • Present a financial report at each P&F meeting and a yearly report at the AGM
  • Arrange for an audited financial report for the AGM


  • Participate in all decision making at P&F meetings
  • Attend meetings and vote on issues at hand
  • Provide ongoing support to the committee
  • Help organise and run P&F events

You can also join the Exec without a specific role and will be able to add value through sharing new ideas and contributing to discussions. The nomination form can be found here and emailed through to the P&F (p& before Monday 15th November at 12pm.

Please feel free to contact me at p& should you require any further info or have any questions re the roles and what is involved.

Helen Carson
P&F President


Commonwealth Bank school banking update


An end to School Banking

The Commonwealth Bank School banking program had been providing a youth school banking program to our school. It has notified us that is has had to close, due to the NSW Government announcing a ban on banks delivering school banking programs. This decision was based on a recent report from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). As a result, the CommBank School Banking program will not be returning to any schools beyond 2021. Banking programs for children will now be reliant on families setting up individual accounts through their chosen bank.

We would like to express our thanks to Mrs. Larissa Magee who has so generously volunteered her time each week, in recent years, to so ably coordinate the youth school banking program at St Andrew’s Cathedral School, for so many of our students. We appreciate her service to our school families in such a tangible way.

Rhonda​ Robson
Deputy Head of School (Primary) / Director of Primary Education

Further information can be found in this article.


The Many Faces of Dr Collier exhibition


Join us online for our unique art exhibition

Join our unique online art exhibition: The Many Faces of Dr Collier as the school creates the White Hat Gallery for the occasion.

The P&F have commissioned a stunning portrait of Dr Collier by Archibald finalist Ann Cape which will be unveiled on the evening. You will also see incredible portraits of Dr Collier by our aspiring K-6 artists curated, displayed and discussed by Mrs Miriam Daly (we defy anyone to see them without smiling), enjoy the portrayal of Dr Collier by our Secondary School students in this year’s Gala Day banners, and hear just what it was like to ‘paint’ Dr Collier by the artist herself.

So prepare your sparkling wine or lemonade and be taken by our 2020/21 Drama Captain, Lucy Brownlie through this warm, fascinating and delightful exhibition of the Many Faces of Dr Collier.

Event details:
Date: Wednesday 27 October
Time: 6.00pm
Online: A link to join the exhibition will be made available on the website on Wednesday 27 October.


Academic success in the Middle School - Parent Evening


Online event

St Andrew’s Cathedral School provides specialised educational programs and opportunities that build academic rigour in students. We invite you to come and find out how best to support your student in Middle School.

Keynote Speaker Andrew Fuller will empower you to guide your child towards academic success. Andrew is a clinical psychologist, family therapist, author, speaker and creator of Learning Strengths™. He has helped over 3,500 schools and 500,000 young people in Australia, NZ, Asia and the UK.
He will cover a range of topics that are increasingly relevant to gifted and talented children including:
• Increasing engagement & motivation
• Building on Learning strengths
• Neuroscience of young adults’ learning
• The key skills that predict academic success (and how parents can develop these)
• One easy way to increase marks by 45 percentile points.

We encourage all current and prospective Middle School parents to join in.

The session will be followed by a Q&A panel, which will answer questions on the academic and gifted education program and wellbeing program at St Andrew’s Cathedral School.

Event details:
Date: Thursday 28 October
Time: 5.30pm
To register: click here


Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao


Wednesday and Friday appointments available

I would like to advise you that we have secured the services of a very generous doctor in the city who is willing to see our Gawura students and their families free of charge (he will bulk bill through Medicare) if the need arises.

Dr Shuo (Shore) Zhao is located at Level 1, 70 Pitt St, Sydney. You can book an appointment with him on any Wednesday and Friday morning between 8.00am – 12.00pm. The number of the practice is Ph: 02 9233 3399. We understand that many parents already have their own doctor that they use, possibly even through the Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) in Redfern but this is just another option for you to use if you choose to do so and one that is located in the city, near our school.


Resources for COVID-19


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