Click to view this email online


In this issue

How should parents act when their child has a problem at school?
Key dates
Update from the Deputy Head (Secondary)
Mock Trial success!
Performing Arts @ SACS
Sport news
2019 IB Diploma information night
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness session
Parent Seminar with Mr John Anderson
Junior School and Gawura Grandparents' Day
Secondary School Grandparents' Day
World Cup football family fun night
The Next Chapter
Become an exam volunteer!

How should parents act when their child has a problem at school?


Most parents will recall the beat of the song (was it from the 80s?) “Don’t worry, be happy”. The lyrics were amongst the most vacuous I have heard. Nonetheless, to a degree, I commend the message to you. How and why? You will see below.

In my 28 years (so far) as a Head of School, I have noticed a considerable increase in parental anxiety. This may reflect increasing anxiety in society generally. It also seems to indicate a forensic focus on the present, often without the perspective of the long view. 

As parents, we tend to react when we perceive our child is threatened. This seems to bring forth a reptilian kind of defensive response. Recently I read of a hippopotamus in a river in Africa, which, seeing a crocodile move towards her offspring, bit its head off! Sometimes as parents we can be a bit like that. 

The culture at SACS has always been one of gracious engagement. For a minority of parents, this tone seems to be in decline. I am having to interact with too many parents who have verbally abused, physically threatened or shouted at a staff member. People who do this should engage in some role reversal: if someone behaved in this way towards you, would it be helpful and would it motivate you to assist them? Parents need to ask other questions as well, such as: “Is my child’s view of the universe entirely correct, or is it partial or jaundiced in some way?” “Are my expectations reasonable in a school?” “Does my child have the maturity to be able to appraise this situation in all its dimensions?” “Is the issue worthy of this level of hostility?” “Should my child be able to manage this himself or herself as a learning experience?” 

A couple of years ago, a Middle School parent said to me that he knew the thirteen staff members who had observed his daughter committing an offence were all lying, as his daughter said she was innocent. It is very hard to make progress with this level of unreality. 

Recently, a Middle School parent said to me that as her daughter had done poorly in her test, her life was actually over!  Actually, it wasn’t. Often, frustratingly to parents, children do not peak until Senior College. Some really don’t get going until tertiary study. We need to avoid living vicariously through our children. They will march off to the beat of a different drum. 

My advice to parents who work themselves into a state of high anxiety over single incidents, or even sets of incidents, is to take a step back and look at the long view. Parents who regularly place this stress upon themselves will be nervous wrecks by the end of Year 12! Moreover, they often inadvertently pass on this stress to their children, so worsening rather than improving the problem. 

Most commonly, this level of angst occurs in the early stages of Middle School with the oldest child in the family. Often this appears to be because parents have not understood that High Schools are different from Junior Schools in the level of responsiveness teachers can make. While a Junior School teacher, with 14 to 22 students, may be able to interact with parents by phone or email really frequently, high school teachers with up to six classes and 150 students, often sophisticated content material to master for senior years and very extensive marking of lengthy pieces, cannot do that. No high school pretends to be a tutoring service, but in fact, deals with large classes of students.

I recommend the advice of the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, to parents and staff: "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" – Colossians 4:6. Mutual respect and calm interchange is always the best. Rather than a fiery contact, a good opening could be “my child says ... do you think that is accurate?” Or “I think we may have a problem here, can you please assist in resolving it?” 

I am aware some parents, because they are paying fees, see the relationship with teachers as a master/servant relationship, such that they are entitled to make extravagant demands. Even in a mercenary sense, this is hardly true. Two parents would be contributing around 2/1300ths of that part of the teacher’s salary which is funded by parents (a small part is funded by the government), and that is hardly a sufficient commercial relationship to prescribe how teachers act! In pragmatic terms, that is, what works, the relationship between parents and teachers is best seen not as a commercial transaction, but as a partnership where both combine together for the good of the child. 

I have a responsibility not only for the education of children, but under workplace health and safety legislation, to maintain a safe workplace for staff. I am very displeased at the current level of agitation from a minority of parents. If necessary, I will instruct staff not to answer their phone calls or emails, and if necessary, I will assert my authority under the Inclosed Lands Act to ban them from entering the premises. Last year, I used this authority to terminate an enrolment where the relationship with the parents had entirely collapsed as they were in effect bullying staff on a daily basis. 

I have chosen to draw this matter to the attention of all parents as the frequency of incidents of unrestrained behaviour appears to be increasing. While some schools may regard that as normal, it has never been the case here and will not be acceptable at SACS. I take it this drift is part of a general decline in civility in society, and needs to be called out. We want to be better than any kind of basic common denominator.

While some may not appreciate these remarks, my nature is to be forthright and transparent, and I am confident enough that the great majority of parents, who are always delightful in their interactions and very appreciative of staff, will approve. This is because they want their children’s teachers to be able to teach well at an optimal level and not be stressed by aggression, usually misplaced and misconstrued, by a small minority. Where substantial and substantive issues actually exist, they can normally be resolved by a courteous, calm interchange. Where necessary, the situation can be formalised through the school’s Grievance Policy. 

My experience is that some parents who are highly stressed and highly accusative eventually leave the school, seeking greener pastures. In fact, in such cases, there is clearly not going to be any school which will ever satisfy them or meet their extravagant expectations. Unfortunately some will follow the pattern of moving every year or two, unreasonably dissatisfied, searching for perfection they will never find, and actually, in uprooting their children, impeding their school performance. They are like the subject of Australia Poet Bruce Dawe’s poem, Drifters “she won’t even ask why they’re leaving this time, or where they’re headed for; she’ll only remember how, when they came here…”

It is far better to work in the real world instead of a projected ideal and aim to achieve the best of what is always going to be a human situation despite the foibles of people. These people with foibles are also known as children, teachers and parents.

As our children would say to us: “Chill!”

Dr John Collier
Head of School

"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" – Colossians 4:6


Download the Parent Communication and Visiting Policy here

     .Back to top    

Key dates


Wednesday 6 June: Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training

Thursday 7 June: SACS Factor Final

Friday 8 June: Junior School and Gawura Grandparents' Day

Monday 11 June: Queen's Birthday Public Holiday

Wednesday 13 June: Parent seminar with Mr John Anderson – Can democracy survive in Australia?

Friday 15 June: Secondary School Grandparents' Day

Saturday 16 June: World Cup Football Fundraiser

Tuesday 19 June: IB 2019 Information Evening

Thursday 21 June: Parents Prayer Meeting, 7.30-8.15am OR 1-2pm

Wednesday 27 June: Showcase

Friday 29 June: Gala Day

Friday 29 June: Term 2 concludes

     .Back to top    

Update from the Deputy Head (Secondary)


Gratitude, Courage and Caring

On the weekend, I try to get out of an early morning and capture a picture of the sunrise. I wake up well before dawn, drive out to the coast and scout around for the perfect spot before the sun starts to rise. When I find the right composition and set up my camera, I wait as the sky begins to change colour. I take in the sound of the ocean, the smell of the salt and the feel of the cold ocean air. Finally, when the time is just right, I capture the moment. Sounds peaceful, and generally it is.

However, last Sunday morning when I went out to Little Bay to take this photo, I was standing on a rock in the middle of a pool of water, precariously balanced with my camera and tripod. I had just taken this photo when the clouds opened and poured rain on top of me. I grabbed my gear, jumped off the rock, and got out of there!


When I look at this picture, it doesn’t capture the frantic sensation of me running through the rock pool, getting soaked. Instead it reminds me of the peaceful moment when I took the shot. This is the moment I savour and am grateful for.

Schools are full of special moments, caught between times of busy activity.

One such special moment was last week’s Secondary School assembly when Mrs Mestre shared her story with the school community of her battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Afterwards, many students spoke to Mrs Mestre and expressed their gratitude for sharing her story.

Mrs Mestre’s address was in response to the amazing efforts from our Year 11IB students who participated in the MS 24 hour Mega Swim at Sydney Olympic Pool on 19 – 20 May. My great thanks to Mrs Mestre for sharing her story, the students who took part, their parents and Mr Gardiner, Mrs Munro and Mr Lindsay who helped with supervision. The students raised $17,000 Multiple Sclerosis research, which is amazing!

The courage of Mrs Mestre and the care shown by our students provided a special moment on assembly. It was truly memorable and we are very grateful.


2019 Musical announcement

The Secondary School Musical for 2019 was announced on assembly last week. It will be Fiddler on the Roof! This famous Broadway musical provides many opportunities for ensemble performances, dancing, acting and singing. It has many strong male and female characters, especially the father Tevye who battles against his three very strong-willed daughters as well as the oppressive Tsar. The director is Mr Desaulnier and the music director is Mrs Macaulay. Auditions will begin next term and we look forward to another very exciting musical.

Mr Brad Swibel
Deputy Head of School (Secondary)


Mock Trial success!


On Thursday 31 May we participated in round of three of Mock Trial. The team was tasked with defending an accused thief. Scots College proved to be worthy opponents and there was lively debate and discussion. Jarrod Mills made a commendable effort as court officer. Seleukos Sofianidis and Matthew Sgroi-Smith both showed impressive nerves and great preparation skills as barristers. Both objected and argued their cases with finesse. The witnesses, Claire Brownlie and Cameron Ryan, played their parts perfectly and held their nerves during tough cross-examinations. Eliza Pascoe, the solicitor, guided the barristers throughout the trial, providing invaluable assistance to them. The enormous effort from all team members led to a triumph in the case. Thanks to Ms Chan for providing the team with guidance throughout the preparation for the trial.

– Seleukos Sofianidis (Year 11)


Performing Arts @ SACS




Showcase is spectacular. Each year the audience is spellbound by the talent, the quality, the emotion and the brilliance that our students bring to their performances. SACS has one of the most exciting musical and drama programs of any school, and this is our opportunity to show that to you. Located in beautiful Town Hall, our theme this year is Hope, and the program is exciting, original and inspiring.

We can’t wait to Showcase our fabulous performers of 2018.

Last year Showcase was sold out.

  • Date: Wednesday 27 June 2018
  • Time: Doors open 6pm | Big Band Concert 6.40pm | Showcase commences 7pm
  • Venue: Sydney Town Hall, George Street, Sydney
  • Tickets: Adult $40 | Student/Child $25 | Family $110
  • Bookings:

Programs will be available on the night for a gold coin donation. Proceeds from Showcase Programs will be allocated to raising funds for the next chapter of Performing Arts at SACS.


Book now:


Invitation to be part of the Community Choir at Showcase! All welcome – please sign up today!

We are currently welcoming back to SACS Old Andreans and SACS community members to join the Music Department to sing at our Showcase on 27 June. Excitingly, the theme of this concert is “Hopeful” and is a musical performing opportunity not to be missed!
To be part of this exciting Showcase, please email Ms Martel Green on and please give your best contact email; your connection with the school (For example OA1996) and what part you would like to sing with the choir (if known). Music/ recordings for the TWO evening rehearsals (12 and 19 June) and further details will be emailed back to you. We look forward to joining together in magnificent song. (Repertoire: Hope for Resolution by Sean Ivory and Paul Caldwell and Deus in Adjutorium by Claudio Monteverdi.) After each rehearsal, we will be providing light refreshments for all community singers as a small ‘thank you’ for joining us at rehearsal.

I look forward to singing with you at Showcase,

Email: to sign up for Community Choir

Kirsten Macaulay (Community Choir Coordinator)
Director of Teaching


Dance and Drama @ SACS

‘Stolen’ Excursion

On Tuesday, May 29th, Year 11, 12 and 11 IB students visited the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta to see a production of the play ‘Stolen’ by Jane Harrison. This highly engaging and at times confronting Aboriginal play follows the lives of 5 children who were forcibly removed from their families as part of the Stolen Generations. This play is studied by Year 12 HSC Drama students, so having the opportunity to see a live production will be a great advantage to their understanding of the play, and their ability to write about it in their HSC written exams. As always, the behaviour of the SACS students in the theatre was exemplary!



We are entering the semi-finals stage of the Theatresports competition, with both the Senior and Intermediate teams competing for a shot at the Grand Final at the Enmore Theatre on June 17. The Seniors are competing at Sydney Grammar School on Wednesday 6 June at 7pm, and the Intermediates have their semi-finals in our own Black Box Theatre on Friday 8 June, also at 7pm. Both teams would love your support and some SACS pride at these events. Please come out and cheer them on!

Ryan Desaulnier
Leader of Learning - Dance and Drama


Sport news


Weekend Sports Reports and Highlights


Hoping to bounce back after a tough loss against Redlands last week, the firsts found themselves in a close game once again, versing Central Coast at home. Unfortunately, we ended up on the losing side of a 2-1 score, but this should not take away from the great effort that was put in by the firsts. The seconds played a very close match against Redlands with great tenacity. They were unlucky to lose 2-1.

Mountain Biking

The Mountain Bike Team trained at Hornsby last Saturday. This included some short races, general riding and practising skills. The photo shows Leo Molloy setting starting on a run over the jumps course.


These boys just keep getting better. A really good game against a really strong team. Our set defence was excellent and our attack was great, everyone wanted to get in and have a go which is a real pleasure to coach. We need to do a bit of passing work however and our fitness is not the best, this will come in time. Great effort boys


The cold and windy conditions on Saturday made games more challenging this week against Oakhill. There were a number of close sets, with our students just falling short of a win 6-5 in their singles matches. Our students continue to improve each week and I’m looking forward to a strong second half of the season following the long weekend. Congratulations to our Division 8 and 10 team who both secured wins this week.


ISA news

ISA Touch Football Trials

ISA Touch Football trials were held at Barker College, Hornsby last Friday. This is a gala day where the students play in a tournament and are then selected into an ISA Touch Football team based on their performance throughout the day. The fantastic news is that we got a number of kids into the ISA Touch Football team! The students are:

ISA U/15 Girls' Team

  • Scout Hollyman
  • Alyssa Palmer
  • Lillian Knox
  • Jade Lee
  • Gladys Turner
  • Keshia van Wachem (shadow)

ISA U/15 Boys' Team

  • Jai Saksena

ISA Open Boys' Team

  • Peter Karantzias

This is a great result for these students and a reflection of the Touch Football program that is growing here at St Andrew’s!

ISA Cross Country

The ISA Cross Country Carnival was held last Wednesday at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre. It was a great day out and we were lucky to have perfect race conditions for the students to compete in. We took a small but proud team to the day who all represented the school well and supported one another in their events. The team results were as follows:

  • Junior Girls - 7th place
  • Junior Boys - 8th place
  • Intermediate Girls - 8th place
  • Intermediate Boys - 14th place
  • Senior Girls - 10th place
  • Senior Boys- 7th place
  • Overall Girls - 8th place
  • Overall Boys - 11th place

We also had some outstanding individual performances today which has led to some of our team being selected into the ISA Cross Country Team at the upcoming CIS Carnival. These students are:

  • Scott Hollyman - 7th place
  • Darcy Howland-Rose - 9th place
  • Bronte Jackson - 2nd place
  • Campbell Patton - 10th place
  • Matthew Segaert - 5th place
  • Aspen Sneesby - 7th place
  • Gladys Turner - 3rd place
  • Callum Knox - 10th place
     .Back to top    

2019 IB Diploma information night


Offering students a broad range of learning skills and subject areas, the IB Diploma Programme provides a truly international curriculum that is taught in 150 countries worldwide. Come along and find out everything you need to know about the IB, including:

  • Who is suited to studying the IB Diploma;
  • Subject choices and what students learn;
  • How IB assessment works; and
  • How to be a successful IB learner and what it means to part of a global community of learners.

Our current IB students, teachers and IB graduates will also share their IB experiences.

Any interested students and their parents are welcome to join us.


Book now:


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness session


You’re invited to an experience not to be missed - our inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness session conducted by Mirri Mirri in the Heath Centre of St Andrew’s Cathedral School. The session will be conveniently run after school, on Wednesday June 6, from 3.15 to 4.45pm on Level 5.

Mirri Mirri is an Aboriginal owned company helping all Australians improve their understanding and awareness of our Indigenous cultures. They will guide us through traditional dance, music and spirituality, within Indigenous culture. The session will be both interactive and educational and show the connection with aboriginal people and land.

Lendlease, our new corporate partner, is providing funding for this initiative so the session will be free for you and the family.

While parents can attend individually, we highly recommend you bring along your children so you can learn and enjoy the experience together.

Please RSVP via try booking and you will have the opportunity to win a free family pass to Taronga Zoo!

Set up in 2007 by St Andrew's Cathedral School, Gawura is committed to providing a culturally enriching, quality education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from around Sydney. Gawura recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary and has seen 13 students graduate from the program. As well as providing a culturally enriching environment for our students, we are also committed to providing Indigenous cultural awareness to our whole school community.


Book now:


Parent Seminar with Mr John Anderson


The former Deputy Prime Minister will present on the topic: Can democracy survive in Australia?

Details of the event:

  • When: Wednesday 13 June, 6pm
  • Where: Heath Centre, Level 5 SAH

Mr John Anderson AO spent two decades in Australian Parliament, serving as s senior Cabinet minister from 1996 to 2005. He was known for his integrity, strong family values and contribution to regional communities. Since his return to rural Gunnedah and farming, he is often sought out for his commentary on civic freedoms, current affairs, public policy and freedom of speech and is a highly regarded note speaker.


Book now:


Junior School and Gawura Grandparents' Day


Timetable and information for the day

9.15am – 10.15am Welcome service in the Cathedral
10.25am – 11am Morning Tea provided by the P&F Association in the Heath Centre, Level 5 St Andrew’s House.
11am – 11.10am Term slide show and thanks to the P&F
11.15am – 11.45am Begin to move to Levels 7 and 6
11.45am – 12pm Conclusion of the day’s activities – you may take your grandchildren out to lunch - Children returning to school must be back by 2.45pm OR you can take them home for early departure.

Mobility concerns:

If you have mobility concerns please refer to the Student Leaders who will be at the rear of the Cathedral to offer you assistance.

Toilet facilities:

Toilet facilities are located downstairs in the Cathedral lower Chapter House to the right of the main entrance to the Cathedral on the southern side. In the School facilities are located in St Andrew’s House behind Reception on the ground floor in the MAIN SCHOOL FOYER next to the Library. There are additional toilets located onLevel 5, accessible by lift.

Signing out:

Please ensure you sign your children out at the table located near to Reception in Junior School on Level 7.

Car Parking Information:

Patrons may have their parking ticket validated at SAH Reception.


Secondary School Grandparents' Day


Request parent volunteers for Secondary School Grandparents Day

As in previous years, the school in conjunction with the P&F, is hosting a Grandparent’s Day for grandparents of students in years 7-12 Friday, 15 June.

The event consists of three elements:

  1. Morning service in the Cathedral, hosted by the school, from 9:15am to 10:15am
  2. Morning tea provided in the Heath Centre on Level 5 for Middle School grandparents and in MCNA in the BBC on ground level for Senior College grandparents. Both morning teas are hosted by the P&F.
  3. School tour – children show their Grandparent’s around the school

We are looking for volunteers from Year 7 for the Middle School morning tea and year 11 for the Senior school morning tea.

Can you assist from 8.30-10am to set up the morning tea? Can you assist from 10am-12pm with serving tea and coffee and clearing away after the event?

If you are available to help in one or both times please sign up at: 

Middle School volunteer link GP Day:

Senior College volunteer link GP Day:

If you have any questions please email eventsp&


Book now:


World Cup football family fun night


Australia vs France – On Big Screens from 8pm

Join the P&F Football Sub-Committee for their World Cup Football Family Fun Night.

Kids will have entertainment between 6pm and 8pm and we encourage them to bring along some pillows/beanbags to be comfy to watch the game (adults will be at tables).

8pm kick-off with dinner before hand.

  • When: Saturday 16 June
  • Time: 6pm
  • Where: Heath Centre, Level 5 St Andrew’s House
  • Tickets: Adult $45 | Child $20


Drink and canapes on arrival, dinner 6pm-8pm and the game, live on multiple big screens and some fun for the kids; including FIFA games.

Drinks Packages:

  • Adults $20 – wine, beer, champagne
  • Child $5 – soft drinks/non-alcoholic drinks

Book now:


The Next Chapter


Become an exam volunteer!


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 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

     .Back to top