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In this issue

Message Stick – Term 3, Week 10
Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao
Year 6 Canberra Excursion
Parenting Tips - When things go awry at school.
Volunteer Readers Wanted!
Sport News
Library news
Andrean Writer and Artist of the Year
Heart Mind Life Awards
Uniform Requirements
Wiradjuri – parent and family workshop
Vacation Care

Message Stick – Term 3, Week 10


Last week Gawura received the NAPLAN results that our students completed way back in May and these were very encouraging indeed. Over 80% of all results achieved across Gawura students in Years 3 and 5 were in the middle 60% of students in Australia. In Year 5 writing, 75% of our Gawura student cohort achieved above national average. These results are fantastic and although there is room for improvement in some areas it does show that our Gawura school is indeed closing the gap in the educational outcomes our indigenous students are achieving in.

On Monday 10 September Year 6 went on an overnight excursion to our nations’ capital in Canberra where we visited the High Court, Questacon, the War Memorial and saw Parliament House in session. Kayliah and Torey had a wonderful time and completed some fantastic activities including the ‘free fall drop’ at Questacon.

Last Tuesday 18 September to Thursday 20 September our Stage 3 Gawura students (along with other indigenous students in the high school from Years 7-12) also attended the inaugural On Country Tour - this time to Wiradjuri nation. The first night was spent in Dubbo at Zoosnooze where our students camped by a billabong and went on a night safari. Students then completed early morning feeding rounds with the zookeeper and then we departed for Bathurst where the students learnt about indigenous totems, weaving, boomerang making and throwing and a truly incredible session on Aboriginal skylore. Our indigenous students were shown how their ancestors used the night sky to tell the season, when it was the right time for collecting emu eggs and even the exact location of the planet Jupiter every 12 years which marked the time when aboriginal children would become adults. The engagement and respect our indigenous students showed the Wiradjuri elders, who shared all this information with us, was simply wonderful. If you would like to read more about this excursion and see many more photos then please visit our website or Gawura Facebook page.

May you all have a safe and wonderful holiday ahead and just a reminder that Term 3 concludes this coming Thursday 27 September and will return on Monday 15 October.

Mr John Ralph
Head of Gawura



Want more photos?

For more pictures, please visit the Gawura Facebook page at


Dates for your calendar

Term 3:

Thursday 27 September: Mini Athletics Day K-2

Thursday 27 September: Term 3 concludes for Years K – 6 and Years 8, 9 and 10

Friday 28 September: Term 3 concludes for Years 7, 11 and 12

Friday 28 September – Friday 12 October: Camp Australia Vacation Care


Term 4:

Monday 15 October: Term 4 Commences for all students K-12

Wednesday 17 October: Year 4 Camp Kirrikee

Thursday 18 October: Year 3 Camp Kirrikee

Thursday 18 October: Year 6 into Year 7 day


Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao


Wednesday and Friday morning appointments offered to Gawura families

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 8am – 12pm. The number of the practice is 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.


Mr John Ralph
Head of Gawura


Year 6 Canberra Excursion


Last week Year 6 set off for Canberra. We had an amazing time visiting the High Court, Parliament House, Questacon and the War Memorial.

We weren’t fortunate enough to see the new Prime Minister but the fun and interest at Questacon was enough to make up for that!

The students were exceptionally behaved and we received many compliments about the students’ beautiful manners and kindness towards others.

The weather was amazingly warm and sunny. It was a wonderful two days of learning.

Joy Rohrlach
Stage 3 Leader


Parenting Tips - When things go awry at school.


As we approach the end of Term 3, issues seem to be arising almost daily! Students are exhausted and not making light of this, it is almost a full moon!

Despite our best efforts as teachers and parents, things do and will go awry at school. We have a lot of children interacting, on a daily basis, learning how to react and respond to each other in a myriad of experiences. This is true for all schools. As teachers we earnestly try to get it right and make sure all is ok. But of course we live in an imperfect world and that doesn't always happen. Children can make mistakes, particularly when tired. Children will often come home from school with grievances and call on their parents for assistance.

Your approach as a parent when your child has difficulty at school makes a huge difference to their resilience, and their future relationships with teachers and peers.

Michael Grose, an excellent parenting author, suggests six ways to help you deal with the situation if your child experiences a difficulty at school;

1. Stay calm and rational

It’s natural as a parent to protect, or defend your children, particularly when you think that they’ve come in for some unfair or poor treatment. But acting when you are full of emotion is not always helpful. Rather than getting on the phone straight away to organise a meeting at school, take your time to think through how you might assist your child. Your reaction is vital, if you react by escalating the issue with emotion, you are teaching them that if a problem occurs that is how you should react. It is much healthier to keep calm and positive and begin to seek solutions. What can your child perhaps learn from this to prevent it happening again?

2. Get all the facts

Once you’ve calmed down, then get the facts about the situation. Kids can be faulty observers and often only see one side of a story when there’s a problem with a fellow student, or even with a teacher. They sometimes can’t see that perhaps they may have contributed inadvertently to a dispute at school, or perhaps said something that may have upset another. It’s the job of parents to help their children process what happens in an incident, so that all the facts emerge and understand their place in any problem. Ask good questions to help the full story emerge.

3. Assess whether to seek more information from the teacher

Children, like adults, like to vent and will benefit from having told their side of a story to a trusted source. Often problems can be dealt with at home, simply by talking through an issue, and giving your child some common sense tips to help them cope.

If your child has a recurring problem that he/she cannot solve them self, or if you think adult intervention may be needed to sort out a relationship issue with a peer, then consider meeting with your child’s teacher or the Stage Leader.

4. Go through the right channels

Approach the school calmly, going through your child’s teacher. If you have already established a relationship with the teacher concerned, then it’s often easier to approach them directly.

5. Look for solutions rather than blame

Parent-Teacher meetings usually get nowhere when either party blames the other. State the problem as you see it and view your child’s teacher as an ally, not a foe. “I’m really worried about Jeremy. He’s been acting strangely lately and I need some help” is the type of approach that will elicit a helpful response. Talk about your concerns and keep the discussion focused firmly on what’s best for your child. Listen to your teacher’s viewpoint, valuing perhaps a different perspective.

6. Stay in touch

Be realistic with your expectations, remembering that some problems can’t be solved to your satisfaction, nor will they be resolved straight away. Be prepared to work alongside your child’s teacher over the long-term, which means you need to keep communicating with each other.

I think this all of this is valid and helpful advice. It is hard to be objective when our children are involved, but incredibly important to do so. They are very precious to us and we want to see problems resolved quickly and in their best interests. Re-read these six points they are worth taking time to think about and consider the actions they suggest.

From a teacher’s perspective, we have your child’s best interest at heart and we will always endeavour to work alongside you for the best solution possible, for you and most importantly, for your child.

Joy Rohrlach
Stage Three Leader


Volunteer Readers Wanted!


Parents, Carer’s and Grandparents, we need you! Our Gawura School is looking for volunteers to join our K-6 Morning Reading Program which runs from 8.50 to 9.20 am each weekday morning. Volunteers commit to one day per week for the school term and sit one on one, or in small groups to support students with their reading. Volunteers require a current Working with Children Check number and must complete a one hour induction session (our next induction session is at 9am on 18 October). A big friendly smile and a love of reading is the only other things you’ll need!  For more information or to apply for our volunteer reading program please contact Mrs Karen Swibel on 9286 9661 or email

Karen Swibel
Community Engagement Coordinator


Sport News


CIS Athletics Carnival

Thursday 13 September saw us send seven athletes to the annual CIS Athletics Carnival at Olympic Park. It’s always an amazing effort to make any CIS carnival, but to represent the school the way the students did was outstanding. Congratulations Georgia Wansey, Claudia Wyatt, Jenny Song, Mariah Keegan, Toni King, Josephine Damjanovic and Cadel Holmes for doing us proud in each of their respective events.

Georgia and Cadel have also progressed through to the NSWPSSA Athletic Championships.

Georgia did a particularly amazing effort in the 9 Years 100m, qualifying for the final in first and then coming second overall. Cadel has done a truly remarkable performance; he not only qualified in two events for NSWPSSA (Long Jump and High Jump) but also broke the CIS record for High Jump 10 Years! The previous record of 1.44m was smashed, setting a new mark of 1.50m and is unlikely to be broken for some time. It’s now officially the best 10 Year old male high jump performance the CIS association has ever seen. Incredible!

Tony Dunseath
Coordinator of Sport and Cocurricular K-6, PDHPE Teacher


Library news


Book draw

Our fourth and final book draw for 2018 will take place in the final week of term 3, so keep bringing your entries in.


Roald Dahl’s birthday

Last Thursday 13 September the Junior School and Gawura library got turned into a party room to celebrate the late, great Roald Dahl. We had beautiful illustrated editions of some of his works available for borrowing for the first time, balloons, party bags, party hat making, puzzles and colouring, party and online games and of course reading.

We had almost 200 students through the doors during the three lunches and the overall feedback was that it was great fun. I think the students will agree we certainly honoured Roald Dahl. Thank you to everyone for getting involved.


Australian Reading Hour

On Thursday 20 September we participated in the Australian Reading Hour. We all took time out of our busy day to settle in with a good book during lunch. We brought some special books out of our usually closed reserve collection, offered a huge number of brand new titles and brought in several new magazines for the occasion. But, what made it extra special was that we borrowed bean bags from the middle school and put a crackling fire on the tv screen to replicate a cosy place of relaxation. It worked a treat. Students came in and snuggled into the bean bags, each other and read. What a magical hour and a half.

“An hour spent reading is one stolen from paradise.” – Thomas Wharton

Svetlana Paul
Junior School and Gawura Teacher Librarian


Andrean Writer and Artist of the Year


This competition will recognise the top three entries from the Junior School for both writing and art, with the winners announced at the Evening of Celebration and Prize-giving in December.

Australian Bush Stories

Stories must be set in the Australian Bush. Student name and Year level clearly labelled.

Entries can be handwritten or typed and max word limits are as follows:

  • Kindergarten – 100 words
  • Year 1-2 – 200 words
  • Year 3-4 – 400 words
  • Year 5-6 – 1000 words

Please hand to or email: Junior School Reception with the subject title 'Bush Story'.

Australian Bush Artwork

Entries must be A3 size, no more than 5mm thick, student name and Year level clearly marked.
Painting, textiles, drawing, printmaking, photography, graphic design, etc.

Artwork must be set in the Australian bush.

Please submit Year K-6 entries to Junior School Reception

Competition details and prizes

Winning entries will be judged on creativity, skill, engagement of the audience and originality in exploring the theme. Entries must be composed this year and no group entries are permitted. Plagiarism will result in disqualification.

1st Round:

Junior School and Gawura entries are judged by Mrs Robson (Stories) and Mrs Edwards (Artworks). Finalists will receive certificates.

2nd Round:

The finalists will be judged by Dr Collier

Junior Andrean Writer and Artist of the Year

  • Junior Andrean Writer of the Year
    $120 voucher – Announced at Evening of Celebration and Prize-giving.
  • Junior Andrean Artist of the Year
    $120 voucher – Announced at Evening of Celebration and Prize-giving.

Who will be your inspiration?

May Gibbs, Normal Lindsay, Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson, Sally Morgan, Albert Namatjira, Mem Fox, Ken Done, Tom Roberts, Sidney Nolan, Fred McCubbin, Grace Cossington-Smith.


All entries due by Friday 19 October

Submit Bush Stories here:   

Submit Bush Artwork to Junior School Reception.                                                           


Heart Mind Life Awards

Toni King - Yr 5 For being a caring classroom citizen.
Graham Jackson - K Improvement in reading
Zavier Reid - K Improvement in writing
Djani Haynes - K Achievement in phonics
Lizzie-Ray Ingram - K Taking pride in keeping our classroom tidy
Kayliah Keegan - Yr 6 For consistent effort in writing

Uniform Requirements


Summer Uniform Term 4

St Andrew’s Cathedral School is one of the most visible schools in NSW with students moving between buildings throughout the day, seniors visiting the Town Hall Arcade during lunch and over a thousand of our students catching public transport all over Sydney and beyond as they travel to and from school. Parents send their children to St Andrew’s because of its high standards in academic, pastoral care, co-curricular and Christian education. In turn, St Andrew’s has high expectations of students. Literature also shows that good uniform standards lead to reduced discipline problems, an increased sense of belonging and higher academic engagement and standards. It also shows pride in the school.

Summer uniform is to be worn from the beginning of Term 4, students have been reminded of our uniform standards.

Below is an outline of the topics that have been discussed:

Hair – to be neat and tidy. Hair cuts must be conventional and unlikely to cause comment. No shaved sections, no facial hair. Girls’ hair to be completely tied back; boys’ hair to be cut above the collar and eyebrows.

Shirts & Ties –shirts must be tucked in, top buttons done up and boys’ ties worn correctly at the neck. Shirt sleeves not to be rolled up.

Blazers – to be worn to and from School and between buildings. (If it is very hot, I will communicate to students a variation to this rule on the day)

Jewellery – no rings, bracelets, necklaces. Only one pair of earrings for girls - small sleepers or simple studs only. No other piercings allowed. No earrings for boys.

Makeup – no makeup or nail polish allowed.

Sport Uniform – students to wear SACS tracksuit/sports uniform to and from venues.

Shoes – black leather traditional school shoes. No casual style allowed. Please see student diary for allowable styles.

Socks – Boys must wear grey or black socks. Girls must wear white plain socks that sit above the ankle. Socklets are not allowed.

Skirts – skirt hems should be at the knee. Skirts must not be rolled.

Please be aware that these expectations and standards remain applicable to the very last day of the school year. For those who have summer uniform requirements, please contact Mr Ralph or the Uniform Store, on 9286 9547 for a fitting time.

Please label all new (and old) items of uniform.
The Uniform store normal Hours of Operation are:
Monday – Wednesday – Thursday  |  8am to 3.30pm


Home reading

To improve reading and fluency, we ask students to do the following every night:

K-2          10-15 minutes home reading a night

Year 3      at least 15 minutes home reading a night

Year 4      at least 20 minutes home reading a night

Year 5      at least 25 minutes home reading a night

Year 6      at least 30 minutes home reading a night


Wiradjuri – parent and family workshop


Wiradjuri Language Nest – Gawura and SACS parent workshop

The parent Wiradjuri workshop has started for 2018. This is an amazing opportunity to support and contribute to the revival of Indigenous languages. I am delighted to say that the program is absolutely free. The weekly workshop is on Tuesday afternoons, 3.15pm-4.15pm and is open to all Gawura/SACS parents and family members.

Please contact Mr Ralph on 0411 040 193 if you are interested in joining the group.


Vacation Care


Term 3 concludes for Years K-6 and Years 8, 9 and 10: Thursday 27 September

Term 3 concludes for Years 7, 11 and 12: Friday 28 September

Term 4 commences: Monday 15 October

Visit the website for more information:




Uniform Store

For those who still have 2018 uniform requirements please contact the Uniform Store, on 92869547 for a fitting time. Remember that students in Kindergarten to Year 6 wear the same uniform so please label all items of uniform.


Mobile phone use

Older students, who travel to and from school on public transport and have a mobile phone, need to ensure that they are switched off during the school day and kept in school bags or handed to your child’s/children’s teacher each morning.


Health Centre

Please send in a note detailing any daily medication needs. Daily medication is to be dispensed by the School Nurse at the Sick Bay. Any medication to be dispensed by the School Nurse must be given to the nurse in its original box (containing the prescription label and your child’s name).



If your child/children are absent from school, I ask that you text or call Neal on 0439 653 334 or the Reception on 9286 9500 before 9am to notify us. The school requires a note from a parent or guardian explaining any absence from school.


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