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In this issue

Message Stick, Term 4 Week 7, 2020
Dates for your Calendar
Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator
After School Care provider – TheirCare
Library News
Music News
Sports News
Year 6 Camp
Parenting Tips
Summer Camp
Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao
Resources for COVID-19

Message Stick, Term 4 Week 7, 2020


Last Friday 20 November our school had the privilege of hearing from author Thomas Mayor who wrote the book Finding Our Heart – a Message about the Uluru Statement. Thomas spoke about his ideas for writing the book and why it is important that a treaty is signed between the Government and the First Nations Peoples of Australia. Thomas spoke to over 400 students across Junior and Gawura Schools and the questions which came from our students especially those from the non Indigenous students shows a real empathy and respect for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families from the wider SACS school community.

Our Gawura School, which operates seamlessly within, and across, the Junior School, has won another award. We were recognised this week with an Australian College of Educators Award for a Community Service and Justice Award. Mr Phil Lambert who is a doyen within the educational sector presented this award and this will be on display as you enter the main doors of our Gawura School.

You will be receiving your child’s report next week for Semester 2, 2020. Can I encourage to read this report with your child. There are many things to celebrate as I have been reading the comments from the teachers this week. The recommendations from staff are also very useful as these will help the students even further with their learning.

Our final GPAC Meeting for the year will be held this coming Thursday 26 November at 2.00pm via the online platform of Webex. I will send a calendar invite out with a link that you can join with. You can this meeting by either a computer, laptop or even your mobile phone.

Please see further information below about the After School Care service called Their Care who have been involved in our Junior and Gawura Schools since April this year. Their Care are offering their services for free to Gawura Scholarship students including Vacation Care even during the upcoming December and January school holidays. Please see insert below for details on how to register and enrol your child if you wish to use this service.

If your child is presenting with any cough or cold, flu like symptoms please keep them at home and see a doctor. All the students at school are highly aware of the safe hygiene practices that will help keep coronavirus out of our school. With continued safe hygiene practices we hope to continue to keep all of our students, staff and school community safe as well.

We are ‘in this together’ and together we can get through this.
Finally thank you to all of our wonderful parents, carers, volunteers and donors in our community. Together we have a wonderful program happening in our Gawura School which is only going to grow and prosper further into the future. I’d like to thank our teaching staff, Mrs Price, Mrs Williams, Mr Kirk, Miss McGrath and Ms Ferguson for all their dedication and hard work this year. I also would like to personally thank you all for your support throughout this year as well. Our students are wonderful and it is a real pleasure and privilege to work alongside you all in partnership in educating these fine, young and proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders of the future.

May you all have a blessed and peaceful Christmas and a safe and wonderful holiday throughout December and January. School will resume for Kindergarten on Wednesday 27 January 2021 and for Years 1-6 on Thursday 28 January 2021.

John Ralph
Head of Gawura




A reminder if you missed it...

NAIDOC Week 2020 – Always Was, Always Will Be. We hope you can share in a little of our NAIDOC Celebrations in the last fortnight by watching a very special video presentation we’ve prepared for you.

You can watch this on YouTube with the following link.



Dates for your Calendar


Thursday 26 November:  GPAC Meeting 2.00pm ONLINE VIA WEBEX

Friday 27 November: Year 6 Celebration Dinner

Wednesday 2 December: JSGS Picnic Day

Thursday 3 December: Carol Service

Thursday 3 December: Term 4 Concludes K-12

Friday 4 December: Staff Development Day


COVID-19 Restrictions and Term 4

Our current restrictions continue this term. Please click here for school procedures.

It is worthwhile for parents/carers to be aware of the following changes for Term 4:

  • Term 4 resumes Monday 12 October between 8am and 8.35am
  • School concludes at 3.10pm, students to be picked up by 3.30pm
  • Students who have returned from Victoria or overseas must self-isolate at home for 14 days and notify the school
  • Parents/carers and visitors are not permitted on school grounds or events unless by appointment. This includes not attending assemblies, presentations, events, training, carnivals whether on school grounds or off site venues
  • Term 4 Sport resumes this week; however, no spectators are permitted at this time - this includes parents/carers
  • The School encourages students and staff to wear masks when travelling by public transport
  • Assemblies and Chapels will remain online at the moment and resume later this term
  • Any student who is ill must not come to school

Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator


It's a wrap!

As this unique year draws to a close it seemed timely to provide parents with an insight into the types of topics and skills which students have been learning about throughout the year in their weekly SEW lessons (Social & Emotional Wellbeing). Our SEW program has at its core the St Andrew’s message of hearts that love, minds that grow and lives that give and it is from this Christian foundation that we explore character strengths, emotional management, attention & awareness, relationships, coping & resilience and habits & goals (SEARCH).

After starting the year by reflecting on our classroom and personal goals for heart, mind & life, Term 1 saw classes throughout the Junior School & Gawura focus on emotional management. We used the blue, green, yellow and red colours to understand how our emotions can change and how to respond to these emotions in ways that are helpful.
Then as we moved into remote schooling in Term 2 we focused on maintaining connections, gratitude, caring for ourselves & others and hope. Once back at school students were also introduced to 4 friendly animals, the wise owl, guard dog, sifting sooty and elephant, as they learnt about what happens in their brain when they experience BIG emotions.

In Term 3 we launched our fabulous friendship program URSTRONG across the Junior School & Gawura and students learnt the characteristics of healthy & unhealthy friendships and how to navigate friendship fires using ‘I’ messages and apologising.

Our year has finished with students in K-2 exploring the impact that expected and unexpected behaviours have on those around them. Year 3 have learnt ways to grow their memory and Year 5 have grown in their understanding of ways to respond to conflict through Peacewise Kids. Growth mindset and its impact on coping and resilience has been explored by Years 4 and 6 through learning about the lives of inspirational people such as Malala and Eddie Woo.

Throughout the coming years these SEARCH areas will continue to be the basis for our SEW lessons and programs and hopefully a part of your child’s thinking and vocabulary too.

I hope that you and your family experience a wonderful Christmas filled with love and laughter as we each celebrate the great blessings we have received.

Bronwyn Wake
Junior School Wellbeing Co-ordinator


After School Care provider – TheirCare


After School Care for Gawura Students

TheirCare is the new After School Care provider for St Andrew’s Cathedral School and Gawura School. They have offered free after school care for Indigenous students on the Gawura scholarship which also includes Vacation Care during the school holidays. All you need to do is register your child online. The prices stated below do not apply to Gawura students. Gawura students can attend for free as long as you enrol and let them know that your child will be attending.

If you have any questions about TheirCare or would like to enrol your child, please contact Lianna or Rebecca.

Liana Wotton – St Andrew’s Area Manager 
M. 0455 552 231

Rebecca  - St Andrew’s Coordinator (day to day contact)
M. 0407 895 967 (Operating hours only)


Library News


What a wonderful year we’ve had in the library. As we look to a nice long break, my mind goes to the enormous TBR (to be read) pile I have sitting on my bedroom floor. A summer of reading – yes! As usual, we will have holiday borrowing for the last two weeks of school. Students can borrow double their normal borrowing limit:

- 4 books for Kindergarten
- 6 books for Year 1 & 2
- 8 Books for Year 3 & 4
- 10 books for Year 5 & 6

If your child is not returning to SACS next year, we would ask that you make sure all books are returned before the end of the year and no books are borrowed over the holidays.

Summer reading selfies
During the holidays, we are encouraging students and their families to take photos of themselves reading in unexpected places. We will kick off our 2021 school year showcasing those selfies. There will be awards for the best selfie for each stage.

PRC Awards
Premier’s Reading Challenge Certificates have finally arrived for all of the students who successfully completed the challenge this year. They will be presented next Friday (27th November). If your child has qualified for a Gold or Platinum award (i.e. they have successfully completed the challenge for 4 or 7 years in a row, respectively) then please be advised that those special awards won’t arrive until early 2021.

Best regards for a happy, relaxed, book-filled summer,

Nicole Cotter
JS & GS Coordinator of Information and Digital Literacy


Music News



Congratulations to the following students on their AMEB Music results:

Yusheng Mao
High Distinction
Grade 3 Piano repertoire

Rebecca Cranes
Grade 1 Recorder repertoire

Arthur Eidel
High Distinction
Grade 3 Recorder Repertoire

Tuition for 2021
Parents wishing to enrol for Music Tuition commencing in 2021 should use the link below. Please note that if your child is currently undertaking tuition at SACS, you do NOT need to re-enrol in lessons. This will automatically carry over to 2021, unless the required notice of discontinuation is given as per the terms and conditions of music tuition at SACS. The link below is for new enrolments only.

SACS Instrumental and Vocal Music Tuition Application Form 2021

Once you have completed this online form, an alert is sent to the Music Department, who will facilitate your tutoring in early Term 1, 2021.

Kate Roberston
Head of Music (K-6)


Sports News


We’ve had our final rounds of Stage 3 Saturday sport over the past couple of weeks. All teams have done a fantastic job this season with plenty of highlights and positive results to celebrate.

Congratulations to all students who represent the school in these fixtures, they do us immensely proud. A special thanks to all Year 6 students who’ll finish their time representing the Junior School and Gawura. They’ve come a long way, both in terms of skill development and the ability to work in a team, and will no doubt be an asset to high school sporting teams in the future.

Tony Dunseath
Assistant Year 8 Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator, JS Teacher


Year 6 Camp


Year 6 camp to Lake Macquarie

Year six were lucky enough to spend the last 3 days (9-11 November) at Lake Macquarie. Lake Mac was so much fun with all the amazing leaders, fun activities and good combinations. One thing that I enjoyed at camp was participating in all the activities especially the water activities. For the water activities we were able to do stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, canoeing and sailing. They were all so much fun. Also, some different activities that we did were archery, building catapults, abseiling, rock-climbing and a challenge course.

At camp, all of the leaders were all super kind and I am very lucky that I was able to spend the last three days with them because I had a blast!  At camp the food was really good, and the way we were able to collect our food and all the different options to what we could eat was really good, especially with coronavirus I was still able to have a good time and enjoy every moment of camp. One of my favourite activities was abseiling. When I first got up to the tower of abseiling, I was so scared and nervous, but I just reminded myself of how much fun I had when I last did abseiling, so that this time will be even better, now that I know what to expect. As the leader called me over closer to the edge he tightly hooked me onto the rope, and explained to me that he has got one rope that he will hold on to, and I have a rope, that I will hold on to. As he led me towards the end of the edge I was so nervous, but I saw all of my friends down there waiting for me to come down so I got really excited. Then, the leader began instructing me down to the very bottom of the abseiling tower.

My most favourite thing about camp was being able to hang out with my friends and doing some really fun activities with them in great weather.

Memphis Madden-Gravanis 6O


Parenting Tips


Digital Technology Guide for Parents

Technology is all around us and there are many research ideas that tell us many different ideas as to how to deal with that relating to our children. Also, every family is different and will have their own ideas around what’s considered ‘normal’ or acceptable use of our beloved devices, which means there’s no universal answer.

Martine Oglethorpe (Martine is an author, public speaker and the voice behind The Modern Parent blog. She is also the mother of five boys, ranging from Prep to Year 11) has suggested these ideas that may help you build some rules of your own and bring some order to the way your children use digital devices at home.

1. Know what the rules and expectations are at school
School digital device policies make a great starting point for families. Every school is different – some let students keep mobile phones in lockers or backpacks, while others allow limited mobile phone usage between classes or even during class time to aid with assignments. Make sure that you and your child know what the rules are at school. Importantly, support the school and keep your own expectations in line with theirs.

At SACS Junior School, we allow students to have mobile phones but they must be turned off when entering school and cannot be used again until school has finished. They cannot be used in class at all.

2. Specify hours for digital use
Set the ground rules for when your youngsters can use their tablets and phones, and when they need to shut them off for the night. It’s just a smart way to build a habit for the whole family so it becomes ingrained and just the way things are done in your home. Some research suggests that devices need to be turned off 2 hours before bedtime. I think this is a great idea. Our school devices are turned off and are unavailable after 8pm each night.

3. Consider a digital device ‘contract’
Mobile phone ‘contracts’ were popular with parents a few years back and they are still a smart way to go. Clearly set out your digital device usage guidelines and print them in an agreement that you and your young one can both sign. If there are any disputes, then you both have the expectations in writing. This digital technology guideline maybe a little too formal for many people’s tastes, but it removes the grey areas around expectations that many young people are likely to exploit.

4. Lay out consequences from the start
Make the consequences clear for breaking the rules, such as taking away the phone or tablet for a set period of time. But remember, the goal isn’t to punish them, but just to set clear boundaries. Your home’s digital device guidelines should be reasonable rather than excessive, and be made in collaboration with your youngster so they feel a sense of ownership about the rules too.

5. Talk about respectful relationships, safety and pornography
You can’t let your young person loose in the digital world without having several conversations about how to stay safe online, how to show respectful behaviour and be aware of the pitfalls of pornography. This kind of digital exposure can have massive ramifications on the growth and development of young people, especially when it comes to the quality of their relationships and well-being.

6. Be prepared to learn
Be ready to learn about social media, and the different apps and games that young people may be playing. But at the same time, be mindful of their boundaries. A recent Australian survey found that young people see TV-watching as a way of connecting to their family, and social media as a way of connecting to their friends.

7. Change the rules if necessary
Many families will have a young one who believes that rules are made to be broken. They are the ones always pushing past their boundaries, their own limits and the limits of their parents’ patience. Be prepared to keep evolving your rules based on your young person’s behaviour, maturity, sleep habits, their tendency to leave homework or chores unfinished, bullying or any number of issues that will invariably crop up to make them feel like your rules just aren’t working.

8. Keep digital devices out of the bedroom
If there was one rule that you should stay firm on, then this is the one. Many young people are in a constant sleep deficit as it is without bringing digital devices into the mix. They may say they want to charge it in their room. Keep the charger in a public place. They may even want to use their mobile or tablet to wake up in the morning. Applaud them on wanting to wake up on their own but get them a regular alarm clock instead.

9. Have a ‘digital detox’ one day a week
The only way that this idea will work is if you join them in making one day a week a digital device-free day. They will probably not like it, and neither will you, but the point of having one day off is to prove that they can live without their digital device and involve them in different forms of communication and entertainment.

Digital Technology is now an integral part of our lives, but it’s not the only option we have for entertainment, information and or communication. Before we help our young people, it’s best to look at our own digital habits to make sure we are providing them with what they need – that is, leading by example and being balanced role models who know when to use and when not to use their devices.

They are far more likely to walk our walk than follow our talk.
Martine has suggested some great ideas that are backed up with research. It may be worthwhile having a go at some of them if you haven’t already put digital strategies in place.


Joy Rohrlach
Stage 5 Leader


Summer Camp


Junior Blaster & Master Blaster program

Who: Girls only and mixed programs

Location: Balmain South Sydney - Friday eventings at Alexandria Park & Saturday morning at Jubilee Park, commencing Feb 5, 2021, for further information visit the Cricket Australia website.      

Code Camp

When: Wednesday 16 - Friday 18th December & Wednesday 13 - Friday 15 January

Where: St Andrew's Cathedral School

Details: Bring your own laptop or Hire, for more information visit code camp website or download this pdf.


Code Camp

When: Wednesday 16 - Friday 18th December & Wednesday 13 - Friday 15 January

Where: St Andrew's Cathedral School

Details: Bring your own laptop or Hire, for more information visit code camp website or download this pdf.


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 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.


Resources for COVID-19


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