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Home » Education Advice » How did schools have excursions during COVID-19?

How did schools have excursions during COVID-19?


Excursions are a key way for students to develop an understanding of the real world in a less structured environment. Schools have added another dimension to classroom learning through excursions during COVID-19.

Xavier College, Victoria considers international education to be paramount to their fabric as a college and community.

One of our focuses is to reach for a greater understanding of others, for deep connections and continued discoveries of varied cultural backgrounds so our students can be men for others. They can develop the best version of themselves by reflecting on their own identity in a larger context.

International Education Coordinator at Xavier College, Marie-Pierre Deleplanque

What is a school excursion?

School excursions are trips outside of the classroom designed for students to learn in a new setting.

School excursions allow students to study, observe and interact with different settings.

The benefits of student exchange in High School

Being a high school exchange student offers many valuable experiences and opportunities.

The insistent and enthusiastic way students today are asking about when the international and interstate experiences will start again says paramount about how eager they are to participate in those essential excursions.

Educational benefits of student exchange in High School

Student exchange and excursions in general give students the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. A U.S study revealed that 59% of students who attend field trips have higher grades than their peers.

Visual learners can build confidence through practical engagement. In addition to being a learning tool, school excursions can boost student engagement and performance.

xavier college. excursions during COVID-19.

Additionally, students are exposed to learning or environments that they may consider for their future career.

Hands-on Learning through Excursions

Excursions are designed to reinforce principles and theories taught in the classroom.

Travelling, abroad or interstate, also opens our young men’s mind and allows them to put in practice and experience first hand what they are exploring in the classroom. It is somehow ‘immersed learning’, which is one of the greatest ways for tapping into breadth and depth and become life-long learners.

Experiencing learning concepts first-hand allows children to recall better through mental markers associated with sensory interactions.

Individual growth

Excursions and global travel in particular promotes personal growth.

Your child can broaden their perspectives and worldview which is linked to their personal development. A survey revealed that 74% of teachers organise school excursions for the personal development of students.

xavier college. excursions during covid-19.

According to the International Education Coordinator at Xavier College, Marie-Pierre Deleplanque, students feel similarly when reflecting on the unavailability of excursions during COVID-19.

The way they see it, ‘they have missed out on so many discoveries and connections with their peers and other cultures’.

Excursions allow children to interact with the world and learn in the community.

Our international program explores all areas of growth for our young people, from languages, academics and artistic, cultural, service and immersion and sport.

Approximately 89% of respondent students believe that field trips they took in school made them more inquisitive and engaged in the world around them.

International excursions and expeditions allow students to grow and learn about diverse cultures and strengthen their social and emotional development.

Developing a global mindset

Short-term study abroad and international education helps develop a global mindset.

It is essential in a world we all share to be able to see things through the lens of others, as it ultimately leads to a better humanity.  We are so blessed, as a Jesuit school, to be part of an international network of over 400 educational institutions at primary, high school and university level.

Developing a global mindset increases your child’s critical thinking skills. Your child will also gain a sophisticated global awareness and mindset for their future workplace.

Approximately 79% of students reported an increased cultural awareness following excursions and expeditions.

How did school have excursions during COVID-19?

Excursions during COVID-19 were put on hold due to student safety, social distancing and the closure of international borders.

Xavier College had to cease all international programs due to the high risks that were associated with COVID-19 and uncertainty about sudden border closures.

“We could not take the risk to see our students unable to come back home or to fall ill overseas in their exchange family”.

The Xavier community also felt the absence of international students visiting the school.

This has been true as well in terms of welcoming international students in the Xavier community and it has affected our Modern Languages students who always benefit immensely from their immersion in another language and culture and the long-term friendships they sometimes forge during exchanges.

Students have put friendships on hold without excursions during COVID-19

Marie-Pierre says students at Xavier have missed the mixing of cultures and connections during the pandemic.

I have seen many students in the past coming back thrilled by their adventure, having improved so much in speaking and so full of joy for the relationships they created.

The students are still growing and connecting through their use of native speakers online.

So what have schools been doing instead of excursions during COVID-19?

Xavier College has found digital technology central for connecting with others to replicate excursions during COVID-19.

In Languages, some educators have facilitated exchanges with French and Italian high school students via e-mails and videos. They presented themselves and their schools to each other and discussed their routine and issues with COVID and online learning.

In fact, the lockdowns have revealed many different ways to be in touch with overseas students.

Marie Pierre notes it does not equal discussions in person or replicate ‘the beauty of immersion with all its benefits.’

Have schools gone back to having excursions after COVID-19?

Schools are getting things back to ‘normal’ for students whilst staying safe and cautious.

Whilst being cautious and conscious of the logistical matters and the level of uncertainty still at hand, the College will re-embrace international experiences and exchanges. Besides the programs offered before the COVID pandemic in Asia, the United States and Europe, we are thinking on focusing also on interdisciplinary Tours in Europe and Australia.

Schools are also focusing on Australia’s diversity more

Let’s not forget that there are plenty of amazing places and communities to discover here in our country, including creating further bonds with our First Nations culture and people.

What have students learnt from excursions during COVID-19?

The international border closures of the past 2 years taught our school community how lucky we are to participate in the life of a College that normally offers so many varied opportunities to partake in international experiences. Our students have missed the deep connections and adventures they offer and with it came the realisation of how vital they are. At the same time it challenged us to look at international connections in a different way and revisit how technology keeps us internationally connected.

Marie-Pierre Deleplanque

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.
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Home » Education Advice » Navigating Year 11 and 12 in Australia

Navigating Year 11 and 12 in Australia


Year 11 and 12 in Australia is known as ‘Senior Secondary School’ (or Stage 6). These senior study years serve an important foundation for tertiary education or future career pathways.

Many students and parents worry about the pressure of Year 11 and 12 in Australia. However, senior years at school provide many opportunities for your child to experience fun and balance their wellbeing.

Understanding Year 11 and 12 in Australia

What is the difference between Year 11 and 12 in Australia

It often feels like Year 11 and 12 in Australia are grouped together as your child usually has the same teachers and classes.

In NSW, Year 11 (or Preliminary) courses and marks do not form part of your child’s final ATAR. In Victoria, some but not all VCE VET units provide a study score contributing to their ATAR.

This is different for students who choose to pursue the International Baccalaureate, which counts both year 11 and 12.

To graduate high school and receive a Higher School Certificate (HSC) or Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), students must successfully complete the requirements for both Year 11 and 12.

What should my child be doing in Year 11 and 12?

Navigating year 11 and 12 in Australia can be overwhelming for students.

Your child may be struggling with:

Choosing their subjects

Choosing subjects for year 11 and 12 can be a daunting family decision. A great starting point is to determine what your child’s plan is after high school.

In Victoria, education changes are replacing the VCE Vocational Major with the VCAL from 2023. This is easier for students who are unsure of their pathway as students can pursue any learning option under one certificate. In NSW, students may wish to consider whether they wish to pursue a trade or TAFE study as part of their senior study or instead of completing year 11 and 12.

year 11 and 12 in australia. woodwork. tradie.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

If your child is interested in pursuing further education, help them narrow down specific courses. Your child can choose year 11 and 12 subjects according to the prerequisites for university courses they are interested in.

For a guide to choosing HSC subjects, visit here.

Determining extracurricular options

Similar to choosing HSC subjects, having an idea for a potential career path will help your child find relevant extracurricular options at school or in the community.

For example, if your child is interested in medicine or nursing, they may wish to volunteer at the local hospital. If your child is interested in a humanitarian career they may benefit from joining school clubs or attending school networking events.

Rena Tang, Meriden Head Prefect for 2021 and HSC all-round achiever said “Balancing  a study schedule with other cocurricular activities was especially necessary in Year 12, as maintaining cocurricular activities was a way to unwind during the school week.”

Balancing their study and wellbeing

Year 11 and 12 in Australia can be an intense period of study and homework for your child.

Don’t worry, you’re nearly there!

Battling exam stress is common among Australian adolescents.

To help your child deal with exam stress:

  • Create an appropriate study space

  • Assist them with their time management

  • Ensure they take lots of study breaks

  • Try your best to make nutritious study snacks and meals

Rena also chose to sit with friends at recess and lunch instead of studying alone, and rewarded her hard work with Friday night TV shows in order to stay motivated throughout the year.

 “Your focus should be taking one day at a time. This is how I got rid of unnecessary anxiety and focused on what I could do in the moment,” said Rena.

Remind your child that senior years in high school can be lots of fun!

Fun school events often take place during Year 11 and 12 in Australia.

Amongst the chaos and study your child will be able to attend event(s) such as formal, graduation, awards ceremonies and other events to commemorate their years in high school.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.
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Home » Education Advice » 5 Private School Trends in Australia

5 Private School Trends in Australia


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there has been an increase in growth in Independent private schools over the past 5 years.
As more parents are sending their children to private schools, there have been 5 private school trends in Australia that enhance student learning.

5 Private School Trends in Australia

1. Science and Technology in Private Schools

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (‘STEM’) skills are becoming crucial for Australia’s changing future.

Technological change is said to advance Australia’s economy. Research shows that STEM jobs in Australia are growing nearly twice as fast as other jobs.

Consequently STEM is a big area of study being emphasised in private schools.

Many private schools introduce opportunities through STEM extracurricular activities or subjects from the very beginning of high school.

In STEM we endeavour to provide a balanced mix of activities that does not only cover the intended curriculum, but also enriches it. For example, we offer coding for Years 7-10 that involves Python programming and CAS calculator TI-Nspire-based programming (which connects to a ‘rover’ that moves). This prepares younger students to understand the ‘tech-active’ component of VCE Mathematics.

   Mr Louis Diamandikos, Head of STEM, Alphington Grammar School.

This is important as the Department of Education, Skills and Employment Australia believes many Australian students don’t understand the importance of STEM ‘until it’s too late’.

Practising STEM from school years allows children to develop workplace skills including critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving.

5 Private School Trends in Australia. children doing chemistry practical in school science lab.

Credit: Alphington Grammar School, Victoria

Many private schools in Australia have advanced STEM facilities available to students.

We are also very fortunate to be using our brand-new STEM labs, which feature state-of-the-art and easy-to-access modern equipment, such as interactive whiteboards and modern electronic safety features. Our enrolment numbers in VCE Sciences have been steady, and we hope that the increased enrolment numbers at junior level will filter into stronger VCE subject enrolments in the coming years.

   Mr Louis Diamandikos, Head of STEM, Alphington Grammar School.

Meriden School in NSW is also characterised by its opportunity for girls to grow in the STEM field.

From robotics and coding to 3-D printing and design, we provide opportunities for real-world problem-solving, exposure to inspiring mentors, access to the latest technology and a cohesive approach to STEM-related skill development.

Ms Ingrid Schwartz, Design and STEM Teacher, Coordinator of Learning Link – STEM, Meriden.

Their facilities include STEM learning centres which include 3D printers, virtual reality, coding and robotics technologies and a CDC machine.

2. Mental Health and Wellbeing in Private Schools

Mental health and student wellbeing is important among Australian young people.

A Headspace report revealed approximately 1 in 3 young people experienced high levels of psychological distress during the peak COVID-19 pandemic.

Private schools are increasingly incorporating education and facilities to provide opportunity for student support.

Ms Deirdre Grealish, Deputy Head of Secondary at Alphington Grammar School explains wellbeing is at the heart of their school.

“Our Exceptionality team (Head of Secondary, Deputy Head of Secondary, Heads of House, Year 7 Coordinator, Head of Learning Support, Psychology Department) meet to discuss specific students who receive additional intervention to support their wellbeing. This work is complemented by weekly Head of House meetings to discuss the wellbeing of the wider student body.

We strive to equip our students with the tools they need to actively maintain and improve their own wellbeing. External programs that the school have selected, such as The Resilience Program, do not just feature during dedicated workshops. Instead, their philosophies trickle through the different strata of school life and it is not uncommon to hear the language of resilience and reflection in our classrooms, hallways, and assemblies. Our Captains and Future Leaders also play an important role in supporting the wellbeing of their peers, acting as mentors for our younger students, facilitating workshops, and performing casual check-ins throughout the year.”

Alphington Grammar School also has its own School Psychologist.

AGS puts the wellbeing of our students and staff at the forefront of all we do.

Mr Maximillian White, School Psychologist

The school’s full-time psychology department offers one-to-one mental health counselling, group wellbeing programs and clinical assessment services.

“AGS also runs a range of school wide initiatives focused on education around wellbeing, resilience, consent, online safety, and positive behaviour.”

The close attention to mental health and wellbeing in private schools is important for children’s school performance.

3. Arts and Creativity in Private Schools

Arts and Creativity is given a new meaning in Australian private schools.

girl doing performing arts in costume. 5 private school trends in australia.

Credit: Alphington Grammar School, Victoria

Private schools offer a range of facilities and technologies to cover every aspect of Arts and Creativity. This may include fine arts, performing arts, design and more.

As technologies progress and improve, the list of methods to create art grow. Being a good drawer is not nearly as important as it once was. New technologies can support the creation of art so it can appeal to more people and expand the pool of potential creatives.

 Mr Michael Gregoriades, Secondary Visual Arts Coordinator, Alphington Grammar School

Research from the Australia Council for the Arts evidenced ‘wide-reaching benefits’ of creativity in education.

Creative learning approaches allow students to build confidence, improve academic education, increase student engagement and enhance social and emotional wellbeing. Including Arts and Creativity in education emphasises a sense of community at school.

Private schools have a greater emphasis on arts in education, which is an indicator of long term student success.

4. Global Connection in Private Schools

Most private schools offer some aspect of global connection for students.

Private school facilities incorporating global connection may include teaching different languages or providing opportunities for student exchange. Many private schools also have ‘sister schools’ overseas, where students connect with other students around the world.

As a school which offers Greek and Chinese language, our Secondary School students look forward to the Global Gateways program they can take part in during Years 9 or 10. Travel to these countries is an exciting and beneficial way for students to immerse themselves in, experience, and bring to life the language and culture taught in the classroom. Our sister school relationships have allowed sharing of projects and reciprocal visits, strengthening language and friendships.

Ms Denise Diakodimitriou, Head of LOTE

Such opportunities allow private school students to broaden their knowledge and perspectives. Connection to the global world allows students to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of other cultures.

International education is paramount at Xavier because it is simply part of our fabric as a College and a community. One of our focus is to reach for a greater understanding of others, for deep connections and continued discoveries of varied cultural backgrounds so our students can be men for others. They can develop the best version of themselves by reflecting on their own identity in a larger context. Travelling, abroad or interstate, also opens our young men’s mind and allows them to put in practice and experience first hand what they are exploring in the classroom. 

International Education Coordinator, Marie-Pierre Deleplanque, Xavier College

Cultural literacy is a fundamental aspect of many careers, and your child may choose to pursue it in the future.

5. Moving to co-ed

A trend among many single-sex private schools is the transition into coeducation.

Barker’s transition to full coeducation was successfully completed at the start of 2022 and all years from Pre-K-12 are coeducational. It was a project five years in the making and has been enthusiastically embraced by our community and those wishing to join Barker. The world of work, education, employment and leadership has shifted considerably in the 21st century and having boys and girls learning and playing together helps to prepare them for life beyond the school gates.

Melissa Brady, Barker’s Director of Coeducation Transition, Barker College, NSW.

Private schools give parents the option to choose single-sex or coeducational learning.

Private Schools in Australia are adopting trends to equip students with practical skills and experience into higher education and the workforce.

Summary of 5 Private School Trends in Australia

  1. Science and Technology

  2. Mental Health and Wellbeing

  3. Arts and Creativity

  4. Global Connection

  5. Moving to co–ed

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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Home » Education Advice » The importance of extracurricular activities at school

The importance of extracurricular activities at school


Many schools offer extracurricular activities for students. While often overlooked, extracurricular activities are great for your child’s development and growth.

What are extracurricular activities?

Extracurricular activities are organised groups offered outside of the school curriculum.

Alphington Grammar School has an extensive co-curricular program which offers over 40 activities that complement our rich classroom curriculum. Some of our offerings include coding and robotics, debating, music ensembles, productions, and environmental groups. Students are encouraged to explore different activities to enrich their learning and to develop new skills to take with them throughout life.

Mrs Priya Wilson, Head of Music and Performing Arts, Co-Curricular Coordinator

Extracurricular activities may come in the form of music clubs, sports clubs, leadership teams, robotics and STEM clubs or more.

 We offer a comprehensive co-curricular program, spanning sport, music, visual and performing arts, drama, technology, languages and a Faith In Action program.

Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

The importance of extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities at school provide students with a well-rounded experience.

At Caroline Chisholm Catholic College, we value giving our students a holistic education that includes up to date curriculum taught in an engaging format. What we also know is that variety through co-curricular can help develop positive mental, physical, social and emotional health.

Working in a team

Extracurricular activities allow children to experience working in a team.

Working in a team towards a common goal is a great opportunity for your child to bond and learn alongside other students.

Research shows that teamwork teaches students essential social skills. Your child will learn active listening through their teachers or coaches. They will also listen and practice effectively speaking to others in the group to function as a team.

Working with others during extracurricular activities allows your child to meet people outside of their classroom and build their social skills.

Participating in sports teams also has significant benefits for children.

Well-rounded individuals

Engaging in extracurricular activities at school allows students to become well-rounded individuals.

Your child will have the opportunity to explore their different interests and passions.

Meriden pursues excellence beyond the classroom, providing a holistic education through a broad range of cocurricular activities that celebrates and caters to the School’s wonderful student diversity. Students are encouraged to pursue their passions, hone their skills and deepen relationships across year groups through the extensive offerings including Sport, Performing Arts, STEM, Cadets and a myriad of clubs. Meriden’s Olympus and Amadeus Programs provide personalised support for students performing at the highest levels in sport and music.

Mr Richard Hughes, Dean of Student Involvement, Meriden

Extracurricular activities at school will help your child build self-confidence as they can focus on their strengths and interests.

Meriden cocurricular. extracurricular activities at school.

Meriden has an extensive range of cocurricular options for students, including STEM focused Fab Lab, Tech club and Science clubs.
Credit: Meriden

You may even discover a hidden talent your child has!

Extracurricular activities will provide your child with real-world experiences.

  • They will be exposed to a diverse range of people and relationships

  • They will have the opportunity to be involved with the community

  • They will be able to apply academic and sporting interests in a practical sense

Extracurricular activities at school will give your child a well-rounded, worldly experience which may benefit them when applying for university, jobs or college.

At Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in Victoria, extracurricular activities at school allow children to pursue professional opportunities outside the school.

“Within the area of Music, we are very proud of the diverse range of musical styles that are explored and showcased by our talented students.

The College runs a number of ensembles at lunchtime and after school to provide some real-life performing experience. Students are encouraged to perform in our lunchtime concerts, afternoon soirees, our Winter and Summer concert series, annual talent quest and College Musical. Our VCE VET Music students make links with industry professionals and performance opportunity outside the College are pursued.

A high number of students book out practice rooms each day at lunch and recess, often creating self-directed bands. These interactions develop skills such as problem solving, teamwork, communication, and self-management which are highly sort after in so many careers.”

Extracurricular activities at school may help the family juggle commitments

Most extracurricular activities at school occur before or after school.

This may help parents with multiple children, or working parents juggling commitments.

In NSW, the government is even trialling extended school hours, opening up extracurricular options for parents who find the current 9:00 am to 3:00 pm layout difficult.

Wellbeing

Participating in extracurricular activities has been linked to increased wellbeing.

A new study from UBC researchers revealed that adolescents who participated in extracurricular activities displayed higher levels of optimism and life satisfaction. They also demonstrated lower levels of anxiety and depression symptoms.

Decreased screen time

Screen time is playing an increasing role in children’s life. Social media can have a potentially negative affect on your child’s mental health.

Children who participate in extracurricular activities after school are reported to spend less time looking at the screen by 2 or more hours.

The Australian Government’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines suggest that electronic media use for entertainment should be limited to a maximum of 2 hours daily.

A break from studying

Taking breaks from classroom study or homework is important, particularly during exam periods.

Participating in extracurricular activities at school allows your child to have a break from academic work while still learning.

Engaging in stimulating activities is a fantastic way for your child to clear their head when they are not studying.

Higher student success rate

Participation in these activities actually links to positive academic outcomes.

The NSW Government provides the following outcomes:

  • Improved grades

  • Higher educational aspirations

  • Improved attendance rates

  • Social behaviours

Participating in extracurricular activity at school has also been found to reduce ‘delinquent and risky behaviour’.

Excelling outside the classroom

Extracurricular activities can be a confidence booster for students who do better in areas outside of the classroom.

“There are some skills that cannot be learnt from a textbook, and this is where co-curricular activities can really add value to a child’s education. Discovering new talents, taking risks, working as a team, building confidence, problem solving, making new friends and building relationships across the school are all examples of skills learnt through co-curricular activities.”

Laura Ruddick, Deputy Principal, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

extracurricular activities at school. music.child playing piano.

Students who are better at sports, music or performing arts have the opportunity to contribute to the school in a different way.

More leadership opportunity

A lot of the time, students who participate in extracurricular activities at school have some opportunity to exercise leadership.

Extracurricular activities and teams are often smaller and more specific than the normal classroom.

Students often fulfil roles with a leadership aspect or an increased responsibility in a project.

With bigger groups, it is a great opportunity for children to practice climbing into a leadership position.

Tip: Monitor your child so they are not too overwhelmed

It is important for your child to gain experience in extracurricular activities at school.

However, make sure your child is still having a balance between the classroom, extracurricular activities and family time.

If your child is taking on extra opportunities, check in to ensure they are not feeling overwhelmed.

How do students feel about extracurricular activities at school?

Upasana S, a Year 12 student at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College’s Sacred Heart Campus tells School Choice:

Caroline Chisholm Catholic College offers a variety of co-curricular activities within the three campuses that caters to individual interests and passions of students. We have specific clubs/groups designated to specific interests – if any of the students are passionate about the environment, we have a group of students from different years levels that have formed our Eco Committee, which is a team that works together to educate students about a range of topics to help protect and enrich our environment. For example, during Sustainability Week the team produced a schedule of daily activities that connected with others and allowed them to be actively involved. Additionally, we have also formed strong debating teams of student’s who represent the College in debating competitions with other schools in the area.

The College also offers a program called “Faith in Action” where students willingly participate to volunteer in the community where they assist and tutor students in primary schools.

These co-circular activities go beyond the classroom, allowing students to peruse their interests and passions. The students participating in these groups have said to me “the wide range of co-circular groups available in the College has enabled us to feel connected within our community and evokes a sense of belonging and inclusivity within our college life.”

Overall, co-curricular activities have only impacted our college in a positively manner, as these groups have a wide range of year levels involved it helps to remove the barriers between year levels and is a platform for students to develop many skills.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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Home » School News » Schools in NSW trialling extended hours

Schools in NSW trialling extended hours


The New South Wales government is trialling extended school hours. Eight schools are participating in the trial aimed to suit the needs of parents and students.

The extended school hours aim to offer greater support to working parents managing their commitments.

“The reality is that the traditional school day, like the 9 to 5 workday, is a 20th century concept which may not be the best model for 21st century families, schools and the community”, said Ms Mitchell, Minister for Education and Early Learning.

Are NSW school hours extending?

The schools in NSW trialling extended school hours will not impact class time for students.

“What we are doing is finding ways to better support students and make it easier for working parents to manage their commitments.”

Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the schools will partner with community organisations, local businesses and sporting clubs.

school sporting  club

Photo by Adrià Crehuet Cano on Unsplash

Kids will have access to ‘a range of high quality activities’ outside the standard 9:00 am to 3:00 pm school day.

Why are schools in NSW trialling extended hours?

Mr Perrottet aims to provide options outside of standard school hours for working parents balancing family life.

“We want to offer greater support and comfort to parents, knowing that their kids are safe and happy taking part in a homework club in the school library, a dance class in the school hall or soccer practice on the school oval.”

Current extended hours in schools

Many schools currently offer extra curricular activities to meet parent needs.

Schools are reinventing the traditional school day through breakfast clubs, homework and study facilities, or sport and arts programs existing outside of school hours.

“This research pilot will give us a better understanding of what schools are already doing, and how we can expand on or implement effective practices at similar schools.”

Ms Mitchell, Minister for Education and Early Learning

The trial is particularly aimed at school sites that are under utilised.

When does the trial extending school hours in NSW start?

The trial will run in Terms 3 and 4 for 20 weeks.

The 8 schools in NSW trialling extended hours are:

  • Cawdor Public School

  • Hanwood Public School

  • Hastings Secondary College

  • Kentlyn Public School

  • Matraville Soldier’s Settlement Public School

  • Orange High School

  • Spring Hill Public School

  • Tacking Point Public School

Summary of schools in NSW trialling extended hours:

  • 8 schools in NSW are trialling extended hours.
  • The extended hours do not change classroom hours. They aim to provide parents with help outside of the 9:00 am to 3:00 pm school day.
  • The trial will take place with the help of community organisations, local business and sporting clubs.
  • The trial will run in Terms 3 and 4 for 20 weeks.
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Home » Education Advice » The importance of sports in education

The importance of sports in education


Many parents and children overlook school sports from a certain age. However, physical activity and sports is a fundamental element of education.

Your child’s sports participation in school can provide many benefits outside of physical health.

At Barker, we are committed to providing appropriate, diverse and challenging sporting programs to all students at the School. The reason for this is simple. Involvement in sport not only assists students physically and mentally; it creates opportunities for students to develop character, values and lifelong skills such as time management, teamwork and communication.

Mr Cam Anderson, Head of Sport at Barker College

Why do we need sports in education?

Sports in education can effectively contribute to your child’s weekly physical activity. Participating in sports at school has many other associated benefits.

Wellbeing

Participating in physical activity is central to your child’s emotional and mental wellbeing.

Playing sports between 1 and 3 times a week is reported to reduce psychological distress by 34%, whilst participating in sports 4 or more times a week reduces psychological distress by 47%.

Physical activity increases self-esteem and reduces stress and anxiety.

Sports in education will also help your child:

  • Sleep better

  • Improve their concentration at school and throughout the day

  • Boost their energy levels

Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines provide physical activity recommendations for different age groups.

Children and young people are recommended to participate in at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. At least 3 days a week, children and young -people are encouraged to participate in muscle-strengthening activities.

Many are offered in sports at school including football, basketball, swimming, netball or running.

Providing balance at school

Students at school have different interests and strengths.

Sports in education may benefit children who do better in sports than the classroom.

“We believe by providing an extensive sports program we are actively promoting a healthy lifestyle and a nice balance between schoolwork and physical activity. This is imperative for the wellbeing of some of our students who thrive on the sports field a little more than they do in the classroom.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Sports in education provides your child with skills to become more well rounded.

“Overall, we believe that the opportunities we provide in our sports program aid students in becoming well rounded people who are able to juggle school commitments as well as sports passions.”

Children can develop and grow without sitting in a classroom all day. Research shows that schools which offer more sports have higher test scores and graduation rates amongst students.

Team Building and unity

Teamwork amongst children allows them to strengthen their cooperation and social skills.

For these students looking to socialise outside the classroom, team sports provides a network.

Teamwork is a very important life skill for children to carry outside of the sports field. A 2009 study revealed 57% of business leaders attributed their career success to participation in youth sports.

Similarly, sports in education allow for unity amongst students. Students from different backgrounds and social groups have the opportunity to work towards a common goal.

“We aim to provide a way for every student in the school to participate in sport across the year to not only promote a healthy lifestyle but also help build our school spirit.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Cognitive Development

Childhood and youth is an important and sensitive period for cognitive development.

Research demonstrates a correlation between sports participation and cognitive function in children.

sports in education. sports field. fencing at barker college.

According to Brain Boost from the Government of Western Australia, different studies show:

  • On average, academic achievement of children with extra physical education is higher

  • Participation in sports resulted in improved reading comprehension

  • Physical activity led to improved children’s maths scores

  • The cognitive benefits of physical activity were maintained over time.

In fact, children ‘can spend less time on academic learning, and more time being physically active during the school day without affecting their academic success or progress.’

Discipline

Sports in education also help enforce discipline amongst children by:

  • Providing a physical outlet

  • Self-discipline to achieve goals and physical challenges

  • Requiring a dedicated time to train and play

Research reveals children who played structured sports were better at ‘following instructions’ and ‘remaining focused in the classroom.’

Sports in the curriculum

Mandatory sports in education are incorporated in the NSW and VIC teaching and learning curriculums.

Many schools offer an option of competitive/representative school sports and sports at school.

“We compete in the SACCSS sports competition against other Catholic Colleges in the area which forms our school representative teams. While these teams are based on a selection process, we also provide House sport opportunities for all students to further facilitate increasing participation.

Volleyball, Soccer and Basketball are the most popular sports however there is also a growing appetite for Badminton, AFL and Table Tennis.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Does my child need to play sports outside of school?

In Victoria, only 6 out of 10 children between 5-14 participated in sport outside of school.

Sports in education is a great way to achieve physical activity, however there is no harm in carving out time for extra activity during the week.

Whilst some sports schools provide specialised training, many private schools encourage independent sporting as well.

“Our training sessions and games are played within school hours or shortly after school, enabling students to travel to other sporting clubs for training. This allows for students to actively pursue their own individual sporting goals and opportunities outside of their College life.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Many schools also run or host sport workshops in the school holidays.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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Home » Education Advice » The importance of student leadership at school

The importance of student leadership at school


Through student leadership at school your child can practice modern leadership skills. The skills obtained will allow them to excel in the classroom and prepare them for their future in the workforce.

Alongside their education, student leadership at school provides important skills and benefits for your child’s future.

Responsibility, planning and organisation

Most student leadership opportunities at school entail planning events, fundraisers and more. Such opportunities give your child a larger sense of responsibility early on in life.

Meriden’s student leadership structure acknowledges that all students have leadership potential. Through various programs, the girls are supported to become confident, articulate, and responsible leaders.

In the Junior School, the Prefects serve the school by planning focus weeks and developing age-appropriate activities for Kindergarten to Year 6 students. The experiences encourage students to be compassionate, generous and kind.

Meriden’s House Captains model participation and sportsmanship in our carnivals. They raise awareness of the children sponsored by the Junior School and encourage generosity towards them.

Mrs Cath Evans, Dean of Academic Care, Meriden Junior School

Being involved ‘behind the scenes’ of school events and fundraisers allow students to participate closely. Your child will gain first hand engagement in a diverse range of events and activities. Your child will have worldly experiences and get the most out of what their school has to offer.

Participating in workshops, student-run meetings, engaging with relevant literature and attending leadership forums all contribute to the improved student motivation within the classroom, as well as the development of knowledgeable global citizens.

Denise Tyrikos, Student Leadership Coordinator, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Team building and collaboration

As a student leader, your child will be working in teams and collaborating with others. This differs from classroom teamwork. Your child will have leadership responsibilities to fulfil within the team.

Your child will learn emotional intelligence skills essential in the workforce. Many students enter the workforce with little experience in team building and teamwork. A lack of experience with a diverse range of people may make it difficult to manage corporate relationships.

“The students at Caroline Chisholm are provided with the platform to enhance their skills in public speaking, problem-solving, teamwork, negotiation as well as building respectful relationships, connections and belonging.”

Students will also have the opportunity to practice their communication skills. They will liaise with a diverse range of people including teachers, students, parents or peers.

Our student leaders are willing to serve others. They are supported as they develop as collaborators, communicators, problem-solvers and responsible leaders.

Mrs Cath Evans, Dean of Academic Care, Meriden Junior School

Students also learn to ‘network’ through internal and external collaboration as student leader.

Strategic thinking and problem solving

As a student leader, your child will experience problems, conflicts and decisions to make.

Thinking creatively to resolve issues in a group setting is beneficial for future situations your child may face.

Student leaders can apply strategic thinking in a more practical, real-life sense.

Strategic thinking in leadership is considered “the biggest gap for new leaders” by the Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness.

Students will gain the unique experience of balancing priorities from an early age. They will focus resources and time on priorities to ensure future success in their planning. Students leaders learn to make decisions to overcome setbacks.

Students can exercise their passion

Student leadership at school empowers your child in many ways.

Students are able to contribute directly to decisions in areas they are passionate about.

All Year 6 students can choose to join Leadership Teams, enabling them to contribute to areas they are passionate about, such as Student Christian Groups, Cultural Awareness, STEM, Environment, News and Library. The Leadership Teams, working with a teacher, plan and deliver events related to their area.

Mrs Cath Evans, Dean of Academic Care, Meriden Junior School

They can become a voice within the school to make changes or influence school decisions or events.

At Caroline Chisholm Catholic College, staff and students highly value student leadership and acknowledge the immense benefits to the entire College community. Engaging in student leadership fosters a culture where student voice is highly regarded and allows students across different year levels to share their diverse opinions and recommendations to the teaching, learning and opportunities available at the College.

In education we know that student agency significantly increases student engagement throughout the teaching and learning process via increased student motivation. With increased motivation, students can feel confident and capable of making changes to their learning environment, that not only benefits their immediate environment, but has the potential to assist the wider community also.

Denise Tyrikos, Student Leadership Coordinator, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

caroline chisholm catholic college. student leadership at school.

Image: Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Your child may also find value in achieving success in a non-academic form. Schools provide fulfilling opportunities for student leaders that can build up their resume, and give them confidence and motivation that is lacking in the classroom.

Experience as a leader

After school, many young employees have to spend years working their way up to leadership. By starting at school, your child has the rare opportunity to lead at a young age.

This is beneficial to your child before entering the workforce as a young professional. Whilst they demonstrate competence, many young leaders at work lack experience leading others.

Student leaders are able to practice leading a team and be prepared for career opportunities that may arise later in life.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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Home » Education Advice » Checklist for choosing a school for your child

Checklist for choosing a school for your child


Credit: International Grammar School

Choosing a high school for your child can be difficult with a variety of options available. Consider the checklist below to help determine whether a school suits your child.

1. Learn about the school’s values

Evaluate whether your family’s personal value and preferences align with the schools values or mission.

Some schools have a ‘school charter’ available to read.

You may consider the diversity of the school, whether you want your child to have a religious education and the social justice initiatives of the school.

Speak with your child about whether a coeducational or single-sex education may be beneficial.

2. Immerse yourself in the school culture

When learning about the school culture consider:

  • How do the students interact?
  • How do the teachers and students interact?
  • Observe the attitude of students and staff.
  • What is the schools discipline policy?
  • Does progress get tracked/measured?
  • How involved are parents?

You may wish to discuss communication streams between parents and staff. This will depict how much opportunity for parent involvement is provided by the school.

Dr Mark Merry, Principal at Yarra Valley Grammar suggests taking a tour of the school.

Word of mouth is a great indicator of the health of a school; as too is walking around the campus hopefully on a school tour during school hours. This will give a good sense of how a school feels. Never underestimate the importance of this when gaining a sense of the culture of the school.

3. Extra-curricular offerings

Research the extra-curricular facilities and programs offered by the school. This may help you narrow down schools suited to your child’s interests.

Consider whether your child would prefer competitive sporting teams and fields, creative arts performances and studios, or science clubs and labs.

Ask your child about extra-curricular activities they may be interested in participating in. After school groups and clubs are a great way for students to learn whilst meeting social needs.

freshnam equestrian. choosing a school for your child. extra-curricular equestrian

Credit: Frensham School

Some schools specialise in certain areas. Think about whether your child may benefit from specialising in a particular field such as performing arts or equestrian.

4. Choosing a school that’s practical

Consider the practicality of the school for the family accounting for travel and transport efficiency.

Research whether the location of the school is optimal for drop-offs. If not, discuss with your child whether they are comfortable making the trip back and forth on transport.

Some schools offer private coaches or their own bus service to and from school for certain areas. Discuss with the school or other parents whether this is an option for the area you live in.

Consider whether the school is single-sex or coeducational. You may wish to have all your children at the same school.

You may also consider boarding school during the week or school term if your chosen school is a long commute home.

5. Academic subjects

Find out what electives and subjects are offered for different year groups.

Ask the school about any mandatory subjects, particularly for HSC. For example, many religious independent schools require students to undergo a unit of religion for the HSC.

meriden. choosing a school for your child. science lab students.

Credit: Meriden School

Discuss with your child what electives they would be interested in and potentially their future career. It is important to check whether the school offers subjects your child is passionate about.

6. Wellbeing outreach

High school can be daunting. Ask the school about their wellbeing programs, education and facilities.

Consider whether they have a wellbeing officer or counsellor, guidance counsellor or staff your child can talk to.

If your child has a disability or mental health condition you should discuss with the school how they will be supported.

7. School and class sizes

Many students feel overwhelmed in populated schools, particularly transitioning from primary school to high school.

Have a tour of the school to get an understanding of the campus and class size. Smaller classes may mean individualised attention and education for your child.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information about schools please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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Home » Education Advice » Benefits of private schooling

Benefits of private schooling


Credit: Alphington Grammar School

Many parents struggle with the choice between public or private schooling. Private schools can offer resources, facilities and programs that suit your child’s values. Approximately 40% of Australian high school students attend private schooling.

Advantages of private schooling

Parents have more choice

Private schooling enables parents to choose a school tailored to their child.

Parents can choose schooling which focuses on their child’s areas of interest, or upholds values important to the family.

We are very fortunate in Australia to have a variety of choices in terms of schooling with very good independent, catholic and government schools. One of the great strengths of the independent schools is that decision making about ethos, educational and pastoral programs are all done at the school level giving them greater autonomy. This means that parents can make decisions about schooling based upon how the school values align with their own.

Dr Mark Merry, Principal, Yarra Valley Grammar

Specialised private schooling emphasises a particular area of learning alongside the NSW Board of Studies core curriculum.

Exposure to creative and performing arts

Private schools may offer specialised arts programs that allow your child to explore their talents.

For example, The McDonald College is an independent specialist school where students are able to participate in performances throughout the year. They offer classes such as acting, dance, music or musical theatre.

benefits of private schooling. students playing guitar. The McDonald College.

Credit: The McDonald College

Many of these schools have studio and theatre facilities for your child to excel in creative arts.

Exposure to sports

Private schooling often provides extra opportunity for students to compete against other private schools. Many private schools offer ‘Saturday sporting’ and large sporting facilities.

 

private schooling. private school students. Private school students swimming competition.

Credit: Trinity Grammar School

Religious schools

The Independent Schools Council of Australia reports 94% of independent schools have a religious affiliation.

Parents can choose from Catholic, Christian or Adventist schools. This is ideal for parents looking to raise their children with strong religious values.

Many private schools offer a large campus allowing students to experience a range of areas.

Academic Trajectories

Studies show that private school students have better post school outcomes.

Children who attended private schooling had a higher rate of pursuing higher education with a higher employment rate.

Business Manager and Head Tutor at Sigma Education, Ida Ajdari, believes private school children make an effort from a younger age.

Some of them feel a sense of responsibility to excel whether it’s academically or in the sporting world because of the price points of private schooling. I’ve noticed private school students are focused on doing well from younger ages.

She believes academic performance does not depend on public or private schooling but on the teacher.

I’ve noticed teachers from private schools pay closer attention to individual students. Therefore they are giving more tailored homework and put more detail into checking it.

Smaller class sizes

Private schools are commonly known to have smaller class sizes.

Studies show that smaller classes provide benefits for students. This includes individualised attention, and a more relaxed environment.

A lower teacher to student ratio enables more observation and intervention from teachers.

Ultimately, parents must choose a school that is appropriate for their child and the family.

Tips for choosing a school:

  • Research the core values of the school. This will indicate whether your family values align.
  • Determine areas for your child to excel in outside of academic merits. Your child may wish to pursue competitive sports or creative arts.
  • Identify the religious-base classes offered as part of the curriculum.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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Home » Education Advice » Should I send my child to tuition?

Should I send my child to tuition?


Independent schooling fees can become a large investment for parents. Approximately 25% of Australian students are attending private tuition to keep up with the curriculum.  

Many primary students are seeking entry to selective or private high schools. There is also an increasing pressure for high school students to achieve high results for entry into university.

Students are increasingly attending tutoring after school or on the weekends.

Does my child need tutoring?

There are many benefits to private tutoring.

Individualised education for your child

One-on-one or smaller group tutoring may allow your child to ask questions tailored to their needs.

Students who are self-conscious may ask questions during class without being concerned of asking a ‘silly’ question in front of peers.

Tutors may also have a clearer understanding of the students struggle areas. The personalised attention enables tutors to confirm whether a student understands a concept before moving on.

Connection with their school teacher

Each teacher has a specific teaching style. A big classroom does not always provide teachers with the opportunity to gauge what works for individual students.

If your child is not adapting to the teaching style that works for the rest of the class, private tutoring may be an option.

If your child has changed schools or a teacher, they may not connect and excel in the same way as before.

A confidence boost

Independent schools have an abundance of resources and facilities for children to learn.

The specific resources and skills provided by a tutor may increase your child’s self-esteem and better their performance in the classroom.

This may be beneficial for children who are grasping the concepts at school, but lack self-esteem.

What if they are excelling at school?

Students who perform well in school may still benefit from outside tuition.

Different tuition styles may assist with your child’s behavioural and social skills. Working one-on-one or in small groups can encourage students to communicate more closely with tutors and peers.

Tutoring services may also provide advanced courses or HSC programs which can provide practice materials for higher performing students.

What should I consider?

Content of tutoring services

Outside tutoring services should never replace regular classroom teaching.

Studies demonstrate that peer tutoring is more effective when it supplements normal teaching. Tutoring services are designed to consolidate learning material from the school curriculum.

Discuss with your child and their tutor the material being taught and how it relates to the syllabus at school.

Choose a good tutor for your child

Finding a tutor that suits your child is an important factor in their learning.

Many tutoring services provide free trial lessons. Discuss with the tutoring service whether this is an option. A trial lesson may reveal whether a tutor’s teaching style is effective for your child.

Discuss the tutor’s qualifications and previous work experience with the service.

Further coaching for sports

Many independent schools have extensive sporting programs and facilities to assist student athletes.

sports. kids running. running track. kids on running track. high school sports.

Credit: Camberwell Girls Grammar School

Parents may choose to engage in private coaching outside of school for similar reasons.

Private coaching may provide an extra layer of confidence. Personalised training may provide extra support in their sporting ability.

Tips for parents who are thinking about extra tuition/coaching:

  • Discuss with your child their confidence levels in the classroom or sports field. The school facilities and peers may be sufficient. They may have a lower self-esteem for certain topics or are experiencing classroom changes and wish to engage in supplementary learning.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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