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Teaching & Learning On-Campus Highlights

Deputy Principal - Students, Gabrielle Smith

Deputy Principal - Students, Ms Gabrielle Smith

From Acting Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning, Ms Gabrielle Smith

In this edition of Nurrunga I would like to congratulate our Year 12 students on their academic achievements, offer insight into the cross-curricular learning opportunities offered at Waverley, and share with you the latest recommendations from the recent NAPLAN review. I am also pleased to be able to announce our 2020 writing competition winners and highly commended students as well as share with you one of the many academic celebrations that occurred throughout NAIDOC Week at Waverley College.

Year 12

Congratulations to our Year 12 students on the completion of their schooling at Waverley College. The final year of school is always a challenging but ultimately rewarding one, providing the opportunity to demonstrate your growth, in every sense, as you finish your time at school. This is indeed true for 2020 and, in the face of unprecedented challenges, our boys have shown more than they might possibly realise. 

The boys are now ready to embark on a new journey. An unpredictable journey. A journey that may run straight just as you thought it would, or it might wind in a roundabout direction or branch off in ways you never expected. Given the ever-changing world that we’re in, it’s most likely to be the latter. But that’s the beauty of being on a journey. There’s no way of knowing where you’ll end up. Everything is a possibility and I wish all our Year 12 boys all the very best as they embark on this new chapter in their lives.

Cross-curriculum Learning

Cross-curriculum learning involves establishing patterns of information between different academic subjects. It offers a creative way of developing knowledge, understanding, and practical skills through a study of interconnected topics. Cross-curriculum learning benefits students as it enables them to identify patterns of information between subjects that will help to enforce key knowledge. Strong cross-curriculum learning can involve a wide variety of different subjects, making sure the links between lessons are natural and not forced.

Most recently, Miss Rebecca Gair (PDHPE teacher and Innovation Leader) developed a cross-curriculum project that involved Year 8 students across Visual Arts, TAS, and PDHPE. The project had a focus on embedding Indigenous Perspectives in the curriculum, with a goal of enhancing the educational experiences of non-Indigenous students as well as our Indigenous students here at Waverley. This project aimed to provide students with a more accurate and richer understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and develop a connection to our First Nations Peoples.   

The boys created and shaped boomerangs in TAS further developing a connection to our rich Australian Indigenous history by educating and informing our students about the significance of the Boomerang. They then engaged in a workshop with the contemporary artist Blak Douglas where they created designs for their boomerangs. PDHPE lessons followed this where the boys investigated ways in which the boomerang was used as a hunting tool and they also had an opportunity to try their boomerangs out in the cricket nets. 

Year 8 students across Visual Arts, TAS, and PDHPE listening to a guest speaker's Indigenous perspective as part of the cross-curriculum project

Year 8 students across Visual Arts, TAS, and PDHPE listening to a guest speaker’s Indigenous perspective as part of the cross-curriculum project


In September 2019, a panel of Australia’s leading education assessment experts was commissioned by NSW, Victoria, Queensland, and the ACT to undertake the independent review on NAPLAN. 

It may be of interest to you that the NAPLAN Review’s final report was released on 28 August 2020 and included the following recommendations:

  • Retain a census approach to the assessments, rather than a sample approach, based on the information they provide to students, schools, and parents;
  • Substantial changes to the Writing assessment to address criticisms that the current approach encourages formulaic responses;
  • The addition of a new assessment domain in critical and creative thinking in STEM to equip students for the contemporary workforce;
  • Conduct NAPLAN earlier in the year and facilitate faster delivery of results to avoid ‘teaching to the test’;
  • Replace the assessment of Year 9 students to those in Year 10 to provide a more accurate indicator of learning achievement before senior secondary schooling;
  • Re-name the numeracy test as Mathematics to better clarify links to the Australian Curriculum;
  • Re-name NAPLAN as ANSA – Australian National Standardised Assessments.

The steps that follow this recommendation are that the review’s participating jurisdictions will ensure that action in response to the recommendations is considered by the Education Council in December 2020.

I will continue to update the community on this when further information is released.

Writing Competition | From Head of Library Services, Mr Bill Roberts, College Literacy Coordinator, Mr Robert Tall and College Enrichment Coordinator Ms Belinda Buchan

For the 2020 College writing competition, the library teamed up with the College’s literacy and enrichment coordinators. This brought a new element to this annual competition.

Under the inspiration of Mr. Tall, we incorporated a stimulus prompt this year:  a set of slightly mysterious keys! And wow did students respond.

One of our winners took this concept and in a delightful twist, a short story was submitted where a boy finds his musical ‘keys’ in the College choir.  Well done Lachlan.

As summer approaches I encourage your sons to not only read but do some writing for fun; it makes a simple activity at home.  It could be writing a note to family members or a short extract for siblings!


Leo Jreige

Lachlan Rowney

Bailey Barker

Highly commended

Jonathan Booy

Asher Thomasyu

O’Connor 08 Wellbeing Group

Yannick Hott

Lachlan Marzol

A set of slightly mysterious keys! the stimulus prompt for the 2020 Writing Competition.

A set of slightly mysterious keys! the stimulus prompt for the 2020 Writing Competition.

NAIDOC Week Library Activity

The library facilitated student engagement with NAIDOC week via being a participant in a live event from the State Library of NSW. This event was broadcast during the students’ lunchtime live in the library via Zoom.

It was a captivating and unique NAIDOC experience with students being able to connect via objects with context and explanations from Melissa Jackson from the NSW State Library’s Indigenous Engagement branch.

Below is the summary from the State Library of NSW:

Description: You will know the name Bungaree but have you heard of Matora or Karoo? Join Melissa Jackson from our Indigenous Engagement branch as she introduces little known Aboriginal women from colonial Sydney. In this interactive virtual excursion, students will be immersed in Library collections that reveal the fascinating story of strong and powerful Aboriginal women.

This session, artworks, film, and sound clips are protected by copyright and may not be recorded, reproduced, or used in any way without the express written consent of the State Library of NSW.

NAIDOC Week Library Activity

NAIDOC Week Library Activity