School attendance matters, and as we return to face-to-face learning, it is one of the key focus areas for us at Lakes Grammar. Attendance at school is arguably one of the most important indicators of academic success and building strong relationships. These strong relationships are key to students feeling happy, connected, and being able to flourish in their learning and their lives.
Research has shown that poor attendance is associated with:
Lower academic achievement including literacy and numeracy
Increased rates of leaving school before completing Year 10 and Year 12
Leaving school with fewer qualifications
Reduced opportunities for students to learn and access educational resources
Further absenteeism in higher year levels
Increased alcohol, tobacco, and substance use in adolescents.
Other research shows that absenteeism can lead to a lack of engagement with peers and the school community, leading to emotional and behavioural issues (Carroll, 2013). Hancock et al (2013) noted that “Every day counts and there is no ‘safe’ threshold for absences”. That is, each and every day matters for our students.
There are a number of factors that can predict a student’s non-attendance (Balkis, Arslan, & Duru, 2016) and these include:
Academic self-concept and self-esteem
Experience with poor behaviours from others at school
Mental health concerns
Lack of ‘belonging’
Lack of motivation and goals
While we know that teacher quality is the single most important in-school factor influencing student achievement (Hattie, 2009) this is mediated by the above factors, and the amount of time students actually spend in the classroom. While Australia’s school attendance rate is comparable to similar countries, there are some (Australia wide) areas of concern:
25% of students attend less than 90% of school days. That is approximately 20 days absent per year.
Attendance rates tend to decline from Year 8 onwards (AITSL, 2018)
Lakes Grammar is committed to doing our absolute best to deliver outstanding teaching and learning experiences every day. If your child is absent due to illness, please let the school know first thing in the morning. If you have a planned absence, please apply for an exemption using the form available on the intranet. Good habits start early, and the effects of non-attendance are cumulative if they begin in the early years of schooling. Continued absences can lead to a cycle of absenteeism and disengagement which can be difficult to overcome. The Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools (Gonski, Arcus, & K, 2018) suggested that the Australian educational system needed to move to a more holistic and individualised approach to maximise the learning for each and every child. While this does not mean that each child in every classroom received individual teaching from our staff, it does mean that we take a personal and targeted approach to our classroom learning to engage and challenge our students.
Your child and their learning is important to us. Your child is a learner, a unique individual who is cared for and known by the Lakes community and staff. Your child is on a journey with us (some for 13 years!) and we aim to ‘Build Better Futures’ in a joint venture with our families and caregivers. I look forward to being on this journey with you all.
Finally – our best wishes and prayers have been with our Year 12 this week as they finally began their HSC examinations. Our Year 12 students have certainly been on the most unique journey, and we wish them well.
Balkis, M., Arslan, G., & Duru, E. (2016). the school absenteeism among high school students: Contributing factors. Educaitonal Sciences: Theory and Practice, 1819-1831.
Carroll, H. (2013). The social, emotional and behavioural difficulties of primary school children with poor attendance records. Educational Studies, 223-234.
Gonski, D., Arcus, T., & K, B. (2018). Through growth to achievement: the report of the review to acheive educational excellence in Australian Schools. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
Hancock, K. (2013). Student attendance and educational outcomes - Every Day counts. Canberra: Department of Education.
Hancock, K. (2018). Does the Reason Matter. British Educational research Journal, 141-174.
Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning, a synthesis of 800+ meta-analyses on achievement. London: Routledge.
KEY DATES FOR THE DIARY
K - 6 Speech Day
Wednesday, 8 December 2021 - 9.30 - 11.00am
7 - 12 Speech Day
Thursday, 9 December 2021 - 10.00 - 11.30am
Correspondence will be sent home regarding these events next week.
Pete and I are experiencing something new this year along with about 100 or so other parents of the school. We both have children sitting the HSC right now. It has been a wild ride over the past 2 years and like no other year before. Last year’s cohort of graduates had it tough in the pandemic and this Year 12 group year has doubled down on difficulty. As a parent it has been exceedingly tricky to navigate and keep everyone’s head above water. Some days have seen quite a few tears and let’s just say my step count is up for a reason.
With all this in mind, my wife and I were recently asked to write an article for a faith-based online magazine about being a parent of a current HSC student. It was not easy to write as I am fully aware of my own frailty and our own imperfect parenting. We do, however, have almost 60 years of experience combined working with teenagers and so we drew on our own experience to hopefully put together some helpful tips and my very clever wife wrote a beautiful prayer. If you would like to have a read, even if your child isn’t in Year 12, it may prove helpful for now. Just click on the link below
As we head towards the end of the year we are going to pick up one of our traditions at Lakes Grammar that helps us drag our attention away from our own difficulties and lifts them to helping others. Every year we engage with the Samaritan’s Christmas Appeal where we gather together non-perishable grocery items and Christmas gifts for families on the Coast who are doing it tough. This year we will be collecting these items throughout week 8 (22nd-26th Nov) and more details will be emailed home this week. Our hope is to gather at least 2000 items for our local emergency relief centre in Kanwal. We literally will change the lives of our neighbours who may be desperate this festive season. Thank you in advance for your generosity and willingness to bless others.
WHOLE SCHOOL NEWS
During the school holidays, the school will be closed to parents and visitors, reflecting current COVID-19 restrictions.
The office will be attended as detailed below. If you call outside of these hours please leave a message and an administration staff member will return your call when on site.
The school will be closed Friday, 10 December from 1pm.
From Monday, 13 December to Thursday, 16 December the office will be open 9am to 12pm only.
The office will be closed from midday on Thursday,16 December until it reopens on Monday, 17January
The office will be open from Monday 17 January until Friday, 24 January from 9am to 12pm only.
The School will be closed on January 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th
From Monday 31January the office will resume normal hours from 8am to 4pm
JUNIOR SCHOOL NEWS
HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL
‘Finish strong’ is something that you will hear teachers saying to their classes as we near the end of the year.
However, it is a hard concept for students to action, particular with the excitement of the ‘festive’ session fast approaching - students can find themselves counting down the days. This type of mentality can lead to students not being in the moment or focusing on completing their goals for the year.
I can remember when I was growing up, I would count down the days until the Christmas break and, as an avid cricket fan, my father used the example of the 1999 Cricket World Cup to realign my mindset.
To set the scene, Australia found themselves in the semi-final up against an inform South African team. As predicted, Australia were bowled out for a smaller than expected total of 213 runs. South Africa’s batting was going well and they were only 5 wickets down, requiring 38 runs to defeat Australia. I must admit that by this stage I had given up hope but fortunately the Australian team did not have the same mindset. They were going to ‘finish strong. They continued to focus on their goal, not the situation around them and as fate would have it, they were able to go on and win one of the most famous victories in cricket history.
As helpful as cricket may be in the highlighting the importance on finishing strong, Paul writes in the book on Corinthains (9:24), Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
I really value the last sentence in that verse, I would like to see each of our students finishing strongly, so that they can achieve their goals set before them.
Head of Junior School
Last week of borrowing
Borrowing has now concluded for 2021. All loans (especially overdues) that are currently out need to be returned in the next 3 weeks for our annual stocktake.
Carnival Virtual Book Fair – 8/11 – 26/11
Our virtual book fair is now up and running. Please feel free to go on the website for any purchases. A reminder of how to order / purchase:
Browse the books and add your selections to your shopping basket
Follow the prompts to purchase items via the secure checkout. Make sure that HOME DELIVERY is selected.
Happy shopping and we thank you for your support of the 2021 book fair!
Junior School Teacher Librarian
COHEN BALDWIN WINS $10,000 IN ORIGIN LITTLE BIG IDEA COMPETITION
In Term 2, the 5/6 OC Class and Year 6 classes participated in a term-long Science Fair project. There were many incredible projects presented, stemming from observations students had made about the world around them. The language students used as they explained their projects to visitors conveyed that they had learned a great deal about the Scientific Method. There there was one project that particularly stood out, for its complexity and advanced ideas, and that was a project which investigated the effect of jellyfish bioluminescence on the brightness of glow emitting from various types of bacteria. Cohen received a well-deserved full marks for his exceptional work, but he realised that was just the start of a very interesting area of study.
During Lockdown, the 5/6 OC class worked through the innovation process using the engaging structure provided through Origin’s Big Little Ideas Website.
Students first identified a problem they noticed in the world, then worked through a series of steps to finally arrive at their best solution. Around 10 diligent students decided to submit their final innovative solutions to this competition. Cohen's innovation was 'Biolume'; a device that injects illuminating microorganisms into trees to replace street lamps. BIOLUME features solar power and works on a timer, so the device can dispense enough bioluminescence until natural adaptation works.
Today in a surprise announcement Dr. Jordan Nguyen, Little Big Idea Ambassador and Mrs Clancy presented Cohen Baldwin from Year 6 with a giant $10,000 cheque from Origin Energy as winner of the Grade 5 and 6 category in this national competition. This is a phenomenal achievement for Cohen and so exciting for him, his family and his teachers involved. You will be hearing more from us on this in the near future but in the meantime click here to view his winning entry. The entry was described as one of the most 'unique and feasible' that have ever been submitted from the 11,000 entries received since the competition began. Absolutely incredible!
Year 5/6 OC Teacher
SENIOR SCHOOL NEWS
HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL
This week our Year 12 students finally started their HSC examinations. It was very exciting to see them back here at school on Monday morning. It has been five months since we have seen them all back on site, and we are especially proud of them having completed approximately 25% of their HSC learning online. What an achievement.
As a school we are committed to building better futures for our students, so it is wonderful to be able to report that many of our Year 12 2021 students have already been offered a position at a tertiary institution. These early entry offers are based on their outstanding academic results, leadership skills, interviews and/or involvement in the school and wider community. As a school we provide many opportunities for the students to flourish and create a full and diverse portfolio. Congratulations to the following students:
Bachelor of Communication (with specialisations)
Charles Sturt University
Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Law/ Elite Sports Program
University of Newcastle
Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences/Bachelor of Psychology (honours)
Bachelor of Social Work
Australian Catholic University
Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Communication
University of Canberra & University of Western Sydney
Bachelor of Interior Design
Bachelor of Marine Science
James Cook University
Bachelor of Social Science (Counselling)
Bachelor of Development Studies/Business
University of Newcastle
Bachelor of Business
University of Technology, Sydney
Bachelor of Nursing
Australian Catholic University
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education (Secondary)
University of Newcastle
Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Commerce (honours)
Bachelor of Music and Performing Arts
University of Newcastle
Bachelor of Design in Architecture
University of Newcastle
Bachelor of Visual Communication Design
University of Newcastle
Bachelor of Business (Sports Management)
International College of Management (Sydney)
We wish all our Year 12 students the best of luck with their remaining examinations and we are looking forward to celebrating with them on December 3 at the Year 12 breakfast and formal.
Year 7 2022 Orientation Day
Due to the relaxation of Covid restrictions, we are now able to hold an orientation day. The Year 7 (2022) orientation day will be held on Monday 6 December. Further information will be emailed to parents shortly.
Speech day will be held in the senior school on 9 December at 10am. Only students who are receiving an award will be attending the ceremony. Students will be advised if they are receiving an award approximately one week before. Further information will be provided shortly.
Our students in Years 7-10 have now completed all their assessment tasks for the year. Students are to be congratulated on how they have demonstrated our key ‘Vital’ characteristic of being determined when faced with challenges! All assessment tasks will be returned to students over the coming weeks.
All Year 7-10 student reports will be available to parents from Monday 29 November through parent lounge. I encourage you to speak to your children about their reports and contact their classroom teacher if you have any questions regarding your child’s report.
Deputy Principal and Head of Senior School
Wednesday, 10 November was school counsellor and school psychologist recognition day and we celebrated Ms Taggart. She has connected with our students with empathy and compassion, fostering hope and helping them through their life circumstances.
Ms Taggart, we are so grateful for your skills, professionalism, and resilience. You have risen to the challenges thrown at you this year — navigating the increased levels of worry associated with the pandemic, adjusting to telehealth delivery of counselling/psychology services in schools, working from home while supporting wellbeing at the school level. Thank you for all your hard work.
Our chapel and wellbeing theme for this week has been looking at the VITAL characteristic of faithfulness. In this we have been looking at trust – in each other, our school and our broader community. This is something that is absolutely vital in our classrooms to enable learning and in our social lives to be effective citizens in good health. Here are some tips for building trust:
Be honest with yourself: The first thing that you need to do is to be honest with yourself; after all, only when you understand your true motivations can you focus on building up the relationship with another person.
Honesty matters: Honesty goes a long way in making any relationship strong.
Actions speak louder: Ever heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words”? Well, it is apt when it comes to building trust; we have this tendency to judge others based on their actions. Given this, it is important that you stick to any promises you have made and carry out the tasks. This can help others to think that you can be relied upon and therefore can be trusted.
Be upfront: You need to be upfront with others regarding your own feelings.
Tomorrow is World Kindness Day (Saturday 13 November). The purpose of World Kindness Day is to highlight and encourage good deeds in your community. It also serves as a reminder to all that simple acts of kindness have power and that together, we can all work to create a kinder world. You may wonder how compassion from one person can make a difference. It isn't easy to comprehend, but every kind act, even the smallest one, creates a ripple effect you can’t begin to imagine. The World Kindness Movement and World Kindness Day are meant to inspire you to believe that we can make a global difference one act at a time. https://inspirekindness.com/blog/world-kindness-day-2021-your-complete-guide#h_27519547311570018375590
Our oldest students have made it through their first exams this week and are now on a roll – we continue to pray for them every day and hope they will be able to maintain their energy and keep their eyes on their goals. We look forward to celebrating with them all soon with a breakfast and formal which will be a great way to finish 2021.
As always, if you are finding life a little tougher than usual or you know someone who is, remember there are people to help.
Stay well and stay safe,
Senior School Co-ordinator of Student Wellbeing
JUNIOR SCHOOL SPORTS NEWS
Jump Rope for Heart
Lakes Grammar is jumping through the term! We have logged 25 hours of skipping practice and have currently raised $3,114. What a terrific effort!
Tuesday Sport from Week 4
A reminder that full sports uniform must be worn on Tuesdays for sport i.e. hat, sport shirt, joggers, school sport shorts and socks. Students should also have a water bottle.
K-6 Sports Coordinator
SENIOR SCHOOL SPORTS NEWS
Years 7-10 students have been engaging well with the weekly sport program, which will continue to the end of the year. Please ensure your child has a hat for sport, as sport is conducted outside and there is limited shade available. We will also provide them with access to sunscreen but we recommend they bring their own.
The annual Lakes Grammar Tennis Open will be held for students in Year 7-12 on Friday, 19 November on the senior school tennis courts. Entries have filled up fast and only limited spots.
Entries need to be to Mr Beecroft by Monday 15th November.