Magdalene Catholic High School

Newsletter Vol 20 Term: 4 Week 5 - 16 November 2018

Principal's Blog

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is less than forty days away! Each year I marvel as it seems that Christmas gifts and decorations appear in the stores earlier and earlier, yet time itself remains fixed.

A recent article in the Scientific American explores why we believe that “time flies as we get older”. Psychologists refer to “the holiday paradox” and this can account for why it seems our childhoods may have seemed longer than our present existence. This is to do with how the brain perceives events. Fresh experiences and learnings are remembered very favourably in our brain and we tend to remember them more readily in our ‘autobiographical memory’. As we get older, however, and our lives become more routine, our brain tends to cut these memories out (why have numerous memories of the same event when a few will suffice?). Thus, our earlier lives (and fresh experiences) are more readily accessible in our brains – and so it seems like these events lasted longer.

Interestingly, psychologists tell us that we can keep our brains active by continually learning new skills, new ideas and by exploring new places and locales. Indeed, it is vital that students do see themselves as lifelong learners and relish various learning experiences – whether in or outside the classroom, during excursions or any opportunities for travel.

This week I visited our Year 12 2019 Society and Culture class and they asked me questions about the nature of change. We spoke about imminent changes for Magdalene Catholic ‘College’ and I was asked a great question about whether too many changes are on their way?

My response was nothing extraordinary, suffice to say that change is a constant in life. Humans by their very nature do not like change – as we are creatures of regularity and we like certainty. Any notion of change, therefore, brings with it fears about the unknown and how the change may negatively impact my ‘future self’ somewhere down the track.

In education, we are graced by having your children with us for no more than six years. In that time if we wrestle with ideas of change – should or shouldn’t we – we can be victims of what one of my former lecturers called “Analysis paralysis” – the state of over-thinking about a decision so much that eventually a choice never gets made. Thus educational discussions and changes now need to have some sense of urgency or whole cohorts will not be beneficiaries. If we sit back then putting in Air Conditioning or applying for classrooms or halls simply can’t happen.

During this week’s P & F meeting, I shared the following information about our plans to change the structure of the school day from 2019. These changes are in line with educational movements in many institutions across the nation and aim to ensure that there is deep learning happening in our classes and less disruptions to learning.

Please note the start and finish time of the school day will remain the same, but key benefits include:

  • reducing wasted time moving between 6 lessons instead of 4
  • a 40-minute lunchtime
  • addressing issues with lateness and the perceived value of Pastoral Care time
  • common lesson times. We currently have a range of lesson durations therefore 75 minute lessons on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 60 minute lessons on Tuesdays makes sense.
  • less disruption and more certainty – for example, everyone will know when assemblies will occur
  • improved opportunities for deep learning in lessons
  • fewer lessons in a day
  • more concentrated learning
  • the inclusion of a lunch time into Tuesday

Proposed times are:

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Over the next few newsletters our Leader of Teaching and Learning, Stephanie Phillips, will be sharing some of the Professional Learning that has taken place by our teachers to prepare for this. See the below article on Deep Learning.


I will be taking leave for two weeks (from Tuesday 20th November and returning on Tuesday, December 4th). During this time Mrs Jenny Foldes will be Acting Principal and Mrs Ivana Forner will be Acting Assistant Principal.


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Learning and Teaching Report

Deep Learning

At Magdalene, we foster learning that is relevant and meaningful. Just as our students learn each and every day, we are committed to continuously learning as educators. Our staff are currently engaged in collaborative learning aimed to extend our ability to promote Deep Learning experiences.

As we move into a new structure in 2019, extended lesson times give us the opportunity to structure lessons in ways that facilitate challenging learning tasks. If Deep Learning has occurred, students have the ability to apply knowledge, be creative in their approaches and solve increasingly enigmatic problems. These skills are not only necessary for academic success, but success for students of Magdalene when they graduate.

Deep Learning experiences allow for school learning to leave an impact on students well beyond the school environment. It allows students to see the relevance of skills and concepts taught at school to the broader world and to discover how they can use their learning to create change and impact. As a staff, we are exploring these Deep Learning approaches to develop collaborative students who are aware of their strengths.

We look forward to the learning experiences we will share next year.

Miss Stephanie Phillips

Leader of Learning and Teaching

Literacy Teacher


School fee accounts can be paid up to and including Friday 7 December 2018. The Finance office will be closed as from the close of business Friday 14 December. Should you have any queries regarding school fee accounts please contact a member of the School's finance team at

F1 in Schools

Both Magdalene teams are set up and ready to compete in the World's largest STEM competition.
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Wheelchair Basketball Roadshow visits Magdalene

On 9/11/18 Magdalene 10PASS students were extremely fortunate to engage in a practical workshop run by Wheelchair Sports NSW. The students were participating in this workshop to coincide with the unit of work ‘Physical Activity and Sport for Specific Groups.’ Students had studied relevant content in class and participated in various modified sports to increase their understanding of physical activity and sporting opportunities for People with Disabilities.

This workshop was led by two experienced presenters who both had different interesting stories. Catherine had sustained her disability from contracting meningococcal disease at a young age. Catherine was a natural athlete competing in various sports. Representing NSW in Swimming and also playing Women’s Wheelchair Basketball in the National League for numerous years. The second presenter Rick was also very active and said he had played most sports available to him. Rick has excelled in Basketball, Rugby League and Tennis, representing Australia on numerous occasions. He has also made it as high as number 2 in Australian rankings and 42 in the World in Wheelchair Tennis. Rick had sustained his disability from spina bifida. The Magdalene students were very engaged in the presenter’s backgrounds and excited to hear about the vast range of opportunities for People with Disabilities. The presenters highlighted that any sport can be adapted to a wheelchair and just because you are in a wheelchair doesn’t mean life has to stop.

The students were given opportunities to use specially designed wheelchairs which had modifications such as the wheels, which were built on an angle to help facilitate movement and enhance balance. Magdalene students developed their abilities through fun activities prior to taking their skills to the court. At first, students found it difficult to manoeuvre around the court and control the ball. Students also found it difficult to shoot a basket. After a few games, it was very exciting to see how the students developed their skills and were evading defenders and sinking baskets.

The Magdalene students all were heavily involved in the workshop and represented our school in a mature and respectful manner. All students loved the opportunity to play a new sport and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I was very proud of the way the students conducted themselves and glad to see that they said they could take a lot away from the experience.

Kind regards,

Mr Matthew Bubb

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Remembrance Day - 11 November

The school would like to acknowledge and thank staff and students who were able to attend Camden's Remembrance Day Service last weekend.

Sport News

Congratulations Mia 8D

Congratulations to Mia Warby who has been selected into the 2018 Indoor Netball State Team and will be competing at the Australian Junior Nationals on the Gold Coast from 30/11 to 8/12.
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Do You Have Some Sport News You Wish To Share?

If you are aware of some fantastic sports news or achievements that we need to know about - please let us know. Initial emails can go to Thank you

Administration of Medication at School

Please be aware that the "Administration of Medication School Policy" has been reviewed by the Catholic Education Office. Below are a number of points which have been reviewed. The full policy is available under this article.

  • Parent/Carers are asked to complete a Request to Administer Medication Form for all medication (prescription or Other-The-Counter)

  • Prescription medication is to be provided to the school in the original container with the pharmacy label attached to the container

  • Over-The-Counter medication (eg Panadol) should only be administered if it is provided by the parent/carer in the original container with a completed Request to Administer Medication Form which has been signed by a doctor and includes a practice stamp

  • Action Plans (Asthma and Anaphylaxis) should be updated on an annual basis, or following a medical episode, or requested by the school

Request to Administer Medication Forms are available from the school office.

Student Opal Cards for 2019

School student applications for 2019 open from Monday, 15 October 2018.

Students progressing to Year 3 and Year 7 do not need to re-apply if they:

· are continuing at the same school; and

· are residing at the same address; and

· have not been sent an expiry notification from Transport for NSW.

Where a student meets the new distance eligibility, the system will automatically update their entitlement. If they do not meet the new eligibility, they will receive an expiry notification.

Students who have an entitlement approved under a medical condition which is due to expire will receive a notification advising them to re-apply.

Term Bus Pass holders will receive a notification to re-apply.

If students need to update their information or re-apply, they should go online to

Applications need to be submitted before 31 December 2018 to ensure student entitlements are updated and their current entitlement/card is not cancelled. If their application is submitted after 31 December 2018, the system will automatically cancel a card and a new one will need to be issued.

Students in the Opal network applying for a SSTS or Term Bus Pass entitlement for the first time will receive their card at their nominated postal address. Cards will be mailed out during December 2018 and January 2019.

Magdalene Impressions

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Canteen Roster

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School Calendar

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