We know so much more about the human brain and its development these days. There is no doubt that all Bishop Tyrrell students are challenged to develop their intellect to the highest level possible through many and varied age-appropriate activities.

A recent and exciting development is The Gifted and Talented Program offered to challenge and accelerate students’ learning. Our students will extend their classroom work in special areas of interest through participation in several groups and competitions over the coming weeks.

These programs provide opportunities for children to develop their curiosity, reasoning, perseverance and to learn new skills.  They will engage in complex problem solving, be exposed to abstract ideas and will learn at a faster pace. Working with others who enjoy independent learning and extending their knowledge is part of the College’s zsextension program.

Recently our Head of Learning Enrichment, Mrs Walters commenced the program working with students in Primary and Secondary School in both class time and small groups. Several ICAS  competitions and other local and national challenges are coming up in August and September. The Primary Vocabulary Extension Group from Years 1-6 has begun, the Gifted Social Obligation Group will meet for the first time next week, one of our secondary school students is putting the finishing touches to a movie to be entered into a film-making competition. While COVID has restricted some activities other groups in Mathematics, Poetry and Innovation are being established or have begun. We are blessed to have so many opportunities for extension and will keep our community informed as they flourish.

On a high note, this week we have received advice that the first of our Year 12 students has been offered a 2021 university placement at ANU, Canberra to study a Medical Science and Arts double degree. Congratulations to Leo Lindsay on this wonderful news. Many Year 12 students apply to universities that have separate entry requirements, ahead of the HSC results, as a means of securing their entry to the university course of their choice, frequently with the school’s recommendation. This advance university placement scheme not only offers students certainty, but also allows them to concentrate fully on securing the very best academic achievement to finish their schooling.

It is worth noting that a high proportion of Bishop Tyrrell graduates receive entry to their first preference university course, at the University of Newcastle, in Sydney and elsewhere, which is to their personal credit and a testament to the earnest preparation provided by their dedicated teachers.

Further, some students who like more practical work prefer to enter a trade course or an apprenticeship and are placed in the field of their choice. Recently, we congratulated Hannah Gunton  Year 12 who was awarded School Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year by the Association of Independent Schools NSW.

Suzanne Bain

Primary featured image


Kindy: Connie Confidence has been visiting Kindergarten over the past few weeks to talk about how to be a confident person in the classroom and …



Kindy: Connie Confidence has been visiting Kindergarten over the past few weeks to talk about how to be a confident person in the classroom and a confident friend. The students have been practising how to use their big voices and how to let others share their ideas. We have enjoyed completing various activities associated with the fairytale “Little Red Riding Hood” including acting the story out, designing and making a safe way to get to Grandma’s house and pondering on what exactly was in Little red Riding Hood’s basket. We have looked at ways that different places are special to us with our Inquisitive Learning, and especially enjoyed looking at our place in the world with Google Earth. We have also started our Deep Learning project to help raise money for the Samaritans and are looking forward to presenting it in a few weeks’ time.

Year 1 students are back into the swing of things after a much needed and well-deserved break. We are strengthening our mathematical foundations by using a variety of tools, including number lines, to help us solve more complex addition and subtraction problems. We have been learning about Arnhem Land and have loved hearing of the connections that some of our Aboriginal friends have with specific locations around the country. Although Science lessons have been the highlight, discovering how various materials can stretch and change their shape, according to what material they are made from. Who knew a lolly snake could grow so loooooooong?!

Year 2 have enjoyed reading a number of short texts in the last couple of weeks to test out their inferencing skills. They have learnt that to make an inference, they need to look at the clues in the text and use personal knowledge and experiences. In Mathematics students have been using money to ‘buy’ small items using the College canteen list and shopping catalogues. Students have been enjoying Science, as they explore water in the College environment and their experience of rain. Students have conducted some water experiments and walked around the College to find where water is used. In Geography, students are exploring Australia and the different states and territories. They used their research skills to find natural and man-made landmarks in each of the states and territories. Year 2’s deep learning project has given students an insight into the process of inquiry and how they can use their creativity to display global citizenship.

Year 3 have knuckled down to lots of work this fortnight and are happily engrossed in a variety of learning. We are enjoying being together again after our holiday and shared our news in a written recount, which is our writing focus for this term. ‘Bungawitta’ is our new class novel and through our reading we have met a dozen characters who come together as a community to raise money for their town, which is in the throes of a savage drought. Their resilience is incredible when all odds are against them and they show ingenuity to make a plan to survive by holding a unique festival. They invite city dwellers to come to Bungawitta and pay for the experience.

There has been lots of  researching and practising for their speaking task on a place of interest in Australia. On Monday 10 August, students began their presentations and it was most encouraging to see the confidence shown by many of the children. We were entertained and informed on lots of different places from around this beautiful country. Speaking to an audience is a highly valued skill and we look forward to developing this amongst the students. In Geography, we are studying Australia and it’s geographical features by comparing Australia to the other continents in the world and discovering Australia’s special places.

Inquiry skills continue to grow while participating in the Global Deep Learning Project. We come together every Friday and discuss, research and probe questions about the environment, sustainability and pollution. Ideas are flowing and in Week 4, we are collecting waste materials from recess and lunch and weighing them to determine what quantity of waste is collected and which type of waste is mostly collected. Year 3 have been responsible for weighing and graphing the information. It is likely that the outcome of this side project will determine the journey of our inquiry.

Year 4 have taken the opportunity to collaborate this term with our Science focus of invention and ingenuity. Students have spent time exploring scientific minds of the past while embracing the opportunity to design their own creations. So far this term students have improved the design of a simple school chair, challenged their peers in a newspaper tower competition and tried to develop their own unique umbrella designs. Students will continue to learn about the design process as they culminate their planning, creating and evaluating skills in an enormous STEM challenge in the final weeks of Term 3.

Year 5 have been delving into the curious world of animal adaptations. Why are polar bears white? How do sharks live in the ocean? How do lizards keeps cool in the desert? These are some of the questions we have been researching answers too. Whilst studying rainforests, we have looked on with fascination the importance of rainforests on our very survival, and that of millions of plants and animals. Fractions are all around us and we have been working on our understanding of proper, improper and mixed numeral fractions. Learning about the world around us and how we can be a global citizen during our Deep Learning Project, has us working on ways we can help the homeless and conserve our natural environment.

Year 6 over the past fortnight  have continued to delve into their novel study using Tim Winton’s book, ‘Blueback’. The key feature of sustainability is starting to emerge within the novel. Students continue to grow their understanding of sustainability through the analysis of Winton’s amazing use of language features and imagery. This week’s focus in Mathematics has included fractions and using scales on maps, which ties in beautifully with our current Geography unit involving Asia. On Friday we finished off our Maths focus with an exciting and engaging lesson with our teachers and Ms Halpin. The activity pushed students’ creative thinking skills to solve a range of Mathematical challenge questions within a limited time frame. Within Personal Development and Health we learnt how to read the labels on many of the foods we eat, and discovered many hidden ingredients contained within some foods. Our Deep Learning session saw students delving deeper into solving their identified problem. Collaboration and a lot of research was the key to a very successful afternoon.

Japanese: To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th, all students in their Japanese classes this week learnt about this significant day. They heard the story of “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” based on a real account of a young girl who survived the atomic bomb, but later contracted leukemia due to the radiation. They now understand how the paper crane is a symbol of hope and peace. Each student has been challenged to make paper cranes to contribute to the College’s combined 1000 cranes, to be displayed as a symbol of peace and hope for each member of the College community.

Tournament of Minds 2020:
This term, a range of student’s across Years 4, 5 and 6 have joined together to form Bishop Tyrrell’s 2020 Tournament of Minds Teams. This year we have four teams, all of which have shown amazing commitment, training three times a week – during lunch times and after school! Tournament of Minds (TOM) offers teams of students the opportunity to solve authentic, open-ended challenges that foster creative, divergent thinking whilst developing collaborative enterprise, excellence and teamwork. Challenges are set in the following disciplines: The Arts, Language Literature, Social Sciences and STEM. This year, the challenge has been modified, and teams will submit their solutions to a panel of judges via a pre-recorded video in September. The challenge this year is “People often come across unusual things in unusual places. Something extraordinary has been found . . . in an unexpected place by an out of the ordinary group. People are asking many questions, there are so many questions but so few answers. Your team embarks on a journey to find the answers.” We wish all four teams all the very best, as they embark on this exciting and challenging time ahead. Good Luck TOM teams!

Mark Durie
Head of Junior School

Preschool featured image


Our new Preschool Atelier has been well utilised by the children experimenting with a variety of artistic mediums in our outdoor environment. The mediums explored …



Our new Preschool Atelier has been well utilised by the children experimenting with a variety of artistic mediums in our outdoor environment. The mediums explored recently were clay, wire and paint. Wire medium was new to the children so we took some time to explain how to mould and work with it and what we could do and create with it. The children explored bending, twisting and threading with the wire and were then provided with a range of beads, buttons, corks and rocks for them to add to their sculptures.  Lilly and Esther wanted to create a butterfly using the wire. This required lots of problem solving and creative thinking as they created the wings and the body of the butterfly and then worked out how to connect them together. As the children continue to work with this new medium over the coming months and as they become more familiar with the wire they will start to build a relationship with the wire material and their creations will develop with greater intricacy.

The exploration of clay started with a discussion on how it felt and looked as the children moulded it using their hands. They investigated the clay in its natural form and then added water to see what happened to the clay when they added water to it. As the children explored the clay they asked questions, solved problems and engaged in critical thinking.

“It is a bit hard, but if you put water in there it will be not so hard” William said to Quinn.

“It feels like hard things and then soft things” Sophia said.

“Oh mine is different now” Isaac noticed as the clay changed.

“It feels slimy and when you add water it makes it slimier” Emily noticed.

The exploration of paint was introduced using inspiration from the sky by providing mirrors and paint tones of blue, grey and white. The children were encouraged to look into the mirror and view the reflection of the sky in the mirrors. They then painted what they could see. As they painted a discussion was had about how artists name their paintings and some examples of the names of famous paintings. The children were then encouraged to name their own artwork on completion.

Through unrestricted exploration of these artistic mediums the children are learning and forming connections.

“Creativity seems to emerge from multiple experiences, coupled with a well-supported development of personal resources, including a sense of freedom to venture beyond the known.” Loris Malaguzzi, The Hundred Languages of Children.

April Cooke
Preschool Director

Secondary – Studies featured image

Secondary – Studies

This week I would like to talk about having a growth mindset. Some people believe that we are born with our “intelligence” and skills and …


Secondary – Studies

This week I would like to talk about having a growth mindset. Some people believe that we are born with our “intelligence” and skills and that we can’t change these – a fixed mindset. Others will believe that we can all make progress and that the limits to this aren’t set in stone.

What on earth would make someone a non-learner? Everyone is born with an intense drive to learn. Infants stretch their skills daily. Not just ordinary skills, but the most difficult tasks of a lifetime, like learning to walk and talk. They never decide it is too hard or not worth the effort. Babies don’t worry about making mistakes or humiliating themselves. They walk, they fall and they get up. They just barge forward. What could put an end to this exuberant learning? Something called the fixed mindset.

Carol Dweck is a researcher who has written a lot about mindset and the effect that it has on young learners. This research has shown that some people believe we are born with innate skills and intelligence and that we can’t really extend ourselves beyond these set factors – those with fixed mindsets. Others believe we can go way beyond the levels that many people think we are capable of and our limits are boundary-less.

It is easy to forget that people who are great at what they do may make things look easy, but they had to start somewhere. No one is born with all the talent to succeed. One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is that you are ultimately responsible for the progress you make. It is hard to hear any form of criticism, but more often than not it is said to help you improve and learn.

The idea of a fixed and growth mindset makes you think about how we use praise and how it affects learning. There is a lot here about Carol Dweck’s research into mindset and education –

Online Parent Teacher Interviews
All students and their parents have had the opportunity to attend an online parent-teacher interview online. If you have any feedback on these sessions please send it to me as the College is considering continuing this format of interview if staff and parents are positive about this change.

Year 11 Examinations
The Year 11 Examinations commence on Thursday 20th August and finish on Friday 28th August. All students have received a copy of the examination timetable.

Year 12 Trial Examinations
The Year 12 Trial HSC Examinations commence on Monday 17th August and finish on Monday 31st August. All students have received a copy of the examination timetable.

The Sydney Morning Herald has released an amazing HSC study guide which can be found at: It is broken up into easy to digest chapters and is quite comprehensive.

It is essential that Year 11 and Year 12 students arrive at school at least 15 minutes before the start of their examination. Students should be well into their study and preparation for these examinations.

Tania Lloyd
Deputy Principal

Secondary – Pastoral featured image

Secondary – Pastoral

This term’s Fletcher House Challenge is focusing on Physical Wellness. Physical Wellness is having vibrant physical health and the prevention of disease in your body. …


Secondary – Pastoral

This term’s Fletcher House Challenge is focusing on Physical Wellness.

Physical Wellness is having vibrant physical health and the prevention of disease in your body. Aspects of physical health include how you move your muscles through exercise and their capacity to stretch. Your daily and weekly rest patterns are also crucial to healing and being physically energised.

Some extra activities to increase Physical Wellness are:

  • Try the spell your name workout.
  • Try a Les Mills trial for FREE and access some of their older workout series online.
  • Have a go at a hip-hop tabata class from Popsugar.
  • Do a PT session with Sydney Cummings.
  • How about a 10 minute abdominal workout from HASfit, or choose from one of their other.
  • Check out more FREE fitness videos available on this list of 50.
  • Hold a dance off challenge for members of your family or get online and do it with your mates.
  • Practise your ball skills in the backyard.
  • Do some skipping to get your heart rate up.
  • Shoot some hoops.
  • If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, do some laps and get competitive with yourself, see how many you can do in a set time.
  • Get out the backyard cricket set and get your whole family playing.
  • Set up exercise stations in your backyard, on the driveway, or in a room in your house, then do circuits, time yourself and see how many exercises you can do at each station. How many pushups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, jump-rope turns, burpees, and step-ups can you do in 45 seconds? How about a minute? Keep track of how well you do and see how you improve over time.
  • Mow the lawn for your parents.
  • Go for a 20 minute walk
  • Go for a 20 minute run

Tania Lloyd
Deputy Principal

Creative and Performing Arts featured image

Creative and Performing Arts

A modern approach to instrumental practice Currently students enrolled in Secondary elective Music classes here at the College are exploring new ways and strategies to …


Creative and Performing Arts

A modern approach to instrumental practice
Currently students enrolled in Secondary elective Music classes here at the College are exploring new ways and strategies to improve and enhance their instrumental practice time at home. Students have been engaged in evaluating their development of learner attributes along the learning progressions used to measure competencies relating to the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) 6 Competencies. Music students have focussed on the competency character to support and develop their ability to deep learn, and to equip themselves with the essential social and emotional character traits of self-directed learning, including grit, tenacity, perseverance, and resilience; the ability to make learning an integral part of living; and to proactively change outcomes for themselves and potentially others.

One of the learning dimensions that has had a considerable impact on Music students approach to instrumental practice is that of leveraging digital. This entails student’s engagement with digital resources to enhance their ability to learn from and reflect on their learning and the development of traits such as grit and tenacity. In other words, when a student gets stuck on something when learning a new piece of music, they identify strategies that make use of digital resources to get themselves back on track. Students have numerous digital resources at their fingertips that can assist in learning an instrument including sourcing practice resources relating to their instrument. This may include a metronome app, sourcing and/or editing digital scores/charts, engaging with instrumental tutorials online that provide real-time feedback, making use of a recording application to document and evaluate performance progress, and sourcing and/or creating backing tracks. These tools have never been easier to use and access.

In the younger years, parental involvement in children’s instrumental practice is extremely important. In her paper Learning a musical instrument: The case for parental support (Article in Music Education Research March 2014), Dr Andrea Creech explored ways in which parents may most constructively support their children’s musical development. She concluded:
“The extent to which parents engaged in various types of support was found to vary according to interpersonal relating style, and the interaction types in turn were found to impact on learning outcomes. Learning outcomes, including enjoyment of music, motivation, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and personal satisfaction with music lessons, were found to be enhanced when parents:
a) elicited their children’s views regarding appropriate parental involvement
b) negotiated with their children over practising issues, within parameters set by the teacher
c) provided a structured home environment for practice
d) took an interest in promoting good teacher-pupil rapport
e) communicated with the teacher in relation to the child’s progress
f) remained as a supremely interested audience.”

The need for student’s practice time to be efficient, and their use of effective strategies to be tailored, has never been more important given the context of their lives, as children are now engaged in far more activities before and after school hours than ever before.

Instrumental Teacher Profile
Amanda Hovenden has been listening to and creating music from a very young age. When she was 5 she began learning the Violin through the Macquarie Conservatorium in Dubbo.

In 2016 she moved to Newcastle to continue her musical studies and in 2018 completed a Bachelor of Music, majoring in Violin Performance, with Distinction and a Faculty Medal. During this time Amanda received several awards including the Valasi Bleazard Memorial Scholarship in Music, the Friends of the University of Newcastle Music Scholarship and The Con Ellis Prize.

While completing her degree Amanda performed regularly with the Newcastle Youth Orchestra, University of Newcastle Orchestra and numerous small ensembles around Newcastle, the Hunter and the Central Coast. She also began teaching Violin to students around Newcastle and built up a private teaching studio. Amanda enjoys the challenge of discovering the best way to teach each of her students and encourage them to discover their musical potential.

Amanda is currently completing her Master of Teaching degree at the University of Newcastle while continuing to teach and perform in and around Newcastle.

Currently, Ms Hovenden is a member of the College String Team, and conducts both the College’s Year 3 and 4 Violin and Intermediate String ensembles.

At Bishop Tyrrell we offer Instrumental lessons with some of the most qualified and experienced Instrumental teachers in the Hunter region. Lessons are currently available online before, during and after College hours throughout the week – according to the availability of the individual tutors. Please click on the Instrumental Music Lessons tab on the College Caleb Co-Curricular page and you will be directed to the available instrumental teaching staff and gain access to their College contact details.

Gareth Ross
Head of Creative Arts and Performance

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Congratulations to Year 9 student, Georgia Chapman, who has enjoyed a recent series of successes in the pool playing the sport of Water Polo. At …



Congratulations to Year 9 student, Georgia Chapman, who has enjoyed a recent series of successes in the pool playing the sport of Water Polo. At the age of only 14, Georgia has been selected to trial for the iconic Balmain Tigers Open Women’s team, who competes in the National League competition. We wish her much success as she undertakes this challenge. Georgia has also just been named in the “Born ‘05” Australian Water Polo Squad, giving her, not only a place on the national Squad, but also in the “Launch to LA Olympics” program. We are proud of this tenacious young lady and our hopes are with her as she continues to strive towards her goals.

Joel Cruickshank
Head of PDHPE & Sport

Children, Youth and Families Worker featured image

Children, Youth and Families Worker

Having Faith “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see…And without faith it is impossible to please …


Children, Youth and Families Worker

Having Faith

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see…And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” – Hebrews 11:1, 6

Faith is, first and foremost a hope we have for something better – for healing and reconciliation. For brokenness to be made holy. Faith is more than a wish, but not quite a belief either; belief is rooted in the mind while faith is rooted in the heart. Ultimately though, faith is challenging – something to be worked at.

Last week, we considered the difficult reality of living through a pandemic and the spiritual questions this can raise. We also reflected on the ways in which a spiritual experience of the world might enable us to respond hopefully, seeking out others and caring for one another. This week we ask how faith might fit into this framework – responding in hope by seeing potential in others, realizing our own depths and rising to new life lived in the knowledge and love of God.

In Chapter 9 of Mark’s Good News about Jesus, we read of a man whose son has been rendered senseless. He has according to his father a “mute spirit” (Mark 9:17). Jesus calls for the boy to be brought before him and asks how long he had been afflicted. The man cries “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus’ response is powerful: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes”. The man responds in kind “Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief.”

This story shows us the nature of faith. It is not simply a matter of the head – a set of rules to be followed and truths to be told, but rather a journey to be lived out; from doubt to willingness. It is with hesitation and stumbling that we recognize the frailty of our own experience and are too able to cry out “help me with my unbelief”.

Faith is the expression of a hope for something more than what we see in front of us. No more and no less. It is a confidence and expectancy that things can improve, that things will get better and that together we shall overcome. Faith is relational – it takes place in the context of relationships with others. Whether we see the unrealized potential of others, the goodness within ourselves or the possibility of a better world for all people, faith shapes and forms us to be a better reflection of the love of God.

I invite you this week to consider how you might make faith a more important part of your daily life – to seek out a God who yearns for relationship with each of us and who offers us hope and assurance.

Mark Thornton
Children, Youth and Families Worker

News and Notices featured image

News and Notices

Career Aspirations Display Our Year 11 and 12 Students have been exploring, refining, and sharing their career aspirations and goals during Tutor. We have created …


News and Notices

Career Aspirations Display
Our Year 11 and 12 Students have been exploring, refining, and sharing their career aspirations and goals during Tutor. We have created a visual display of these goals, grouping students together in related areas of interest. This display has many benefits, including:

  • Helping students with career planning decisions as they are inspired by other students’ interests
  • Fostering collaboration between students with similar goals
  • Showcasing the diversity of interests within our College
  • Providing visual motivation as students work towards the goals they have set themselves.

Book Week Celebrations

Costume Parade Book Week celebrations are going ahead in Week 6! We are looking forward to being dazzled by some curious creatures and wild minds in our Character Costume Parade on Friday 28 August. Although Parents are unable to attend onsite, we will be livestreaming our parade so that Parents can still join in the fun. A link will be sent to you closer to the event.

Virtual Book Fair One of the highlights of our Book Week celebrations is our Book Fair. This year we are taking it online, with a Virtual Book Fair hosted by Carnival Books. Log on to between Monday 24 August and Monday 31 August to browse, select, and pay for books. Books will be delivered to the College for distribution at no extra cost, or alternatively you can choose to have books delivered direct to your home for an additional shipping fee.

Adrianna Demmocks
Careers Advisor and Librarian

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