Welcome back to new beginnings


Welcome back to school and to the beginning of a new term and a new semester. The beginning of something is the perfect time to reflect, recalibrate and set future directions. 


For students, it’s the time for them to ask, “where do I want to go now?” It’s important to erase all that is negative and focus on that which is positive and optimistic. It doesn’t cost you any more to be upbeat than to be critical, in fact, it’s just the opposite - it’s like putting money in the bank because you are doing something very good for yourself which will pay big returns. 



It is up to students to determine what they want to change and to make an effort to do so. It can be hard to change when they are stuck in a routine and takes a lot of effort, determination and willpower.  The changes students want to make should enhance their learning and help them fulfil their goals, but they also have to be realistic and know that these changes may not come easily. Students need to make a commitment to themselves that they will do this because they believe it is good for them. It is these beliefs that they will fall back on when they feel frustrated by situations.  It always helps to have someone who encourages and supports you, but ultimately, students have to believe in themselves and that even if they fall, they will be able to pick themselves up, start again, and achieve their goals. 


Students, this is your school life, how do you want to live and experience it?  You have to take ownership over it and direct yourself along the path you want to travel. We can never be fully prepared for what lies ahead, but don’t let the roadblocks stop you from fulfilling your ambitions. Starting today, pledge to making the rest of this year the best journey it can be. 

Education Week


Next week is Education Week (3-7 August). This is an annual state-wide celebration of public education which has been held for more than 50 years.  This year we celebrate the theme of “learning together”.  With such a turbulent year of working remotely and at school, the one constant that we all have (as students, teachers and parents alike) is that we have been “learning together”.


Presented by the Federation of Parents and Citizens Association of NSW (the P&C) in partnership with the NSW Department of Education, there will be a one-hour Zoom webinar at 7pm on Thursday 6 August specially created to give parents and carers a working understanding of the technology most commonly used in NSW public schools.

This easy-to-access online event will cover:

  • the decisions schools make when they are selecting a technology product
  • where you can access more information
  • ‘deep dives’ into both GSuite for Education and Office 365, including how to check for your child’s upcoming work and submitting work and
  • general questions about GSuite for Education and Microsoft Office365.

Find out more, meet your presenters and reserve your place for Technology for Parents and Carers on the P&C’s Zoom registration page


I encourage our school community to participate in this virtual event and to reach out to a teacher and thank them during this week as we all celebrate the importance and value of public education.

Feedback from Year 8 and Year 11

Earlier this year, all students from Cecil Hills High School completed the Tell Them From Me (TTFM) survey. The data from Year 8 and Year 11 shows overwhelmingly that they feel a strong connection to school:

  • 90% of Year 8 students and 86% of Year 11 students reported that they have positive relationships, saying they have friends at school they can trust and who encourage them to make positive choices.
  • 70% of Year 8 students and 74% of Year 11 students reported that they have a positive sense of belonging as they feel accepted and valued by their peers and by others in the school.

CECIL Skills

Students also provided feedback on the value of schooling to their future as 74% of Year 8 students and 62% of Year 11 students reported that they believe that schooling is useful in their everyday life and will have a strong bearing on their future.


What stood out to me is that above all else, students value the CECIL skills of:

  • communicating with others
  • working as part of a team
  • thinking critically
  • thinking creatively
  • problem solving

For Year 8, they will continue to focus on developing these CECIL skills as they begin a new Innovation Elective this semester.  For Year 11, they will be using the CECIL skills more than ever as they complete their Year 11 preliminary courses this term, including their final preliminary exams, before beginning the HSC course as Year 12 students next term.


I look forward to continuing to work with you all this term. 


Here’s to fresh starts and new beginnings!


Denise James

Deputy Principal - Year 8 and Year 11