Message from the
Director of Learning -
Mr Jason Tickner
Dear Westall Secondary College School Community,
It has been a very busy start to Term 2 in Senior School with students actively involved in a range of curricular and co-curricular activities. We continue to have high expectations and strive for improvement both in and out of the classroom. This has been recently evident with how our senior students have positively participated in interschool sport competition, mentor programs, effective study skills workshops, Career Expos, Homework Club and extra revision sessions at a subject level. In addition, our dedicated senior teachers continue to lead, advise and implement effective teaching strategies aligned to our instructional model and iCare school values. As a leader of the senior school, I am pleased with our approach to the year thus far, however, continuing to look for areas of improvement.
Last week, we had our Parent-Teacher conferences which were well attended by our parents and students. Thank you to those that attended these conferences. The feedback was very positive and it is reassuring to know how much the school community values the professional work of our teachers. This event provided a great opportunity for teachers, parents/guardians and students to work together in partnership to further improve learning outcomes for students.
Throughout Term 2 many of our senior VCE students have been involved in our internal Mentoring Program and the Access Monash Mentor program. In total, we now have close to 50 VCE students who are being individually mentored within these programs. The benefits of being mentored include enhanced learning, exploring career ambitions, defining personal aspirations, building effective study habits, preparation for university life and building networks with high achieving teachers and students.
Our VCAL students have continued to progress well through their individualised programs. At school in their Literacy, Numeracy, PDS and Work Related Skills classes, they are working on developing knowledge and skills in these areas. Student school-based apprenticeship (SBATs) and Vocational Education & Training (VET) study allow them to engage with industry training, developing much-needed employability skills. Presently, many of our students are planning their group community projects which is a major assessment in their PDS studies. Our VCAL students have also attended 3 separate Career Expos in the first part of this term allowing them to explore career options and pathways for work-life outside of school.
All students undertaking a Year 12 subject in 2021, will be involved in the GAT (General Assessment Test) on Wednesday 9th June. There will be no timetabled Year 12 classes on this day. As a senior school, we have very high expectations for all our students undertaking this test and we endeavour to make sure they are well prepared. To achieve this, we are conducting a GAT workshop during iCreate study space time on Wednesday 2nd June. This will allow our students the best understanding of the process and expectations for success in the GAT test.
Key opportunities for improvement across Senior Sub-school include:
Attendance - Students who are below 90% attendance within individual subjects are in danger of receiving an N (Not Satisfactory) result for that unit of study within their VCE or VCAL programs.
Uniform – Although we have seen an improvement of late with the standard of winter uniform worn across the senior school, we do have some students who are consistently not abiding by the school published uniform policy. A reminder to parents that if a student presents to school in the incorrect uniform without a valid reason, the student is in danger of being sent home following parent contact.
Accessing Information on Compass and Teams – we encourage all parents and students to access Compass and Teams for all information that relates to senior school events and programs.
Student ID Cards & Diaries – A reminder that all senior students should now have purchased a school diary and student ID card. The student ID card is particularly important for our VCE students, who will be undertaking the GAT, as they are a requirement upon entering the examination room. Similarly, all students sitting Year 11 exams will need to have a student ID.
Mr Jason Tickner
Director of Learning – Senior School
Preparation for End of Year Exams
The final Year 12 Unit 3 and 4 exams are fast approaching and now is the best time to begin preparation. Although the exams begin in October, research and experience show that students who begin to prepare early are always far more prepared and achieve higher results than the students who study ‘last minute’.
Planning and knowing how to effectively revise in readiness for the end of year exams is the key to success for all students. In order to support the Year 12s and 11s, Westall SC is providing important study skills workshops for them.
Students have been presented with a number of self-guided presentations/workshops to allow them to select areas they feel they struggle with and requires improvement. It would be great for parents and guardians to sit with their children and go through these PowerPoints to support the development of these skills. All the powerpoints can be found on Teams; the topics include:
- Effective Study
- Getting Back On Track
- Hints and Myths of Study
- Creative Learning Environments
- Motivating Yourself
- Organisational Skills
- Revision Skills
- Taking Notes
- Time Management Skills
- Where To Start
In addition to these powerpoints, we have had Elevate Education come present to our Year 12 students on aspects of exam preparation, such as common mistakes, how to prepare, how to work with staff and effective study spaces. One clear message that was repeatedly presented throughout these workshops was, that starting exam revision early and improving study skills is the most powerful way to learn.
All students should spend 15mins to 30mins each night revising their notes and highlighting areas for improvement. Moreover, students should tackle their most challenging subject first and ask for support from their teachers. Finally, students should look for, and request, past papers and begin practising the different type of questions.
Year 12 is not all about studying and exams! Students will have an opportunity to relax, and have fun with their peers and staff at the Year 12 Formal on Sunday, 27th June, which marks the end of Term 2. The formal, which will be held at ‘The Park’ on Albert Park Lake, will see students dress up in their finest clothes and dance the night away! Senior School staff would like to encourage all Year 12 students to participate and attend this special event.
Mr Jared Bandara
Year 12 Coordinator
Year 11 VCE
This term, the Year 11s have had a range of exciting opportunities to explore career pathways and study skills to assist them in their learning. Having taken over the Year 11 coordinating position this term, I am enjoying seeing the students grow and thrive at school. Below are some key events we have participated in recently.
VCE Careers Expo
On Friday 30th April, Year 11 VCE students attended the Careers Expo at Caulfield Racecourse. There were many exhibitors and seminars that students could attend to help them prepare for their futures. Exhibitors included opportunities for:
- Information and resources for VCE
- Information about tertiary study, university, TAFE and training courses
- Career advice
- Study advice
- Employment advice and opportunities
- Apprenticeship and traineeship advice
- International exchange and gap year programs
It was great to see students engaging with these exhibitors and explore opportunities for their future.
VCE Success Strategies
Success Integrated ran a workshop with the Year 11 VCE students covering some important study skills. It was a fun seminar with the presenters who were very engaging and it was great to see everyone get involved. With the mid-year exams coming up at the end of Term 2, this session was excellent in providing students with strategies to help them study and achieve success. These strategies included:
- Maintaining a positive mindset
- Avoiding distractions
- Creating study plans
- Studying in chunks of time and taking breaks
- Using mnemonic devices to help remember information
It has been great to see all the Year 11s get involved this term – keep up the great work everyone!
Ms Ellen Rankin
Year 11 Coordinator
Legal Studies VCE Units 1-4
On Wednesday 28th April, the Year 11 and 12 Legal Studies students were privileged to have a visit from a former County Court Judge, Ms Jane Patrick.
Ms Patrick has a long association with the law; working in the Magistrates Court for 8 years and then moving across to the County Court, where she was a judge for 10 years. Her experience with all sorts of crimes and civil cases was vast and she kept the students mesmerised with her stories, anecdotes and insights into the law. She even bought her robes and her wig (which is made from the hair of the tails of Belgium draught horses). Some of her insights included:
Gavels are not used in Australia (they are American).
In Australia, lawyers and barristers do not say “I Object.”
Barristers in Australia do not approach the bar.
We would like to especially thank Ms Luong, Mr Tran (Hieu) and Ms Paget for allowing the Year 11s to attend the first part of the talk. The students have learnt so much from this talk and it has cemented their learning in so many ways.
Ms Sue Stenning
Librarian/Legal Studies Teacher
Year 12 Biology Excursion to GTAC!
On Tuesday 4th May, the Year 12 Biology students went to GTAC to complete some laboratory work on bacteria, antibodies and conduct an ELISA test. This aligned with the study design that looks at the topic immunology, which allowed for students to utilise what they had learnt in class and apply it to the situation where cows had a bacterial infection in their milk ducts that affects the production and taste of milk! Students used the science laboratory skills to identify the bacteria and tested whether the cow had been vaccinated or not! A big thanks to Ms Betty Roberts and pre-service teacher, Ms Melanie Blakeney, for helping and spending the day at GTAC. We had a fantastic time there!
Ms Loan Luong-Nguyen
Learning Specialist: Numeracy & STEM
Markcus Ioane's Trip with the Iron Armour Squad to QLD
Markcus is one of our Year 11 students currently completing his Intermediate VCAL Certificate alongside an SBAT at REECE. Well done on being a part of this team, and travelling to Queensland to play rugby. What an achievement, we look forward to seeing more of your success on and off the rugby field!
Ms Ngarelle Gordon
In Term 1, Week 9 and 10, I got the opportunity to travel to Queensland with the Iron Armour Squad for rugby. Our team went on a bus all the way to gold-coast. On our bus ride up, there were many obstacles and challenges that we as a team had to overcome, such as flooding, unbalanced bridges and delay on what time we were going to get in the gold-coast.
Unexpectedly, we had to stop in at a hotel in Campbelltown for the night. It was fun because we got to explore some of the restaurants, and the hotel with my teammates. We arrived in the Gold Coast at 4am. Our games for the next few days were cancelled due to all the rugby fields being flooded. When we eventually got to play, we came up against Ipswich High School. This was a tough game, but we managed to win. We lost the next 2 games, but they were very close games. Our team and coaches were very happy even though we lost. We walked away knowing the things that we need to work on individually and as a team. On the final day we packed our stuff up and headed back on the road to Melbourne. I would definitely recommend this experience to any other students who are given this opportunity.
By Markcus Ioane
Year 9 and 10 VCAL
BGKLLEN Industry Expo
On Tuesday the 11th of May, I had the opportunity to attend the BGKLLEN Industry Expo. There were many great opportunities and options to look at, what I enjoyed the most was the Australian Defence Force exhibit. They showed and explained many different opportunities they offer whilst training to become a soldier. This made me rethink what I would like to become in the future, now I don’t know what to become with all these great opportunities I now know about.
By Jerome William (9A)
Today I got the opportunity to attend the BGKLLEN Industry Expo. We were able to see many different workshops and find out about which jobs we might be interested in for our future. The one that I was most interested in was the Australian Defence Force. I enjoyed the whole experience and learning new things. The best part was at the end when we got to stop at KFC and grab a mean feed.
By Edson Tuaine (9A)
VCAL Product Design
The VCAL students have been working on redeveloping original products. The challenge was to take an existing recycled shoe and redevelop it by upcycling (add to), which involves combining several shoe designs to make a new shoe and create a totally new shoe design.
The students were enthralled by this idea and were fast to work - hammering, cutting, reshaping, glueing and using whatever it took to pull apart the original shoes. The journey of discovery was that students got to see the many parts that go into the formation of a shoe - from the stiletto to the thong and lace-up shoes. They explored design solutions of problem-solving, experimenting with existing and new materials, tools and equipment, collaborating with their peers as well as producing new ideas.
The images are a snapshot of the work in progress capturing the busy hands making light work!
Ms Helen Ifandis
Year 10 Coordinator & Arts Coordinator