Newsletter - Volume 15 - 18th October 2018

From The Principal: Chris Caldow


The term has begun and both the students and staff appear to be happy to be back at school. I hope that the holiday period was relaxing and that you were able to spend some quality time together as a family.

Term 4 within any school is a very unique term, and often in my imagination, the term seems like a period of continuous ‘count downs’, and I am sure many of the staff and students feel the same. Some of the countdowns include the last day of classes for our Year 12 students; the beginning of Year 12 examinations followed by Year 11 and 10 examinations. We also have a countdown to the Year 9 exams and then the many and various deadlines for the Year 7 and 8 students. All these events will be quite quickly followed by graduations, and before we all know it, it will be Christmas!


• Monday, 5 November is a Student-Free Day to allow staff time for planning, preparation, assessment of student learning, collaboration, curriculum planning and professional learning.  This day will be student free for both Campuses.  I recognise that this creates an imposition on families and thank you in advance for your ongoing support as we strive to improve student outcomes.

• Monday, 19 November and Tuesday, 20 November areStudent Free Days for the Broadmeadows/Senior Campus. This will allow our senior students (Year 9 - 11) a small break between finishing exams and commencing their Headstart Program and allow our staff to have a Correction Day to finalise grades. Our junior students (Year 7 & 8) have exams on Monday, 20 November.  The Year 7 students are at the Glenroy Campus and Year 8 students are at the Broadmeadows Campus.

• Friday, 30 November is a Student-Free Day for our Year 7 & 8 students at the Glenroy Campus to allow our Junior Campus staff time for correction and report writing of the end of year reports.

• Thursday, 6 December is a Student-Free Day for our current Year 7 students to allow our staff time to plan for the 2020 Year 7 Orientation Day on Friday, 7 December.  Our current Year 8 students will be involved in their 2019 Headstart Program at the Senior Campus from Monday, 3 December to Thursday, 6 December. This means that our current Year 7 students will finish the 2018 school year on Wednesday December 5 at 3:10pm.

Update on State Government Funding

I write to you with great news about a recent funding commitment for our schools. The Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, and the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, James Merlino have announced the ALP’s commitment to provide $400 million in funding over the next four years to upgrade and build new Catholic and other non-government schools. Catholic education will be the big winners from the fund, with the Premier indicating that our schools will receive 70-80% of the new funding. The Andrews Labor Government has also announced a range of planning reforms which will streamline existing processes to help us build and maintain facilities for Catholic school communities across the state. On top of this, Mr Andrews has committed funding to support the removal of asbestos and the other hazardous materials, which will ensure that all of our schools, wherever they are, are safe.

This is a huge announcement for the Catholic sector, and is the largest capital funding commitment a Victorian Government has made to our schools. I know the significant contribution you already make to maintaining and upgrading the facilities at your child’s school, and I also know that you keep putting your hands in your own pockets to make sure that they can have the best places to learn in. Across Victoria, parents and carers are contributing 80 cents in every dollar that our school sector spends on capital works in our schools. This announcement is also a welcome recognition of the hard work from you and other members of your school community have put in over the last 18 months, sending a very clear message to decision-makers: Catholic education matters.

The Liberal Nationals leader Matthew Guy and his education spokesman, Tim Smith, have pledged to match the Victorian Government’s $400 million commitment for the upgrading and building of new Catholic and non-government schools over the four years, if elected on 24 November. The Liberal Nationals have also committed to planning reforms they say will offer more streamlined procedures and enable Catholic and other non-government schools to be more responsive to community demands by transferring planning responsibility for applications relating to non-government schools from councils directly to the Minister for Planning. Importantly, Mr Guy has said ‘giving parents and children choice in education is a core value of the Liberal Nationals’, adding ‘a critically important part of that choice is for parents to have the option of low-fee independent and Catholic schools’. Shadow Minister for Education, Tim Smith, acknowledged that Victoria has the highest rate in the country of students attending non-government schools and, like the ALP, has committed funding to support the removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials to ensure our schools, wherever they are, are safe. Yet again, this is a terrific announcement for Catholic education, and is further recognition of your commitment to seeing that your children are taught, in not only caring learning environments, but great teaching spaces that can inspire. In the space of just three days, both major parties have offered a public endorsement of the quality and strength of our schools in the Catholic sector – and recognised their significance to the state.

Update from Executive Director of Catholic Education Victoria on Federal Government Funding

I write to you with great news for Catholic schools around Australia. After 16 months of intense lobbying from school communities like yours, the Australian Government and the National Catholic Education Commission announced that they have agreed to new arrangements under the Gonski 2.0 funding policy. Under these new arrangements, the Australian Government will make changes to how it calculates the funding each school receives. Revisions to the existing SES funding methodology will take parent income into account to ensure a fairer and more accurate measure of school community wealth. The new arrangements also provide more time to schools considered ‘overfunded’ under the model to transition to their new funding arrangements. The Australian Government has also established a new fund to support struggling schools. Since May last year, Catholic schools in Victoria faced more than one billion dollars in funding cuts over the next decade. Today, the announced changes will put a stop to these funding losses and actually provide additional funding to schools in our sector. None of this would have been achieved without your efforts, and those of parents and carers in other school communities across Victoria. When confronted with the government’s funding policy changes last year, Victorian Catholic school communities were the first, and for a long time the only, voices advocating for Catholic schools across Australia. Thank you for standing up for your community over the last 16 months. Victorian Catholic school family efforts inspired other dioceses and their school communities to have the confidence to take up the fight and to bring about today’s announcement. There is no doubt that your efforts have resulted in the fresh approach taken by the new Minister for Education, Dan Tehan. Minister Tehan has genuinely listened to the concerns of Catholic education and recognised that there are major flaws in the funding model. We are grateful for his intervention and efforts to resolve this impasse. While I am hopeful that we won’t face this type of challenge again, I am gratified to know that there are parents and carers like you ready to stand up for our Catholic schools.

Coping with Exams

In this busy time, more than half of the school will be engaged in end of year examinations, and if you include end of year assessment tasks there should be many students with very demanding deadlines ahead of them. So for this reason, I thought it would be valuable to discuss with families how you might support your son or daughter during what can be a challenging period for school work.

At meetings with new parents I always try and make a habit of saying that school always will be the second educator of students, as parents are by a long margin, the number one educator. This is no marketing slogan or cute catch-phrase, but, I think, a very basic truth. And as such, it is most important that parents continue the very important role as educators of their sons and daughters. The type of assistance I am talking about is not meant to be like a teacher at home, but a more powerful supportive role that helps them perform well at school. So if I was drawing up a list of supportive things that families can do during this time of exams and projects, it would look something like this…

The highest priority might seem very obvious but I think it is still important to name it; and that is that most students perform at their best if their home environment is well ordered, has consistent rules and a warm and supportive emotional climate. All students prosper if there is regularity in their study habits and environment.

The second most important thing is that home study times should be in place which are consistently adhered to, preferably in a public place in the house where there is a quiet but supportive buzz of people around the student who is doing the study. I am sure I have mentioned before that in most cases, shutting a boy or girl in their room is just about the worst thing you can do. The fact is, only a certain percentage of students really enjoy home study, so it can be a real benefit to students who do not enjoy home study to be in an environment where other people are around them, but this has to be done in a way which ensures relative calm.  In that environment students can seek quite a bit of support from parents about having, for example something read over, or a question made clearer, and parents can also get some understanding of how their son or daughter is coping with the work at hand. 

In the case of older students (and what I mean by this is anybody from Year 10 onwards), the reality is they are becoming more independent and therefore parents have less control over some aspects of their life style. Nonetheless, I think it is really important that parents of this age group help their sons make sensible choices about balancing competing life style agendas. For example sleep deprivation can be a significant issue for young people, so it is important for parents to help older teenagers make wise decisions about how often they go out, work part-time jobs and generally cram into their busy lives. It is not uncommon for a young person to have a job, a busy social calendar and budding relationship whilst still at school. It can be a tricky business when parents try to step in and take control when teenagers are not making wise choices. It is important for parents to develop the knack of having these supportive conversations about managing their quite complex lives in a healthy manner.

Some lifestyle advice can be given more surreptitiously, for example, by putting bowls of carrot and dried fruit and nuts in front of them as they study, and keeping the coke and sugary foods at a distance. These sorts of proactive actions are often much more powerful than sitting down and telling them to eat properly. 

Another area where parents can be of enormous benefit is with time management. Many young people fall into the trap of just starting at the start and ploughing through the work to the end. They often think that just working at 100 miles an hour is going to be the best way. Advice about assessing priorities, breaking down tasks into components and creating timelines can be of real benefit.

For some students, exam and assessment periods bring about an increase in anxiety levels. We know that once anxiety gets to a certain level there can be a loss of good judgment and a decrease in work quality. Therefore parents can be a great support for their children by assisting with planning deadlines, timelines and generally sorting out the broad scope of what has to be done. These are very much adult skills that many young people don’t have.

Another important but complex area of support is the help parents can provide with their emotions. Although there are no simple rules or guidelines, parents have an enormous role to play by helping their child’s thinking and feelings to be positive and realistic. Strange as it may sound, too many students, particularly boys, overestimate their ability and as a consequence, can experience disappointment due to over confidence. If your child is like this, your job will be to keep him realistic and grounded. Overconfidence can be an unfortunate masculine characteristic and it is important to ensure that our young men are not too blasé about the capabilities.

Conversely, there is another group of students who are the opposite. Some are prone to anxiety and unfortunately talking that person up is not necessarily the best solution to this problem. Building confidence through pep talks may be a valuable ingredient, but by far the best solution is actually helping them think or work through whatever it is that is making them anxious. And when I say help them “think through” I do mean that. When it comes to school there is no doubt that one of the hardest things for some parents is to not tell their adolescent children how to think or act, but instead be a form of mentor.

The last aspect where support can be very valuable relates to a wider problem solving capacity that young people often don’t have. This falls broadly into a communication or seeking help category. It is most important that students are able to talk over problems with their teachers, or raise concerns and know that they will be heard and understood. Offering simple advice such as when or how an issue may be broached with a teacher, or reminding your son or daughter that it might be a good idea to let your teacher know about this, can be an enormous benefit. Young people can fall into the trap of thinking that everyone around them is a mind reader and know what their problem is. Conversely, they may think that nobody would care or pay attention. Generally putting teachers in the picture, and also putting mum and/or dad in the picture is tremendously beneficial.

Most of the things I have talked about fall into the category of life skills. They don’t require university courses or degrees but they do need careful thought and consideration. If you are able to provide these valuable life skills for your child, you will be giving them a significant form of education that will not only benefit them while they are at Penola but will set them up for success in whatever area of pursuit they follow after school.

With my own son and daughter currently preparing for their end of year University examinations, it is easy to suggest these strategies but it may not mean that your son or daughter takes them up! I have listed below some suggestions from others:

Professor Andrew Martin from the School of Education at the University of NSW (UNSW) says, before major exams, the focus starts to shift to doing practice exams. “As students mark or assess their answers, they will benefit from looking closely at “mistakes” and seeing these as windows of opportunity for improvement,” he said. “Even at this stage, it is not too late to learn a bit more, better understand some aspects of a subject, and improve one’s writing, and so on.” Professor Martin says that as revision is done, students should keep their mobile phone out of the study area and switch off social networking and gaming if working on a computer. “Finally, get some decent sleep and do some physical activity during this period,” he said.

According to Dr Rachael Jacobs, Western Sydney University, the key is avoiding the “disproportionate” stress that surrounds the end-of-year exams. “Students often feel like their whole lives and futures ride on ATAR exams,” Dr Jacobs said, adding that the news images of students in desks and chairs, isolated from each other, exacerbates community stress around high-stakes exams. “No student should ever feel that their future is dependent on one set of exams. We have more university places than ever before. Employers are looking for more than good results.”

To Dr Penny Van Bergen, a senior lecturer in Educational Psychology at Macquarie University, the best way to prepare for the Year 12 exams is for students to ask questions, test themselves, mix up their study sessions and avoid cramming. “The evidence is in, cramming the night before an exam is not as effective as studying for the same duration over a longer period,” Professor Van Bergen said. “Whether you have 10 hours or 100 hours spare, the brain works most efficiently when sessions are spread out and there is time to consolidate all the new information.”

Viviana Wuthrich, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Macquarie University, advises students and parents to “keep the pressure to excel in perspective”. “We all want to do well, but the key is to not blow the consequences of the exam out of proportion,” she said. "Secondly, balance study with rest time, and look towards life after the exams.” Associate professor Wuthrich said about one in five students experience particularly high levels of stress, but the majority experience only moderate levels of stress. “Exam stress appears to be lessened by strong family, peer and school connections, and an absence of negative thinking about the consequences of exams,” she said.

Year 7 Enrolments 2020

A reminder to all of our existing families that Year 7 enrolments for 2020 closed on Friday, 17 August.  A number of families (in excess) applied after the close of enrolment last year and it makes it very difficult to accurately plan for the following year so I ask that you submit your enrolment as soon as possible.  Often families assume that we know that there is a younger sibling. I would be very disappointed if one of our existing families missed out on an enrolment due to not submitting their enrolment in a timely manner.


From the Deputy Principal Head of Broadmeadows Campus: Ernie Pisani

Year 12 Finish As the Year 12 students prepare for their final stages of their formal education, we wish them every success. These students will be farewelled in a series of appreciation activities that start next Monday at the final College Assembly. On the following morning, they will have their annual dress up morning followed by a special breakfast with …

Read more.


Grease Production

We had record crowds this year to see the College production of Grease.

Congratulations to all staff and students for a magnificent show with so many new faces on the stage.

We thank our many year 12 students who had their last College production and thank them for the many years of contribution to the Performing Arts.

Congratulations to Cindy Nguyen as Performing Arts Captain and her leadership team.

We also thank James Warren, Jordyn Bazzano, Josh Busuttil and Isabella Polimeni as mentors and returning students.

Mr James Maddocks


On Friday the 14th of September, Marko Younan and I were accompanied by the Head of English, Ms Huggins, as we attended the launch of ‘The Margaret Egan Young Writers Award’ at the Hume Global Learning Centre. This new young writers award was created by local author and former Geoghegan College student, Caroline van de Pol, named after her late sister, Margaret.

Overall it was a really good experience taking part in a panel discussion alongside incredible local authors Caroline van de Pol and Nick Gleeson, Angela Savage from Writers Victoria and our very own Year 12 student, Marko Younan, discussing their aspirations as writers. We were joined by local council members, the Mayor of Hume and other local community members. As Penola students, we felt a great sense of pride as we witnessed authors who had grown up in our community speaking so passionately about their work and the ‘Margaret Egan Young Writers Award’. We learnt valuable lessons about what it takes to become a writer and all of the opportunities that are on offer. It was really good to be a part of an initiative aimed at improving writing in our suburb.

This award opens on Thursday 1st November, and entries close on Saturday 15th December, 2018. All students aged 15-18 living in Hume are invited to enter by submitting a piece of non-fiction work (such as an essay, feature article or memoir) of up to 2,000 words. Free writing workshops are also being held at the Hume Global Learning Centre, with the next opportunity on Tuesday 30th October, from 4-6pm. The winner will receive a prize of $1,500, as well as the opportunity for mentoring by Caroline van de Pol herself.

We welcome all those interested to submit their own work! Please see Ms Huggins if you are interested in finding out more details.

Anushka Warnakulasuriya, Marko Younan and Ms Huggins


Penola Catholic College Scholarships

Penola Catholic College recognizes and encourages students who strive for excellence in a wide range of disciplines.  The College believes it important that students develop:

• skills of creativity

• a spirit of inquiry

• self discipline

• critical awareness

• a sense of community

• skills in leadership

• a desire for academic excellence

• be a Real Life Learner

Penola Catholic College endeavors to support students through the implementation of a Scholarship Program.  The Scholarship Program recognizes and acknowledges students that take responsibility for, and are proactive in the development of their own learning.

We are thrilled to be able to announce the provision of a number of scholarships for 2018.  The scholarships are of $400 each and are categorized as Academic, Co-Curricular Involvement, Community Spirit and Personal Endeavor.

Students interested in applying for a scholarship are invited to complete an application form.  Forms will be available from Friday, 7th September and may be collected from the Campus Offices. 

All applications must be submitted to the campus office no later than Wednesday, 10th October.  The Scholarship Selection Committee will then short list and interview suitable applicants.  Recipients of scholarships will be acknowledged at the College Awards Night.

Please Note: Recipients of 2018 Scholarships are not eligible to apply this year, but may apply again next year.


Students parking on surrounding streets

A reminder to all students who drive to school and park in the surrounding streets to please be mindful of residents and other drivers. When parking please ensure you are not taking the space of two cars and that you are not blocking access to drive ways or rubbish bins.


Don't forget to sign up to Flexischools!

Flexischools system allows students to pay at the canteen using their existing student card.
Parents can set daily limits and view transactions online.

Click here!


Penola Sport Facebook Page 



Second Hand Uniform Sales 

Fortnightly Tuesdays, Broadmeadows Campus

8.45am - 10.30am

Term One: Feb 6, Feb 20, Mar 6, Mar 20
Term Two: Apr 17, May 1, May 15, May 29, Jun 19
Term Three: Jul 17, Jul 31, Aug 14, Aug 28, Sept 11
Term Four: Oct 9, Oct 23, Nov 13, Nov 27

If you wish to sell your freshly dry cleaned second hand uniform items (new logo/uniform), you can do so by leaving them at Reception at the Broadmeadows Campus. Blue blazers with the old logo will also be accepted. All items must show they have been dry cleaned by having the dry cleaning tag attached. 


Interested in selling your uniform?

If you are interested in selling your clothing please have them dry cleaned and handed in to Reception.
All items must contain the NEW College logo. 
The College will also accept NEW logo items as donations for struggling families.

Academy Uniforms run a school shop service at Broadmeadows Campus in the current second hand uniform area in the Mannes building on:

Wednesday mornings from 8:00 - 9:30am
Thursday afternoons from 3:00 - 4:00pm
Academy Uniforms are now ON-LINE

Simply go to: Academy Uniforms
Choose Penola Catholic College and enter password Broadmeadows
Orders can be sent to the School Shop or home address.

Academy Uniforms
238 Wolseley Place,
Ph: 9460 8011


Penola Catholic College

Junior Campus: 35 William Street, Glenroy, VIC 3046
Senior Campus: 29 Gibson Street, Broadmeadows, VIC 3047

Postal Address:
PO Box 637, Glenroy, VIC

Telephone:(03) 9301-2777
Fax:(03) 9301-2770