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DecemberReturn to top

Online safety tips

These days kids are now just as likely to spend time on the internet as the beach. Why is it so important to them? Watch this video to hear teens talk about how they use social media and what they think about cyberbullying. With many kids about to spend more time online these holidays, Click- a technology guide for parents looks at the latest research and advice for parents about cyberbullying and how to keep kids safe online. Printable facts sheets - Holiday tips for parents, teens and younger children What to do about cyberbullying The key... Read more

Schools Spectacular highlights

A dazzling line-up of singing, dancing and musical talent was on display at the 2009 Schools Spectacular. This year's event, called Reaching Out, showcased the skills of performers from hundreds of public schools across NSW. Three thousand students, aged from five to 19, participated in the Spectacular, which featured a 1,000-voice choir, an 80-piece symphony orchestra, 1,800 dancers and 50 soloists. The dedication of the choreographers, costumiers and production crew was enormous. So was the encouragement and mentoring of the teachers, and... Read more

NovemberReturn to top

Schools tackle cyberbullying

Students from across the state shared their views on cyberbullying at a recent community forum in Sydney. The one-day event also brought educators, academics, social media experts, parents and community members together to hear current research findings and to explore strategies to address cyberbullying. Students from 23 NSW public schools were present at the forum, with another 19 regional schools - including parents and community members - participating via videoconference. One in ten children affected Keynote speaker and director of Edith... Read more

Staying on at school

A new age dawns in school education next year when the leaving age changes so that all students in NSW complete Year 10. Public schools are now preparing for the extra students, teachers, classrooms and computers that will flow from what the Premier, Nathan Rees, has described as one of the most fundamental changes in education in 60 years. "By increasing the school leaving age [from 15 to 17 years] we are creating a flexible, skilled and educated workforce," he said. Australian and international research shows that teenagers who leave school... Read more

OctoberReturn to top

Researching online

You can't always trust what you read on the web, so how can you tell a good homework site? As a parent you will have the opportunity to get involved in your child's homework and assignments which will sometimes mean helping track down good information online. Sorting fact from fiction With so much information on the web kids need to look out for: bias and hidden agendas factual errors outdated information information which is country-specific commercially-motivated information. Start with My Library My Library is a NSW public schools' tool... Read more

School Spectacular 2009

For NSW public schools the Schools Spectacular is the greatest show on earth. A Year 2 boy is riding his bike on a Sunday afternoon when he sees his neighbour and school dance teacher, Karlie Chalker. "What time do we go to Koori dance on Monday? Do I wake up at 2:00?" he yells. The young boy tells Ms Chalker he has been practising all night for the audition of the biggest night of his life - the Schools Spectacular. His troupe, the Darlington Public Koori Dancers in Years 2 to 6, hopes to become part of the show's Aboriginal dance ensemble.... Read more

SeptemberReturn to top

Computer skills for parents

Has your child left you behind in the technology stakes? Update your computer skills easily online now with video tutorials and classes, many of which are free. Video tutorials, vodcasts and webcasts (different people call them different things) are the easiest way to learn about technology because you can watch example tasks being performed onscreen while you listen to the explanation. You'll find video instructions on the eHow website for everything from how to use iTunes or how to set up a WiFi hotspot at home, to how to make a website. The... Read more

AugustReturn to top

Go green from home to school

Did you know that most of the waste in schools is sent there in children's lunch boxes? It is estimated that each child produces approximately 30 kilograms of waste per year just from their school lunch. That would be more than some kids weigh! Imagine this amount multiplied by the number of children at school. It doesn't have to be that way when you consider that a no waste or low waste lunch is easy and is a healthier and cheaper option than buying pre-packaged foods. A no waste lunch includes: paper wrap, brown paper recycled bags but no... Read more

Digital games for learning

If your child has become surgically attached to their Nintendo DS or iPod - there's a very clever way you can turn all that concentration and thumb-exercise to good use. The educational value of digital games can be phenomenal. They can help students' imaginations soar and set challenges which engage all kinds of problem solving skills. Computer, mobile phone, Sony PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo games - they can all be used to promote your child's learning. If they already love playing them, you're halfway there. When used properly, video... Read more

JulyReturn to top

Why school is cool

New research by the education department has confirmed just how important consistent school attendance is to a student's academic achievement. The study showed that schools with high attendance records ranked highly in student performance, irrespective of the school's socioeconomic (SES) status. Dave Wasson, director of the department's educational measurement and school accountability directorate, said it was the first time that SES status had been measured against academic performance and attendance data. "What is particularly significant... Read more

School holiday travel ideas

What can you buy for a dollar these days? Believe it or not you can take your child on a trip to Coffs Harbour, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and many more places in the school holidays for as little as a dollar. CountryLink lists all sorts of vacation ideas and great travel deals for families on its website. If you are in Sydney or travelling to Sydney, make use of the Family Fare deal when seeing Sydney by public transport. When at least one fare paying adult travels with their children or grandchildren, the first child travels for a child... Read more

JuneReturn to top

Tax time tips

Tax time is here again – time to get some tips and tools for managing your finances. As any financial counsellor will tell you, managing money is easy - it simply means not spending more than you earn. The problem is that very few of us actually ever do this. With a little bit of knowledge from the experts, a commitment to a budget and making the most of loose change, you'd be amazed at what a difference a few simple adjustments can make. The main thing is to try to avoid the common mistakes families make. According to Delia Rickard, ACT... Read more

Websites wow the public

The new School Website Service is attracting phenomenal interest from the public and school communities, with more than half a million page views in the first three weeks of operation. The website you're reading now is part of a new online community in NSW public schools – 200 schools have gone live with freshly built websites, with another 400 planning to launch soon. Boggabilla Central School on the Queensland border was the first school to build and launch its website, pronouncing its new look as "unreal". Principal Denise Burke said the... Read more

Dad’s the word

Dads that help out at school know how good it feels when they see their child's proud face and the rewards that come from their involvement. Research consistently shows that the more a father is involved and supports his kids at school, the better the academic and social success for both boys and girls. Research also suggests parental involvement fosters stronger family bonds and encourages resilience in children – that ability to ‘bounce back' from life's setbacks – and the benefits are limitless. What can you do at school? Ask the boss for... Read more

Speech & Language Difficulties

By school age most children will be understood by adults, so the focus at school is on language development and communicating with others. Language difficulties are harder to identify than speech difficulties. For this reason, sometimes a language difficulty is not picked up until the child is identified as having difficulties developing their literacy skills. Importantly, language and literacy are related; a child with a language difficulty has an increased risk of developing literacy difficulties. A child with a language difficulty might... Read more

Flu season

Winter is here and that means flu season. The flu is more than a bad cold; cold symptoms last one to two days, while the flu can last up to a week. A cold can sometimes cause a mild fever, while the flu causes a high fever. Muscular pains and shivering attacks occur with the flu, while not with a cold. A cold causes a runny nose, while the flu starts with a dry sensation in the nose and throat. Flu is the kind of infection that happens to most people every five to ten years. Flu symptoms develop one to three days after infection and include... Read more

Save power at home

Ever wondered how much carbon pollution your household really emits? A new community awareness campaign called ‘what can you do in your world' could have some surprising answers. The Save Power website explains carbon pollution through the use of simple black balloons - one balloon equals around 50 grams of carbon pollution. The average NSW household produces around 8 tonnes of carbon pollution and 160,000 black balloons every year. Compare your carbon output with other Australia households and find examples of easy changes that save carbon... Read more

MayReturn to top

MP3 players and hearing loss

When someone like Angry Anderson, former front man of rock band Rose Tattoo warns about young people inflicting hearing loss on themselves, you have to listen. The Connect Hearing ambassador and father said he was particularly concerned about young people and their use of MP3 players (such as an iPod), especially when they have them turned up too loud. "Look, I like loud music but that hasn't done me a lot of good over the years," he said. "Kids's hearing can't be repaired and mums and dads need to be aware of that. Loudness levels at a glance... Read more

Reconciliation Week

This year National Sorry Day kicks off our Reconciliation Week celebrations, giving us the opportunity to keep raising the awareness of Aboriginal history and culture. National Sorry Day - 26 May National Sorry Day is an opportunity for Australians to celebrate the monumental act of Acknowledgement and Apology by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that took place on 13 February 2008. More information and suggestions on how schools and families can get involved are available on the National Sorry Day Website. Reconciliation Week - 27 May - 3 June Each... Read more

MarchReturn to top

Education Tax Refund

You may be eligible to 50% back for your child's education expenses. The Federal government recently introduced the Education Tax Refund whereby parents can claim eligible education expenses for their child's primary and secondary education during the income year 1 July 2008 - 30 June 2009. You can claim an education tax refund of up to 50% of those expenses if any of the following apply: you received family tax benefit (FTB) Part A for your child a payment was made for your child that stopped you from receiving FTB Part A the child stopped... Read more

Parent ezines

Stay informed and get involved with two new online parent magazines, (ezines) especially for parents who have children at a public primary or high school. School parents has tips from parents and experts on all sorts of topics related to school and home life. Click is a technology guide for parents with all the latest information on technology how to make the most of it and how to protect children from dangerous elements. Both ezines have vodcasts, podcasts and feature articles. You can also add your comments, story ideas and feedback.... Read more


National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy All students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will participate in the NAPLAN assessment from 12 May - 14 May 2009. This program will assess the literacy and numeracy learning of students in all Australian schools. The results of the tests will provide important information to schools about what each student can do and will be used to support teaching and learning programs. Parents will receive a report indicating their child's level of achievement. Each student's level of achievement will be reported... Read more

Taking medication to school

A reminder for any students that need to take medication at school Throughout the school year, it's important to remember the process involved if your child needs to take medication at school. When a medical practitioner has prescribed medication that must be administered during the school day, parents are responsible for: bringing this need to the attention of the school ensuring that the information is updated if it changes supplying the medication and any 'consumables' necessary for its administration in a timely way collaborating with the... Read more

Staying safe online

Get off to a safe start to 2009 by reminding your child some important online safety rules. Keep computers in a common family room - not in bedrooms! Remind your child to keep information such as their name, address, phone number, school and even your credit card number to themselves. When signing up to a chat room, they should use a screen name that is a nickname and not easy to work out. The same goes for choosing passwords - don't make them easy to figure out. If your child is going to put photos on the Internet, ensure they don't show... Read more

Update your details at school

All parents are reminded to let the school office know if any of your contact details have changed. This includes: Your daytime telephone number Your home/mailing address Your family situation It is very important to keep these details up to date in case of emergency. Please contact the school office immediately if you need to advise of any changes.... Read more