Primary Music Immersion

09 March 2023


There have been several changes in the Primary this year.  One of these was the restructuring of music immersion, which now occurs in Years 3 and 5. It may appear to be a simple change, moving from Year 4 to Year 3; however, there was much debate, consideration, and research behind this decision. Last week we hosted Year 3 ‘Parent Sit Ins’, and here are Dr Bonar's thoughts and reflections.

When I was in Year 3, we learnt recorder in Music. I guess, I can’t really say I learnt it, I would purposefully leave half of it at home, rendering it unplayable as an instrument, but great as a loud, piercing whistle! When I look at the experiences and opportunities offered to our Year 3 students in the new String Immersion Program, and I am really proud to be associated with a school who invests so fully in students’ cognitive, affective and psychomotor development across a range of domains and inspires learning in and through music. Each time a child picks up an instrument, their brain ‘lights up across the board’ in a way that no other activity can provide; each time an instrument is played we can explore our emotions and communicate ideas with others without words; hopefully, it encourages joy… but this comes only with hard work, commitment and focus.

Last week, we welcomed our Year 3 parents into each of the three classes as they engaged in their Music lesson – a ‘Sit In With Us’ event, which really is our ‘every day’. The students were incredibly excited about the experience, and proud to share their learning. Across each class, the focus, perhaps surprisingly, was on the use of the voice – this is absolutely fundamental to internalising pitch and understanding sound, and when combined with movement, singing and hand signs, and finally the instrument, we can explore connections between sound and symbol (music notes and rhythms) as we engaged in cross-brain learning and the wiring of new connections.

For those fortunate enough to attend, the committed and passionate work of Mrs Vanessa Herriman, Ms Linley Chai and Ms Julia Janiszewski was fundamental to delivering an educationally robust and meaningful curriculum with value within and well beyond the music classroom. Our thanks to you all for your energy and enthusiasm! And, now that parents have seen what it is we do, the challenges and successes that the students face along the journey, hopefully you can see further value in what music gives children, and hopefully you can join in at home and encourage their music-making.

Thank you to all of the parents, classroom teachers and friends who attended our inaugural Year 3 String Immersion ‘Sit In’, we hope you enjoyed the experience and that it encourages familial engagement and support of the importance of music in our lives at and beyond school. Hopefully it is engaging and enjoyable for the students, and encourages them to willingly and enthusiastically bring all parts of their instrument to class!

We look forward to sharing more of our learning with you again soon!

Cade Bonar

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Primary Music Immersion

March 09, 2023

There have been several changes in the Primary this year.  One of these was the restructuring of music immersion, which now occurs in Years 3 and 5. It may appear to be a simple change, moving from Year 4 to Year 3; however, there was much debate, consideration, and research behind this decision. Last week we hosted Year 3 ‘Parent Sit Ins’, and here are Dr Bonar's thoughts and reflections.

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Partnerships in a Community of Learning: From the Head of Teaching and Learning, Maggi Gunn

February 10, 2023

“A community is a group of people who agree to grow together,” Simon Sinek

It has been a wonderful start to 2023, with students and staff returning to the College refreshed and eager to connect and learn. Parent Welcome (Primary) and Meet the Mentor (Secondary) evenings are valuable opportunities to connect with community and learning – and we appreciate the time and commitment of staff and parents in attending these evenings. As Week 4 ends, we hope that school and home schedules and routines are starting to settle for students, while a sense of belonging and an enthusiasm for learning is continuing to strengthen.

The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” originates from an African proverb and is relevant as we strive as a St Andrew’s community to empower our students, from Prep through to Year 12, with an enduring curiosity for learning, a strong sense of self-efficacy, the capacity to achieve and flourish in their daily lives and the skills and capabilities to walk confidently into their futures.

Numerous studies identify that quality teaching is the most significant in-school factor affecting student achievement, and staff at St Andrew’s were fortunate to commence this year with a presentation by Jan Owen AM about preparing our young people to thrive in the new work order. Through 2023, staff will be continuing to cultivate a culture of thinking in our classrooms and focusing on refining and improving teaching practices based on existing and emerging research and evidence.

Another significant influence on student learning and growth is parental engagement and support. Completing a synthesis of factors affecting student achievement, Marzano (2000) concluded that one third of the variance in student achievement could be predicted by factors relating to students’ home environment. Interestingly, the kinds of parent engagement and behaviours that most influence students’ achievement might not be what you expect. In two separate meta-analyses (Fan & Chen, 2001; Jeynes, 2007), parental expectations and the consistency and regularity of communication supporting high academic aspirations was found to be significantly influential for student learning and achievement (surpassing the impact of monitoring homework or supervising free time).

Families have an important role in helping children to become confident and motivated learners. In encouraging and supporting your child/ren in their learning, it is important to share your high aspirations for their learning, encourage and develop in them an internal desire to learn, persist and strive for their personal best, and regularly share in the joy of learning. We encourage you to focus on the process of learning and growth, rather than on results and achievements alone, by helping students develop consistent study and reading habits, encouraging thinking, wondering and asking of questions, and regularly talking about school and learning with your child.

Finally, as a parent, I understand the frustration in enquiring about the school day and being met with a younger child’s “I don’t know” or a more adolescent “fine”. Open-ended and specific questions will require children to think and should elicit more than a one-word response, so I leave you this week, with a variety of starter questions suitable for various ages that might provide some insight into your child’s learning:

What did you enjoy most about school today?

What did you learn today that you didn’t know before?

What was the most interesting new thing you learned today?

What was something that challenged you to think today?

What was something that puzzled you today?

What made you feel most proud of yourself today?

What subject/topic are you most interested in at the moment?

Of course, in a learning and caring community, a question for any day is, “What was the kindest thing you did for someone else today?”


Fan, X., & Chen, M. (2001). Parental Involvement and students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review , 13(1), 1-22.

Jeynes, W. H. (2007). The relationship between parental involvement and urban secondary student achievement: A meta-analysis. Urban Education , 42(1), 82-110.

Marzano, R.J. (2000). A new era of school reform: Going where the research takes us. Aurora, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

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2022 Atar Results

December 21, 2022

Having met with a few of the students over the weekend, irrespective of their individual rank, they are so happy with what they have achieved. As they all shared, their results were just what they needed to achieve access to the course of their choice.

Sixty-one per cent of our students achieved an ATAR of 90 and above, which places us amongst the top performing schools in the country. Also 38 per cent of our students achieved an ATAR of 95 and above. Our median ATAR was 92, which again places us in the top 10 schools in the state, based on those schools who chose to share their results.

The College is incredibly proud of all our students, both those who chose an ATAR pathway and those who worked hard to achieve their Diploma. As our students now wait to hear about University offers, they do so, confident with the results they have achieved.

As always, our staff have been positive and supportive of our Class of 2022 and we want to thank them and acknowledge their hard work in preparing them well for their next steps.

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Back to Canberra

November 01, 2022

Who on earth gets to school at 5am??? Year 6 had the delightful experience to rise early on a wintery, dark and cold morning on either the Monday or the Wednesday of Week 1, Term 3- headed to Canberra, dressed in our formal uniforms, ready to learn all about our Australian Capital City, in particular, how our government system works.

Once we loaded the bus with our bags and waved a sleepy ‘bye’ to our parents, we were off to Brisbane airport full of excitement for what lay ahead. Checking in our bags (each group of 60 students) went without a hitch, much to our teachers’ great surprise, as did the flight to Canberra. But what we stepped out to on that cold but sunny Canberra tarmac took us all by surprise – IT! WAS! FREEZING!

Over the three days, we had many wonderful and memorable experiences. The bus and our bus driver (Mark) were great and the karaoke was super fun on the bus (go DJ Fraze-dog!) For one of the groups, one song in particular was a favourite…..Year 6……… “Tell Me Why?”……

Throughout the trip, our favourite five places were Questacon because of the inventions activities and freedom; the AIS with its brilliant activities - especially the Sportex and having the freedom to explore all of them by choice; Government house was truly unique and an eye-opener, because of what we saw inside and outside the magnificent house and from what we learned about the role of our Governor General; the War Memorial was a huge highlight because of the interesting facts and learning opportunities given to us of Australia’s war history; and of course, Parliament House because we learnt how Parliament works here in Australia.

Breakfast and dinner were great, lunch was okay and the morning and afternoon teas were also fine – there was no shortage of food, that’s for sure! It kept us all warm and energised to keep everyone going on our very long days.

The accommodation was comfortable, warm and toasty, although some people had squeaky doors and beds. However, we all had enough space for three or four people in each room with our own bathroom – absolute LUXURY!

Though we could have wished for more free time, we were very busy learning, eating, looking out for each other and having a great time. There was not a second to miss our families and before we knew it, we were back on that plane, then bus heading home.

We would like to thank our families for allowing us to go, thank the staff and tour guides who helped us everywhere throughout our trip, and the biggest shout-out of all AND a HUGE THANK YOU must go to the College staff who gave up time away from their own families to look after us for those three days.

Written by Jess H, Gemma J, Oscar M and Rorke R

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Robo Rave

October 28, 2022

Congratulations to Year 9 Quest Extension students, Madeline, Lucy and Sophie, who were the High School Champions in Entrepreneurship at Robo Rave for their 'Beach Bot' project.

Tessa, Heidi and Matilda also came runner up in the Middle Division in Entrepreneurship for their project 'Saving Skies.'

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State Champions

October 19, 2022

The competition was held in Brisbane and comprised teams from every region in Queensland. Our St Andrew’s team was representing the Sunshine Coast as winners of the Interschool Competition held last term. Our team were in front after each round and managed to hold onto their lead at the end.

Pictured with author and presenter Allison Tait are Sally M, Lotus T, Sascha S, Rhani W and Annabelle M.

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Tournament of Minds

October 04, 2022

1st Place – Sunshine Coast Regional Champions

Primary Social Science – Year 5 - Eloise, Lucy, Clementine Year 6 - Telahlee, Leni, Shaya & Harvey

Primary Language Literature – Year 5 - Evie, Lilah, Lilou, Addison, Charli Year 6 - Zara, Sophia

Primary STEM – Year 4 - Flynn, James Year 5 - Charlie Year 6 - Lincoln, Orlando, Henry, Kashyap

Secondary Social Science – Year 7 - Molly, Charlie, Emily, Matias Year 8 - Sally, Sascha Year 9 Evelyn

2nd Place – Honours

Primary ARTS – Year 4 - Sabine, Indigo, Lucia Year 5 - Mia, Sienna, Tillie, Grace

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Chinese Cultural Day

August 18, 2022

1. Knot Tying -Ms Xiao

The ancient art of knot tying which was first developed in the early Tang dynasty (AD 618-907). Knots are good luck charms representing longevity and eternity.

2. Fan dancing-Ms Wu and Ms Liu

Fans and fan dancing has been popular throughout many of the Chinese dynasties. Originally fans were used a bit like umbrellas before they became hand sized ornaments depicting wealth and royalty. Fan dancing has become a very popular art form and is even used in martial arts!

3. Calligraphy - Mr Li

Calligraphy, painting, and poetry were some of the main forms of Chinese art. These were also referred to as the 'Three Perfections'. Students spend years trying to perfect the art form of Chinese calligraphy. Calligraphy is a source of pride and pleasure for the Chinese people and embodies important aspects of the country's intellectual and artistic heritage.

4. Kungfu/wushu/martial arts demonstration - Mr Jason King

Historians suggest that the fighting styles of kung fu were originated by hunters who needed to defend themselves in the forests of China. Students learnt some neat tricks on balance and the application of a little force in the right way can be more effective when considering circles and physics.

Thank you so much to Antoine and his team of dedicated, talented teachers, this was a wonderful experience for our students.

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Results to be proud of

January 28, 2022

At St Andrew’s, of those who chose an ATAR pathway to meet their post-school goals:

17.1% of students achieved an ATAR of 95 or higher

48.6% of the cohort achieved an ATAR of 90 or higher

74.3% received an ATAR of 85 or higher.

Congratulations must go to Brodie Watson, who had the honour of achieving both College Dux and ATAR Dux, with an outstanding ATAR of 99.8.

Individual subject reports have shown that St Andrew’s students performed above state averages in all subjects, with data confirming that they have done consistently very well in the External Assessment (EA) results, proving that hard work, determination, and being very well prepared has paid off.

It is worth noting that we had students receive a perfect result - 100% - in the subject of Music Extension.

Fifteen St Andrew’s students applied for, and received, early university offers to follow their aspirations into a variety of courses, 48 students completed a range of diplomas or certificates which they are using to gain entrance into university or full-time employment and at least six students are already managing and running their own start-up businesses.

The aspirations and paths of our students vary greatly, and we are so proud that we have been able to help enable each and every one of them to follow their dreams and walk confidently into their futures.

These young men and women are thoughtful, highly capable people with a global outlook and a desire to serve. We know they have the skills and abilities to achieve their own best. Navigating these next steps after the school years, as they move into the wider world can be both an adventure and challenging, but whatever their pathway, and whatever their passions, we wish all our Class of 2021 well as they move confidently into their futures.

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Semester 1 Primary reporting

May 28, 2020

Whilst it has been a challenging time, I do want to thank the teachers for their excellent and dedicated work in continuing with the academic program through the online learning environment. They have certainly gone to great lengths to keep the children connected during this time and to provide the best possible educational experience for them. Also, I want to commend the students for their positive attitude and approach to their schoolwork and thank you, our parents and carers for your overwhelming support as we navigated through this period of change.

One of the impacts that we have faced from the online learning platform is how we report on each student’s progress throughout Semester 1. We are aware that some of the data the teachers have needed to gather for this reporting period may not be evidenced or may not accurately reflect their learning whilst the students have been learning at home. In fact, Independent Schools’ Queensland has informed their member schools that they have the flexibility to decide on the best approach in these unusual circumstances to provide the required information for the purposes of reporting in Semester 1, including the assessment of achievement relative to the student's peer group.

Owing to these factors, all children in the Primary School will be receiving a Semester 1 report at the end of this term; however, it will be an amended version. The Semester 1 report for 2020 will take the form of an academic transcript, with the following to be noted:

  • The report will be a transcript of results on a simplified three-point scale. There will be the assessment of achievement (grading) relative to the student's peer group for the criteria or strands in each subject (e.g. a grade for measurement), with an effort rating. The reporting scale will be:
    • working towards the year level achievement standard
    • working at the year level achievement standard
    • working above the year level achievement standard
  • There will not be any overall achievement grading for the subjects (e.g. no overall grade for Mathematics) as the teachers may not have enough evidence or accurate data across all strands in the subject to support an overall grade.
  • There will not be any ‘Achievements and Areas of Strengths’ or ‘Areas for Development’ detailed in the report.
  • Owing to the change in the teaching and learning program for part of this semester, some academic areas may not be able to be accurately graded, hence there will be an N/A grading for that criteria.
  • There will not be any pastoral comments written by the class teacher.

In conjunction with this report, parents are asked to review their child’s work on Seesaw. The teacher feedback provided on Seesaw identifies the student’s strengths and/or areas on which to work. Whilst there will not be a pastoral comment written, we are encouraging parents to make contact with their child’s class teacher early in Term 3 should you wish to seek further information about your child’s progress over Semester 1, or any aspect of the transcript which you will receive. Such a meeting, which is optional for parents, usually occurs towards the end of Term 3 each year; however, we are bringing this forward to the start of Term 3 for any parents who want to have an interview with the class teacher. The form of these interviews can be organised with your child’s teacher via email or phone, and delivered through an online platform or via telephone. Of course, please don’t wait for this time if you wish to speak to your child’s teacher prior to this, parents are encouraged to make contact at any time during the academic year to discuss their child’s progress.

Again, thank you for all of your continued support over what has been a challenging time for us all. I trust the last few weeks of this term will see all students excited to be back at school with their teachers and friends, (and relieved parents too).

With my best wishes

Rob Paterson
Head of Primary

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