COVID19 Update

Find the department’s latest advice on COVID-19 requirements in our schools throughout NSW.

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From the Principal’s desk

For our Stage 4 and 5 students and staff, Week 7 saw the welcome return of our much loved Residential School Program. The many highlights of our first ‘res’ week for the year are documented in words and pictures throughout this edition of The Auracle.

As principal, I had countless reasons to feel great pride in the bright lights of Aurora during the camp. The cooperation, enthusiasm and gratitude shown by our students was frequently remarked upon by staff, visitors and members of the public. Congratulations to one and all. You are a credit to Aurora, your home school, your families and yourselves.

As I like to remind our students at the first assembly of each residential school, our staff have partners and families they leave behind to attend the camp. This obviously takes a great deal of planning and preparation before they arrive on-site, ready to deliver the best experiences possible for our students. Our shared teachers must also prepare lessons they will miss in their home schools during residential week. It speaks volumes for the commitment of the Aurora staff that they prepare such high quality learning experiences for our students to enjoy whilst on camp.

A welcome return to Residential School for Stage 4 and 5 students and staff


In case you were in any doubt, therefore, planning and delivering a Residential School is a monumental achievement for all staff, especially for the Residential School Coordinator. On this occasion, the management of the event fell to Connor Boyko, who was ably assisted by Carolyn McMurtrie, Marnie Etheridge, Cassandra Kaloudis and Lucy Jellema. The team delivered an outstanding program and I thank them sincerely for their dedication and hard work. Of course, Connor was also supported by our wonderful administration support team in the Sydney office who worked together to ensure another fun-filled educational extravaganza. Congratulations and thank you to each and every staff member who played a part in residential school number 12.

Mother Nature certainly did her part to ensure a successful Residential School, with near perfect weather for the duration of the camp. In the weeks following the event; however, flooding rains have devastated communities throughout NSW. For many, the floods have been one more setback in their attempts to recover from the preceding drought and bushfires. If you or someone you know and support has been impacted by the recent weather event, in this edition of The Auracle our Senior Psychologist, Meagan Cooke, has some resources that may be of help. A reminder to all families that applications can also be made to the Aurora College Student Assistance Scheme for financial assistance with education costs for your child. For further information, please contact the coordinating office via email to or by toll-free telephone on 1300 287 629. Please be assured that any approach will be treated as confidential.

Having now settled into the online environment, our Stage 3 students are looking forward to their first residential experience, which will take place for them at Eleanora Heights in Week 3 of Term 4. Around the same time, we will be inducting our next intake of Year 5 students for the 2022 school year. Applications for entry into Year 5 in 2022 open on Tuesday 20 April 2021 and close at 5 pm Friday 7 May 2021. Parents and carers must apply via the Department of Education’s website.

The Aurora College State Reference Group (SRG) undertakes ongoing consultation, development and review of the Aurora College model. Members include the college’s senior executive, parent representatives, senior officers of the department, primary and secondary school principals and representatives from the teaching staff.

Having served with distinction as one of your parent representatives on the SRG, David Dubois has decided to ‘call it a day’. On your behalf, I want to thank David for his many contributions in this forum. David standing down from the SRG obviously provides the opportunity for another Aurora parent to join the group. In 2021, the SRG is scheduled to meet for three online meetings and one full-day meeting in Sydney on Friday 7 May 2021. Accommodation and travel expenses for the full day meeting will be met by Aurora. Interested parties should complete an expression of interest here. Applications close 5 pm Friday 23 April 2021.

It may have escaped your attention that Wednesday 31 March was World Backup Day. As the world has become more reliant on technology, this day reminds us to protect our precious digital assets. Have you backed up your data recently? Every day, individuals and organisations lose huge amounts of valuable data because they fail to follow this one basic procedure. Our resident tech guru, Ben Hillsley, has some sage advice for our community in this edition of The Auracle.

Are you following Aurora on Facebook? If not, you are missing out on regular updates about all that is happening in our school. To stay in the loop, go to

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!
Chris Robertson | Principal

Deputy Principal’s report

Our thoughts are once again with the communities, families, students and staff who have been impacted by the recent flooding. Please be assured that Aurora College is working to support those who need it at this time. If you have any concerns in relation to your child and their studies being impacted by this event, please feel free to contact the appropriate staff or the Aurora College office.

Term 1 residential school

Our first Residential School for 2021 was held from Monday 8 March to Friday 12 March for Years 7, 9 & 10 at Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation Narrabeen, as well as Year 8 at Sydney Olympic Park Lodges. 274 students and 45 staff travelled from all parts of the state to enjoy an educational and fun-filled program that included a range of activities. This was by far one of the hardest Residential Schools to coordinate due to a number of COVID restrictions that were placed on us. Despite this, it was a fantastic event which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

A big thank you to Connor Boyko for organising everything, as well as all staff for giving up their ‘lives’ for this week. Planning for our second residential school program is well underway. It will be held at Katoomba Christian Convention Centre for Years 7-10 and Elanora Heights for Year 5, from Monday 18 October to Friday 22 October. Details will be forwarded to parents and students early in Term 3.

Parent webinars

Throughout 2021, Aurora College will again be providing parent webinars. These webinars will provide parents with information related to a number of topics, including: the use of technology at Aurora; supporting gifted and talented students; how to support a child with anxiety; teen mental health and wellbeing; and Cyber safety.

Our first parent webinar, ‘Learning in the online environment’ took place on 25 February and helped parents to navigate the online world of Aurora and understand the various platforms and programs that our studnts use every day. For more information, please visit our website:

View programs for parents here


Interim reports were issued via email on Thursday 1 April 2021. This interim report indicates how your child has begun the new academic year, identifying areas in which he or she might require further attention or support. The report also provides an opportunity to make contact with teachers in each subject about student progress.

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s progress or well-being, please contact the coordinating office by phone on 1300 287 629 or email at

Assessment handbooks and scope and sequences

Assessment handbooks and scope and sequences are currently available in Sentral via the parent portal link and will be migrated to our new website in the coming weeks (see Ben Hillsley’s article later in this issue). This will allow parents to further support their children by accessing timelines for formal assessment tasks and topic outlines of each subject.

Health and safety considerations

A parent’s guide to health and safety issues related to laptop use can be accessed at:

A student’s guide to health and safety issues related to laptop use can be accessed at:

Technical support

Please contact our Learning Technology Support Officer, Ben Hillsley, by telephone on 1300 610 733 or email: for further information or assistance with technical issues.

What’s coming up next term?
  • School holidays begin Friday 2/4/21
  • Aurora lessons begin Tuesday 20/4/21
  • Year 12 academic reports issued by 3/5/21
  • Parent Webinar ‘Realistic strategies to navigate the online world with your child’ 13/5/21 at 7 pm
  • Year 12 parent teacher interviews pm 20/5/21
  • Year 11 academic reports issued by 28/5/21
  • Year 11 parent teacher interviews pm 2/6/21
  • Years 5, 7-10 academic reports issued by 15/6/21
  • Years 5, 7 and 9 parent teacher interviews pm 21/6/21
  • Years 8 and 10 parent teacher interviews pm 22/6/21

Carolyn McMurtrie | Deputy Principal

Opportunity Class

STEM journey begins

There’s nothing like a cuppa on a cold and wet day. Our OC classes have started their STEM journey with the ‘Jiggler Challenge’! Students created a mechanism that will dunk a tea bag into a cup of water a few times. The Year 5 Aurora College STEM kits were rummaged through to find various equipment to design and prototype an amazing apparatus for the perfect cuppa.

As you can see, with great enthusiasm and excitement our students eagerly participated, using a wide range of resources including Micro:bits and Spheros. Simple designs to more complex gadgets were designed with the implementation of the design thinking process.



This is just the beginning of our STEM journey and we can’t wait to see what our new engineers will create in 2021. Watch this space closely.


Continuing our partnership with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, our students participated in the National Day of Action Against Bullying – Be an eSafe Kid: Being an upstarter. These sessions were open to other Department of Education schools across the state and we were lucky to have over 7 000 participants learning about being safe online. Throughout the year we have other sessions available to our Aurora College students, as well as other schools across the state.

Meet the Teacher

Year 5 classes were open for the evening for the ‘Meet the Teacher’ sessions. Thank you to parents who were able to join us to connect with our classroom teachers and ask questions about Year 5 with Aurora College.

Serena McLean | Assistant Principal

Residential 1, 2021

Residential 1, 2021 occurred during Week 7 from the 8 to 12 of March and was hugely successful.  Students were excited to see their peers and after last year’s cancellation of Residential 2, were extra eager for a week of thrilling activities and social interactions.

Particular highlights included a workshop with illustrator Gus Gordon, a powerful performance by Zeal Theatre, a trip to the Virtual Reality Rooms, Manly Surf School and numerous other excursions designed to engage and inspire. All students were a credit to Aurora College and should be commended on their conduct during the week.

We look forward to Residential 2 in Term 4; Years 7-10 will be at Katoomba and Year 5 will be at Elanora.

Connor Boyko | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning (Rel.)

Join the Aurora College P&C

The Aurora College P&C would like to welcome all students and families and say a big thank you to the Aurora teachers and staff for a great start to 2021. We are looking forward to a wonderful year ahead. At the heart of every great school is a mutually supportive relationship between the school and its community.

The Aurora College P&C is a group of dedicated and hard-working people who recognise the importance of connection and involvement with our wonderful school. The Aurora College P&C is an open forum for: forming relationships with the school staff; discussing important issues relating to our children’s education; formulating ideas that support the school; and conducting fundraising events to raise revenue for the benefit of students.

The Aurora College Parents and Citizens Association was voted into being on Wednesday 16 December 2020 and its formation as the state’s first virtual P&C has already strengthened Aurora College. The Aurora College P&C was incorporated under the Parents and Citizens Associations Incorporation Act 1976, on 17 February 2021. Our first General Meeting was held on Wednesday 31 March 2021.

All parents and community citizens are welcome to join the Aurora College P&C. New members are always welcome and all members are highly valued for their input. Parents and carers of current, past and future Aurora students are eligible to be P&C members, as are Aurora teachers and staff, and all adult residents of the Aurora catchment area (i.e. in localities with Rural and Remote schools). The membership fee is $5, and it must be paid to Aurora by credit/debit card via the college website. Please follow the instructions below if you wish to become a member. Non-members are welcome to attend P&C meetings, but may not vote.

The P&C will meet (via Zoom) at least once each term at 7:00 pm (Sydney time) on a Wednesday. Remaining meeting dates for 2021 are: 19 May, 11 August, and 3 November. Zoom invitations and the meeting agenda will be sent to the school community by email in the week before each meeting. We look forward to you joining us online.

How do I pay the membership fee ($5)?

Payment should be made on the Aurora College website via the tab ‘Make a Payment’ (even if you are not a parent).

Detailed instructions (please follow carefully)

  1. Student details section. Do not enter real student details. Instead, enter:
    Given Name: Aurora
    Surname: PandC
    Date of Birth: 21/10/2020 (Just type the numbers, not the “/”s.)
    (Leave all other fields blank, and click ‘Next Section‘.)
  2. Contact Details
    Enter your Name, Phone number and Email Address, then click ‘Next Section‘.
  3. Payment items
    Payment Type: (Select ‘Other‘ from the dropdown list)
    Description: P&C Membership
    Amount: (Enter at least $5. You are very welcome to make an additional donation.)
    Click ‘Next Section‘.
  4. Card Details section
    Enter your card details and click ‘Proceed to Confirmation‘.

NOTE: By applying for membership you acknowledge that you are an Aurora Parent/Carer, Teacher, Staff member, or an adult resident of the Aurora College catchment area, and you agree to be bound by the Constitution, Rules, and Policies adopted or amended by majority vote at meetings of the Aurora College P&C Association.

A payment receipt will be generated immediately, and your P&C Membership receipt will be sent to the email address you supplied after your application has been processed.

For all enquiries realted to the Aurora P&C, please email

Finally, watch out for the P&C page under development on the Aurora College website at

Narelle Myers | Secretary

Learning together

Professional learning

If we could see into the future, what would we see? We were honoured to have trend forecaster and best-selling author Michael McQueen offer us a glimpse into the future and pose the question – How do we prepare our students for a very different world to the one we know? 

Michael is a regular commentator on TV and radio and his work has featured in publications ranging from the UK Daily Mail to and the Huffington Post. In addition, Michael is a familiar face on the international conference circuit, having shared the stage with the likes of Bill Gates, Dr. John Maxwell and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Staff examined concepts of creativity and flexibility in learning as well as the importance of having a mindset that can cope with change and setback.

This is one of many professional learning sessions we will participate in throughout the year.

HSC Study Days

Watch this space! The programs and links to register will be live very early in Term 2. Students will be able to participate in workshops on: Economics; Software, Development and Design; Physics; Chemistry; Biology; Mathematics Standard 2, Advanced, Extension 1 and Extension 2; English Standard, Advanced and Extension 1.

Parent webinars

We have an exciting program of parent webinars to participate in this year, kicking off with Dr Kristy Goodwin who is presenting a webinar on the 13 May on Raising Screenagers at 7pm (Raising-Screengers_2021)

These webinars are a wonderful opportunity to chat with experts on issues your child may be facing. All you need is a Zoom account! You can access the booking through the Programs for Parents tab on the website.

Marnie Etheridge | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning (Rel)

Faculty news – English, HSIE and Languages

In this issue of The Auracle, The English, HSIE and Languages faculty showcase creativity, innovation and experimentation with both language and ideas. We explore stage 6 courses, showcase our residential week lessons and share core content work samples.

–  Jowen Hillyer |Head Teacher English, HSIE and Languages

Welcome to Stage 6 Geography!

It is an exciting year for Aurora as we officially welcome Stage 6 Geography to the list of growing HSIE subjects being offered within our virtual school.

This year, we have three fantastic students enrolled in Geography – Indigo, Matthew, and Eimear. Although we are all separated geographically, their individual knowledge and understanding of their local communities and areas has been a great way to further unpack the content we have been exploring in class.

To begin the new academic year, students have been studying the topic ‘Biophysical Interactions’ where they have been exploring the biophysical components of the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere and the ways in which they all impact the world we live in.

Students recently received their first assessment task notification for their Senior Geography Projects (SGP’s) where each student will undertake their own research on a geographical issue they see in their local areas. Students will be expected to use fieldwork and a range of other research methods to solve the questions they have posed as part of their investigation – I am looking forward to seeing how this goes.

In other news, next term we will be conducting some virtual fieldwork with the Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre.

Students will virtually walk through the Wallumarra track, explore the interactions between the biophysical environment, the management strategies used to maintain the local area, as well as the various plant adaptations and geographical tools used to measure factors in the local environment.

It’s going to be a busy year, but we are super excited about all the things we will be learning about this year.

Best wishes,
Mr Happ, Indigo, Matthew, and Eimear | Stage 6 Geography Team

Stage 6 Geography

Welcome to Year 11 Modern History!

The class of 2021 is making history by being the first Modern History students at Aurora College and we are very excited.

This term we have been busy diving straight into historical investigations and sharpening our skills to interpret sources and think critically about past events that shape our perspectives of the modern world. We have successfully analysed contested events with the Case Study of the Lusitania Sinking of World War One. Students demonstrated effective collaboration skills by piecing together records and accounts of the event to hypothesise who was to blame for the sinking of the luxurious passenger liner.

Currently, our class is learning about the American Civil War including the causes, key battles and the legacy of the conflict that resonates today. Student’s have been evaluating the causes of the civil war to make an informed judgement on the role slavery played in the tensions between the North and South during the 19th Century.

In Term 2 students will commence their independent Historical Investigation, a major component of the preliminary course. This will provide them with an opportunity to explore an area of interest, formulate historical questions and interrogate a range of sources and communicate their findings of their inquiry.

I am looking forward to supporting and celebrating the achievements of our Modern History students.

Kirstie Brown | Modern History Teacher

Welcome to Year 11 Economics! 

Over the last 8 weeks, Year 11 economics students have been introduced to some of the key concepts that underpin the stage 6 course.

The focus of the Preliminary course is on the practical problems and issues that affect individuals, firms and governments. To introduce students to the idea, we dove straight into an island simulation. Students were put in groups and provided a scenario in which they were required to establish their society and economy, while discussing the complexities of satisfying all needs and wants.

Students completed their first formal assessment task which assessed their learning over the past 8 weeks. This assessment task mirrored HSC style multiple choice and short answer questions, in order to begin early preparation for the HSC.

In other news, students have also been enrolled into the first round of the ASX Schools Share Market Game. Students receive a virtual $50,000 they can invest over a 10-week period, in over 200 companies listed on the ASX. The prices students buy and sell at are the same prices as they would get in the live market, so this is as close to real life share trading as you can get.

As a result of playing the game, students will:

  • Develop their knowledge of the share market
  • Learn how to research companies
  • Discover the importance of wise investment decisions
  • Gain a greater knowledge of economic and world events
  • Begin to learn more about investing which is beneficial for their future

There will be two rounds this year! Naturally, it will be exciting to see how our investments grow!

I am looking forward to supporting my students through the preliminary course so they gain both a deep understanding of the concepts and a curiosity for the structures in their world that underpin global decisions.

Elena Maroungas | Economics Teacher

Year 7 English at Residential

Year 7 participated in various station-based activities during the English session.There were Lego scenes to be created, pop stick characters to be made and countries to be deduced from cultural mood boards. There were ‘quick write’ activities to test the agility of students to respond ‘in the moment’, as well as outdoor activities such as flying kites and paper planes for those more energetic.

Plenty of activities afforded every student to choose their challenge, be creatively inspired and join in on the fun. Here are a few images of the action that took place on the Wednesday morning along with a sample of ‘quick writes’ that students produced in a matter of minutes:

Gillian Halstead | English Teacher

Order! Order in the court!

Year 9 have been studying the well-known classic To Kill a Mockingbird, and at our first Residential for 2021 students had the opportunity to run a trial of their own, reflecting the way the novel also centres on a courtroom trial dealing with the challenges and conflicts of race, class and social expectations in Southern America in the 1930s.

Students took on different roles in our trials, including judge, witnesses, defence and prosecution. They worked in groups to construct a case, develop witness statements and interrogate the details of the text so that they knew the characters and circumstances inside out.

With both Arthur Radley and Bob Ewell on trial, it made for a dramatic afternoon! Participants in the two trials carried out their roles admirably, although some of the jury decisions seemed to be a little more biased than the facts of the case demanded. We sincerely hope that our Aurora College courtrooms did not echo the injustices of the novel!

Congratulations to all of Year 9 for their excellent work.

Gregor Newton | English Teacher

Residential reviews

Students engaged in some post residential creative writing tasks. Click on the links to take a read:

Elizabeth Butcherine – Elizabeth_Residential Review
Nina Richardson-Bartley –Nina_Residential Review
Luella Robinson –Luella_Residential Review

Daisy Little | English Teacher

Advice to the sick!

Year 10 students were asked to draft an open letter. Here is one on the timely topic of being sick.

Heidi Parkin – Heidi_Open Letter

Cassandra Kaloudis | English Teacher

Faculty news – Science and Agriculture


During this term many wonderful experiences were created in science. Obviously, the highlight of the term was our Residential School. The memories shared and the learning that occurred in our ‘classrooms’ are priceless, and they consolidate and reinforce the sense of belonging to this Aurora College tribe.

Some of the activities are illustrated below and they were shared via our Facebook page too. Year 7 enjoyed the rock platform study and Year 8 were catching crabs among the mangroves tress and estimated a population of 3 million crabs in the Gibberagong area!

Years 9 and 10 were fascinated by the specimens in the Australian Museum of Human Diseases and how life choices affect the human body.

Our face-to-face lessons at Narrabeen were focused on hands-on STEM activities in which our students were learning by having fun and revising concepts that were learned in our virtual environments. In a snap shot: Year 7 experienced the fascinating world of matter and its changes of state; Year 9 ‘escaped’ an earthquake after solving clues to get out of the situation; and Year 10 analysed the transmission of disease by sharing ‘drinks’ in a party.

Stage 6 Practical Days

This year, our senior students are participating in full day programs to develop their working scientifically skills which they will then apply in their HSC exams. Many of the practical days are virtual excursions to relevant venues, including the Australian Museum, Botanic Gardens and Taronga Zoo.

Year 12 Physics participated in their first Practical Day for 2021 on 2 March. They started the day in a virtual lab with the University of Sydney, conducting experiments from the Advanced Mechanics and Electromagnetism modules, consolidating the work done in class over the past term and a half.

Students completed a projectile motion analysis and an experiment to calculate the speed of light. They then went on to look at current balance and completed an experiment to calculate the strength of a magnetic field.

Time was then spent on starting our Year 12 Depth Study on DC motors, by building a simple motor using a D size battery, paperclips, wire and magnets.

University of Sydney – Physics Practical Day Virtual Excursion


VALID testing

Aurora College will be participating in the VALID trial tests for Years 7, 9 and 10.  VALID stands for ” Validation of Assessment for Learning and Individual Development”.

These tests help us to assess the working scientifically skill level that our students currently have, with the aim to improve our teaching and learning. Results will be available late Term 3.

Research partner – University of New South Wales

During terms 2 and 3, the science faculty is participating in a research partnership with the University of New South Wales. The research has the aim to analyse the impact that learning apps have on the learning of science in a virtual environment.

The University provides us with new resources that we are going to apply in the classroom. Students will work with those Apps as part of their lessons. This is a great opportunity for Aurora College to enhance our curriculum and to provide the best possible education for our students.

Please, fill out this form to allow your child to participate in this research.

Finally, the science faculty wish all our students and their families a happy and safe holidays.

Dr Silvia Rudmann | Head Teacher Science and Agriculture (Rel.)

Faculty news – Mathematics


The mathematics lessons at residential were a tremendous success. Thank you to all the staff and students who were involved in making some memorable experiences. It was wonderful to interact with students and get to know our classes better. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are looking forward to Residential 2!

Some highlights included:

  • Year 10 braving some wet weather to look at applications of trigonometry in surveying. Students actively measured distances over a large field and found surveying marks.
  • Students participating in the exciting Inquisitive Minds program, which challenges students with new ways of thinking and problem solving.
  • The Maths in Sports Show presented to students on how maths is used in main-stream competitive sports and challenged students to engage with some sporting data.
Assessment Tasks

As the first assessments are being completed by students, we want to congratulate those students who are off to a great start for the year. Assessment Task 1 has been completed by Years 7, 8 and 9. Year 10 is due Week 1, Term 2. Senior students in Year 11 and 12 are beginning their assessments for Stage 6 courses.

Helen Spencer | Teacher Mathematics

Library news

To Be Read (TBR)

Our virtual bookclub, TBR, is a meeting of like minded bibliophiles! We meet every second Thursday at 1:30pm to discuss all things book related.

This year, we have dedicated sessions where all TBR’s have read a set book, or book on an agreed theme. To kick start 2021, we read or re-read Ruins of Gorlan, the first of the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan.

Students had a month to read the set text and respond in TBR time to shared questions and discussion points. Next month students have agreed to each read a “classic” and will share what makes it a classic to stand the test of time.

In between these set sessions, we meet to discuss and recommend (or not) what we’ve been reading to other members of the group and what’s new in our digital library.

TBR first set read of 2021.


Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC)

Students in Years 5 – 10 (for 2021) are encouraged to complete the PRC. Many students will be undertaking this in their home school, but it is supported at Aurora College for those students in partner schools that do not engage in the challenge.

Students are required to read twenty (20) books in total; 15 from the list and 5 personal choice. We have a support page set up in our digital library (OLIVER) to assist students with participating in the PRC.

The PRC closes on Friday 20 August 20 2021.

Pop-up bookshop

Our pop-up bookshop was a huge hit with our students from Years 7 – 10 at the Sydney Residential School. Students were spoilt for choice with the selection of books from Merimbula Extra. It was also a great opportunity for our “Top Borrowers” and “Summer Reading Challenge Stars” to use their vouchers to stock up on new great reads.

I do hope our students are enjoying the books they purchased at our Pop-up bookshop! It is wonderful to see so many keen readers from all over our great state!

Guest author/illustrator – Gus Gordon
Gus Gordon ran an illustrative workshop at our Residential. He shared his tips and tricks as an award winning artist, author and collaborator. Students in Years 7-10 engaged in creating their own character sketches as part of  workshop.
Kaylene Taylor | Teacher Librarian

Technology updates

As mentioned in the last edition of The Auracle, our new website will be launched during the school holidays. The new design is intended to become a one-stop-shop for all information regarding Aurora College, from enrolment through to graduation, and include a calendar of events.

Parent and Student Sentral Portal

Sentral are revamping their parent portal over the next few months. Unfortunately, some features of the portal that we use are not yet available in the new version. For this reason, we will not be using the Sentral Portal for Parents or Students until those features are included. Instead, we will endeavour to place as much generic information as possible on the new school website, and more personal information can be obtained by contacting the school office.

Student accessories

When a new student enrols with Aurora College, we put together a package of necessary equipment for their studies. This includes a webcam and headset to use in connecting to the classes and interacting with teachers and peers. Over time, these accessories can get worn out or damaged, and up until recently we have replaced these for students free of charge.

Starting from Term 2 this year, we will be asking students to replace damaged or malfunctioning headsets and webcams. We are working with a supplier to make selection and ordering as easy as possible. Details on this process will be included on our new website, once finalised. Of course, students have the option to purchase a different model if they choose, provided it is compatible with school computers. Our recommendation is for a USB-connection, as not all school computers will have bluetooth available. Please note that students will be responsible for ensuring that equipment is available for each class, as partner schools may not have spares available if headsets are left at home.

In preparation for this change, we have provided every student with a new headset this term. New enrolments received theirs with the technology kits delivered at the start of term, and equipment for existing students was sent out to schools in Week 8. If you have any concerns, please let us know.

Protecting your computer

A number of students have asked which anti-virus software they should install on their laptops. The good news is that you already have one! Microsoft Defender is an anti-virus and anti-malware application that is built into Windows 10 and includes a firewall and ransomware detection to protect your computer. Of course, anti-virus software should only be part of your protection strategy. It’s also important to make sure that you have a reliable backup of your files, and that Windows is up-to-date.

A good way to organise your backups is the 3-2-1 strategy. This means having at least three total copies of your data, two on-site, and one off-site. The data saved on your computer counts as one on-site backup. Having a usb drive with a copy at home would be your second on-site backup. Finally, copying your work to the cloud (e.g. your school OneDrive account) is your off-site copy. If your laptop isn’t available anymore, you still have the usb drive, and if in an unlikely (but still possible) situation where your laptop and the usb drive were not working, you would have your cloud backup. You add more backups in either category if you like, but at a minimum this should keep you protected as much as possible.

Lastly, it’s important to keep Windows up-to-date. The Microsoft Defender application on your laptop needs frequent updates to be able to recognise the viruses and malware on the internet. Microsoft releases a new ‘signature’ update every week, and it’s good practice to make sure it gets installed quickly. Updates to Windows, Office, and your system drivers should be released every month from Microsoft, and its best practice to ensure they are also installed. We have recently found that an issue with the laptop touchscreen, pen, and trackpad that some users have experienced is resolved by an update that Microsoft have released.

If you are worried about something your laptop is doing, or not doing, let us know. A screenshot or description of your problem will help us to identify and hopefully fix it as soon as possible! Email us at or call us on 1300 610 733 during school hours.

Ben Hillsley | Learning Technologies Support Officer

Connect locally, learn globally

Hello, my name is Marianna. I live in Tumut, at the base of the Snowy Mountains.

Tumut is well-known in my area for forestry, but locally, it is also known for the surrounding bushland. It is lovely that when you walk around town, everyone seems to know each other, and everyone is friendly. Something interesting where I live is that we have the grave of Thomas Boyd at the Pioneer Graveyard, and the author Miles Franklin lived in our area as well.

I am in Year 8. There are about 550 students at Tumut High School and 80 students in my year. I love music, reading and sport. I play various instruments including flute, ukulele, piano and piccolo. I love reading and my favourite genre is fantasy/adventure. I play cricket and do ballet and contemporary as well, even though dance is not usually considered a sport.

The best thing about Aurora is that you can meet all sorts of people from all over New South Wales. You can get involved with all sorts of different people who enjoy different things and meet up face-to-face if you are located close enough. You can go to book club to get recommendations or review books, or even just to be social with students in different year groups.

Aurora has been such a good experience for me since the start of last year. The students are accepting and the teachers are helpful, and I think that this gives a great feel to Aurora.

Marianna (Year 8, Tumut High School)

Bright lights

Regional Youth Taskforce

Ben (Year 11, Hay War Memorial High School), Adrian (Year 9, Ulladulla High School) and Lola (Year 8, Moss Vale High School) are three of the eighteen students announced by the Hon. Bronnie Taylor MLC, as members of the 2021 Regional Youth Taskforce.

The taskforce connects young people from regional NSW with their community and engages them on issues including getting a job, mental health and public transport. Over the course of the year, the Regional Youth Taskforce will focus on the pillars of the Regional Youth Framework. These are: Wellbeing, Connectivity, Work Ready and Community. Members will advise the Minister and will be consulted and invited to contribute to various government policies.

Congratulations, Ben, Adrian and Lola!

Adrian, Lola and Ben – members of the 2021 Regional Youth Taskforce

Sporting representatives

Term One has been busy with many of our students representing their home schools and districts at a variety of sporting events:

  • Basketball – Shelly Dalton (Year 9, Balranald Central School), Nicole Kayne (Year 9, Balranald Central School), Skye Adams (Year 7, Monaro High School)
  • Hockey – Fyn Harrison (Year 8, Toormina High School)
  • Netball – Stephanie Dun (Year 8, Hastings Secondary College), Zoe Aspiotis (Year 8, Melville High School)
  • Swimming – Sophie Newman (Year 5, Yamba Public School), Daniel Castle (Year 11, Tumut High School), Kai Sleeman (Year 8, Temora High School)
  • Touch Football – Stephanie Dun (Year 8, Hastings Secondary College)

Well done to all on your achievements and sportspersonship!

Sporting representatives

Term One has been busy with many of our students representing their home schools and districts at a variety of sporting events:

  • Basketball – Shelly Dalton (Year 9, Balranald Central School), Nicole Kayne (Year 9, Balranald Central School), Skye Adams (Year 7, Monaro High School)
  • Hockey – Fyn Harrison (Year 8, Toormina High School)
  • Netball – Stephanie Dun (Year 8, Hastings Secondary College), Zoe Aspiotis (Year 8, Melville High School)
  • Swimming – Sophie Newman (Year 5, Yamba Public School), Daniel Castle (Year 11, Tumut High School), Kai Sleeman (Year 8, Temora High School)
  • Touch Football – Stephanie Dun (Year 8, Hastings Secondary College)

Well done to all on your achievements and sportspersonship!

Virtual STEM program

Emma King and Soham Ghosh (Year 7, Murrumbidgee High School) are engaged in a 10 week virtual STEM program. We are excited for them to have this opportunity to continue honing their STEM skills.

Community drama

Sophie Newman (Year 5, Yamba Public School) has been performing in “The Wizard of Oz” for her local community drama group. Congratulations, Sophie!

Family gives country town’s historic commercial building a new lease of life

Long standing Aurora College parents, Nerida and Chris Cuddy were recently featured injecting new life into Canowindra. Missing out on a holiday due to the pandemic, they turned it into an opportunity to restore a century-old commercial building in their country town. Read the full story

Future Bright Lights

If your child has a passion outside of our virtual classrooms, please feel free to email us a few words and an image. It is always lovely to celebrate what our students are up to in their local communities! Please email:, marked: attention The Auracle.

Spotlight on … Claire Houston

I work from the Aurora Coordinating Office, located at Mowbray Public School. I am part of the fantastic Stage 3 team, where we collaborate together to create engaging and interactive Mathematics and Science and Technology programs for our Stage 3 students. We incorporate a great deal of STEM into our units, which includes having students design and build prototypes to meet our criteria. It’s been fantastic to see the great chariots, jigglers and solar flares students have come up with!

I love teaching Maths to students and seeing the spark in their eyes when they understand a concept they may have initially found challenging. I also do have a soft spot for English as I can refer to real-life contexts and reference all the books I read (or buy and don’t ever end up reading).

I love being able to connect with colleagues, coordinators, parents, and (of course) students from all around New South Wales, understanding that we all come from different walks of life but this amazing opportunity has brought us all together. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t go home and think “Oh, I learnt something today too!” because these students are always keeping me on my toes and teaching me new things as well.

The Sutherland Shire, where I live, is a combination of relaxing and chaos. There’s always something to do, whether it’s to go for a walk along the beach, buy something at the shops or support the incredibly talented local artists and shop owners. We are located only half an hour from the city, so it’s easy to dash anywhere around Sydney, the heavy traffic permitting, of course.

I spend my time either buying books, reading books or looking for books to buy. I’m not sure if I am a reader anymore or if I just collect books, because a lot of them may never get touched. Aside from books, I am very passionate about musical theatre. Whilst I can’t hold a tune, I will jump at the opportunity to see any show that is available in Sydney. Most recently I saw the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, and was utterly blown away by the detail and intense story-telling. Other than that, I will spend my weekends playing a range of board games, hanging out with my dog (Whitney) and playing a copious amount of Animal Crossing.

Ms Houston on one of her epic adventures!

Support for flood impacted families

Please access the following resources from the Australian Psychological Society if you or someone you know and support has been impacted by the recent wet weather:

Helping children who have been affected by floods

Meagan Cooke | Senior Psychologist

From the engine room

“I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains…”

– Dorothea Mackellar.

This just about sums up what we have experienced in the last 12 months.

We here at Aurora College have ensured our students are receiving the best education by providing uninterrupted lessons during some extremely difficult times.

Our office staff are always willing to assist our parents and students.  Please call us toll free on 1300 287 629 or email

As we approach the school holiday period, we wish all our families a safe Easter break and look forward to the challenges that Term 2 will offer.

Denise Deaves | School Administrative Manager

The corkboard

Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools

Students in NSW Public Schools in Years 6-11 now have a unique opportunity to help shape and influence inclusive and positive change in NSW by becoming a member of the Education Minister’s Student Council. The first council of 24 students from throughout the state is now being formed, and applications are open for students from Year 6 to Year 11 until Monday 5 April 2021.

Members will have direct input and influence on education and school policy through discussion and consultation with the Minister and key NSW Education stakeholders. A diverse range of student voices and experiences is being sought to contribute to the council’s directions and operations.

The council, known as DOVES (Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools), will meet virtually twice each term, with the Minister invited to attend. Students decide the exact setup of council meetings, the issues to be discussed and what the NSW Government can do to make our state the best education system in Australia.

To apply for council membership, students are asked to submit a one to two-minute video, saying who they are, what they are passionate about in schooling and education, and why they want to be part of DOVES.

More information about DOVES and the application process is available here.

My Town

Learning is a journey of emotional, social and mental proportions. For many students from Regional, Rural and Remote areas, learning is also a journey of physical distance.

My Town is a journey of personal narratives shared by Macquarie University students from regional, rural & remote (RRR) backgrounds.

It is an exploration of their learning journey through visual and audio storytelling.

Visit the MQwebsite for all the details and to engage with the podcasts and films.

Destination R and R

Just some of the partner schools and towns that Aurora College staff have visited this term in rural and remote New South Wales.

We would like to pay our respects and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land and also pay respect to Elders both past and present.

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Aurora College is a NSW Public School, a part of the NSW Department of Education.

Phone 1300 287 629
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