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From the Principal’s desk

Welcome to Aurora College v7.0!

In our biggest year yet, Aurora shares 480 students with 143 government schools across rural and remote NSW. A special greeting goes to the students joining our school for the first time in 2021. Aside from our Year 5 and Year 7 cohorts, we also have new students joining our school in each of the other year groups. On behalf of the whole Aurora community, we welcome each of you to your new school. As we like to say at Aurora – you have found your tribe!

Over the summer break, the state-wide selection process for our virtual Opportunity Class was completed, resulting in 87 students from 54 partner primary schools joining our first Year 5 cohort. Following two weeks in which students and partner school staff were inducted into Aurora, I am pleased to report that all of our youngest ‘bright lights’ are connected and already achieving great things in their Aurora lessons.

One of the most unfortunate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the restrictions it has placed on travel by staff to our partner schools. It has therefore been a great relief to once again resume these very important visits. Our followers on Facebook will know that we have been able to share some wonderful images of staff visiting our students, their families, and our partner school staff in recent weeks. If you have not yet followed Aurora College on Facebook, you may consider doing so as a great way to keep up to date on all that is happening in our school, between editions of The Auracle. Throughout this year, we hope to visit a great many more communities.

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting three new partner primary schools, Bowral Public School, Moss Vale Public School, and Exeter Public School. At Bowral, I was welcomed by our Aurora College Coordinator (ACC), Mr Bourne, and our Year 5 students: Ben; Amelie; Tomas; Emma; Evie; and Kaelan. Bowral Public School has our largest cohort of Year 5 students this year, and I was delighted to see all six students actively engaged in their Aurora lessons.

At Moss Vale Public School, Ms Hurst (Principal) and Ms Hines (Deputy Principal and ACC) introduced me to Mitchell. Although Mitchell is the only Year 5 student at Moss Vale Public School, his brother, Lachlan (Year 8), also attends Aurora College at nearby Moss Vale High School. Mitchell was able to show me around his Aurora workspace and also show me the applications on his laptop that he is already using in his Aurora lessons.

On a rainy day in Exeter, I was greeted by Mr Barnes (Principal) and Ms Howard (ACC). The gloomy weather in Exeter was certainly not reflected in the faces of our Year 5 students, Rowan and Lachlan, who excitedly told me about everything they were enjoying at their new school. Rowan and Lachlan weren’t able to think of an answer to my question “What is the worst thing about Aurora?”, so we agreed I should ask the question again at our next meeting and then make it a top priority to address whatever issues that may arise in the interim. (I’m really enjoying being the Principal of a school with primary age students!)

At all three schools, I also had the great pleasure of meeting the parents of many of our new students. I want to thank all who took time out of their busy days to meet with me and to give me their feedback on the first weeks of online learning for their children. I would especially like to thank Craig (father of Lachlan) who recognised me in the local cafe where I had stopped when my mobile connection failed, and I needed directions for the last part of my journey to Exeter Public School! My thanks also to our colleagues in our partner schools for their wonderful support of our shared students. The Aurora staff look forward to working with you.

My visits to Bowral, Moss Vale and Exeter were en route, to and from Canberra. I was in the nation’s capital to attend the National Summit of the Rural Youth Ambassador Program on 24 – 26 February. The program, which began in Victoria ten years ago, is recognized nationally and internationally as an exceptional rural youth leadership and youth agency initiative. The program forms part of the Rural Inspire initiative of the Country Education Partnership (CEP) which aims to increase the aspirations of young people in rural and remote communities. Aurora College is the NSW partner of the CEP.

Aurora College students, Ben (Year 12, Hay War Memorial High School), Harry (Year 12, Tumut High School) and Cordy (Year 12, Guyra Central School) were among seven NSW delegates and 15 delegates from Victoria and South Australia who were advocating for the significant role rural young people play in Australian society. The forum enabled the young people to share the similarities and differences of their rural lives with national leaders who can support the ambassadors in making changes.  The ambassadors met with individuals from multiple levels of government, as well as three Federal Ministers whose portfolios relate to Education and Regional Australia: The Hon. Andrew Gee, MP; The Hon. Alan Tudge, MP; and The Hon. Dan Tehan, MP.

Due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the 2020 Rural Youth Ambassador Program was moved online with numerous state meetings taking place in iSee, Aurora’s three-dimensional virtual environment. The opportunity for the ambassadors to meet in-person with each other and with members of the Australian Government was gratefully received, and it was very clear that all who attended had benefitted from the experience. After Day 1 of the forum, Cordy was asked to provide her thoughts on the initiative for the NSW Department of Education’s Media Unit. You can read Cordy’s thoughts here and in the article on the Department’s website here.

In the many conversations I had with the ambassadors, I was struck by their depth of understanding of the ‘big issues’ and by their individual and collective determination to make a difference. In my closing remarks to them before returning to Sydney, I lamented the majority of exercise I seem to get these days is from shaking my head in shame at the challenges my generation will leave them. I thanked them for being active, engaged and informed citizens, and I urged them to continue to work together for the good of their communities, our nation and our planet. On the long drive home along the Hume Highway, I felt a sense of optimism as I reflected on my time at the forum; and as I so often do when I am in the company of such fine young people, I was reminded once again that the future is in good hands.

In previous editions of The Auracle, we have chronicled another important development at our school, the formation of the Aurora College Parents and Citizens Association. I am pleased to now report that our P&C was incorporated under the Parents and Citizens Associations Incorporation Act 1976, on 17 February 2021. A mutually supportive relationship between a school and its community is the hallmark of every great school, and Aurora has already been strengthened by our fledgling P&C. You can read about the current and future activities of the Aurora P&C in this edition of The Auracle. Watch out also for the P&C page on the Aurora College website, currently under development at

Enjoy another great edition of The Auracle, e-newsletter of Aurora College!

Chris Robertson | Principal

Deputy Principal’s report

A warm welcome back in 2021 to all the Aurora families and a very special welcome to all our new students and their parents. I hope you all had a relaxing break over the summer holidays and are ready to get back into the swing of things. All the staff at Aurora College are looking forward to working with you.

Who do I contact if I have concerns?

For most other concerns, the best point of contact for students and their parents is the Aurora College Coordinator (ACC) based in the home school.

Aurora College Coordinator (ACC)

In each of our partner schools, Aurora College funds the release of a teacher to fill the role of Aurora College Coordinator (ACC). The ACC adds an important layer of support for the educational, social and emotional needs of our students.

The role of the ACC is similar to that of a Year Advisor. The role has an administrative component, but the main focus is to support our shared enrolments. The ACC is also the key contact person for Aurora College teachers, students, and parents.


The ACC in your ‘home school’ is responsible for:

  • monitoring and reporting student attendance to the coordinating office at
  • facilitating the exchange and dissemination of information between Aurora, the home school, students and parents
  • monitoring the well-being of your child and reporting any concerns to Aurora College and the home school
  • assisting Aurora College to develop and implement appropriate support strategies, including individual student learning plans
  • coordinating the completion and return of Illness and Misadventure forms to the relevant Aurora College Head Teacher
  • printing and distributing allocated Aurora College merit awards and reports to students.

Your ACC has access to a range of information via Aurora College’s ‘home school’ portal on Sentral, including attendance rolls, details of assessment tasks, timetables, merits, and reports. Your ACC can also provide advice about who to contact if you have concerns they cannot assist you with.

More information regarding the role of the Aurora College Coordinator can be found on our school website

For concerns related to learning and assessment, students should always make their first approach to their class teacher. Students and their parents then have the option of contacting the relevant Head Teacher:

All other correspondence to Aurora College should be directed to or via phone on 1300 287 629.

Aurora College continues to grow, with 480 students shared with 143 schools (blue and green markers) and 60 teachers in 38 schools (green and red markers)


Assessment handbooks

Assessment handbooks for Years 7 to 11 have been distributed via email to all students, parents and Aurora College Coordinators. The handbooks can also be accessed through the parent and student Sentral portals.

New student transition program

Each year, we conduct an orientation program to support our new students. Topics include:

  • adjusting and belonging
  • safe laptop use
  • technology applications – including Microsoft OneNote, student emails and portal access
  • assessment schedules
  • time management and organisational skills
  • accessing our digital library resources.

This will be further enhanced through Masterclasses delivered to students and parents by mental health organisations such as Beyond Blue and Reach Out, on topics including resilience and wellbeing.

Expectations of all students

When a student enrols with Aurora College, they become a shared enrolment of two schools. It is the school’s expectation that our students will behave in a manner that reflects well on Aurora College and their home school at all times.

All students in NSW government schools are expected to:

  • attend every school day, unless they are legally excused, and be in class on time and prepared to learn
  • maintain a neat appearance, including adhering to the requirements of the school’s uniform or dress code policy
  • behave safely, considerately and responsibly, including when travelling to and from school
  • show respect at all times for teachers, other school staff and helpers, including following class rules, speaking courteously and cooperating with instructions and learning activities
  • treat one another with dignity and respect
  • care for property belonging to themselves, the school and others.

Behaviour that infringes on the safety of others, such as harassment, bullying and illegal or anti-social behaviour of any kind, will not be tolerated. [Source: Core Rules – Student discipline in NSW Government Schools].

Our students should be prepared to engage in learning, by:

  • showing a positive attitude
  • having the correct equipment for every lesson
  • doing their best at all times
  • arriving to class on time

respect themselves and others, by:

  • accepting responsibility for the choices they make
  • treating all people with respect
  • using appropriate language and actions
  • following teachers’ instructions at all times
  • being responsible for looking after their own property and school property
  • respecting the property of others

behave safely, by:

  • following class rules
  • caring for themselves and others
  • behaving in a way that does not put themselves or others at risk
  • negotiating and resolving conflicts

Sydney Olympic Park Lodge – venue for the Year 8 Residential School


Use of technology

As heavy users of the internet and online communication services provided by the NSW Department of Education, all Aurora College students must abide by the Department’s conditions of acceptable usage. Student use of digital devices and online services lists three key areas of responsibility for students when working in the college’s virtual learning environment. These relate to a student being Respectful, Responsible and Safe as a Digital Citizen.

  • A reminder to parents and students that they have signed the student technology loan agreement which outlines the responsibilities of students using and accessing technology. If students choose to misuse technology, disciplinary action will be taken.
Student attendance

Students need to attend school regularly to meet the course requirements of the ROSA, Preliminary HSC and HSC. Student attendance is recorded in each lesson at Aurora. The coordinator or parents/caregivers are required to inform the coordinating office of Aurora College within seven days if the student is sick, or:

  • has an unavoidable medical or dental appointment
  • is required to attend a recognised religious holiday
  • is required to attend an exceptional or urgent family circumstance
  • has a home school commitment including school excursions, school carnivals etc.
  • arrives late or leaves early from an Aurora lesson at a time that has not been negotiated and does not appear on his/her timetable.

Students who are home sick from school cannot connect to live lessons from home. If they wish to access Aurora work during this time, then they can watch the recording of the lesson later and complete the work outlined in their OneNote.

The Aurora College coordinating office may be reached by email or telephone on 1300 287 629.

Students on leave or away for extended periods

If a student is away for an extended period or if parents are aware that this will occur beforehand, parents can apply for their child to access Aurora lessons from home. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will also need the approval of the Principal at the home school.

A Certificate of Exemption from Attendance must be obtained from the Principal of your home school if the student plans to be on leave for extended periods. An example of when this may be required is when travelling overseas. In the case where a student is granted a Certificate of Exemption, Aurora College requires a copy via the ACC. Students will still be required to complete assessment tasks and classwork as negotiated by the Head Teacher for each subject in order to meet course outcomes.

Home school excursions or events

Students involved in home school excursions, such as sports or swimming carnivals, must notify Aurora College via their ACC. This can also apply for special events in schools where the students will be absent from their usual Aurora classes.

What’s coming up?
  • Term 1 Residential School runs from Monday 8 March to Friday 12 March 2021 for all Aurora students in Years 7 – 10.
  • Parent webinar on accessing Sentral Parent Portal and reports will be held Wednesday 17 March 2021 from 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm.
  • Interim reports for years 5, 7 – 11 will be issued Friday 1 April 2021.

Carolyn McMurtrie | Deputy Principal

Opportunity Class

Opportunity Class placement positions were finalised recently, and it has been a very quick turn around for our OC team and administration staff to ‘onboard’ 87 new Year 5 students and 54 partner schools.

Our live-streamed parent ‘meet and greet’ and Aurora College Coordinator (ACC) Induction Day were successful events supporting parents and partner school staff.

In week 4, our Year 5 students began their orientation sessions. Students connected to their Adobe rooms and met their new classmates and teachers. It was a thrill to hear little voices at the other end and see excited faces peering back! Navigating technology can be daunting and we would like to thank all ACCs for their support and readiness to help our students get connected. Their support has allowed all our students to have a successful transition to learning in a virtual environment.

Connected and ready to learn!

Microsoft TEAMS has been abuzz in the ‘chit chat’ channel as we connect and learn about our closed chat function that supports students sharing with each other in a safe and monitored space. All students successfully found their emails, OneNotes and accessed STiLE. These experiences will stand us in good stead for the coming weeks as we begin our full program.

A vital support to learning online are our STEM kits. These tool kits have been packed with various goodies, including our Spheros, which will support student learning and design thinking activities over the course of the program. Micro:Bit supply kits and design equipment have also been packed into large boxes and will be delivered to schools this week. Thank you to our coordinators who will ensure these kits are available for use during Aurora lessons.

Parent webinars are planned for Term 1, to help parents understand how our students are learning, to access the portal and to meet the teacher. Please be sure to register via the Programs for Parents page for these events.

Serena McLean | Assistant Principal

Residential 1, 2021

The Term 1 2021 Residential School will be held at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, Narrabeen (Year 7, 9, 10) and Sydney Olympic Park Lodge (Year 8) from Monday 8 March to Friday 12 March 2021.

This camp is held for students in Years 7-10 only.

Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation – venue for the Years 7, 9 and 10 Residential School

Please note: In accordance with NSW Department of Education guidelines, students will be temperature tested when boarding buses. If students have a high temperature or are displaying flu like symptoms then they will not be permitted to attend residential. Students arriving by plane/private vehicle will be tested upon disembarking/arrival and if found to have a temperature or flu like symptoms, will be isolated and arrangements made for parent/guardian to collect the child.

View all residential information

Further information is available in the Residential School Information booklet.

In this booklet, there will be a number of steps to complete, including:

  • Permission note (All year groups)
  • Student information google form (All year groups)
  • Sydney Sport and Recreation medical and consent form (All year groups)
  • Manly Surf School indemnity form (Year 9 only)

Please complete and return all documents from the information booklet ASAP.

View Residential School info booklet

If you have any questions, please contact the school at

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

Professional learning, parent webinars and HSC Study Days

HSC Study Days will again be offered to students across the state. We will be offering workshops in: Physics; Economics; Software Design and Development; Biology; Chemistry; Standard, Advanced and Extension 1 English; and Standard 2, Advanced, Extension 1 and Extension 2 Mathematics. These sessions will be promoted through schools, so students should keep an eye out for them and register either through their home school, or their Aurora class.This year will be an exciting year for our students’ learning and we look forward to sharing our journey with the community. My name is Marnie Etheridge and I will be relieving as Head Teacher Teaching and Learning for this term, while Kate Thompson is on secondment to State Office.

The parent webinars season kicks off with two important sessions for parents and carers supporting their children completing Aurora subjects. Mrs Virginia Cluff will be presenting a session on ‘Learning in the online environment’ and Mr Ben Hillsley will be showing attendees how to access the Sentral Parent Portal and school reports. Both of these sessions will be recorded for parents to access at another time if they can’t attend the session.

I’m looking forward to working with our supportive and diverse community throughout the year and hope to see you in a webinar soon.

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

HPGE @ Aurora College

In 2020, the Department of Education released the new High Potential and Gifted Education (HPGE) policy. Last year, staff familiarised themselves with the policy and schools assessed their teaching and learning practices in preparation. This year, all schools will implement the new policy.

Aurora College has embraced the policy to build the capacity of our staff and to improve the delivery of our quality teaching. We aim to enhance our students’ learning and to increase their opportunities to develop their talents towards high performance.

Below is a short video explaining the ‘how and why’ of the new HPGE policy.


The Auracle- Volume 47, February 2021

If you would like more information about the HPGE policy and ideas how to support your gifted child at home and at school, follow this link.

Dr Silvia Rudmann | HPGE Coordinator

Faculty news – English, HSIE and Languages

Welcome to a new year of learning with Aurora! Firstly, we would like to introduce you to Mrs Hillyer our new Head Teacher English. Mrs Hillyer comes to us from a broad and interesting background in education – most recently as Head Teacher English at Taree High School, where she was Head of English for ten years. Previously, she has worked in central schools, south west Sydney and the University of Sydney as an Associate lecturer. 2021 marks her 25th year in education and she is so excited to be joining the innovative and creative team at Aurora.

Mrs Hillyer is a self-confessed English nerd who loves writing and exploring ideas, presenting at conferences, writing textbooks and can be found doing guerrilla poetry at any opportunity. In her life outside of school Mrs Hillyer loves art, photography, her family and her very fat border collie named Molly. This year, since Aurora is growing so rapidly, Mrs Hillyer has teamed with Ms McDiarmid who is her 2nd in command and will be coordinating the HSIE subjects. This means that they will work closely together to ensure the excellent education Aurora offers has two enthusiastic educators at the helm of our growing faculty.

Year 12 Advanced English taking a deep dive into the romanticism era poetry of John Keats poetry which grapples with the conflict between the transient and eternal aspects of life and love with Ms Hillyer and Ms McDiarmid.

This year, we welcome back Gregor Newton from Hilston Central School, who has returned and is teaching English 7-10, and a huge welcome to Raymond Happ who is on Year 7 English and is from Coonamble High School. They join the rest of the English faculty who will be familiar to you: Gillian Halstead; Cassandra Kaloudis; Connor Boyko; Daisy Little; Marnie Etheridge; and Luisa McDiarmid.

We also have Julie Ruming from Erina High School and Renetta Wolfe from Denison College Bathurst High Campus teaching Stage 6 Beginners Japanese and Alana Ragen from Riverside Girls High School teaching Stage 6 Beginners Italian. We also welcome onboard for the first time teaching our new subjects in Year 11: Modern History, Narelle Straney from Georges River College – Oatley Campus; Modern History, Kirstie Thomson from Callaghan College Waratah Campus; Geography, our dual skilled Raymond Happ from Coonamble High School, and with an increase in popularity in Economics and to join Anne Vogelnest from Ulladulla High School, we welcome Elena Maroungas from Concord High School.

It’s a fantastic faculty of teachers from a kaleidoscope of towns representing some of the best of the best in NSW.  You can be assured that your child is in very capable hands in English, HSIE and Languages at Aurora in 2021.

Jowen Hillyer |Head Teacher English, HSIE and Languages

Faculty news – Science and Agriculture

The new Science Practical Teacher (SPT) portal is live!

Aurora College has implemented a new tracking system for science practicals in 2021. This is a website built by our very own technical genius, Ben Hillsley.

The website will make it easier to track when schools are performing their practical activities, and to quickly identify any problems and provide assistance. Our aim is to ensure that all students are completing and submitting their practicals in a timely manner.

The new Science Practical Teacher Portal is now live!

All students at Aurora College who study a science subject (except Science Extension in Year 12) have allocated time to complete their practical activities. The practicals are detailed in a booklet sent to home schools each term/semester, depending on the subject.

Students are responsible for reading the practical ahead of time, performing the practical in the scheduled session and then submitting their practical report in the Stile platform to be marked by their Aurora classroom teacher.

Aurora College provides funds to each partner school, to release a suitable science teacher to complete the duities of the Science Practical Teacher (SPT). The SPT is responsible for preparing the practical activity and delivering the practical to the student.

As Aurora’s Science Practical Coordinator, I will monitor this new website and send reminder emails to schools that have not submitted rolls by the due date. This will open up communication channels to work around any issues involving the timetable, equipment and absenteeism. Parents are welcome to contact the school or myself via email ( if they have any queries about the science practical program.

We would like to thank our partner schools for their cooperation in implementing this new system.

Fiona Boneham | Science Practical Coordinator

Year 11 Chemistry’s virtual excursion to ANSTO

On Monday the 15 February, Aurora College’s Yr 11 Chemistry students had the amazing opportunity to do a 3.5 hour video conference with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to gain first hand data and information for their depth study on Radiopharmaceuticals.

We had a virtual tour and lecture on all things ANSTO, including the Open Pool Australian Light water (OPAL) reactor that supplies up to 25% of the worlds Mo99 which is used for medical scans to detect and diagnose cancer and other issues. Thousands of Australians benefit from this every day! See more here :

We then moved on to learning about  the Australian Nuclear Medicine (ANM) facility which processes an packages nuclear medicine, primarily Mo99, for transport to hospitals all over the country and the world. See more here:

Finally we saved the best for last when we interviewed Dr Ben Fraser whose research is helping to produce new radiopharmaceuticals and treatment to combat human diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, depression and cancer. He was fantastic and thoroughly answered all the questions students had about nuclear medicine and ANSTO. See more here:

Our students will now use this information, along with the extensive resources on the ANSTO website and time in class, to complete their depth study.

Everyone learnt a great deal and Aurora College would like to thank ANSTO and the Australian Government for making opportunities like this available to our students. Here are some images from our day online!

Fiona Boneham and Tina Whitehead | Chemistry Teachers

Faculty news – Mathematics

The Aurora Mathematics staff have welcomed new and returning staff in 2021. I am very excited to be in the position of Relieving Head Teacher Mathematics in this wonderful school. Whilst I miss the staff and students at my previous school (HT Gorokan High School), I am thrilled to be returning to Aurora College in this capacity.

Other new members of the Mathematics staff include: Robert Gorton (Wadalba Community School) who is stepping in to teach Mathematics Extension 1 and Extension 2 while Mr Ian Whiteway will be a visiting teaching fellow at the University of NSW this year. Our returning staff have continued in their generous, collegial way, offering much support to our new teachers and to our students.

In a very busy start to the school year:

  • Year 7 mathematics students are exploring the world of Integers, operating with positive and negative numbers.
  • The mathematicians in Year 8 are writing Pythagorean equations and solving them to find unknown side lengths in right-angled triangles.
  • Sine, Cosine, and Tangent are now all commonly used terms in Year 9, who have been introduced to the wonder of Trigonometry.
  • Year 10 students are learning techniques to perform operations with surds and indices.
  • In Year 11, we have students learning about pseudocode and flowcharts, all manner of functions and solving complicated inequalities.
  • Dr. G’s Year 11 Software Design and Development class is working through various activities in preparation for starting their first assessment task.
  • All Year 12 classes are well into their courses, as they started in Term 4 of 2020

Aurora College teachers are well into the planning stage of exciting hands on lessons for Residential 1. We look forward to meeting our students and exploring some interesting mathematical concepts with them.

Welcome back, Karen Bellamy!

Karen Bellamy | Head Teacher Mathematics and SD&D (Rel)

Library news

Over the summer, we ran a Summer Reading Challenge – a number of very enthusiastic students participated and they have each been awarded an Astra. Some students will be presented with prizes at the Residential School for their outstanding participation in the challenge.

Keep an eye out for the launch of the 2021 Premier’s Reading Challenge and the 2021 Aurora College Reading Challenge, later this term!

Residential School visit by Gus Gordon, Author/Illustrator

Gus Gordon is an internationally acclaimed illustrator and author. He has illustrated and written over 80 books for children. His illustrations are known for their loose and energetic line work, mixed media and humour.

Gus Gordon will be joining us at ‘res’

Gus explains that he always ends up writing about ordinary characters (animals) and their journeys. They either have an exceptional (nonsensical – often inconceivable) adventure or they discover something they didn’t know that was there in front of them all along. Generally, he’s seduced by the everyday ‘man in the street’ character who is missing something and may or may not realise it. Also, humour is never far away, even in the darker moments.

Students in Years 7-10 will be undertaking an illustrative workshop with Gus. Some of Gus’ award winning books are in our digital library for students to view before the ‘res’ to become familiar with his works.

Residential School pop-up bookshop 

As a service to our students, we invite a bookshop to pop-up at our residential experience. This residential, we are being supported by Merimbula Extra.

Families would have received a credit form as part of the residential information pack, a copy is linked here for your convenience as well:

Popup bookshop orderform 2021

Please feel free to use the form to authorise a spending limit for your child, if you prefer not to send cash. Payment can only be made at the Residential School via cash or the credit form.

This is an opt-in activity, and there is no obligation to participate.

Calling enthusiastic readers, illustrators and creatives

This year, a number of new students have shown a keen interest in reviewing books or submitting their own works of poetry, short stories, comic strips etc. to be published in SpineOut.

SpineOut is an online magazine for students aged 12-17. If you think this may appeal to your child, please email me to request a permission note, to allow their works to be published. This is open to students from Year 7 – Year 12.

Library orientation sessions

Year 7 have already undertaken orientation sessions to learn about our digital school library (OLIVER). Students have access 24/7 to our online subscriptions, ebooks, and audiobooks. Our website has some short procedural videos to assist students: Library guides. New students in Years 8-12 have access to a recorded orientation session via the Learning and Support Website.

Year 5 students will be undertaking orientation sessions in weeks 6 and 9 this term. All students are encouraged to check the student TEAM for the latest news related to the Library and how it can support them with their learning and reading for leisure.

We source our ebook and audiobooks via Overdrive and Wheeler’s, to give a greater breadth of resources. All of our library materials are digital and students access them via their student portal login. Students only need an internet connection to access our resources, some of which may then be downloaded and accessed offline on a portable device.

The student devices loaned to our students are suitable, along with a range of other devices, families may already have. On our OLIVER home page are live links or login details to further subscription services, such as World Book Online, Cosmos Magazine, and SpineOut.

I am very excited to be supporting student reading and learning at Aurora College in 2021.

Kaylene Taylor | Teacher Librarian

Our website is getting an upgrade!

Over the past six months, we have been working with an external web development agency on a new website design. Our aim is to make the website easier to navigate, highlighting the differences between our focuses on years 5  and 6 Opportunity Classes, our Years 7 – 10 Selective School subjects, and our Years 11 and 12 mainstream subjects.

Events such as our HSC Study Days series, and our Livestreams will be listed in an agenda-like view to make them easier to find.

The expected launch of the new website is before the start of Term 2. We hope you will be as pleased with the new design as we are.

Ben Hillsley | Learning Technologies Support Officer

Connect locally, learn globally

Hi my name is Ellie and I am 14, turning 15. I live in a small town called Ulladulla, around 3 hours south of Sydney. My town is known for its beautiful beaches and scenery. Our town is unique because it has diversity in the sense that we are an agriculture town, fishing town and tourism town. It is historically known for fishing and is known as a key tourist destination because of our beaches. Some of our main beaches are Mollymook, Narrawallee and Rennies.

I like my community because it is very supportive and friendly. Many people in my community lost their houses due to the bushfires, but our community came together with donations and charity. There was also a tragic accident where a young girl was hit by a bus and our town made a Go Fund Me page and raised a lot of money to help support the family.

I love exercising and playing sports. Staying fit and healthy helps me to work better at school. I like to play in the local touch and oztag competitions and I also play league tag for a local football club. I love the sports I play because not only is it great fitness, but it is also fun to socialise with my teammates and friendly local competitors. We have many different sport clubs such as soccer, tennis, rugby league, swimming, surfing, surf life saving club, basketball, netball, AFL, dance and gymnastics.

Aurora is a great experience because you are taught how to be independent, disciplined and proactive. At Ulladulla High School, there are around 250 kids in my year and 1200 at my school. The best thing about being in Aurora for me is that I am able to be in a class full of students that want the same thing as me. I am able to push myself and have a better education. When I leave school I hope to join the army. I’m not fully sure which degree I want to get, but I have always wanted to join the army.

Ellie – connecting locally and learning globally

Ellie Fitzpatrick  (Year 9, Ulladulla High School)

Bright lights

Rural Youth Ambassadors

Ben (Year 12, Hay War Memorial High School), Harry  (Year 12, Tumut High School)  and Cordy (Year 12, Guyra Central School) have been chosen to attend the Rural Youth Ambassadors Program – National Forum in Canberra.

At the summit, Ben, Harry, Cordy and the other Rural Youth Ambassadors from NSW, Victoria and South Australia will meet with the Minister for Education and Youth, the Hon. Alan Tudge MP, at Parliament House. The ambassadors also meet met with senior officers of the Australian Department of Education and other key stakeholders.

Congratulations to our ambassadors on this great honour.

Cordy, Ben and Harry are pictured with the NSW delegates at the national summit

NSW Representative – Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools

Chantelle Bourne (Year 10, Young High School) is among 13 students who have designed a new student council, to work with the Education Minister on policy matters that involve students.

The council will be known as DOVES (Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools). Chantelle will serve as a council member for a two-year term.

We are excited to see the difference Chantelle makes in this new role!

Scholarship Awarded

Dinara Jayarathna (Year 11, Taree High School) recently received a Public Education Foundation scholarship. After reading about the scholarships on offer in an issue of The Auracle, Dinara was supported by her family to apply.

A wonderful opportunity for regional Aurora College students. Well done, Dinara!

Published Author – Debut novel!

Esther (Year 8, Willyama High School) wrote Bobby Banana Stands Tall for a PDHPE assignment. It had to be a children’s book that spread awareness around the types and effects of bullying.

By writing a book for kids, Esther learnt how to use simple language and make sure that there were colourful illustrations to compliment the story. To be honest, writing a book about a bullied banana started off as a joke but then Esther’s dad liked it so much that he surprised her by having it published! During the holidays, Esther worked on setting up a website and learnt how to market her book.

Esther will be selling copies at Res for $12 (cash only) or you can preorder online (for collection at Res) at and use code AURORA12 for a discounted price. Make sure to follow Bobby Banana Stands Tall on Instagram!

Esther, author of Bobby Banana Stands Tall

NSW Country Swimming Championships

Daniel Castle (Year 11, Tumut High School)  will be participating in the NSW Country Swimming championships in Sydney.

Best of luck, Daniel.

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 … Denise Deaves (and Jala)

I work at the Aurora College Coordinating Office, currently situated on site at Mowbray Road Public School. A typical day for me at Aurora College is answering copious emails, processing residential permission notes, answering telephone calls and a myriad of other tasks.

Being adaptable and dropping the task you are currently undertaking to take on a more urgent task is an absolute must in a busy school office.  I am ably assisted by Thara, Georgia and Sharon, who undertake all tasks with dedication and adaptability.

I don’t teach students, but my favourite subject when I was in school was Commerce/Economics which is apt because part of my administration duties involve budgeting and monitoring the schools financial situation.

I like the fact that at Aurora College, we are empowering students in rural and remote communities to be the best they can be and providing learning opportunities which allow them to stay with their families and also stimulate their minds.

The Northern Beaches is a vibrant community which loves their Sunday breakfasts at the local cafes and a stroll along the beach. We are just far enough out of the city for some open spaces and greenery, but close enough to the city for convenience.

I love going to Dee Why Beach for coffee and a walk with the dog (pictured).  I used to be an archery judge and enjoyed that experience.  I have recently completed a graduate certificate in Education Business Leadership and hope one day to travel to England where I was born, as I do not have a clear memory of the place as I was very young when my family migrated to Australia.

Denise Deaves | School Administrative Manager

Jala on Dee Why Beach

Practical tips for teenagers wellbeing

Developing a strong sense of wellbeing is an important part of being healthy, happy and getting the most out of life. It can help teenagers manage the challenges of the developmental years and be a protective factor against mental illness.

The interesting thing about wellbeing is that it can have an upward spiral effect. If you do something that increases your wellbeing, it’s likely to make you feel good, which is turn will help give you the motivation to do something else to improve your wellbeing and make you feel good.

A simple framework to increase wellbeing is the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, developed by the New Economics Foundation in the UK. The framework outlines 5 strategies that have been proven to have a positive effect on mental wellbeing. These strategies are:

1. Connect

Making time for the important people in our lives and having positive relationships with friends, family and peers are essential for mental wellbeing. Encourage your child to make new friendships and maintain an active connection with their friends. This connection helps them develop a sense of belonging. Help them foster meaningful connections with others by being an active member of the school community, sports team, volunteering and making time for family.

Things you could try:

  • Have a regular family dinner and encourage your teenager to invite a friend
  • Participate in school activities or events to meet other school families
  • Organise a weekly family games night– inside or outside games where everyone can have fun together
2. Be active

Exercising regularly has been shown to lower rates of depression and anxiety. It’s particularly important for teenagers to make time for exercise to relieve stress, especially during exam time. Spending time in nature can come hand-in-hand and improve wellbeing.

Things you could try:

  • Walk, ride, jog or swim together before or after school
  • Play sport together
  • Go hiking, camping or for a bush walk
  • Explore your neighbourhood
3. Take notice

Also known as ‘mindfulness’, the practice of being aware and taking notice of ‘the little things’ trains us to be aware of our thoughts and feelings. A popular way of practising mindfulness is by being grateful. When practised consciously, this has been found to enhance mental wellbeing.

Things you could try:

  • Encourage your child to think of three things they are grateful for each day
  • Teach your child how to meditate
  • Teach your child to notice things or people that make them happy
4. Keep learning

Teenagers’ lives are focused on learning and it is vital for their social and cognitive development. Encouraging your child to learn new skills, especially if they are naturally creative, will enhance their self-esteem, encourage social interaction and help them live a more active life. A love of learning is a great quality to have in life.

Things you could try:

  • Take up a new hobby as a family and learn together
  • Ask your child to teach you about a subject they enjoy learning at school
  • Learn about different cultures and places, by visiting cultural hubs in your area
  • Learn about the history of your community
  • Find out about your family history
5. Give

When we give our time and energy to help someone else, it is very rewarding. It gives us a sense of meaning and purpose. Volunteering or giving time to a cause that your child feels strongly about and giving kindness will also help your child understand empathy.

Things you could try:

  • Give your time as a family to a cause that is important to you all
  • Help at school events
  • Support elderly or in-need neighbours
  • Volunteer at a community event
  • Challenge everyone in the family to do something kind for someone else

We’ve borrowed this content from ReachOut – Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents – with their permission. You can find the original article here. Check out more of their full range of practical support, tools and tips at and

Meagan Cooke | Senior Psychologist

A message from 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 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 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 P&C was incorporated under the Parents and Citizens Associations Incorporation Act 1976, on 17 February 2021. As required, the P&C has applied for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and has also applied for non-profit tax status.

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. Meeting dates for 2021 will be 24 March, 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 seeing you at our first meeting for 2021 on the 24 March.

Payment should be made on the Aurora College website via the tab ‘Make a Payment’

Detailed instructions (please follow carefully)

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‘.)

Contact Details:

Enter your Name, Phone number and Email Address, then click ‘Next Section‘.

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‘.

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

From the engine room

Welcome back to our existing and new students and families.  We have started the year at an hectic pace with preparations well underway for our upcoming residential camp in Week 7 (8/3/21 to 12/3/21 inclusive) and enrolling our Year 5 students who comprise our Opportunity Class.

If any of your details have changed; telephone number, address etc, please provide details via email Please contact Thara, Georgia or myself if you have any questions.  Our telephone number is 1300 287 629 (toll free) and our office hours are 8:30 am to 3:30 pm Monday to Friday.

We look forward to another successful year at Aurora.

Denise Deaves | School Administrative Manager

Destination R and R

Enjoy some of the places that Aurora College staff call home. We are privileged to have staff from most parts of New South Wales working with our rural and remote students.

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
© 2021 Aurora College | Website by Bright

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