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Principal’s Words

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2023 Vision Continues

Our vision at Emerald Secondary College is ‘Engagement’. We strive to enable and equip all our young learners to reach their full potential. The vision is underpinned by a community that is willing to learn and grow together. We want our learners to display positive school behaviours:

  1. Set high expectations for themselves
  2. Engage proactively in their class
  • Complete their school work
  1. Be curious and enquiring learners
  2. Build strong, valuable, healthy relationships
  3. Build strong mental and physical wellbeing
  • Get involved in all the extra-curricular programs the school has to offer

As we continue to grow and develop together, we will reinforce our message to our students and to our broader community, using a few improvement strategies, processes and procedures to bring our vision to life.

Respect for each other is a non-negotiable value at our college, and at the core of everything we do.

School Facilities

Stage One of college upgrade is now complete, and students are enjoying working and learning in the new spaces. A Block, Food, new staffrooms, new toilets, and a new resource centre make our college look amazing. I ask all students to take care of all our facilities. 

 NAPLAN preparations

Our school preparations for NAPLAN continue. NAPLAN is the once every two years literacy and numeracy testing for all students in Australia, for our secondary school students that occurs in Year 7 and Year 9.  It is used as a measure of student progress and allows schools to target further support, along with our own internal testing and teacher judgement based on student needs.

NAPLAN will be held in the coming weeks, having been moved forward to March from its usual scheduling in May.

Our staff have been working with students and supporting them with activities that provide NAPLAN like tasks, with a particular focus for our Year 7 and 9 students on reading, writing and numeracy tasks. Thank you to Ms Janine McMahon and Ms Tiana Clayworth for all their work in setting up the testing.

Consistent Attendance – Every Lesson – Every Day 

Michael Grose has said, ‘When young people miss school, not only is their academic progress impeded, forcing them to catch up on missed work (which some never do), they often miss important interactions with their peers which can compound issues of social isolation and low self-esteem. One of the most important things you can do to ensure your child has a bright future is to make sure they go to school every day (and get there on time). It sounds simple and it’s true. The correlation between school attendance and children’s achievement levels is well established. The more time kids spend at school, the more likely they are to experience school success.’,%E2%80%BA%20Documents%20%E2%80%BA%20in


Of course, most people know this intuitively, yet school absenteeism is a problem – and much of it is parent-condoned. If a student misses an average of 12 and 15 days per school year, that adds up to a year’s lost schooling over the school-life of a child. In today’s highly competitive world, this rate of absenteeism is alarming, putting our young people at a distinct disadvantage. 

College Uniform

The Puffa jacket is in, and the soft shell jacket is out.

Whilst the soft shell jacket is still part of school uniform, it is not warm enough for the winter Emerald clime.

The College is holding some limited stock of the soft shell jacket, and once it is distributed to certain departments in the school, some limited sizes will be available for purchase at a heavily discounted price from the front office – please watch Compass, as we organise our stock.

Uniform expectations have not changed and I am pleased to report that most of our students look exemplary! We will continue to work closely with some students who choose not to wear our uniform. Measures will be supportive, aligning with college expectations and student voice and agency.

Please make sure that if there are any issues with uniform and you need support that you contact the relevant Learning Engagement Leader.

James Barut – College Principal 






Assistant Principals’ Report

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Curriculum and Assessment

Our students have settled into the school year and the teaching and learning program.  Senior students have either undertaken a practice school assessed coursework task, followed by a SAC, or are about to.  We have had several students remain after school to collaborate with their peers in preparation for these tasks.

Junior students have been working on their course and classwork tasks and will be soon undertaking their first common assessment tasks.

We are observing some amazing creativity in Middle Years Electives.  Including the design of fighter jets for 3D printing and ceramic shoe creation!

Progress reports have been completed by teachers and can be accessed on the parent portal on compass on Friday at 4pm.  Unfortunately, there are still some classes without a consistent teacher.  Even though these classes are being supported by ESC staff in a number of ways, unfortunately,  the completion of progress reports for these classes have not been possible for this cycle of progress reports.


Our year seven and nine student undertook practice NAPLAN tasks recently.  Students were able to undertake a small writing and numeracy task in a relaxed time frame which allowed them to familiarise themselves with the online NAPLAN portal.  Any technical issues were resolved, and students will be able to feel more knowledgeable and confident as they approach their upcoming NAPLAN tasks.

 Building and Grounds

We have come to the end of our capital works program with the opening of A Block at the start of the term.   We have been busily adding some finishing touches to rooms such as installing projectors, speakers, and plants in planter boxes in the corridors and library.  We are currently researching the replacement of some of our existing furniture in some of our teaching spaces to further brighten up and make the rooms a comfortable learning environment for our students and staff.

A Block is also known as our Year 7 centre, where Year 7 students are located for the majority of their classes when a specialist room is not required.  The building program has provided us with designated spaces for lockers at either end of the building.  This has seen a reduction in congestion to the alternative of having the entire cohort of students together with their lockers in the corridor.  The alteration to the building plan has also allowed the architects to provide break out spaces for flexible learning opportunities within the corridor of A block and also in some of the classrooms. 

Students (and staff) have been enjoying our shiny new food technology kitchens.  The new building designs have not only been a well needed upgrade to facilities, but with windows into the classrooms, we can now see the learning in action from outside the classroom.  As I write, students are finishing up creating banana bread. Some wonderful aromas could be detected!

We have been busily maintaining our grounds and garden beds, including spreading mulch, trimming and pruning greenery, and feel very lucky to have such a wonderful garden on a school site.  We have also finalised another round of bushfire mitigation work around the boundary of the College.

The Vocational Major students have been tending to the kitchen garden space. With the help of Rotary who have donated some funds to help regenerate this space into a thriving space again. 

We have recently acquired a grant for a shade sail and have been seeking quotes for this work to begin also.

We thank our building and grounds team for all their work they do for our college community.


Recently in BEST, many of our students engaged in Mindmapping as part of our sessions on study and research skills.  Mindmapping is an easy way to brainstorm thoughts organically – it allows students to visually structure ideas to help with analysis and recall.  The mindmap diagrap represents words or concepts that link to a central subject.  It’s a highly organised diagram that works in line with the brain’s natural way of doing things. 

Students came up with some incredibly original, creative and thorough mindmaps on a subject of their choice.

Special mention is made of the following students who produced terrific mindmaps:  

Charlize Wallace 8G                                           

Kiara Flavel 12D

Alice Nielson 10A

Monique Fabien 10A

Charlie Eyssens 10A

Izzy Adams 12D

These students will receive a canteen voucher.  Congratulations and keep mindmapping – it’s a great study and revision strategy!



Senior Subschool students have been spending some time discussing and looking at self-care.

Here are some of the self-care practice some Year 11 students have committed themselves to in the coming weeks:

  • Play and listen to music                                                                                                                                 
  • Go to Gym everyday
  • Limit phone use
  • Have good rest periods where I can relax and reset
  • Less procrastination about homework just get on and do it                                          
  • Get better at chess
  • Save money
  • Live, Love, Laugh
  • Go to training
  • Go on more walks
  • I promise to eat properly
  • Get enough Sleep

We commend and encourage all of  our students to balance their school, work, and social commitments and prioritise their own self-care.  “Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health.  Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook.  Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.  It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.“ (Psych Central).

Student Leadership

We were (delightfully!) inundated with interest from students from Years 7-12 for our new Student Leadership roles, and positions of responsibility.  Many of our staff will be leading crews/teams of students in interest-based areas across the College and have created positions especially for students to lead, exercise their voice and contribute significantly to the success of college events, activities and progression in each of these areas.

It is my pleasure to announce the following recipients – students will also be acknowledged in a special Investiture Ceremony led by our College Captains Ethan Crosher, Caiti Ellis, Hayley Marshall and Jackson Acott, and their parents/carers will be invited.

Student Leadership Positions

  • SRC Leaders – Keilah Dewar Yr11, Jayden Regan Yr8
  • SRC Assistant Leaders – Ebony Ellis & Lacie-Joy McMahon, Yr7
  • Year 7 Leaders – Jazzy Rule & Lani Bach
  • Year 8 Leaders – Liam Sharp & Ellie Hastings
  • Year 10 Leader – Milla Boyd
  • Year 11 Leader – Cadence Tyrrell
  • Junior Subschool Leader – Claire Aspinall
  • Communications Team – Safi Drummond Yr7 & Daniel McAllister Yr 12
  • Geysen House Leader – Darcy Langhorrne Yr8
  • Greetham House Leader – Sydney Neilson Yr8
  • Jeffreys House Leader – Kaylee Loguidice Yr12
  • ONeil House Leader – Lily Cochrane Yr11

Portfolio Representative Positions 

  • Ambassadors – Ebony Ellis, Ellie Hastings, Jayden Regan, Lani Bach, Milla Boyd, Safi Drummond, Olivia Ellis
  • Arts – Aidan Bailey, Ebony Ellis, Lily Cochrane, Matilda Forsythe, Taesha Korsten, Xavier Soeteman
  • Astronomy – Christine Burgess, Lily Forster, Noah McKenzie, Robert Jackson, Ruby Emmott, Sienna Connolly, Xavier Hole
  • Community Service – Olivia Ellis, Taesha Korsten
  • Environmental Pride – Nami Nguyen, Liam Sharp
  • eSports – Cooper Wade Moran, Lachie Duncan, Noah Grant, Thomas Morelli
  • HPV – Harry Closter, Lily Cochrane
  • Info Tech – Cooper Wade Moran, Thomas Morelli, William Grenness, William Latter
  • Kitchen Garden – Akira Petterson, Elly Stopford, Maddi Roach, Willow Glidden
  • Maintenance – William Grenness, Jack Spry
  • Music – Jacob Hennig, Claire Aspinall, Keilah Dewar, Lily Forster, Nicky Closter
  • Peer Support – Ellie Hastings, Ethan Crosher, Kai Hughes
  • Production – Ellie Hastings, Amelia Walker, Charlize Wallace, Jazzy Rule, Lily Forster, Lucy Frauenfelder, Matilda Forsythe, Olivia Ellis, Tamsyn Penketh, Ruby Emmott, Sally Hope
  • Radio – Akira Petterson, Angus Devenish, Joe Stonyer, Rhys Nickell, Rose Harris, Willow Glidden
  • Respectful Relationships – Mollie Harmer
  • Sports – Chelsea Mainnie, Gemma Whyte, Lily Cochrane, Nate Turner, Sydney Neilson
  • Theatre Tech – Jude Penketh, Lucas Bramich, Jeremy Doyle, Sienna Connolly
  • Transition – Amelia Walker, Ellie Hastings, Lucas Bramich, Maddi Roach, Milla Boyd, Taesha Korsten 

Lots of Socks Day

World Down Syndrome Day is coming up on 21st March.

Emerald Secondary College look forward to acknowledging this Day and would like to encourage all students and staff to celebrate and help raise awareness by wearing mismatched and/or colourful socks to school along with their college uniform.  The idea behind the Lots of Socks initiative is that all types, shapes, and sizes of the same thing can be unique in their own way.  No two socks are the same!  This is a campaign to create conversation around diversity, uniqueness, inclusion and acceptance. 

Down Syndrome is a genetic condition – not an illness or disease.  It occurs because of an extra chromosome – that’s all!  This extra chromosome results in a range of physical characteristics, health and developmental indications and some level of intellectual disability.  Although it is known how Down syndrome happens, it is not yet known why it happens.  It’s nobody’s fault, there is no cure and it does not go away.  At Emerald Secondary College we have two magnificent students with Down Syndrome who both love music, love to perform and love to share a smile and be included in college life.  In BEST lessons in Week 9, we will be talking about what makes us all unique – about inclusion and how we can all help each other to feel included. 

Wear your brightest, most colourful and unique socks to school on World Down Syndrome Day – 21st March! 

Uniform – New Puffa Jacket

ESC new Puffer jacket is now ready for purchase at PSW. All sizes are available in store and online. The soft-shell jackets are being phased out due to a much warmer option required for our students during cooler months. A consultation process with parents and students was undertaken during this change over process. 

After our initial stocktake some remaining soft-shell jackets will still be up for sale, at the College.

Limited sizes apply.

Year 7 Coffee Morning Tea
The Junior School Team is hosting a ‘Coffee Catch-Up’ morning for Year 7 parents. We would love to see you there! Coffee and light refreshments will be provided on Thursday March 16 from 9:15am – 10:00am in the canteen. Please sign in at the general office on arrival.
 Use the link below to RSVP, we look forward to seeing you again.

Emerald Secondary College School Tours

School tours run every Wednesday morning at 10.15am.

To book please click the link below.

Book a School Tour Here

Alternatively, please scan the QR code below:

We also offer School Tours for prospective Select Entry Accelerated Learning (SEAL) parents/students Wednesday at 11.30am. The tours are run by our SEAL Co-Ordinator, Tiana Clayworth. 

To book please click the link below.

Book a SEAL School Tour Here 

If you would like to request an alternate tour date, please contact reception on 5968 5388

Janine McMahon, Tanja Korsten and Jarrad Donders – Assistant Principals





Year 7 Chemistry

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Year 7 Chemistry

This week Year 7 students began their first forays into the science lab by getting their Bunsen burner licenses and then used them to do their first real science practical – Heating Water in a Beaker.  After a few weeks of learning about science lab safety and equipment protocol, they safely and accurately heated and measured the timing and temperature changes between tap water, salt water, and sugar water.  They then collected their results in a table and graphed the results, finishing with a completed practical report following the scientific method.  These skills will set them up for many experiments in the future and by the time they are in senior science they will be second nature.

Ashley Forster – Science Domain Leader


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7G Students Band Together


Students in the Year 7 SEAL program started learning an instrument as part of their   

music studies this term. Students tried out a variety of instruments in class and chose their favourite. They are having weekly lessons and will eventually be playing in a band together. 

Photo caption

Students from 7G with their instruments. 


Damon Key – Instrumental Music Teacher

Term 1 Sport @ ESC

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Term 1 Sport @ ESC

 District Swimming

Emerald had a strong team head to Croydon Pool on Friday 3rd March for District Swimming. Our winners for the day are listed below: 

Daniel Beardshaw – 50m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, 200m freestyle

Miah Beardshaw – 50m freestyle

Jonathan Malseed – 50m breaststroke

Kiara Flavel – 50m butterfly, 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m breaststroke

Jasmine Cochrane – 50m backstroke

Relay Teams

17 Male freestyle relay – Calean, Aaron, Zac & Lucas

18 Female medley relay – Miah, Kiara, Jasmine & Kiana

20 Female freestyle relay – Miah, Kiara, jasmine &  Kiana

District Age Group Champions from Emerald

Kiara Flavel 18/20 Female

Daniel Beardshaw 14 Male

As a result of our amazing results,  many students have progressed to Regional level.  Regional Swimming will be held at Aquanation in Ringwood on Thursday 28th March


Year 8 Volleyball and Tennis

Our Year 8 students had a great day of tennis, with many games won and the girls team will progress to the Regional Finals in November.

The volleyball teams also had a successful day, with the boys finishing second in their pool and the girls winning many of their games.

Well done everyone – GO ESC!

Cross Country 

The school cross country this year will be help on Wednesday 26th  April (week 1 – term 2).  The event will be compulsory for all Year 7 students and optional for all other year levels. 

The Year 7s will complete the run during periods 3 & 4 and all other years will run during period 5. Sign up sheets for Year 8 – 12 are in the Gym foyer. 

Normal classes will run all day with the exception of Year 7 classes period 3 & 4. 

Yvonne Mauger – Sports Co-ordinator

Wellbeing & Disability Inclusion

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Our College Mental Health Practitioner

We welcome Tanya Hough who has started at ESC this year, working three days a week in the wellbeing centre. 

The role of the Mental Health Practitioner is to provide individualised counselling and mental health support to students, run student wellbeing groups, build the capability of staff to manage student health and wellbeing, and help to embed mental health promotion and prevention programs and strategies in the school.

Tanya has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and Social Geography major), a Bachelor of Social Work and has 20 years’ experience as a social worker across a range of sectors, including, homelessness, family violence, disability and mental health. Tanya will be balancing part time work at ESC with studying her Masters of Mental Health.

Families can contact Tanya or Felicity in the wellbeing centre if you would like to refer a student for Mental Health Support, to find out more information about the program or to access more resources about youth mental health. Written consent will need to be provided by the student and parent/guardian for counselling to commence.

Social Media, Safety, and Inappropriate Behaviour

Using social media is a regular part of life for most young people. Social media platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are being widely used by our students and clearly have many benefits for us both as individuals and as communities.

Unfortunately, there is also the risk of social media being used for inappropriate behaviour by students which may constitute harassment, bullying or intimidation and could ultimately lead to police involvement. 

We have put together some advice for parents and carers so that we can work together to keep our children safe.


Tips for parents regarding monitoring social media usage

  1. Be aware of what your child is doing online and talk with your child about their online behaviour.
  2. Familiarise yourself with the programs your children are using.
  3. Privacy settings can be set so only friends and family can view their profiles and posts. Ensure that they only add contacts they know offline and trust.
  4. Communicate the importance of not sending images and videos that may compromise your child’s safety or integrity. It is a criminal offence to circulate inappropriate images of children, even if they are of themselves.
  5. Remind your child that messages can be misunderstood online and taken out of context. If they are not sure and would not be happy for their parents and teachers to see it, it is best not to post it. 
  6. Limit the time your child spends online and do not let them take their devices to bed with them.  
  7. You might like to direct your children to the Kids helpline website to access age appropriate information on eSafety:  Teens 13-17 Years | We’re Here to Help | Kids Helpline
  8. For further information you can visit the eSafety website to find out more about offensive content and cyberbullying and what you can do.


You may also be interested in products that are available to monitor your child’s online usage, please see a list of the latest reviews from Safewise.

Best parental control apps and software in Australia

Qustodio: Best overall (Link to external site)

Kaspersky Safe Kids: Best budget (Link to external site)

Google Family Link: Best free (Link to external site)

Net Nanny: Best web filtering (Link to external site)

Bark: Best for monitoring (Link to external site)

As a school, we will continue to educate our students about safe use of the internet, however many issues linked to social media use happen beyond the school day. Remember that as a parent it is your responsibility to ensure that your child is using their online devices appropriately and safely.  We thank you for your support in keeping all our children safe.


Tanya Hough

Year 10 News

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2023 so far in Year 10

 What an exciting and energetic start Term 1 has brought! A lot of change has occurred within the last 7 weeks, and the Senior Sub School commend our Year 10 cohort for the efforts they have brought academically.

Part of the change included moving the Year 10 cohort to be part of the Senior Sub School to encourage the academic standards at a senior level. Year 10s have been encouraged to become leaders of their learning and have shown immense resilience to build respectful relationships with their teachers and fellow peers.

New Middle Years Electives

Observations and visits have been completed in our new middle-year program electives and there are happy reports of engagement in the classroom from both teachers and students.

Students have been busy in their chosen elective subjects whether that be baking pies or completing some coding to create a virtual game.

Year 10 students have been collaborating with their Year 9 peers in these classrooms and it has been illuminating to observe the positive role models they can be.

General College Expectations

Whole cohort assemblies have been conducted where students have been reminded about college expectations surrounding; uniform, attendance, respect and being ready to learn. The Senior School office works hard to ensure that students are supported in these areas, although as always students are strongly reminded and encouraged to take responsibility for the best opportunities in their learning.

Maintaining the theme of respect has been a strong theme in conversations with Year 10 students, whether that be one on one or projected at an assembly. The Senior School has awarded students for 98% and above attendance and for showing positive learning behaviours each week. We hope that this recognition does not go unnoticed and shows how immensely proud the senior school is of Year 10s.

Coursework Checks

Year 10s are now senior students which implies that there are high expectations regarding completing learning tasks and submitting work requirements for assessment on time. Students have been re-taught study and organisational techniques within their BEST lessons and are encouraged to reflect on these within their classes. Coursework checks are being conducted by Year 10 teachers and will be followed up to ensure that students are staying up to date with work posted on Compass. If students do fall behind, coursework ‘catch up’ sessions will be held outside of classroom time to maintain and support student learning.

All coursework is listed on Compass under ‘Learning Tasks’ can be identified via the orange Assignment tab.

If parents or guardians have any queries on coursework, the Senior School are always open to discuss and chat.

We look forward for the rest of the year to come and know that there are only more positive movements to come!

Jack Talbot (Senior School Leader), Grace Sleit and Liam McManus (Year 10 Learning Engagement Leaders)


Cognitive Study

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Opportunity to take part in a research study – 2 x free cognitive assessments for your child

Emerald Secondary College is participating in a new research study.  Qualified researchers will provide two free neuropsychological assessments to participating students.  Families will also receive a free report for each session. These reports will assist in better understanding how students think & learn and how their thinking skills develop.  More details below.

Tanja Korsten


Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am writing to let you know about a new research study being run by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital and The University of Melbourne. You and your child may be interested in taking part in this project.

You might also like to view The COGNITION Study Animated Video which provides a visual summary of what it means for you and your child to be involved in this research project. The video can be accessed via the following website:, or by scanning the following QR code:

What is this project about?

We are inviting you and your child take part in a research project called The COGNITION Study.

Cognition or cognitive development are words that we use to explain how you think, explore and figure things out. This can include tasks such as learning, memory and attention.

We will be using a cognitive assessment called the CANTAB to collect information about children’s cognition. The CANTAB stands for Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, it is owned by a company overseas called Cambridge Cognition.

Children and adolescents will be invited to participate in a number of assessments on 2 occasions, 9-12 months apart. This will include assessments of cognition, problem solving, and academic achievement. Additionally, we are interested in collecting information on children and adolescents’ quality of life and behavioural and emotional symptoms from both students and parents.

The main aims of this research project are:

  • To have 1300 school aged children (5-18 years old) complete the CANTAB across Victorian schools. This will form what we call a ‘normative data set’ and this will allow us to compare cognitive performance of children and adolescents.
  • To create a chart which maps typically developing cognition based on age and gender. This is similar to charts which map weight and height as you get older. For example, it might tell us if children have normal or expected cognitive performance in comparison to other children their age and gender.
  • To understand the links between cognition and children’s level of problem solving and academic achievement. We also want to know the links between cognition and children’s feelings/emotions and behaviours and children’s overall level of health and happiness.

Why am I being asked?

You and your child are being invited to participate in this project because your school has agreed to participate in this research study.

What do I need to know?

The cognitive assessments, testing of problem solving, academic achievement, quality of life and behavioural and emotional symptoms will be administered by researchers at your child’s school over 1.5 hours (2 school periods). These assessments will be done on iPads provided by the research team.

What happens next?

If you and your child are interested in taking part in this research, please complete the bottom of this letter and either return it to the Emerald Secondary College front office (Att: Tanja Korsten), email to Tanja (Assistant Principal) via [email protected]  OR send it directly to the research team via [email protected]

If you indicate that you and your child are interested AND you provide permission to provide your contact details to the research team, a member of the research team will be in contact with you by phone to talk to you about the project. Your contact details will remain confidential, and the research team will only use them to contact you regarding this research.

We will discuss whether the research study is suitable for you and your child and provide further information about the research study in detail for you to read through via email.

Following this we will ask you and/or your child to formally provide consent to participate in the research study. We will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the research.

When consent has been provided, you and your child will be considered enrolled in The COGNITION Study and we will be in contact with your school to organise when the first assessments will occur.


Please email us at [email protected] with any of your questions. A member of our research team will get back to you.

You can also call the study coordinator Yasemin Mehmed on (03) 9936 6475.


Yours sincerely,

Prof David Coghill
Principal Investigator, The COGNITION Study
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Please click on the link below for a printable copy of the Permission to Contact form

Cognitive study Permission to Contact form

Please return this permission slip to the Emerald Secondary College front office (Att: Tanja Korsten), email to Tanja (Assistant Principal) via [email protected]  OR send it directly to the research team via [email protected]

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