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Principal’s Comments

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The Final Journey Begins

Wednesday was the last day for all our Year 12s and they finished the day beautifully and as expected. They came here in the morning starting at 8:00 am, wearing free dress and looking resplendent.  Upon arrival, the canteen had prepared a delicious breakfast for them. The previous day was shirt signing day and the atmosphere was terrific!

After that, they were ushered off to EPAC where Ms Hay, Mr Talbot, and Mr Closter hosted an assembly, recognising their cohort and their final year of secondary schooling. There were farewell messages from staff and a special farewell from Mrs Nadia Beardshaw, our School Council President, on behalf of the School Council. 

The crowning glory occurred when the Senior School team distributed letters that were written to our students from their families (done on the hush!) – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!! Students were offsite just before recess with many hugs and much excitement.

As I pen this missive, the Senior Study centre and library is busy, busy, busy with most of our students choosing the College for their swot vac.

We couldn’t have been prouder with how they conducted themselves in the community, so aware of their impact as Emerald Secondary College students. Absolute kudos and thank you to the Senior School team, Jack Talbot, Emily Hay, and Shane Closter.

The Valedictory will give the College a final opportunity for a wrap-up.

We look forward to some terrific VCE outcomes.


As per previous communication, and a general comment on staffing, we are looking forward to stabilising our workforce for the start of 2024.

As appointments are finalised, I will introduce our new staff members in the next newsletter.

8.77 million

Stage 2 is underway! 

AMP 2 is now in the hands of the appointed architects and the VSBA (Victorian Schools Building Authority)

I think I saw G Block look a lot cheerier as the working party inspected ‘its bones’ – we look forward to seeing the vision of the architects.

As an adjunct, after a tender process, the appointed architect is Craig Tan and Associates, the same team that upgraded the school, through the first lot of funding.

Student Free Days

Please keep an eye out on our Compass feed for upcoming student-free days – there will be planning time and Report Writing Day in the foreseeable future – TBC.

Just a reminder that Melbourne Cup Eve, November 6th, is a fully operational school day. Some classes may be combined, but the school program will run as normal.

I am flagging this early so that families can plan accordingly.

James Barut – Principal

Assistant Principals’ Report – School Preparations for Bushfire Season

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Schools in Category 0, 1 and 2 on the Bushfire At-Risk Register

School preparations for the bushfire season         

Each year, to prepare for bushfires and grassfires, schools and early childhood services complete a range of activities. 

The Department of Education runs an annual fire risk assessment of schools and early childhood services. They are allocated a category of risk (categories 0 to 4) and are published on the Bushfire At-Risk Register (BARR).

On elevated fire danger days schools in the highest levels of risk (categories 0, 1 and 2) take pre-emptive actions to minimise the risk of being caught in a fire in these conditions.

These actions are based on the Local Government Area they are in and their fire risk category.

In addition, all schools and services listed on the BARR and Category 4 list will close when a Catastrophic fire danger rating day is forecast in their fire weather district.   

When the Bureau of Meteorology provides public fire danger rating forecasts, they use fire weather district areas. In Victoria, there are 9 fire weather districts, which include numerous Local Government Areas. Our school is in the Central fire weather district.

As part of preparing our school for the fire season, we have updated and completed our Emergency Management Plan and we have also prioritised maintenance work required in our annual bushfire mitigation in preparing for the threat of fire and cleared our facility’s grounds and gutters.

What does this mean for our school?

Our school has been identified as being in one of the highest fire risk categories – BARR Category 2.

Our school will action its pre-emptive plan and close on a day forecasted as Extreme fire danger rating in our local government area (LGA), Cardinia.

Our school will also close on a day forecasted as Catastrophic fire danger rating in Central fire weather district.

What is the department’s policy?

The department’s Bushfire and Grassfire Preparedness Policy requires schools at high risk of bushfire to enact pre-emptive action plans based on LGA level fire danger forecasts. Conditions can vary significantly across the wider weather district, so using local forecasts helps us to respond appropriately to risks in our local area and maintain stability and educational continuity for our students and school community. This policy is consistent for all schools at high levels of risk and this approach is supported by emergency services. 

The policy also requires that all schools and early childhood services on the BARR and the Category 4 list close when a Catastrophic fire danger rating day is forecast in their fire weather district. All school bus routes which travel in or through a district with Catastrophic fire danger must also be cancelled.

When will our school enact our pre-emptive action plan?

Our school will action our pre-emptive plan to close on days when the fire danger forecast for our local government area, Cardinia is Extreme.  

Our school will use the LGA forecast confirmed by emergency services the day before an Extreme fire danger day in our LGA to trigger our plan. We will let you know when we are enacting our pre-emptive action plan. Please be aware that no one will be on site on days where the school has enacted this plan.

What do we do when our LGA has a different fire danger rating to the wider fire weather district?

As we respond to local conditions, there may be days during the fire season when our fire weather district, Central fire weather district is forecast as an Extreme fire danger rating, but our LGA is at a lower level of fire danger. On these days our school operations will continue as normal, however we will be taking action in line with fire services advice by:

  • checking our Emergency Management Plan and taking any necessary preparedness actions
  • actively monitor our local conditions and warnings
  • having plans and procedures in place for if a fire starts to support us to take immediate action.

While our school will continue to operate, we encourage our school community to consider their own bushfire survival plan and reassess any travel through bushfire risk areas. We encourage you to follow your family bushfire survival plan and the advice of emergency services.

There may also be days where our LGA is forecast as Extreme fire danger, but Central Fire District Weather is not. On these days we will enact our pre-emptive action plan.

When will our school be closed due to Catastrophic fire danger?

Our school will also close on a day forecasted as Catastrophic fire danger rating in Central fire weather district.

Closure of the school due to a forecast Catastrophic day will be confirmed on the day prior and we will provide you with advice before the end of the school day. Any information regarding potential or confirmed Catastrophic fire danger days will be communicated to you by a Compass notification.  We would encourage you to download the Compass App to your phone to ensure that you are receiving alerts and notifications.  Please also check your Compass login details are current, to ensure you have access to all communications.  

Once confirmed, the decision to close will not change, even if the weather forecast changes.  This is to avoid confusion and help your family plan alternative care arrangements for your child.  It is also important to be aware that:

  • No one will be on site on days where the school is closed due to a forecast Catastrophic day.
  • All bus routes that travel through the Catastrophic area will be cancelled.
  • School camps will be cancelled if a Catastrophic fire danger rating day is forecast for fire weather district in which the camp is located, or if the travel involves passing through areas that have Catastrophic fire danger.

Families are encouraged to enact their Bushfire Survival Plan on Catastrophic fire danger rating days.  On such days, children should never be left at home alone or in the care of older children.

For those of us living in a bushfire prone area, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) advises that when Catastrophic days are forecast, the safest option is to leave the night before or early on the morning of the Catastrophic day.

What can families and the school community do to help us prepare?

  • Ensure we have your current contact details, including your mobile phone numbers. 
  • Keep in touch with us by reading our newsletters, checking our website , by talking to your child’s teacher or any other member of the teaching staff about our emergency management plan.
  • Make sure your family’s bushfire survival plan is up-to-date and includes alternative care arrangements in the event that our school is closed due to fire danger. Further information can be found on the CFA’s website.
  • Enact your family’s bushfire survival plan if your own triggers are met. Our school community may be spread out across many areas and some families may be at higher risk than others. Your family’s safety is critical, so please let us know if you are enacting your bushfire survival plan and if your children will be absent on these days.
  • If your child is old enough, talk to them about bushfires and your family’s bushfire survival plan.

You can find more information on emergencies, and preparedness actions here:

  • VicEmergency app – that can be downloaded on your android and iOS mobile devices
  • VicEmergency Hotline (1800 226 226)
  • Website
  • ABC local radio, Sky News and other emergency broadcasters



World Teachers Day

Australia will celebrate the teaching profession on World Teachers’ Day on Friday 27 October 2023. Let’s celebrate Australia’s teachers for their skilled work in educating, inspiring and supporting our students. We are enormously proud of our Emerald Secondary College teaching staff and acknowledge them as the dedicated, hard-working and caring teachers that they are.

Hats off to teachers this World Teachers’ Day!

Community Service

Our students continue to visit The Glades Aged Care Facility each week.  Small groups of students visit each Friday on a rotating basis and we have had outstanding feedback from the Facility about the impact their visits have on the residents.  We look forward to continuing building on and developing this relationship into next year and welcoming new groups of interested students into the program.

Some of our students have also signed up to collaborate with Puffing Billy Place Reserve (playground area) and will be contributing in their preparation for the expenditure of allocated funding toward a masterplan development. 

If you would like to contribute – Puffing Billy would like to know how you currently use the park, how you would like to use the park in the future, and what you would like to see included in the masterplan.  For information on how to get involved, see Puffing Billy Place Reserve, Emerald | Creating Cardinia

College Captains

As our Year 12 cohort move onto study and preparation for future pathways, we  would also like to take the opportunity to thank our College Captaincy team for their incredible efforts this year.  Jackson Acott, Hayley Marshall, Caiti Ellis and Ethan Crosher were announced as our Captains at the end of last year and have managed study, work, sport, personal commitments and their Captaincy roles with maturity and dedication.  Their contribution will be long lasting and the team worked together with staff and with others to work on projects that will impact the student body moving forward.  Thank you to our wonderful Captains!

We now also look forward to the process, which has already begun, of selecting and announcing a new College Captaincy Team for 2024.  A place on the team is available to any ESC (current) Year 11 student and details are on Compass.  Applications are due Monday 23rd October.

Campfire Conversations

On Wednesday 18th October, Emerald Secondary College hosted its first community Campfire Conversations Event in our newly built campfire area.  This event was an opportunity for community members to gather, connect and feel empowered – where every voice sparks a future.  Participants were encouraged to cultivate self-determination for First Nations people in education and the event served as a bridge, bringing diverse perspectives together to discuss and collaborate.  Thank you to our Wellbeing Leader Felicity, our ESC families and participating primary school and community members for supporting this event.

Classroom Routines

Our staff and students continue to maintain high expectations in all classes. The shifting culture of our College is assisted by our classroom routines outlining the way we want our students to behave, learn and celebrate in class. It has been wonderful to walk around the school and see these classroom routines in action.


Emerald Secondary College is a uniform school.

The full list of Emerald Secondary College’s compulsory school uniform items are available at Appendix A to this policy.

General appearance

While at school, travelling to or from school or participating in school activities, Emerald Secondary College students must comply with the following:

  • Uniforms must be clean and in good repair
  • Additional layers of clothing may be worn underneath the uniform for added warmth, provided these undergarments are completely hidden.


Where a staff member has been made aware of a welfare issue in relation to uniform the student will be given borrowed items if available, and there will be support through State-School Relief. The student may be issued with a pass by the Learning engagement Leader for a set period of time.


School Wide Positive Behaviour Support 

Emerald Secondary College has been successful in launching the School Wide Positive Behaviour Support framework beginning in 2024.

What is School Wide Positive Behaviour Support?

School-wide positive behaviour support (SWPBS) is a school improvement framework. It helps to improve student behavioural, wellbeing, and academic outcomes. It emphasises prevention-focused activities and the efficient use of school resources.

Why do schools adopt School Wide Positive Behaviour Support?

Schools adopt SWPBS for a range of reasons. Examples include:

  • improving student behaviour
  • enhancing school climate                                                       
  • promoting more evidence-based practice 
  • increasing inclusive practices
  • aligning instructional, well-being and mental health supports
  • creating better relationships between staff, students and the community
  • preventing and addressing bullying behaviour
  • maximising the value of instructional time
  • reducing restrictive practices
  • more efficient use of school resources

SWPBS supports learning and wellbeing as outlined in the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO 2.0).

Janine McMahon, Tanja Korsten & Jarrad Donders









Year 12 Farewell

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Year 12 Class of 2023

The final bell rang on Tuesday 17th October for official classes. The echoes through the corridors signalled the end to yet another academic year. There were mixed emotions among students. The last day of classes is a bittersweet moment, marked by nostalgia of the experiences shared, the knowledge gained and the growth throughout the year.

For seniors, this day carries an extra layer of significance. It’s not just the end of another school year but the culmination of their entire educational journey within these walls. The air is filled with a sense of accomplishment and excitement, tinged with the awareness that this chapter is closing, making way for new beginnings.

While the last day of classes signals the end of formal education for some, it’s also a prelude to the broader education of life. The lessons learned inside the classroom are steppingstones to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. As students exit the school gates, they carry with them not just textbooks and notebooks but a wealth of experiences, friendships, and a foundation for the journeys that await them.

Wednesday 18th October the whole cohort came together for a celebration morning in the theme of “the year you were born in”. We started the morning in the canteen for breakfast and enjoyed some games in the quadrangle run by the PE staff. Our last formal assembly of the morning was a highlight of the week. We celebrated the cohort with videos from the ESC community, a parting message from our principal Mr James Barut, a beautiful recap from our College Captains Caiti, Ethan, Hayley and Jackson and finished with the annual Year 12 video created by the students.

We wish the students sitting exams the very best over the next month, know that your teachers are here to support you every step of the way.

We look forward to celebrating with this wonderful cohort and their families at Valedictory in November.

Emily Hay & Shane Closter – Yr 12 Learning & Engagement Leaders



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Year 12 Biology

Year 12 biology students enjoyed doing their Hominoid Skull Analysis.  Students compared the structural homology (anatomical similarities and differences) of several skulls of modern apes, modern humans, and human ancestors to complete their Unit 4 study on Human Evolution. 

This was their last practical activity of the year.  Charlotte will miss the skeleton very much!

Middle Years Environmental Science and Chemistry

Middle Years students completed practical activities in the last week of Term 3.

Getting a Reaction (chemistry) students completed their studies on combustion by burning wire wool with batteries, then testing different chemicals for flame colours.  The flame tests illustrate how electrons jumping energy levels allow different colours in the visible spectrum of light to be absorbed or reflected, exactly the same way fireworks are created!

Environmental Science students began by sorting rubbish at school for their Extended Practical Investigation in Term 4 on where our waste ends up.  They will do more litter sorting in Term 4 both here at school and on their excursion to Sandringham beach in November.  Data will be collected and analysed for their CAT and presented as a scientific poster.

Ashley Forster – Science Domain Leader

Model UN Conference

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EMERALD SECONDARY COLLEGE’S participation in the Model United Nations Event 2023

The Model UN was a mock United Nations meeting where students from Victorian schools represented different countries in teams and had a meeting all together and discussed an important topic. Our school was representing two countries, Spain and Pakistan. On the day, we were discussing gender equality, and these two countries have very different views on this topic.

We started the day with all the countries giving their opening position statements. We then had a short break before coming back to start the caucus. We had a moderated and unmoderated caucus where we had the option to discuss and ask questions about other countries’ position statements, views on the topics and proposed amendments to the draft resolution. The draft resolution is a document that compiles requests to the countries on ways that they can fix the issue that is being discussed, this year being gender equality. Soon after we had the chance to submit any proposed amendments, we then voted on whether or not they should pass.

The Model UN was an amazing experience and we all really enjoyed it.

Jayden, Alice, Lucy, Liam, Ava & Elizabeth


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Regional Athletics – 9TH October 

It was a beautiful day on Monday as 20 students headed down to Knox Athletic Track to complete in the Regional Athletics. 

There were some amazing results with Nate qualifying for the state championship next Monday in the Hurdles and High Jump 

Other notable results: 

Claire 2nd Discus 

Syd 2nd Javelin and 3rd in Shot Put  

Yvonne Mauger – Sports Co-ordinator

Life Skills

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Life Skills Program

The Senior Life Skills program was aimed to assist students to learn important skills to help navigate their way through the world, giving them the confidence to take on anything.

Our first program consisted of a trip to meet with Stuart from Auto Plus in Emerald and the students all agreed this was the highlight of their day. He showed us how to change oil, water, wiper blades and a tyre. His presentation included safety and money saving tips. He’s encouraged everyone to visit him once they have purchased a car and he will volunteer his time to show them about their individual vehicle. From there we went to Emerald Library for a tour, and it was explained how to borrow a computer, print and scan documents. Everyone left with a library bag and a membership form. Then we walked up to CommBank and had the manager Cheree explain features of an ATM, loans and the importance of savings. The students were keen to hear about personal loans and how interest works. We were feeling pretty hungry after this so went to get some lunch, where we compared prices and estimated change we would be given. Some of the students suggested to head to the park to eat. Puffing Billy soon arrived and it was lovely to see the Year 10 and 11 students waving to the passengers. As a group we checked the PT app and saw the bus was near, so we hurried over to the bus stop to catch the 695 back to school.

The following Tuesday, the students decided they wanted to cook pizza. We looked up a pizza dough recipe and on the Woolworths app students took turns to add ingredients to our online shopping cart, working out quantities. The students were now familiar with the PT app and timetable so we let them lead the way to begin our shopping. One group went to the deli, which was quite a confusing place – trying to work out how many grams would be enough for a pizza. Another group went to collect vegetables needed and the others tackled the rest on our list. We opted to use the self checkout and the gentleman helped with the bags. We cooked at the Hills Hub, working in groups. While the first group’s pizzas were in the oven, they offered their help to everyone else.  We all helped with the clean up while our very creative pizzas were in the oven. After they ate their incredible homemade pizzas, we discussed how the toppings could be altered and improved. Such as, chocolate and cheese weren’t a good mix!

Our final adventure was catching the bus to Belgrave Cameo Cinemas to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The students’ learning consisted of planning our schedule around when the film started as well as how long it went for, also making sure to fit in enough time to walk to Woolies and buy snacks! Each student used the self-service check-out (almost) independently. It was a beautiful sunny day and lots of laughs were shared.

We reflected on our time together and what we all had learnt. Everyone had different feedback about their favourite outing during the Life Skills program and were very polite, thanking us for our time with them. Initially the students were anxious about a range of things from catching public transport, ordering lunch and even spending time with peers they usually wouldn’t. Their feedback reflected they felt more confident completing these tasks along with making new friends.

Harry – “I learnt how to do stuff in life.”

Will  – “I learnt car stuff.”

Jace “I learnt how difficult it is to control certain people.”

Jake – “I learnt how to change oil in a car.”

Tyson – “I learnt how to make pizza dough and check over a car.”

We look forward to running the next series of workshops with some Junior students.

Samantha Streader & Shelley Cunningham

School Announcements

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ESCape into the Arts Festival!!! 

Momentum is building, rehearsals are happening, planning is taking place.  The amazing artistic minds of ESC students are going to be on full display, not in a literal way, during our ESCape into the Arts Festival.  This whole week of activity will include music and theatrical performances, art work creation, workshops, gallery displays and more.  This wonderful week of imagination in practice will be occurring from Monday 20th to Friday 24th of November.  Watch this space for more information! 

Peter McKenzie – Drama Teacher


Community News

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