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Principal’s Report

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Year 12 VCE students are feeling a little anxious and excited at the prospect of ending the year well, preparing for their examinations and looking forward to the celebrations that will ensue.

It is tough to say goodbye to primary and secondary education that has spanned over 13 years, and these times will always have fond memories and some not so fond memories – that’s life. The rich tapestry and community that binds all our students at Emerald Secondary College will always prevail as one of endearing memories and great times.

So, what does this ‘finishing line’ look like?

  1. Revision! Revision! Revision! Practice exams, practice questions, attention to detail, answering the question/s….what is the question asking of me? Key words, key phrases
  2. Look at nailing ‘big mark’ question – often an investigation of sorts, or an essay, or an extended response
  3. Use your teacher! They are YODA and know how things are about to eventuate. It’s surprising how often some final internal SACs have popped up in the final year exam!
  4. Make yourself ‘bulletproof’ – not only with revision, but managing stress levels, health, and wellbeing in the final days of school. It’s okay to go out, shop, coffee, work and/or sport – but! there needs to mindfulness and acknowledgement that the time for study is the priority

Families, too, have a role to play as they tip toe around these levels of heightened energy and excitement.

The College will be running a VCE exam practice timetable over the holiday break, and all students are expected to attend.

VMVCE students also have their work cut out for them as they finalise projects, assessment tasks and complete mock interviews.


The College continues to work towards its 2024 planning, looking at gaps and finalising classes. Thanks to the amazing work of Ms Janine McMahon (AP) and Mr Pete Tate, (IT and Curriculum Implementation Co-ordinator), gaps and classes are starting to fill very quickly.


During the week, yours truly was part of a panel that heard three submissions from architects, who outlined their vision for our Stage 1 of our Master Plan. Suffice to say, the focus was on G Block, but there was an emphasis on large scale maintenance needs, linking buildings, the front of the school and blending in more outside areas and landscaping.

The panel was very impressed by the creativity and vision from all the submissions and a final announcement will made very shortly.


I hope you all enjoyed meeting your son’s/daughter’s teachers, to discuss progress in their learning. Staff were thrilled to have so many positive interactions and the college expectation for all our students never changes:

  1. Effort
  2. Respect
  1. Well mannered classrooms

The College has been meeting with some students and their parents (if they choose to attend) to discuss learning goals, moving forward. Research around goal-setting clearly shows that improvement is possible, if all parties are invested in the support and positive targeted intervention.

James Barut – College Principal

Assistant Principals’ Report

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Teaching and Learning

Congratulations to all our students for their approach to their studies throughout Term 3.  Our Year 7 students have very nearly completed their first year of secondary education and Year 12 students have completed their last term of secondary education.  They now have a few classes left, practice exams, celebration activities, revision, and preparations for the end of year external VCAA exams.

We hope you have found the recent progress reports, and ongoing access to Compass and your child’s academic progress through visible learning tasks helpful in gauging how they are progressing in their learning.  Bookings have been popular for our parent teacher interview and teachers have been looking forward to meeting with our parent community to discuss how we can further support your child in their learning and goal setting into the future.

Axel Update

Axel, The College Wellbeing Dog is nearly six months old and progressing with his training through visiting on site a little more often.  He has a lot to learn about being in a secondary college, including meeting new people and visiting different spaces around the site. 

When visiting classes, Axel has been learning to relax and stay calm.  Students have loved having him join classes.  You can see him in the photos below, waiting for the students to arrive before class, supervising students researching for an assessment task and enjoying being patted whilst students continue with their learning.

Celebration Assemblies

As we come to the end of Term 3 our year 7-12 students will experience their celebration assemblies to recognise their achievement in effort & engagement, attendance, academics and behaviour throughout this term. Our student leaders will be hosting these assemblies and we look forward to the performances undertaken by our music students. Barry Plant & Jacqui Ryder are awarding a ‘Good Choice Award’ to one student in each year level each term with a voucher of $50 and we thank barry Plant for their contribution to the school. The ‘Good choice Award’ is build around the following criteria – kind, caring, upstanding leader in their cohort and goes out of their way for others.

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences occurred on Thursday 7th September 2023, via WebEx. These sessions were an opportunity to discuss your child’s progress, strengths, and future learning opportunities. 
We hope you enjoyed the opportunity to:

  • discuss your child’s engagement during the learning periods.
  • inform you of your child’s progress.
  • discuss areas of strength and/or concern.
  • discuss any further strategies that the school may consider to be of benefit.

Learning is the CORE business at Emerald Secondary College and these conferences provide great opportunity for all stakeholders to shine a light on this learning.

Vaping Policy

In line with mandated Government legislation, Emerald Secondary College is a smoke-free and vape-free environment, and students, staff and visitors are not permitted to smoke, or possess smoking/vaping paraphernalia, within any area of the College property, nor at any school related activity or function by students, staff and visitors.
This policy recognises that smoking and passive smoking, which also includes students in the company of smokers and vapers, is dangerous to the health of employees and students. Students, staff and visitors who smoke are infringing the rights of others to a smoke-free workplace. Please be aware our Vaping Policy has been updated effective as of 29/08/23.

ESC Kitchen Garden

Our VCE-VM students have been completing the Kitchen Garden as one of their Work Related Skills projects. They have built a new retaining wall, installed a water tank, assembled and built in 5 new garden beds, shifted 6m of soil to fill the garden beds, mulched areas of the kitchen garden, paved a base for the water tank and designed/painted compost bins. We are proud of their efforts and investment into the College Kitchen Garden.



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.

Janine McMahon, Tanja Korsten and Jarrad Donders – Assistant Principals

Year 8 Health

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Passion Project

Keeping in mind “Health, Happy, Engaged” students, we have had students working on highlighting their strengths through a Passion Project this term in Health classes. The Passion Project involves the students choosing their own topic, coming up with inquiry questions to research and then finally presenting their Passion to the community through displays. On Tuesday 5th September we saw the Passion Projects come to life. Students spent time setting up their displays in L Block, then discussed their passions with student, parent and teacher guests, and wasn’t there a buzz?!

We saw a wide array of projects from popular sports, crochet making and game creations, to true crime, rock climbing, cars, boats and more. It was fantastic to see parents & family members coming in to celebrate all the efforts of our students.

We are very proud of the research and creativity the students put in throughout Term 3.

Mr Atkin, Ms Hay, Ms Mauger and Ms Stephens – Year 8 Health Teachers


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Music Concert

Fresh from their recent tour of Some Chocolate Factory, the Spice Girls (not the actual Spice Girls) opened ESC’s Spring Concert.  From this high set bar, the student performers continued to impress with all students performing well under pressure.  It was great to see our more senior students showing off their improving skills and we all look forward to seeing even more talent on display in week 8 of next term.

Ben Carter – Music Teacher



Instrumental Music Lessons at Emerald Secondary College

The school would like to welcome its newest member to the music department Paul Winter.

Paul is a multi-instrumentalist who plays clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, flute, guitar and piano. Before the pandemic Paul was playing shows all around Melbourne and touring across Australia. Paul loves playing jazz, funk, blues and pop music that makes people dance, smile and tap their feet. Now he has settled in teaching roles across Melbourne, teaching woodwind and brass and guitar at Hampton primary, Little Yarra Steiner School and now Emerald Secondary College.

Paul really hopes to inspire the new generation of students to become musicians, it is a really rewarding industry with many possibilities to make your way in the world. Even if you don’t become a touring super star, helps with your focus, your mental state, can make you happy and sad. Music can help you develop long lasting friendships.

If you are is interested in learning how to play and develop your musical aspiration, please see the front office and ask for an instrumental music form.

Emerald music department has a full range of instruments to play and hire. Saxophones alto and tenor, Trumpets, Trombones, Clarinets, Bass Clarinet, Flutes and a Euphonium. 


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Divisional Athletics 

On Thursday 31st August 2023 55 students headed across to Mt Evelyn for the Divisional Athletics. It was a wet and cold day; however, Emerald walked away with some amazing results and a lot of students progressing to Regional level in October. Notable results were Jasmine, Miah and Lily who won their age group champion for the day.

Emerald finish 3rd overall 

Yvonne Mauger – Sport Co-ordinator 


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Year 11 Biology Zoo Excursion

Year 11 Biologists were able to attend the much-anticipated Melbourne zoo excursion on Tuesday 5th September. The day involved two parts, the first part which was hosted by the Zoo education staff involved looking at the adaptations and recovery program of the Southern Corroboree Frog. The second part of the day was going through the Zoo and observing the animals, their behaviour and their adaptations.

This complemented the learning the Biologists have been engaging with back at school and has sparked interest into our future study of contemporary bioethical issues. There were discussions in our education session around the role of Zoos in conservation and the ethics around releasing endangered animals into ecosystems that are still facing threats of habitat loss, introduced species or disease.

A great day was had by all!

Rebecca Holmes – Biology Teacher

Senior School

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Kitchen Garden

The Kitchen Garden has been a long project that is now almost complete, as a part of a partnership with Cardinia Council Foundation, Rotary Emerald and districts and numerous volunteer helpers and local companies. These include Con Earth Civil and Excavation, Donders Property Improvements, and Superb Trees.

The senior and intermediate VCAL and current VCEVM students have used the garden as a part of their Work-Related Studies (WRS) and Personal Development (PDS) projects. These students over the last three years have contributed to the planning and the construction of the garden.

As a thank you, the current VCEVM students cooked up a morning tea to thank those who contributed to the garden. Without their support our kitchen garden would not have been possible.

We are hoping to make this garden a large part of our school community by starting up a gardening club in 2024. Also to grow our own produce and raise chooks. The fresh produce and eggs are to be used in the Food Technology area. We also plan to incorporate the garden as a part of science  and environmental studies also.

Marion Donders – VCE VM Teacher

Year 12 Update 

Our Year 12 cohort is nearing the end of their schooling, and as this approaches we have all been working hard to prepare for the future. The VCEVM class and unscored students have been extremely busy working to finish all their coursework so they are able to finish up for the year, with their last day being on Friday 15th September. The rest of VCE students have begun putting in university preferences and have entered the stressful environment of finishing up SACs and preparing for exams, with the first exam being on Tuesday 24th October. We are all enjoying our last couple of weeks with each other and look forward to celebrating our cohorts’ successes at our Valedictory in November.

Hayley, Jackson, Ethan, Caiti – College Captains

Deb Ball 2023

This week students were presented with a beautifully framed group picture of the Deb Ball participants by the Rotary Club.  The photograph captured the camaraderie and eleganc

e of the event, serving as a cherished reminder of their memorable evening and the community’s support in their academic journey.

Tiana Clayworth


Model UN Conference

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Model UN Conference

With enthusiasm and dedication, students are enthusiastically preparing to represent Pakistan and Spain at the upcoming Model UN conference next week. Researching policies, practising diplomacy, and honing public speaking skills, they are poised to engage in diplomatic discussions and foster international co-operation in this prestigious simulation of global diplomacy.

Tiana Clayworth – Learning Specialist

Student Medical Information

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Asthma Update

Over the last few weeks, the students who have been diagnosed with Asthma were given a Student Health Support Plan to bring home. The Student Health Support Plan is a communication plan between the student, parent and the school and helps us to maintain the right treatment for your child should an emergency arise. Please look over it and add any information you think the school needs to know about your child’s condition then sign and return to the school. A copy of the plan will be kept at the school and reviewed annually or earlier if required.

Anaphylaxis Reminder

We would like to ask parents to remind your children not to share food at school as we have a number of students who have Anaphylaxis.

 It is important that students refrain from sharing high-allergy foods with other students as a child diagnosed with an allergy is at a higher risk of their condition progressing to Anaphylaxis very quickly.

Allergy occurs when a person’s immune system reacts to substances in the environment that are harmless for most people. These substances are known as allergens and are found in house dust mites, pets, pollen, insects, moulds, foods, and some medicines.

What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a severe, rapidly progressive allergic reaction that is life threatening. Allergic reactions, including severe life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) are becoming more common in children. Deaths are less common; however, deaths do occur and anaphylaxis must therefore be regarded by schools as a medical emergency requiring a rapid response.  All schools have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to protect their students from reasonably foreseeable risks of injury.

Research shows that students in the 10-to-18-year age group are at greatest risk of suffering a fatal anaphylactic reaction.

Risk Minimisation Strategies

Peanuts and nuts are the most common trigger for an anaphylactic reaction or fatality due to food-induced anaphylaxis. To minimise the risk of a student’s exposure and reaction to peanuts and nuts, schools should not use peanuts, tree nuts, peanut butter or other peanut or tree nut products during in-school and out-of-school activities.

It is also recommended that school activities don’t place pressure on students to try foods, whether they contain a known allergen or not. Blanket banning of nuts or other foods associated with anaphylaxis and allergies is not recommended because:

  • it can create complacency amongst staff and students.
  • it cannot eliminate the presence of all allergens.

More information can be found in the ASCIA Guidelines for Prevention of Food Anaphylactic Reactions in Schools, available from the ASCIA website.

If there are any students attending Emerald Secondary College that are suffering from any allergies, asthma, anaphylaxis, or any other health conditions that you have not advised us of, please let the office staff know as soon as possible.

Masks and Covid Tests

The school still has plenty of masks and RA tests available if there are any families who need them. If you know of any community groups who would be interested in taking some, please let me know.

Selina Rose – Administration/First Aid



Community News

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