Newcastle High School

Quality education in a caring environment

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Faculty Focus Archive

Our Faculty Focus page features videos of great practical learning activities from each faculty discipline, they reflect the dynamic learning that happens at our school and show students using content knowledge and techniques to solve problems, create solutions and complete construction.


Year Review 2020


Industrial Technology

First of all, congratulations to Year 12 for completing their schooling in what has turned out to be an eventful and challenging year.

The main component of the Higher School Certificate course in Timber Products and Furniture Technologies is for students to research, design and produce a timber project of their choice, together with an accompanying folio that documents its production. It takes a great deal of determination, persistence and a high level of time management skills to be able to plan and construct a project to the standard required. This year’s cohort produced a variety of quality projects that showcased their proficiency, skills and knowledge of woodworking under trying conditions. All students should be very proud of their efforts and achievements and we wish them well in their future endeavours.

Mr Prior – Industrial Arts


T3 W10: CAPA

Creative And Performing Arts

PBL Assembly Performances

Creative And Performing Arts

HSC Major Works
Y8 Bird Mastery Drawings
Y8 Aussie Landscapes
Y7 Clay Sculptures


Support Overview

Ms Harris - HT Support

2020...What a year it has been! Luckily, we cram lots of learning opportunities into all facets of our school days and have managed to stay very busy - even with the challenges of isolation and restrictions.

We started the year with a new class, new students and new staff and jumped straight into classroom learning. Delving into measurement, fractions, financial literacy, enhancing our knowledge of Japan and gaining skills during sign writing workshops, making VR landscapes, hitting high notes during karaoke sessions and supplying much needed sustenance for staff and students with Friday milkshake making with the Milky Bar Kids. We had our first alternate swimming carnival at Merewether Baths and linked up with CHC students who mentored students through a series of fundamental movement skills. We had our Year 7 camp and our Year 12 Wellbeing day. We were primed and ready for theatre events, discos, excursions, sailing, netball, boccia, cricket...and then we went into lockdown. 

This is where our students displayed an incredible level of grit and determination as they were thrown head first into a new world of Zoom meetings, Canvas, online dance competitions, art workshops and cooking lessons. Our students honed their technology skills in preparation for returning to school, and now...

We were back in the groove!

Participating in the National Simultaneous Storytime program, gaining portraiture skills, Oz Tag, circus and soccer skills, engaged in robotics, graphing, Links to Learning, drumming and Lego Technics. Exploring Ancient Egypt, 2D and 3D maths, fairy tales and Dreaming stories. Going on field trips, recharging with pizza reward days, collaborating at bingo and smashing it during trivia competitions. 

We are only just over half way through the school year and we have achieved so much...yet we have so much more to accomplish. Watch us soar!

Visit links below to view Support Room reports.

Room 2

Room 3

Room 4

Room 5

Room 14

Room 15


Welcome and Farewell

  • At the start of 2020 we welcomed two new teachers, Mrs Penny Cook and Ms Ellie Parker, both are great additions to our team.
  • At the end of Term 1 we farewelled Mrs Renee Wells, through promotion, she was a highly valued member of the Maths faculty and will be greatly missed. 
  • With Mrs Wells departure we welcomed Ms Marissa Deaves as a permanent teacher, and Mrs Dinnery as relieving Head Teacher.


During remote learning Canvas became a vital part of our instructional model. The Mathematics faculty continues to utilise this platform, ensuring that all students have access to a variety of resources to enhance their learning. Students would benefit by accessing these resources at school and are encouraged to bring their own device.

Do you need help with Mathematics?

Students can access help with Maths through:

  • Maths Breakfast – drop-in anytime from 7.45am until school starts, Wednesday mornings Room 25.
  • Senior Study – Stage 6 students can access a Maths teacher during Library study periods.
  • Many online learning tools and websites
  • And our staff are always happy to help.


Equipment that are essential for all Mathematical lessons:

  • maths workbook and pens
  • a calculator, which be purchased from the front office at a discounted price
  • textbook, Stage 6 students are required to purchase their own copy of the set text
  • mobile phones are not acceptablen replacements for calculators


English Faculty in Focus!

Highlights in a year like no other.

Term 1:

If it’s possible to remember pre-Covid life, Year 10 explored our fascination with the crime genre while visiting Sydney’s Police & Justice Museum. Sadly, our Public Speaking and Debating Teams were cancelled before competitions could begin. 

Hello and goodbye:

We welcomed Ms Nadia Bulgin to our team as a new graduate of Newcastle University.

We farewelled Mrs Shannen Holland. We thank Mrs Holland for being a part of our NHS English “family” for the past three years. Her contributions to our team and lasting impact on her students will be missed, but we wish her all the best at her new school. 

We welcome Mrs Natasha Pirini, who has taken over Mrs Joanne Myers’ classes.

An upcoming welcome to Ms Hayley Edwards in Term 4, who comes to us permanently from HSPA. 

Online learning:

Canvas and online learning has become an integral part of our lives over the past term and we thank students and parents for their understanding as we transitioned to this “brave new world” of education. I would like to publicly acknowledge and thank the entire faculty for their commitment and adaptability to embracing these changes and to the hours of time and effort that went into making this happen. While we are very happy to be back to face to face learning we are all looking forward to students’ embracing the school’s BYOD policy!

Term 3 and beyond:

Hopefully with easing of restrictions, we look forward to moving back to hands on and practical approaches to learning, including supporting our Year 12 cohort in their upcoming Trial exams and HSC. 

If you have questions, please let us know and enjoy the upcoming holidays.


This year in Science we have welcomed Dr Jess Tacchi to the faculty. She has made a great start at Newcastle High and is teaching a senior Biology class, along with a mixture of junior classes.

Dr Tacchi is a published scientist and has been able to share some of her knowledge, regarding the scientific peer review and publishing process for classes, including my Year 12 Investigating Science class.

Our classes have made a positive start, and the photos demonstrate both breadth of experience that students receive and how they are enjoying Science at Newcastle High School.

Classes have performed dissections, investigated laboratory equipment, synthesised esters, developed steam powered motion models and absorbed a bit of static electricity.

Year 7 classes enjoyed separating mixtures at home at the end of last term, in true Bear Grylls style and made videos of their work for online submission. Investigating Science classes undertook citizen science projects, identifying antibacterial agents, classifying galaxies and much more.

Unfortunately, the Cows create careers program has been cancelled in 2020, but we look forward to the arrival of our bovine visitors next year. We have also restructured our Physics classes in order to support students who have been impacted by COVID-19 and the unavailability of Mr Nancarrow, who has immunity concerns. I have taken responsibility for the Year 12 class and am working with Ms Koutelas to support and mentor the Year 11 Physics class.

I would also like to thank the entire Science staff for their efforts during COVID-19 isolation. They have prepared and delivered some outstanding packages of working from home lessons, activities and tasks, many students and parents have spoken highly about their work and support.



The PDHPE Faculty have been working hard, modifying learning activities, programs and assessment to suit the online format for practical and theoretical components of the course. All PDHPE work is now on CANVAS and students will be provided with lesson instructions via Announcements at the beginning of each lesson. Teachers will be available to answer questions via the Discussion Board or Video Conference for Stage 6 classes during normal timetables lessons. Please don’t hesitate to contact your teacher via the CANVAS Inbox or email if you have any issues or concerns while accessing work. Remember to take care of your physical and mental health during this time, this includes regular movement and rest breaks. 

View PDHPE report here.

T2 W4: World Languages

Tyke-Oh Japanese Drumming

Our students of Japanese and music enjoyed a performance by the famous Tyke-Oh drummer, Kiyomi Caldwell. They also got to have a hands-on experience themselves, which directly relates to the new language syllabus where the values that students should develop include an interest in and enjoyment of language learning and an appreciation and respect for other cultures.

Y7 Japanese learn via technology

Students focus on learning how to greet people using culturally appropriate phrases, use basic classroom expressions and describe things that they like. Students used school computers to create their own digital avatars that can speak in Japanese. Later they will read a Japanese manga (comic) to assess their understanding or greetings and classroom expressions.

Y7 Japanese student's digital avatar

This is an example of an avatar created by a student using their Japanese to provide a basic self-introduction. They can say their name, their age, where they live (Newcastle), what they like and use culturally appropriate greetings. Technology is embedded in language learning at Newcastle High. Students can access all lessons online via Canvas and their 'Busuu' account.

Y7 French students dress in costume

Students of French at our school dressed up in French costumes as part of a learning activity to improve their speaking skills. This was completed with much enthusiasm, the response and quality of student engagement was outstanding! A rewarding task to see students enjoying their language learning in this context. Well Done!

Y12 French try French foods

Senior students of French have been working extremely hard to prepare for their HSC, but earlier this semester they found sometime to try some French foods. They have all been busily engaging in their learning from home and are all in regular contact with Mrs Biasiol. We are very proud of our Y12 French Beginners, who are an amazing cohort doing incredible work in unpreceded times. We're very proud to be working with these wonderful students!

World Languages PBL Assembly

On Thursday 12 March World Languages coordinated the school’s PBL Assembly. In our acknowledgement of country we added our support for the preservation of Indigenous languages and extended our welcome to peoples from all cultures. As part of our PBL activity, we asked volunteers from the Student Representative Council to teach the school houses how to say thank you in either French or Japanese. The loudest team scored points for their house. Watt and Clark won!

T2 W2: Human Society & its Environment


This has been a time of unprecedented and rapid change - as seen by our empty classrooms! The Faculty focus for HSIE has come at a time when it has been difficult to showcase the physical classroom via the usual video.  Please visit our website to view some of the highlights of our term 1 work, undertaken in both a virtual classroom and in a physical setting. These include: 

- Images from Anzac Day at home 2020

- Year 9 Commerce "promo a product"

- Year 11 Ancient "cookie dig" 

- Stage 6 Stockton Sand dunes excursion

Our unit's of work for the 7-10 HSIE classes in Term 2 are also featured on the website home page - you can click on each year image to get a quick preview via youtube of the term 2 topic.   A massive shout-out to the HSIE faculty for creating engaging and relevant unit's of work.

T1 W8: Technical & Applied Studies and V.E.T.

Technology and Applied Studies

T.A.S. stands for Technology and Applied Studies, it covers food, textiles, metals, timber, agriculture, electronics and more. Our content encourages students to work collaboratively to solve problems and develop skills. We also offer Vocational and Educational Training courses (V.E.T.) in Metals and Hospitality. These courses give students qualifications recognised by industry and TAFE and compulsory work experience. T.A.S. also offers Community and Family Studies and Child Studies to add to our very diverse curriculum.

T1 W6: Wellbeing Team

Y12 Life Ready Day

This event features a careers expo, insights from past students, HSC subject and general study experts, personal safety advice, pizza, an inflatable slide and a colour run. This day is totally focused on our students and providing them with the support and advice they need to achieve in their HSC exams and to prepare for adult life beyond high school.

T1 W4: Creative and Performing Arts

Y7 Art Masters Class

The Art Masters Class kicked off with an in-depth exploration of the Seven Elements of Art in strengthening their drawing, observation and critical thinking skills. In their first passion project session they were challenged to draw classmates using a blind, continuous line, their non-preferred hand, and even their elbows, mouths and armpits to create some abstract portraits.

Y8 Visual Arts

Students are learning about graphic design principles in their unit “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie”, creating cover designs based on street artist Beastman and digital logos of their summer holidays. Meanwhile in the Surrealism unit, students have worked in teams to create a giant ‘Exquisite Corpse’, exploring ways to make the ordinary look extraordinary! 

Y9 Visual Arts

Our Y9 visual arts students are creating artworks inspired by the material practice of Australian artist Del Kathryn Barton, who is an Australian painter best known for her whimsical depictions of people and animals. Her works are detailed and vibrant and explore the symbolic language of femininity. She has also won the Archibald Prize twice, in 2008 and 2013.

Music News

Junior students tested the soundproofing in the music studio with a ‘scream test’. ‘Garage Band’ passion project students created drum tracks and students attended the annual Hunter Region Reprise Concert showcasing the top 16 HSC Music performers in the region - one was former NHS student and electric guitarist Thomas Wellings, a star in the making!

CAPA First Class Exhibition

This exhibition showcases some of the best works from 2019 HSC Visual Arts students from Lake Macquarie and surrounding areas - photos and paintings to sculptures and printmaking. Newcastle High school had two students’ works in the exhibition, Hannah Small ‘Pigments of Emotion’ and Luke O’Donnell ‘Trippin’. Hannah’s work was also used as inspiration in the Kids creative corner of the gallery.

Y11 Drama

Y11 are exploring the topic “Improvisation, Playbuilding and Acting" to create an individual performance or film project as well as an original group piece due in Week 11. The Drama Studio is productive creative space for exploring the creative process in a practical way with an emphasis on team work, collaboration and positive communication with peers. Students prepared for their individual projects with a 'pitch' explaining their directorial vision for their own short film. After completing film treatments they began the story board process, planning each shot frame by frame. Then they engaged in training activities and practical exercises to build their skills and confidence.