Aurora College

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From the Principal's desk

Welcome to 2022

In this, our eighth year of operation, a record 640 students from 180 rural and remote NSW government schools are connecting locally and learning globally with Aurora College. Driving the learning and teaching at Aurora ver8.0 are 72 staff members, working from 42 locations across the state.

A special greeting goes to the students joining our school for the first time in 2022. 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!

On your behalf, I would also like to welcome to Aurora College our newest staff members: Alexandria Lunguly (Stage 3 – Leppington Public School); Alice Leung (Science – Concord High School); Annalissa Roy (Stage 3 – Kent Road Public School); Candice Morris-Grant (Science – Murwillumbah High School); Ciaran Quinn (Mathematics – Erina High School); Danielle Latinovic (Learning Support – Southern Cross School of Distance Education); Emma Kelly (Mathematics – Hunter Sports High School); Jaclyn Crawford (English – Lisarow High School); Jaye Dunn (Geography – Epping Boys High School); Katharine Tat (Mathematics – Elizabeth Macarthur High School); Katie Zerefos (Japanese Beginners – NSW School of Languages); Kuldip Khehra (Mathematics – Quakers Hill High School); Kumie Pather (Software Design and Development – Wyndham College); Kylie Snell (Stage 3 – Wadalba Community School); Lyle Warren (Science – Turramurra High School); Samantha Martin (Science – Aurora College); Scott Preskett (Mathematics – Aurora College); Tania White (Legal Studies –  Orara High School); and Elayne McGuffog (School Psychologist – Aurora College). We also welcome the return of Anthony Martin to the Mathematics Faculty at Aurora.

Over the summer break, the state-wide selection process for our virtual Opportunity Class was completed, resulting in 96 students from 65 partner primary schools joining our new Year 5 cohort. Last week, students and partner school staff were inducted into Aurora, in preparation for our youngest ‘bright lights’ commencing their Aurora lessons this week.

The other important event over the summer break was the later than usual publication of the HSC results. Despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Year 12 Class of 2021 showed great fortitude to achieve very pleasing HSC results. An impressive 42% of course entries achieved in the top two Bands, with 10 Band 6/E4 and 17 Band 5/E3 results. This cohort included a number of students who elected to study the majority of their subjects with Aurora College. See the 'Bight Lights' section for further details.

Our HSC results should be of particular interest to our current Year 10 students, as they consider their Stage 6 subject choices. Information about studying Year 11 subjects with Aurora College in 2023 will be provided later this semester. Year 10 students and their families should keep Wednesday 3 August 2022 free to connect to our Stage 6 subject information livestream. Further details will be emailed to all Year 10 families later this semester.

I understand the disappointment felt by students and staff at my decision to cancel the Term 1 Residential School. I trust you understand that the decision was not taken lightly, and nor was it made without extensive consultation. The guidelines for a COVID-safe event simply did not allow the residential to take place at this time. Unfortunately, the type of venue we require for our Residential School program needs to be booked years in advance, meaning it was not possible to simply move the event to a different time.

Our best hope this year of enjoying a ‘res’ is the Term 4 Residential School to be held in Canberra from Monday 24 October to Friday 28 October. I am pleased to report we have been able to secure additional accommodation which will allow our Year 6 students to also attend. Encouraged by the recent reduction in COVID restrictions, preparations for the Term 4 Residential School are well underway, and we are all determined that it will be the biggest and best yet.

As you may be aware, a Bowral Public School teacher, Michelle Hayes, passed away recently, just 48 hours after she tested positive to COVID-19. Michelle was the mother of two former Aurora students shared with Norfolk Island Central School: Matilda (Year 9, 2021) and Harrison (Year 12, 2019). Both Michelle and her husband, Ben, worked as teachers at Norfolk Island Central School. The family relocated to the Southern Highlands in June 2021. The Aurora staff, students and families wish Ben, Matilda and Harrison comfort and strength, now, and in the difficult times ahead.

Bowral Public School is our biggest primary partner school, with five Year 5 and six Year 6 students co-enrolled in our Opportunity Class program. Our condolences extend to the entire Bowral Public School community which is undoubtedly hurting with the loss of a dedicated and popular teacher and mentor. Vale, Michelle Hayes.

In supporting the growth and development of our students’ fundamental skills in literacy and numeracy, Aurora College will be tracking progress using Progressive Achievement Tests (PAT). The PAT are a series of tests designed to provide objective, norm-referenced information to teachers about their students’ skills and understandings in a range of key areas. The online tests are conducted twice per year and are central to Aurora’s drive for continuous improvement. The data gathered from these tests will be used to further inform teaching practices and to support differentiation. The information will allow staff to design individualised approaches to address areas for improvement. The students’ results will be emailed to families during Semester 1 and Semester 2 each year.

On Wednesday 23 February, it was a pleasure to meet many new parents in 2022’s first General Meeting of the Aurora College Parents and Citizens Association. The Aurora College P&C is a group of dedicated and hard-working people who recognise the importance of connection with, and support of, our school. 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 annual membership fee is $5, and it must be paid to Aurora by credit/debit card via the college website. Please follow the instructions on our website here if you wish to become a member. For all enquiries related to the Aurora P&C, please email

At the General Meeting, Carolyn McMurtrie and I sought and received valuable feedback from our parents and citizens around a change we were proposing to the Aurora College reporting schedule. The consensus was that the Term 1 Interim Report are of most value to the parents of new students, particularly in the context of the soon to be introduced PAT reports. Consequently, in Week 7 this term, only students in Years 5 and 7, and new students in all other years will receive an Interim Report. Of course, all students will continue to receive a full academic report at the end of each semester.

As I write this article, many areas of our state are dealing with the impact of yet another extreme weather event. The image above is The Rivers Secondary College, Richmond River Campus, one of several partner schools that are currently non-operational due to flooding. Our thoughts are with all the affected communities. We wish you safety and a quick recovery.

Enjoy another great edition of The Auracle.

Chris Robertson | Principal

Deputy Principal's report

Welcome back to all our returning 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 to rejuvenate and ready yourselves to get back into the swing of all things Aurora. The staff at Aurora College are once again 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) which is a position based in the home school. Your child should have located their ACC by now and if they are studying science with us their Science Practical Teacher (SPT) as well.

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 for partial absences only when students are on ‘other school business’
  • facilitating the exchange and dissemination of information between Aurora, the home school, students and parents
  • monitoring the wellbeing 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 or Personalised Learning Pathways
  • coordinating the completion and return of Illness and Misadventure forms to the relevant Aurora College Head Teacher
  • supervising student examinations and assessments if needed
  • 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 systems, including attendance, 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.

Assessment handbooks

Assessment handbooks for Years 7 to 11 have been distributed via email to all students, parents and Aurora College Coordinators. These handbooks outline Aurora College’s processes and policies in all things assessment related. These handbooks can also be accessed on our school website. I encourage all student and parents to read these carefully.

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

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 agreement which outlines the responsibilities of students using and accessing technology. If students choose to misuse technology, disciplinary action will be taken.
  • Laptop audits can and will happen if a student is suspected of downloading games and programs or accessing inappropriate material.

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.

If a student is away for a full day absence then it is the parent/carers responsibility to inform us of this absence and to provide a legitimate reason.

The safety and supervision of your child/ren is very important to us, so I would like to remind both parents and students that logging into Aurora lessons can only be done while students are on the premises of their home school. Students who are home sick from school cannot connect to live lessons. 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 term planners. Please be aware that students who connect from home or locations other than their school with prior approval of Aurora College will be reminded of our expectations and asked to leave the lesson.

Students on leave or away for extended periods

Students who will be away for a period of time or need to access lessons from home must ensure that the appropriate paperwork has been completed and approved before this can happen. These applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will also need the approval of the principal at the home school. If your child/ren fall into this category please contact me to discuss the matter.

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?

  • Parent webinar – Online Learning with Aurora College  - Thursday 10 March from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm (AEDT)
  • Parent Webinar – Online Platforms – Wednesday 23 March from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm (AEDT)
  • Parent webinar – Dr Kristy Goodwin – Raising Screenagers – Tuesday 29 March from 7:00 pm – 8:00pm (AEDT)

Carolyn McMurtrie | Deputy Principal

Co-curricular - Competitions and Mentoring

What a start to the year!  With so many new students and staff joining Aurora in 2022, the technology skills, resilience and problem solving displayed has been truly awesome. 

There are a myriad of platforms and technologies we use at Aurora College to ensure that our online learning environment is engaging, interactive and supports the learning needs of our students.

In Term 4 last year, we held induction sessions for students and staff, introducing them to our many systems. This process has continued in Term 1 this year, with more applications and platforms explained and explored in student transition sessions and staff induction sessions.

We have showcased the Microsoft Teams environment, OneNote, CANVAS and Stile.  We have also showcased our virtual Aurora College Library and it's amazing resources and books. 

We are hosting a parent webinar on Thursday 10 March to show parents some of the platforms and programs your child will be accessing through Aurora College.  Register here if you are interested in attending.

Competitions at Aurora College

In 2022, we will continue to research and provide opportunities for our students to compete in competitions.  Plans are underway for our Years 7 to 10 students to compete in the ICAS competitions in English, Mathematics, Science and Digital Technologies.  We are also planning for our Years 7 to 12 students to compete in the Australian National Chemistry Competition.

These competitions are an 'opt-in' for students and here is the link to nominate your child to participate: Microsoft Forms

Our Primary students are also busy competing in several competitions. The Maths Olympiad and Bebras competitions are run during class time; no registration by parents is required. We look forward to seeing the results of our Opportunity Class students in 2022!


Aurora college is excited to once again offer the e-Mentoring Program in 2022.

Mentoring at Aurora College is either offered to students who self-nominate for the mentoring program or a targeted group of students. Student profiles are matched, as best as possible, with a mentor who has expertise and experiences in an area of interest to the student. Mentoring takes place during school hours with flexibility to accommodate student timetables and the availability of mentors. Under the guidance and supervision of Aurora College staff, mentoring sessions may take place via the college’s virtual learning environment, at the mentor’s workplace, or in person at one of the residential school programs held each year.

A typical commitment by a mentor to the project in one school year would be for maximum of two to three 40-minute sessions per term (a total of 9-12 sessions per year). Specialist external organisations may be engaged to run mentoring sessions as required. Each organisation must be approved by the Principal, Aurora College, and comply with Department policies, including the Code of Conduct, Working With Children Check and Child Protection.

Mentoring sessions are a learning process in which the mentor may use discussion, inquiry and reflection to help students identify personal and career goals. They can help to develop relationships, understandings, strategies and action plans to support the student in achieving their goals. Importantly, in the student/mentor relationship, students are responsible for their own achievements and success.

The student may act and the mentor may assist, but the mentor doesn’t lead or do more than the student. The mentor can also assist by sharing an outside, unbiased perspective and specific insights and skills to empower the students toward their goals.

The Aurora e-mentoring program is a flexible mentoring model aimed at supporting gifted and talented students in rural and remote communities to:

  • better understand their skills, values and interests;
  • explore a variety of academic and career options; and
  • further develop their social and emotional wellbeing

Mentoring provides students with opportunities to:

  • ask questions that matter to them;
  • access authentic information;
  • stimulate their interests and further inquiry;
  • increase their awareness of career opportunities;
  • further develop self-esteem and confidence; and
  • broaden their exposure to industry experts and professional role models.

The Aurora College e-Mentoring Program is open to all students in Years 7 to 12 at Aurora College.  A self-nominating form will be emailed soon for students to register their interest in joining the program. If you have any questions, please contact the front office and Ms Kim Morris, our Careers Advisor, will be in contact.

Virginia Cluff | Instructional Leader

Community - Bright lights

Musically talented

Anthony Bethe in Year 9 recently won a scholarship from the Riverina Conservatorium in Woodwind for his excellent skills with a flute. Well done, Anthony!

ICAS success in 2021

It is with great excitement that we announce Esther Wenham (Year 9, Willyama High School) has been awarded the prestigious 2021 International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) Medal for English. 

This medal is awarded to the student who placed first in the state for the ICAS English paper. Esther's achievement is truly outstanding!

Due to COVID restrictions, the award ceremony will be held online. We are in the process of filming Esther and her 2021 English teacher, Ms Daisy Little, for inclusion in the ICAS video celebrating the achievements of the medal winners.

2021 HSC Results

Congratulations to the following high achieving 2021 HSC students. All four students achieved a top two Band result in all of the courses they studied with Aurora College.

Cordy Lloyd (Guyra Central School)

English Advanced - Band 5

English Extension 1 - Band E4

Maths Advanced - Band 5

Maths Extension 1 - Band E3

Physics - Band 5

Cordy achieved an ATAR of 93.8

Zoe Jenkins (Tenterfield High School)

Chemistry - Band 5

Economics - Band 6

English Advanced - Band 6

English Extension 1 - E4

Maths Extension 1 - E4

Zoe achieved an ATAR of 98.4

Neve Lawson (Ulladulla High School)

English Advanced - Band 6

English Extension 1 - E4

English Extension 2 - E3

Maths Advanced - Band 5

Neve achieved an ATAR of 96.1

Harry Bottero (Tumut High School)

Chemistry - Band 5

Maths Extension 1 - Band E4

Maths Extension 2 - E3 notional Band 6

Physics - Band 5

Science Extension 1 - E3

Harry achieved an ATAR of 93.45

Faculty - Opportunity Class

No matter how the year begins, there is nothing better than watching all our new Year 5 students connecting into classes and meeting their teachers and classmates for the first time. The thrill, excitement and chatter. Oh the chatter; the enthusiasm is definitely heard!

The last few weeks we have onboarded 66 partner schools and 95 students into Year 5. Partner school information sessions, a Parent Meet and Greet livestream, and a full day of induction for our new Aurora College Coordinators have been important events this term. Devices have been delivered and STEM kits sent to schools to support learning and providing depth to the curriculum.

In addition to new students, we have welcomed to the OC team 3 new staff members - Alex Lungul, Annalissa Roy and Kylie Snell. Each has brought with them a depth of knowledge and experience in the teaching profession, as well as a passion for high potential and gifted education.

Our Year 6 students welcomed our new Year 5 with a welcome video and shared their reflections of their first year at Aurora College. Not only inspirational, but honest. Thank Year 6, you are great leaders of Stage 3.

Jumping right back into old seats, our Year 6 students have already dived straight into mathematics, working on problem solving strategies, including CUBES method, Newman’s Analysis and working backwards. Our Year 6 students are also warming up their Spheros for their ‘Roboforce’ challenge. Students will investigate contact and non-contact forces throughout this unit, as well as create some inspirational chariots!

Thank you to the many ACCs who have supported our  students by imaging devices, finding appropriate spaces to learn, being the calming presence when students have needed this, and of course, being willing to support this partnership. We look forward to working with you.

Serena McLean | Assistant Principal

Faculty - English, HSIE, and Languages

English Advanced - Year 12

Year 12 Advanced English are studying an HSC module called "The Craft of Writing". We began the module by asking this question:

Ultimately, we decided that :

  1. You do not even need to like a piece of art (or writing or singing) to appreciate the craft of it.
  2. Just practising won’t make you an amazing writer.
  3. We need to look at the masters, and at excellent pieces of writing to see how it's done.

The Craft of writing is a 30 hour course where students look at some short prescribed texts, see what makes them work and then apply some of the technical and creative aspects to their own writing.

Although we have only just started the course, I’d like to share some of these pieces with you.

In the last few weeks, students have been studying Kae Tempest’s “Picture a Vacuum” and although many images of Dyson’s appeared in our Teams Channel, it is actually a performance poem which begins in the vacuum of space - at its heart it’s about creation, connection, climate and our relationship to the world and our responsibility to each other.

In response to the poem, students were given many different prompts to select.

Here was one prompt

When Tempest is awake at that hour, they find it peaceful. “There is something really magic about the couple of hours before dawn,” they says. “You’re recharged, the day before is gone, but there are no requirements. You don’t belong to anybody, to anything. That time lends itself to lyricism because of the repetitive nature of insomniac thoughts.”

Imagine you are an insomniac looking out at the night. Write your night thoughts about the end of all time (as opposed to Tempest’s beginning of time /to present day). The moon should be your focus not the sun.

You MAY write in any form you choose (it does not need to be a poem)

Student draft responses:

Alice Harris

An all-consuming blackness

Not a single star, sitting on the horizon

A deafening silence

Not one word or noise

But look now - to the east

Her elegance glows, like a ballerina on stage, dancing a duality of light and dark,

the only hope in a sea of despair

But never the same, never consistent, never sustained

A taunting tale of survival, looking down to tell humanity, "I will live"

But you may not, and I may not, and in the last glimmers of existences she will be one of the last

But not the last

Never the last

For there can never be the 'last' when there is no 'anything'

In those dying moment, when continuance is led to the guillotine who will know?

Because you will not, and I will not….

Who will look back and remember all that has been?

Who will save each precious memory and take them out of their mental box once a year?

Who will reminisce on times long gone?

Who will look to the blackness and say "That was where the universe used to be?"

But just like what lies beyond the canvas of night, the corner of time we will not know

So instead we look to the sky and wait for the all-consuming void

Amelie Robinson

Look up at the stars

Reaching to us across thousands of light-years

Dead light breaches our atmosphere and brightens the night

Look up at the moon

Far closer, far brighter

The sun still reaching itself around to your vision even through the night

This light, at least, isn't dead yet


Take a step through

To the future of this sky

Look up at the stars as the light of their death reaches us

And they explode in a farewell of energy and colour

And a magnitude only such a star can have


Look around, again, as the fire of the sun engulfs the earth--

Not yet.

Go back, you've gone too far forward.

Go back to before humans are gone--

Watch them reaching out to each other and out across the stars,

Longing for connection.


Step forward again, further. The universe drifts apart.

Galaxies reach out to each other

Longing for connection

And slowly fading.

Jack Evans

Imagine an endless unmoving ocean,

Still water as far as the eye can see,

The only blemishes, your own ripples.

This vast body only illuminated by the moon

You can only watch as it fades into a blue drop,

The light over that beautiful, haunting calm fades

And you’re left in perfect darkness, floating alone in that void.

The end is so very far away, the darkness at the end of the tunnel

And yet here we are, trying to destroy the train before we get there.

Before we can find that beautiful end, that perfect stasis of everything.

That quiet.

Or before everything ends to start another beginning,

Snapping back to the centre of everything

A fresh start on a cosmic scale, but much sooner, a global scale.

Coal conveyor belts sitting still and abandoned.

Birds nesting in dilapidated skyscrapers.

Mosquitos hatching in reactor pools.

Hubris at all its roots, yet life branching to use what lies abandoned.

And so you come back to yourself, staring at the moon.

Contemplating how you could possibly see that peace.

Vincent Ward

"An insomniac looks at the Moon"

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.


Can you believe that the average person spends at least a 1/3 of their life sleeping?  That numbers shrinking, we're spending less and less time sleeping, but it feels like the same amount of time in bed.

A whole life in and out of bed.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.


Up in the night sky, the North Star is usually first on the guest list, but there is a host of the party. A prominent gentleman, a wealthy socialite whose self is best expressed in the presence of someone elses. Without the party, She is unrecognisable to others, but She frequents the scenery of the world. She cuts the frame of a dim sky with Her magnificent lustre. Everywhere at once, yet, It never feels the ten-past-one eyelids, which hang like the weights on stage curtains, sandbags on ropes, which only hang on the balance.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.


I lay awake, or stand awake, or sit, or lounge, or run in the dark. I think of a single sound, it never goes, but it's always, constantly going. It's not silence, but it reminds me of our moon. A quartz face, painted with silver roman numerals, little numbers, that scream the time into your vision. I am fascinated with this round, bright white face.

Tick Tick Tick Tick


You've got to go. You've got to do it. You can't stop. You have to do some, thing. You  have to go to rest soon, how long do I have? 33 minutes? No, it's not. Sufficient. I haven't nearly done enough. I could sit and put pen to paper and finish and write and create, to then hand, then receive and i find out I achieve and make, myself proud. I've not got the time.

TicK Tick Tick Tick.


Big picture minutes, years, months, moments, a lifespan. Do you know how the moon stays up there in the sky, watching us, mocking us? Gravity should be pulling it to us, a sort of hug, an embrace of death, but it doesn't , well, not yet at least. If the  plate on the stick at a circus act,  should ever fall, we will find that that crockery was not made of rubber. A great white light will cover the Earth, shifting the colourful world into a greyscale monochrome of fear and regret, like a full moon at night, only more powerful, like a spotlight on the shadow of the world.

Varying sentence length

This prompt is designed to make students vary sentence length for effect. They used a phone number as stimulus- each number in the sequence indicated how many words they could use per sentence. The prompt was “the best thing in my world”.

Here are some responses:

Student 1

When I am feeling horrible, terrible, sad and even anxious.

I have a game.

It's an occupation.



It's like a goal, but I'm already there.

Do you know much Beethoven?

Camille Saint-saens?

Maybe you Love to play, too.

I Live, for my Best Thing

Student 2

How he loves me. That is my favourite thing. My own place to gently fall. Falling. Falling into warmth and feathers and words so kind.

Student 3

I believe that food is the best thing in life. A good meal inspires. Inspires freedom. Having control of what you make and eat. Spending hours having complete control of the food. Eating with friends. Warming one's soul with good chicken. Sustaining one's needs with glee. By putting genuine passion into your efforts. You can change this wide world.

Another fun prompt

Even killers have junk in their glove compartment:

Alice Harris

Cool air whipped in the window of the vehicle. Time was speeding up just like the odometer moving further and further from zero.  Delicate hands, they could have been a pianist if things had been different, fiddle with the radio until the static dissipates. A local band covering a rock favourite crawls through the speakers. One hand holds the steering wheel with an iron fist whilst the other snakes across to pop open the glove compartment and rattle around. Eyeing a scrap of paper and pen, they throw it onto the passenger seat and continue to speed down the highway. A rest stop appears up ahead, within a clearing of mist and trees. With a look into the rearview mirror to ensure they are not being followed, they pull in.

With no cameras in sight, they step up to a sink, getting to work cleaning the dried red substance from their hands, leaving time to watch the last drops gurgle down the drain. The beeping alarm in their back pocket tells them that they have waited long enough. The floor squeaks under their booted feet and they keep their eyes down as a truckie passes them through the door. Exiting the building, they take deliberate care to calmly walk towards their car, once again seated behind the wheel. The objects are still discarded on the passenger seat, as the killer adds another to their list.

Vinegar, Dishwashing Liquid, Bleach….Red Food Dye

Amelie Robinson

We stopped at a set of lights. "I have this friend," I began, "who was telling me about these detective stories they'd read."

Her eyes didn't leave the lights, watching the red glow. "Oh?"

"Yeah and I found it a bit strange, y'know? People in these stories would always be so surprised when they discovered one of their friends was, well, a killer." I slowly reached for the latch on the glove compartment, trying to do so without being noticed.

"Why's that strange? It's not exactly a common occurrence, and it's hardly to be expected of a friend." The light shifted to green and we sped off.

"Because it means all of those people weren't paying attention." My hand brushed the handle.

"People don't believe what they don't want to," she paused, and, without glancing at me, "you can open that, if you want."

I hadn't realised she'd seen. I pulled back a little, then curiosity overtook me and I reached for the latch. "And how surprised should I be?"

The HSC requires students to write quite random pieces to show their skill so every small writing task and challenge builds their repertoire – an ATM of writing experiences from which to draw on in an exam. These are all drafts and demonstrate that our Advanced class are well on their way to writing success.

English Extension 1 - Year 11

Our Extension English group are examining the concepts ‘text, culture and value’. Essentially, they take a significant text from the past and look at all the ways it has been adapted through time. They look at why and how it is still being valued. The purpose is to examine why it has changed through time and why we keep remaking the same stories.

The adage we use to guide our thinking is that “A classic has never finished saying what it has to say”.

Ultimately, we be studying Jane Eyre and its many appropriations. Then they head into their own exclusive research project where they select a core text and analyse the implications of the appropriations.

To start the course off, we look at how the idea of “the Blonde” has changed from Botticelli’s Venus, Cinderella and Raymond Chandler’s femme fatale to Marilyn Monroe and beyond.


After this, we examine 2 chapters of Anne of Green Gables (1908) and examine the culture surrounding the text’s creation and what social commentary LM Montgomery was making.

Then we look at the same chapters in the beloved 1980s film of Anne of Green Gables starring Megan Follows to see how the 1980s interpreted the story differently, depending on what was happening at the time.

After that we dive into 2019’s Netflix adaptation ‘Anne with an E’, seeing how those same chapters are reimagined very differently to fit with our times.


Extension 1 is an interesting, challenging and rigorous course and our new Year 11 students are really enjoying the deep dive into academic thinking.

Jowen Hillyer | Head Teacher English, HSIE, and Languages

Faculty - Mathematics & Software Design and Development

We are excited to welcome everyone to a new year of lessons with Aurora College.

We want to particularly welcome the mathematics teachers who have newly joined our faculty: Emma Kelly, Kuldip Khehra, Kumie Pather, Scott Preskett, Ciaran Quinn and Katharine Tat. We are also excited to welcome back Anthony Martin, and welcome Connor Boyko who is an experienced Aurora staff member teaching English and he now joins our mathematics faculty.

Classes Begin!

A list of what topics students will study this year has been provided to every student as a ‘scope and sequence’ document. An outline of when each assessment task will be due and which topics they will cover can be found in the ‘assessment schedule’ document.

Students will also be able to find a list of the classwork completed each lesson and a links to recordings of lessons in their OneNote Content Library under the ‘Term Planner’. For child protection and privacy, recordings are only to be viewed by students of that class.
Students can also follow their current progress through assigned tasks in their OneNote Collaboration space under the ‘Completion of Work’ (COW) tracker.

Students are reminded they need to bring a physical calculator to class, and are expected to have their stylus and laptop ready for learning.


Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 will be assigned homework each week, targeted at their year group. The aim is to encourage regular revision, while ensuring that both the time spent on each task and the content covered is appropriate for the students’ year group.

Students are expected to complete the weekly tasks in Mathspace, which provides them with immediate feedback and marking. Each week’s task will open on a Monday morning and be available until the following Sunday.

The homework will consist of:
Year 7 - one 7min task
Year 8 - two 5min tasks
Year 9 - two 7min tasks

Students are still expected to complete overdue classwork; however, this will no longer be counted towards time spent on ‘homework’.

Assessment Tasks

Students should have received a copy of their first assessment task, which assesses their first topic studied this year. Students will be required to submit work done both during class, and at home. We are using Canvas for the first time this year, and all students will receive training in how to submit their tasks.

Problem Solving Challenges!

This year, we are running a free optional competition for students using the Parallel by Simon Singh project. Dr Simon Singh is the author of the No. 1 bestseller ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ and ‘The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets’.

Weekly challenges targeting 15min of problem solving are provided for each year group, with real-world connections and solutions available to check.

Students can create a new account at and join with the teacher code E67E-L2WQ. Points will be tracked, and prizes awarded for our outstanding problem solvers!

Karen Bellamy | Rlg Head Teacher Mathematics & Software Design and Development

Faculty - Science and Agriculture

Welcome to Science 2022!

A warm welcome to our Year 7 students and all the new students in other cohorts, and of course, to all our students returning to our classes. The science team at Aurora College is excited to start a new school year and we hope that we have minimal disruptions.

As a faculty, our goals this year are to: keep improving the scientific literacy and numeracy skills of all our students; increase our HSC achievements, and; support our students in all aspects of their learning. In Science, we work as a strong team, not only amongst our teachers, but also with our students, to create a safe virtual environment in which every student is valued and is motivated to learn.

Science is fascinating and its advances have improved the lives of all of us; current research in all branches of science is breathtaking. We want to transmit that fascination to our students, and to cater for their high curiosity and challenge them to become agile learners for life.

Work completion

Science lessons are delivered on two platforms: Stile and TEAMS OneNote. The expectation is that students complete the assigned classwork in Stile and/or in OneNote by the end of each lesson.

Each fortnight, students perform a practical investigation in their home schools with an allocated Science Practical Teacher (SPT). At the end of each practical, students must record the collected data and answer the associated discussion questions. Your Aurora College class teacher will mark your completed work. 'Flipped' lessons are allocated to students every fortnight, and these tasks must be completed in your own time, during any free periods at your home school or as homework.

If work is not completed by the end of the fortnight, teachers will notify the Head Teacher Science and a letter of concern will be sent to notify your parents and your Aurora College Coordinator. Hopefully, we do not need to reach this point with any of our students!

The same expectations apply for our senior students.

Assessment tasks

In science, students usually have one assessment task to complete per term. The Head Teacher Science will send the notification for the task to all students in the cohort, their parents, and Aurora College Coordinators. A copy of the task will also be uploaded to CANVAS, our assessment task platform.

The nature of the tasks varies each term and will target different scientific skills. The graphic below shows the range of assessment tasks that may be used.

Senior practical days

Our senior students in Years 11 and 12 have an additional practical component - a 'practical day'. On these scheduled days (see table below), students will conduct Aurora designed experiments in their home school, with guidance from their Science Practical Teacher. On practical days, students may also participate in virtual excursions hosted by universities or private institutions.

Details and specific instructions are sent closer to the scheduled day by the teacher in charge of the senior subject.

The senior practical days for this term are:

Year 11
Term Subject Date Description Supervision





Week 10

Wednesday 30 March

Practical work (Depth Study)


Aurora class teacher

Possibly Science Practical Teacher



Week 4

Tuesday 15 February

ANSTO livestream and online practical day


Aurora class teacher




Week 9

Tuesday 22 March

Practical work


Science Practical Teacher




Week 7

Wednesday 9 March

Practical work


Science Practical Teacher


Year 12
Term Subject Date Description Supervision





Week 8

Thursday 17 March

Practical work


Science Practical Teacher




Week 9

Thursday 24 March

Practical work - assessment task titration


Science Practical Teacher




Week 7

Tuesday 8 March

Practical work


Science Practical Teacher


Silvia Rudmann | Rlg. Head Teacher Science and Agriculture

Webinars and Masterclasses

Parent webinars

Our parent webinar program is about to begin with workshops led by Virginia Cluff (Instructional Leader), Ben Hillsley (Learning Technologies Support Officer) and Lisa Lieschke (Teacher Librarian), taking parents and carers through the platforms and programs we use at Aurora College. We have other exciting workshops planned with presenters such as Dr Kristy Goodwin, Karen Young, James Anderson and the Black Dog Institute.

If you would like to register for any of our webinars, please visit our website. (Note: Not all registration links are available yet. Please check closer to the scheduled date.)

Study Skills Handbook

Aurora College has a subscription to this detailed and helpful resource to prepare students for great study skill habits at all levels of learning. Parents and carers should have received an email last week, detailing information about this resource. It is recommended that you follow the instructions on the website for how to use the materials. Students can set up individual profiles to track their progress, or they can access the hints and tips as part of the Aurora College subscription. With such helpful topics as: “Time Management Skills”; “Managing Workload”; “Starting Secondary School”; and “Tools for Managing Challenges”, families are sure to find something to help them in the learning journey. 

Marnie Etheridge | Rlg. Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

Student Support - Careers

2022 Surface Operations Traineeships

Skillset, in conjunction with Moolarben Coal Operations, are currently seeking applications for multiple candidates to commence their Surface Operations Traineeship in late April 2022. 

This is a fantastic opportunity for applicants to join a well-known and prominent mining organisation, whilst entering a full time placement that will provide both on the job experience and study.

Based at the Moolarben Coal Complex (located approximately 40 kilometres north of Mudgee in the Western Coalfields of NSW) you will be required to complete a Certificate III in Surface Extraction Operations over 2 years.

Find out more

What is an ATAR?

The Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) is a number between zero and 99.95. It’s designed to illustrate your overall academic achievements at high school when compared to the rest of your cohort.

An ATAR of 100 is impossible

Because the ATAR is a rank and it’s measured in increments of 0.05 the highest ATAR you could get is 99.95. That means you did better than 99.95 percent of all the Year 12 ATAR eligible students in your state. An ATAR of 80.00 indicates that you sit in the top 20% of your cohort and so on.

Who needs an ATAR and why?

If you’re in Year 12 and hoping to head to university straight out of high school (or within 2 years of leaving if you plan on taking a gap year), the ATAR process is the most straight forward way of helping you get an offer from a university. 

Your ATAR score allows your performance to be measured alongside all other Year 12 students in your state and Australia, creating a national standard. The ATAR rank also helps universities allocate who receives those places in the fairest way possible.

Who calculates and releases ATARs?

ATARs are calculated by university tertiary admissions centres (UAC), and release their results through Access Students Online

Tip: Make sure you’ve registered a personal email address, not your school one, so that you can easily check and access your emails from home.

How’s the ATAR calculated?

Scores from your high school certificate studies and exams are sent to the admissions centres. A number of your top scores from any subject selections and the scores from your best essential subjects (e.g. English) are added together to create an aggregate score. Then, using your aggregate, subject scaling is applied, and you’re allocated a position on the rank table which becomes your ATAR.

So an ATAR of 70 does not mean you scored 70%. It means your results put you in the 30th percentile (the top 30% of results) of all the Year 12 students in your state.

What is scaling?

Scaling or adjustment is about levelling the playing field. Accounting for differences between subjects studied, as well as individual students’ abilities and the opportunities or hardships they faced.

For example, trying to compare results from a student who did dance and languages to a student who took predominantly STEM courses is challenging. The scaling system has been developed to iron-out differences so universities can assess applicants from a single source – their ATAR.

Your ATAR NEVER changes

Even if you’re awarded bonus points by some institutions for certain courses, your Selection Rank (SR) changes, but your ATAR will always be the same.

How do bonus points work if they don’t increase your ATAR?

Bonus points or adjustment factors can be awarded by universities for:

  • achievement
  • living or attending school in a regional, or low socio-economic areas
  • Educational Access Schemes, and more.

They’re designed to ensure that every student is given a fair go during the applications process. Each institution has their own bonus point scheme, and different courses at the same uni may apply different bonus or adjustment schemes. 

How do institutions use the ATAR?

Each course has a limit to the number of students it can take, if it’s a popular course that had lots of applications in previous years, and lots of applicants in your cohort list the course on their preferences, the required ATAR might go up. Most institutions consider more than just the ATAR when selecting students.  You might have to have an interview, do an audition, or provide a portfolio.

What’s the lowest ATAR that you can get?

30.00 is the lowest ATAR reported. 

Remember, your ATAR is just a number

International Comic / Manga School Contest 2022

Clip Studio are hosting a manga, comic, and illustration contest open to students worldwide. Winners are eligible for cash prizes, digital creation software, pen tablets, and chances to be featured in the media too! The contest is also an opportunity to have your work judged and critiqued by professional creators and boost your skills. There are loads of categories to choose from and many opportunities to win prizes!

Entries will be accepted for the following six categories. The theme for all categories is “Journey”.

  • Comics (Colour)
  • Manga (B&W)
  • Bande Dessinée (Colour)
  • Webtoon (Colour)
  • Storyboard
  • Illustration

Entries close Friday 8 April.

Find out more and enter here:

Job spotlight - App developer

App developers design, code and test software and applications for a variety of devices. Proficient in the use of coding, they can create apps for computers, phones, smart devices, and more. They are also responsible for updating and maintaining apps over time, as well as troubleshooting any issues.

If you have a love of coding and technology, are a great problem solver, and are bursting with great ideas, a career as an app developer could be right up your alley.

About you:

  • Technologically literate
  • Excellent coding knowledge
  • Great problem solver
  • Analytical and logical
  • Creative thinker
  • Works well in teams
  • Patient and thorough
  • Good communication skills

 The job:

  • Researching and evaluating client and consumer needs
  • Writing code for new applications
  • Testing and debugging apps before release
  • Maintaining and upgrading apps over time
  • Helping users troubleshoot any problems
  • Write documentation about the features and uses of apps
  • Provide effective training for app users
  • Future career growth: Very strong (source:
  • You will be spending some of your time indoors working with computers.

How to become an App Developer in Australia

You will most likely need to complete an undergraduate degree to work as an app developer in Australia.

  1. Complete Year 12 with a focus on English, Maths, and IT.
  2. Complete a relevant undergraduate degree, such as a Bachelor of Computer Science or Bachelor of Software Engineering. 
  3. Consider undertaking an internship or work placement while you study.
  4. Upskill with a Master of Technology or Master of Software Engineering.
  5. Work as part of a larger firm or consider freelancing.

 Find out more at one of these websites:

Careers website

We have a school careers website! It's a 'one stop shop' for everything you need to help with career planning.

Check it out now!

Kim Morris | Careers Advisor

Student Support - Technology

2022 has brought some staffing changes to the Technology Support Team here at Aurora College.

We farewell Tara Burnett, who takes up an opportunity with the Department to deliver training to school admin staff across the state.

We also welcome Michael Necovski to the team. Michael has worked in schools around North Sydney, supporting students and teachers, and is very keen to get to know everyone.

Thank you all for the patience you have shown as I tried to complete requests and set up our technology for the start of the year on my own.

Ben Hillsley | Learning Technologies Support Officer

Student Support - Administration

We have had a very shaky start to the new year with the ups and downs of COVID restrictions and now the floods in northern NSW and Queensland, and a weather event imminent along the NSW coast.

We are busy in the Administration Office enrolling students, making up the “show bags”, which we hope to be delivered in the next couple of weeks, and processing Residential School 1 refunds.  If you have not received your refund, please contact the Administration Office.

Our office hours are 8:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday.  We may be contacted by telephone (toll free), 1300 287 629 or email

We ask our students and families to please stay safe and dry, if possible.

Denise Deaves | School Administrative Manager