Newsletter 1

09 February 2024

Newsletter 1

09 February 2024

Prayer 9.2.24

The simple prayer today is taken from Caritas Australia’s Ash Wednesday liturgy for 2024. Next Wednesday 14 February marks the commencement of Lent in the Catholic Church’s liturgical year. This important season challenges all faithful Christians to journey through the 40 days up until Easter observing three practices: Prayer, Abstinence and Almsgiving. In our contemporary world, each of these is counter-cultural and challenges the prevailing culture of self-interest and consumerism. Sacred Heart College will mark Ash Wednesday on Tuesday next week given the school’s Swimming Carnival is to be held on the Wednesday.

A warm welcome to the 2024 school year for all members of the Sacred Heart College community and a special one to all our new families. Last Friday, the College welcomed 180 new students at Year 7 as well as twelve new students across Years 8 – 12. These additional students brought the school’s enrolment to 851 which is the highest in my principalship.

First Week Activities for Year 7

This year, the College has introduced a longer and more comprehensive Transition program for our Year 7 students as they make the fundamental move from primary to secondary school education. The program includes activities focused on developing homeroom spirit, promoting new friendships as well as getting to know the geography and procedures of the school. The program culminates with a visit to the Kyneton Botanic Gardens on Thursday and the Splash Aquatic Centre in Craigieburn today.  Scroll down to see the great photos from this week.

Last Monday, the College welcomed a number of new and returning staff:

New Staff Member


Mary-Anne Bratovic

English and Religious Education

Samantha Darby

Administration team

Michelle Griffiths

Humanities and Religious Education

Anna Higgs

Administration team

Lydia Lawrence

English and Religious Education

Claire Perston


Maria Slater

English and Religious Education

We also welcome back Liz Sullivan to the Arts teaching team after twelve-months leave.

Holiday Works

Notwithstanding periods of stormy weather, the Christmas/New Year period saw significant improvement works across our beautiful Sacred Heart College buildings and grounds. These included:

  • Replanting of the formal garden that sits in front of the College’s heritage Gabriel Sherlock building. The garden beds have been bordered with bluestone and the aging rose-beds removed and will be replaced with a corridor of magnolias.
  • The Gabriel Sherlock building itself has been refurbished with all exterior paintwork redone. This was substantial project given the height and complexity of the original building.
  • The Staff Dining Room has been refurbished opening up the space and replacing the existing tables and chairs with clean and contemporary furnishings.

Sacred Heart College Camps Program

Earlier this week, I emailed all parents, guardians and carers a letter detailing changes to the College’s camps program. Broadly, these changes will transition the school to a camps program focused at Years 7 – 9 and retreats/reflection days at Years 10 – 12. The changes will occur over the next three years from 2024 – 2026.

A copy of the letter can be accessed here.

2024 College Handbook

The College Handbook is available to download in this edition of the Newsletter. It includes a comprehensive guide to many important aspects of Sacred Heart College.  These include:
·      History and Governance
·      Structure of the school day
·      Liturgies and social justice
·      Student Wellbeing and Support
·      Student Learning
·      Communication – PAM, notifications, etc
·      General Information

This document is also available at anytime on PAM  - under Documentation for Families, and on the College Website under Enrol with Us.

Parent Involvement – College Advisory Council and College Finance Committee

Two important groups that support the operations of Sacred Heart College are the College Advisory Council and the College Finance Committee. I am looking for additional members for each committee with the departure of some longstanding members. A summary of the responsibilities of each group (as detailed by Mercy Education) is included below:

  • The College Advisory Council provides a forum for discussion and discernment, where parent voice and community perspective are available to inform and support the decisions made by the principal where students’ wellbeing and outcomes are paramount.
  • The Finance Committee is responsible for the oversight of and summary reporting to College Advisory Council of the following aspects of school finances: financial performance of the College; policy matters relating to finance or capital works; recommendations on the annual budget.

I would welcome expressions of interest for either group from interested parents with appointments at the discretion of the Principal. Membership of each group is normally for two year cycles with two or three cycles preferred. Interested parents are invited to email the Principal’s Assistant, Loretta Hanns (

College Tours

College tours provide an excellent opportunity for prospective as well as current families to be shown around the school and see Sacred Heart College in action. Our College Tours run every few weeks and can be booked via the College website ( under the Enrolment tab. Tours are led by Sacred Heart College students and the College Principal and take around 90 minutes.

The first tour is scheduled for Tuesday 20 February at 9.15am.

Bereavements - Your prayers are asked for the Ojansuu family who are mourning the passing of Annikki Ojansuu, grandmother of Oliver Year 10. Our thoughts are with your family at this sad time.

Yours in Mercy,

Dr Darren Egberts



We will celebrate the success of our high achieving VCE and VCAL students from 2023 in our Awards Assembly next week. As always, we applaud the diligence of these young people who are now beginning tertiary study, apprenticeships, or the world of work.

Of course what matters most is that students have the results that they need to pursue the careers of their choice. Here are the destinations chosen by our graduating class after the first round of tertiary offers:

Destinations of 2023 graduating students:

Here are the courses that students have selected to study. As you can see, the range is vast and varied:

Instrumental Music Reports

Please note that we will no longer include reports from the private lessons that are conducted by instrumental music teachers. Instead, instrumental music staff will touch base with parents either via phone or face-to-face after an event to discuss the students’ progress and outcomes each semester. Classroom music will be reported in the same way as all other subjects are.

I'm so happy to be able to introduce myself as the new Deputy Principal of Student Wellbeing at Sacred Heart College Kyneton. I have been working at the College for six years and have been appointed to the role of Deputy Principal after several years of experience in the Wellbeing Team. One of the advantages for me in this role has been my understanding of the community and culture of the College.  I know, first hand, the amazing work our Student Wellbeing Team does in supporting each student to make connections, develop and keep relationships and build resilience -  all vital, life enriching skills. This was particularly evident last Friday. The Wellbeing Day was such a great opportunity for students and teachers to start the year building relationships and reconnecting with each other. The Wellbeing Team at Sacred Heart is an excellent group of dedicated Homeroom Teachers, Year Level Leaders, Heads of School, Learning Support Officers and School Counsellors, who are here to work with you in supporting your young people to get the most out of their time here at the College. It is an honor and a privilege to lead this team in 2024.

I have quite a bit of information to share with you this week, so please bear with me and read on.


The Diversity @ Sacred Heart (D@SH) group will continue this year and will be led by one of our School Counsellors, Ms Melanie Potter. D@SH was created to raise awareness around issues facing young people in the diversity and inclusion space. They meet fortnightly and work towards:

  • bringing student voice to college leadership teams
  • publicizing community events to the student body
  • investigating ways to improve safe and inclusive spaces for all young people at the college.

The initial D@SH meeting for 2024 will be held during lunchtime on 21 February in the Applied Learning Hub. After that D@SH will meet on 28 February, and will continue fortnightly from there (Day 3 of the timetable). Throughout the year, Rhani Dean-Talbett, the WayOut Health Promotion Officer from Sunbury Cobaw Community Health, will be joining Melanie in working with the D@SH group. I would strongly encourage any of our young people who have an interest in promoting and building the capacity for diversity and inclusion at Sacred Heart to bring their lunch and come along.

Changes to Social Behaviour Notifications

Earlier in the week I sent out communication about the changes we are implementing to our Social Behavior Notification systems. For those who have not seen this communication yet, the intention of the change is to streamline our communications and build the partnership between home and school to support students in developing their learning practices and engagement in College life and culture. As a result, you may notice a possible increase in the communications you receive from us. From Monday, when teachers enter information into SIMON about certain social behaviors (listed below), a notification will be generated and sent out at approximately 4:00pm on the day the teacher enters the information. Social Behaviors for which you will receive a notification may include:

  • Missing equipment for class
  • Low level effort or engagement in the learning activities
  • Using Mobile devices in the learning environment
  • Wearing the incorrect uniform to school
  • Leaving the classroom without permission
  • Disrupting the learning environment resulting in the teacher enacting the Exit process

We feel that these are social behaviors that will give families an opportunity to have conversations at home with a view to helping students refocus and navigate the learning and cultural environments of the school. I am also currently in the process of configuring a similar system of notifications for commendations and acknowledgements of students demonstrating positive and inclusive behaviors that reflect our College values. I am hoping to have this up and running in the next few weeks.


Now that the school year has begun in earnest and many of our young people have grown so much over the summer holidays, it would be a timely opportunity to revisit our uniform expectations. I have included a link to the uniform page on the College website here. You will find information on the uniform guidelines, open hours for the uniform shop and instructions for the Click and Collect process on this page.

Some key points to note about uniform:

  • If there is a legitimate reason for your young person to be out of uniform please provide a note for students to show their teachers or contact the Homeroom Teacher.
  • PE uniform should only be worn on the days students have PE Prac, this will be indicated on the timetable with a ‘Q’ in front of the room number.
  • Undershirts can be worn but they must be short sleeved white V neck shirts with no branding/logos. Undershirts must be tucked in so as not to be visible under the school shirt.
  • Long sleeve undershirts should not be worn under PE polo shirts.
  • Nose rings must be taken out or replaced with clear studs while at school. If necessary, Year Level Leaders will provide students with clear studs.
  • Long hair should be neatly tied back off the face.

Crossing High Street

Over the last few afternoons we received calls from community members who have driven along High Street at around 3:30pm and are concerned for the safety of students who are choosing to cross away from the designated zebra crossings. Homeroom Teachers and Year Level Leaders have gone through the College's expectations for crossing High Street. Specifically, students must cross at the zebra crossings at the front of the College, or they must continue down High Street to the traffic lights. However, I would also like to ask that parents and guardians support us by reiterating these expectations at home. It is an issue of road safety and we need your help to make this clear to students. Parents may now receive an automatic notification if their child does not comply with this safety requirement.


The toilet spaces continue to be an ongoing concern for our students. We are already finding that groups of students are again choosing to ‘hang out’ there during recess and lunch resulting in other students not wanting to use the facility. Last year, the building was subject to some vandalism and ‘trashing’ by students. It is also a space where vaping has occurred. The Student Wellbeing Team and I are working on strategies to improve this situation and we are asking for your help to do this. We would ask that you have a conversation with your young person and let the Homeroom Teachers or Year Level Leaders know if there is any information we can follow up on about students who are most often in the toilet spaces. Information can be kept anonymous, however, we would like to be specific in working with the students who are overusing this space.

VCE / VCE VM contracts and Senior School Policy Handbook 2024

All parents/guardians of students enrolled in a VCE or VCE VM subject in 2024 will be sent a VCE Student Contract via PAM, and a digital copy of the Senior School Policy Handbook 2024.

Once this is received, we ask that you read the information provided with your child. The Senior School Policy Handbook clearly explains the VCAA rules surrounding attendance and assessments and all enrolled students should understand their responsibilities. The contract focuses on the following;

  1. 85% Attendance requirement (less than 8 lessons per VCE / VCE VM subject missed)
  2. Medical certificate or similar required if an Assessment Task or SAC date is missed due to illness or unforeseen circumstances (funeral etc)
  3. Consequences for missing an Assessment Task or SAC for an inappropriate reason OR without communicating with the College
  4. Importance of authentication if any of the above occur

You are required to complete the contract, via PAM response, to acknowledge that you have read the information provided with your child, and that they have understood their responsibilities as determined by VCAA.

If you have an queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via email

The Wellbeing Day was a great way to mark the start of the 2024 school year. The senior students made a great start to the year as they participated in the various activities that were available throughout the day. The Wellbeing Day is an opportunity for students to reconnect with people that they may not have seen over the summer holidays.

This year the Senior School will continue to develop the Goal Setting process, where students will create their goals, then load them into SIMON. In an upcoming assembly, all senior students will use the time to reflect on their 2023 achievements, by reviewing their Semester Two report. All students will complete a S.W.O.T. analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats), using this information to develop three goals for the semester: My Learning goal; My Mercy Value goal; My Personal goal. There will be further reflections and reviewing of these goals throughout the year.

Semester One Subject Changes

The closing dates for Semester 1 subject changes for VCE subjects closed Wednesday 7 February. While Year 10 subject changes close Friday 10 February.

Meet the Homeroom Teacher Evening/Senior Workshop Evening  -  Monday 12 February

Earlier this week all senior school parents should have received an email about the Meet the Homeroom Teacher evening and the Senior Workshop evening. This is a new format, where a series of workshops relating to the Senior School will be provided. The workshops focus on topics such as VCAA Special Arrangement, VCE/VCE-VM Study Scores and ATAR, VETs, Careers programs for Year 10 and Year 12, as well as the Year 10 Certificate. Each workshop runs for 30 minutes and can be booked through links in Try-booking that are in this email.  A copy of this letter is also on PAM under 'Documentation for Families'  - Communications for your students year level.

Looking forward to Monday.

Senior School - Meet the Homeroom Teacher and Workshop Information

The College Handbook is a comprehensive guide to many important aspects of life at Sacred Heart College.

In 2024 the procedure for ordering your students' school photos has become even easier. Students will not automatically receive an envelope with a shoot key on it. You can order directly online with the instructions below, or if this doesn't suit you, you can request an envelope in order to pay by cash, from the College Office, or by calling MSP Photography.

Please note that if you are ordering family photos, they must be ordered by the day before the photoshoot, which is Wednesday 21 February.

Maths tutes will be starting again next week.. but now on Monday. They run from 3:30pm until 4:30 pm in the Upper O’Neill Building.

The school provides some healthy fruit for students after school as a healthy snack to keep students going. The tutes are staffed by volunteer maths teachers. They are tutorials; we don’t provide extra work for students to do but help the students with any questions or concepts they need help with. Students are welcome to use the time to study other subjects if they wish (and we will do out best to help!)

Students don’t need to sign up - they come the weeks and for the length of time they need to. No official roll is taken - but we do ask students to sign in and sign out when they leave.

Occasionally we need to cancel Maths Tutes at short notice. If they are cancelled, we will put a notice in the daily messages asap.

Please note that Maths Tutes is a work time; if a student is just socialising, or not working, we will ask them to do that somewhere else.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Mr Dunn at

Year 7 and Year 10 Immunisation 2024

The Secondary School Immunisation Program offers free vaccines to all eligible Year 7 and Year 10 students.

Year 7

  • Diphtheria-tetanus-whooping cough
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Year 7 students at Sacred Heart College will receive their immunisations on Monday 29 April 2024.

Year 10 students

  • Meningococcal ACWY

Year 10 students at Sacred Heart College will receive their immunisations on Thursday 18 April 2024.

The local council immunisation service delivers the school-based immunisation program.  The Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019 authorises secondary schools to provide their local council with student and parent/guardian contact information for any student scheduled to receive a vaccination. This information is only used to assist local councils to follow-up parents/guardians of students with incomplete or missing immunisation consent forms.

What information is given to local council?

The school provides the following basic student and parent/guardian contact information to the local council immunisation service:

• student name
• date of birth
• gender
• year level and class group
• parent/guardian contact details
• language(s) spoken at home.

Why does the school provide this information?

• To improve communication with parents/guardians regarding their child’s vaccination needs.
• To ensure all eligible students are offered the opportunity to access free vaccinations at school.
• To reduce the administrative burden on school staff to follow-up consent forms.
• To eliminate manual data entry processes.

What do I need to do?

1. Read the information provided on the immunisation consent link when it has been received and complete all sections.

2. Complete the immunisation consent with all relevant fields, even if you choose not to consent for your child to be vaccinated as part of the secondary school immunisation program.

3. Your information will be provided to Macedon Ranges Shire Council in March. If you do not wish for your details to be provided, please advise the school in writing before the last school day in February.

Every day vaccination saves lives and makes it possible for Victorians to live free from the illness and disability caused by many infectious diseases.

For further information please go to the following links:

• Privacy – https://www.shckyneton.catholi...

• Immunisation in Secondary Schools https://www.betterhealth.vic.g...

Should you require further information please do not hesitate to contact Jalna Holmes, Health Centre Coordinator on 54211 200.

The local council immunisation service delivers the school-based immunisation program. The Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019 

Should you require further information please do not hesitate to contact Jalna Holmes, Health Centre Coordinator on 54211 200.

COVID Update

There has been reported Covid cases circulating in the College community. The College would like to take this opportunity to confirm our current COVID safe measures.

If your child tests positive to COVID-19

* It is recommended that they isolate for a minimum of 5 days and not attend school until their symptoms have resolved.

* Report your child’s absence by submitting a Parent Notified Absence on PAM.

If your child is isolating due to covid, they can access their classwork and communicate with their teachers on Google Classroom.

Should you find your child requires more RATs, they can collect more from First Aid, or alternatively you can collect them from General Reception.

The best defence against COVID-19 is practising good hand hygiene, being up to date with all recommended and available vaccinations and isolating if suspected or symptomatic of COVID-19. We continue to ask for you cooperation in keeping your child home if they are unwell and showing COVID like symptoms.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Jalna Holmes, Health Centre Coordinator, on 5421 1200.

There has already been a lot happening in Japanese classes this year, in the year of the Dragon. Years 9 and 10 started with a Jelly bean kanji chopsticks race to test their chopsticks skills. Year 8 have learned about the Setsubun festival which is translated as ‘division of seasons’ (meaning the start of Spring, but is also known as the ‘bean throwing festival). The throwing of the soy beans symbolises casting away from any demons from last year and welcoming the good spirits to start the year a fresh. Families all over Japan celebrate this. Parents and children alike also wear a mask and sometime have the beans thrown at them. Year 8 students participated in a modified version of this in the Hillary Courtyard. Whilst throwing the beans they called out ‘oni wa soto’ ‘fuku wa uchi’ meaning bad spirits out, good spirits in.

Last week at our College Assembly, we were fortunate to hear from our Year 12 students about last year’s Japan trip, and see their photos. Along the lines of wishing good luck, whilst in Japan last year our students also hung an Ema board wishing the Japanese students good luck for the year of 2024.

Finally, we are really looking forward to our sister school Ibaraki Nishi High School, visiting in July of this year. Please keep an eye on the notices, newsletter and announcements in class for more information about this.


As part of our preparation and planning for the students return in 2024, the College teaching staff participated in two days of professional learning workshops and activities last week. Several hours on Wednesday were committed to analysing data and student information by teachers to ensure they could plan and differentiate their classes to facilitate student engagement and success. This was followed on Thursday by workshops facilitated by renowned educator, Glen Pearsall. Glen shared his expertise in practical strategies for positively interacting with students and managing behaviours at school, through anecdote and engaging activities. The Staff preparation program was a valuable opportunity for teachers to begin the year with new knowledge and renewed confidence in our pedagogical approaches.


School Fees 2024

School Fee Payment Plan

If you have not returned your School Fee Payment Plan for 2024, please return ASAP or contact

Early Payment of School Fees Discount

If school fees are paid in full by 28/2/24, you will receive an early payment discount of $200.00 per student.

CSEF Applications & Discount

If you are a current Health Care Card holder you may be eligible for the $250.00 from the Camps Sport & Excursion Fund (CSEF) per child.

Should your application be successful the college will match the $250.00. This will entitle you to a credit of $500.00 per child of your family account.

The College recommends downloading and using the SIMON Everywhere App. It delivers PAM accessibility with an easy login using existing PAM credentials, plus the ability for parents to communicate directly with teachers, and for the College to communicate directly with families. Please click on the link for instructions on how to set up and use your SIMON Everywhere App.

In 2024 Food Technology is going 'single use plastic free'! If your student is doing a food related subject, they will need to bring a container to transport their food home in.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has notified V/Line of its intention to take industrial action involving a full train network closure from first service until approximately 8am on Monday 12, Friday 16, Monday 19 and Friday 23 February.

Some students rely on V/Line trains to get to and from school and we strongly advise that students allow extra time if travelling before 8am as a very limited coach replacement service with significant delays expected.

We encourage students to also check the V/Line website or mobile app before they travel.

A very limited coach replacement service will run on each line for essential journeys and coaches will not stop at any metropolitan stations.

A temporary timetable will be available closer to the day for those who need to travel.

If you have any questions about this rail disruption, please contact