Balgazette – Term 1, 2021

Principal's Report

Welcome to 2021.  The year started with another interruption due to COVID-19, with school being delayed by a week and then students returning with masks. Once again staff, students and families displayed great maturity to ensure this period went smoothly. A big thank you to everyone.  Due to this interruption Term 1 was shortened, however staff have worked hard to ensure students have engaged in their curriculum work.   The staff are looking forward to our Reporting to Parents event at the end of this term. It is very important that all parents/carers attend this event and speak with teachers so there is a clear understanding of how each student is progressing. I look forward to seeing you all on the day.

The term also had a rather busy start as we had our School Review completed. Normally these take place every three years but due to COVID and structural changes within the Education Department, our previous review was six years ago. I would like to thank staff, students, parents and carers as well as our community partners who met with the review team as part of our validation process. The reviewers were very impressed and enjoyed the day. Under the new review model, schools are determined to have a full review either every year, three years or five years. The reviewers determined we would be reviewed again in three years but after negotiations, it was agreed that one aspect of our operation would be reviewed again in twelve months.

I would like to have the review team return in a year because we are in the middle of significant improvements in our processes in the area of Teaching and I am keen to have an external look at our progress in this area over a shorter period of time. A copy of our School Review is on our website.

Staff should be proud of the standards we have achieved over the past six years and I am confident we will continue to provide a quality education that meets the needs of our students again over the next three years.

Harmony Day became Harmony Week this year and we had before and during school activities, a Harmony Day Assembly and Parade and then our cultural lunch took place. The whole week showed the diversity we have at Balga SHS and our students proudly shared their cultural backgrounds across the week. Well done everyone and a special thanks to Mr Trenton Harris and his team for their fine efforts. It was also great to have Mr Culum and Mr Crosby take the message of Acceptance and Harmony to the Mirrabooka Shopping Centre as part of their Harmony Day celebrations.

During the course of this year and indeed over the next three years, our school will be having some significant upgrades completed. Firstly, our Science Block will begin its full refit next term and this will run through until the end of this school year. It is very exciting to have this being completed, as it will result in a state of the art learning facility for our students.  We have also been earmarked for a new Performing Arts Centre and STEM Centre upgrade. Both these projects are very exciting and great news not only for our school but also for the wider Balga community. I will keep you all informed as these projects develop.

School Attendance continues to be an area that needs improvement. The expectation is that students attend school every day unless they are unwell or there is a serious family event.

If a student is absent, please provide them with a note stating the reason for the absence, so we can record the absence appropriately. If we do not receive this note, we have to mark the student absence as being unexplained and then this becomes an issue as it is regarded as an unauthorised absence. The reason this is so important is because research shows that an attendance rate of less than 90% is going to have a negative impact on their learning progress. I am very keen to see our attendance rates improve significantly over the course of this year.

I am disappointed to have to comment on student behaviour not only in the school but also in the community being a concern at this time. Balga SHS students are outstanding young people and constantly strive to achieve high standards across our four school values – Respect, Responsibility, Learning and Safety. At the moment a small group of students are not reflecting these values. As a school, we work with students to help build their capacity to learn and use our four pillars as the cornerstone for students. As Principal of Balga SHS, I will not accept students behaving as some are at the moment. Students will receive consequences for inappropriate behaviours such as not engaging in the learning programs, missing classes, using mobile phones at school, bullying or fighting. As I said, I am referring to a small number of students but it is important I make all parents and carers aware that Balga SHS has standards and we expect all students to function within these standards.

Finally, it is great to mention that our Year 12 students will be having their School Ball on Thursday 1st April. It is an important event as part of the Year 12 experience and it is great to see that we are able to return to further aspects of normality so this event is able to proceed this year. I am looking forward to seeing our students having a great time at the Ball.

Mr Mark Carton – Principal


Establishing a positive learning environment is essential for every teacher at the beginning of the year. This year was no different, but it was certainly more challenging, because we were hidden behind masks. However, it didn’t take long for rapport to be established between the teachers and students.

This semester the Year 7-10 students focused on learning content from the Number and Algebra strand, and it will be reported on mid-year.

The Year 7 and 9 students have also revised essential skills needed for the NAPLAN tests, which will occur early next term. If the Year 9s can achieve a Band 8 standard they will not need to sit OLNA (Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment) in Year 10.

The students in Years 10-12 who needed to do OLNA have done so this term, and the results will come out after the holidays. We are confident with the additional Friday mathematics and intensive OLNA preparation classes that more students will achieve the Numeracy component of OLNA.

Next term, the Year 12s who are in the Foundations and Essential courses, will sit an Externally Set Task, that goes towards 15% of their overall mark. Teachers have adjusted their programs to ensure the students will be prepared for the EST.

The Mathematics teaching team would like to congratulate Sadaf Darab Najafabadi, who graduated from the school last year. She was awarded a Certificate of Merit by SCSA. This recognises student achievement in WACE and is dependent on the degree of difficulty of the courses and programs undertaken, together with the student’s level of achievement at the school level.

Ms Jennifer Bulloch – Acting HoLA Mathematics

Sadaf Darab Najafabadi


What a busy term it has been! A late start to the school year has resulted in no time to spare, as our English teachers and students have been working hard to complete Term 1 assessment tasks and course work. It has been pleasing to see so many students settle into their English classes with enthusiasm and confidence. All classes  completed testing at the beginning of Term 1, so that we can closely monitor our students’ individual progression over the course of the year.

In the Year 7 space, students have been exploring fables. Focusing on the moral of the story, they have engaged in a wide range of activities, exploring how language has changed over time.

Our Year 8 students have been learning about more complex language features. They have also been immersed in developing their ability to compare and contrast texts, considering how they have evolved over time. We have focused on understanding the conventions of fairy-tales. This has led to some fantastic class discussions and hilarious twisted fairy-tales.

Year 9s have completed a viewing task, considering their own ideas and perspectives on current issues in society. Students have also reflected on a social issue that has impacted them and used a range of language features to inform their audience.

Lastly, the Year 10 students have been immersed in a hybrid text,  The Social Dilemma exploring social networking companies and the impact that Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are having on their users. A focus of this course work has been to identify the effectiveness of a range of rhetorical devices and how these are used to persuade an audience.

In Term 1 students working towards a Category 3 in their Reading or Writing OLNA (online Literacy and Numeracy) completed this in Week 6 and 7.

These tests were completed with maturity and application, with many students working on the required skills outside of their English classes. From the Round 1 results, a wide range of strategies will be put in place to further assist students to achieve this benchmark.

Term 2 will see students in Year 7 and 9 sit their NAPLAN testing. Our Year 8 students will complete an ‘off-year’ NAPLAN test during this time. This data will be used to track individual student progression, to ensure that we, as a school, are putting in place individualised learning plans to assist each student on their learning journey. In class students have been preparing for these tests through a range of language skills, reading comprehension and writing tasks.  NAPLAN is scheduled from the 11th to the 21st May.

As a whole school we encourage you to get your children reading twenty minutes a day can have a significant impact on your child’s learning. There are lots of books that your child can borrow from the school library.

Ms Lisa James – HoLA English


2021 started with a number of enthusiastic teachers joining the Science team. This term we covered Biological Science units across the year 7 to 10 classes.

Year 7 students enjoyed classifying interesting objects and constructing simple dichotomous keys. They then applied their knowledge  classifying animal and plant kingdoms. Year 8’s covered the systems of the body and carried out interesting activities like tracing the journey of real food down the tract. Dissecting the heart and lungs was an eye opener for the weak hearted!

Year 9 students were fascinated by the Nervous and Endocrine systems and made colourful brain caps for their heads. Viral diseases got them really interested and the vaccination debate was exciting. Community health suddenly became a priority issue.

Year 10 tried mapping their features with their ancestors while constructing family pedigree charts. Inheritance, DNA and Variation were the topics covered during the term. Students constructed DNA models and were fascinated at how a small unit had such a huge impact on an individual’s life.

Year 11 and 12 students are working on their Semester One courses. Both year groups are trying to complete assessment tasks to the best of their abilities. In Human Biology, students are learning scientific skills to understand the Human Body, while the Integrated Science students are analysing ecosystems.

Ms Guddy Litt – LAC Science


Students in the 8.2 STEM class were challenged to build a table using newspaper.  The challenge involved using 5 sheets of newspaper and 2 metres of sticky tape to build a table that could hold the heaviest load of books. This challenge  helped students develop their problem solving, collaboration and communication skills. The two strongest  pictured below were the best.

Ms Ros London – Teacher Science/STEM


HaSS Hones in on Our Home Environment

All Humanities and Social Sciences classes across all years got off to a good start in 2021 with students focusing on developing their skills in Geography.

The Year 7’s studied the importance of Water in the World including water footprints, and Place and Liveability and have enjoyed learning all about the different facilities that are available in their local area.

The Year 8s researched  Landscapes and Landforms, with the focus being on Australian landforms. They also looked at Coasts and Changing Nations and researched the features and impacts of earthquakes, a topic they found to be of great interest. The Year 9s studied Biomes and Food Security, Geography of Interconnections and researched global food security, a topic that has become hugely important in the current situation. The Year 10s studied Environmental Change and Human Wellbeing, another topic that is of huge importance to us all, with climate change changing weather patterns, and thus food production and access to clean, potable water globally.

The remainder of the year will see students studying Economics and Business, History and Civics and Citizenship respectively. All subjects covered are designed to ensure that students are equipped to take their place as knowledgeable citizens of their country and the world.

In Senior School the Foundation 11 Career and Enterprise Class has produced an Individual Pathway Plan (IPP) and researched different work settings while the Foundation 12 Career and Enterprise class also produced an IPP and researched different job advertisements.

In the General Career and Enterprise classes, the Year 11s completed several job investigations, along with developing some   problem solving techniques while the 12s researched important Career theories to apply to their own Career journey. In addition, they investigated global workplace issues and created an elevator pitch presentation for a job of their choosing. The focus of both courses is to develop skills that enable students to manage their own Career journey.

Ms Mandy Hampson
HaSS & Careers Coordinator


The Year 12 students are looking forward to attending the annual Careers Education & Employment Expo at the Convention Centre, scheduled for Thursday the 29th April this year, as they are keen to investigate and pursue their career opportunities despite the current obstacles globally. A vast majority of our students have completed the first stage of the Careers Fast Track program that builds an individualised and interactive pathway plan for the medium to long term. The program engages students in a process that looks at their personality, skills and abilities to help develop a career plan for the future in conjunction with a careers counsellor.

In addition, all students, across all years, have access to the school’s Career website, that has a wealth of activities and information for the students to work through to assist them through the important transitions that they will encounter in the short to medium term.

Ms Mandy Hampson
Careers Coordinator

Drama News

Our Drama pupils have been fortunate enough to have viewed two live, external, professional productions, so far this year. They travelled to Mandurah to view WICKED, the musical and then to Edith Cowan University to view WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING.

Rehearsals have begun and sets and costumes are being designed for our upcoming productions this year. 2021 is going to be an exciting, creative, energetic year full of fun and fantastic productions.

Please stay tuned for future information on Production dates and times.

Ms Kate Maughan – LAC Teacher Drama

Learning Support

Climbing the Mountain to Success’ is a visual display of our Senior School Careers program for this year. It provides the students with a pathway to make a successful transition from school to further education or employment. The different stages    of  climbing the mountain provides students with a clear understanding of what is required and expected of them to reach their goal. The students take great pride in displaying an ‘Achieved Sign’ at each stage that they have accomplished on the climb. As the climb gets steeper with more challenging tasks, the staff are there to provide support and monitor their progress. At the end of the year our students can proudly reach the career mountain top and celebrate their success!

Ms Salina Mathews
Teachers Learning Support

Living in Harmony

To help celebrate Harmony Week the students from LS2 have been exploring cultural diversity by learning about other cultures and people in the community. In their English Writing class they have been studying information report writing and this was the perfect opportunity to showcase their knowledge and understanding.

Ms Izam Haris – Teacher Learning Support


IEC 2.3 students involvement in Scotch Community Service Learning Programme

This term, IEC 2.3 class had the opportunity to get involved with a group of Year 10 boys from Scotch College and their teacher, Miss Nicole Spanbroek . The students participated in various in-class and outdoor activities that helped in building their confidence, team building skills and improving their English. Both parties really looked forward to these afternoon sessions. Congratulations to IEC 2.3 for being very enthusiastic about this programme and a huge thank you to the boys from Scotch College for making the journey to our school every Friday afternoon.

Ms Lorraine Marie – Teacher IEC


Welcome back everyone! We are looking forward to putting last year’s COVID interruptions behind us and moving along to what will be an amazing year ahead in Workplace Learning and VET.

We have a record number of enthusiastic Year 11 students attending TAFE courses 1 day a week in their chosen fields.  These include Certificate II Cyber Security, Certificate II & III Population and Health and Certificate II Community Services.

Our Year 12 students are now heading towards completion of their courses in readiness for graduation later in the year. Students know our door is always open should they require assistance along the way.

Our incoming Year 12 students enjoyed and worked hard in attending their Traineeship program placements during the summer break, and we welcome those now in Year 11 to complete theirs.

Our first round of work experience students took off running from the beginning of the year and we continue to place students weekly in their areas of interest. This is giving them the best opportunity and experience we can in a real life work environment. We are happy to report that many of our hosts, that unfortunately had to  be placed on hold due to COVID, are all eager to continue partnering with Balga and are looking forward to hosting our students once again.

We look forward to Term 2 and bringing our students further exciting placement opportunities. We wish you all a Happy Easter and relaxing break.

VET & WPL Team

Home Economics

Students across all of the Home Economics classes have been busy preparing for assessments and cooking up a range of fantastic culinary delights. This term, Ms Annette Connop has been away on Long Service Leave. Her replacement, Ms Lynda Carter, has been a fantastic addition to the Home Economics Department and it will be difficult to see her leave at the end of the term. On behalf of the staff who have worked with her, and the students who have been taught by her, we wish Lynda success with her endeavours post Balga Senior High School. The Home Economics Department are thrilled to have Ms Connop back in Term 2, as are the students she regularly teaches.

In Year 7 and 8 Cooking this term, the students have been focusing on navigating their way around the kitchen, whilst learning about the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, and the impact of good food choices on health. Year 9 and 10 Food Specialisations have focused on eating for health, specifically heart health. Their main assessment for the term saw them choose a recipe for a Healthy Heart that had to be low in fat, salt and sugar – a challenge for many! The students really thrived with the task and some excellent food has been produced as a result. IEC classes have been improving their cooking skills and learning about all facets of the kitchen. Who knew there were so many cooking utensils and equipment to remember!

There has been a shift in Senior School this term as there are now two teachers teaching Certificate II Hospitality: Ms Jan Jansen and Ms Jessica Brown. The students have been strongly focused on getting ahead of their written work and to develop simple culinary skills specific to the Hospitality Industry. The Harmony Cultural Lunch that took place in week 7 of the term was an excellent way for students to demonstrate their culinary skills with a group of students making falafel from scratch, another group making bubble tea (which was a huge success), and another student utilising her own personal business to create cookies to handout to students. The food went down a treat and all students who participated demonstrated that their customer service skills are second to none – a fact of which they should be immensely proud!

For the first time at Balga Senior High School, the Year 12 General Children, Family, and the Community course is being run. The Year 12 course runs at the same time as the Year 11 course, with students from Girrawheen Senior High School also attending the class. This has been a challenge to undertake, as both courses are very different, but the students have taken on the challenge and are proving to be successful. Both groups have been focusing on the development of children in early childhood, with the Year 12s specifically concentrating on the impacts of negative social issues on the development of children. It is an interesting topic, with many avid class discussions taking place.

The Senior School Learning Support students have been preparing food items each week, demonstrating a range of skills from baking to frying, grilling and even microwaving. The course this semester is being run using the Preliminary Food and Nutrition syllabus, which the students have responded to with resounding success. The focus of their written work is on healthy eating and making positive food choices using the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

Ms Jessica Brown would like to formally thank the tireless efforts of the two Home Economic Assistants, Ms Rosie Symes and Ms Bridgette Ricci for their contribution to the smooth running of the department in the absence of Ms Annette Connop this term. The efforts  they put in behind the scenes and the extra work that they do, unacknowledged, is what enables the school to have a successful Home Economics Department. Thank you once again.

Ms Jessica Brown Acting LAC – Home Economics

Student Services

PCYC update

The new Pastoral Care Year Coordinator (PCYC) Team have been excited to begin this new journey with the school by helping to support students and families in a positive way. The new middle school team includes Sarah Bagshaw, Year 7 coordinator, Melissa Stojanovski, Year 8 coordinator, Bridie Guatta, Year 9 coordinator and Jason Bristow Year 10 coordinator.

This term we have spent time getting to know our students better and helping them to transition to their new PCYC coordinators. To initiate relationship building we have been organising lunchtime activities and would love to see more students come and participate. The year 8s, 9s and 10s have been competing in weekly challenges for points. Points won will be announced in the last week of school.

The year 7s have been participating in a weekly dodge ball competition, showing great enthusiasm for the sport. We have also been rewarding students with excellent attendance during our fortnightly assemblies and hope to continue to see improvements in this area.

Design & Technology

Building Skills

The Building and Construction programs continue to develop at Balga SHS. Students have made a great start to the year learning about, and demonstrating their understanding of safety and then being introduced to and developing skills in the Building and Construction trade areas. Students have experimented with brick paving designs to see how they look and function. The students have also been able to work with a variety of tools and materials including wood, steel and sheet metal. One of their first personal projects has been a tool box. They are preparing for their design project which will be a steel framed stool.

Mr Liam Penstone
HoLA Design & Technology


Year 12 Students in the Physical Education Studies class have been learning the skills and tactics of playing Tennis at the Nollamara Tennis Club.

All students have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and challenge of playing on the grass surface.

It’s been a great opportunity for all students involved to try a new sport whilst improving their own game.

The Balga Senior High School Boys team competed in a One Day carnival at Warwick Stadium on Tuesday 16 March.

Our squad of 10 students battled it out against twelve other schools from the metro area. The team finished sixth overall with some great wins against Ballajura and Clarkson. The standout player for Balga and MVP for the day was Clynton Culbong who was simply brilliant, scoring numerous baskets throughout the day.

Mr Bradley Stevenson – Teacher Health & PE

Balga SHS wishes Ryan Culbong all the best in his selection in the National Indigenous Basketball WA Tournament which is to be played in Cairns during the school holidays.

On Wednesday 17 March and Friday  19 March 2021 we had two teams (Year 9/10 Girls and Year11/12 Girls) entered into the West Coast Futsal State Titles.

Both teams were a credit to the school demonstrating outstanding sportsmanship, team work and conduct on and off the court. Our teams played against quality opposition schools such as Joondalup Baptist College and Lynwood SHS. We ended up making it all the way to the Semi-Finals of both competitions.

Notable performances include the ten goals scored by Htee Klay and the quality performances by our goalkeeper Hta Na Paw Bwit (Year 12), Moo Moo Moo Ku Paw (Year 11) and Paw Ti Yu Moo (Year 11) which gained notice from the WA State Team Selectors. All three Senior Players have been invited to trial at both the Redbacks FC and for this years state team which will compete in Brisbane.

The Senior players looked outstanding in their new uniforms and proudly showed them off on the day.  We will be back next year to have another go at winning the title.

Ms Sarah Bagshaw – Teacher PE & Health

Visual Arts

Visual Art at Balga is moving at a lightning pace!

Balga’s Noongar Art/Language students have just finished painting some of our local birds. With guidance from our specialist language teacher, Ms Kerry, students have written creative sentences in Noongar, describing their bird’s location and character.

Our talented Year 12 General Art students have started the year painting Australian native flora. Their still life compositions show layers of textural detail and a clever eye for colour. Awesome work!

Ms Cindy Foster – Teacher Art



Every Friday (rear of Herb Graham Recreation Centre, Mirrabooka.

Sellers admitted from 6am $15.00 per bay

Buyers admitted from 7am to 12 noon

Bric a brack, plants, clothing, tools, toys, fruit & vegetables.

Refreshments also available Tea & Coffee, Sausage Sizzle, Bacon & Egg toasted sandwiches.

Balga SHS would like to thank The Balga Friday Markets for their donation of $1000 to our School P&C.

TERM 1 2021
THURSDAY 1 April 2021

TUESDAY 20 April 2021