Newcastle Grammar School Centenary Celebrations - 100 years of stories

WORLD FOCUS: NGS offers a dynamic, creative, globally minded and integrative curriculum designed to inspire curiosity and a desire to learn.
WORLD FOCUS: NGS offers a dynamic, creative, globally minded and integrative curriculum designed to inspire curiosity and a desire to learn.


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Newcastle Grammar School is forging ahead in its vision to equip students with the skills and understandings necessary to navigate a changing world.

Global Studies

Mr Drew Collins

In  2018 Newcastle Grammar School is going global with the introduction of the Global Studies faculty (GS), an amalgamation of Social Studies and History departments that will enable greater cross-curricular involvement by two integral parts of the school. 

DYNAMIC: Curious students not only ask questions, but also actively seek out the answers.

DYNAMIC: Curious students not only ask questions, but also actively seek out the answers.

GS  brings together Geography and History in years 7-10, incorporating Commerce as an elective, which all feed into the senior subjects of Business, Economics, Legal, Geography, and the Histories.  This is not only a greater coordination of staff specialities, allowing for continued professional development and more efficient and effective use of school resources, it also places students at the forefront of an educational shift that will better prepare them for life beyond NGS.

  • From a TEACHING viewpoint

Global Studies subjects encourage students to grapple with the impact of globalisation in its political, historical, environmental, economic and cultural manifestations.

Students will be engaged in complex problem-solving processes, to develop transferable creative, critical and collaborative thinking skills.

Learning opportunities beyond the classroom facilitate the building of competencies for global engagement and authentic leadership through the communication of these fundamental learning goals.

  • From a LEARNING viewpoint

Students of Global Studies subjects will investigate the connections between globalisation and localisation, seeing and experiencing the opportunities and limitations that exist for them as global citizens.

Active learning experiences provide opportunities for students to engage in inquiry-based learning experiences while further developing their enabling skills through whole-school literacy processes.

GS build on students’ Stage 3 learning experiences and continues to provide students with inquiry-based learning opportunities.

Students of Global Studies will be provided with opportunities to embrace diversity, behave with empathy and analyse real world problems through a multicultural lens.  Thinking globally whilst acting locally.

  • Looking into the FUTURE

 Global Studies prepares students for the future, and life after school.

School Tours will become an integral part of a student’s time at Newcastle Grammar. 

Through experiences like the 2017 Hands on Humanity – Vietnam Tour, Newcastle Grammar School hopes that more students will be given even greater opportunities to travel outside of their ‘comfort’ zones. This inherently brings within their design the prospect of individuals developing skills and attributes of well-rounded balanced citizens able to contribute and give back to society. 

Newcastle Grammar School  students have  travelled to Oxford University in the July holidays to broaden their perspectives and learn with students from all over the world.

Moving forward, NGS will be looking to establish even stronger links with the University of Newcastle and private entities like Hunter Futurepreneurs.

It is from these strong foundations that NGS is giving every student a snapshot into the future, and a better chance to excel in life’s opportunities


Mr Robert Barter

STEM education is the learning of Science (S), Technology (T), Engineering (E) and Mathematics (M) in an interdisciplinary, or integrated, approach. 

International research has shown that developing STEM capacity across the population is critical in helping to support innovation and productivity regardless of occupation or industry.

STEM literacy is increasingly becoming part of the core capabilities that Australian employers need to ensure Australia’s competitive future.

All schools face a challenge to motivate Australia’s young people to choose science and mathematics subjects at school, then to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career pathways. 

The broader social disengagement with science and mathematics is a significant factor for young people in Australia avoiding STEM subjects in their secondary education.

To ensure NGS continues to provide excellence in STEM Education, the school has  partnered with the University of Sydney STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy to further develop appropriate pedagogy that supports evidence-based best practice in STEM education.

The partnership  provides further opportunities for teachers to evaluate teaching and learning practice as well as to reflect on and further develop problem solving and inquiry-based learning approaches, both within each of the separate STEM disciplines and across disciplines. 

The academy’s programs combine discipline-specific interactive learning experiences with inquiry-based pedagogies. 

Participating teachers gain real skills and insight into teaching science, digital technology and mathematics in the classroom, with adaptive approaches to meet the needs of students.

The STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy draws on experience and expertise from three faculties at the University of Sydney. The University has also engaged key individuals and organisations involved in STEM across Australia to advise and help build programs, networks and strategies. 

A number of University mentors also work with teachers throughout the program, such as Dr James Ward, researcher in the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at The University of Sydney. 

Dr Ward works in the area of intelligent transportation systems to improve the safety and efficiency of our transport systems, with a view towards large-scale deployment of technologies such as intelligent infrastructure and self-driving cars.

NGS also offers the iSTEM elective course and a number of STEM extra-curricular activities for students including Coding, Robotics and more recently, Makerspace activities. The iSTEM elective course allows students in Year 9 and Year 10 to become fully immersed in problem solving and critical thinking within a project based learning environment.  

Through these various STEM-related pathways, Newcastle Grammar School students gain and apply knowledge, deepen their understanding and develop creative and critical thinking skills within an authentic context. 


Mr Geoff O’Neill

Geoff O’Neill joined the NGS community this year as Head of Language and Literacy and has found the move  exciting and rewarding. 

Mr O’Neill is a strong advocate for innovative teaching and learning.

“Creativity, critical thinking and collaboration are the cornerstones of my pedagogy,” he said. 

“I enjoy experimenting with ICT in the classroom in order to enhance student engagement. I also value more intangible elements such as teaching with humour, passion and empathy.

“I am looking forward to the challenges of the combined English, Languages and Library faculties as the school looks to streamline their systems.”  

There are some fantastic changes occurring in the teaching of English at NGS. 

“Whilst we still value the traditional skills of essay writing, our courses are opening up to include more 21st Century skills whereby students work together on larger tasks that require collaboration, presentation skills and problem solving,” Mr O’Neill said. “Such tasks might include the cinematic reworking of famous scenes from Shakespeare or creative group projects in which students showcase their knowledge of satire.” 

This shift is centred on the belief that students learn well when they become active creators of content. 

Such a belief is also reflected in the changes to the new Stage 6 English syllabus.

The combination of Languages with Literacy is also a positive move forward. 

“We are lucky enough to be able to offer French, Japanese and Mandarin as electives and such a wide offering indicates the extent to which Languages is an integral part of the all-round education on offer,” Mr O’Neill said. 

“We also acknowledge that students learn best when they see the practical realities of their subject and so we are continuing to expand our student tours and exchanges program.

“Developing on that, we just recently had our first successful Skype lesson with a school in Japan.”

Another part of Mr O’Neill’s role is focused on repositioning the Library as the literal and figurative ‘heart’ of the school. 

“Looking into the future, I would like to see the library transform to a place of active student-centred learning as well as a place of quiet reading and reflection,” he said. 

“I believe that libraries need to be designed to help keep pace with the changes in education and look forward to playing my small part in this new development.”


Mr Daniel Kozey

Newcastle Grammar School offers a broad variety of sporting opportunities for all students of all abilities who are encouraged to reach for individual excellence in all they do.

The sporting culture of Newcastle Grammar School is already inbuilt within each student via the wider RISE values of the school, which are easily transferrable to all areas of sport.

The perfectly describe the positive enrichment one can gain from playing sport at any level.

  • Respect – for opposition, our coaches, parents and the game itself.
  • Integrity – in honest reflection of how we perform as individuals or as a team, and in ensuring we uphold the values of the School across any opportunity we are provided.
  • Service – in giving our very best for our School and team on any given day.
  • Excellence – in aiming for better, and in the belief that together we can achieve any goal we set.

Performance and Creative Arts

Mrs Tonia Martin

The Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) Faculty at Newcastle Grammar School brings together the Drama, Music and Visual Arts Departments. 

 This enables staff to facilitate and promote creativity, performance, exhibitions and school events. 

The CAPA Faculty is a dynamic, creative, diverse and inclusive faculty. The staff enthusiastically assist and support each other in the creative pursuits undertaken by the creative and performing arts students.

Events throughout the academic year that highlight the cooperation, support and integration of the Arts include such occasions as; Sweet Sounds Soirée, bringing together  Drama and Music students; the HSC Showcase Evening which highlights those HSC subjects that have a project or performance component as part of the Course, this includes the work of the Drama, Music and Visual Arts students as well as English Extension 2, History Extension and Design and Technology; and the annual Elective Visual Arts Student Exhibition, which highlights the work of all elective students from Years 9, 10 and 11 with the support of Music students on opening night.

The Music and Visual Arts Departments have the unique opportunity to engage with the youngest students at NGS, as well as  through the mandatory programming required for Years 7 and 8 and the elective courses available to Years 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Students have further opportunities beyond the classroom to refine, develop and explore their skills, including musical theatre and drama, Brass RaZoo, orchestra, string orchestra, concert band, brass ensemble, and a variety of choirs such as Grammarphones and Chamber Choir. There is also an Artist in Residence program.

NIDA  will again hold their National Short Programs at NGS this year,  providing an inspiring opportunity for  students to participate. 

2018 has seen an overall increase in the numbers of elective students across the faculty, reinforcing the importance of creativity within our student’s academic pursuits. 

Cultivating Curiosity

Ms Alicha Dyer

It's no secret that curiosity makes learning more effective and enjoyable. 

Curious students not only ask questions, but also actively seek out the answers.

Newcastle Grammar School offers a dynamic, creative, globally minded and integrative curriculum designed to inspire curiosity and a desire to learn.

NGS classrooms celebrate student’s questions and wonder and use these to drive  lesson planning, delivering curriculum content in meaningful ways.

The focus at NGS is on growing active citizens who take action to create the world that they want to be a part of. Students are encouraged and supported to take action, whether it is to plan and run a lunchtime club or organise a fundraiser to support local or global initiatives.

NGS facilitates authentic global connections through designing learning opportunities incorporating local, national and international connections.

Classes compare weather with schools in Alaska, video chat with students in Norway, send postcards to pen pals in China and engage in online discussions with students in Pakistan.

A core theme is to connect, create and celebrate.

NGS  recognises that a love of learning, and the ability to build  critical and creative thinking skills and  to collaborate are the key to future success in a changing world. 

Valuing the development of these assets is integral through the NGS educational journey and  transferable to all areas of student life.

Lifelong learning occurs when students are encouraged and supported to take responsibility for their own learning through developing independent thinking and self-reflection.