Over the holidays, while most CHAC students were relaxing, eight members of our Year 7 da Vinci Decathlon State Champion team travelled to Sydney to compete in the da Vinci Decathlon National Finals, emerging with a sensational 2nd place in Australia in the Code-Breaking category. The competition was held over four days of challenging competition at Knox Grammar School between Saturday 24 June and Tuesday 28 June, with the team pitting themselves against some of the toughest academic competitors in the country.

In addition to a further full round of competition, students were part of a Great Debate and a Race Around Sydney Quiz, with a little sight-seeing included. In freezing conditions (teams were outside for the  coldest June day in Sydney in 21 years!), our team was identifiable in the warm, hand-knitted red and blue CHAC scarves made for them by Mrs Kylie Leonard. As teams were only required to wear school uniform on the final day of competition, the scarves marked our students clearly as a team and ensured they stood out from the crowd, even when dressed in casual clothes, as well as helping them survive the sub-ten-degree temperatures.

To put their achievement into perspective, our Year 7 team started as eight students out of more than 10,500 competing in State and Regional da Vinci Decathlon events around the country this year, and finished as participants at Nationals with 256 other students, 96 of whom were in their Year 7 division. Given the high standard of competition, the team was delighted to achieve 2nd place in the extremely difficult Code-Breaking category.

The team performed admirably during the competition and competed across ten disciplines as varied as Engineering, Mathematics, Code Breaking, Art and Poetry, Science, English, Ideation, Creative Producers, Cartography and General Knowledge. 

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Director of Curriculum and Professional Practice, Jenny Middleton, instigated the CHAC Professional Learning Communities Program.

‘This program encourages groups of teachers to focus on specific areas of interest, to thoroughly research them, and to provide recommendations and guidelines for any required implementation,’ said Jenny. ‘Our goal is differentiated staff professional development for continued student success.’

The teams gathered in the Lecture Theatre one dull, grey, rainy afternoon to provide an update on their progress, and the atmosphere was anything but bleak. The energy in the room was like a plasma globe, with ideas and inspiration being sparked left, right and centre. CHAC students are fortunate, indeed, to be in the hands of such dynamic, inspirational and passionate teachers who are the epitome of CHAC’s Next Practice educational philosophy.


A well-known television program – the Up Series – charted the life of a group of children every seven years since they were seven years old, ‘Seven Up’ being the first in the series. The latest instalment of this longitudinal study was aired in 2013, when the participants were aged 56.


On a smaller scale, we asked the Year 4 students of 2012 what they would like to be when they grow up. Now, four years on, we have asked the same question of these students who are now in Junior Secondary, in Year 8. On the whole, career choices have changed, except for the stalwart and passionate devotees of certain pathways to their future. In a surprising twist for these students, we invited industry representatives to a photo shoot and to speak with the students about their potential career choices.

Read the full article in the 2016 Winter Edition of Pax et Bonum.

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Robyn Bell reminded guests at this year's Corporate Networking Evening that CHAC’s Next Practice is part of our Vision to provide distinctively innovative, successful and sustainable Anglican co-education, and introduced concept plans for the College’s proposed Enterprise Centre.

‘We want to bring the world to the students through incursions, collaborative projects with trade, industry and tertiary education. Our strategic focus on the development of external relationships and  partnerships will provide ongoing, collaborative project and start-up opportunities and mentoring. It is about incursion, investment, creativity and imagination. ‘The proposed Enterprise Centre is designed to foster entrepreneurship and to be that bridge between Secondary school, tertiary education and the local and global economies,’ said Robyn. ‘It is intended to be a place of creativity and innovation, with students experiencing the challenges and pressures of working in diverse teams, often put together to solve a problem or build a start-up.’

Such a centre is at the forefront of addressing the challenges facing current and future students to craft their own businesses and careers; to develop their own competitive advantage and brand. It will be both  multi and cross-disciplinary, connecting Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) and innovation agendas through various technologies.

flipped1 It was back to school for me [Ed] as I settled into a classroom – a shiny, modern Biology laboratory to be exact – to experience a flipped classroom in action. All around me, Year 12 students sat down quietly, opened their laptops and began engaging with worksheets handed out by the teacher, Paul Jennison, for the day’s Biology lesson.

I say ‘lesson’ – the students had already watched a PowerPoint and/or video presentation on the material, as their homework. The students will explain why, in their own words.

‘Mr Jennison pre-records the lesson, which we watch at home. We then focus on worksheets in the classroom,’ said Freya Hansen. ‘It is a much more efficient use of time,’ said Amelia Cant. ‘Instead of taking up a lesson with presentations, we can get a better understanding of the topic in the classroom by “doing”, instead of just listening to the teacher. By listening to the PowerPoint at home, we have time to think through the concept and to focus on specific questions or aspects that we don’t understand.’


Roger Miyumo (seen in the background of the images) likes the freedom aspect of flipped classrooms. ‘You can work at your own pace,’ he said. ‘You can learn in a style that is specific to you and that works best for you. I watch the video and can then research independently some of the key points raised. I prefer this style of learning and enjoy coming into a flipped classroom rather than one where the teacher speaks and we all sit listening. I find I can use the classroom time efficiently. I am actively learning so it is hard to not pay attention! I think this form is teaching is more beneficial for me.’

The full article appears in the Winter 2016 Edition of Pax et Bonum.