College Principal's Need to Know 13 August 2021

College Principal’s NEED TO KNOW  13 August 2021


We continue our commitment to learning remotely! HSC 2021- The staff of Penola are with you on your journey!

Dear Parents, Staff and Penola Friends,

Thank you to students and Parents

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to each one of you for the continued support and commitment to your child’s learning and wellbeing. I recognise that the Delta variant is far more infectious than COVID-19, and as such has led to more time for your child at home engaging in online learning as such. Thank you for ensuring that your child has a positive learning environment and has developed a routine that is enabling them to continue their learning progress regardless of whether they are in Year 7 or Year 12. I have been incredibly impressed with the high levels of learning engagement, students continuing to grow as independent learners and reaching out more when they need help or have critical questions. Congratulations to our Penola parents and students for your amazing support and engagement with us here at our learning and faith community. Together as a community, we are making the best of the current challenges that life presents!

COVID suburb lockdown in Penrith LGA

Since I last wrote to our community, there has been an increase in COVID cases in our Penrith LGA which has placed some suburbs into tighter lockdown. I appreciate your ongoing support and communication to our dedicated staff, particularly at these times when online learning can present some challenges for families who are managing several children all doing online learning together. I understand that managing this can be quite tricky when you are aiming to support your children and keep them on track with their learning progress.  Always know that you can reach out to us by sending an email to and we will get back to you.

Best wishes to our HSC Trials students

At Penola we have HSC students in Year 11 completing early commencement VET courses, accelerated Studies of Religion and our wonderful Year 12 HSC students. I am very proud of our Society and Culture class and Ms Lewin who submitted their Personal Interest Projects this week to NESA. The students completed these diligently despite the challenge of online learning. Personal gratitude to Ms Lewin for her constant support, guidance and nurturing approach with her class ensuring they reach their full potential.

As well as this, our HSC students 2021 will be completing their HSC Trial exams online from 23 August - 3 September. I know you are working incredibly hard despite the new context of working from home with your class peers and teachers. I am confident that you will be well prepared and engage into the Trials in an authentic manner that will provide you with the exam practice and feedback that you need as you progress towards the HSC Exam itself commencing Penola Assessment Information sheet to assist you and your family in preparing for this important time for your child and setting them up for success. A timetable is included in this information pack, as well as a Trial HSC Assessment and wellbeing Infographics. We hope that you find this helpful. In addition, these resources have been placed on our Penola website along with an online illness and misadventure appeals process.



The Year 11 Examination block is scheduled to commence 6 September and conclude 17 September. The Timetable is currently under development and will be released early next week to students. The tasks will be online tasks that will allow students to demonstrate what they know and what they can do (skills) at the end of their Preliminary course. Year 11 teachers will be using the next 2 weeks to ensure students are well prepared for their final assessment for Year 11. The Exam Timetable will provide more information which will be circulated early next week.


NESA and HSC updates

We will continue to provide any updates as they become available from NESA regarding any changes of dates or considerations due to COVID. In the coming weeks post Trial HSC Exams, our HSC teachers will be providing the end of course HSC assessment marks and ranks to NESA. With regards to music student performances, NESA has requested that teachers submit the final mark for performance. To ensure equity, teachers’ marks will be moderated by NESA against the externally marked components of the course. Should you require further information this can be found on the NESA website.


Please pray for our beautiful HSC students

As a community we need to continue to pray for our HSC students in the spirit of St Mary Mackillop. I encourage all families and students to ask for the intercession of St Mary of the Cross Mackillop to give the students the strength and courage to perform to the best of their ability.

Ever generous God,

You inspired Saint Mary Mackillop

To live her life faithful to the

Gospel of Jesus Christ and constant in bringing hope and encouragement to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy.

With confidence in your generous providence and through the intercession of St Mary Mackillop

We ask that you grant our request.

We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Holy Spirit so that we too, like Mary Mackillop, may live with courage, trust and openness.

Ever generous God hear our prayer.

We ask this through Jesus Christ. Amen.


Bishop Vincent has sent a message to our community

Bishop Vincent


Further to this, my strong belief statement to all Year 11 and 12 students, is to remain committed to your hard work and focus towards achieving the award of the HSC in a diligent and conscientious manner as you currently are. Please maintain your preparation in each course, connect with your class teachers practicing your HSC style exam questions and respond to feedback from your teachers. It is in this way, that you will continue to lift your performance standard and achieve your goal of completing the HSC successfully. Stay positive and keep supporting your HSC class members. Together we will achieve the best possible results! Your teachers and support staff are currently making a video of best wishes messages to be released on Monday 16 August on social media- watch out for this everyone!



Students at Penola, we miss your beautiful smiles and warm personalities. In the meantime, stay safe, stay calm and stay connected to us here at Penola. We hope to see you on Zoom and shortly in person at Penola when it is safe for you to do so. We will be ready and welcome you with open arms.


May the courage and compassion of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop be with you and your families as you face the challenges that life presents to you all.


Mrs Tania Cairns 

Principal Leader