College Principal's NEED TO KNOW 25 October 2021

Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Penola Friends,

It has been with a busy and exciting time planning for the return of students and staff to the college for face to face learning. It will be a wonderful way to complete 2021 after so much time separating everyone as a community of learners. Once again, I would like to commend you for your efforts in always ensuring your child is on track with their learning and appreciate everything you've done to work in partnership with us here at Penola. Hopefully, your daughter and/or sonhas their uniform ready to go and will be well prepared for connecting with their peers and teachers. It may take the first week to get back on track with the routine of school and we understand this. Please aim to ensure your child is at school (if they are well), everyday until the end of term 4 so they can re-establish their school and home learning routine once again.



The return to school in Term 4 is one that will be carefully managed with the health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff at the forefront. We understand that students have participated in remote learning to the best of their ability at home with the support and guidance of their teachers, parents and guardians.


Our aim is to provide a clear, safe and realistic plan that will enable students in Years 7-11 to return to reintegrate back in a way that allows them to feel connected to our learning community without feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Returning back will allow them to adjust to face to face learning and re-establish relationships with peers and teachers at the college. With this in mind, the Return to College Roadmap Plan is one that will allow them to start their return on 25 October (Week 4B Term 4).

Year 12: Returned to the college on 18 October (Week 3A) for Study Workshops and final class HSC Exam preparation. Year 12 are now starting their Study Vacation (STUVAC) time allowing them to complete 2 weeks of independent study (25 October- Friday 5 November). HSC Examinations will commence on Tuesday 9 November and end on Friday 3 December. Best Wishes to our beautiful Year 12 students who are determined to succeed regardless of  the difficulties and challenges they have personally faced during 2020-21.

HSC 2021 Exam Timetable NESA



Year 11 will return to normal classes on Monday 25 October. Further to this, Year 11. Upon returning to the college, they will also be required to review and confirm all details on their NESA course enrolments for 2021-22 under the guidance and direction of Mr Bryant. After doing these important tasks allowing them  to officially proceed forward in their HSC journey. Year 11 students will formally become our new Year 12 2022 students commencing their HSC year! An exciting time as they step into their final year at Penola ! Best wishes to the upcoming Year 12 2022 HSC year group.


Year 7-10: All students in Years 7-10 can return to the college for face to face learning on Monday 25 October.

All students in NSW are expected to now return to school as part of the Return to school Roadmap. REmote learning has now ceased for students with a renewed focus on face to face learning. Please know that the college will follow the COVID Safety Plan released to you last week to reduce year groups mixing, practice good hygiene and promote physical distancing where practicable and reasonable.



School buses will resume on Monday 25 October. Please note that there are some changes for the Busways services and these are communicated in the bus timetable link below. The Blue Mountains Bus timetable has remained unchanged to the best of our knowledge.

Busways timetable 25 October 2021




Year 7-10 Student Reports may change to accommodate for the remote learning experience and ability to communicate this information effectively in light of this situation. The Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge has announced that schools will still report but will have flexibility in this and are not restricted to an A-E grade reporting structure. At Penola we will examine this closely and may ask for feedback from our Parents as Partners Hub group this week to help us shape this to meet your needs as an appropriate form of feedback for your child’s learning progress. There will be ongoing information in the coming weeks to help you understand how we will report on your child’s learning progress during the complications of remote learning.


At Penola we have also used the Student Learning Performance grade (SLP) to help provide detailed information about your child’s learning progress, as well as their ability to work collaboratively on team tasks. Your child’s social emotional development is important to their wellbeing and in turn their overall learning progress.



The Penola Catholic College community will follow the Guidelines for a COVID safe school based on the advice from NSW Health to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, students and parents at all times. There will be further information regarding the COVID safe expectations, however please note the following which will promote upon returning to the college:

●      Ask that all students Years 7-12 and staff to wear masks at school (except outdoors)

●      Request that physical distancing practices are adhered to at all times

●      Follow hand hygiene practices by washing and sanitising regularly

●      Cleaning of spaces daily and throughout the day that are used by students and staff

●      Expecting and promoting students stay in their year group courtyard areas during break times. No whole school assemblies will be held during Term 4. Year group assemblies will be held weekly.

●      All parents, contractors and visitors will need to check in using the QR code when coming onsite and should they be double vaccinated. Uir welcoming Office Team will be checking and supporting our visitors to meet these expectations.




Thank you once again for your ongoing support during these challenging times. I am confident that together, we will be able to do the very best to support your child’s learning and wellbeing needs. We are very excited about finally returning to face to face learning in Term 4 on 25 October and the opportunity to feel more connected with each other as a community, as we continue to build our relationships with each other and feel a renewed sense of wellbeing.


Please stay safe, positive and connected to our Penola community. Follow us on Facebook Penola Catholic College Emu Plains and the Penola Parents Facebook page by sending a request to join our group.


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.


God Bless


Mrs Tania Cairns Principal Leader