College Principal's NEED TO KNOW 5 November 2021

Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Penola Friends,

It has been a busy and exciting time planning for the return of students and staff to the college for face to face learning. It has been 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 Catholic College. For the most part, students have been well presented, very excited to reconnect with peers and teachers and ready to learn in new ways that do not depend upon technology completely.   There are a small number of students who do need to address uniform related issues that I would expect can be addressed as a matter of urgency and priority. Please communicate in writing to your child's Stage Leader if there are any extenuating circumstances that require further support with a follow-up plan and date of when this issue will be rectified. In most cases these are able to be rectified within a few days.

Once again, I would like to appeal to you to ensure that 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. Everyday matters and with your ongoing steadfast support, your child will very quickly reset back to a healthy routine. Thank you in advance for your incredible support during these challenging times.



I will be taking leave from 10 November through to 26 November 2021. During this time,

Mrs Peta Sparkes will be the Acting Principal and Mrs Petrovski will be the Acting Assistant Principal.    Both Mrs Sparkes and Mrs Petrovski are highly committed professionals as Executive staff of this fine college who are both looking forward to this opportunity to grow further in their leadership. I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation in anticipation of their dedication and hard work during my period of leave. I will return for the final weeks of Term 4 and will be farewelling the college at this time. I look forward to reconnecting with the community at this time. Stay safe until then everyone!



The return to school in Term 4 is one that has been carefully managed with the health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff at the forefront. We understand that students have enjoyed their return back to school and have been supportive of the COVID safe guidelines that we have routinely established here at Penola. We have thorough cleaning daily by our cleaning contractors, rooms and windows opened each morning prior to students arrival, fans and air conditioners are turned on and remain on throughout the day, hygienic practices are promoted for staff and students and we remain in our year group courtyards for break times currently.



Our college departure time for all students will  return  to 3pm on Monday 8 November next week. Year 7 students have been leaving at 2:45pm as they settled back into school during their first 2 weeks back. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all parents and families for making arrangements to pick up your child early during this time and your continued support as you transition to the normal departure time of 3pm for your child from Week 6 (8 November) onwards until the end of Term 4 ( Tuesday 14 December).



The next Pupil Free day will be Friday 19 November as the Penola staff will be involved in a Spirituality Day. Please pray with our staff as they allow themselves to be present with our Lord and continue to grow in their faith together.



The last day for student learning this year will be Tuesday 14 December 2021.

Wednesday 15 December 2021 is set aside for Parent Teacher Interviews (Online via Zoom).


Year 12 HSC 2021

We are indeed extremely proud of our Year 12 2021 students for their enduring efforts and commitment to their HSC studies. This of course includes our amazing Year 11 Studies of Religion (SOR) accelerated students and our VET students who are in their HSC year also.


The HSC Exams commence on Tuesday 9 November at the college. HSC students will enter and exit the college via the Staff Carpark to reduce contact with the school community during the HSC Exam period. HSC 2021 Exam Timetable NESA


On behalf of the college community we would like to extend our best wishes and prayers to our beautiful 2021 HSC students who are very capable students, who I’m sure will shine brightly!



Dear Lord,

                                As I take this exam, thank you that my value is not based on my performance, but on your great love for me.

Come into my heart so that we can walk through this time together,

                    Help me, not only with this test, but the many tests of life that are sure to come my way As I take this exam, bring back to my mind everything I studied

And be gracious with what I have overlooked.

Help me to remain focused and calm, confident in the facts and in my ability

And firm in the knowledge that no matter what happens today you are there with me.

                                                                                        Amen                          (A Salesian prayer)


School buses resumed on Monday 25 October 2021. 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



The Penola Catholic College community will continue to 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.


  • We 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. Our 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 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.

As parents, we work in partnership with you at all times and ask that you send a note in your child’s diary to us if there are any issues or concerns. A reminder that the first port of call is your daughters or sons homeroom teacher or their Stage Leader. Please note the following Leaders of learning for each Stage are key points of contact for wellbeing and learning:

Stage 4            Mrs Rachel Miller and Mrs Anne Moller

Stage 5            Mr John McKnight

Stage 6            Mrs Nathan Bryant


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 you and your family


Mrs Tania Cairns

Principal Leader