Principal's News Term 1 Week 3 2024

Thursday, 08 Feb 2024
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvellous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 
— Psalm 98:1–3

Welcome to the first newsletter for 2024

Welcome to our 178 new students who entered the college during Week 1 and welcome back to our ‘old’ students and families.

This week, I had the pleasure of visiting our Year 7 students currently enjoying their camp at the Great Aussie Bush Camp near Tea Gardens. I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the dedicated staff members who volunteered their time to make this experience possible. As many of you are aware, I firmly believe in the importance of outdoor education. It not only fosters confidence and a spirit of adventure but also promotes social interaction, teamwork, independence, and resilience.

Maths Centre

The new Maths Centre is expected to be ready for use by mid-March. This new facility includes 4 classrooms, a maths staffroom, a meeting room, and a storeroom. The artist's impression below also includes decking at the front of the centre which is currently being installed and a fly-over roof over the deck. 

The building will be opened and the fly-over deck will be added prior to the start of Term 2. The oval to the east of this new facility will be re-aligned later this year to facilitate the enlargement of field 3. I wish to thank our college’s project management team, Xcorp and Harwyn, for their expertise and adaptability, particularly during some trying weather conditions.


What a delightful turnout we had for our Sundowner gathering on Monday afternoon! We extend our sincere gratitude to all members of our community who adjusted their schedules to join us, especially after our initial postponement from Wednesday due to inclement weather. Although we didn't take an official headcount, we estimate that over 300 parents savoured the evening, reconnecting with old friends and making new acquaintances. A special thank you goes out to our new Parent Ambassadors for warmly welcoming new families and facilitating introductions within their cohort. 

A round of applause is also due to our talented performers from the performing arts who entertained us throughout the event; we're incredibly proud of our student talent. A special thank you to Imogen Daymond, a BDC Alumnus who sang beautifully, it was delightful to have Imogen back at the school. Additionally, heartfelt thanks go to the dedicated staff who supported the gathering by serving refreshments, as well as preparing the site, and then supporting the clean-up.

This marks our first event on Margaret's Field since the completion of Stage 2 of the Adventure Playground. The new features, including a ninja course, a loose parts playground, a creek bed, and a gaga pit, added even more excitement to our outdoor space.

Scholarships for 2025

Applications for academic scholarships for the year 2025 have closed. However, we are pleased to announce that applications for academic scholarships beginning in 2026 will open in Term 4 of 2024.

Special Focus Scholarships for 2025 are currently available. The deadline for applications is 4pm on Thursday, March 28, 2024. Our Acting Principal, Mr Simon Doyle, will review applications in Term 2, and successful candidates will be offered scholarships in due course thereafter. For more information and to apply, please visit:

Swimming Carnival

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all our talented swimmers who took part in the Interhouse Carnivals held last Thursday and Friday. We are proud to announce that the top swimmers will have the honour of representing our school at the upcoming North Coast Independent Schools' swimming championships, set to take place at the Alstonville Aquatic Centre in the coming weeks.

A special thank you goes out to all parents for their unwavering support of these co-curricular events. Your encouragement not only fosters school pride and enthusiasm but also provides our students with invaluable opportunities to forge new friendships and strengthen existing bonds. Furthermore, it was a delight to witness our new House Shirts proudly worn by students at our first set of carnivals.

Traffic Flow and Student Safety

Ensuring the safety of our students during afternoon pickup is paramount, and we've had a promising start this year with our traffic management efforts. As a gentle reminder to parents who drive to collect their children, we kindly request that you aim to arrive after 2:50 pm whenever possible. This helps facilitate smoother access for our buses, ensuring they can reach their destinations without delay.

It's important to note that if our buses encounter traffic congestion on North Boambee Road, it could disrupt their schedules for drop-offs and pick-ups at other schools and sites. Additionally, by 3:25 pm, the Kiss and Ride area is typically clear, and there are ample parking spaces available in the Branson Centre car park. We encourage parents of older children to consider picking them up slightly later in the afternoon to alleviate congestion during peak times. If you are parking to collect younger children, please come and get them near the dance studio or Branson Centre as this allows the Kiss and Ride area to function more safely.

We understand that traffic can sometimes be frustrating, but with over 400 cars and 34 buses traversing through the college between 2:50 pm and 3:25 pm on school days, our primary goal is to keep the traffic flowing safely. We appreciate your cooperation and consideration in this matter, as it contributes significantly to the overall safety of our school community. Thank you.


Do you have the BDC App? If not, I encourage you to download it from the respective app stores. It will allow you to access messages, the college calendar, news, Parent Lounge, links, and school contacts.

Congratulations to the following Award recipients

Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

Today the college came together to observe Shrove Tuesday, a cherished tradition in the Anglican calendar. Each student was able to collect a delicious pancake to celebrate the eve of Ash Wednesday.

Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, is steeped in history and tradition. It falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and serves as a time of feasting and enjoyment before the solemnity of Lent begins. The term "shrove" originates from the Old English word "shrive", signifying the act of confessing sins and seeking absolution. Historically, people would indulge in rich foods like eggs and butter, which were traditionally prohibited during the Lenten fast.

Ash Wednesday marks the commencement of Lent, a period of reflection and preparation leading up to Easter. The name "Ash Wednesday" derives from the custom of marking foreheads with ashes in the shape of a cross, symbolising repentance and the transient nature of life. These ashes are often crafted from palm fronds used in the previous year's Palm Sunday celebrations. This year we will recognise Ash Wednesday with ashes that have a little bit of glitter added. This is to signify the notion that “stardust” connects us all.

Both Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday carry great significance in the Anglican Church, marking the shift from indulgence to introspection as we move closer to the joyful festivities of Easter. It's important to note that this year, Easter falls outside of the school holidays, with Good Friday on March 29th and the holidays beginning two weeks later Saturday, April 13th.

The Bishop's Blend

Have you visited The Bishop's Blend yet? 

Get your morning coffee from The Bishop’s Blend. 

Open 8am-9:30am weekdays during term. Located behind the BDC Dance Studio. Breakfast and snack foods are also available!

Student Attendance Policy and Procedures

I have been queried by a couple of parents regarding the students' attendance requirements and so I thought it would be prudent to share the college’s Student Attendance Policy and Procedures.


The governing body of a registered individual school must demonstrate that the school has enrolment and attendance procedures that comply with all relevant laws and are detailed in written documents in a clear and concise manner.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this Policy and its Procedures is to outline our Student Attendance requirements.

Daily Attendance Register

The college keeps a register of the daily attendance of all students at the College electronically in TASS web.

Attendance registers are in a form approved by the Minister for Education, and compliant with the Attendance Register Codes

The register of daily attendance records the following information for each student:

  • daily attendance
  • absences
  • reasons for absences
  • documentation to substantiate reasons for absences.

The attendance register also includes information about any students granted an exemption from attending school.


Monitoring Daily Attendance

The college has implemented the following systems and procedures in order to monitor the daily attendance of students and identify absences from the College:

Parents are responsible for ensuring that they notify the College to explain the absence of their child on any particular school day. Notification may be provided through the BDC website/app using the Parent Lounge Portal (Absence Notification button) and should be made before the start of the school day.

Class teachers take the class roll promptly at the start of the school day and in Secondary, at the beginning of each lesson.

All absences are recorded using the BDC TASSweb Teacher Kiosk. They are then cross checked by the Student Services Team in the Administration Office and cross-checked against the absentee notifications that have been provided to the College that day.

Absence within a day

Parents/carers and students should complete the late arrival and early leaving procedure at the Student Services Office.

Late arrival

Students must report to the Student Services Office immediately on their arrival at school to register. They must be accompanied by a parent/guardian after 9.00am. After this is done they report directly to their current class and show their late slip to their class teacher.

Early Departure

If a student has an appointment during school hours, the parent/carer is required to notify the school. When dismissed from class, students are required to report to the Student Services Office and wait for a parent/carer to sign them out before leaving the school.

Return after partial absence

If a student returns to the school that day, the procedure that applies is identical to that for late arrival.

Year 12 students who have Period 1 classes are expected to attend roll call and so are required to attend the school at the beginning of the day.

Year 12 students who have study periods during Periods 1 and 2 may arrive at the school after the start of the school day and are expected to sign in upon arrival at the Student Services Office.

Year 12 students may leave the school at the end of their last scheduled lesson of the day. They must sign out at the Student Services Office.

This should be regarded as a privilege rather than a right, and any breaches of these procedures may put this privilege at risk of being forfeited.

Students who fail to comply with these guidelines will be treated as truants and their parents will be informed.

A list of daily absences is available to BDC staff in the TASS web Teacher Kiosk.

Extended leave

In the case of a family holiday/travel during the school term, the parents/carers are requested to submit an Application for Extended Leave to the Principal and supply travel documentation. If the Principal accepts the reason, a Certificate of Extended Leave - Travel is given and the student attendance record shows a notified absence. If the period of time applied for exceeds a term, the parents/carers are requested to consider other options. These can be discussed with the principal prior to the application being submitted. It should be noted that school fees are still required to be paid during the extended leave period.

Following Up Unexplained Student Absences

The College has implemented the following systems and procedures to follow up on unexplained absences from college:

  • Where an absence has not been explained by 10:30am a text message is sent to the student’s parents/carers notifying them of the absence and requesting them to immediately contact the College.
  • Where the absence remains unexplained the matter will be investigated and followed up by the classroom teacher, in primary, or tutor teacher, in secondary.
  • Where parents/carer repeatedly fail to inform the College of absences the Head of School or the Director of Student Wellbeing will contact them directly to seek an explanation and to remind them of their obligation to report absences. If student absence is still a concern, the Principal will intervene and organise a parent meeting. School attendance is the legal responsibility of the parent/carer, and the school has a duty of care under the Education Act.
  • All information in relation to unsatisfactory attendance is recorded on students’ files, and information with respect to attendance is provided in each student’s College Report.
  • Unsatisfactory Attendance Intervention Strategies

The college has implemented the following strategies to improve unsatisfactory attendance and student engagement in school and learning:

  • The college encourages parents/carers to understand their obligations to ensure their child attends college, and to not condone absences for unauthorised reasons such as birthdays, shopping, and other leisure activities.
  • Regular meetings are conducted between the Principal, Head of School, and Director of Student Wellbeing, as appropriate, to coordinate responses to student absences.
  • Students with persistently low attendance will be monitored, and personalised strategies will be considered to increase their attendance and/or engage them in continuing education programs. For students requiring more intensive support, one-on-one meetings and alternative arrangements may be organised in consultation with parents/carers.
  • Where frequent absences are explained as being due to illness, the College will request medical certificates for the absences and will consult with parents/carers regarding the health care needs of the student.
  • All required reports will be made to the Community Services Child Protection Helpline, and/or contact will be made with the Child Wellbeing Unit if there are safety, welfare or wellbeing concerns in relation to student attendance.

Source of Obligation

The NSW Registration Manual (3.8) requires the Principal of the College to keep a register, in a form approved by the Minister, of the daily attendances of all children at the College.

The NSW Registration Manual (3.6.2) requires the College to provide a safe and supportive environment by maintaining a student attendance register.

The NSW Education Act 1990 requires that parents ensure their children of compulsory school age are enrolled at, and regularly attend school, or are registered with the NSW Education and Standards Authority for home schooling. Once enrolled, children are required to attend school each day it is open for students.

Nick Johnstone