Principal's Update Term 1 Week 10

Thursday, 31 Mar 2022
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.
— John 11:25

At the time of writing this newsletter article, it is teeming down with rain. The wind is blowing and we have already had over 227 mm in the last 24 hours. We are also receiving news of power outages North of Woolgoolga, and flood evacuations in some parts of Bellingen and Urunga. I wish to thank staff, parents and carers, and our students for their understanding regarding Wednesday’s school closure due to this weather event. I hope that you and your family are safe.

Vaping & E-Cigarettes

Vaping is becoming a trendy pastime that is growing in popularity across Australia, especially amongst teenagers. It is the act of inhaling a vapour created by an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. Many teenagers are succumbing to peer pressure around this risk-taking activity due to the ease of accessing and hiding vapes. They are often cheaper than conventional cigarettes, making it more cost-effective and attractive to young people.

Although under 18s are not legally allowed to purchase any type of e-cigarette or vaping product in Australia, teenagers are finding ways to access them online. Australia has strict regulations in place for nicotine-containing products, and attempts are being made to regulate vaping and ban the importation of them. Many of the flavoured liquids associated with vaping, contain not only high levels of nicotine, but other potentially harmful additives. Many of these “e-liquids” contain chemicals that are likely to be toxic, that when inhaled or vaped repeatedly, can cause severe damage to the lungs.

Vaping is often marketed as being the “healthy” alternative to smoking. However, doctors strongly advise that if you do not smoke, then you should not start vaping. Most teenagers are unaware of the associated risks and potential impact vaping can have on their development and overall health. Parents are encouraged to discuss the dangers of nicotine addiction and include e-cigarettes in the discussion alongside alcohol and drugs.

This Special Report highlights the facts around vaping and e-cigarettes and what are the potential risks. We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered in this Special Report, and as always, we welcome your feedback.

If you do have any concerns about the wellbeing of your child, please contact the school for further information or seek medical or professional help.

Here is the link to your special report

School Improvement Plan 2022

Bishop Druitt College is committed to continuous improvement. The School Improvement Plan is completed with reference to the college’s Strategic Plan 2018-2025 and in consultation with school staff and the Bishop Druitt College Council. There are five strategic intents in the Bishop Druitt College Strategic Plan and these intents are utilised in the School Improvement Plan. They are:

1.    Promote and enhance student wellbeing

2.    Learner at the centre

3.    Enhancing beyond the classroom

4.    Inspiring professionals

5.    Sustainability, renewal and growth

You can access the BDC School Improvement Plan 2022 here

Free Autumn School Camps

NSW Office of Sport are offering a collection of no-cost student camps for the Autumn School Holidays. These are designed at providing relief to those communities affected by fire, hail and flood challenges of the past couple of years. Coffs Harbour has been identified as one of these regions. Holiday Break programs are available for students from 12-15 years. For more details and locations click here

BDC Barracudas Mountain Bike update

Over the last two years, the college has developed a variety of opportunities to support this growing sport. Students have constructed a ‘pump track’ on Margaret’s Field, the college land to our west. Staff have organised a number of trial rides and a handful of students have represented the school at state and national events. 

This month, however, the college has secured a marquee sponsor, Andersens Carpets, who have supported the riders with uniforms and will also be supporting other initiatives over the coming months. Our first mountain biking team represented the college at the Australian Interschool Championships at Thredbo last week with a variety of outstanding results. The college team finished the weekend placing 10th in the nation. I wish to thank the riders, parents and team manager, Mr Galvin, for making this dream a reality. I’m looking forward to the next step in this sport for team BDC.

The Fathering Project - first Dads and Kids event

Last Friday evening, Mr Blythe, our college coordinator for The Fathering Project held our first event. The Fathering Project is designed to be a community-building project that recognises and facilitates the importance of the role fathers play in their kids' lives. Approximately 100 dads and kids attended the event, with the aim of developing a space for fathers/father figures to meet and engage with other fathers and spend some quality time with their kids. I wish to thank Mr Blythe, Mr Smith and Mr Davis for organising and supporting this event. 

A ‘dads group’ has been formed and they aim to run a number of events throughout the year. If dads or father figures wish to be involved in future events please register through

Student Achievements

I wish to recognise a number of student achievements this month:

Sadie Williams, Year 11, won first prize in the National West Connex ‘Canal to Creek’ Art Competition recently with her work titled ‘The Collector’. Well done Sadie.

Daniel Williams, Year 9, won both the 800m and the 1500m at the Australian Under 16  Athletics Championships this week. Outstanding Daniel!

Our BDC swimmers who represented NCIS last Thursday in Sydney performed extremely well. Harry Campbell, Year 6, gained two firsts and two seconds and has gained selection in the CIS team for the NSWPSSA titles. Stella Jephcott, Year 4, gained a 5th, 6th and two 7th places; Mia O’Reilly, Year 6, placed 16th in 100m freestyle; Lachlan Zemaitis, Year 4, placed 6th in breaststroke, and Neal Edward, Year 5, placed 26th in 100m freestyle. Well done to all team members - our college and NCIS are proud of your achievements.

Harmony Day

Harmony Day is an opportunity for our BDC community to showcase our college values of mutual respect, service, inclusivity, integrity, courage, justice and generosity of spirit. Each year, Harmony Day, creates a platform to celebrate the strength of our diversity. This year, we celebrated the day through story, cultural dress and cuisine. I wish to thank all of our students, staff and parents and carers who supported Harmony Day this year. Our world needs Harmony Day more than ever.

COVID Message 

I am reaching out prior to the end of first term to encourage and remind you all to book a COVID-19 vaccination for your child. Over 50 per cent of all children aged 5 to 11 have now received a first dose, with many now due for a second dose. In particular as we approach school holidays and the weather cools down, it is important to take steps to minimise the impact of COVID-19.   

The Department of Health website provides a number of resources with further information about seeking COVID-19 vaccination. Attached is a Fact Sheet which you could use to have a conversation with your child. Further resources are also available at:

Vaccines are widely available across the country at general practices, state-run clinics and Aboriginal Health Services. You can find a participating clinic and make an appointment by visiting the Vaccine Clinic Finder at:

Thank you for your efforts to keep your child and the wider school community safe.

Students who are symptomatic but have not tested positive

Updated NSW Health advice confirms that if a student is unwell and has any symptoms they should always test for COVID-19.

If the test comes back negative for COVID-19, the student should still not return to school until either:

  • the student no longer has any symptoms, or
  • a medical certificate is provided to the school confirming that symptoms are explained by another diagnosis (such as hay fever).

Health has advised that it is important that students do not attend school if they are unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19. Rapid antigen tests can produce false-negative results and symptoms of other illnesses can also be similar to COVID-19, including flu, the common cold, and stomach bugs. Health advice is that students who are sick should always stay home to rest and recover and avoid putting other students and staff at risk of getting sick.

Senator McKenzie Visit - Year 5 wins National Award

Senator Bridget McKenzie visited BDC this late Thursday to announce Mrs Christabel Martin's Year 5 class as one of the three winning entries in the competition to name the new National Large Air Tanker.

The tanker will be named 'The Phoenix' and is a shared resource designed to be used by any of the states or territories. A special congratulations to Zara Harris who entered the chosen name of the air tanker.  This was especially chosen because it originated from Greek Mythology: the Phoenix brings happiness, peace and harmony to the world, from ashes as the phoenix rises.

Senator McKenzie is the Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience/Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education. The Senator was joined by Member for Cowper, Mr Pat Conaghan and Senator Perin Davies.

Easter Service and Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day

On Friday 8 April the college will be celebrating the sacrifice and miracle of the Easter story. Our college Easter Service will be held in the Branson Centre from 9 am on Friday morning, followed by our traditional Easter Hat Parade and Grandparents and Special Friends morning tea. A couple of years ago, I was able to attend an Easter Service with Archbishop Phillip Aspinall of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane. I have shared his words with you - please take some time to reflect on this message of hope.

All around us people are anxious, worried, troubled, frightened.

The world as we know it has been turned upside down.

And it all happened so quickly.

We fear the worst: running out of essentials, catching the virus, losing loved ones.

On Good Friday, Jesus faced the worst that can happen to a person.

He was betrayed by his friends, mocked, spat on, falsely accused and finally tortured and murdered.

Maybe worst of all, he felt completely abandoned by the God he had trusted.

But Easter Day showed that he hadn’t been abandoned at all.

God was with him after all, despite his feeling alone.

Loneliness, pain and suffering are real.

But they can never separate us from God’s love.

Such unshakeable love frees us from fear and anxiety and releases us to do good for others.

May the joy, hope and peace God gives to the whole world be yours this Easter.


ANZAC Day services will take place in the community on 25 April, prior to the commencement of Term 2. We encourage all of our BDC students and staff to attend their local services, and honour those who served us. When attending public services and representing Bishop Druitt College, please ensure you are wearing full school uniform and a hat. 

The College ANZAC service will be held on Tuesday 26 April. 

IT Support for Families

We often receive questions about helping parents set up parental controls on devices for home use. Internet Safe Education, a company we have utilised over the last few years, have developed the following step-by-step guides to help our parent community, especially over the holidays.

Parental controls for Windows 11

Parental controls for Apple Mac

How to set up Screen Time on your child's iPad or iPhone

Nick Johnstone