Mercurius issue 10 – August 2020 - 24 Aug 2020
Principal’s Report

Principal’s Report

Dear Fortians, Parents and Carers,

On 16 August the Department of Education released Updated Term 3 Learning Guidelines for schools. With updated health advice and changes to state and national restrictions whilst the majority of school-based activities remain unaffected a limited number of activities remain under consideration and some have new restrictions in place.

School continues to be safe and all our operations at Fort Street are in line with AHPPC and NSW Health guidelines. All students should be learning face-to-face at school unless they are unwell or have a medical certificate to support their absence. Staff and students who are unwell must not attend school. Students and staff who are absent or sent home due to flu like symptoms need to be tested and must not return to school or work until they return a negative COVID-19 result and are symptoms free. The school is required to sight the negative COVID-19 test prior to allowing staff and students to return to school.

All users of school facilities and visitors to the school will continue to be required to read and sign the physical distancing and health and hygiene measures document provided at the front office. All Community user groups now have a COVID-19 Safety Plan. Non-essential adults are still not permitted on school grounds or at school events.

The P&C decided at their last meeting that they will continue to meet via zoom for the remainder of 2020. All professional learning for staff will also continue to be delivered online.

Whilst physical distancing of children in schools is not required by the AHPPC guidelines, wherever possible the school will limit activities to year groups or stage groups to limit close contacts to those within these groups. The main impacts of this new requirement will be to the schools sport program and to the IMP.

Whilst interschool activities are allowed to continue they must remain within the local community or zone. As we are a large zone in terms of geographical location, it has been confirmed that we cannot continue with interschool sport in its current format and still keep to playing sport in each school’s ‘local community’. We are looking to split our zone up into two smaller zones based on location:
Zone 1 – Burwood, Fort St and Concord
Zone 2 – Hunters Hill, Ryde and Marsden

Not all recreational sports will be able to continue and school sport will be rearranged into year group rotations for the remainder of Term 3. Final plans are still being worked out and all students will receive a detailed email from Mr Uppal this Monday.

For the remainder of Term 3, all group singing (choirs) and the use of wind instruments (wood and brass) in group settings, are not permitted. This has made it particularly tricky for the IMP to continue any meaningful program for our many ensemble groups. All parents and students of the IMP have been emailed new procedural guidelines that will commence this week. I would like to thank Matt Manchester for his commitment to the IMP and his solutions focused drive to keep the IMP running.

Year 12
Congratulations to all of Year 12 who completed their Trial HSC exams in weeks 3 and 4. Practical HSC exams have now commenced with some Language Speaking exams already completed, Drama Performance to come this week and Music Performance in just over three weeks. Year 12 have only five weeks of school classes remaining this term and one week next term before their final HSC exams commence. We are still finalising our Year 12 celebration events in light of the new restrictions announced last week. Year 12 will receive detailed information this week about what events will be able to take place, unfortunately we will not be able to have any parents onsite for the graduation ceremony.

Year 11
Year 11 will enter their final exam period in weeks 8 and 9 as they wrap up their Year 11 courses in preparation to commence the Year 12 HSC courses next term.

Years 7-10
Year 8 and 10 have completed their subject choices for 2021 and construction of the timetable will commence this week. This is a complex and time consuming job in which the timetable team does its best to match most students with the choices they have made. Confirmation of students’ subjects for 2021 will take place early in Term 4.

Official School Tour Video
It was a pleasure to have Otto Khoo (Fortian, 2017) in the school last Thursday filming for our official school tour video. Otto completed his HSC at Fort Street in 2017 and is currently studying at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTARS). Otto was approached to film and edit a school tour video by Ms Cameron and they are now working together to bring this all together. With the cancellation of Open Evening, Open Mornings and potentially the Year 6 Orientation in term 4, we hope that this will provide comfort to the families of Year 6 students and their parents who have been unable to come and visit their High School for 2021. Once it is completed this video will be uploaded to the school website.

SAS Recognition Week
This week is NSW SAS recognition week. At Fort Street High School we are incredibly lucky to have such an amazing team of staff working across the school to support our students and teaching staff. I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to a dedicated and hard working group of people:
Janette Levy – School Administration Manager
Celia Batista – Science Assistant
Diana Choy – School Administrations Officer
Vivien Davies – School Projects and Maintenance Manager
Dianne Debreczeni – School Administrations Officer
Chris Egan – Library Assistant
Mark Egan – Archives Assistant
Lina El Deiri – School Administrations Officer
Evelyn Kwan – School Administrations Officer
Kellorin Long – Assistant to the Principal
Craig McGeachie – Technical Support Officer
Marjan McKeough – Library Assistant
Donna Padroth – Kitchen Assistant
Natalie Page – School Administrations Officer
Denise Sloss – School Administrations Officer
Francesca Triolo – School Administrations Officer
Kevin Wright and Ron Elks – General Assistants
Iain Wallace – School Archivist

School TV – Riding the Corona Coaster

School TV – Riding the Corona Coaster

Across Victoria, students and their families are experiencing challenging times with the state being in various stages of lockdown yet again. However, this second wave of the pandemic is now also beginning to impact other areas of Australia and New Zealand. Riding this corona coaster and navigating the ups and downs of the current reality is proving to be confronting for many people. The coronavirus has turned our lives upside down with some students returning to remote learning and parents continuing to juggle the home environment.

The uncertainty of not knowing what will happen next may have an impact on many students and their families. There is a concern that mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse, will increase, especially amongst young people. In the coming weeks, it will be vital for adult carers to reduce the stress levels at home and make life seem more manageable.

As an adult carer, it will also be essential to look after your own wellbeing during this time. Ensure you make time to de-escalate your own nervous system and maintain your sleep routine, healthy eating habits, get some regular exercise and reach out virtually to friends and family.

In this Special Report, families are encouraged to embrace the guidance offered to help minimise the impact of this corona coaster. 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

Year 11 Philosophy

Year 11 Philosophy

Philosophy is offered in Year 11 as a 1-unit course.

The following essay was written by Mani Shayestehfar, and is an outstanding example of the excellent work produced by Year 11 students.


Year 12 Film Night

Year 12 Film Night

What could Mr Carritt be hinting at? To celebrate months of hard work and the completion of our trial exams, Year 12 gathered under the clear night sky to watch a movie glorifying the perks of skipping school: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! It was a very special night and a lovely opportunity to all be together and form some final high school memories. We are grateful for the efforts made by the teaching staff to organise individual packages of food, hand sanitiser stations and a strict COVID register particularly after hearing of the Department of Education’s updated restrictions on Year 12 events. In hindsight, this event may end up replacing our school formal (but we are still hopeful)! Many, many, many thanks to our ushers, Mr Carritt (aka the mid-movie conveyor of Carritt Candy) and Ms Salisbury (the supplier of Salisbury Sweets), and the fantastic team of teachers for organising such a fun evening despite the additional hurdles and risk assessments that needed to be navigated.

Mock Trial Competition

Mock Trial Competition

(Photo – Ben (Year 11) delivering his closing submissions on zoom)

Our Mock Trial against Moriah College last Tuesday was an exciting second trial in the inter-school competition. Being placed as the prosecution in a criminal trial allowed us to explore another perspective in the preparation our team did for the trial and changed our conduct throughout. After a close case, our team was originally told we lost by seven points, but after closer inspection, we discovered that Fort Street had won the trial by a margin of one point. This news pushed team morale through the roof, and we are all extremely excited to potentially continue our winning streak to the finals.

Ben (Year 11) 



P&C News

P&C News


The P&C second hand uniform stall will operate a special COVID safe stall this term by kind support of the school and SRC volunteers.

When: Lunchtime, Thursday 3 September.

Where: In front of the Uniform Shop.Due to COVID regulations, no parents are allowed on the school grounds. Student customers only.

Price list:
ON SALE: winter jumpers (were $20, now $10) and all long pants (were $10, now $5)!
OTHER ITEMS: shirts, skirts, skorts, shorts, sports shorts, sports shirts, ties, caps all $5; winter jacket $40, blazer $50.
As usual, no exchanges or returns. Condition as found.

How to buy: Students must sanitise their hands before shopping. SRC volunteers will bag and label the purchased items with the student’s name, form and total purchase price. Students may then pay by card or cheque (no cash) inside the Uniform Shop. Alternatively, they may leave the bag in the Uniform Shop and the student’s parent may ring the Uniform Shop and pay by credit card over the phone during the remaining Term 3 Uniform Shop (Wednesday mornings of 9, 16 or 23 September) and the purchase will be delivered to the student in class.  Any purchases not paid by 12 pm on September 23 will be returned to the second hand uniform pool.

Thank you for your patience and understanding of these arrangements. Thank you to Ms McMurray, school front office staff and volunteers at the SRC for supporting this stall.

Staying Up to Date
If you would like to be informed about P&C activities or would like to know how you can get involved, please subscribe to our mailing list at or join our Facebook group at As always our email address is

Fort Street High School P&C

Library News

Library News

Premier’s Reading Challenge 2020

The Challenge closes at midnight on Friday, August 28. Students who miss this deadline can ask Ms Penniment to add the last few books to their Reading Record in the following week. Students are awarded a Gold certificate for completing 4 Challenges, a Platinum certificate for completing 7 Challenges and a medal for completing every Challenge from Year 3 to Year 9.

To compensate students for the period of remote learning, they can add 5 bonus Choice books to their Reading Record, using the ID numbers 685957 through to 685961, or by typing 2020 Bonus in the title box, and choosing bonuses 1 through 5. This bonus only applies to the 2020 Challenge. Another change for 2020 allows students to record books they have read in another language, or books they have read aloud during shared online learning.

Students should return their permission notes to the Library by September 4 to have a completed Challenge validated and a certificate awarded.

Wheeler’s e-books

Fort Street Library has a subscription to this e-books service. Students log in with their Department of Education user name and password.

A new Wellness Collection has been added to our subscription for a trial period ending on September 17, and appears as a compilation on the homepage. This collection is designed to empower personal and social capabilities, mindfulness and resilience. These are some of the topics covered:

• Better manage stress and anxiety
• Counteract depression
• Improve sleep and self-care
• Manage/release anger
• Develop self-esteem and confidence
• Address questions of gender identity
• Access support for eating disorders
• Grieving
• Defend against bullying / cyberbullying
• Develop positive coping skills
• Step into life with positivity and purpose

To explore the list further, see:

Library fines for overdue loans

These fines are applied to encourage students to return their library items on time so all students can have fair and eqitable access to resources. Library staff always encourage students to request extensions on loan periods to avoid fines accumulating. Late fines are not applied to faculty text books.

Fines are applied to late library items at the rate of 50 cents per item per week. No fines are applied during examination periods or long absences from school. In particular, no fines were applied this year between March 19 and August 7 due to the disruptions to regular school attendance for all students during COVID-19 restrictions.

Students can log in to Oliver, the Library Management System, through the Department of Education student portal, to check the status of their current loans. An automated email is sent to students every Thursday with a list of overdue loans and a notification of outstanding or accumulating late fines.

Rowena Penniment
Teacher Librarian