Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox College - Newsletter

Volume 26 Edition 3 - May 2021

Welcome to Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox College eNewsletter

From the Head of College

Pikhristos Aftonf! Khen oumethmi aftonf!  Ekhristos Anesti! Alithos Anesti! Christ is Risen!  Truly He is Risen! Χριστός Ανέστη!  Aληθώς Aνέστη! المسيح قام! حقا قام!‎ (al-Masīḥ qām! Ḥaqqan qām!); 

Hristos vaskrse!Vaistunu vaskrse!
Christos t'ensah em' muhtan!Exai' ab-her eokala!

A warm and heartfelt WELCOME to all our Families, Staff and Students for the continuation of Pentecost Term 2.    I do hope that everyone had a blessed Easter and pray that the Resurrection Light continues to guide and bless each of us throughout our daily tasks and responsibilities.    

Wishing you all a wonderful and successful term.

Building Project

The Building Project has been progressing well with the usual building and construction hiccups that occur in any project.  With these, unfortunately days have been added to the expected completion time so at present with all the rain spells experienced this is now anticipated mid-late Term 3.  The roof structure and roof is now completed on Block A, with both Building B & C completed with the next stage establishing their roofing structures.

Enrolment & Withdrawal Procedures (Repeated as Information for Parents & Carers)

Each year following any term, some enrolments occur following some withdrawals.  In many cases of withdrawal, the agreed parent/College procedure for families withdrawing from the College has not been followed in previously having provided one full term's notice in writing and as such some are surprised they are still required to pay the next term's school fees even though their child will no longer attend. 

A reminder please that it is a requirement of the signed family's contract with the College that they enter into at enrolment, that one full term's notice of withdrawal is to be given in writing to the Head of College, if a student is to be withdrawn from the School, otherwise one full term’s fees are payable in lieu of such notice.  In some instances where things aren't definite or finalised, an Intention to Withdraw can be forwarded to the Head, thus eliminating the penalty in-lieu of payment when that time arrives.  

Why Is the Term Charged, without 1 Term's Notice?  This procedure is by no means unique to St Mark's Coptic Orthodox College and is standard practice in ALL Independent schools (not Catholic Systemic or Department schools that I'm aware of) around Australia.

In notifying the College of the withdrawal of enrolment (or Intention), it is a legal requirement that the proposed new school to be attended is also listed as this information is included on the Attendance Register which is linked to Fed/State Government requirements (for funding purposes). Without receiving this written notice one full term PRIOR to exit, families will be charged the term following their departure for each child as each Independent school relies on their current enrolment data at any point in time which affects their funding and budgeting based for each year. 

The College does not force anyone who applies for enrolment to accept, nor does the College force anyone to remain in the College if circumstances require them to seek an alternate school.  All that is requested is that parents honour and follow the terms and conditions of the enrolment contract so that unnecessary financial disputes and additional strains on families are avoided.  Your assistance is requested in this matter so that if you are intending to withdraw your child/children at the end of this year, you MUST forward your written notification of intention to the College by the end of Term 3 (at the latest the last day of Term 3 for withdrawing from Term 1 thereby giving the whole of term 4 as required, as notice without penalty).   If in doubt with timing of notice to withdraw due to relocation/waiting list notification etc, then still please advise us that the intent exists and there is a strong possibility of withdrawing. 

Kindergarten & Year 7 2022 - 2025 Enrolments

All parents are advised that vacancies for both 2022 Kindergarten and Year 7 have been filled, completed and closed since the beginning of this year, with 2023 enrolled to a approximately 70% at this stage and 2024 to about 40%. 

Hence the need to remind parents regarding Withdrawal procedures outlined above, so that the numerous Waiting List families can be contacted and forwarded some time to arrange relocation if an offer is forwarded them from SMCOC.

Any further Applications will be placed on the Waiting List only.  As vacancies occur, offers will be forwarded accordingly, and according to a date recorded priority list order so that equity is afforded to all on the Waiting List in same/similar situations. (There are 6 priority categories within Waiting Lists)

Applications and Registrations are currently being taken for KINDERGARTEN & YEAR 7 - 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027. 

All SMC Year 6 students are automatically enrolled in Year 7 2022 at the school.  However, if you are not considering continuing at SMC for Year 7, PLEASE advise the school at your earliest convenience in writing but no later than the last Friday of Term 3, 2021 (17 September) as available vacancies are limited for external applicants.


I would again like to re-iterate and ask parents to PLEASE NOT use the STAFF CAR PARK to drop off or wait to collect children AT ANY TIME.

The Car Park is to be used solely by STAFF at the College.    The College has no liability for anyone's vehicle within the Car Park and is not liable for any damage caused or towing expenses for unattended vehicles.  Please ensure others (who may not read this newsletter) collecting or dropping off your children are made aware of these requirements.

Easter Messages: His Holiness Pope Tawadros ll and His Grace Bishop Daniel

Original Artwork by Joyce Ghobrail, Yr 7 "Easter"

Update - Dep Head of College - Mrs Deborah Grohala

Attendance and Absence (including Punctuality)

St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox College understands that student achievement starts with attendance. Regular attendance is essential for students to achieve quality life outcomes and maximise the learning opportunities provided to them. The College has legal obligations in relation to enrolment and attendance under the NSW Education Act (1990) and must keep current and detailed records related to this.

College staff remain committed to working in partnership with all parents and carers to address issues which prevent students from full participation at school. Parents of children from Kindergarten to Year 12 must ensure their children attend school every day, for the full day.

On occasion, your child may need to be absent from school. Justified reasons for student absences may include:

  • being sick or having an infectious disease
  • having an unavoidable medical appointment
  • being required to attend a recognised religious holiday
  • exceptional or urgent family circumstances e.g. attending a funeral.

Parents must provide an explanation for absences to the school within 7 days from the first day of any period of absence. Where an explanation has not been received within the 7-day timeframe, the school will record the absence as unjustified on the student's Academic record, linked with NESA records.

Students who are at risk of potential attendance concerns include:

  • Patterns of absence:
  • Habitual lateness
  • Regularly leaving school early
  • Multiple single day absences over a term’
  • Absences that regularly occur on Mondays, after holidays, school camps or sports days/carnivals
  • Unexplained absences
  • Tearfulness, tantrums or clinginess upon arrival to school or repeated requests to go home
  • Frequent complaints of illness while at school and requests to go to sick bay

The importance of arriving on time:

  • Ensures that students do not miss out on important learning activities scheduled early
  • Helps students learn the importance of punctuality and routine
  • Give students time to greet their friends before class
  • Reduces classroom disruption

Lateness is recorded as a partial absence and must be explained by parents.

To conclude, parents and carers also need to be aware that a student who does not complete the minimum requirements, including attendance of AT LEAST 85% during the year, cannot fulfill the outcomes of that year and therefore risks being unable to move to the next year of study (ref - NESA + College Attendance Policy & Guidelines).  Although extremely important for all years, this criteria becomes even more so during Stage 6 study and Years 11 & 12 attendance and punctuality.

The Outline below demonstrates the effects of poor Absences and Punctuality

Update - Head of Teaching and Learning - Sec, Mr Peter Joseph


Following on from the emails sent regarding student and parent access to Seqta, the College's portal, parents are encouraged to ensure they have access. The portal is an important step forward for the College in terms of improving the access to key information about curriculum or pastoral matters. If you are not sure about how to access the parent portal, please contact Mr Remon Metira, IT Manager, at the College.

Students are encouraged to speak to Mr Joseph, or the subject coordinator, regarding subject-specific matters. 


At the end of 2020, I wrote to parents regarding the College's outline for 2022 student devices. The College has been engaged in the roll-out of the Bring Your Own Chromebook policy for some time. This has proved to be successful, with vast numbers of students subscribing.

The benefits of using a device for learning are well-documented: digital textbooks drastically reduce the weight of school bags; online research tools assist the depth of understanding; internet technologies offer more sophisticated modes for students being able to communicate and represent their understanding.

In building upon the progress we have made, and in conforming to the College’s 2020-2022 Learning Goals, we wish to provide a reminder that from Term 1 2022, all secondary students in the College will be required to bring a device to school, in addition to normal exercise books, according to the following framework:


The device students are required to bring:

7 - 9

Chromebooks only – all students in Years 7-9 are required to bring a Chromebook for their learning. More information on device specifications and estimated costing is available on the College website. Please note that Chromebooks are not available from the College directly. The College does not endorse any particular supplier. Parents are encouraged to research and determine the best price and arrangement for their child.

10 – 12

Any device of the student’s choosing – students are permitted to bring any laptop of their choosing for their learning. Tablets are not permitted, as we find that tablets (e.g. iPads, Android Tablets) do not always offer the functionality that students need, even with a remote keyboard.

NAPLANThe uncertainties of COVID-19 in 2020 resulted in the

cancellation of NAPLAN for students at that time. However, as we have progressed to a relative degree of social stability, NAPLAN is back for students for Years 7 and 9 this year.

For your reference, the NAPLAN exams for our College will be completed on paper in 2021 and the dates are Tuesday 11 May - Thursday 13 May.

Students in Years 7 and 9 are encouraged to use their access to Education Perfect and other assigned platforms up to this period to assist their preparations privately. Teachers will also continue to prepare students in the days leading up to the exam. 



PARENTS: Many students come home from school and end up just waiting until they might ‘feel’ like doing schoolwork. Or else they drag everything out over the whole night. A much better way is each night have set allocated times for home learning. Many students find that learning in 20-30 minute blocks works well for them. During this time students should do homework first, then work on any assignments or upcoming tests, then use the rest of the time allocated for schoolwork to complete independent learning activities such as reviewing work they find difficult, making study notes or doing practice questions to build their skills.

All distractions should be removed during this time, so students learn to focus for 20-30 minute blocks of time.

It is a great idea to make a timetable of the home learning and place it on the fridge so everyone is clear when students are focusing and when they are doing other activities or having free time.

STUDENTS: Some of the benefits for students of having set times allocated for home learning are:

  • You are more likely to learn at home if you know when to start and when to end.
  • You will be more effective when you remove distractions and learn to focus for 20-30 minute blocks.
  • In all the times NOT allocated to schoolwork you can do whatever you like without feeling guilty about it.
  • Having set times stops arguments between students and parents as everyone has agreed when the timeslots allocated to students will be.
  • You know that you are definitely doing enough work for school.
  • Keeping your home learning and personal life separate means you will be able to manage all of the distractions in your life and still complete your work for school.

Learn more this year about how to improve your results and be more efficient and effective with your schoolwork by working through the units on . You can also print a sheet outlining independent learning activities (click on the More menu then on Things to Print).

Our school’s access details are:

Username: stmarks

Password: 52success

Update - Head of Secondary Students - Ms Mary Williams

Happy Easter to everyone and welcome back to Term 2.

Parents are asked to assist the College in ensuring their children conform to the required Grooming and Uniform Guidelines.

Boys particularly are to ensure that their haircuts remain within acceptable lengths, and maintain a short, back and sides cut.  In saying this, boys are to BLEND sides and back with the top, and not create a "mushroom' room with distinct separations.  Boys will be asked to remediate this by having the top blended in with the rest and remain home until this is completed.

We want and expect our boys to be well groomed and take pride in their appearances, however ask that the College requirements are also kept in mind when boys attend barbers/hairdressers and ensure their cuts don't 'cross the line' of acceptability.

I include this link to a very worthwhile article for students, but especially for parents to please access and read, become familiar with this information.

Technology Updates - Mr Remon Metira

SMC Student ID Card

We are all very aware that the world of education is currently undergoing a massive transformation as a result of the digital revolution and as an education facility we are continually seeking ways to leverage technology to improve the quality of teaching and learning as well as simplify administrative tasks.

In line with our commitment to innovation and technology we are excited to introduce the launch of the SMC Student ID card. This will serve first and foremost as a form of identification and membership to the College as well as bring automation to a range of administrative tasks. Every student will be issued an ID card; students in Years 5 -12 will receive their card from their classroom teacher or House Patron while the parents of students in Years K-4 will be given their child’s card from their classroom teacher in week 3.

ID Cards will provide easy and fast access to a variety of school services for students such as signing in late and leaving early and will be used in our new College library. Having an ID card is also useful for getting discounts within the community, such as at the theatre or some retail outlets. Please contact your child’s teacher or House Patron for matters associated with the ID card.

Saint Mark's Academic Reports - Now Available Online

One of our goals at Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox College is to always use the technology in order to be more efficient and effective and to also improve our communication with our school community, parents/students. 

Last month and for the first time we released “Year 12 - Semester 1 - 2021 Academic Reports”  through our parent portal (SEQTA Engage) & Student portal (SEQTA Learn). We encourage you to accept our invitation to SEQTA Engage if you have not already done so. It is a wonderful tool that will give you a holistic view of your child across many aspects of their years at Saint Mark’s.  All other Secondary Year Levels will be accessed in the same manner as the year progresses.

NB: As all systems are interconnected and linked, please be advised that Student Reports are unable to be accessed unless all financial obligations are in order with Family Accounts.  

Secondary Parents - Are You On SEQTA ?

Yr 8 DT - Task Build a model Helicopter BRAVO Damjan Grujic and Georgia Dimitry

Building and Construction Update @ 4 May 21

Upcoming Dates

Pentecost Term 2 - 2021


Thu 6    Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 7      Year 7 Immunisation #1 during P1

              K - 12 Liturgy Feast Day of St Mark P1-3) followed by Primary Activities and Secondary Walkathon & Activities 


Tue 11 - Thu 13 May    NAPLAN Tests with Years 3, 5, 7 and 9

Thu 13    Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 14      School Liturgy Yr 11 P 1&2

Thu 20    Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 21      School Liturgy Yr 1, P 1&2

Thu 27    Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 28      School Liturgy Yr 3, P 1&2


Thu 3     Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 4       School Liturgy Yr 10 P 1&2

Thu 10   Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 11     School Liturgy Yr 9, P 1&2

Thu 17   Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 18     School Liturgy Yr 2, P 1&2

Monthly Quote for Personal Growth

Χριστος Ανεστη! Christ is Risen!