NSW School of Languages

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School COVID-19 Updates

Community Announcement

NSW School of Languages remains open until further notice. The school community will be informed as soon as this situation changes. 

Term 3 2020


Dear School Community

Under new guidelines from the Department of Education, we will not be holding any more Term 3 face-to-face lessons at Petersham after Wednesday 19 August. Teachers will be contacting students and supervisors to update you with the latest plans for having the sessions online. Students will need to sign up to a session and we kindly ask Supervisors to ensure that students can attend one of the sessions. These sessions are a great opportunity for students to work together with their teachers and practise their language skills.

Year 11 examinations

Our school will continue to follow the examination timetable. However students will need to be supervised in their own school.  To maintain the integrity of the examination, we kindly ask that Supervisors ensure that the written examination is held on the same day as stated in the timetable. Please contact the teacher if this is not possible. The examination paper will be emailed to supervisors.
For the Speaking section, students should book in with their teacher, supplying a phone number for the NSL teacher to call. If the exam is being conducted via Zoom, a link will be provided to students and supervisors.

Year 12 Examinations

We will let you know if there are any changes to the arrangements for the HSC examination.
This is the latest advice from NESA:

Good luck to all of our students attending their Speaking skills examinations this term.

Keep well.

Kind regards





Dear School Community

This term, to safeguard our students and staff, we are asking that students attending the school wear a mask if possible.

All students will be asked to sanitise on arrival and throughout the day. Desks, chairs and high touch areas will also be sanitised.

Desks are placed at a distance from each other and students are asked to keep 1.5 metres apart.

The Year 11 examinations will be held here at Petersham as scheduled.

Students who are not coming to Petersham should ensure that alternative provisions have been made to be supervised at their own school at the same time as the exam is held here.  Please contact your teacher well in advance to arrange this.

If students are feeling unwell in any way, they should not come to the school. If students miss an examination they should submit a misadventure form.

Wishing you all well in these interesting times. Look after yourselves and each other.

Kind regards




Term 2 2020


Dear School Community

All schools are returning to full on-campus learning from Monday 25 May. All school activities and operations will be in line with Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and NSW Health guidelines as applicable.

NSW School of Languages will continue online lessons and speaking lessons as normal. Our students (and teachers!) have managed magnificently during the last few weeks, coping with new workplaces, technology and self-directed learning.

As we expect most students will be back at school, our assessment tasks should be conducted and supervised in the home school. 

If your child has medical certificate which states that they are unable to return to school due to an ongoing medical condition or they are currently unwell please contact us so that we can make alternative arrangements.

We are hoping that we will be able to have Year 12 students come to our campus in the near future. We have extra cleaning in progress and sanitiser and hygiene supplies on hand. Meanwhile many of our students have participated in online classes which have been a lot of fun for our teachers to organise. I’m hoping they will be a permanent part of our repertoire!

Our Term 2 reports are being emailed directly to parents and schools this term. As many of our staff are working remotely, I have signed them electronically, so that there is no hold-up in their delivery.

Our teachers are looking forward to the Parent Teacher interviews on 17 June. The information for bookings is in a separate email. Parents can choose to join the interview using Zoom or telephone. If you make a booking, you will receive the link from the teacher on 17 June.

Keep well and have a lovely weekend.

Kind regards





​​​​Dear Parents and Carers,

During these interesting times, one of the adjustments we are making is the use of more video interaction with our students. We have been using Adobe Connect, Google Hangouts Meet and Zoom. All of these are password protected within the NSW Department of Education’s system. Unauthorised people cannot enter these virtual spaces. 

As students cannot come to our school at the moment and their own timetables are somewhat rearranged, we will need to conduct our face-to-face lesson days and assessments differently. 

We would like you to give permission for some of these sessions to be recorded. If the session is to be recorded, students will be given warning that the session will be recorded and will be given the opportunity to turn off their camera. The recordings of group lessons will only be made available to their classmates who were unable to attend the face-to-face class. Recordings of assessments will be seen by two or three of our teachers as we double-mark all assessment activities.

Please take 2 minutes to fill in this permission form before 8 May 2020.

Many thanks for your cooperation.

Kind regards






Dear Community,

I hope this message finds you well.

I have no doubt you are aware of the Premier and Education Minister's media briefings regarding learning in NSW Public Schools in Term 2.

The Premier announced the transition back to the classroom model for Term 2.  NSW Public School students will gradually transition back to school, one day per week, beginning in Week 3 (Monday 11 May). Please read A managed return to schools.

On Monday 11 May, students will move into Phase One of the managed return to school for students.  In this phase, all NSW students will attend school one day per week and learn remotely 4 days per week.  It is anticipated that all NSW students will increase the number of days at school before the end of the term, under the advice of NSW Health. At this stage I do not anticipate being able to have face-to-face lesson days here at Petersham this term. We will however be have group meetings online with our students. Teachers will contact their students with this information soon.

At NSW School of Languages our students will continue to complete their online work as usual and ring their teachers for speaking lessons. As students will be required to attend their home school one day per week, it may be necessary for students to choose another timeslot in their teacher’s phone calendar for their lesson. Our teachers are prepared for this flexibility and do not want any of our students to miss out on their regular speaking lesson.

This term will certainly bring challenges but I am confident we can work through them together as a community.

The website https://education.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/advice-for-families has been updated and may have information that interests you. I have also provided some ideas for students to maximise their time at home.

Wishing you well as we navigate our new world.

Kind regards





Dear NSL School Community

Well that was a strange first term! Needing a whole country to live their life in a new way is quite a remarkable turn of events.

We’re all learning to overcome new hurdles. Thank you to our wonderful students who have taken their dislocation in their stride and are continuing to strive in their language studies. Congratulations also to our school’s fabulous teaching and non-teaching staff who have hardly missed a beat in their work.

We’ve found our way around a few technical hitches and we’re trialing different ways to still have some face-to-face lessons with our language groups next term.

HSC Students

NESA has released some information about HSC subjects. You can read the full information on the NESA COVID-19 Page.

Most important to note:

Language oral exams

Students should continue studying for the language oral exams and completing school-based assessments.

I will let you know when we have any further confirmation about dates and format.

There is also advice from UAC about applying for an ATAR:


Year 11 students will be completing their planned assessments as per the dates shown on our website. Students will be informed about the exact format in early Term 2.

Parents, Carers and Supervisors – thank you for the kind messages and your ongoing support for your children and our staff. We all need to work together in these interesting times and your help is always appreciated.

As we continue to face the effects of the pandemic, we need to be mindful of our emotional wellbeing.

  • Keep calm – there are lots of things outside our control. Let’s remember to focus on what really matters. School will continue to focus on being a calm place where students feel they belong and can learn.
  • Be kind – we are all in this together. Reach out to help others who may be in need. Know that nearly everyone is feeling stressed and when we are on edge, we can be sharp when we do not mean to be.

Please read the fact sheet from Mission Australia which contains a lot of useful information.

Parents and Carers are also directed to the NSW Department of Education Digital Citizenship website and the eSafety Commissioner website where there is helpful advice for Parents to help their children have safe, enjoyable experiences online.

Enjoy your Easter staycation, keep well and keep your distance :)

Best wishes






Dear School Community,

I hope you are all coping with our new situation reasonably well.


All of our students should continue to complete their online coursework and keep in contact with their teachers. We’ve been trying out a lot of new technology and I know some teachers and students have been very flexible, having to jump across platforms when the internet or phone lines are playing up. I thank you all for your resilience.


The latest information from NESA so far is that we can go ahead with our planned assessment task dates as they are. Some tasks may have to be modified a little so that they can be supervised from home. Teachers will ask permission of a supervising adult if we need to record an assessment task so that it can be double-marked by another teacher.


The Department of Education is providing a great deal of information for parents and carers which you can access here:




We’ve been finding some interesting language related links and videos to put on our Facebook page. If you come across something suitable that we could share – please send me a link.

Maybe there is a major language/artwork/musical/gardening/craft project happening at your place that you would like to share. Send me a photo or message in Facebook.

Take care everyone and have a quiet weekend in ;-)

Best wishes






Dear School Community,

I hope this message finds you well and coping. With so much uncertainty at the moment, many people may be feeling a bit anxious.

I can offer some reassurance to you today - our lessons are proceeding as normal. The extra stress on the internet and phone systems has slowed down a few interactions, but we are trying to stick with our usual routines. In some cases the video conferencing sites are working better than the phones, so we are all being as flexible as possible. We always have the option of having students email an audio file of their speaking tasks if necessary.

I’d like to remind everyone that video connection (Adobe Connect/Google Hangout Meets – NOT Zoom) from home does not need to have the camera on. It uses more bandwidth anyway. We may need to use the camera for assessment activities. These can be recorded. Our teachers have been asked to make sure that there is someone else at home or there is more than one student on the call if the video cameras are used. We don’t want to see messy bedrooms either!

The news from NESA is that the HSC is going ahead. We are fortunate that we already have things in place for our assessments to continue. We will let you know if there are any changes for our planned assessments.

For parents who are struggling with ‘home learning’ – don’t worry your kids have got this!

Here are some reminders about Online Etiquette


Now that many people are at home, here is some helpful advice from the Red Cross.

Prairiewood High School has shared some lessons for students about the virus and staying at home:

​Lesson 1 - What students need to know about the coronavirus?

Lesson 2 - U in mind (keeping healthy)

Lesson 3 - FACE COVID (practical strategies)

Lesson 4 - What are you worried about?

Lesson 5 - Life in lockdown: what can I expect?

Stay well and keep your distance!




Dear School Community,

NSW School of Languages is in the unique position of being able to continue our work as normal.

Students are able to do their lessons from school or home. Most of our teachers are able to continue their phone lessons. Students need only ring the usual school number for their teacher. Once again, I ask parents to contact the teacher if you do not want speaking lessons to continue while your child is at home.

NESA is meeting today to consider what will be happening with assessments and the HSC this year. I will let you know of any decisions as soon as it is clear.

Support for students at home

I encourage you to access the Learning from Home resource which provides practical advice to parents and carers on how to best create and support a productive learning environment in the home.

We really appreciate the support we are receiving from parents and I have huge admiration for the dedication and skills of our teachers who are so keen to keep working with their students.

In these anxious times, here is something to remind ourselves: Things I can and can't control

Best wishes





Dear School Community

We are very grateful that our students have been continuing with their studies so well. Our Year 12 Assessments have all gone brilliantly this week. Congratulations students and teachers!

Some good news:

We now have a full strategic plan for continuing our lessons and school operations when we receive information that schools will be closed. We expect that coursework and speaking lessons for students will be able to continue as usual, even if students and staff are working from home. Students will use the teacher’s school phone number as usual. We’re even trialing creative ideas for our lessons days! As part of the preparations, our entire staff attended an online staff meeting yesterday to test the system. Success!

Meanwhile, we have prepared some ideas for students to set themselves up to study at home. Please read the attachment and start working out how it might look at your place.

Education Perfect has made a generous offer for free access to all of their resources in all subjects. Please see the attachment for details. These might supplement work available from your home school.

I found some advice from UNICEF on how to speak to children about coronavirus. It may be useful for you and your friends.


Look after yourselves and find some ways to have a good laugh every day.

As always, I will keep you up to date with any developments.

Kind regards





Dear School Community

We are open for HSC Assessments this week. We have a maximum of 90 students here on any day this week – so we’re probably safer than most schools.

If students are well, please come to the school where we are taking every precaution to ensure that students stay well. The rooms and desks have been sanitised daily, the students and teachers wash their hands on arrival and we are able to keep the desks well separated. The tasks don’t take very long and students can leave as soon as they are finished.

If students are unwell they can fill in an illness/misadventure form.

If students are not able to come to the school, please contact your teacher immediately for alternative arrangements which we have put in place.

All Face-to-Face lesson days and extra study days have been cancelled until further notice. We are investigating alternative ways for our student groups to meet up virtually if this goes on for a long time.

Here is an update from Mark Scott, Secretary of Education.


These are important links with information from the Department of Education



We will send emails and have updates on our website and Facebook page if the news changes.

I greatly appreciate the wonderful cooperation we have experienced in this last week. Thank you.

Keep well and keep your distance!

Kind regards





Dear School Community

We continue to review and revise our response to the COVID-19 outbreak and will keep you advised of the school’s situation.

At this stage, the school remains open. Updates will be available here.

I would like to outline some of the measures we are taking, along with the steps to be taken if a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19. At the time of writing, I have not been informed of any confirmed cases of any student or staff member of NSW School of Languages. If your child or any of their close contacts are diagnosed with COVID-19, please immediately inform NSW School of Languages (NSL) and the home school.

Ph 02 9381 4800   or   NSWSchoolLang.School@det.nsw.edu.au

In order to reduce the chances of undetected cases of COVID-19 spreading throughout the community, we are taking the following actions:

  • Promoting hand hygiene and social distancing and appropriate hygiene relating to coughing and sneezing. Reminding staff and students to be washing and sanitising hands regularly.
  • Students who need to come to school to complete assessment tasks this week will be asked to wash their hands on arrival, sanitize and be kept at least one metre apart for their examinations. All examinations desks etc have been sanitised before each examination.
  • Advising staff and students who are unwell not to attend the school, this includes mild flu like symptoms and in particular, fevers or coughs. Illness/Misadventure forms are available here.
  • Staff or students who become unwell with flu like symptoms while at school will be sent home immediately with medical advice requested and followed up.
  • Advising staff and parents of the latest advice from the Department of Health for self-quarantining and testing based on travel and contact with those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • All overseas excursions are suspended until further notice.
  • Making alternative arrangements available to students and staff with compromised immune systems or health conditions that may make them more vulnerable to the virus.
  • Preparing staff to work from home and for remote student learning, if required.
  • Briefing staff, students and parents on this plan.

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at NSW School of Languages, the following procedures will be taken:

  • Notification to relevant Authorities including the NSW Ministry of Health and the Department of Education.
  • Parents will be contacted via e-mail and/or SMS that there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 and that the school will be cleaned and closed until further notice.
  • The school will follow all advice from relevant Authorities regarding establishing close contacts and casual contacts of the diagnosed person/s and take all appropriate action.
  • If the notification comes during school hours, parents and home schools will be contacted and students isolated until they can be sent home or collected from the school.
  • It is possible to download an app which will send alerts if the school is closed. It appears to allow only one school to be displayed, so it may be necessary for people to use different phones/devices in the household so that you can receive alerts from the home school as well as NSW School of Languages.

NSW School Updates app

Get the free NSW School Updates app to receive operational status updates for NSW public schools.

Students currently excluded from school include:

  • All arrivals to Australia must self-isolate for 14 days
  • Any student or staff member who has been in, departed from, or transited through the following countries is excluded from child care services, school or work for 14 days from the date they left the country:
  • mainland China - since 1 February
  • Iran - since 1 March
  • the Republic of Korea (South Korea) - since 5 March.
  • Italy - since 11 March
  • Any confirmed case of COVID-19 will be excluded until they are medically cleared to return.
  • Close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be excluded for 14 days since last contact with the confirmed case.
  •  Students and staff who have returned to Australia and have shown no symptoms during the 14-day home-isolation period are able to return to school or work.

Updates from NSW Department of Education

Advice from Mark Scott Secretary of Education 13/3/2020

Advice from NESA to Year 11 and 12 students

The advice on exclusions is subject to frequent change and this should be noted for the upcoming holiday period if you are planning on overseas travel. Please be informed of these arrangements noting that students may be subject to self-isolation for 14 days post travel. The DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) website should also be consulted for information on the latest travel advice levels for specific countries.


Continuity of learning

We are so lucky that students of NSW School of Languages are already proficient online learners!

In the event that our school or the home school is closed, we are expecting that students will continue to complete their online coursework per the course schedule.

If a student is unwell and unable to complete their work, this should be communicated to the NSL teacher and the home school supervisor. If a teacher is unwell, this will be communicated to students and supervisors.

The Department has published detailed advice for parents on how your child might study at home. This includes setting up a workstation, wellbeing, communication, and online safety. Our students have signed up to a code of conduct for online work.


We may have to cancel face-to-face lessons days at the school and you will be informed as soon as possible. I apologise for any inconvenience, and disappointment caused through the cancellation of NSW School of Languages events, or for any disruption to learning. We are committed to the health and safety of our school community and are regularly re­evaluating our approach to ensure that our response is measured, appropriate and aligned with the advice of the Authorities.

Please take care of yourselves at this time and be familiar with the steps to take in the event of casual or direct contact with someone with COVID-19 and also for suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Thank you for your cooperation so that we may effectively manage this situation in order to prioritise the health and well-being of our entire community at this important time.

Kind regards

Hilary Hughes


NSW School of Languages

NSW Health Links:

Casual Contact: www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Paqes/nove-lcoronavirus-casual-contact.aspx

Close Contact:  www.health.nsw.qov.au/lnfectious/factsheets/Pages/novle-coronavirus-close-contact.aspx

Suspected Cases:  www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/advice-for-suspected.aspx

Confirmed Cases: www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/advice-for-confirmed.aspx