Ground-Breaking Flag Retirement Ceremony – Junior School


Mr Allan Pidgeon, President of the Queensland Branch of the National Flag Association, joins Mr Leighton Kuss, Prinicpal, and Mrs Nedra Purnell, Head of Junior School.

On the eve of National Flag Day, 3 September, a historic flag retirement ceremony took place at Northside Christian College. Joining the College’s students, staff and parents were Mr Tim Mander, Member for Everton, and Mr Allan Pidgeon, president of the Queensland branch of the National Flag Association.

Mrs Nedra Purnell, Head of Junior School, created the flag retirement protocol. In the ceremony, the Junior School captains cut the worn flag into its three symbolic elements: the Union Jack, the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross. The elements were folded and placed in a special container to be buried under the school’s flagstaff.

“When we replaced the flag, I researched how to dispose of an old flag and discovered Australia doesn’t have an official protocol,” says Mrs Purnell. “This prompted me to develop a new protocol.”

Through comprehensive research and consultation with Australia’s National Flag Association, she created a ceremony that is distinctly Australian, though it bears some similarities to the flag retirement protocol of the United States, which has a staunch history of flag reverence.

The new protocol will be presented to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for consideration to adopt nationally.


Mr Tim Mander, Member for Everton, gave the College a new flag.


The captains cut the flag into three elements.

Year 7 Canberra Trip – Civics & Snow!


Excitement was high on Sunday morning, 17 July, as Year 7 students, parents and teachers embarked on the well-anticipated trip to Canberra. Our final destination for the first huge day was Jindabyne. We checked into our fabulous accommodation on the outskirts of town and then collected our ski gear.

Over the next two days, the students enjoyed the new challenge of learning to ski and riding the chairlift up the mountain. Everyone had a great time and there were plenty of smiles from ear to ear. The snow and the mountain scenery were excellent this year.

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Our time finished at the snow, and we were off to Canberra for a whirlwind tour of our great Capital. On Wednesday, we visited Old Parliament House to gain an understanding of just how voting and the counting of the votes occur in Australia. We also had a tour of New Parliament House, where the students were involved in an educational simulation of debating a new bill. They were then taken on a tour of Parliament House to see where all of the parliamentarians sit.

There was also an amazing visit to the Australian War Memorial. One lucky group saw the closing ceremony, a truly moving experience. Wednesday was a long but fun-filled day.

On Thursday, we visited the Australian Institute of Sport to see where our nation’s elite athletes train. The next stop was Questacon, our National Science Centre, for some more fun and education.

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This year again we utilised Facebook to keep everyone back in Brisbane informed about our activities with regular posts and photos. Many parents shared that the Facebook page let them feel a part of the trip.

The Australian Government recognises the importance of all young Australians being able to visit their National Capital as part of their civics and citizenship education. We would like to acknowledge the Australian Government for contributing a portion of funding toward the travel expenses of the trip. It was truly a camp to remember for a lifetime.


13692845_1046842415460961_6762694566745894371_o   Mr Peter  McClenaghan & Mrs Catherine Smith
Year 7 Coordinators

Design Thinking in the Middle School


As part of the Year 9 Challenge-Based Learning program, Benjamin combined his music, art and coding skills to make an app called Le Bob.

At Northside, we use design thinking as an intentional approach to embedding thinking skills into our middle schooling program. It is a framework onto which we hang specific thinking skills to achieve specific learning tasks. The thinking skills are those identified by ongoing education research as having a more-than-average impact on student learning and outcomes. Teachers already practise many of these skills, so we help find consistency, share more internally, and identify what skills work best at which point in learning (McIntosh, NoTosh Institute).

So, what is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is the exploration and creation of outcomes using elements of logic, imagination, intuition and reasoning. It is solution-focused and action oriented, and uses both analysis and imagination.

In Design Thinking, three phases of creative conversations allow for the development of creative ideas:

  • The open phase, commonly known as divergent thinking, is about getting started and pushing boundaries, getting all the ideas out on the table and letting them sit, rather than deeming them good ideas or bad ideas.
  • The explore phase, or emergent thinking, involves making connections and building on what you’ve opened with.
  • The close phase, or the convergent thinking phase, involves organising your ideas and concepts to choose the best way to move forward.

(The Lab Strategy)

Where does Design Thinking happen in the Middle School?

Year 7 – Think Tank:

A weekly lesson whereby students get to take part in many activities that enable students to demonstrate and identify thinking strategies and give them an introduction to setting and solving challenges / problems using the design process.

Year 8 – Design Dilemma:

A whole day simulation at the end of semester which presents students with a mystery that needs to be solved using a number of cross-curricular activities over the course of the day.

Year 9 – Challenge-Based Learning (Design Thinking Challenge):

A six-month elective that enables students to focus on a topic or issue that they are passionate about. They are required to develop a design challenge and follow the design process over the semester and eventually showcase the process and project at the end.

The Challenge-Based Learning Showcase

The following photos represent just a few of the fantastic projects completed by the Year 9 students who participated in Challenge-Based Learning in Semester 1. Their projects covered a broad spectrum of topics, from fitness to mental health, and honed many skills including writing, photography, coding and project management.





Ellie explored her dual passions of photography and fitness by creating a website called Go Fit Photography.



Ashton’s enthusiasm for his Challenge-Based Learning project was inspirational.



Matthew focused his Challenge-Based Learning project on basketball. His detailed manual about the sport can be used by coaches, referees and players.




Look at the quality and depth of the information in Matthew’s manual.



Kayla used the semester to create a mental health awareness campaign for students.



Copy of IMG_0748

Zoe wrote a collection of short stories called Sticks & Stones, which she made into an e-book.




2016 June & July Break Vacation Care


Vacation Care has lots of fun planned for the Winter break. Check out the activities here.

It’s not too late to enrol your child. We are still taking bookings for Vacation Care at $45 a day per child.

Vacation Care opening times are 8:00am – 6:00pm Monday to Friday with an optional 7:30am start (for an additional fee of $5.00) by request only (please note this on your booking form). Please note that if you do not request this earlier start it is likely that no staff member will be present to take care of your child.

Morning tea and afternoon tea will be provided, but we ask that you pack lunch for your child/ren. It is also necessary to pack a hat, shoes that your child can run in, anything specific to the program of the day (e.g., movie from home) and a water bottle (optional but highly suggested).

We look forward to seeing you and your children over the holiday! Please contact Belinda Butler or Rachel Irwin for booking forms and further information


Belinda Butler

Northside OSHC Coordinator

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