Finland – Educational Tour 2017

On the 1st April 2017 – Chris Woods (Acting Knowledge and Learning Strategist) and I landed in Helsinki and were welcomed by intermittent snow-showers and a picturesque city.  According to the Finnish locals, the winter had been unseasonably warm and there was very little snow, but for two teachers who had just flown in from a 35 degree Sydney autumn day, anything white and icy classified as snow! 

Chris and I were privileged to travel to Finland to participate in the Council for Creative Education Educational Tour of Finnish schools.  Chris was traveling as the recipient of the Loreto Staff Scholarship and I was attending in order to research alternative educational approaches as part of our current review of curriculum at Loreto, as aligned with our Strategic Plan (2016-2020). 

The key goals that the tour facilitated reflection on included:

  • A learning community that radically explores the next ground breaking iteration of the LNSGM to further the holistic development of students.
  • A school where the whole person is at the centre of all learning, relationships and programs.
  • The development of passionate and innovative staff prepared to address the needs of students in an ever-changing world.

Why Finland?

We chose to tour Finland as the Finnish have been global leaders in education, consistently ranking at the top of the Program for Student Assessment rankings (PISA) throughout the 2000s.  Whilst their ranking has dropped in recent years, they have responded with the introduction of a new national curriculum that facilitates the innovative use of Phenomenon Based Learning.  This approach to learning aligns closely with the Integrated model we devised here at Loreto — and was a key area of inquiry for myself and Chris.  Finnish schools are also applauded for their flexible, innovative and ecological use of space—areas that are also of high priority for Loreto.  

Finnish Education

The tour provided us with the opportunity to visit four middle schools (Grades 1-9) and two upper-secondary schools (Grades 10-12); one of these upper-secondary schools was vocational, the other academic. 

We were in awe of many aspects of their system.  Of these, some key areas included:

  • the flexible spaces that we experienced
  • the flexible curriculum available for students
  • the equitable education system
  • their focus on cultivating independent and resilient students
  • the focus on design as a key element of their syllabus
  • their ecological approach
  • their respect and trust of the teaching profession and their ongoing commitment to teacher training and development

We were offered a great deal of fodder to enrich not only our own professional practice but also the unique educational experience that Loreto Normanhurst offers students of the 21st century.  

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Barbara Watkins and Marina Ugonotti for this invaluable opportunity to experience education on a global level; it is essential that we always look outwards to ensure that we enrich our practice in order to meet the ever-changing needs of our students, and such opportunities are an invaluable aspect of our growth as an organisation. 

Finally, this report is simply a small snapshot of what Chris and I were able to garner from the tour.  In coming weeks and months we will report more extensively on our research and how these findings will enrich our practice and approach to learning here at Loreto.  

Ms Kieryn Bateman

Acting Director  of Learning


Year 7-11 Academic Plenary Meeting Evenings

As you will know Academic Plenaries are a valuable opportunity for students, supported by teachers, to share their learning progress with their parents. Teachers will be available for 5-minute meetings on

  • 5 May 1.00pm to 7.00pm in the GBC 3rd Floor
  • 8 May 3.30pm to 7.00pm in the Gymnasium

Should you have a matter to discuss that will take longer than the allocated time, we request that you make an appointment with the teacher concerned for a more appropriate time.

Bookings for the Plenary meetings are made online (instructions below). the day of the Plenaries changes or cancellations will need to be advised by email.

To make your bookings:

  1. Go to the PTO Login page 
  2. The PTO booking site will open. Tick OBTAIN PIN/PASSWORD and enter the email address that you have provided to the school as your contact email which should be the address at which you received this information. Your individual PIN will be emailed to you.
  3. Full instructions for making your bookings will appear on your screen.
  4. Print off your booking confirmation and check the times booked.

Only one booking per teacher can be made for each student’s parents. When making your bookings, please leave adequate time to move between appointments – 10 minutes is suggested. Teachers will endeavour to meet the appointment time, but there are always inevitable delays. We ask for your patience during the evening. Some teachers may have requested an interview with you in which case the symbol <image001.png> will be displayed alongside the class name.

Parking will be available on the Oval carpark off Osborn Road or any carpark on campus. Prior to attending your meetings, please register with learning office staff at the check-in desk and collect your name tag. Parents will also be emailed a venue map to assist you on the evening.

If you have any problems with the PTO or have any question or concerns about Academic plenaries please email.


Year 11 Study Skills Morning

Today Year 11 students participated in a Study Skills session with Dr Prue Salter during Periods 1 and 2. This workshop focused on developing stronger organisational and time management skills for students. Students spent time thinking about what they find challenging about organising their time and were given an array of helpful and effective strategies they can employ to enable them to use their time effectively and thus reach their learning goals. Loreto Normanhurst subscribes to  Dr Salter’s website    Enhanced learning. You can login to the study skills handbook website with the username: loretonh and password: loretonh to access a range of resources to help your daughter further develop her study skills,


Mrs Carolina Murdoch

Dean of Learning



 Dates to Remember –  Term 2  2017


Years 7-11

Academic Plenary Meetings

Friday 5 May 2017

1:00pm – 7:00pm

Various classrooms


Monday 8 May 2017

3:30pm – 7:00pm

School Gymnasium

Information and booking link provided  above

Years 5, 7, 9


Tuesday 9 May 2017

 Wednesday 10 May 2017

 Thursday 11 May  2017

Year 12

Assessment Block 1

Monday 15 May 2017 –  Friday 19 May 2017

Please note that due to scheduling constraints Assessments may fall outside of the block. Students are issued with Assessment Task Notifications and advised of any revisions to the schedule.

Assessment Block 2

Monday 29 May 2017 – Wednesday 7 June 2017

Please note that due to scheduling constraints Assessments may fall outside of the block. Students are issued with Assessment Task Notifications and advised of any revisions to the schedule.

Year 10

Year 11 2018 Subject Selection Evening

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Students attend with parents

Deirdre Rofe Centre