Dear Parents & Guardians,
My apologies for not doing the bulletin last week (though I know Lorraine wrote something in my place) but I have been recovering from a knee operation in the holidays (which, if you see me hobbling around school will provide an explanation).
Welcome back to the final term of the 2023 school year, it has certainly gone really quickly! This term will undoubtably be a really busy one as we conclude our school year and prepare for 2024.
Today, I have had the pleasure of watching our new Exploration (Prep) children for 2024 come into school for their fourth transition session. As a school, we have tried to be innovative in our practice and to use strategies that not only work but fit the context of our school and that are supportive of our families.
Our Prep Transition sessions are a case in point. Most schools only organise one or two transition sessions for the new children starting their first year in primary school, however, we have made a commitment to provide greater support to the children starting in our school. Having more transition sessions allows our teachers to start to build relationships with the new families joining our school community. It provides greater opportunities for our new children to become school ready and get used to some of the routines of schools and the adults that will be supporting them next year. The purpose of our extended transition process is to reduce the level of anxiety for children and their parents and ensure that the start of their time in primary school is a positive experience.
It has been lovely watching these children settle into school and enjoy their new primary school experience. It never gets old, watching our youngest child make their first steps into primary school education.
At the end of last term, we planned a series of Learning Walks, which proved so popular that not all parents and guardians were able to book a time to participate. All the parents and guardians who participated said they found this experience very positive. With this in mind, we have arranged for a further set of Learning
These Learning Walks will be led by our Community Engagement consultant, Tony Dalton. Please contact the Administration Team if you are interested in participating. Please note that these Learning Walks have proved very popular and we can only manage limited numbers. You will be required to book a time and bookings will be limited so you will need to book promptly. I hope to see lots of parents and guardians on one of these Learning Walks again!
SCHOOL ADVISORY COUNCIL & SCHOOL COMMUNITY TEAM
As school, we continue to work really hard to build a partnership with our parents and guardians and ensure that we provide opportunities to be actively engaged in the life of the school. The partnership with parents and guardians is a hallmark of our school and, with this in mind, we are looking for parents and guardians who would like to be part of our School Advisory Council or School Community Team. This is particularly important at the moment, as they are working on some really vital initiatives and getting the input from engaged parents and guardians would be really helpful. Please let me know if you are interested.
SCHOOL CLOSURE DAYS
We will be providing a Term Four calendar with this newsletter. Please note that there are two student-free closure days this term, one on Monday, November 6 (the day prior to Melbourne Cup Day) and Friday, November 17. There is no school on these days. The last day of the school year for students is Friday, December 15.
A letter will be sent out this week explaining the fees for 2024. It is vital that all parents and guardians read this carefully and come and talk to myself or Emma, our Admin Manager/Bursar if you have any questions. Please note that any questions regarding fees should only be addressed to the two of us as queries related to this matter are not something other members of staff have the necessary knowledge to answer.
In setting the fees for 2024, we have been very aware that the current financial environment is challenging for some families, however, this is also the case for schools. Our costs are increasing and it is not possible to absorb these increases and remain financially viable, particularly in our context when we are benefitting from but also paying for costs related to building programs.
The setting of fees is negotiated with and signed off by our governing authority, Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) and has been approved by the School Advisory Council. MACS have advised that our current school fees are not at the appropriate level to meet our financial commitments and an increase is therefore required. It is relevant to note that school fees are one element of our financial income, and actually the smallest of these (Commonwealth government grants: 80%, State government grants: 15%, School Fees: 5%). We are proud of the fact that we are, and remain, one of the lowest fee-paying schools in the diocese.
It is also important to note that parents or guardians with health care cards are entitled to apply for a rebate from the school fees. Any applications must be made promptly as there is a deadline for this set by MACS and applications cannot be accepted after this date. If you have any questions regarding fee assistance, please contact Emma in the office. All such requests will be treated confidentially.
Please make sure you read this letter and complete any of the required documents promptly. Term Four is perhaps our busiest term as we prepare for next year, particularly for our Admin Team, so your support and assistance in this regard would be appreciated.
Just a reminder to all parents and guardians that the children must have their hats at school and are required to wear these when they are outside during Term One and Four. This is part of our SunSmart policy and our commitment to keeping the children safe.
We will give a little leeway to the children who have forgotten their hats or who need to wear a different hat if they have misplaced theirs, however, our, children are supposed to be wearing a school ‘bucket’ hat. If a child is repeatedly not wearing a hat or wearing the wrong hat, parents and guardians will be contacted by the classroom teacher and reminded to purchase their child a school hat. We hope for your support in this matter.
There have been a number of parents who have requested changes to their original choice of gates as the location to collect their children. We have also had some parents ask if they can select different gates for different days depending on who is collecting their children. We would please ask parents to avoid making these changes unless this is really necessary as this creates a significant additional amount of paperwork and organisation for our administration team (they need to recreate all the dismissal lists for staff each time this occurs).