Dear Parents & Guardians,
We have reached that time of the year when we start planning the classes for 2024. I know this a process in which parents and guardians have a great deal of interest and, at times, can cause some anxiety.
From experience, this is a process that in the vast majority of cases teachers complete successfully. While we acknowledge that parents and guardians know their children best, the teachers are the best people to make decisions on the classes in which children are placed. They get to see the children every day, how they interact with their peers and how their learning journeys are progressing. Our staff are very diligent and considered in where they place the children and certainly take the child’s perspectives into account. They work really hard to ensure the children are placed in classes that will give them the best opportunity to be successful.
As a rule, I avoid overruling the class lists teachers create unless there is a very significant reason for doing so, for example, when I am privilege to confidential information of which they might not be aware but which might affect the placement of a child. Moving one child can have unintended consequences for other children and create further challenges for teachers.
Given this, while I am always open to listening to the concerns and queries from parents and guardians, I rarely allocate children based on parental requests. This also has the potential to turn the process into a teacher popularity contest which is not helpful for the development of supportive, collaborative community. I have full confidence in all our staff members and I would hope that if a parent or guardian has a concern in relation to a staff member, they would make a time to speak with me privately.
On another matter, we have noted that there are a small number of our students who have significant absences from school. While we appreciate there are times that children are sick, it is unusual for children to be sick for extended periods of time. If your child is unwell and is going to be absent from school, you must notify the admin team.
Parents and guardians have a legal responsibility to make sure their children attend school unless they are being home-schooled. If we have children who demonstrate significant absences from school, especially if these are unexplained, we are required to discuss this matter with the parents and guardians. If a significant level of absence continues, we are required to notify the Department of Education, and in the worst-case scenario, parents and guardians can receive an infringement notice for not sending children to school.
I think the most important thing to reiterate is that school is critical in supporting the ongoing development of children; spiritually, academically, emotionally and physically. I suspect most parents would agree, especially after the period of home-schooling during COVID, that teaching is a complex job and requires highly skilled, trained educators. It is unlikely that children will make the same level of academic and social-emotional progress if they are not at school.
We also understand that there are times when families are absent due to an extended holiday. In this instance, you must notify the school that you are planning an extended holiday. We would prefer families to avoid taking long holidays during school time, as this can have a significant impact on the academic progress of children. Please note, it is not reasonable to expect teachers to create learning packs for children who are on an extended holiday.
You should by now have received a letter regarding the school fees for 2024. It is vital that any paperwork you are asked to provide by the admin team at school is completed and returned as soon as possible. If you have any questions about the fees, please make sure you come and ask Emma in the office for assistance.
SCHOOL CLOSURE DAYS
Please remember 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.
Last week, we had a Discovery learning Community Excursion to Legoland. After reflecting on this event, we noticed that the process of children leaving for their excursion and returning was a little chaotic. There are things that we need to do to improve our processes, however, we also need parent and guardian cooperation in relation to school excursions.
On excursion days, we might need to block off the parking areas outside the front of school as this is the only safe place for the buses to park. If we mark this area with traffic cones, please do not park in this area as this prevents the buses from parking and can potentially cause the excursion to be cancelled if the buses cannot park safely.
At the end of the excursion, please do not try and collect your child directly from the bus outside the front of school. We will bring your children into the courtyard, where the staff can supervise the collection of the children. Last week, we had some parents and guardians pushing their way to the front of the queue to collect their children but this can compromise the safety of the other children. We ask parents and guardians to be mindful of the safety of all of our children.
SCHOOL HATS & SUNSCREEN
Just a reminder to all parents and guardians that the children must provide their children with sunscreen to have in their bags. We would ask that this is in roll-on form as this is easier for the children to administer independently. For younger children, they should be coming to school with this already administered by parents. Please note, that due to Child Safety requirements, teachers cannot apply sunscreen to children.
Children must also have hats at school during Term One and Term Found as part of our Sun Smart policy. They are required to wear these when they are outside.