St Brendan's School
Newsletter # 5 - Thursday 16 February 2023
Dear Parents and Carers,
The year has started off very well with students and staff settling into their new classes and routines very well. This week’s 3-Way Converstations consolidated the great start.
At St Brendan’s we publish the our newsletter and email using the Smore application so that all families are informed of what is happening and to provide information that assists you in having the best experience of school that is possible.
It is interesting to note that staff, particularly in the office, by the questioning they receive, know very quickly if you have or haven’t read the information that has already been provided. While they are more than happy to answer any questions you have, they wonder why questions are asked that have already been answered and communicated in the newsletter.
Please take the opportunity to read, or at least check, the newsletter every week.
Next Wednesday, we commence the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. The Echidnas (Years Prep& 1), Wombats (Year 2) and Platypuses (Year 3) classes will hold a liturgy and receive a cross on their forehead. Our senior students will participate in their liturgy at camp in the evening.
In the early Christian church, it was the practice for people to begin their period of public penance on the first day of Lent in preparation for their restoration to the sacrament of the Eucharist. They were sprinkled with ashes, dressed in sackcloth, and obliged to remain apart until they were reconciled with the Christian community on the Thursday before Easter. Today, we symbolize this by placing ashes on our foreheads.
We are entering a time of reflection, a time to acknowledge the impact, be it positive or negative through our words, thoughts and actions on others. Consider how we can improve on being the best we can to and for others so that others can see and experience the gift of faith that God has bestowed upon us.
Parents and carers are invited to join our junior classes here at school at 9:00 am for our Ash Wednesday Liturgy of the Word.
Shrove (Pancake) Tuesday
For Christians, Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent, traditionally a period of abstinence, associated with clearing your cupboards of goods such as sugar, fats, and eggs. Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up these foods before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began.
I include the link to 'Andrew Chinn's Famous Pancake Recipe!' for those who wish to give it a try.
FYI. Andrew worked with our community in 2021 in the composing and producing of our school song 'Come And Share Our Journey'.
Sadly, recovery continues in Turkey and Syria with the occasional rescue as emergency services race to search for people from beneath the rubble of crumpled buildings, working in freezing temperatures. The earthquake on Monday 6 February has resulted in over 41,000 deaths.
In response, and in discussion with our senior students, tomorrow Friday 17 February will be a House Colours Day. Students are encouraged to wear their house colours and bring along a gold coin or note donation to help support the providing relief and aid to the victims to meet their survival needs of food, warm clothing, blankets and hygiene kits.
Our new parents and carers had their child’s house and colour confirmed at last night’s 3-Way Conferences. Children may wear clothing that has some or all of their house colour present.
Two weeks away, on Thursday 2 March, we wish to invite the community to join us in celebrating the start of a new school year as well as commissioning our staff and student leaders.
Much preparation is going into making this a very meaningful and spiritual occasion for all who attend.
The Welcome Mass, will be attended by the whole school at the 9:15 am Mass in St Brendan's Church.
Yesterday’s 3-Way Conferences were reasonably well attended, providing the opportunity to start the year off on the ‘right foot’. The conferences provided an avenue for information sharing involving parents, students and teachers in the learning process.
I thank those who did attend as it provided important insights for all, especially our teachers.
As depicted in the 2 donkeys sketch above, when we work together, we achieve our goals. In this case, when we work together, our children are the big winners. The conferences provided a foundation to begin this journey together.
For those who missed the opportunity, I strongly recommend that you reach out to your child’s teacher to ensure all is in place for a great year of learning.
Why Do Concerns Arise?
Schools are very busy places - there are lots of things that happen, and there are many decisions made every day. At the same time, the community is quite diverse, with many individuals or groups having vastly different opinions on how things should be done.
It is inevitable, therefore, that times will arise when some parents agree with the school’s actions while others disagree and wish to discuss the matter with the school.
We welcome such discussions, and encourage parents to raise issues so that they may be dealt with speedily and resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned.
Complaints, after all, are not a negative experience – so long as they are dealt with positively by everybody.
The following process for presenting and managing community complaints or concerns has been developed over time in consultation with the community.
We believe it works well, and it is the way we will manage all complaints at our school.
Things To Always Remember
• Problems are best resolved using a positive attitude. Anger is usually counter-productive to solving problems.
• People need time to investigate and resolve many problems; a quick fix is not always possible or desirable.
• Schools are large and complex – very few decisions will suit everybody.
• There are always at least 2 sides to every story – with students there are often as many stories as there are children.
• Not all disagreements can be resolved – sometimes we simply have to agree to disagree.
• Opinions vary widely – disagreement is a natural part of life.
• Everybody is doing what they believe is right, even if it’s different to what we think.
Agreed Complaints Process
The following procedures are to be used to resolve complaints or concerns at our school.
Try and find out the facts. This may require you talking to your child’s teacher. Many concerns are quickly resolved once the parent is aware of all the facts.
Let the school know via letter, telephone or in person that you have a concern, providing details of the issue.
The school WILL investigate the concern and the most appropriate person will contact you to discuss the matter, or to organize a meeting. Almost 100% of problems are resolved by this point
If, however, the matter remains unresolved, make a formal appointment to discuss the issue with the Principal.
The Regional Office can be contacted to help solve problems. The principal can provide contact details.
This procedure will be reviewed as part of the school’s review cycle
Birthday & Food Treats
Birthdays are significant milestones in a child’s life. At St Brendan’s we celebrate and acknowledge this special occasion for our students both at a whole school and class level. Within the class, special mention is made of their birthday as well as being included in classroom prayer.
Whilst it is not necessary to celebrate birthdays at school, we understand that parents often want to celebrate their child’s birthday with their class. We do not object to this but must consider the implications when providing treats in the form of food for students be it for birthdays or other special days.
Concerns regarding allergies and anaphylactic reactions to various foods highlights how careful we must be. You would notice that if, as a school we offered students food, we would always first seek parental permission and provide a list of ingredients so the decision by a parent is informed.
Together with issues regarding food allergies and parental consent regarding what food their child is to eat, the matter within this community has been widely discussed with often differing views.
After much discussion and consultation, and taking the above matters into consideration, we ask that parents refrain from providing food treats for the class. This decision is based upon ensuring the health and safety of all our students.
This Code of Conduct has a specific focus on safeguarding children and young people at St Brendan’s School, against sexual, physical, psychological and emotional abuse or neglect. It is intended to complement other professional and/or occupational codes.
All staff, volunteers, parents, contractors, clergy and board/school council members at St Brendan’s are expected to actively contribute to a school culture that respects the dignity of its members and affirms the Gospel values of love, care for others, compassion and justice. They are required to observe child safe principles and expectations for appropriate behaviour towards and in the company of children, as noted below.
All staff, volunteers, parents, contractors, clergy and board/school council members are responsible for supporting the safety of children by:
adhering to the school’s child safe policy and upholding the school’s statement of commitment to child safety at all times
taking all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse
treating everyone in the school community with respect
listening and responding to the views and concerns of children, particularly if they are telling you that they or another child has been abused or that they are worried about their safety/the safety of another child
promoting the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (for example, by never questioning an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child’s self-identification)
promoting the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children with culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds (for example, by having a zero tolerance of discrimination)
promoting the safety, participation and empowerment of children with a disability (for example, during personal care activities)ensuring as far as practicable that adults are not alone with a child
reporting any allegations of child abuse to the school’s leadership (or child safety officer if the school has appointed someone to this role)
understanding and complying with all reporting obligations as they relate to mandatory reporting and reporting under the Crimes Act 1958
reporting any child safety concerns to the school’s leadership (or child safety officer if the school has appointed someone to this role)
ensuring as quickly as possible that the children are safe if an allegation of child abuse is made
reporting to the Victorian Institute of Teaching any charges, committals for trial or convictions in relation to a sexual office by a registered teacher, or certain allegations or concerns about a registered teacher.
All staff, volunteers, parents, contractors, clergy and board/school council members must not:
ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse
develop any ‘special’ relationships with children that could be seen as favouritism (for example, the offering of gifts or special treatment for specific children)
exhibit behaviours with children which may be construed as unnecessarily physical (for example, inappropriate sitting on laps)
put children at risk of abuse (for example, by locking doors)
initiate unnecessary physical contact which children or do things of a personal nature that a child can do for themselves, such as toileting or changing clothes
engage in open discussions of a mature or adult nature in the presence of children (for example, personal social activities)
use inappropriate language in the presence of children
express personal views on cultures, race or sexuality in the presence of children
discriminate against any child, including because of age, gender, race, culture, vulnerability, sexuality, ethnicity or disability
have contact with a child or their family outside of school without the school’s leadership or child safety officer’s (if the school has appointed someone to this role) knowledge and/or consent or the school governing authority’s approval (for example, unauthorised after hours tutoring, private instrumental/other lessons or sport coaching). Accidental contact, such as seeing people in the street, is appropriate.
have any online contact with a child (including by social media, email, instant messaging etc.) or their family (unless necessary e.g. by providing families with e-newsletters or assisting students with their school work)
use any personal communication channels/device such as a personal email account
exchange personal contact details such as phone number, social networking sites or email addresses
photograph or video a child without the consent of the parent or guardians
work with children whilst under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
consume alcohol or drugs at school or at school events in the presence of children.
I have received reports from parents and carers that they have been unable to access the Google Doc to participate in the fundraising event. A poster will be available before and after school to enable all to nominate a time slot top to support the event.
We have been extremely fortunate to have been added to the Bunnings sausage sizzle roster. Planning for our allocated day, Saturday 4 March, is well underway. The next step is to fill the roster with volunteers to cook and serve the sausages and drinks. There are a number of operational procedures to be aware of however two of the more significant ones are:
- No persons under the age of 18 are permitted to cook or operate any equipment.
- A minimum of three people are required each shift to conduct a BBQ. Each shift is required to have a Cook, Order and Serve person.
- No children under the age of 15 are permitted at the BBQ.
St Brendan’s has been provided with a $1.4 million grant to refurbish the:
- Art Room
- Internal toilet facility
- Drainage infrastructure upgrades.
The refurbishment will see the closing of the lower yard, junior playground, for 6 - 8 months. The works are expected to commence in Term 3 and the funds raised will go towards the purchase of additional playground resources for our students.
- House Coiours Day
Gold coin or note donation
for Turkey and Syria
- Prayer Assembly
2:20 pm in the Gym.
Monday 20 February
Tuesday 21 February
- Early Years
9:15 - 10:30 am
Wednesday 22 February
- Ash Wednesday
- Year 4/5 & 6 Camp
Thursday 23 February
- Year 4/5 & 6 Camp
Friday 24 February
- Year 4/5 & 6 Camp
- Prayer Assembly
Wombats (Year 2)
2:20 pm in the Gym.
Monday 27 February
- District Swimming Sports
Tuesday 28 February
- Early Years
9:15 - 10:30 am
Wednesday 1 March
- School Athletics Sports
Aberfeldie Athletics Track
- Parishes in Partnership - Combined Pastoral Councils
Thursday 2 March
- Welcome Mass
Student Leaders Commissioning
St Brendan's Church, 9:15
Friday 3 March
- Prayer Assembly
Social Justice Leaders
2:20 pm in the Gym.
Saturday 4 March
- Bunnings Sausage Sizzle
Prayer to St Brendan
Help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.
Christ of the mysteries, I trust You
to be stronger than each storm within me.
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times, even now, are in Your hand.
Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,
and somehow, make my obedience count for You.
Keep in contact with us
I may be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org