Newsletter

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As you may be aware, food service, caterer and related retail businesses in Australia have needed to meet new food handler training requirements from December 2023. The release of this information prompted a few calls to our office from parents who asked if the rules applied to their P&Fs, so we did some investigating.

We reached out to the Enrironmental Health Directorate within the Department of Health, and they advised we note standard 3.2.2A-3:

3.2.2A—3 Application of this Standard

(1) This Standard applies to a food business in Australia that is a category one business or a category two business.

(2) This Standard does not apply to the handling of food for or at a *fund raising event.

* fund raising event means an event that raises funds solely for a community or charitable cause and not for personal financial gain.

If this exemption doesn't quite cover your P&F event, please contact our office.

We also reached out to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand they advised us that although "charities, groups or volunteers providing free food may be exempt from some or all legislation applying to food businesses, other legislation may apply." They recommend that if you are running a community event where you are preparing, serving and selling food, and you have any concerns, you should contact your Local Council and ask for an Environmental Health Officer or an authorised officer to see if there are any requirements you must meet.

    For tips on how to store, handle and serve food in a way that keeps everyone safe, please go to the InfoBites factsheets on the Food Standards website.

    To view the code, please click here.

    To view the Food Handler training fact sheet, please click here.

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    Our 2024 AGM will take place at Ursula Frayne Catholic College as part of our 70th Anniversary Conference, on Saturday 8th June 2024 at 11:15am. We will have the AGM booklet available to email out to our members one week prior to the AGM.

    If you have any motions you would like to be included as part of our AGM, please email Nicole at [email protected]

    As a quorum is required, can you please contact us to register your attendance on [email protected] or 9338 9987. 

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    As Marina has mentioned in her welcoming letter, staff and members of Council continue to regularly meet with our local politicians, both to ensure that they are aware of the challenges that face parents today but also to hear about the positive stories that abound in our system.  Whilst not denying that teachers are having to deal with more and more negative behaviour from children and sadly from their parents, it is not all bad news. Many parents take their responsibility to engage in a positive way with their child’s school seriously, knowing that this will in fact lead to better outcomes for all. We need to pay attention to this and promote the positives as well as addressing the negatives.

    CSPWA also take seriously our role in advocating for families who choose a Catholic education for their children in this state and so seek to bring to the attention of our elected members, the challenges that exist.

    In recent weeks we have met with amongst others, Hon Tony Buti MLA, Minister for Education and had a very open and frank conversation. We questioned the Minister as to why WA is the only state in Australia which does not provide capital grants for Catholic schools? Capital grants are vital to ensure that not only can we build new schools where they are needed, but also to assist in maintaining and upgrading the schools already part of our system. The only way this can currently be achieved is to levy parents over and above what they already pay in school fees. You will all be familiar with the ‘building levy’ as a line item on your school fee schedule.

    In an effort to assist you in having a say around some of the issues you may feel government should support us with, we are arranging a ‘Political Forum’ as part of our 70th Anniversary Conference on Saturday 8th June. We have invited politicians from the Labor, Liberal and National parties to participate both State and Federal. You will no doubt be aware that we are entering into election mode for both State and Federal governments and so it is vitally important that we ascertain from our elected representatives how they will continue to support Catholic education in Western Australian.

    Whilst we should remember that we are indeed fortunate to live in a country will allows parents to have a choice in selecting the education which best meets their children’s needs, we also request that we are able to access a fair share of the taxpayers (which includes parents!) dollar to enable us to provide the best that we can for our children.

    Lastly, we were delighted to receive from the Minister when we met, confirmation of our successful Lotterywest grant application. Nicole Beresford, CSPWA Liaison Officer did a fantastic job in writing the grant and we are grateful that we can once again, offer financial assistance to parents in schools outside the metro area to attend the conference weekend. To find out more about this please don’t hesitate to call us in the office.

    As mentioned above it is so important that we take the time to celebrate our achievements both at state level but importantly within our school communities. We look forward to welcoming you all to our conference events and in particular to the Awards of Excellence in Building Positive School Communities for which nominations are now open.

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    Nominations for the 2024 Awards of Excellence are now open. The awards ceremony will take place at the CSPWA 70th Anniversary Conference dinner on Friday 7th June in the Rooftop Ballroom of the Aloft Hotel Perth.  To purchase tickets to the event, please click here. To view the agenda for the evening, please click here.

    The awards are an integral part of work that CSPWA does in acknowledging and celebrating the amazing work that is carried out within our Catholic school communities. The awards celebrate those within our school communities who demonstrate positive outcomes for students, families, and the wider school community.

    Nomination forms are available below for all 5 categories; Parent, Parent Group, Principal, Parish and the Agnes Weymouth award. For a summary of all 5 award categories, please see our Awards of Excellence flyer.

    Parent Nomination Form

    Parent Group Nomination Form

    Principal Nomination Form

    Parish Nomination Form

    Agnes Weymouth Nomination Form

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    The Catholic School Parents WA 70th Anniversary Conference will take place on Saturday 8th June at Ursula Frayne Catholic College in Victoria Park. The theme of the conference this year is ‘Communication for Connection’, and will focus on how we can all utilise good communication skills in schools to build connections that lead to positive and vibrant communities.

    Please click here to view the agenda for the day.

    If you are a parent from a regional or remote part of the state, we are pleased to be able to assist you with your travel and accommodation costs through a generous grant from Lotterywest. For more information about this grant please see the fact sheet or contact the CSPWA Liaison Officer Nicole on 9338 9987 for more information. 

    It is a prerequisite that all rural delegates accessing Lotterywest funding attend both the dinner on the Friday evening and the conference on Saturday. (The cost of the dinner and the conference is the responsibility of the individual delegate or their school P&F). 

    Our booking link for the conference and dinner is now open: https://events.humanitix.com/70th-anniversary-dinner-and-conference. Please also see our flyer for more information.

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    With Term 2 firmly upon us, our children are hopefully settled in their school routines with the older students working well towards their goals and the early years children finding their feet in their new learning environments and gaining good traction in the classroom and playground.

    We remain in the season of Easter which means many of our upper primary students are currently being prepared to receive the strengthening and beautiful Sacrament of Confirmation. This is such a special time in the children’s lives, even though many of them may not appreciate it, they will be well equipped for the many challenges ahead in their faith life.  It would be especially lovely to remember these children and their families, parish priests and teachers in our prayers during this blessed time. 

    As we are headed for both a Federal Election (sometime before September 2025) and State Election (8 March 2025), members of CSPWA are currently meeting with as many politicians as we can to ascertain how they intend to support families who choose a Catholic Education for their children.  We have not only put forward our requests to the politicians, but importantly, ensured they are aware of the contribution that parents and families make to the economies of both the state and nation by choosing a Catholic education for our children.  Whilst we continue to be grateful for the financial assistance currently received from both Federal and State governments, it is important that all are aware of the very real benefits that choosing a Catholic Education brings to the state and national economies.  It is important that as parents we are aware of the funding arrangements for our schools, which enable us to have meaningful and relevant conversations with our elected representatives. As always, if you need any assistance with this, please don’t hesitate to contact the office. 

    During May we will be celebrating National Volunteers Week.  As CSPWA celebrates it's 70th Anniversary, I am sure that our Catholic Schools would not have prospered the way they have had it not been for the enormous efforts of all those parents, caregivers and friends who built, maintained, and coordinated fundraising efforts for all of our schools harking back to the 1840s.  I personally thank each and every one of you for what you do in our schools to benefit many children, not just your own.  We know that our children (sometimes secretly) love it when we parents are involved in their schools, whether it be listening to reading, attending busy bees, participate in committees, assist with sports days, cover books, sell tickets in the music or sports departments raffles and so on, our children know that we care and are INTERESTED in them!  Throughout the 23 years I had children in the Catholic education system, I know my children benefitted not just from our family’s voluntary efforts but enormously from the collective efforts of so many others – many known to us, some who have become long-term friends, but so many who have gone before as well.

    I wish you well as the year progresses, and I hope that Term 2 is a very productive one for all of our P&Fs and Friends groups.  Please remember that the office staff is only an email or phone call away for helpful suggestions, a listening ear or indeed some advice to help you prosper as a group and school community.

    As this is my final newsletter as president of CSPWA and indeed it is my final few weeks as a councillor, it would be remiss of me to not thank the very many people who have made my time as part of this organization a very happy and productive 13 years of my life.  I have learnt so much more than I ever expected to and hopefully have contributed to the betterment of the relationships of parents within the school community.  To the many councillors who have served with me, and the office staff; Jonelle, Jennifer, Nicole and especially Siobhan … “Thank you for all you have done, are currently doing, and will do in the future to further the cause of assisting parents of children in Catholic Schools”.  To the Catholic School communities my children have belonged to:  Mater Christi Catholic Primary School, Trinity College and Mercedes College, I thank you for the opportunities you have afforded my children and our family.  My time of involvement in the P&Fs of each of these schools has been so wonderfully fruitful – from attending my first P&F meeting to ask some questions of the school leadership when my eldest son was in Kindy in 2001, to my final P&F meeting Term 4 2023, I have loved the involvement and the opportunity to be fully engaged in my four children’s education.

    I look forward to meeting many of you at the CSPWA Awards of Excellence and Conference dinner on the 7th of June and the Conference itself on the 8th.

    God bless.

    Marina

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    Students at Mandurah Catholic College

    More students than ever before are enrolled at Catholic schools in Western Australia, according to the state’s latest student census. Source: Catholic Education Western Australia.

    Every year, the WA Government collects data relating to schools, students and staff throughout the state’s education systems.

    The latest census data was collected during semester 2, 2023, and was released on Tuesday. It showed 81,736 students (Kindergarten to Year 12) were enrolled at the 162 Catholic schools – a 1.8 per cent increase compared to February 2023. The increase in students is across both new schools (511 students) and established schools (774 students).

    The number of Indigenous students also increased, to 3590 students. Indigenous students make up 4.7 per cent of total enrolments in Catholic schools.

    “I am encouraged by the continued strength of enrolments in Catholic schools, as more parents than ever before are benefitting from the choice of a quality, faith-based education,” Catholic Education Western Australia Executive Director, Wayne Bull, said.

    “This is the largest increase in students since 2015 and is a sign of sustained growth in our system, with a 6.3 per cent increase in enrolments over the last five years.”

    Emmaus Catholic Primary School became the newest Catholic school in WA when it opened in Dayton in 2023. St Marcellin Catholic College in Madora Bay will open for Pre-Kindergarten to Year 2 in 2025.

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    As included with the recent National Catholic Education Commission's newlletter,  a recent Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) study underscores the vital role of positive peer relationships during the middle years (ages 8-14) in shaping young people's health, wellbeing and academic performance. These interactions are key for developing social and cognitive skills essential for future relationships.

    The study highlights that young people's social relationships during these years impact their current and future health, wellbeing, learning, academic performance, and relationships with peers and family. Positive peer relationships are linked to better mental health and fewer externalising behaviours, like aggression.

    Practitioners can support young people's mental health by promoting strategies that enhance positive peer relationships, such as conflict resolution and resilience building. Encouraging social interactions that improve interpersonal skills can also be beneficial.

    Click on the link below to view the CFCA Paper: The influence of peer relationships in the middle years on mental health.

    CFCA Paper: The influence of peer relationships in the middle years on mental health (aifs.gov.au)

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    Politics

    All school communities should strive to have a good, active relationship with their local members of State and Federal Parliament, senators, and local councillors. These local members are our representatives, and the lives of our Catholic school communities are very important to them.

    The development of positive relationships with your representatives at all levels of government is immensely important as it enables politicians to know first-hand the great work happening at your school and to form personal connections with parents (taxpayers and voters!). These established relationships mean that when there is an issue you would like addressed, they are more likely to take a personal interest and advocate on your behalf with the government or local council.

    It is also very important to include senators in these relationships as they are usually a great source of support and information and can provide a broader state-wide perspective on issues.

    The resources below will hopefully be of assistance as you plan your approach, however, please don’t hesitate to contact the office if you require additional assistance.

    CSPWA A Guide to Building Relationships With Your Governement Representatives

    CSPWA Draft Letter to Politicians

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    A huge thank you to all of you who took time to attend the P&F Induction evening at our office on Feb 21. We were delighted to welcome representatives from 22 schools, and your attendance helped contribute to lots of fruitful discussion.

    The intent of the evening is to introduce those of you who have taken on office bearer roles within your P&F, to the Terms of Reference for P&Fs. To assist with this CSPWA have developed an on-line induction resource which parents can do in their own time and which helps to familiarise themselves with the goals and objectives of the Catholic school P&F. Introduction to the online resource also forms part of the agenda for the evening. It should also be noted that attendance at the induction evening or completion of the online induction ensures that you are meeting the requirement as noted in the TOR section 7 below...

    "7. P&F COMMITTEE MEMBER TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

    7.5 P&F Committee members should participate in a CEWA approved information session in their initial year of membership (e.g. CSPWA online induction)."

    We also acknowledge those of you who were unable to attend due to the date falling on that of your own P&F meeting at your childs school. However we encourage you to access the online resource at https://www.parentassociation.com.au/login The resource includes 27 modules which provide information for your P&F but also about Catholic education more broadly. Nicole has also made a recording of the presentation which can be accessed through https://www.csp.wa.edu.au/parent-groups/2024-Parent-Induction-Presentation. If you have any difficulties with any of this information please call Nicole in our office.

    As an organisation we take the work we do in representing parents very seriously. One of the ways we can capture what parents are thinking is through surveys. Although many of us may be a little 'surveyed out' over the past couple of years, we urge you to engage with them wherever you can as this is where your valuable perspective can be heard. One of the more important surveys for those of us with children in Catholic schools is the 'school climate survey' which comes out on a cyclical basis from our children's school.

    We were delighted to welcome Dan Wood, Team Leader - School Improvement, CEWA on the evening to speak a little about the importance of parent feedback within the area of school improvement. Dan spoke about how our schools are consistently focussed on improvement. This includes looking at what is currently working well in our system as well as looking at what the challenges may be. Dan spoke about how our system recognises the important role that parents play in this space both as the first educators of their children but also as key stakeholders in Catholic education.

    However, as parents, it seems we are not great at engaging with the school climate surveys, therefore not providing the feedback that our schools are keen to hear. This year will see additional conversation about how we might encourage more parents to engage. As this work progresses we look forward to being in touch and continuing this discussion.

    We would also like to thank Dan for giving up his time to be with us on the evening and ensuring we are aware how important our voice is to CEWA!

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    school holidays

    During school holidays, it is important to make the most of your time off. Use this time to relax, recharge, and have fun! Whether you choose to travel to new places, try new activities, or simply spend quality time with loved ones, school holidays offer a great opportunity to create lasting memories. 

    Click on the links below to get some ideas on activities to do in the upcoming school holidays.

    https://www.destinationperth.com.au/school-holidays-in-perth/

    https://www.destinationperth.com.au/whats-on/events-calendar/

    https://buggybuddys.com.au/100-school-holiday-ideas-perth/

    https://schoolholidayactivities.com.au/things-to-do-with-teenagers-in-perth/#fun-activities-for-teenagers

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    my future
    Introducing myfuture

    To assist your child in their career development, myfuture provides resources to explore career pathways, and tools to develop self-knowledge to help with career decision-making.

    myfuture information for parents and carers

    Access free tools and resources to help your child develop self-awareness, explore future study options and career opportunities, and make informed career decisions. Find tips and strategies to help engage their interest in careers, ways to support their career aspirations, information on the future of work, and more.

    You can also learn about myfuture's key features for students, such as My career profile, which helps young people identify their interests, skills and values, and suggests matching occupations to explore.

    Assist your child | myfuture

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    The Catholic School Parents WA 70th Anniversary Conference will take place on Saturday 8th June at Ursula Frayne Catholic College in Victoria Park. The theme of the conference this year is ‘Communication for Connection’, and will focus on how we can all utilise good communication skills in schools to build connections that lead to positive and vibrant communities.

    We are very happy to announce that we will be welcoming Andrew Fuller to Perth, as our keynote speaker for the Conference. Andrew is a child and adolescent clinical psychologist who works with many schools and communities around Australia and internationally, specialising in the wellbeing of young people and their families. 

    If you are a parent from a regional or remote part of the state, we are pleased to be able to assist you with your travel and accommodation costs through a generous grant from Lotterywest. For more information about this grant please see the fact sheet or contact the CSPWA Liaison Officer Nicole on 9338 9987 for more information. 

    It is a prerequisite that all rural delegates accessing Lotterywest funding attend both the dinner on the Friday evening and the conference on Saturday. (The cost of the dinner and the conference is the responsibility of the individual delegate or their school P&F). 

    Our booking link for the conference and dinner is now open: https://events.humanitix.com/70th-anniversary-dinner-and-conference. Please also see our flyer for more information.

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    Nominations for the 2024 Awards of Excellence are now open. The awards ceremony will take place at the CSPWA 70th Anniversary Conference dinner on Friday 7th June in the Rooftop Ballroom of the Aloft Hotel Perth.  To purchase tickets to the event, please click here

    Nomination forms are available below for all 5 categories; Parent, Parent Group, Principal, Parish and the Agnes Weymouth award. For a summary of all 5 award categories, please see our Awards of Excellence flyer.

    Parent Nomination Form

    Parent Group Nomination Form

    Principal Nomination Form

    Parish Nomination Form

    Agnes Weymouth Nomination Form

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    Siobhan

    Welcome to our second newsletter for Term 1!

    As you are all no doubt aware we have in recent times moved to one newsletter per term, acknowledging that you all receive regular updates from your own school communities.  However, we have so much going on at the moment that we wanted to ensure that you are all up to date with our activities!

    As Marina alluded to in our last newsletter, this year we are celebrating 70 years of advocacy, representation and service for our Catholic school communities here in WA.

    70 years is represented by platinum, hence the colours of our 70th Anniversary logo designed by Jennifer in our office. Platinum as a metal is known to be extremely durable yet more flexible and adaptable than gold. These characteristics reflect those of our organisation. As the oldest non-government parent group in Australia, we certainly reflect the characteristic of durability and of course like any other organisation have had to be adaptable whilst not losing our integrity along the way. We are extremely lucky to be able to consistently attract Council and staff members who are committed and dedicated to the work of Catholic School Parents WA, however we are very aware that we stand on the shoulders of those who went before us. (There is of course always room for one more, so if joining our team of councillors is something you may be interested in, please contact the office.)

    70 years is a significant milestone and one we look forward to celebrating at our Conference on the weekend of 7th & 8th June. You will find information regarding the conference, including registration, assistance for country parents to attend through the generosity of Lotterywest and of course the Awards of Excellence in Building Positive School Communities. We look forward to reading about the wonderful ways in which you contribute to your school communities, through your 'friendraising' efforts. 

    Term 1 is always a busy time, however when we plan ahead it makes life easier and helps to focus our thoughts to the tasks at hand. As you are planning for the year ahead we urge you to remember the importance of building relationships with your local representatives - Local, State and Federal. Our elected representatives are always keen to hear about the activities taking place in their electorates and we see them as part of our extended communities. However, like the rest of us, they are busy people and so is it useful to think ahead about we go about building and maintaining these relationships. You may find the guide included in this newsletter useful as you think about how best to go about reaching out to your local members. It should be noted that there is merit in invitations to visit the school coming from the P&F / SAC  Chair (with the permission and collaboration of the Principal), as it is with our grass roots communities that politicians are often interested in meeting. As always if you would like some further assistance with this, please don’t hesitate to contact the office.

    For some time now, CSPWA have been working with the team at CEWA to create generic type email addresses for members of P&Fs and SACs in order to streamline the communication between CSPWA and our members. In the past we have spent many hours calling schools, collecting contact details for P&F members and so this new method of communication will not only make life a little easier for us, but will also ensure that we can get information and requests for input to you all in a more timely manner. I would like to particularly thank those at CEWA who have been involved in this initiative and express my gratitude for their commitment to parents within our Catholic school communities.

    At our first council meeting of the year we welcomed Ms Annette Morey, the new Deputy Executive Director of CEWA to our group. Several years ago we were very grateful to receive official endorsement from the Catholic Education Commission of WA (CECWA) as the peak body representing the interests of those parents who choose a Catholic education for their children in WA. As part of this process the decision was also made to invite a member of the CEWA Executive to the table as an ex-Officio member of council and so Wayne Bull became the inaugural representative from CEWA. This has worked very well for CSPWA and I would hope for CEWA as well, and has served to strengthen the relationship between our two organisations. And so, we look forward to having Annette at our meetings and continuing to work alongside each other in the best interests of our children and young people.

    Finally, I would like to acknowledge all the wonderful activities that were shared across your social media channels for International Womens Day. Whilst it is just wonderful to see the influential women who have taken time to address our school communities and provide inspiration for our young women (and men) along with the staff in our schools who created awareness around the possibilities for young women today, I would like to acknowledge some others. Firstly, the staff in the office of CSPWA, Nicole, Jennifer and Jonelle.  I am beyond blessed to work with these wonderful young women, all Mums who are juggling work, children and extra-curricular activities with their resolute commitment to the work we do on behalf of families in our system. You are all fortunate to have these women in your corner! And lastly but certainly not leastly, to all the Mums, Grannies, Aunties, Sisters, and Daughters who support each other every day. They don’t ask for thanks or payment however we know our school communities would be poorer without them.

    As we move into the immensely important Easter season, I hope that you will all take time to reflect on it’s meaning for us as Catholics. It provides for us, above all, a sense of hope, something which we surely need. Enjoy the break with your families, and we look forward to seeing many of you at the conference later in the year.

    Warm regards

    Siobhan

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    AFP logo.jpg
    Planning to post back to school photos of your children? The Australia Federal Police advise to watch this video first.
    While incidents are rare, the AFP has seen offenders use information from photos, such as school uniforms, to identify and groom children.
    This video shows you how to easily hide personal information in photos using an iPhone.
    You can use similar techniques with any phone.

    If you’re posting images of your child online, consider what information you're sharing. See below some Top Tips as recommended by the Australian Federal Police.
    Top tips:
    Don’t share images that show personal information. This could be your child’s name, age, school logo, street number or street name
    • Choose strong privacy settings for your social media accounts
    • Only share images of your child with people you know and trust
    • Review your ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ on all social media accounts and remove anyone you don’t know.

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