CSPWA Term 3 Newsletter 2020

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Presidents Newsletter Term 3 2020

Welcome fellow Parents,

I would like to introduce myself as the new President of Catholic School Parents WA. My name is Catherine Howarth and I am a mum of two boys, year 4 and year 1 at a Catholic Primary School in the northern suburbs. I also work as a Clinical Nurse at the local hospital. My family moved from the UK to Perth 5½ years ago. When my first child started Kindy, I joined what was then PFFWA to help me understand how the Australian system, especially Catholic education, worked here in WA and here I am 4 years in and now President. Through volunteering with CSPWA I feel I have come a long way in understanding how schools work. As a result, I have also been able to provide support to other parents along the way and hope I can continue to do so. It has deepened my relationships in the school community and highlighted for me, the value of parent engagement in learning and how difficult this is at times. I am actively involved with both the P&F Association and school board at my children’s school.

With Term 3 coming to an end, spring now underway and summer fast approaching, these school holidays will hopefully be similar to those in the past as the easing of restrictions allow us to return to some form of normality. With some schools allowing parents to again be present on school grounds including entering the classroom over the last few weeks and hopefully next term, the calendar will be filling up with school events, assemblies and end of year performances. We should remember how lucky we are to have been able to do this. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved for making this possible.

Earlier in the year, CSPWA held several zoom ‘re-connect’ meetings. As a result of these online get-togethers, parents suggested they would like to continue these ‘cluster’ type meetings face to face once it was safe to do so. The meetings provide an opportunity for diverse parent groups to share ideas for building school/community relationships as well as ideas for fundraising as we move forward.  Please see further information about these meetings later in this newsletter.

To the year 12 students and families who are coming towards the end of their school journey, I wish you good luck and well done for getting through this extraordinary year. However, there is still one more hurdle to get over for some and that is of course exams! Whether your child is in year 12 and completing external exams or whether they are doing internal exams, included in this newsletter are some tips and advice for keeping everyone on the right track for what can be a stressful time for many families.

As you already know CSPWA had to postpone the conference which was scheduled for earlier this year, however with the assistance of the technology team at CEWA will be hosting a virtual ‘mini’ conference on Saturday 17 October. The office staff are currently finalising the speakers who will be covering topics relevant to parents in all year groups from Kindy through to year 12. Our sincere thanks to Ben Beaton and his team at CEWA for their assistance with this, it is greatly appreciated.

We are always looking for inspiring stories from your school communities to share with others. St Maria Goretti’s CPS has come up trumps with their story of what can be achieved with lots of volunteering hours, financial support by the P&F Association and some very astute budgeting.  If you have a story you would like to share please contact the office on 08 9338 9985 or email [email protected]

I would also like to take the opportunity to congratulate Siobhan Allen, Executive Director of CSPWA on her election to Deputy Chair of Catholic School Parents Australia, the national body advocating on behalf of parents who choose a Catholic education for their children across Australia. Siobhan has been a West Australian representative on this body since its inception in 2013 and has played an active role during this time.

Before I sign off, I would ask you all to keep our year 3 and year 4 students in your thoughts and prayers as many of them are currently receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Eucharist. An incredibly special time for both students and their families!

We are also delighted that the Sacrament of Confirmation may now be celebrated in accordance with some directives from the Archdiocese of Perth. Each Parish Priest will make appropriate decisions about this matter after consultation with his sacramental team and other advisors. Some Confirmations may still be postponed until 2021.

Until next time stay safe and God Bless!

Catherine Howarth

President CSPWA

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Good news for parents – “In 2021, there will be no increase in tuition fees at Western Australian Catholic schools”, Catholic Education Western Australia’s executive director Dr Debra Sayce says. Please see the attached for further information.

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Congratulations to all of the primary and secondary students across the state that participated in the Angelico Exhibition 2020. The Angelico Exhibition is the visual art sector of Catholic Arts. It is a prestigious event that showcases the incredible artistic talent of students in Catholic schools across WA.


The quality of the artwork this year was exceptional. The exhibition was beaming with creativity and included pieces that revealed different sides of humanity, current social issues, family and heritage, fear, love, joy and the strange and wonderful world around us.


A special congratulations to the recipient of the Catholic School Parents WA – Encouragement Award, Isabelle Hughes, in Year 10 from Chisholm Catholic College, for her piece “My Sister’s A Virus.” Isabelle’s piece was a sweet ode to her sister. The piece was meticulously crafted and radiated joy and love. CSPWA hopes that through this award Isabelle is inspired to continue her artistic journey in the years to come.


The virtual Angelico Exhibition is currently available for everyone to view online

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It is a real test of parenting when there is an exam student in the house - the date of the WACE exams can evoke feelings of rising anxiety – in students and in their parents! It can be very difficult to stay detached from all the talk about ATAR, what course your child is hoping to do and at which university.

Unfortunately, parents often unintentionally add to this stress by allowing themselves to become consumed with the whole process – or on the other end of the scale by being too laid back which may come across as not caring. What’s needed here is a balanced and realistic expectation.

Click on the link below to read more on how to help our young people to cope with exam stress.

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Are they old enough?

Parents and carers play a key role in guiding their children as they first encounter the online world and begin to learn through exploration, play and social interaction. 

When is your child old enough to take their first online steps and begin to explore on their own? How soon are they ready for smartphones and social media accounts? 

For more information how to navigate key online milestones for your child at ww.esafety.gov.au

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The Parents and Friends Association at St Maria Goretti’s Catholic School donated $10,000 to fund a nature play area that was desperately needed to engage students in their learning and offering opportunities to play beyond sporting activities during recess and lunch. With the assistance of Jayson Stephens, owner of Green Acres Landscaping and Gardening, Design, Construction and Maintenance worked closely with our school to build an engaging nature play area.

The cost of this standard of Nature Play Area would be around the $30,00 -  $40,000 mark, however, with the use of Facebook Market Place and a bit of elbow grease by our parent community, our students have an outstanding addition to the play area for years to come.


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In preparation for Leavers WA in 2020  which will be held from Monday 23 November to Thursday 26 November, the Department of Education and WA Police are holding a Leavers’ Brunch – Parent information session on Sunday, September 20 at The Rise, 28 Eighth Avenue in Maylands.

The event will also be live-streamed via YouTube.

Please click on the following link for promotional materials and information, including details on how to register.


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The Apprenticeship and Traineeship Opportunities – Business Listings Guide for 2021 is now available and is a great guide that captures hundreds of apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities that are available over the next year. This is very valuable for any parents of students in this space.

This guide is designed to give Western Australians the opportunity to view a vast array of apprenticeship and traineeship career options that are available in businesses operating in WA, in one place.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCIWA) which owns and operates Apprenticeship Support Australia in WA, are at the forefront of what is happening across the state, the challenges that we are facing in WA and the labour market trends.

We understand some of the uncertainty out there facing current job seekers and the future workforce. However, there are some really encouraging signs - with many businesses remaining focused on skilling local people for local jobs.

Click on the link below to access the guide.

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Free Webinar Recording - Helping Australian schools understand, monitor, and improve student wellbeing.

As we navigate the ongoing uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to understand student wellbeing, help them build it, and for us to measure and monitor their wellbeing.

To help achieve this, ARACY is working with school systems across Australia, to ‘operationalise’ our wellbeing framework, the Nest, through a student wellbeing app called EI Pulse. EI Pulse gathers weekly data on the wellbeing of students based on ARACY’s The Common Approach® program. The Common Approach is a method of speaking with young people and their families to understand their strengths and the challenges they face across the domains of the Nest.

In this webinar we described: How we define wellbeing; How EI Pulse works; and, provided an overview of The Common Approach. Watch the webinar free of charge

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CSPWA will be holding our first virtual mini-conference later this year. There will be 3 streams aimed at Lower primary, Middle school and High school with topics from guest speakers including the Home School Partnership, Parent Engagement in Learning,  and  Mental Health and Wellbeing

Look out for more information on how to register for this event coming soon.

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Now You’re 16 & 18 – Guides for young people with disability transitioning from high school

These guides prepare school leavers with the understanding, ability and confidence to engage successfully in the community and the economy which is vital to securing young people’s future.

In order to ensure a smooth transition into employment, further education, vocational training and life in the community, careful planning is key.

The aim of these guides is to give young people an overview of the supports that are available to them through government agencies and the community.

DDWA has a large range of resources, most FREE to download or collect.

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  • Parent Connect Cluster Meetings in Term 4- the first meeting will be held at Salvado Catholic College on Friday 30th October 10am-12pm. A great opportunity to meet other parents from schools nearby and to hear how parent groups can support their school communities during this very difficult year. If you are interested in attending this event or hosting a Cluster meeting at your school please contact [email protected] for further information. 

  • Presentation of CSPWA's Awards of Excellence in Building Positive Catholic School Communities- to be held on October 16th at the Catholic Education Staff breakfast, where the QCS Awards for 2020 are announced. 

  • CSPWA's Virtual Mini Conference-Saturday 17 October 2020. 9:30am-12:30pm. Further information available soon.

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