CSPWA Welcome to Term 4 2020 Newsletter

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Welcome to Term 4!

Although we still have two months to go before Christmas is upon us, the commencement of Term 4 starts us all thinking about the celebrations and joy of the season of Christmas. Term 4 is usually a flurry of activity across all parts of our school system, from families starting to prepare their young children for entry into kindy in their chosen school, to the wonderful Year 12’s who are completing the formal part of their education and getting ready to transition to the next phase of their lives. Thoughts of transition are also in the minds of Year 6 children and their families as they start the transition process to secondary school.

As we negotiate these important milestones of transition, it is important that, as parents, we participate in the process. We know that when parents work in partnership with schools that the outcomes will be positive for our children – this includes the transition process. Catholic School Parents Australia (CSPA), the national body representing and advocating on behalf of parents in Catholic schools has developed a fantastic resource that assists both parents and schools with the transition process.

In addition to the international research that is available around this time of change, CSPA also conducted research across Australia, including here in WA, to provide authentic and contextual information to add to the resource. You will find a link to the resource further along in this newsletter.

The past week has been a busy one for staff and council members of CSPWA. Friday 16th October saw us celebrate the 10th year of the CSPWA Awards of Excellence in Building Positive School Communities and we were delighted this year to be invited to present them at the CEWA Staff Breakfast. With the postponement of our State Conference earlier in the year and being unable to present them directly to schools because of Covid-19 restrictions, Dr Debra Sayce, Executive Director CEWA, invited us to join in the celebrations at the Staff Breakfast where the CEWA Quality Catholic Education awards were also being presented. It certainly demonstrated the importance that both CEWA and CSPWA place on the vital partnership between families and schools. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the award winners and thank them for the wonderful work they do in our schools. You can read more about the event further down in the newsletter.

Saturday 17th October saw us approach our first Virtual Conference with trepidation as we had never attempted this type of event. We would like to specifically offer our thanks to Ben Beaton and his team at CEWA whose professionalism, expertise and above all patience (lots of patience!) helped us to manage this event.

Our sincere thanks to Dr Sayce and her leadership team for sharing the knowledge and expertise of those within CEWA, in this case, the Communications and Marketing team and the Digital Technology team and without whose help neither of these events would have been possible.

One last acknowledgement to go – and that is to our Year 12 young people. Year 12 is a big milestone in any young person’s life. It is filled with apprehension, excitement, many ‘lasts’ – last school camp, last whole school Mass, and so it goes on. It is a time of transition and preparation for what comes ahead. However, the Year 12’s from 2020 will also remember it as the year of Covid-19 and how that impacted on the many traditions, rights of passage, not to mention learning and studying. The 2020 Year 12’s will have firsthand experience of the importance of competencies like flexibility, responsibility, problem-solving and communication to name but a few. With the help of their schools and families, they have made it through with the knowledge that things don’t always go to plan. And if they don’t always go to plan there is always someone to help with the next step.  Never be afraid to ask for that help. Just because you may have turned 18 does not mean you have to know everything. No-one is expected to know how to do something they have never done before.

The rest of the year will go very fast from here (not fast enough for some I suspect!) so take the time to enjoy it all and in the words of 18th-century Irish writer Jonathon Swift “may you live every day of your life”.

Until next time…..


Siobhan Allen



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Catholic School Parents WA are the peak body representing and advocating on behalf of parents who choose a Catholic education for their children. Whether parents are part of a P&F Association, Parent Forum, Friends of ….. or other types of a parent group, CSPWA assist them to work collaboratively with their schools and parishes to provide a Catholic education that will help all children reach their full potential.

This year CSPWA celebrate 10 years of ‘Awards of Excellence in Building Positive School Communities’. The awards acknowledge those within our school communities who contribute to positive outcomes for all members of the school community whether it be children, families, staff or parish. The awards are adjudicated externally and are under normal circumstances presented at the State Conference dinner. However, as with many events this year, the State Conference had to be postponed.

With many schools still not allowing parents on site, due to Covid-19 restrictions, CSPWA were unable to attend school assemblies to present the awards directly to the recipients and so were offered the opportunity to attend the Catholic Schools Staff Breakfast, and to present the awards as part of those celebrations. The Staff Breakfast took place on Friday 19th October at Crown Perth, acknowledging those staff members who have served Catholic Education in Western Australia for 30 or 40 years. The event also included a presentation of the Quality Catholic Education awards celebrating school improvement that is Christ-centred and child-focused. This year CSPWA were delighted to be asked to be part of the morning’s celebrations.

The CSPWA awards include five categories which are –

Award of Excellence in Building Positive School Community

  • Parent Group Category
  • Individual Parent Category
  • Parish Category
  • Principal Category
  • Agnes Weymouth Award

The first four categories are self-explanatory. Some of the criteria these nominees must meet are

  • Works collaboratively within the school community
  • Promotes and affirms the work of the school
  • Takes time to listen respectively to each other and to hear parent perspectives
  • Facilitates good networking opportunities to build positive school communities
  • Works collaboratively for the benefit of both school and parish

All nominees this year clearly met all these criteria and more, which of course made the job of adjudicating that much more difficult - a great complaint to have!

2020 also saw the introduction of the ‘Agnes Weymouth’ award which is awarded to a nominee who does not match the criteria of the previous four awards. This award acknowledges that any member of a Catholic school community can make a truly positive difference, whether that person works in administration, is a grounds person or indeed a member of a team specific to that school. The award is named after a much loved, long-standing member of CSPWA. Agnes has contributed to the organisation for over 32 years and was the first female president of CSPWA (then known as the Parents & Friends Federation). Agnes went on to provide the parent perspective on many committees including the Catholic Education Commission of WA. Agnes’ deep faith and her commitment to the importance of the family unit, has been inspirational to council and staff for the past 32 years. Her service and commitment to the organisation will be honoured through the presentation of this annual award.  Although CSPWA staff and council are sad that Agnes has decided to step down from CSPWA council, they know she will still be available to provide advice and counsel should it be needed!

The award winners for 2020 were:

Parent Group – Queen of Apostles P&F Association, Riverton

Individual Parent – Michelle McIntosh, St Paul’s CPS, Karratha

Principal – Gina Burns, Principal St Paul’s CPS, Karratha

Parish – Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Girrawheen

Agnes Weymouth Award – Marie Blackburn, Head of Inclusion, Sacred Heart College Sorrento

In Catholic education, parents are considered an essential part of the educating community of a Catholic school, as the first and continuing educators of their child/ren. CSPWA also differentiates between opportunities for parents to be involved in the life of the school through volunteering and participation in governance and advisory bodies and opportunities for parents to be authentically engaged in the learning, wellbeing and development of their children. CSPWA acknowledge the many years of research which points to significantly better outcomes for children and young people when parents are encouraged to be engaged in their children’s learning and to work in true partnership with the school. The CSPWA Awards of Excellence celebrate the successes in this space.

CSPWA would like to thank Dr Debra Sayce – Executive Director, CEWA for her heartfelt words on the morning which spoke of her commitment to the vital partnership between parents and schools. “The parents present on the morning felt truly affirmed for the work they volunteer to do in Catholic schools and CSPWA sincerely thank Dr Sayce and her leadership team for acknowledging them in this special way,” says Siobhan Allen, Executive Director CSPWA.



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On Saturday 17th October CSPWA held its first-ever virtual conference. We were pleased to have the Hon Sue Ellery MLC, Minister for Education and Training, Mr Wayne Bull, Deputy Executive Director, CEWA and Catherine Howarth, President Catholic School Parents welcome everyone to the conference. The theme of the conference was "Wellbeing- how it contributes to our children's learning". Those who attended virtually were able to access one of three, age-appropriate streams, that was of interest to them.

CSPWA would like to express our thanks to the speakers on the day:

Laura Allison, Team Leader - CEWA Psychology Team,

Allan Blagaich, Executive Director - School Curriculum Standards Authority,

Colin Pettit, Commissioner for Children and Young People and,

Bec Nguyen from Telethon Kids Institute.

The sessions have all been recorded and will be available for viewing on our website in the coming weeks. 

We would like to express our sincere thanks to Ben Beaton and his team at CEWA for all their assistance (and patience!!) enabling us to present our first virtual conference!

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We are aware that for a lot of parent groups their AGM will be fast approaching. We have some useful information and resources available to help assist with this so please contact the office on 9338 9985 or [email protected] 

Please see link below on Ways to Attract more Volunteers. It is really important that you update the office bearers form after your AGM's and return it to our office ASAP. Email it to [email protected] or update the form online.

Click on the images for more information or to register


Theresa MCDonnell
[email protected]

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Change is inevitable through the course of your child’s life as their world extends from their primary carers to the extended family or to structured childcare. Your attitude as a parent and how you handle times of change will guide how your child approaches, experiences and remembers change.

 Through your nurturing role as a parent, you will know best how your child responds to change. You will have seen it through their transitions beyond the family and through the inevitable changes of routine that take place in most families.

Starting primary school is a significant event for your child and so taking time to plan ahead will help to set the scene for a great start to your child’s formal education.

Transition from primary to secondary school:

Your role as a parent in your child’s educational journey continues through high school. In fact, it is as important to be engaged in the high school space as it was in primary. We are sometimes led to believe that our children don’t want us around once they are in high school and while it may be time to step to the side, it is definitely not the time to step away.

 As parents, we should be ready to guide and offer support to our children through this process. Encourage them to ask questions, take a reasonable risk and to keep trying. We all learn from our mistakes and over time become more confident in our judgement.

For some tips and ideas to make the transition to school as smooth as possible for both you and your child click here: 

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Beacon is designed specifically for parents as a personalised, one-stop-shop for reliable information about the online world. It arms parents and carers with the knowledge they need to confidently help navigate their children’s digital behaviour and reduce harms we know are associated with being online.

Beacon will shine a light on the online world with: 

• Articles and videos backed by the latest research
• Tailored content and alerts, unique to your family needs
• Create your own family agreement
• Help and services that are available to you and your family 

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Leavers has become a part of the Year 12 social calendar. It is an exciting time for teenagers as they celebrate completing their schooling and moving into a new phase of their life.

Leavers is a four-day celebratory period that marks the completion of Year 12 and transition into independent adulthood for students in Western Australia. Referred to as Schoolies in other Australian states, such celebratory events have become increasingly popular over time, providing an opportunity for students to celebrate and socialise with their peers.

Click on the logos below to find a

  • Information to help plan your Leavers;
  • What you need to know about your Leavers wristband;
  • Advice for parents and guardians; and
  • Tips for you to stay safe during Leavers and where to go for help if something goes wrong.
  • Student & Parent Kit
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This lovely article appeared recently in St Jerome's CPS newsletter and with their permissoon we are sharing it here! If your school would like us to share a story or somthing that may be useful for other parents, please feel free to send it through- we love to hear about all the wonderful things that are happenig in our school communities!

My oldest son, who is almost 27, wasn’t feeling well. When I texted him to see how he was doing he said “You don’t need to worry about me.”


Apparently, he doesn’t know how the system works.

Basically, it goes like this. Our kids are born. And we start worrying. Actually, we start worrying even before they are born.

And it never ends. NEVER. Not when they are ten or twenty or 28 years, nine months and twelve days. Dinosaur mums probably worried about their three-hundred-year-old dinosaur children.

We worry when they go to daycare and kindergarten, primary & secondary school; when they find a job or go to TAFE or Uni. We worry when they are sick or unhappy. We worry when they don’t text us back. We worry they might get their hearts broken. We worry when there’s a pandemic and when there’s no pandemic. We worry that they might be cold or hungry. And on and on and on!

So my dear son, it’s super nice of you to tell me that I don’t have to worry about you. But until I take my last breath on this earth, I will be your mum. Which means I will worry.

PS- When I get to Heaven, I will worry from there too.

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