Welcome to Term 1 2022
A very warm welcome back to the new school year of 2022. I hope that everyone managed to enjoy some time off over the festive season whether with family and friends or just some chill out time at home.
As we commence another school year with the uncertainty and trepidation that COVID has brought to our lives, we do so in the knowledge that all of our schools will be doing everything that they can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our children, their teachers and the wider school communities. We are aware that the school landscape over the next couple of months will change somewhat as the number of cases escalate, therefore we urge everyone to be patient but vigilant, get vaccinated if it is possible and respect each other by taking every precaution we can to keep everyone safe. Your own child's school is the best place to start should you have queries or concerns regarding COVID protocols.
And now onto more positive topics. We are always charmed at this time of the year to see all the photos and stories across social media of the new kindy children taking their first tentative steps into ‘big’ school as well as those of the slightly apprehensive Year 7’s going from being the ‘big’ kids to the ‘little’ kids. As time progresses, there is more and more advice available to assist families in making these key transitions successful and positive experiences for all.
We talk a lot about our children starting school or moving to high school, but don’t forget it is a learning curve for parents too. I remember being quite daunted as a parent when my first child started high school and having to learn a whole new way of doing things – lots of different teachers, not knowing many of the other parents and of course being unsure of how to engage effectively with my new high schooler’s education. I also had to move through the myth of ‘your high school kids don’t want you around anymore’. It didn’t take me too long to realise that this is indeed a myth. Although children and young people in high school don’t necessarily want their parents seeing them to the door of their classroom or indeed talking to them in front of their peers ? they need to know that you’ve got their back. Most schools now have some kind of welcome function to enable new parents to get to know each other and I would very much encourage you to attend if possible. There are very significant and positive outcomes for children and young people when they see their parents attend school functions or events. It demonstrates to them the importance that we as parents place on their education and on supporting the school we have chosen for that education. In fact, it is one of the key drivers of student engagement in their own learning.
Please note that unfortunately many of these events will not currently be able to take place as a result of current restrictions, however it is important that we try to postpone and not cancel. CSPWA strongly encourage moving your P&F meetings online, you may even find that you get more attendees in this way. Please also make a special effort to invite new parents to these online meetings, as they may be feeling a bit lost. Whilst the priority for schools is the safety and wellbeing for students and staff, parents and particularly those involved with the P&F can play an equally important role in providing a conduit for parents to come together and support each other.
Whilst many parents in the primary setting engage with the P&F, this engagement seems to die off a little once their children hit high school. There are many reasons for this, the ‘myth’ mentioned above, less time in our very busy world and very often having children across both primary and secondary settings. However, the P&F is still a great way to be involved in the life of the school. In the high school setting P&Fs often arrange themselves differently with sub groups such as ‘Friends of Music’, ‘Friends of the Arts’ etc and this provides the opportunity for parents to be more focused on what they choose to assist with. In my experience the P&F was a wonderful way to get to know the leadership group of my child’s school and to understand what the priorities and goals were for the school in the coming year. There are also many ‘one-off’ events such as sports carnivals, school feast days or whole school masses which give parents the opportunity to be involved in some way. I would strongly suggest that, if at all possible, you get involved in some element of the school community however small that may seem to you. With the mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people (and ourselves as parents) a priority for all of us, being aware of, and knowing what’s happening at school is vital.
Finally, worldwide figures for volunteering seem to be dropping at an alarming rate. Our lives have become so much busier with many of us working longer hours and still sending and receiving work emails long after we get home from work. However, re-prioritising our time to fit in some volunteer work is beneficial to us in many ways. We meet new people, learn new skills whilst sharing our own skills with others and of course provide assistance to others when they may not be able to get it anywhere else. Setting this example for our children is so important as it is much more likely that they will engage in volunteer activities if they see Mum or Dad volunteering and adding strength to their school community. Volunteering is good for our wellbeing and as we know ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’.
CSPWA look forward to meeting many of you in this capacity during the course of the coming year and wish you all the very best in your endeavours, be they ‘fundraising’ or ‘friendraising’.
The Catholic School Parents WA Parent Induction evening has become an important and popular event on in CSPWA calendar.
The event originated in the desire to assist parents who were new to their role on the P&F to come together and access relevant information to ensure the smooth governance of their school P&F. Importantly it remains a valuable networking opportunity for parents to share ideas and challenges and to assist each other across our Catholic school communities.
However, due to the high caseload measures recently implemented we are now moving this event on-line. As a result of this it is imperative that each person attending registers seperately so that we have your email address to receive the link.
Please email [email protected] to register for the event which will take place on Thursday 17 February at 6.30pm.
Should you be unable to join us for this event, please don't hesiate to call our office on 08 9338 9985 should you require any assistance or advice for your P&F.
For as little as $3.75 per student (+ GST), you get ongoing representation, advocacy, support and access to events provided by CSPWA. Please see our new 2022 Affiliation flyer below and look out for your school's copy which should be arriving in the post soon.
The new CSPWA website is now live!
We are now in the process of populating it and we are seeking your feedback. The website has dedicated sections for Parents and P&F groups, and additionally provides information regarding the work that CSPWA engages in providing advocacy and representation for parents/carers who chose a Catholic education for their children and young people.
The P&F section houses valuable resources, available for download for P&Fs who are affiliated with Catholic School Parents WA. These resouces include but are not limited to Prayers for Meetings, Office Bearer forms and templates for meetings and ACMs.
CSPWA would very much appreciate you taking the time to look around the website and letting us know if you think we're missing anything. We're always happy to develop new resources and tip sheets for you.
Please forward your feedback and suggestions to [email protected].
CSPWA are required to keep on file the contact details of all P&F Office Bearers from the schools affiliated with our organisation. We will not pass on the details to any other third parties, however we are legally required to have them.
More importantly having your details also allows us to contact you more efficiently when we need to do so. As a peak parent body we are frequently asked to provide feedback on issues relating to education, schools and parents. In order to represent you appropriately, we need to be able to contact you to garner your input and feedback. It is very important to CSPWA that we provide relevant and authentic feedback when asked to do so.
Below is a copy of our 2022 Office Bearer form, which can be printed and taken to your next P&F meeting for completion.
We also have an online form available through our website, which can be completed and sent straight to us once you have all of the contact details to hand: Office Bearer online form
We thank all those P&F groups who regularly provide this information in a timely manner.
The purpose of the eSafetyComissioner is to help safeguard Australians at risk of online harms and to promote safer, more positive online experiences.
As we know, technology is advancing very rapidly and the law needs to keep up with the technology, threats and abuse that can be faced online. The Online Safety Act 2021 is new legislation that makes Australia’s existing laws for online safety more expansive and much stronger. The Act commenced on the 23rd January 2022 and a summary of all the changes can be found in this 3-page fact sheet Online Safety Act Factsheet.
For more information, please visit Online Safety Act | eSafety Commissioner
From Monday 31 January 2022, Western Australians have been required to show proof of vaccination to enter various venues in WA, including hospitality venues, gyms and sporting centres, cinemas and theatres, major stadiums, indoor play centres, residential ages care facilities and hospitals. For a full list please see: Proof of COVID-19 vaccinations
CSPWA have been hearing commentary around the process of downloading the app and so we have put together a helpsheet on how to download the Service WA app and import your COVID-19 vaccination certificate. There are also tips on the helpsheet for what to do if you are not eligible for Medicare, or if you are unable to have the vaccines for health reasons.
For those of you with family members who struggle somewhat with technology, for example elderly parents, (noting that many elderly parents are totally competent in this space!!) please take some time to assist them to either download the app or alternatively to have the appropriate documentation to hand should they be asked to provide it. We are living in anxious times and anything we can do to make other's lives a little easier will be welcomed.
As Siobhan alludes to in her welcome, we have commenced yet another school year with the uncertainty and trepidation that COVID has brought to our lives.
This on topic piece from Linda Stade outlines several tips for how we can help our kids settle in to their first few weeks of school under these trying circumstances.
Reminder: This survey closes on 30th March 2022.
Sometimes we seem to be a little inundated with surveys, however they are a very powerful way to collect information which will inform future policy in Australia. It's easy to dismiss them as 'just another survey'. Nevertheless, we should think of those in other countries who would never in their wildest dreams be asked to contribute to a national conversation. It is a privilege, that we shouldn't take lightly, to be asked to contribute.
This national survey, funded by by the National Mental Health Commission, invites children to share their stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their wellbeing, and how they have coped.
There are two surveys available; one for children and young people aged 9 to 17, and one for for their parents, carers or grandparents.
Each survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and is completely confidential. Children will need parental consent to complete the survey. The results will inform decisions about how best to support children as the pandemic continues, and as the country emerges from it. The Australian Human Rights Commission will report the findings later this year.
To access the surveys, please click here.
To view the media release, please click here.
The Premier of Western Australia, the Hon Mark McGowan MLA has reinstated the Premier’s reading challenge for all WA students from kindy to year 10. The program will operate from 11 March to 16 September 2022 and we will provide more information via our Facebook page as it becomes available.
The challenge will require students to read 12 age and reading level appropriate books during the challenge period. Students can read a minimum of 6 appropriate literacy level books from the Premier’s reading challenge booklist and a minimum of 6 other books of their own choice at a similar standard to titles featured on the booklist.
Students will record the book titles and authors on a Student reading record and must record the titles and authors of the books they read. There will be a range of prizes available and all students who complete the challenge of reading 12 books in 6 months will receive a certificate from the Premier.