End of Term 4 2022 Newsletter
As we have been saying now for the past few years … this year has been one like no other! The inevitable arrival of COVID into our WA community eventuated taking our experience to a whole new level with mask wearing and exclusions from school and work such a reality. Isolation and quarantining in great numbers greatly affected our communities especially in the early stages of the year. We have eventually transitioned to a stage where we are able to ‘live with’ COVID in our community and we are truly grateful to our school leaders who have navigated through these uncertain times.
Now that December has emerged as the month displayed as we glance at our calendars (and we exclaim “how did this happen?!), so emerges the end of year celebrations, final graduations, Christmas assemblies, Nativity re-enactments, end of year reports and so on. Term 4 usually flies by as so many projects are fulfilled and the culmination of much work is evaluated from the year gone. This time of the year is also when we transition our planning for 2023 into action to ensure a smooth commencement to next year.
The office of CSPWA is well and truly at this stage as the school year comes to its close. Much work has been done to assist many parent groups with their ACM’s and with the introduction of the Terms of Reference (ToR) to ensure compliance. This work will continue into the new year as new committees and the school communities continue to ensure good governance of the P&F groups. Our CSPWA staff are very happy to continue to assist P&Fs with the transition from the traditional constitution they have been operating with to a ToR document.
As always, we encourage a good handover from the current year’s P&F committee to the incoming group. Having a smooth, supportive transition can help get everyone off to a flying start in 2023. We encourage everyone who has a new Office Bearer position in the new year to attend the CSPWA Induction Evening on Thursday 2nd March at 6pm; it will cover the new P&F Terms of Reference, updated Office Bearer role descriptions (including new guidelines for the P&F Treasurer) and information on how to access our P&F resources. There will be a webinar available for regional and remote schools after the Induction Evening.
So, with the end of the year approaching I take the opportunity to thank the CSPWA councillors who willingly give of their time because of their passion for parent engagement in their children’s education, and I offer my heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated office staff Nicole, Jennifer and Siobhan. Their dedication, drive and enthusiasm is infectious and undoubtedly authentic. We are looking forward to another productive and successful year ahead in 2023.
Finally, on behalf of the staff and council of Catholic School Parents Western Australia, as we sit around our Christmas Trees, nativity scenes and Advent wreaths, I wish all our Catholic School families a very happy and safe Christmas, remembering the true meaning and celebrating the coming of Our Saviour.
Siobhan recently had the pleasure of visiting some of the schools in the Geraldton area and whilst there was warmly welcomed at Nagle College, St John’s School and St Lawrence’s Primary School. For anyone thinking of making the move to Geraldton these are great schools led by passionate and committed Principals.
However, Siobhan’s main reason for making the trip to the region was to present a Catholic School Parents WA Award of Excellence to St Mary’s School in Northampton. The CSPWA Awards of Excellence are presented annually to schools, who are making a commitment to building positive school communities
Students at St Mary’s have always endeavoured to live their school values through a service mindset. Prior to Covid-19 restrictions the students would regularly visit the local hospital and aged care facilities to read to the residents or to drop off food and care packages.
“We believe strongly that service is at the heart of our school charism and tradition”, says Principal Ben Will. “This service extends to our Parish, as we see the relationship between the school and parish to be key for our students understanding of living our Catholic faith.”
St Mary’s School in Northampton caught the eye of the adjudicator this year because the nomination demonstrated the close relationship this school has developed with its parish and the willingness of the students to assist in a very practical way.
Ben notes “as a small school and parish in a regional town, we lean on each other heavily for support. The parish community has decreased in recent years and parishioners who have assisted in the past are no longer able to help, due to health concerns. As a result of this, the school assists the parish in several ways. Most notably, have been the efforts of our Year 5/6 group, who through their Christian Council, chose as one of their roles, to regularly clean the church on a roster. This was linked to a fundraising effort where Year 5/6 students organised a community carwash to raise funds for a new parish vacuum, raising over $300 dollars. We are very proud of our school, our students and our school and parish communities. We hope to continue to foster this relationship into the future as it is a true example of living our faith in our actions and words”.
Catholic School Parents WA warmly congratulate St Mary’s in Northampton on their successful nomination!
On the 17th November, Support Officer Nicole visited St Mary's Boyup Brook to present the Parent Group with their Award of Excellence at their final assembly for the year.
The P&F group was nominated for their positive work with the school Principal, staff and school community, both formally through regular P&F and School Advisory Council meetings, and informally through day to day interactions and school and social events. "St Mary's is a relatively small school with less than 50 families and 75 students. The P&F consistently have 10 - 12 parents attending their meetings which, given their small size, is a great reflection of the level of engagement they have in the school community." The P&F also organise and promote social initiatives to encourage community involvement, including a community colour fun run, which gains support from the Lions Club, Local Fire Service and Police.
"Another example is the bi-annual Gala Auction Night which provides a wonderful social event for the community, involves local and relevant business sponsors, promotes the school and raises funds for the school's projects. The P&F also organise an annual outdoor movie night, providing a family friendly event for the local and surrounding communities. This attracted over 200 people and is the P&Fs third Movie Night event."
The P&F fund subscriptions for Mathletics and software for all students and a printed year book for each family, in addition to providing an annual Staff Wish List fund for staff to purchase resources to enhance their teaching and classrooms. In the last few years the P&F have also provided new library furniture, sports equipment, a new set of reading resources for the whole school, a set of faction shirts for use at carnivals and new innovative furniture for classrooms.
Nicole was lucky enough to have a tour of the school before the assembly to have a look at all of the things the P&F have helped to fund over the years, including a cookbook, and new tree top walk/fort that is currently being constructed. Pictured below from left to right are Treasurer Paula Bagshaw, Vice Chair Dana Caldwell, President Kirsten Skraha, Secretary Gemma Lee Steere and Nicole Beresford, and a photo of the new fort.
CSPWA has scheduled our P&F Induction evening for a little later than usual in Term 1 next year to allow parent groups to have their first meeting for the year and to adopt the new P&F Terms of Reference. The induction event will take place at St Peter's Primary School in Inglewood (103 Wood St) on Thursday 2nd March from 6pm, with a webinar available after the event for regional and remote schools.
The Induction evening will cover the new P&F Terms of Reference, updated Office Bearer role descriptions, including new duties for the P&F Treasurer, and information on how to access our P&F resources and online induction.
The event is free but please register via this link for catering purposes:
Catholic School Parents WA has recently developed a new brochure you might find useful to have available at any upcoming welcoming and/or orientation events for fellow parents. The brochure is intended as a welcoming resource for parents and gives an overview of school gospel values, feast days and sacraments. The resource recognises that each family is at a different place in their faith journey and encourages them to engage and work with the school and parish as their child/ren progress through their Catholic education.
Are you planning on enroling your children in an Outside School Hours Care program, or camp over the school holidays, or are you thinking about employing a private tutor for one to one lessons for your children? The Working with Children Check (WWC) team provide factsheets and advice to help you to understand when it is appropriate to ask to see an employee or volunteer's Working with Children Card, and when it is appropriate to apply for one yourself.
A WWC Check is required by a person if they engage in certain paid or unpaid work with children, described as child-related work under the WWC Act, and if no exemptions apply. Click here to view the full list of categories in Factsheet 1: What is 'Child-Related Work'?.
Certain people do not require a WWC because they fit within the description of an exemption that applies to the specific category or categories of child-related work they engage in.
Some general exemptions include:
- work carried out on a voluntary basis by a child;
- work carried out on an unpaid basis by a student under 18 years of age; and
- parents volunteering in certain activities where their child is also involved or participates (unless attending an overnight activity).
It is important to note that if the WWC Screening Unit receives new information about a person during the period of their card being active, relevant to the immediate safety of children (e.g. a charge or conviction for a relevant offence) their eligibility to hold a WWC Card may be re-assessed. Once a re-assessment is triggered, the WWC Screening Unit can then request and consider any information that is relevant to the issue of whether a child may be exposed to a risk of harm should they continue to engage in child-related work.
If you signed their application form, authorised their online renewal or completed the 'Register Card Holders' online form on the WWC website you will be notified of any change in your employee, volunteer or student’s eligibility to hold a WWC Card. For more ifnromation, please see: Working with Children Check - Western Australia
As the summer holidays approach, children may be requesting more and more screen time during the week. This can be hard to manage but the eSafety Commissioner website has a range of tips on how to help kids manage their online time and set boundaries.
You may wonder, how much is too much? The eSafety website suggests considering your child’s screen use in the context of their overall health and wellbeing. For example, is online time getting in the way of their sleep and exercise? Is it impacting on their face-to-face connections with family and friends?
There are warning signs to look out for including less interest in social activities, meeting with friends or playing sport, appearing anxious or irritable when away from the computer, or obsessions with particular websites or games.
The eSafety website recommends creating a plan with your child. One example might involve creating a family plan for leisure and entertainment time that balances time spent sitting in front of screens — including time online and watching TV — and a variety of offline activities. As well as agreed age-based time limits, the plan could include rules about which websites can be visited and online games can be played. It could also include control of access to the internet or devices, perhaps with daily passwords revealed once family time, homework and chores are complete.
You can also set specific boundaries: Your family plan could include rules like:
- no devices in the bedroom for younger children
- all screens off in bedrooms after a certain time for older children
- all screens off at least one hour before planned bedtime
- all family members switch off at dinner time
- devices charged overnight in a place your child cannot access
For more information, please click here.
Triple P can help you:
- Raise happy, confident, capable kids
- Build and maintain a close, loving relationship with your child
- Understand more about child development to make parenting more enjoyable and easier
- Encourage positive behaviour
- Prevent and manage misbehaviour effectively, in a way that supports children’s emotional wellbeing
- Have rules and routines everyone respects and follows
- Feel less stressed and calmer
- Feel more able to handle various parenting situations, knowing you’re doing the best for your kids.
Many organisations including charities, health centres, schools and governments around the world offer free access to Triple P, one of the few parenting programs in the world with evidence to show it works. Triple P is now available for free to families online, and is also the first online parenting program proven to work.
Stay calm under pressure, strengthen your relationship, fix issues before they become real problems, and positively influence your child’s skills and development. This Triple P full toolkit of tips and ideas really works!
- 17 effective strategies – the world’s first proven-to-work online parenting program
- You choose what works for you - adapt to suit your family, your values
- Be confident about handling each new age, stage and situation (and support your child now and in the years to come)
- Do it on your phone, computer, or tablet
- Videos and fun interactive learning
- Earn badges, track your progress and print your certificate
To find out which online course may be right for you, please see:
For parents/carers of young children (under 12 years) Online program, research-backed | Positive parenting strategies
For parents/carers of anxious kids (from age 6+) Online parenting course - help kids overcome anxiety
For parents-to-be and new parents Online program for new parents | A positive start for baby, and you
For parents and caregivers of pre-teens and teens (10-16 years) Online program for parents of 10-16 yr-olds | Proven strategies
More information is available at https://www.triplep-parenting.net.au/au/about-triple-p/help-your-child-cope-with-challenges/
CSPWA has a range of resources available on our website including tips on how to attract more volunteers, and an overview of the benefits of volunteering in your school community.
Please click on the links below to view each resource.