I can’t quite believe that we have less than five weeks left of 2019. This term has gone by particularly quickly and we are now in the last weeks of learning and assessment. We are also coming into the silly season with many things happening at school each week. Please keep an eye on the newsletter and family memo as each event is advertised there.
We welcomed our new Kindergarten students for 2020 over the last two Thursdays. It was lovely to see new families at school as well as those who are familiar to St Bede’s. The children settled well into the classroom and seemed quite at home. We look forward to welcoming them on their official first day early in February.
We had our last P&F meeting for 2019 last Tuesday evening in the library. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the committee this year who have worked tirelessly to raise funds for the benefit of the students in our school. I would like to especially thank Fiona Torline for taking over the reigns as President half way through the year and for her contribution to the P&F over time, in a variety of roles. Fiona will be stepping down from this position, so for 2020, we are looking for a new President. If you would like to discuss this position and what is involved, please don’t hesitate to come and see me.
We have been fortunate to pick up Jen Maher to coordinate our Boutique next year as well as Sarah Crewdson and Katrina Spadafora who will oversee the running of the ‘Snack Shack’ in 2020. This is wonderful news on both fronts particularly the re-opening of the school tuckshop for lunches on Fridays.
We are currently deliberating and deciding on replacing interactive screens in classrooms. Whilst we have applied for an ACT Government grant to assist us in this area, we are also aware that these screens need to be replaced as soon as possible. Considering all options, we are going to stagger their replacement based on need, beginning in January next year with a plan to complete the project by the end of 2020. The new ‘ActivPanels’ are 70 inch screens with high functioning interactivity and compatible with both Apple and Android devices.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the school community for their kind messages of support after the passing of my father-in-law recently. We have had both the highs and the lows in our family in recent weeks with the arrival of another beautiful granddaughter but the sudden decline of my husband’s father has deeply impacted us all.
There seems to be some concerns around the announcement of changing our bell times. We are currently one of only a few schools who begin and conclude their day later than 9am and 3pm. Historically, our bell times have been dictated by the ACTION buses as they didn’t pick up the children until 3.30pm. With St Bede’s now not having any ACTION services, we are able to change our school hours to best suit our needs. NSW bus services will not be disrupted as these bus services are often waiting for us to conclude our day. The new times will ensure that students are ready and waiting to be collected on time. The proposed new school day will look like this:
Morning supervision will begin at 8.30am
Morning bell - 9am
Recess at 11am
Middle session 11.25 - 1pm
Afternoon session 1.55 - 3.10
Afternoon supervision 3.10 - 3.30
Some families are taking advantage of afternoon supervision times and collecting their children later each day, sometimes as late as 3.55pm, delaying the commencement of teacher staff meetings and professional commitments. If you are unable to collect children on time, a courtesy call would be appreciated.
Questions and concerns raised through the P&F class representatives:
Has there been any consultation with QCity buses for students who live in NSW? The new times will impact waiting times for afternoon buses by 20+ minutes.
There will be no impact on QCity timetables and they have been notified of our new school times.
What consideration has been given to associated services, ie YWCA before/after school care, will there be a price increase by YWCA as a result?
YWCA will continue to provide before school care from 7.30 - 9am and 3.10 - 6pm. As fees are based on session rates (set by YWCA) rather than hourly, there will be no changes to costings.
Will teacher supervision times change?
Teachers will now be on supervision earlier, from 8.30 - 9am. We will still offer 20 minutes of afternoon supervision from 3.10 - 3.30pm.
What about Boutique opening times?
Whilst supervision begins earlier, at this point the Boutique can continue to open at 8.40am on Friday mornings. The opening times of the Boutique are at the discretion and availability of the parent representative/s volunteering to assist.
Traffic congestion with Red Hill Primary is a major concern, historical advice from Doug was that current school times were to avoid this.
Historical reasons for bell times were based on ACTION buses, not other school’s routines. With access to St Bede’s from La Perouse, Hicks St, Pelsart St, Mugga Way and Monaro Crescent, alternative routes are available. Red Hill begins school at 9.10am and finishes at 3.15pm. Our new times may actually alleviate some of the peak time congestion. There may be minor delays around pick up and drop off in the neighbourhood which are allowed for in supervision times.
Does it mean the teaching time will be reduced by 10 minutes? Or will recess/lunch be reduced?
We are beginning 10 minutes earlier and finishing 10 minutes earlier. Therefore, there will be no change to teaching time. However, it does create a full two hour block to optimise learning in the morning. This will also assist in scheduling for seven classes (with the addition of the new 5/6 class next year).
Noting the regular reminders in newsletters requesting students are at school on time, won't the 9am start further exacerbate the situation for families who currently have trouble getting to school by 9.10am?
There will be minimal adaption to your family routines of 10 minutes.
Disappointing there hasn't been consultation with parents and only advised in Principal's Message.
Whilst we aim to collaborate and involve parents in changes to school routines, this is a school decision, based on learning and student needs for 2020. We are obligated to notify the community with appropriate notice in order to make family adjustments before the changes commence.
If you have any issues you wish to discuss in relation to this matter, please come to me directly so I may explain further.
Have a lovely weekend