- Family Fundraiser for Blake
- The 'BIG MOVE' and changes to use of Gregory Street Gates
- Catholic Education Week celebrations
- Enrichment Leave
- School Photo Day
- School Feast Day and Open Day
- Funding for Catholic education system is at risk
- Next Assembly
Please join with us for a fun, family afternoon of music and games this Sunday 4th June at North Ballarat Sports Club. Many past and present students, as well as parents and staff will share their musical talents with us. All proceeds to Blake and the Dridan family. $5 Children and $10 Adults. 1pm to 6pm.
The ‘BIG MOVE’ and Changes to Use of Gregory Street Gates
It is with great excitement that we received the Certificate of Final Inspection on our newly refurbished building earlier this week. The keys to the new spaces will be handed over today and the ‘Big Move’ into the new spaces will happen this Thursday and Friday. Thank you to all those parents who have offered your assistance with the move - many hands make light work! The Prep and 3/4 students are extremely excited to start learning in the new spaces as of next Monday morning.
As of Monday 5th June, the builders will begin work on the East end of the Columba Wing, converting the existing 4 classrooms into one open space for the 5/6 Learning Community. This space will be available for use in late August this year. While the building works are taking place, the Gregory Street gates will not be in use, however students will be able to enter the school via the Gregory Street doors. The Armstrong Street gate will also be reopened for both before and after school.
Catholic Education Week celebrations
Last Thursday our Grade 3 to 6 students travelled to Our Lady Help of Christians (OLHC) for a shared Mass and lunch, while the OLHC junior students travelled to St Columba’s for a shared liturgy and lunch with our junior students. The celebrations highlighted our shared heritage, with both schools being established by the Sisters of Mercy, and our ongoing connection as Sister Schools in the Ballarat Diocese. I congratulate our children on their positive attitude towards this event and their willingness to make friends with the children from OLHC. We are hopeful that this will become an annual event, celebrated in Catholic Education Week each year.
Please see the RE Report for photos of Catholic Education Week events.
On Sunday 11th June I will be departing Ballarat with a group from the Ballarat Diocese on a 2 week Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands as part of my Enrichment Leave. Fr Justin Driscoll will be leading the pilgrimage to Jordan and Israel, where a group of 24 of us will follow in the footsteps of Jesus. I feel extremely privileged to be travelling to the places where Jesus lived and preached - Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jordan, and Jericho to name a few.
I will then travel through Europe to the Island of Iona. Lying off the west coast of Scotland, the tiny Isle of Iona is where St Columba arrived in 563 AD with 12 followers and built his first Celtic church and established a monastic community. I will be participating in a week long ‘silent retreat’ while on Iona, before heading to Ireland, tracing Columba’s footsteps. I will follow Columba through Ireland's north; Donegal, Argyle and Clonard, all places that our House Groups are named after.
Enrichment Leave is available to Catholic School Principals after 8 years of service. Enrichment Leave assist principals in continuing their professional growth and is intended to enhance and affirm Principals in their leadership role within the local and broader Catholic community and be a source of ongoing enrichment to the school community. I will be taking leave for the last 3 weeks of Term 2 and the first 3 weeks of Term 3. While I am on leave, Shaun Mohr will be taking on the role of Principal.
I look forward to sharing my travels with you on my return early in Term 3.
School Photo Day
School photos will be taken next Wednesday 7th June. Photo envelopes need to be brought in on photo day and given directly to the photographers by the children. Full winter uniform needs to be worn by every child on the day, including the woollen school jumper. Please note that Grade 3/4 students will need to wear school uniform and bring their runners in their bag to change into for PE later in the day. Grade 6 students are able to wear their Grade 6 blue polo tshirt instead of the gold tshirt.
School Feast Day and Open Day
Next Friday 9th June, we celebrate our school’s Feast Day. All parents and friends are invited to join with us for a special Mass at 11am. This will be followed by an Open Day from 12.00 to 4.00, where parents and friends are invited to wander through our school, visiting our newly refurbished buildings. We hope to see you there.
Funding for the Catholic education system is at risk
The federal Government contributes around 63% towards your child’s education.
Because this is such a big amount, when the federal Government talks about changing funding arrangements, it’s going to affect you and your child.
Currently in Victoria, the federal Government funds all the Catholic schools as if they were one big school, averaging out student funding across the entire Catholic education system. This method of funding schools is known as a system-weighted average, and was recommended by the Gonski Review in 2011.
This funding goes to a central Catholic education body known as the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria. A committee, which includes school principals and other local representatives, distributes this money to schools based on the actual needs of each school, as opposed to a formula decided by bureaucrats in Canberra. Many crucial programs, including support for small schools, VET and VCAL students, refugee families, language initiatives and professional learning for teachers and leaders are funded out of this central pool of funds.
Averaging out government funding for students across the system means Catholic schools can average out parent fees, particularly at a primary level, providing a saving to many families.
On 2 May, the Turnbull Government announced its plan to replace system-weighted average funding with a method that will effectively treat Catholic schools as if they were independent schools. It estimates how much each school should be able to charge parents in fees, using a measurement known as socioeconomic status (SES) scores.
You may have seen articles in the newspaper and programs on TV where Catholic education has argued that SES scores don’t reflect the actual financial circumstances of families, and that Canberra’s calculations overestimate Catholic school parents’ ‘capacity to contribute’ fees.
Catholic schools aim to be open and accessible to all families seeking a Catholic education. That means we aim to be affordable.
The biggest concern for Catholic education is that the changes proposed by the Turnbull Government will expect many Catholic primary school parents to pay more than double the fees they currently pay.
This is not an acceptable impost for any family to face. We will continue to urge the Government not to adopt these proposed changes.
Our next assembly will be held on Friday June 16th. The assembly will be held at 2.30pm in the church and LG 10 will lead the assembly.
The following Prep students will be introduced at this assembly:-
Evie Morgan, Elliott Bourke, Eimear Toye, Mali Kinniburgh, Ebony Rogers Clark, Hunter McAloon and Ethan Biggin.