Dear families,


As we approach the end of the school term, we are thankful that despite the restrictions that we still have in place, we are able to organise and carry out excursions and camps for our students. In order to fulfil our requirements for student to adult ratio, we have opened up excursions and camps once again to parent volunteers.  If it wasn’t for parents, these events would not be able to happen. Student to adult ratio requirements are such that we cannot do this with just school staff in attendance.

Volunteers have also been increased in the Kitchen program and the School Canteen. This has allowed us to continue to provide these services to students in a meaningful way. At the same time, we are still under the instruction to minimise adults on school grounds an so other restrictions are maintained.  This arrangement will continue unless we get other directions from SAHealth.

COVID has given us a lot of hurdles to overcome but also some enlightening aspects as well. Our Junior Primary students have risen to the occasion and quite capably managed their morning routines. I see the reception and year 1 children quite happily carry their bag to the classroom, unpack and prepare for their morning lesson. They manage lunch orders as a routine in the classroom, solve minor problems as they arise and begin work in earnest by no later than 9:05am.

This contrasts to pre-Covid where parents came to the classroom, often unpacked their child’s school bag, solved the problems they might have for them and then on occasions had protracted farewells, before leaving after 9:30am or thereabouts. This mean that in many classrooms, students did not effectively begin their work until about 9:30am. Over a year, that additional 20 minutes per day, adds up to 4000 minutes, or 66.7 hours, or 12.7 days, (at 5 ¼ hours per day of instruction) or 2.5 weeks of school learning time.

In a class of 24 children, that equates to a cumulative total of 60 weeks of education provided by the class teacher to their class. I realise that this last figure is an intriguing mathematical answer, but it goes to show how important that 20 minutes per day is to our students at school.

Attendance Concerns
This is also why we ask students to be at school by 8:55am in order to start the school day with their class. Last week out late arrival and leaving early numbers were;

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Late Arrivals 23 16 20 21 13
Left Early 16 11 16 18 17

A number of students represented in the above numbers, regularly arrive late and miss out on considerable learning time throughout the school year.  Late often means arriving between 9:05am and 9:30am, with a vague reason given by the child. We know that there are some mornings where preparations don’t go as planned, but that should be the unusual rather than the usual.

As Principal, I am required to follow up students who are late and a number of parents will be receiving a letter before this term ends, reminding them of the importance of being on time for school.

If you are a parent whose child arrives late to school, or gets collected early for reasons that could easily be deferred till after school, we ask that you please make the effort to keep your child at school for those hours where instruction occurs. If it helps, please make a time to see your child’s class teacher in the first instance about resolving this issue.

Thank you again for the respectful manner that you engage with staff during this time of restrictions. We appreciate your efforts and staff often report very positive experiences both before and after school. Holidays are approaching and hopefully you will get time to enjoy as a family together, something that we appreciate even more due to the nature of Covid restrictions and the absence of easy travel to other states.

Retirement of Christine Hatzi – Education Director
Our Education Director, Christine Hatzi is retiring and I would like to acknowledge the work she has done over many years in the Southern Area and as our local Education Director for the Marion Coast Partnership. She has visited schools including Woodend, spoken regularly with our students, given our school feedback in relation to our Site Improvement Plan, been involved with two Woodend External School Reviews, supported the Student Voice in Learning strategy the Jane-Ann Natar and Cathie Luke are leading across our Partnership of schools along with many other areas of involvement in leading learning for students. Christine is a passionate believer that every child deserves the very best education that we can give them.

Pupil Free Day
Our next Pupil Free Day in on November 1st where staff will be working on Mathematics and English with support staff from our Regional Office. The delivery of the Curriculum to students is a focus at all times, however we are working on specific areas related to enhancing the delivery to students, the achievement of learning growth and effective differentiation for our wide range of learners.

NAPLAN results
This week parents of year 3,5 and 7 students will receive their child’s NAPLAN results. If you have questions after reviewing your child’s progress, please contact your child’s teacher to arrange a time to meet. Teachers met last week to delve into the NAPLAN results and investigate trends that may have been evident. This information will assist in the next iteration of the School Site Improvement Plan 2022 to 2024.

Early Finish
A reminder that this coming Friday 24th September, school will finish at 2:05pm rather than the usual time. OSHC will operate from that time if you are using that service.

May we stay Covid free for as long as possible,

Kind regards,

Steve Freeman