The School Newsletter Week 9, Term 3 2021

From the Principal

Our staff meets weekly to discuss the home learning programs. A common thread running through our meetings is “home learning fatigue”. The children are feeling it. The staff are feeling it. And the parents, grandparents and carers are most definitely feeling exhausted. We are looking forward to being together again at school.

Some parents have expressed their concern that the activities assigned during the period of home learning will be assessed and used as a basis for reporting at the end of the year. Last week, the NSW Minister for Education advised schools that, in the light of COVID, there will be a flexible approach in relation to compliance and reporting requirements at the end of this school year. With so many logistical issues associated with home learning, the responses that your children generate to the assigned tasks will not be used to assess their progress. The content of our home-based learning is important, and teachers will build upon it when developing programs of teaching when the students return to face-to-face learning. However, we are conscious of the fact that home-based learning has not allowed a level playing field for all our students, and that we may need to alter our programs of teaching in 2022 to enable those who struggled during home learning to catch up. Naturally, for those children who have adapted to home learning, our programs of teaching will enable them to continue to be challenged.

As a means of combating home learning fatigue, which is attributed largely to the amount of time that we spend in front of a screen, we are planning to have a “Wellbeing Wednesday” next week (15th September). Wellbeing Wednesday will give the children and their families an opportunity to engage in tasks that do not involve sitting in front of a computer. Stay tuned for more information from your children’s teachers.

Having designated next Wednesday as “Wellbeing Wednesday”, parents and carers should be mindful of the need to prioritise their families’ wellbeing on every day of the week. If that means substituting some of the assigned activities for equally worthwhile activities such as cooking, gardening, walking or playing, then parents and carers should feel free to do this.

Last week was designated as “Australian Teacher Aide Appreciation Week”. The timing of this week could not have been better! While the parents, grandparents, carers and teachers have been on the frontline with the home learning programs, it is our teacher aides who are, in many respects, holding the school together. At St Patrick’s, our teacher aides are known as Learning Support Assistants, or LSAs. While they are working from home, they are creating resources for the teachers and assisting with feedback to the students. In addition to working from home, the LSAs are rostered to work at school as well. While they are at school, they not only assist with tutoring some of our students, but they are also attending to administrative tasks in the office. Lynne, Kylie and Will are three of those people.

In thanking these people, I include Bronwyn and Margaux, who are not employed as LSAs but who have taken on the responsibility of tutoring some of the students who are engaged in the home learning programs on the school site. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Lynne, Kylie, Will, Bronwyn and Margaux, not only for the expertise and dedication that they bring to their roles, but also for the many ways in which they frequently take on extra responsibilities outside of their role descriptions.

Take care of yourselves and your children as we continue to work together through these challenging times.

Peter Green.



In last week’s newsletter, Layne Wiseman reported on the outstanding work of our Tournament of Minds (ToM) team, which consisted of Tamika, Sheridan, Lara, Lacey, Macey, Aisha and Peppa. This morning we were informed that WE WON THE REGIONAL FINAL (Newcastle and Hunter). Out team will now compete at the State Final on Sunday week, 19th September. At the State Final, our team will be required to solve an extended spontaneous challenge live in a Zoom breakout room, with the judging panel present. The girls will be given 15 minutes to solve the challenge and three minutes to present their solution.

This is a remarkable achievement for a small school competing in this competition for the first time against larger schools, as well as against schools that are experienced in this competition. Congratulations to our team. Huge accolades to Layne, our ToM coordinator, who recognised the potential in our team and who gently encouraged the girls every step of the way. This was a huge factor in our success.



One of the writing tasks assigned to our Year 6 students last week was to research the Peregrine Falcon, and to use their research material to write an informative text. The primary focus of this activity was to begin the piece with a “sizzling start” and to “tighten the tension” throughout the text. Sheridan’s piece was particularly effective:

"Okay, what’s the fastest bird in the world? You don’t know? Well, I’ll tell you. A peregrine falcon, and it can reach up to speeds of 321 km/h!

Swooping throughout the air, the open fields far below, it spots its prey. A feral pigeon, absent-mindedly pecking at the grass, oblivious to the danger coming. Picking up speed, the Peregrine falcon flies higher, higher and higher, and stoops, catching the unsuspecting bird in its talons.

A perilous drop for humans, but the perfect nesting site for the peregrine falcon. The salty sea air tossing leaves around, cold drafts entering the caves, and a drop of over 50 feet. The peregrine falcon nests on cliffs, but there have been rare instances when they nest on city high rise buildings. Imagine that! Just sitting there, drinking coffee, only to see a falcon fly overhead.

These birds must be invincible! Right? WRONG! Peregrine falcons are threatened by pesticides, the poison that is inside the birds they eat, and habitat loss. See why it’s becoming more and more common for these falcons to nest in city high-rise buildings? Think, you’re a peregrine falcon, you go off to hunt, and come back, only to see that your nest is gone!

These birds are miracle workers! They are keeping their numbers up even though we are threatening them. Nesting on the hardest place for a human to touch, and close enough to other birds to have food. And 321 km/h! That’s almost as fast as a cheetah! Okay, I don’t think that you’re going to forget about these birds for a while. Peregrine Falcons".



The following advice has been sent to all schools in regard to fundraising:

  1. The NSW Health Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic currently include directions to stay at home unless engaged in specific tasks outlined in the orders. P&F and PEG fundraising activities that involve people contravening these orders to collect or distribute items as part of the fundraiser are not able to occur. Apart from significant health risks, parents, carers and community members risk significant penalties.
  2. Please consider how and where the school logo and brand is used. For example, putting the school logo on an order form alongside the logo of a winery is not appropriate.



As we approach the end of Term 3, it is at this time that we normally issue an interim report for each student. This report describes your child’s efforts in respect to their personal and social development and work habits throughout the term. With our face-to-face teaching having been interrupted with home-based learning this term, it would be difficult for us to accurately assess these aspects of your child’s development. Therefore, we will not issue these reports this week. However, you should feel free to contact your children’s teachers to request an interview to discuss any concerns that you may have in regard to any aspect of your children’s academic, social or emotional development and wellbeing.



Very soon, the parents and carers of our Years 3 and 5 students will receive the results of their children’s NAPLAN assessments which took place in May this year. While we ourselves do not yet have the results for each individual student, we have received some preliminary data:

Year 3 reading

  • Second highest mean score we have recorded since data collection began in 2010.
  • Above state, national and diocesan mean scores.

Year 3 writing

  • Highest mean score since 2015.
  • Above state, national and diocesan mean scores.

Year 3 spelling

  • Highest mean score we have recorded since data collection began in 2010.
  • Above state, national and diocesan mean scores.

Year 3 grammar & punctuation

  • Above state, national and diocesan mean scores.

Year 5 writing

  • Highest mean score since 2015.

Year 5 spelling

  • Second highest mean score we have recorded since data collection began in 2010.

Year 5 grammar & punctuation

  • Above national and diocesan mean scores.

These are the best results that we have had for many years – certainly since 2015 – and they justify the resources that we have poured into collaborative practices aimed at improving student results. The results are also an endorsement of the hard work of our teachers and support staff, and of the strong leadership of those teachers who have led us in developing the practices that have led to these results. Clearly, our focus on literacy is reflected in these results. As we now begin to apply the same collaborative practices to the area of numeracy, we expect to see similar gains in this area in the future.

These results reflect the work that every teacher has done with the students since Kindergarten. Indeed, for every student, NAPLAN began on their first day of Kindergarten.


lockdown family Fun IDEAs

Below is a link to some fun ideas for families at home thanks to Newy With Kids:



Prayer is a communication process that allows us to talk to God. It is our way of communicating our thoughts, needs, and desires to Him. God wants us to communicate with Him, like a person-to-person phone call. At St Patrick’s, we begin each day gathered as a Catholic community praying our school prayer.

St Patrick’s School Prayer

This is our school, let peace abide here.

Let the rooms be full of contentment.

Let love abide here, love of one another, love of mankind, love of life itself and love of God.

Let us remember that, as many hands build a house, so many hearts make a school.


So why is prayer so important in our daily lives? Daily prayer gives us an opportunity to share all aspects of our lives with God. It gives us the chance to express our gratitude for the things that God provides. Daily prayer provides the platform for confessing our sin and asking for help in overcoming that sin. Finally, it is an act of worship and obedience.

It is important for every child to learn how to pray. Even though you may not think you are qualified to be an authority, as a parent or guardian, you are your child’s primary faith teacher! Children learn to pray by watching and copying their parents, siblings, relatives and other people.

There is no wrong way to pray. The focus is not so much ‘saying our prayers’ as it is ‘talking to Jesus’. So beyond memorizing prayers, let your child know that they can speak to Jesus as a friend. Let them know that they can tell him anything: silly things that happened that day, things they are scared of, what they hope for, people they are worried about, etc. Jesus is interested in all of them. You might suggest they pray quietly in their minds after you tuck them in bed at night, or after they wake up in the morning.

You should demonstrate your prayer life to your child. You don’t have to make a big show of it, but even occasionally mentioning something you have prayed for is a great way to witness to them. For example, when they have finished telling you about something good that happened to them at school you might be able to say: “Wonderful. I prayed last night that you would have a good school day today.”

Incorporate regular prayer into your household routines. Try praying before meals, in times of crisis, at bedtime, in the car, with the Bible, or after a good thing happens. Let them see that praying can be natural and informal. It does not have to be intimidating and they don’t have to worry about doing it ‘the right way.’ Jesus knows the good intentions in our heart and he hears us, regardless of how sophisticated our words are. Weave prayer into your daily life.

“It is in the family that we first learn how to pray. This is where we come to know God, to grow into men and women of faith, to see ourselves as members of God’s greater family, the Church. In the family, we learn how to love, to forgive, to be generous and open, not closed and selfish. We learn to move beyond our own needs, to encounter others and share our lives with them. That is why it is so important to pray as a family.” Pope Francis, 2015

If we want our children to have faith that influences the way they live their lives and the critical life decisions they make, then we need to be modelling faith through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The faith of a child begins in the family. If you want your child to have a personal relationship with Christ, you yourself need to have a personal relationship with Christ. Build that relationship with prayer.

Take every chance you can to practise praying with your children, and remember that prayer as a family does not end when the child has grown up. My dad once said to me: “You never stop being a parent.” In the same way, prayer is a never-ending dialogue / experience with your children. You can make a lasting impression on your children and the generations of children that follow

Learning, loving and serving together through Jesus.

Daniel Lockwood

Religious Education Coordinator



The students of Year 4 have been learning about cubism, an early 20th-century style of art which made use of simple geometric shapes. Pablo Picasso is well renowned for his cubist portraits. So is Samuel!


Let’s LIFT Lake Mac!

Lake Mac Council is excited to partner with Avondale University to offer award winning program The Lift Project free to all residents. Let’s Lift Lake Mac is a 7-week wellbeing adventure using scientifically-proven and evidence-based strategies to improve your wellbeing.

Each week participants will receive tools, knowledge, weekly challenges and support to take charge and lift their mood. Free to Lake Mac residents, registrations are now open with the program to start Monday 6 September. Register: www.theliftproject.global/letsliftlakemac. We recommend joining the program with an adult for young people under 18. Educators can deliver the program to young people by tailoring the content using youth friendly language. Encourage your friends and family to join you on the journey!


Workshops for Families


We are currently landscaping along the front of the school. SCS Tree Services has supplied the leaf mulch.


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