The School Newsletter Week 7, Term 1 2021

What's Coming Up?

  • Fri 12 March: School Cross Country
  • Fri 19 March: St Patrick's Day Celebrations - Out of Uniform, $2 donation

From the Principal

We are now about halfway through our Lenten journey. Next week we will off you a number of ways in which you can contribute financially to Caritas Australia, an aid and development agency of the Catholic Church that works with local communities, both in Australia and internationally. Caritas works towards a world where all people may thrive. Project Compassion, Caritas Australia’s primary fundraising initiative, is run during the Season of Lent each year.

The Summer edition of Caritas News outlines a number of projects in which Caritas has made a tangible difference in the lives of many people. For example, Caritas has provided access to clean water as well as regular hand-washing facilities to equip people to fight COVID-19 and to increase their resilience against water-borne diseases. With financial support from Caritas, Tom Powell, the Founder of Red Dust Healing, trains people to run workshops that aim to assist people to deal with rejection, abuse, neglect, abandonment, domestic violence, grief and loss. Tom’s groundbreaking program has reached thousands of people since Caritas Australia started partnering with him in 2011.

On Friday next week we will celebrate the Feast of St Patrick. The money raised from the students’ $2 donations for wearing something green to school – as well as purchases of food from our green food stalls – will be split evenly between Caritas Australia and Rare Cancers Australia. Further details appear elsewhere in this newsletter. Thank you in anticipation of your support.

Peter Green.


The Kindergarten and Year 1 cross country will be held this Friday (12th March) at the school. Thanks to the volunteers who have offered to assist with supervision. There will be a few COVID considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Students and registered volunteers who are feeling unwell must not attend the event.
  2. Spectators are not permitted to be on site for the cross country.
  3. Volunteers must remain vigilant with physical distancing.
  4. Students and volunteers should regularly use hand sanitiser while at the event. Hand sanitiser will be made available.
  5. All registered volunteers will be required to register their attendance at the event by scanning the school’s QR code which will be located on the front gate and sign in using hte Compass kiosk in the school reception area.


The Years 2 to 6 cross country will be held this Friday (12th March) at Swansea Heads Park. We anticipate that the first runners will begin at 9.30am, and that the last runners will cross the finish line at about 10.45am.

All runners will begin in Reids Reserve opposite the toilet block. The 7/8/9/10 years runners will run a 2-km course along the water to the first breakwall, and back to the start line. The 11/12 years runners will run three laps of Reids Reserve before setting off on the same course as the younger runners.

Registered Volunteers

Thanks to the parents and grandparents who have volunteered to assist with supervision. I emailed the volunteers last Friday with the various details:


  • No. 1: Cassandra Dodd
  • No. 2: Marlene Kelly
  • No. 3: Belinda Newell
  • No. 4: Leisha Fitzgibbon
  • No. 5: Todd Koller
  • No. 6: Tim Windever


Jade Nicoll, Amy Stewart, Carolyn Turner, Brad Marriott, Stephen Jack, Margaux Windever.

Last-minute reminders

  • The students will be required to wear their sport uniform for the cross country.
  • The students will be required to wear their school hats to Swansea Heads, but they do not have to wear a hat while running.
  • The students will be required to bring a water bottle.
  • Sunscreen is recommended.
  • Students are advised to carry asthma medication if necessary. We will have a first aid kit in case of an accident or emergency medical situation.

COVID precautions

  • Parents, carers and students must not attend the event if they are feeling unwell.
  • All registered volunteers will be required to register their attendance at the event by scanning the school’s QR code.
  • Spectators are welcome to attend the event, but they must remain outside the central marshalling area, which will be designated with markers and signage.
  • Staff and volunteers must maintain appropriate physical distancing while at the cross country event.
  • Staff and volunteers must regularly use hand sanitiser while at the event. Hand sanitizer will be supplied at strategic places within the marshalling area.
  • The bathrooms at Reids Reserve will be stocked beforehand with adequate supplies of soap and toilet paper.

Looking forward to a great morning on Friday.

Peter Green.


Unfortunately, due to current COVID restrictions, the Year 6 enrichment day planned at St Mary’s Gateshead for 23rd March has been cancelled. The College hopes to be able to offer it later in the year.


Issue 2 of Book Club has been sent home. All orders are due back by Thursday next week (18th March). Information on how to order and pay can be found on the back page of the leaflet. Book Club provides families with an affordable and convenient way to bring the best in children’s literature into their homes. Each issue contains curated, age-appropriate titles that have been carefully selected and levelled by a dedicated team of professional booklovers.


The Catholic Schools Office (CSO) has nominated gifted education as an area of priority in its strategic plan. Diocesan schools have also highlighted this as an area for further investigation and development, and many teachers seek professional development and resources to address the needs of the academically gifted students in their classes. The CSO is implementing a strategic, system-wide approach to supporting gifted education in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

In 2017, an increased focus on gifted education began in the diocese with the implementation of the new Gifted Education K-12 Policy and Procedures documents. Additionally, in phases of implementation, secondary and associated primary schools have strengthened their capacity to provide meaningful opportunities for gifted students. These schools are known as Gifted Education Lead Schools (GELS).

St Patrick’s Primary School is now part of this initiative and will be working in collaboration with St Joseph’s Charlestown, St Paul’s Gateshead, St Francis Xavier Belmont, St Pius X Windale and St Mary’s Gateshead.

The focus of this new approach is to provide a framework to ensure that our schools provide learning opportunities to meet the needs of all students, enabling them to reach their full potential. A key component of this framework is the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). CogAT is a group-administered K–12 assessment intended to estimate students' learned reasoning and problem-solving abilities through verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal test items. The CogAT is used with other school data to assess students’ learning and to provide guidance around instruction decisions and strategies.

I am the Gifted Education Mentor (GEM) at St Patrick’s Swansea. I am working with the staff to implement strategies to achieve goals in our school improvement plan. This includes:

  • The development of schoolwide procedures in the identification of gifted students.
  • The development of differentiated teaching strategies to meet the specific learning needs of our gifted students.
  • Guiding colleagues through the analysis of assessment data to determine the needs of gifted students.

Cathy Curk

Gifted Education Mentor


WE DESPERATELY NEED YOUR HELP THIS WEEK!! Please consider volunteering in the canteen. If there are not sufficient volunteers, the canteen will not open!!


Last Tuesday we received updated advice in regard to COVID-19 regulations in regard to access to the school site. Parents and carers of Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 students are now permitted to enter the school site to drop off their children in the mornings and collect them in the afternoons. This is really good news . . . a step closer, perhaps, to welcoming all people back on site!


Last Friday after school, a female St Patrick’s student was riding her bike home, travelling east along Northcote Avenue. She is young with blond hair, but we are uncertain as to her identity. The driver thinks she is about six years of age. When the girl approached a parked white truck, she pulled away from the kerb to get around it, obviously without checking the traffic behind her. As the girl pulled away from the truck, she veered into the path of a driver coming from behind, who was forced to swerve sharply to avoid the girl.

The driver reported the near miss to me yesterday morning. He was visibly shaken by the incident, three days after it happened.

Parents . . . There are some children who need adult supervision while learning to ride their bikes on public roads. This could easily have been a terrible tragedy.

Peter Green


This year, St Patrick’s Day falls on Wednesday 17th March, but we will celebrate St Patrick’s Day on Friday 19th March. This is normally a day when parents and other family members come along to watch the fun and games. Sadly, COVID restrictions prevent people coming on site as spectators. As our celebration falls on a Friday, lunch orders will be available as normal.

Today we have sent a letter to the parents of our Kindergarten and Year 4 students requesting donations of green food for our green food sales. Prices for green food will be between 30 cents and $1.00. If possible, please bring coins, not notes. The money raised from the green food sales will be split 50:50 between Project Compassion and Rare Cancers Australia. (See Rare Cancers item elsewhere in this newsletter).

St patrick's Day Agenda

Out-of-uniform day: The students are invited to come to school dressed in something green. They will be asked to donate $2 which will be split between Rare Cancers Australia and Project Compassion, which is Caritas Australia’s annual fundraising and awareness-raising appeal that brings thousands of Australians together in solidarity with the world's poor to help end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity.

Art display: The school hall will be open all day for anybody to inspect the students’ artwork for our St Patrick’s Day art competition.

  • 9.15am: St Patrick’s Day liturgy
  • 10.00am: Crunch’n’sip
  • 10.15am: St Patrick’s Day activities, including: Shamrock salon; Build a leprechaun trap; Shamrock stomp; Potato and spoon relays; Shamrock relays; Irish phrase treasure hunt; Pin the shamrock on the leprechaun; St Patrick’s word find; Irish freeze; Find the coin; Pot of Gold toss
  • 11.05am: Lunch and green food sales.
  • 11.55am: St Patrick’s Day activities (continued).
  • 1.00pm: Class-based St Patrick’s Day activity.
  • 1.35pm: Recess and green food sales.
  • 1.55pm: Announcement of the prize winners in the St Patrick’s Day art competition and then to end the day a Tug-o-war competition.


We are very excited to inform you that we have engaged ‘Top Blokes Foundation’ to run a social education program for our Years 5 and 6 boys. The 8-week program – called ‘Stepping Up’ – will run on Wednesdays in Term 2, and has been developed specifically for boys aged 10 to 13.

Research shows that the 10 to 13 age group is ill-equipped to handle issues like bullying, mental health and digital activity. The ‘Stepping Up’ program will cover 8 of the following 11 workshops:

  1. Alcohol and other drugs
  2. Leadership and teamwork
  3. Peer pressure and risk taking
  4. Healthy minds
  5. Understanding masculinities
  6. Anger management
  7. Online behaviours
  8. Healthy relationships
  9. Understanding differences
  10. Humanising teachers
  11. Transition to high school

For more information about this program, click here.


A reminder that there will be a pupil-free day on Monday 3rd May.


This Saturday, Elliot, Gemma and Helen will walk from Thredbo to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko and back to Thredbo, in an effort to raise funds for Rare Cancers Australia. If you would like to sponsor this very fit group of walkers in this epic 21-kilometre trek, you may either:

  1. Donate online at www.kosichallenge.com.au/my-fundraising/718/gemma-and-elliot-wisman-santamaria, or:
  2. Buy a ticket in the lolly jar raffle at lunch time or recess. 50 cents a ticket or 3 tickets for $1.

Good luck to these three fearless walkers. We are certainly looking forward to hearing about your journey next week.


To attend this webinar please register using the link below:
To attend this webinar please register using the link below


In any investigation into misconduct or abusive conduct towards a child, the investigator will ask for the consent of both the parent/carer and the child to participate in the investigation. If both parent/carer and child agree to participate in the investigation, the investigator will make arrangements to interview the child.

In this situation, the child needs to feel as safe and supported as possible. The child’s interview must be witnessed. One or more of the child’s parents/carers, or another trusted adult, needs to attend the child’s interview. With the parent/carer and the child’s consent, the interview is audio recorded. The audio recording is transcribed into a written record of interview, a copy of which is posted to the parent/carer.

If the parent/carer or child chooses not to participate in the investigation, the parent/carer will be asked to put their decision in writing to the investigator. The choice not to participate will likely affect the investigation.

For more information about the role of the Office of Safeguarding, visit https://officeofsafeguarding.org.au/.

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