CNPS SCHOOL VISION: To build a community of curious, creative and engaged learners who are empowered to meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world. Collectively we will work with our students to become responsible global citizens who have the skills, knowledge and personal attributes they need for their future.
I had to rewrite my introduction to this newsletter as it is fashionably late and a few things have happened since my first draft. Fingers crossed, we can move on from last week and get back to some kind of normal before the school ends for the year.
Being that the end of the year is approaching, there are a few things to mention in the newsletter this month. After speaking to school council last month, I have decided to take the time to explain to our whole community about how some of the operational decisions are made, so that there is clarity around them. The two hot topics for this newsletter are class sizes and funding expenditure. Hopefully the following will give you an insight into some of the decisions made.
2022 Class Sizes and Year Level Structures
Term 4 is a busy time of year for schools, especially for the leadership team focusing on workforce planning for the following year. A number of considerations are taken into place when determining the class numbers and year level structures. We knew that this year wasn’t going to be an easy one to plan as the money the school has reserved for staff employment from the School Resource Package is becoming tight. As our school has a low SFOE, we do not receive a high amount in equity funding (School Family Occupation and Education - better educated families equals less funding from the government). This reduces our ability to provide lower class sizes for the school as our staffing budget doesn’t allow capacity to hire extra teachers. This year the school received less than $20,000 in equity funding.
How does the funding work?
- Most of our school funding (90%+) comes from the state government, known as the Student Resource Package (SRP).
- The SRP is primarily driven by enrollment numbers, with extra funding provided to students with additional needs (e.g. those from a low socioeconomic background).
- Most of the state government funding goes towards employing school staff (80% to 90%).
- The remaining funding is for day-to-day school operations (e.g., utilities, printing etc.).
- The SRP is a devolved funding model, where schools have autonomy to make hiring decisions, and are also responsible for managing the cyclical nature of their staff expenditure (as staff stay at the school and become more experienced, the staffing profile becomes more expensive).
- We work hard to secure non-government income sources (e.g., OSHC and Montessori) to increase our funding ability.
- We use a portion of the non-government income sources to cover additional staffing expenses where possible, such as lower class sizes and a more experienced teaching profile.
How does the school work out the class sizes for each grade?
The school uses the information from the EBA (Enterprise Bargaining Agreement) to determine class sizes. The department guidelines on class sizes state that they should be planned on the minimum possible and planned on the following basis:
- Prep to Grade 6 (whole school) – an average class size of 26 provided that;
- The average class size of 21 is maintained at Prep to Grade 2 (Management of Teacher Work: DET, page 6)
Therefore, based on our school numbers of 586 students, we are only required to operate 23 classrooms (see table below).
Let’s break this up to see how this works:
Understandably, 31 students in Years 3-6 per classroom is not ideal. This is when school’s such as ours with low SFOEs need to be creative in how to fund additional teachers. This often includes employing graduate staff when possible and looking into other funding avenues, such as the income we receive from Theircare (before and after school care) and the Montessori Kindergarten.
Looking at all these factors, as well as needs within our School Strategic Plan, we have decided to dip further into our SRP (staffing) budget and fund an extra 2 classroom teachers (above the minimum requirements) and keep the additional specialist to our program (Art, Music, PE, Italian). This comes to an approximate cost of $300,000 to the school.
What will the class sizes and structure look like for 2022?
Once the leadership team works out an idea on how the structure may look, it is then discussed with the school's consultative team and then widely with all teaching staff. Below is the agreed class sizes and structure for 2022.
Why is there one Year 5/6 Class and not six 5/6 Classes?
High performing schools invest in Professional Learning Communities. In basic terms, this is when year level teams meet together to discuss their student cohort data, investigate best practice based on research, implement strategies and evaluate findings. In order for this to be successful and for teams to flourish, it is recommended that schools have no more than 4 classes per team. In order for our school to continue to flourish we have decided to keep cohort teams to a minimum and integrate the 5/6 class with the Year 6 cohort (to make a group of 3).
Who (students) gets selected to be in the 5/6 class?
The process is the same. Teaching teams consider a range of aspects, such as a balance of gender, behaviour, academics and friendship groups. There is no special considerations/criteria for the selection of the 5/6 composite class.
How is the teaching and learning program managed across 2 different curriculums?
There is no difference to the teaching and learning program across all year levels except for the inquiry topic that is generated from student cohort data. Individual student academic progress is based on a learning continuum that fits across many Victorian Curriculum levels. Every teacher bases their teaching and learning program upon their individual student's needs (differentiation) in each curriculum area. All our teachers plan the same way. The Year 5/6 teacher will not need to plan differently from the rest of their team members.
The school is investing in playgrounds - why isn’t this money used for more teachers?
Schools are funded in two parts. One is for staffing (called SRP credit) and the other is for all other operational costs for the school, such as curriculum programs and maintenance for buildings and grounds (called SRP cash). The SRP budget can only be used to fund staffing and operational costs, it can not be put towards new playgrounds or new buildings.
Our current SRP budget and staff profile allows the school to employ an additional 3 teachers (2 classroom teachers and 1 specialist teacher). The school is managing this budget, but as the staff profile matures (becomes more expensive), the school is likely to be in deficit in the SRP budget by 2024. This needs to be managed carefully.
The school also raises funds locally through TheirCare, Montessorri, P&F and voluntary parent payments. This additional income is allowing the school to reinvest in the school’s buildings and grounds. Over the next few years, the school plans to complete the major grounds work (playgrounds and oval redevelopment), with this funding. Once the grounds are complete, the school will be able to use this additional funding for staffing. We are hoping that this will coincide with 2024 where our SRP budget is expected to run into a deficit.
New Wellbeing and Inclusion Team 2022
I am pleased to announce that in 2022 we will have a new Wellbeing and Inclusion team. This team will consist of a Wellbeing and Inclusion Team leader, a Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator and a part -time psychologist. We have finalised our recruiting process and can announce that the successful candiates are:
- Myu Thompson (WITL),
- Kathleen O’Callaghan (MHWC) and
- Eva Andropof (Pscyhologist).
This team will introduce themselves and their role to the school and the community early in 2022.
Mental Health in Primary Schools Pilot
We are very excited to announce that our school will be involved in the Mental Health in Primary Schools Pilot in 2022. The MHiPS Pilot is a Victorian Government initiative, designed to promote a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing. The Pilot is being delivered in partnership with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. This will be an added bonus to our Wellbeing and Inclusion Team.
The Pilot provides our school with funding during 2022 to employ a teacher-qualified professional as a Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator who will assist to lead a whole-school approach to mental health prevention and early intervention approaches that are embedded in the classroom. This will enable us to further deepen our current practices to support our students’ wellbeing.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator will complement the school’s existing wellbeing team and strengthen our connections with the local community services and other health professionals to engage and build relationships with appropriate mental health and wellbeing supports.
Parent Payments for 2022
Parent Payments are now up on Compass ready to go. Please see Compass for more information. Any questions, feel free to contact our admin team.
Buildings and Grounds Update
Hello everyone. I hope you are all ok and I am looking forward to seeing the students, families and staff again soon.
This month has been very busy. I have been spending much of my time out in the grounds of the school, working hard in the gardens and on the general maintenance of the buildings.
In addition to the roof maintenance that I have undertaken this month, we are finalising some structural work in Block B (the Foundation building). The office spaces will be re-stumped, and the roof repaired to stop the persistent leaks.
I have been continuing to revise our on-going maintenance programs. We have now implemented a logbook system for routine checks of our air-conditioning / air quality, emergency and exit lighting, fire hydrants, auto doors and plumbing. This will all help to operate the school more safely and efficiently.
I am ensuring that all classrooms can function within the new department guidelines for appropriate ventilation for indoor spaces. This has included checking that windows, doors and ceiling fans are all in good working order.
We have conducted an audit of our window blinds, adding several new blinds to the classrooms, and replaced faulty units. It is important that the summer sun’s heat and glare does not affect the students and teachers.
There will be a hand-washing trough installed at the demountable classrooms on the oval and one in the foundation area. The school’s existing troughs will be converted to allow hand washing and drinking functions.
I have completed a lot of work in the gardens that included weeding, pruning, clearing, pressure washing and mulching – particularly around the foundation and junior areas and around the portables at the senior end of the school. Without our wonderful volunteer community and the students and teachers, the CNPS gardens have gone a bit rogue over the last few months. I think that most areas are now back on track and ready for some new planting.
Our gardening contractors have come to the school this month and they had a tough time just mowing the grass on the oval! I cannot wait to see the kids out there running around on the thick, green grass.
Everything is looking green and healthy. Even the trees that were transplanted from the Coburg Crop site to outside the STEM building have some new growth!
COBURG CROP AND INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUND
The Coburg Crop is nearly finished! The shutdown of the building industry did effect the schedule so hand over is still a few weeks away but the whole space is looking great.
I am preparing to start my tasks in the space. There will be raised garden beds ready for planting in the coming weeks and then I will be building the chook shed, propagation house, compost bays and the sliding timber entrance doors.
The bird netting is now in place and the solid concrete bench tops are finished and ready for sinks and a BBQ. The pizza oven is nearly ready to use – I will need to run a few test and taste sessions to make sure that everything is running smoothly.
There are large log seats surrounding the space and a new shade sail will be installed to help create an outdoor classroom setting.
The irrigation system is ready and includes a hand pump in the garden space. This accesses an underground reservoir of run-off water that will be re-used on the garden. We are also set up for rainwater tanks.
RB Landscapes have already started works in the inclusive playground next door. This space will be transformed with the addition of a traditional humpy, stone pathways and organic play areas to go along with the new slide and play equipment installed earlier in 2021.
There are many projects currently in the planning stage. These include new seating and break-out spaces in the library, expanding the storage in the guided reading room, more work stations for STEM and new display boards for our next CNPS art show.
We have installed a new key/FOB point from the office entrance through to the library. This will allow admin team to control the access to the school for and staff, students and visitors.
We also have another partition in the administration area. The design matches the set up at the entrance and provides additional COVID compliance and security for the team ensuring better social distancing for the users of this building while maintaining good airflow.
As I am sure everyone knows, there was an earthquake! I can report that there was no major damage to the school and no one was hurt. It does appear that one of our water tanks shifted during the event and displaced the storm water over flow. This has been fixed and the tank will soon be back in operation.
With the excitement of our school reopening for face to face learning it would be easy to ignore all the behind the scenes work that has been going on, and continues in the midst of re-adjusting back to some kind of normal routine. At school council we've been taking a careful look at how school operations are planned for next year. On behalf of you, the broader school community that we represent, we've been asking some questions and giving our feedback to help shape next year, and the years beyond this. Our school is making some important investments into staff, school grounds and facilities in a way that sets us up for long term improvements that benefit everyone. While we have visible reminders of these initiatives like the wonderful garden taking shape, there are many others which are less immediately visible, such as class structures and allocation of funds towards our teacher's needs.
Term 4 Inquiry
This term’s Big Idea is ‘Systems’. Using student interest data and the Global Goals (if applicable), students have been given a purposeful question and challenge to inquire into this term. This week they were immersed in experiences to engage students and begin to ask questions that will lead to their challenge. Below are each grade’s Questions, Challenge, and Global Goal (if applicable). Stayed tuned in CNNN to see what questions students create and how they work towards their challenge!
- Foundation: Nuts,(FA, FD), egg (FD)
- Grade 1: nuts(1A, 1B), coconut (1A), pineapple (1A), kiwifruit (1A, 1B), eggs (1B), dairy products (1B), sesame (& crushed sesame) (1B)
- Grade 3: Nuts (3A, 3B, 3D)
- Grade 4: Nuts (4A,4D), sesame seed (4D)
- Grade 6: Nuts (6C), bee stings (6A)
Note: Sometimes multiples classes in one year level, eg Foundation grades, sit together possibly for lunch or in other sessions
At CNPS we do not ban foods being brought to school, but we do ask you consider how you send them, and that you discuss with your child how they can ensure other children are safe. Some ways of doing this include:
- Reminding children that they are not to share food at school
- Keeping any products with nuts in a safely secured container
- Talking to your children about allergies.
For more details there is an Anaphylaxis Policy for the school on our CNPS website.
Ride & Stride Update
Thank you to everyone who submitted their stories and pictures for the CNPS RFL Diaries competition. It was wonderful to see that you are all keeping active during this time. We are also, pleased to announce our 5 winners have been featured in an article by Moreland Council. Please click the link below if you would like to check it out.
Riding and Striding over Lockdown! - Zero Carbon Moreland (morelandzerocarbon.org.au)
TheirCare: Afterschool Care
It was lovely to be back, and even better to know that the children will all be returning during this term. We cannot wait to have lots of laughter, fun and noise back in the service. We are preparing for the children’s return and for the hotter weather.
We will be changing the Italian Room into a chilled-out room where the children can enjoy the air con on hot days and for the children to escape the noise and maybe read a book, play a quiet game or for the older children to pull up a beanbag and chill out and chat. It will open other options for those not wanting to do arts or crafts or be outside. If you have any ideas for this, please let us know.
Term 4 and 1 is “No Hat No Play” – Please remember sunhats
If you have not used our services, registrations can be completed online at www.theircare.com.au. We always welcome your input so please reach out if you have any feedback or ideas to ensure we provide the best care!
Week 1 – Welcome Back
We had a really good first week back and we spent this by educating the children about SunSmart and why this term is no hat no play. We reconnected with the children and heard all about the fun they had during the holidays. We talked about friendships, being a team and personal space. Lots of fun outside in the sun and watering the plants. It was also Sophie’s birthday, so seeing that she was unable to have a party at home with her friends, we gave her a party, there was music, games, and lots of fun.
Week 2 – National Nutrient Week
This week was all about healthy food, trying new fruit and veg and having lots of fun. The theme was “Try for 5”, so we provided 5 different fruit and veg each day. The children had the chance to make fruit kebabs, rice cake faces and muesli bars. We had lots of fun with using the ends of vegetables to paint and get creative too!
Week 3: Spring / Aussie Backyard Bird Week
This week we have found out lots about the children’s prior knowledge about Spring. The children started to return to school, and it was lovely to see some friendly faces and lots of fun was had. We spotted birds in the yard and created an amazing Spring display in the window for parents to see.
- We now have a new keypad on the Bishops Street gate. An email has been sent to all families, but as a reminder, the code is C3058 and then turn the dial towards the hinge on the gate.
- We have recently purchased a worm farm so the children will be learning to care and feed the worms.
- The children are really enjoying caring for their environment by composting and watering the trees. They are taking responsibility daily to carry out these jobs
Parents and Friends
Yule Love Our Christmas Stall
Calling all crafters: the annual Christmas stall is on and we need A LOT of items to sell, so please let us know what you can contribute.
Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions, we cannot accept home-baked goods this year, but we’ve included some other options which you can find in the Compass note sent on November 8.
If you’re not crafty or don’t have time to make anything, you can also volunteer on the day of the stall by signing up here.
If you are able to contribute anything, please email us at email@example.com with the quantity and a description of the items you are considering.
Deliver items for sale to the Office by no later than Thursday, December 2.
Money raised from the stall will support the school Solar Panels project. Thank you in advance for your support. If you have any further queries contact Antonia via firstname.lastname@example.org
Almost $7000 raised in CNPS plant market – Plants for Panels
A huge thank you and congratulations to all involved in this years’ CNPS Parents and Friends Plants for Panels market which raised more than $6,750 - the most we’ve ever raised from plant sales alone, toward the purchase of solar panels for the school.
The online plant sale was held from 22-25 October and was the third spring plant market run by the CNPS Parents and Friends Committee. The event was first held at the school in 2019 and online in 2020.
This incredible event wouldn’t be possible without the extraordinary work of coordinator Vanessa Basilone and supported by over 30 volunteers from the school community (including grandparents). Thank you all for your efforts and contribution to making this event renowned within our school and the Coburg community.
This year the plant market offered over 2200 plants for sale with special varieties on offer including heirloom and artisan tomatoes, rare chilli varieties such as Naga Viper and Scorpion Black tongue. We were also lucky to receive some rare plants, ornamentals and herbs donated by grandparents of students. Other items for sale included indoor exotics, kokedama balls and a range of native plants. We also had plant craft items like crochet pot holders, and pot stands made by talented members of our school community.
Thanks to all those from the school and local community who supported this event by purchasing plants. We hope you enjoy a wonderful crop of vegetables this year and your ornamental plants give you joy for many years to come.
We are always looking for more volunteers to help organise and grow plants for the event. If you are interested in joining P&F Committee or supporting this event in the future, please email: email@example.com You can also follow the event page on Facebook: https://fb.me/CNPSPlantsforPanels
Putting the Fun Into Fundraising
Want to be part of the coolest gang at school? Well, get involved with the Coburg North PS Parents & Friends group. Everyone is welcome to join the Parents & Friends whose aim is to nurture and grow school spirit by bringing the school community and wider community together through organising fun, welcoming, inclusive, sustainable activities and events, while raising much needed funds for the school. If you wish to join and become part of fun and welcoming team, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to see you there!
No question about it: P&F trivia answers our call for lockdown fun
Congratulations to the Chatty Chickens for taking out the top prize at Parent & Friends Family Trivia Afternoon on Saturday, in what was a fun afternoon of dancing, fancy dress, cute pets and some very curly questions.
Hosted by comedian Janet A McLeod, the virtual trivia competition was a great way for families across the school to put their brains to work while also raising $2,530 to install more solar panels at CNPS.
Congratulations to the 11 teams – and the more than 60 families – who took part. The Chatty Chickens may have taken out the title on the day, but the competition between all teams was fierce, with only a few points separating the top teams.
Parents and Friends is extremely grateful to all the families for making the event so much fun, and also to the wonderful local businesses for donating more than $3000 in prizes to help make the event such a success.
- 1st - Chatty Chickens (Torwick, Hameed and Pamics / Emerson families)
- 2nd - You're On Mute (Butler, Ryan. Karafili, Ryan, Lindblad-Caust, Gonzalez Matthews) (taking it out in a tie-breaker against the Coburg Clusters)
- Best Dressed (Adult) – Domenica Grasso and Ben Webber from Coburglars (as a galah and ‘The Dude’)
- Best Dressed (Child) – Nina Fitzgerald from Anti-fax (as Ash from Pokemon)
- Go Climb voucher spot prize - Dan Madden from Team Rainbow
- The Boot Factory voucher spot prize - Davey warnock and Amy kiesel from Coburglars
- Elk the Label gift pack - Sarah Ryan from You're On Mute
Many thanks to the local businesses who supported the event
eSafety @ CNPS
Upcoming eSafety Webinars
eSafety's parent guide to digital technologies and mental health
This Term 4 webinar will provide parents and carers with strategies to help young people and their mental health when they are online.
It is designed for parents and carers of young people aged 10–18.
It will cover:
- What do to about accidental exposure to content about suicide, self-harm or eating disorders
- Using games, apps and social media to support mental wellbeing
- The pros and cons of digital mental health platforms
- Strategies for young people to support friends online.
eSafety’s parent guide to online gaming
This Term 4 webinar will provide parents and carers with an understanding of the benefits and risks of online gaming.
It is designed for parents and carers of young people aged 8–13.
It will cover:
- eSafety’s State of play research
- The games young people are using and how they are engaging with them
- The benefits of gaming and how to mitigate risks
- Practical strategies to use at home and where to find help and support if things go wrong.
- 15 November 12.30 to 1.30 pm
- 24 November 7.30 to 8.30 pm
At CNPS we believe that by being respectful, responsible and resilient we can succeed and thrive as a community.