Handbook

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The St Mary MacKillop Primary handbook covers all the information, procedures and policies you and your child will need.


If you have any further questions in relation to school times, dates, policies or other general enquiries please feel free to contact St Mary MacKillop Primary by phone on (02) 4724 3200 from Monday to Friday 8:30am and 3:30pm.


Welcome to St Mary MacKillop Primary Penrith South

St Mary MacKillop Primary is a Catholic school for girls and boys from Kindergarten to Year 6. We are part of the Catholic Education System in the Parramatta Diocese. Our philosophy of education is based on Christian and specifically Catholic doctrine.

We believe that teaching and learning should be an engaging experience for both students and teachers. This engagement is characterised by the setting of high expectations, explicit teaching, quality relationships and a belief in lifelong learning. This is best achieved within the positive and supportive environment of the school community within the Catholic tradition.

Every Friday morning at 8:20 am the school staff gathers to pray. We value this time together because it gives us an important focus each week for the continued building of our Christian community.

Please note - the office will open at 8:40 am on Fridays.

Parents, families and friends are invited to attend school celebrations throughout the year. The school celebrates and follows the liturgical calendar. In addition the school also celebrates Anzac Day, Education Week, Book Week, Mary MacKillop Feast Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Grandparents’ Day. Other events in the year are the school swimming, athletics and cross country carnivals. Parents are also invited to attend class assemblies and liturgies that are held during the year.

General Information

 

Monday to Friday 8:45 am – 3:00 pm
Lunch 10:45 am – 11:30 am
Break 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Dismissal 3:00 pm

 

  • Children are to arrive no later than 8:40 am.
  • Classes commence at 8:45 am.
  • All children are dismissed at 3:00 pm.
  • The teachers supervise the children to the buses and the walkers will be taken across the Fragar Road crossing, by the ‘Crossing Supervisor’, and can be collected there.
  • Full school assembly is held on Friday each week at 8:45am. Parents are most welcome.

 

 

Supervision of children commences at 8:15 am. There is no supervision provided for children before that time. No responsibility is taken for children arriving at school before 8:15am.

Children are dismissed at 3:00 pm and supervision is provided only until 3:20 pm.

If, due to extraordinary circumstances, (e.g. when a parent is detained) please notify the school and your child will be informed that you are delayed. After school staff will supervise children waiting for school buses, crossing the street, riding bikes and going to cars.

Parents are reminded that all care will be given to the children, but there is no formal supervision after 3:20 pm when the last bus leaves the school.

Please send your child to school on time each day. Regular attendance at school is essential for progress. 

If your child is unavoidably late, a parent must take them to the office for a late note and then take them to class. If your child is going to be away from school for more than two days please Contact Mary MacKillop Primary.

A note is required explaining all absences. It is necessary to notify the Principal by letter if a child has to miss school for any length of time, e.g. holidays, transfers, sickness. If a child is absent for one day please send a note to the child’s teacher on his/her return.

If parents wish to collect their children from school early, the permission of the Principal is necessary. Please send a note to the Principal/teacher. If there is a doctor’s/dentist’s appointment or some other very important reason why your child needs to leave the school at lunch (10:45 – 11:30 am) or break time (1:30 – 2:00 pm), we would ask you to take your child either before or after lunch or the break, not during the break.

Parking in the staff car park is restricted to teaching and ancillary staff. Since the parking area is not large, children must not be dropped off or picked up from the staff car park before or after school. When parking in Fragar Road and Samuel Foster Drive it is important to obey the rules of the road to ensure the safety of our children. Please note there is a Bus Stop opposite the school at which parking is prohibited 20m before the sign and 10m after. No parking is permitted in the Bus Bay outside the school.

Bus pass applications are available from the school office. Bus passes are automatically renewed each year except when a child is going from Year 2 to Year 3, when a new application is required. When transferring to another school, the bus pass must be handed in at the school office on the last day. The bus company servicing the school is Westbus.

During the year teachers plan to take classes on excursions. These excursions will be planned to fit in with a particular unit of work in progress, and form an important part of the child's education. Thus, it is necessary that all children attend the excursions. Teachers keep the cost of these excursions to a minimum. On occasions the excursion is the performance of cultural artists who visit the school. These too are educationally enriching. The upfront payment you make for excursions funds these educational expenses. From time to time the Parents & Friends also fund visiting speakers, or the school supplements the excursion budget. Camps for Years 5 and 6 are additional to the excursion fee.

Six times a year the school will have a pupil-free day. The days are used by the staff to plan and develop various areas of curriculum. Parents are notified via the school newsletter no later than six weeks prior to one of these days.

One of our central values at Mary MacKillop is ‘Respect’. This respect expresses itself in the way we relate to each other and our whole school environment. We also endeavour to help the children 'care for the earth'. We assist the children to become aware of and to examine their own personal responsibility for preserving, nurturing and living in harmony with all the life forms on our planet.

While every effort is made to see that each child's property is respected, we cannot accept any responsibility if clothing, etc. is not clearly marked with your child's name. This includes shoes as well as jackets, lunch boxes, drink bottles, school bags and anything else that can be mislaid.

Containers are placed outside the student foyer daily. Articles of clothing, etc. not claimed will form part of the school's emergency stock, or are donated to the St Vincent de Paul Society.

The library is open every day. The children will have a library bag for the exclusive use of their books. Library bags are not to be used as school bags. Children can only borrow library books if they have a library bag. Library bags are available from the school office.

The loan period is seven days and it is important that children return their books promptly. Borrowing occurs in class time and at some lunch times.

Books are very costly, so if children damage or lose their library books they will be expected to replace the book or the equivalent money value. Parent help is always needed in the library, so if you can assist with book covering, shelving or clerical work, please contact the Teacher/Librarian. Library work can be done at school or taken home.

Those parents who wish their children to bank at school may collect the necessary forms at the school office. The books are usually returned to children on the same day. Banking day is Monday.

To assist with the administration of money matters at school, you are asked to follow the following procedures:

  • Please send the correct money.
  • Please place in a sealed envelope (available from the office) clearly marked with your child's name and class, indicating the purpose for which the money is intended.
  • Remind your child to hand money to the class teacher as soon as they go into class.
  • Receipts for money paid at the office are issued as soon as possible.

EFTPOS facilities are available at the school office.

 

In order to develop social awareness of the needs of others presently experiencing difficulty, children will be encouraged to support organisations outside the school. These could include supporting children in a third world country, helping the St Vincent de Paul Society with money or donations, supporting the Penrith Kitchen, providing Christmas hampers for needy families or raising awareness or funds for social justice initiatives. The children also assist with fundraising for other children with special needs, e.g. CanTeen. This fundraising follows two models — school initiatives and student initiatives. Sometimes the focus is on raising awareness and sharing knowledge about social justice.

Health & Medication

While we do our best to care for sick children at school, it is very difficult for children to be at school when they are not feeling well. If your child is sick in the morning, it is best to keep him/her at home. If your child takes long-term medication, e.g. Ventolin, you must fill out the relevant forms from the office. Medication will not be administered to any child unless authorised by a parent/guardian and doctor. All medication prescribed by a medical practitioner must be authorised by the doctor and all paperwork needs to be updated every six months or when medication is changed. All relevant forms are available from the school office. For short term medication, forms are also available from the school office.

No child will be given medication unless it is recorded, prescribed by a doctor and in its original packaging.

Many doctors will agree that medication to be given three times a day can be administered in the morning before school, after school, before bed at night. Please check with your doctor.

We will not administer Panadol or aspirin, any eye medication whatsoever, or ear drops/nose drops. If a child needs to be on a nebuliser, we ask a parent or a nominated person by the parent, to come to school to administer this medication.

It is essential that we have up to date emergency contact phone numbers should we need you urgently. Please ensure your contact numbers are always up to date.

It is important that parents seek medical advice if an infectious disease is suspected. Many of these diseases require that the patient (and sometimes contacts at home) be excluded from school for varying lengths of time. Please check with your doctor before your child returns to school.

More information on infection diseases can be found on the NSW Department of Health website.

School/ Home Communication

A school newsletter KIT (Keeping in Touch) is sent home every second week, on Thursdays, and archived on the school website under 'Newsletters' to be read at your convenience.

Be sure to check with your child for this newsletter.

The daily happenings of our school are given here, so parents can share as fully as possible in all that concerns their children. KIT provides relevant dates, curriculum news, and details of class activities, school celebrations and Parents and Friends' functions. If you would like this sent electronically please notify the school office.

If parents have matters of concern or complaint, the process to follow is:

  • The first point of contact is the child’s class teacher. As you know we are always available to assist if there are concerns, questions or difficulties.
  • The usual procedure to manage these matters is firstly your child’s class teacher or the stage coordinator.
  • If there are more serious concerns please contact the Assistant Principal or Principal.

Parents are always welcome to discuss matters of interest or concern with the Principal. To ensure availability, please phone the office to make an appointment. If you wish to speak to your child's teacher regarding your child's progress it is necessary to make an appointment for before or after school.

Appointments with class teachers can only be made outside of school hours. Parents are asked not to disturb classes. If there is an emergency please go to the office.

Information evenings for parents are held at various stages throughout the school year. These are to provide information concerning educational programs and class organisation, to familiarise parents with some aspects of the school curriculum and to provide opportunities for ongoing adult formation.

Parent/Teacher interviews are held in June/July and by appointment at the end of the year to discuss the student’s report and learning progress

Uniforms

We encourage the children to take pride in their school uniform, and we maintain a standard in this area. Lowes store is the provider of school uniforms for Mary MacKillop Primary. If your child is not wearing the correct uniform a reminder communication will be sent to parents.

It is important for children to wear their uniform with pride. We ask parents to make sure their child is always in correct school uniform.

Uniform


Girls' Summer Uniform

  • Green check dress with St Clementine green on collar, tab and sleeve cuffs
  • White ankle length socks
  • Black shoes
  • Green cotton briefs

Girls' Winter Uniform

  • School tunic or bottle green slacks
  • Lemon long sleeve blouse with Peter Pan collar
  • Green elastic-held tie
  • Bottle green zip up jacket or sweater with school emblem
  • Bottle green jumpers or cardigans may be worn under the jacket
  • Black knee high socks or black tights
  • Black shoes

Girls’ Sports Uniform

  • Lemon T-shirt with school emblem
  • Green netball skirt or school shorts
  • Green sport briefs
  • White socks—worn above the ankle
  • Joggers (basically white) suitable for playing sport (i.e. Laces)
  • Green tracksuit in winter

 

Boys’ Summer Uniform

  • Grey school shorts
  • Pale lemon short sleeve shirt—open neck
  • Grey ankle length socks
  • Black shoes—not boots or joggers

Boys' Winter Uniform

  • Grey school trousers
  • Long sleeve pale lemon shirt
  • Bottle green tie
  • Bottle green zip up jacket or sweater with school emblem
  • Bottle green jumpers may be worn under the jacket
  • Grey socks
  • Black shoes—not boots or joggers

Boys' Sport Uniform

  • Lemon T-shirt with school emblem
  • Green shorts (not nylon or checked) available from Lowes
  • White socks—worn above the ankle
  • Joggers (basically white) suitable for playing sport (i.e. Laces)
  • Green tracksuit in winter

 

 

Other Items

Hats
Bottle green hats for boys and girls. Children are to wear the school hat in the playground at all times—No Hat, No Play.

Caps
Years 5 and 6 children may wear bottle green caps with school emblem—available from Lowes.

Jewellery
No jewellery is to be worn. One set of gold or silver studs/sleepers may be worn in pierced ears.

Hair
If hair is below shoulder length, it must be tied back with a bottle green ribbon or scrunchie. Hair is not to be coloured for either boys or girls. Haircuts are to be suitable for school for both boys and girls. No mullets, spiking, No. 1 zig zags or razoring etc.

Policies & Procedures

Catholic schools in the Parramatta Diocese are committed to the education of the ‘whole’ child. As a result of the legislation introduced in 2005 all schools are required to meet particular requirements in regard to reporting student learning. The purpose of this legislated change is to report student learning achievement in ‘Plain English’ E – A. Parents/Carers with children in Kindergarten will be provided with a report that communicates information about their child’s learning in a format decided on by the school. Parents/Carers with children in Years 1, 2, 3 or 4 will be provided with a report that indicates their overall level of achievement in each Key Learning Area as indicated below. Parents/Carers are able to request their child’s achievement relative to the rest of the year group.

E Elementary Achievement
D Basic Achievement
C Sound Achievement
B High Achievement
A Excellent Achievement

 

Parents/Carers with children in Years 5 and 6 will be provided with a report that indicates their child’s overall level of achievement in each Key Learning Area and will be provided with statistics that indicate their child’s achievement relative to the rest of the year group. The example given below demonstrates the number of students achieving at various levels and would vary from key learning area to key learning area, from year group to year group and from semester to semester.

E Elementary Achievement 5
D Basic Achievement 14
C Sound Achievement 27
B High Achievement 11
A Excellent Achievement 3

Rationale

Home assignment/homework is an out-of-school learning activity which helps children develop long term habits of learning and time management techniques which will support them in lifelong learning. Home assignment/homework should also provide opportunities for children to share their learning with their parents/caregivers. Home assignment/homework also provides the opportunity for students to initiate work or study of their own choice which relates to their own specific needs and interests. At Mary MacKillop Primary, students are encouraged through sound homework practice to:

  • develop the practice of independent study
  • develop sound study habits
  • consolidate the skills learnt in the classroom
  • develop new areas of study and to make use of sources of information (e.g. local library, Internet)
  • involve parents/caregivers in their learning
  • become involved in constructive activities of educational benefit.

Home assignment/homework activities

All children will receive a homework sheet from their teacher each week which is to be completed on the sheet or in their homework book. As a general rule, homework will be the consolidation of class work from any of the seven key learning areas. Any questions regarding homework should be addressed initially to the child’s class teacher. If there are concerns, questions or difficulties, the usual procedure to manage these matters is firstly your child’s class teacher, then the Stage coordinator. If there are more serious concerns please contact the Assistant Principal or Principal.

Teacher/student initiated tasks may include:

  • reading for pleasure
  • research, contract work
  • learning tasks, assignment work
  • writing reports, stories, poems
  • collecting information, newspapers, media , radio, TV, etc.
  • vocabulary, word study and spelling. Whilst spelling is usually presented in lists, its purpose is to enable children to transfer those words into daily writing
  • maths activities which consolidate and encourage problem solving, tables.

Children may receive an outline of a research task to take home, but the majority of each task will be completed at school.

Parent/caregiver assistance is essential

Reading, whether for pleasure or for research or literature studies, is an invaluable learning activity. Parent/caregiver involvement in the reading process enriches the learning experience for the child and must be encouraged. This involvement could encompass:

  • listening to the child read each night
  • reading a story to the child and sharing the story through discussion
  • discussing homework with the child and providing a sounding board where the child can share ideas.

Possible parent/caregiver initiated student tasks/experiences

  • Family conversations (relating experiences aids the child in expressing ideas)
  • Shared bedtime stories and storytelling, including retelling of stories and allowing time for discussion
  • Family games, activities, outings and pursuit of personal interests
  • Involvement with community activities
  • Visits to the local library
  • Maths activities related to real life situations, e.g. shopping, cooking, etc.
  • Supervised work on the home computer.

Time allocation for homework

To cater for the individual skills and competence of children, as well as their commitments to other outside school activities, an average amount of time spent per week on homework is suggested.

The approximate time spent should be:

Kindergarten 10 minutes per night
Year 1 10 minutes per night
Year 2 10 minutes per night
Year 3 20 minutes per night
Year 4 30 minutes per night
Year 5 35 minutes per night
Year 6 35 minutes per night

 

If the child is unable to complete the set work in this time allocation parents/caregivers are asked to communicate with the class teacher to discuss any problems and possible solutions. If the home assignment is finished in less than the suggested time the child should be encouraged to read for pleasure. Children in all year levels are encouraged to read for pleasure on a daily basis for at least 10 minutes.

Parents/caregivers will be informed of the home assignment/homework requirements and expectations at the beginning of each year.

Teachers will communicate with parents/caregivers if the child is consistently not completing home assignment/homework. This communication will be either by phone, by note, or in person. Strategies to improve home study practices will be developed by the class teacher, student, and parent/caregiver for those children experiencing difficulty in completing their home assignment/homework. Praise, encouragement and feedback should be given by the teacher and parent/caregiver to students who complete homework.

  • Parents are asked to supervise and sign homework each week.
  • Children (K-4) will have a reading diary which needs to be signed off by a parent/caregiver each week.
  • Years 5 and 6 will have a student diary which needs to be signed off by a parent/caregiver each week.

Correction of homework

Correction of homework may take one of the following forms:

  • teacher correction
  • student correction with teacher direction
  • shared talking and listening workshop style.

Teachers may depart from these guidelines if they believe different arrangements are in the best interest of the child. Wherever necessary, homework is to be adjusted for students with specific learning needs.

Belief statement

At Mary MacKillop Primary school we believe pastoral care refers to the total care of the students. It is a term used to describe both an attitude and a process and is based upon a belief in the dignity of the person. In short, it is expressed through:

  • development of quality relationships
  • provision of satisfying learning experiences
  • establishment of an effective care network
  • provision of experiences and structures that provide for the integrated spiritual and human growth of students.
(Policy – Parramatta Diocese)

We believe

That the structures and relationships within our school foster an inner conviction which will help our students become thoughtful and self-directed people. Central to the Mary MacKillop school climate are the relationships that connect the various members of the school community, e.g. parents, children, staff and parish clergy. There is support where needed for the poor, marginalised and in need, e.g. fee relief, uniform support and community connectedness.

All staff members are providers of pastoral care for our students.

(Policy – Mary MacKillop Primary)

Our policy is also based on the principles of Procedural Fairness

‘Procedural Fairness’ is a basic right of all when dealing with authorities. Procedural fairness refers to what are sometimes described as the ‘hearing rule’ and the ‘right to an unbiased decision.’ The ‘hearing rule’ includes the right of the person against whom an allegation has been made to:

  • know the allegation related to a specific matter and any other information which will be taken into account in considering the matter
  • know the process by which the allegation will be considered
  • respond to the allegations
  • know how to seek a review of the decision made in response to the allegations.

(Registration Systems and Member Non-Government Schools Manual 2004, page 51)

At Mary MacKillop we strive to build healthy relationships and repair harm by following fair process and agreeing to be:

  • Safe, Respectful Learners where those harmed have an opportunity to be heard and the offender has the opportunity to repair the relationship.

(Procedural Fairness)


Restorative Practice

Mary MacKillop Primary is a Restorative school committed to the implementation of the Restorative Practice framework. The Mary MacKillop model of Restorative Practice is one which includes students, staff and parents who are all trained to use the framework. This framework focuses on building and maintaining healthy relationships by focusing on repairing the harm that is caused. The school is committed to the philosophy of separating the act from the actor, or as a scripture states:

‘hate the sin while loving the sinner’.

The principles of the framework are based on the elements of:

  • Fair Process
  • Restorative Questions
  • The Relational Window
  • Behavioural research
  • Explicit Practice
  • Circle Time.

All stakeholders are trained to listen to each other, promote fairness and to know that all wrong doing will be repaired. We work on the basis that individuals are most likely to trust and cooperate with others (whether they themselves win or lose) when the process is fair.

The classroom is a community of learners where those who fail to follow agreements know they will be helped to find the right way; through think time, circle time, and challenging questions. Following these strategies they will be reintegrated into the community of learners.

The playground provides an opportunity for the implementation of social, team and interactive skills. The children at school are learners and mistakes are often made. However, Restorative Practice provides a process where these occasions are seen as opportunities for learning. Training sessions in Restorative Practice are held annually for parents, new students and new staff members.