Christmas Edition 2021
And so, just like that we come to the end of another school year. Term 4 is a crazy one, in one sense finishing up whilst at the same time starting preparations for next year.
The office of CSPWA is very definitely in that mode at the moment. As with schools our office closes for the school holidays, so we are now down to our final couple of weeks.
This time of year, also provides opportunities for school communities to come together to celebrate, prepare for the season of Advent and look forward to the joyous feast of Christmas. As nativity scenes go up, final assemblies take place and lots of our children and young people are undergoing orientation in new schools or classrooms, schools are hives of positive activity.
As previously mentioned, the office of CSPWA has been busy over the past few weeks, providing support to P&Fs who have been holding their AGMs, electing new office bearers for the year ahead and encouraging good handover procedures, ensuring that the new P&F groups are ready to go at the start of 2022. It is always positive to receive so many calls seeking advice as this demonstrates to us the willingness of P&F office bearers to ensure their governance procedures are as they should be.
Whilst the key role of P&Fs continues to be around Fundraising and Friendraising, and many groups run relatively informally, it is important to have good guidelines in place to ensure positive outcomes. Currently many P&Fs use constitutions as their set of guidelines, whilst others are moving towards a ‘Terms of Reference’ type document which aligns more with the School Advisory Council TORs. In assisting many P&Fs this year it has become apparent that some work needs to be done to provide more consistency around the way they operate particularly in regard to governance. As mentioned in our last newsletter we will be doing a review of P&F practices next year and will look forward to working with parents to ascertain what works well and also what does not. Watch this space!
This edition of the newsletter is packed with a wide variety of articles which I hope you will find useful. We have already had lots of interest in the Induction Evening on Feb 17th so if this is something you would be interested in attending, please let us know as soon as possible as we have begun preparations for this popular event.
Although we look forward at this time of year to spending some special time with our families, it is also a time of celebration and parties and the question of alcohol and young people arises again. The other issue which seems to have become a real problem for both parents and schools alike is that of vaping. We have included information regarding both of these issues, from Paul Dillon at DARTA and hope that the practical advice provided will assist parents on how to have these tricky conversations with our children and young people in an informed way.
However as always, we like to end the year on a positive note and I would like to take this opportunity to offer thanks to all those we have had the pleasure of working with this year. From the many committed parents and principals in schools to staff and members of Catholic Education WA. In particular, I would like to thank sincerely the council and staff members of CSPWA. Fr George, Catherine, Anna, Richard, Michelle F, Belinda, Marina, Kate, Alan, Michelle M, Rebecca and Wayne give of their time in a voluntary capacity and the office staff could not be more grateful for their ongoing support and commitment! Many of these council members are highly engaged in their own school communities and to have them give of their time to CSPWA is a blessing. Finally, but certainly not least, Nicole and Jennifer in the office! In addition to being wonderful staff members these two ladies bring with them a passion for the role of the P&F in Catholic schools. All in all a fantastic team to work with.
In this season of goodwill, I urge everyone to take good care of each other especially those who most need our love. Charities, like many other organisations have been struggling this year in attracting volunteers so if you can find a couple of hours somewhere between now and Christmas to help out for a good cause, please do so, and bring the kids – it is so good for them to witness their parent/carers volunteering - it may even awaken the volunteer inside them!
So now all that remains is to wish each and every one of you a truly blessed and joyous Christmas as we look forward to celebrating the birth of the Christchild.
See you all again in 2022.
We are blessed in Catholic education to have so many members of our school communities who are willing to put in volunteer hours to support our children and young people. Whether through the P&F, the School Advisory Council, roster in classrooms or the school canteen, volunteering has been a constant in Catholic schools for many years. It is however not just parents/carers who volunteer, but in many instances school staff who want to support a great cause relevant to their own day to day experiences. Teachers from St Vincent’s School in Parmelia are one of those groups and we are delighted to feature their story here.
"Run for Autism is a virtual running event which encourages people to run for a great cause. Whether running on your own or as a team, you have the ability to choose how far you run and when you run, while raising funds and awareness for autism.
At St Vincent’s School in Parmelia, we work closely with children with autism on a daily basis. We see the challenges our students face and progress they can make with the right support. Autism is a lifelong condition. Each person on the autism spectrum sees, hears, feels, and experiences the world differently. For many, simply coping with every day can lead to confusion, anxiety, and isolation. An estimated 1 in 70 people in Australia is on the autism spectrum. Along with their family members, this means autism is a part of daily life for over a million Australians.
On the week of Sunday 31st October to Sunday 7th November, sixteen staff members at our school challenged themselves to run for a cause that is close to all our hearts. We tied up our running shoes and headed out, many of us running with friends and family members (including young children and dogs in tow) to give us that extra encouragement we needed.
We would like to thank our incredible family and friends who came along with us on our daily running adventures and donated money to Run for Autism. As a team, we were able to raise a total of $3610. This money will go towards future research to provide more programs, services, and opportunities for people of the autism spectrum."
Caroline Canteli Impillino and Vicky Wright
Our colleagues who participated included -
Vicky Wright Clair Outram
Caroline Cantali Impillino Michelle Barjaktarevic
Catherine Bauer Emily Dwyer
Chella Godber Liz Lazzara
Lorralie Bucknell Natasha De Franca
Anne Aquino Michelle Nel
Jade Nelson Kimberley Wood
Leanne Holcombe Madison Norton
When we choose a quality Catholic Education for our children, we choose to take on the costs associated with that education. Although WA has thankfully been less affected by the Covid-19 pandemic than other states, many families have been affected by job losses or a reduction in working hours. If these changes in circumstances are impacting your ability to pay school fees, please make an appointment to discuss this with your school Principal who will treat you with discretion and compassion. Catholic schools are committed to providing a Catholic education for all those who seek it and no child should be denied the opportunity to avail of a Catholic education due to financial difficulty. All families with limited capacity to pay school fees are eligible for support.
As we head into the Christmas party season, what is your stance on letting your kids have a drink of alcohol? Is it better to let your children have a drink at home under parental supervision, so that you can ensure their safety? Research done in this area does not support this approach, however well intentioned it is. Paul Dillon from Drug Alcohol Research and Training Australia (DARTA), says the following:
- delay your child’s first drink of alcohol for as long as possible
- be honest about your own alcohol use and be a good role model
- create rules and boundaries
- create meaningful consequences
- make sure your child knows that rules are negotiable as they get older
The DARTA website has useful and practical information, with fact sheets for parents, teens and teachers. There is also a great section on schoolies/leavers for teens and for parents. Paul Dillon speaks at many of our high schools providing drug and alcohol education for teens and we highly recommend visiting this website (link below) and discussing the information openly with your teen.
It's that time of year again where some P&F office bearers may be stepping down at the Annual Community Meeting, and new parents/carers may be stepping in with little or no previous experience with the P&F. To assist with the handover process, CSPWA have put together a one-page checklist that you may find useful as a guide on how to support new members, and ensure they have all of the resources available to get started in their new office bearer position.
Catholic School Parents WA can not underestimate the importance of having a good planning process to start the year off in a positive way. To that end we suggest that members of the school leadership team, the school advisory council and the P&F consider coming together for a planning meeting to clarify the goals and objectives for the school in the coming year. The meeting can identify how the parent group along with the other two groups can work together to assist the school in achieving those goals.
The planning meeting could take place either at the end of the year or the beginning of the new year once the priorities for the following year have been identified.
To assist with this process CSPWA have developed a one-page guide to outline the purpose of the meeting, who should be involved, the roles and responsibilities of the group and how to continue the partnership throughout the year. The guide is of course a template only and could be amended to provide empathy for context.
CSPWA is about to launch our new website, we are just working on the finishing touches and will notify all parents and schools when it goes live in the next week!
The website will have dedicated sections for Parents and P&F groups, and will also provide information regarding the work that CSPWA engages in providing advocacy and representation for parents/carers who chose a Catholic education for their children and young people. The P&F section will house all of our resources, available for download for our affiliated schools, Prayers for Meetings, Office Bearer forms and templates for meetings and ACMs.
CSPWA has been working in collaboration with CEWA over the past couple of months and will continue to do so into the new year, developing new resources which will help to provide consistency around the governance of P&Fs. As these new resources become available they will also be placed on the new website.
In the meantime, should you need any assistance with anything regarding the governance of your P&F or indeed any other information, please don't hesitate to contact the office.
If you are thinking about purchasing an eRideable for your child or teenager for Christmas, please see the new rules below that apply to e-scooters, electric unicycles, electric skateboards, electric roller skates, one-wheel electric scooters and hoverboards. The new rules will come in to effect on 4th December 2021.
** eRideables are electric powered devices not capable of travelling faster than 25 km/h. Motorised scooters with a maximum power output of 200w and maximum speed of 10 km/h can still be driven by children under the age of 16. This provision will not change **
The new laws include:
- the speed limit on bike and shared paths and local roads will be 25 km/h, consistent with regulations in Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and New Zealand;
- the speed limit on footpaths and in pedestrian areas will be 10km/h;
- users will be required to give way to pedestrians and keep to the left of oncoming riders;
- users of eRideables must be at least 16 years of age;
- users must wear an approved helmet, use lights and reflectors at night and have a working warning device; and
- the same mobile phone and drink and drug driving rules apply as for motor vehicle drivers.
For more information, please see:
Staff in the CSPWA Office seem to be having more and more conversations about vaping, both in schools and can you believe in classrooms! We thought it might be timely to share some information about what is currently known about e-cigarettes, and how to talk to your child about vaping.
This factsheet, downloadable from the Smarter than Smoking website provides information on what e-cigarettes are and the laws in WA regarding e-cigarettes:
This factsheet is downloadable from the DARTA website and has a series of frequently asked questions designed for young people:
This factsheet provides tips on how to talk to your children about vaping, also from the DARTA website:
This is a great article by Linda Stade on rights of passage and a gradual letting go as two strategies to help our children in year 12 as they leave high school on the way to their next stage in life. They go from having to ask to use the bathroom during class to having to find work and a place to live and it can be daunting for them and us. The article is a great read: