Mrs Prendergast has enjoyed a well-deserved week of Long Service Leave and will be back in action at school next week. This allowed her to be ‘mum’ for the week, after her previously-scheduled trip of a lifetime to the Maldives was put on the backburner due to COVID-19. So, for this week I will be providing the Principal messages.
Miss Lucy Jacobs
This week was Miss Jacob’s last week teaching in the Middle Learning Unit – prior to her going on Maternity Leave. We thank Lucy for being an amazing teacher and role model to her students and stepping in to fill the void from Miss Meg Cogdon going on Maternity Leave earlier in the year. Miss Rhiannon Hickman will take over as teacher for the remainder of the year. Both Lucy and Rhi have worked to ensure a smooth transition and handover and the students are already very familiar with Miss Hickman. On behalf of the entire Bellaire community, we wish Lucy all the best!
2021 Prep Transitions
Next week we will begin welcoming our 2021 Prep students on-site for their transition program. Transition this year will look different. There are a number of different guidelines schools have had to follow during this time; including:
o 10 on-site at one time – at Bellaire we made the decision to shorten the time but allow one parent to accompany their child on-site.
o No mixing with other students – we have formulated our transition sessions to ensure our current Prep students are at Specialist subjects to ensure our Prep 2021 students can be in the Prep classrooms. We must ensure, as stated in the guidelines, that visitors onto the site do not mix with our current school community.
Due to the reasons above, and others given by the Department of Education, we will be holding our transition sessions over three weeks on Tuesday & Thursday afternoons. As previously stated, we are hopeful that restrictions may change, allowing them all to be on-site on Tuesday 8th December. We will also be holding a transition session on Wednesday 20th January due to the situation we find ourselves in. We are looking forward to meeting our new students!
This week was NAIDOC Week – a celebration held across Australia each year observing the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC week provided us with a great opportunity to provoke learning in our students about the long Aboriginal Australian history, the beautiful culture and the amazing achievements of Indigenous Australians. Teachers throughout the school planned various activities and tasks to engage students in the significance of the week; including storytelling, communicating through art and traditional games (just to name a few).
Wednesday was Remembrance Day, which marked the anniversary of the resolution of the First World War on 11 November 1918. Our School Captains held a commemorative service (through our PA system) and led staff and students to observe a minute’s silence to remember all those who have served during wars for our country.
Start of Day Supervision
This is a friendly reminder that supervision of students (and entry into the school) does not begin before 8.45am. We are still noticing a number of students who are arriving early and are waiting for a while at the gates. We kindly ask that students do not arrive at school prior to 8.45am. Our OSHC is available if this is not possible.
Attendance – ‘Every Day Counts’
Now more than ever, attending school regularly plays a pivotal role in the future lives of young Victorians. Attending all day, every day helps students to build their learning and maintain strong social connections with their friends and teachers. There is no set point at which absence becomes a concern, however as a guide the following categories can help to identify patterns of absence.
- Regular attendees: miss less than 10 days a year
- Risk of chronic absence: miss between 10 and 20 days a year
- Chronically absent: miss 20+ days
- Severe chronic absence: miss 30+ days a year – This cohort is at high risk of becoming an Early Leaver.
Attendance plays a key role in setting students up for success in later years. Students who go on to be chronically absent in their later years of schooling, on average, have higher absence rates than their peers in primary school – starting as early as Grade Prep. It is never too early or too late to establish positive attendance habits. We have been given guidance from the Department about following up with student attendance concerns and supporting families and reengaging students back into on-site schooling. We are in the process of reviewing our attendance lists and contacting families where required. If you’d like to discuss attendance further, please reach out to your child’s classroom teacher.
Sunscreen & Mosquitos
As stated last week, with our recent weather providing warm days and humid conditions, we have seen increased bug and insect populations. Firstly, we encourage all students to apply sunscreen prior to arriving at school. As previously written, The OH&S Unit of the Department of Education have advised spraying to be completed over school holidays. We will build this into the future planning for September 2021. In the interim, we suggest that you apply a repellent and/or spray to your child before coming to school. If your child has an allergic reaction to mosquito bites, please advise the office.