Handbook

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Our school handbook covers all the information, procedures and policies you and your child will need.

You can print a full version to read at your convenience by pressing the ‘PDF’ button at the top of the page.

If you have any further questions in relation to school times, dates, policies or other general enquiries, please feel free to contact us.

General Information

School assemblies take place twice a term, at 2.10pm on a Friday afternoon in the Parish Hall. During this time, one Stage group takes the responsibility of prayer and shares with the school, work that they have been completing in class. Learning Excellence awards are also handed out during this time.

All parents, grandparents and friends are welcome to attend our school assemblies. Please check our newsletter for assembly dates.

All children are expected to attend school from 8:55 am to 3:15 pm. Any child arriving late for school should go to the office with their parent, and the student will be scanned in. The parent can then accompany them to class. If it is necessary for any child to leave school early, the parent must come to the office to have the student scanned out.  These absences will be classed as a partial absence.

Every day a child is marked absent a text message will be sent to the nominated parent. parents are asked to reply to this text message as soon as possible.  If the absence is likely to be two days or more, parents are also encouraged to notify the school office by telephone.

If no txt message response is received a letter will be sent home to the parent to explain the absence.

The Commonwealth Bank is the school bank. If you wish your child to open a bank account please contact the school secretary for the necessary form. All new Kindergarten students are given an application form at the beginning of the year. Banking takes place on Thursday each week. Students place their bank book into the banking bag and it will be returned to them at the end of the day.

At the beginning of the year we have a BBQ for all students and their families. Our whole school community is invited to attend.  This allows parents to meet their child’s friends and their parents at the beginning of each school year. St Bernadette's staff will also be in attendance.

School Bus Travel

Applications for school travel are available via www.transportnsw.info/school-students

A new application is required when:

  • applying for a School Opal Card or Travel Pass for the first time
  • enrolling in Kindergarten, or
  • requesting an additional entitlement as a result of a shared parental responsibility situation

You will need to do an update application if the student has a current school travel pass and:

  • is progressing from Year 2 to Year 3
  • is progressing from Year 6 to Year 7, or
  • changes address, or
  • changes school or campus

Already have a School Opal card or travel pass?

  • When you've updated, and you are eligible for free school travel next year, Transport for NSW will send you an email confirmation once your application has been processed.
  • If an opal card is lost or destroyed, parents are to contact Transport for NSW directly to arrange for the reissue of the pass.  For further enquiries contact the school office.

In accordance with the Child Protection Legislation Act 1998, it is essential all parent/grandparent, guardians, volunteers, e.g. canteen, classroom reading/activities, excursions, etc. complete an online Child Protection training module.

Complaints or grievances pertaining to classroom issues, or that relate to other children, are to be dealt with by school personnel.

It is not appropriate for parents to approach other parents or their children with the intention of resolving the issues.

The recommended procedures for parents are:

  1. The first point of contact is the child’s class teacher. Contact the school office to make an appointment with the teacher concerned.

  2. If parents are not satisfied with the solutions offered or believe that they have not been given a fair hearing, they are encouraged to make an appointment with the Assistant Principal or Principal, to discuss the issue further.
    Parents are reminded that there are two sides to every story and whilst it is important to listen to their children, it is also important not to draw conclusions or make accusations until all the facts are known.

  3. If parents are not satisfied with the response from the school or they have other legitimate reasons, they can contact Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) directly. The CEDP has a community liaison line for taking general inquiries or concerns. The CEDP Officer will take the complaint and refer it to the relevant personnel. In some instances, the CEDP Officer may advise that the complaint is more appropriately dealt with at the school level. In general, the CEDP Officer will refer the complaint to the Head of School Services responsible for the school. 

  4. For matters concerning CEDP staff, in the first instance the complaint would be taken to the person’s immediate supervisor. If the complainant is not satisfied, they may address their concern to the Executive Director of Education, Mr Gregory B. Whitby.

Effective communication between parents and teachers is vital to the development of a positive relationship, which is so important for the education of the children in our care.

There are a number of ways through which we endeavour to communicate in a formal manner with parents.


Parent / Teacher Chats

This is held early in Term 1 (usually Week 3) and provides an opportunity for parents to discuss the needs of their children with the classroom teacher.  


Interviews

If parents have a concern about something, they should first contact the class teacher. To make an appointment send a note directly to the teacher or alternatively parents can contact the school office and leave a message for the teacher. Please do not attempt to see a teacher for detailed discussions without first arranging a suitable time, particularly before school when children are lining up, or in the afternoon after school.


Parent/Teacher interviews

Parent/teacher interviews are arranged for all parents at midyear. At these interviews parents are given their child’s Semester 1 Report.

Plain English Reporting to Parents

Reports are sent home to parents at the end of Semester 1 and Semester 2. The information will relate the outcomes achieved at a given stage. All students will receive an A – E grading, except those in Kindergarten.

The following is information from the ‘Diocesan Directions to Primary Schools in relation to reporting students’ learning’. This information will give parents an understanding of the A – E reporting. If you have any questions about this reporting please make an appointment through the school office.

The following points present the Parramatta Diocesan position on plain English reporting.

  1. All schools will formally report in writing, twice each year, to parents regarding students’ learning achievement in all subjects, including Religious Education.

  2. Students’ Learning Reports (except those for Kindergarten) will report individual student learning achievement according to the A – E scale below:

    A – Excellent Achievement

    B – High Achievement

    C – Sound Achievement

    D – Basic Achievement

    E – Elementary Achievement

     

  3. Students’ Learning Reports for students in Years 1, 2, 3, and 4 will not publish the performance of the individual students relative to the rest of the cohort. This information will be available to parents if requested.

  4. Students’ Learning Reports for students in Years 5 and 6 will publish the performance of the individual students relative to the rest of the cohort. That is, they will indicate the number of students in the cohort that have performed at each of the achievement levels.

  5. Kindergarten Learning Reports will maintain their current format. Their learning will be reported twice a year in writing.

  6. All Student Learning Reports are to be written in ‘plain English’, avoiding the use of jargon, so that they are understandable to parents.

  7. Student Learning Reports issued in the last term of the year must be available to parents at least seven (7) days before the last school day for students, in order to allow parents an opportunity to discuss the report with the school.

  8. Evidence in the form of achievement records and work samples indicating levels of achievement on various tasks, must be kept by schools to ensure accuracy across classes within a cohort, and to validate learning report results.

School newsletter

The school newsletter is emailed on Wednesday afternoon. Please subscribe, using the form on our website, if you wish to have the newsletter emailed to you each week.


The purpose of homework is to provide the students with revision of classwork and to build on the skills that are being taught in the classroom. All work sent home is a revision of what is being taught in the classroom and should not be new to the students.

Weekly spelling lists would consist of one or more of the following:

Sight words, word families, beginning and end blends, theme words, words commonly misspelt or words that are spelt incorrectly in daily work.

Homework is given out on a weekly basis and consists of some/all of the following:

Reading, Spelling, Writing, Mathematics and self-directed Learning Assignments based on Science and Technology or HSIE units.
All homework will be collected and corrected, signed and dated by the class teacher and returned to the students for the following week.
Each class will have two homework books to allow teachers time to mark (2007 onwards).

Guidelines for homework

Listed below are guidelines that the teachers at St Bernadette’s believe are appropriate for each Stage per night.

Early Stage 1

No more than
15 minutes each night

Included in this could be:

  • Reading
  • Letters and sounds
  • Sight words

Stage 1

No more than
20 minutes each night

Included in this could be:

  • Reading
  • Mathematics revision
  • Spelling words, e.g. writing sentences/
  • alphabetical order

Stage 2

No more than
30 minutes each night

Included in this could be:

  • Reading
  • Mathematics revision
  • Spelling, e.g. word lists and spelling rules/
  • Dictionary meanings
  • Grammar – revision work

Stage 3

No more than
40 minutes each night

Included in this could be:

  • Reading
  • Mathematics revision
  • Spelling, e.g. word lists and spelling rules
  • Self-directed Learning Assignment based on a multiple intelligence task.

If a child spends the correct amount of time on their homework each night and fails to complete the work, a note from the child’s parents stating the above, will be accepted by the class teacher.

The Public Health (Amendment) Act 1992 requires parents to provide documented evidence of the immunisation status of each child, on enrolment at school. When enrolling for Kindergarten, an Immunisation Certificate provided by the Australian Government Health Insurance Commission must be produced.

The Learning Centre has a wide range of books covering topics on the school's educational program as well as catering for students' own interests and hobbies.

Each class group has weekly lessons and children are encouraged to borrow from the library during these lessons. Kindergarten students may borrow two books at a time, and students from Years 1 to 6 may borrow up to four books. If a book is lost or damaged you will be notified in writing and supplied with details of the book and the cost of replacement. A library bag is required for borrowing.

There is also a Parent Corner in the Learning Centre, where parents can borrow a number of books on educational topics. We have a parent meeting once a term to have an informal chat and to borrow books.

Also see: School Library

Children attend Mass at various times throughout the year. On some occasions ‘buddy’ classes or Stage classes celebrate together, and at other times the whole school celebrates together. We also have a Sunday Family Stage Mass each term, so that families may celebrate the Eucharist together. Details of Masses will appear in school newsletter and on our website, to allow parents to join us.

We ask you to discourage your child from bringing unnecessary amounts of money, expensive presents, etc. to school, as we cannot take responsibility for the loss of such items.

You are asked to mark all clothing and equipment used at school with your child's name. It will be necessary to renew the name from time-to-time as it fades or becomes illegible after washing.

Lost clothing and equipment will be sent to the lost property area and will be kept for the remainder of the term. Items still unclaimed at the end of each term will be put into the clothing pool or given to St Vincent de Paul.

Children are given the opportunity to order lunches from the school canteen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, each week. Any child wishing to order lunch must put their name and class on a paper bag along with their order. The money to cover the cost of this is placed inside the bag and the bag put into the lunch basket in the classroom. Lunches are then returned to the classroom just prior to the lunch bell.

A price list of items available is sent out at the beginning of each year. You can view a copy in the school notes section of this website.

Please don't send sick children to school - they only spread their illness and risk their own recovery.

Please let us know if your child suffers a serious illness or disability. This is especially important in the case of asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, allergies, brain/skull injuries, etc. Let your child's teacher know about any diagnosed problems as they arise.

Make sure the school knows where and how you can be contacted every day.

In the case of children becoming sick at school, parents will be contacted to make necessary arrangements for the child's wellbeing.

In the event of minor illnesses (e.g. headaches, feeling sick) at school, the child will go to the Sick Bay and the office staff will treat the child and, if considered necessary, you will be contacted. 

In the event of a more serious accident every effort will be made to contact parents. If they cannot be contacted, or if the injury is deemed too serious for delay, the child will be taken to hospital for treatment.

If your child requires medication to be given during the school day, a medication form must be completed and given to office staff. You can obtain a medication form from the school office or download one from the school notes section of this website. All medication must be pre-measured by parents.

We understand that some parents need to give their children (particularly in Stage 3) a mobile phone for safety reasons. The following points are for your information:

  • All mobile phones are to be placed in the class office bag in the morning and sent to the office for safe keeping.
  • At the end of the day the office bag is collected and the phones returned.
  • No mobile phones are to be used or visible in the playground before school, or at any time during the school day.
  • Mobile phones are not to be used to show or take photos
  • Mobile phones are not to be used to text or ring another student
  • If a student is not complying with the above, the mobile phone will be confiscated by the teacher and parent contacted.

We are aware that in today’s society mobile phones can be used for bullying and would appreciate parents support with the above points.

If, for any urgent reason, parents wish to speak to their child during school hours, they must call into the school office first to sign in, collect and wear a visitor’s label. This is to ensure the safety of children on the playground. Parents must sign out before leaving the school premises.

If you wish to drop off something to your child (e.g. hat, lunch, etc.), this can be left at the school office and will be given to your child without delay.

Parents may be invited to assist in classroom activities as advised by the class teachers.

Parent volunteers must have completed Child Protection Online Training. Volunteers must sign in to the visitor portal at the office and wear a ‘volunteer’ label while at the school, and then sign out when they are leaving the school grounds.

Any interaction with students is highly confidential and cannot be spoken about to anyone.

Where a child needs to be taken out of school during the day, such as for a dentist appointment, parents need to come to the office and the student will be scanned out of the school.  This will be recorded as a partial absence on the students record.    

Parents are asked never to pick up another parent's child without the written permission and knowledge of the child's parents. Do not take the word of the child as evidence that mum or dad has given them permission to be picked up to be taken to your place.

It is school policy that a child will not be allowed to go home with another child's parents unless written permission is given to the class teacher.

All children at St Bernadette's participate in two hours of organised physical activity, including a weekly PE skills development program and a weekly games period.


Swimming Program

It is the school’s expectation that all children participate in this program during Term 4, as it is a compulsory part of the PDHPE curriculum set by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). The purpose of the program is to equip non-swimmers with basic water safety and survival swimming skills, and to extend those who are already able to swim. Parents will be advised in Term 3 of the cost for the swimming program and the date payment is due.


Sport Carnivals

All children in the school participate in inter-house athletics and swimming carnivals. From these carnivals children are chosen to represent the school at zone, diocesan and state level.  The school also participates in a cross-country event organised by the Parramatta Diocese and has participated in various invitational carnivals.


Sport House Teams

There are four house teams in the school:

Barton Red
Chisholm Blue
Mackillop Gold
Leonard Green

Children will be placed into one of these house groups upon enrolment in the school.

  • As per government and system requirements, we report on student progress using the A to E scale.
  • Parent/teacher interviews are arranged for all parents at midyear.
  • At these interviews parents are given their child’s Semester 1 report. The Semester 2 report is sent home to parents one week before the end of the school year.

Year 3 children preparing for the reception of the sacraments of First Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Holy Communion, will participate in a parish-based and family-centred program. 

Parents are responsible for enrolling their children in the program and attending a series of small group discussions (usually four for each sacrament) with their children, to share aspects of their faith.

Reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Confirmation usually occurs one night during the week. The sacrament of the Eucharist occurs during the normal Sunday liturgy.

First Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Eucharist take place over three terms in Year 3, commencing in Term 2.

The school’s Religious Education program also develops the children's knowledge and understanding of these sacraments during the appropriate year levels.

  • Traffic using Gardenia Grove to drop off or collect children before and after school, is very heavy and congestion often occurs at these times.
  • Parents are reminded that parking is prohibited on the school side of Gardenia Grove during school hours, and that ‘no standing’ areas also apply. 
  • Traffic wardens patrol this area and fines can be issued for illegal parking.
  • All parents are asked to be patient when accessing Gardenia Grove at these times.
  • For safety reasons please turn vehicles at the end of the cul-de-sac to exit from Gardenia Grove and not to overtake other vehicles.
  • A kiss ‘n’ drop system has been implemented to ease traffic congestion. Parents are asked to be patient and remain in line.
  • Parents are asked to remember to walk around the cul-de-sac when collecting their children and not to cross the road through traffic.

Dashboard signs are required if you are picking up your child by car.
These are available by contacting the school office.

Please do not call your child across the street when picking up children after school. It is far safer to walk across and walk your children back across the crossing.

The school expectations will be taught in the first term of each year. They will be displayed in each classroom and also around the school.

Each expectation will be the focus at each assembly for the first four weeks of Term 1. Teachers are then to follow up with ‘teach and practice’ sessions in the classroom.

1. I am safe

  • keep hands and feet to self
  • walk inside buildings 
  • walk around the playground
  • use materials and equipment safely
  • always wear a hat when outdoors
  • stay in the supervised areas

2. I am respectful

  • be a good listener
  • include others and treat them the way you want to be treated
  • allow others to be different
  • acknowledge the ideas of others

3. I am responsible

  • take care of yourself
  • take care of the things you use
  • allow others to resolve their own problems
  • act honestly
  • accept the outcomes of your behaviour

4. I am a learner

  • participate actively
  • follow the directions the first time
  • take turns
  • share with others
  • stay on task

An official school newsletter is emailed every Wednesday afternoon. Please register on this website for a newsletter to be emailed to you.

Both individual and group photos are taken once a year. The date is advised in the school newsletter.

Each year there are days set aside for the teachers to participate in professional development programs or in-service. These days ensure the continuing development of the staff and consequent benefits to the children. On these days there are no classes for the children. The NSW Government has designated the last two days of Term 4 as Staff Development Days.

At St Bernadette’s we seek to provide a place of learning where the values taught and practised by Jesus Christ are clearly evident in the way we relate to each other.

At St Bernadette’s we believe that everyone has the right to learn in a safe and happy environment.

At St Bernadette’s we do not explicitly or implicitly sanction the administration of corporal punishment, either by school persons or non-school persons, including parents, to enforce discipline at school.

St Bernadette's has a sun care policy formulated by parents and teachers. It states that all children need to wear their school hat when outside. As our school policy states that children without their school hat are not allowed to play or participate in sport, they must stay seated in the shade. Parents are asked to ensure that children keep their school hat in their school bag. Parents are also asked to apply sunscreen or supervise older children in the application of sunscreen prior to leaving for school.

Additional verandah and shaded areas have been made available for the comfort and safety of the children on hot days. Our shade areas add to the number of locations where children are protected from the sun.

Supervision of students on the school premises commences at 8:30 am.

8:30

Students may arrive at school and remain in the ‘Middle Playground’ where they are supervised by a teacher until the bell.

8:55

Children line up and class teachers come to the area and accompany students to class.

11:00

Students have a recess break for 30 minutes. During this time there are two teachers on duty to supervise the Infants students in the Adventure Playground, and the Primary students are supervised under the shade cloth.

1:30

Students are supervised by their class teacher while they eat their lunch.

1:40

Students have a lunch break for 30 minutes. They are supervised by one teacher in each of the following areas:

  • Infants in the Adventure Playground
  • Primary under the shade cloth 

In Terms 2 and 3, Primary students may choose to go to the oval.

In Terms 1 and 4, all students have one day where they may choose to go into the library.

Every Thursday the students may choose to go into the library to play chess.

3:10

All students assemble with their class teacher under the shade cloth area.

3:15

Students are taken to the various exit points by a duty teacher and are supervised until they are collected by parents, bus or OOSH. Staff supervises children waiting for school buses, crossing the street in front of the school or while waiting for parents to collect them from the Gardenia Grove gate.

3:30

Any students remaining after this time are taken to the office and their parents are contacted. The students remain there under supervision until they are collected by their parent.

It is expected that the children wear the correct school uniform on all occasions.

Girls

Summer Light blue short sleeve overshirt with school crest  
  Junior navy culottes  
  White ankle length socks  
  Black shoes  
     
Winter Light blue long sleeve overshirt with peter pan collar  
  Navy trousers (‘blockers’)  
  Junior navy culottes  
  Black (opaque) tights  
  Tab tie  
  Navy ankle length socks  
  Black shoes  
  Navy Jumper (optional)  
  School sports jacket  
     
Sports School sport polo shirt (short sleeve)  
  School sport polo shirt (long sleeve) is optional for winter as part of the sport uniform  
  Royal blue school shorts  
  White ankle length socks and white joggers (not low cut socks )  
  School tracksuit  

 

Boys

Summer Light blue short sleeve overshirt with school crest  
  Navy shorts (‘blockers’)  
  Navy ankle length socks  
  Black shoes  
     
Winter Light blue long sleeve overshirt  
  Navy trousers (‘blockers’)  
  Navy ankle length socks  
  Black shoes  
  Navy jumper (optional)  
  School sports jacket  
     
Sports School sport polo shirt (short sleeve)  
  School sport polo shirt (long sleeve) is optional for winter as part of the sport uniform  
  Royal blue sport shorts  
  White ankle length socks and white joggers (not low cut socks)  
  School tracksuit  
     
Hats School Bucket Hat - All Students

 

 

All uniforms are available from the Parent Group Uniform Shop on Wednesday mornings and Friday mornings from 8.30am - 9.30am. 

 

The following student dress code applies at all times:

  • Sport shoes/joggers are only to be worn on sport days.
  • Haircuts and hairstyles should be sensible, neat and tidy—no hair colours, highlights, streaks or unusual styles are allowed. This includes rats tails, stripes and the excessive use of gel, etc.
  • Long hair needs to be tied back.
  • Junior navy blue ribbons, scrunchies and hair clips may be worn.
  • No ornate or sharp hair clips to be worn.
  • No anklets, plaited cords or beads to be worn.
  • No nail polish is to be worn.

Girls – appropriate jewellery consists of:

  • watch
  • signet ring
  • sleeper or stud earrings (one on each ear only)
  • simple religious chain, if desired.

Boys – appropriate jewellery consists of:

  • watch
  • signet ring
  • simple religious chain, if desired.

Boys are not allowed to wear an earring.

In the event of wet weather, children stay in their own classroom or on the verandah during recess and lunchtime. Parents are asked to ensure children have a raincoat, etc. in their bags at all times, to cater for sudden changes in weather.

After school on wet weather days, parents are asked to wait for their child in their usual area. The children will line up under cover and be sent to the parents when the bell rings. Children waiting for Gardenia Grove or buses will remain under cover.

Umbrellas are not allowed at school for safety reasons.