Principal’s Message

Welcome to 2013

I would like to welcome all staff, students and fellow community members  to Collingwood College for what is promising to be another amazing school year. As well as our hearts and minds growing, our numbers have also risen from the break through levels created in 2012. We have crashed through the 600 barrier and we are now at 640 students and still taking inquiries! In particular, I extend a warm welcome to the many new parents who joined our wonderful community – you have chosen wisely.

The students have returned safely with many stories describing their summer break and most look very happy to back at school. It is always surprising to see the subtle changes that happen with the children over the long break! Many families spent time together over the christmas period and one family reported 9 students from one class as camping guests alone.

I draw your attention to the information being circulated for the upcoming School Council Elections for 2013. Parents/guardians can contribute to the school and their children’s education in a range of ways. A place on the Collingwood College School Council, the governing body of the school and its community, is one way in which you can be a part of this agenda. I encourage you to give this opportunity due consideration as elections are held in March. You may also wish to be part of the School sub-committees of council which is where many recommendations are made to council. The committees are – Finance, BES (Buildings, Environment and Sustainability), Marketing and Publicity, Parent and Friends and Edpol (Education and Policy).

You will be aware through the media that the Premier of Victoria took the Australian Education Union (AEU) to Court seeking an injunction on the current industrial Bans as well as the Stopwork Action on 14th February. On Thursday 7 February the Federal Court of Victoria rejected the Victorian Government’s plea and therefore the current workplace bans will continue to remain in place, and the day of Stopwork action went ahead. Unfortunately we have had to postpone the Welcome Picnic for new families due to the workbans.

The Collingwood College AEU Branch apologises to the school community for any inconvenience that this action may have caused you last week. The School Council at its December meeting endorsed full support for the Branch campaign for better pay and conditions.

Student Accident Insurance:

Parents/guardians are reminded that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development does not provide personal accident insurance for students. Likewise the school does not have a whole-school policy for personal accident insurance for students. Parents and guardians are responsible for paying the cost of medical treatment for injured students, including transport costs. Reasonably low cost accident insurance policies are available from some commercial insurers. These cover a range of medical expenses not covered by Medicare or private health insurance. Parents/guardians may wish to purchase such a policy for individual students.

Important note for parents with children with special medical needs

It is imperative that parents of children with special medical needs (including allergies) contact the school immediately if you have not yet done so. We want to be in a position to be able to effectively support your child while at school and we will not be able to do this if we are unaware of his/her specific needs and the strategies that you employ to address them. There are also some Departmental requirements that we need parents to follow through with such as, the provision of a medical action plan and an Epipen if necessary. I ask that you contact Barb Prior (Sick Bay Attendant) on 9412 7758. This request is to support your child’s health and wellbeing, please do not put off contacting the school another day.

Respect for School Expectations:

I ask parents/guardians for your support in ensuring that students arrive to school on time of a morning. A reminder that classes begin at 8:45 am and hence students should be at school no later than 8:35 am to give themselves enough time to visit their lockers and arrive to class on time. Lateness to school or class is disrespectful of the school, other students and the teachers who are in the process of engaging the students with their learning.

Similarly, I ask you for your support in reiterating to students the expectations in relation to the school dress code. This is clearly outlined in the student planner and College website and it was discussed with students at each of the assemblies at the start of the year. Being a combined primary and secondary environment, it is particularly important our older students model and respect the merits of our dress code for the younger students.

Parent who remain on the school grounds after drop-off or any other visitors who volunteer their services are asked to wear a visitors lanyard which can be collected from the front counter. The lanyard helps identify who should and who should not be on the school grounds quickly. Your anticipated cooperation is appreciated despite the minor inconvenience this may cause.

With our school growing we are now getting heavy congestion in our staff carpark and bike racks. Parents are asked not to park in the staff carpark but rather use the parking in McCutcheon way (windscreen vouchers are available from the office). The McCutcheon way parking is for short term visits and so we ask parents not to use this parking are as a means of accessing public transport to the CBD. More bike parking structures will be installed soon.

Staffing

I would like to thank the following departing staff for their services: Vilis Padoms (Facilities), Nima Sobhani (MP-56) and Rebecca Creighton (Operation Newstart). Margret Whiteside has taken indefinite personal leave. I would like to welcome Anne Brown to our office area (Business development), Will Hunt to Art, Mel Lewis (Vic Police) to Operation Newstart, Angela Dionysopoulos to Primary Art and Guy Thomas to Collingwood Alternative School.

Our Future

I have had the pleasure of working with a group of our parents (Michael Stewardson, Tania Barry, Robyn Lyons, Julian Fraillon) on a strategic sub-committee of school Council over the past 6 months on an exciting proposal. Our plan for the future is establish a Hub of excellence in the teaching of Mathematics and Science. Our major focus initially will be to focus on Science in the upper Primary years with the view of building a consortium of inner Melbourne schools as stakeholders. Our proposal aims to make the teaching of science more inspiring to more students, cutting edge and relevant. It will also have a major Professional Development focus for schools closely supported by the Tertiary and industry sectors.

Our discussions to this point have secured firm commitments from several Melbourne University faculties and we are endeavouring to establish a whole of University MOU. We are working closely with Schoolsconnect (formerly BWE – Business Working with Education) to secure major support for the project. The College Council have committed to the resourcing of a feasibility paper and business plan.  I am now talking to local schools to establish the prospective member schools of our consortium. We have had encouraging support from Adam Bandt’s office as well. Stay tuned.

Happy Birthday

I would like to wish Trevor Andrews a very happy 50th birthday! Our community are so grateful for all the work and care that Trevor has dedicated to the College over the last 4 years. Over 80 staff and parents had a surprise party for Trevor and he was totally overwhelmed with the attention and love shown by  his colleagues.

All the best for a wonderful 2013,

Dale

Dale Perichon, Principal

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