TERM 1, 2020: PRINCIPAL'S MESSAGE

Wednesday, 22 Jan 2020


Dear Members of the St Patrick’s Community

I would like to extend a warm welcome to the new year to all staff and families, especially those new to St Patrick’s. Our community takes pride in nurturing inclusive relationships between staff, students and parents. I encourage each of you to join wholeheartedly into the community life of the College and in partnership with us to allow your son(s) to develop into the best young person that he can be during his journey with us.

Over the latter part of last year and the past week, the College Leadership Team has spent much time planning and preparing to deliver another enjoyable year at the College. Throughout 2020, it is our intention to build upon the strong culture of learning that has been developed over time. We are looking forward to sharing our vision with families during the information evenings and College activities across the year.

2020 heralds the first cohort of students to complete the new QCE program. The new system has meant that we have had to make some significant changes to past practices and/or timing of traditional events and these have been reflected on the school calendar. As this is our first year working with the new system, we have made the changes based on what we believe to be best for the senior students and maintaining the best traditions of the College. I have noted some of the more significant changes in the important dates section below.

Mr Darren Wells and the property services team have, once again, done a lot of work in preparing the College grounds and facilities for the beginning of our school year. Over the second semester and the holidays, the De Gee Building Group have built our new College Café in the plaza area and replaced the old tuckshop with two new collaborative classroom spaces in its old site. We have also resealed the court floors in the Christian Brothers building and Callan Centre as well as painting work in the halls and classrooms in the O’Connor Building. The IT rooms in the downstairs area of the Dowd building have also been renewed and refurbished and some staff and classroom spaces have had new carpet laid. There has also been some renovation to the courtyard adjoining Morven and Zeehan Avenue. This will make a more pleasant place to sit and eat during break times. I would also like to recognise the great work of Elevation Architecture for their planning of the new sites and refurbishments. Mr Greg Adsett, a partner in the firm, has also taken a leading role in the development of the College Master Plan (2019-2030).

Over 2019, Ms Elizabeth Gaber led a review on our curriculum delivery and organisation structures. The review recommended changes to allow for a more equitable curriculum delivery and longer class time to allow for varying pedagogical approaches and deeper learning. It was also recommended that we move to a single lunch hour for students across the whole College. Consequently, this year the students will undertake five classes a day that will be extended to sixty-minute lessons. All students will share the same lunchtime. This has meant that we have introduced more eating areas and play spaces. There will also be rostered days of usage for some of the spaces such as the oval and indoor courts.

Professional Development Days for Teaching Staff

Professional development activities for all teaching staff will commence starting Monday 20 January. The House Deans, Heads of Faculty and new teachers will commence on that date, whilst all other staff will commence on Tuesday 21 January and participate in professional development and planning activities and workshops until the beginning of classes on Wednesday 29 January.

Important Dates

Once again, a copy of the College Calendar will be given out with your son’s textbooks. Important early dates include:

  • Wednesday, 29 January: Years 5, 7 and 12 and all new students in all other year levels commence – 8.30am start. Student ID Photos will be taken during the day.
  • Thursday, 30 January: All students and classes resume. Student ID Photos will be taken during the day. 
  • Monday, 3 February: All New Families House Night and Years 5, 6, & 7 Parent/Son Information Evening
  • Wednesday, 5 February: Years 10 & 11 Parent / Son Information Evening
  • Monday, 10 February: Year 12 Leadership Afternoon and Year 12 Parent/Son Information Evening 
  • Monday, 10 February: Year 9 Rite Journey Information Evening
  • Tuesday, 11 February: College Scholars’ Assembly
  • Friday, 7 February: Opening Mass & Commissioning of Year 12
  • Saturday, 22 February: Year 12 Formal
  • Friday, 21 February: Inter House Swimming Carnival
  • Week 5 (24-26 February) Year 5 and Year 7 Camp

During the holiday time and the days leading up to the commencement of school there are a significant number of school related activities involving students, staff, old boys and parents. Many thanks to all those involved in these holiday programs, your time and efforts are very much appreciated. These include swimming training and the camp, Christian Brothers Cricket Week matches, cricket clinics and competitions and AFL clinics. I would also like to thank Mr David Brushfield and his team for the preparation of the playing fields at Curlew Park. They are in outstanding condition and have received many positive comments from other schools across Australia and New Zealand who are participating in the Christian Brothers Cricket Week.

Modifications to the 2020 Calendar

This year, our Year 12 students will be preparing for and undertaking external exams for almost the entirety of Term 4. The move to the new QCE system has required us to make changes to the dates of some of our traditional events to cater for the availability and assessment requirements of our senior students. Some of the more significant changes include:

  • Saturday, 22 February: Year 12 Formal
  • Thursday, 2 April: Shore to Gate
  • Friday, 3 April: Pupil Free Day
  • Monday, 20 April: Parent/Teacher Interviews (no classes Year 5-12)
  • Friday, 22 May: Showcase Evening
  • Friday, 18 September: Leadership Commissioning Mass and handover of senior leadership
  • 19-23 October: Year 12 Flexi Week – Exam Preparation
  • 26 October – 17 November :Year 12 External exams
  • Wednesday, 18 November: Year 12 Graduation Mass and Dinner
  • Friday, 20 November: Celebration of Excellence Evening.

The College Dux and other subject and academic excellence awards for Year 12 students will not be able to be given on the evening of Celebration of Excellence as we will not have student results from external assessments worth up to 50% of their results. These awards will be given in the Scholars’ Assembly in the following year.

Academic Matters

The 2019 seniors have now received their senior school results. The cohort have been rewarded for their efforts with excellent results. The achievements within the Overall Position (OP) scores included 26% of the students achieved an OP between 1-5, whilst 60% achieved an OP score between 1-10 and 91% receiving an OP score between 1-15. Special congratulations to Thomas Irwin, Peter Mikhail-Gouda and Ben Simpson on achieving an OP 1. All students who received a score between OP 1-5 will be acknowledged at the College Scholars Assembly which will be held on Tuesday 11 February. Once again, most students who undertook a Vocational Education pathway have subsequently received traineeships and apprenticeships as a result. Several others have also commenced full-time work or accepted positions relating to further vocational training. We also had 3 students complete a Certificate IV course as a part of their studies whilst 33 students completed Certificate III courses, 24 students achieved at a Certificate II level and another 15 students completed Certificate I courses. The number of students who completed the VET courses offered at the College is quite outstanding and testimony to the work done by the staff in these courses. My congratulations to the students for their achievements and I am sure that the courses, skills and competencies they completed will be most beneficial to them in their future and assist them with credits within future training courses. Many young men have commenced work and apprenticeships or traineeships since completing their studies last year.

Timetable and Teacher Allocation

All students will receive individual timetables on their first day of school. If there is any concern regarding subject choices before or from that day, please contact Mr Troy Schultz for assistance. All requests for subject changes must be made by the end of the second week of the first term. We sometimes receive requests for students to change teachers and be placed with particular staff members. It is important to note that allocations of students to classes are based on numerous factors including student’s subject selections, House Deans and Head of Faculty’s advice and equity of class sizes. Therefore, I would ask all families to understand these circumstances and refrain from making such requests as some young men might assume that the changes will happen and have to deal with the disappointment afterwards.

Parent Information Meetings

We have organised a series of Parent Information Meetings to be held in the first weeks of Term 1. These meetings are set aside to assist parents and students with information and advice regarding the academic and pastoral expectations and processes for the year. I strongly encourage parents to avail themselves to attend these meetings as they will focus on ways we can work in partnership to best support your son to cope with the rigors of school and academic expectations within the context of his particular year level. The schedule for these meetings is set out in the College calendar.

Staffing

We welcome Mrs Katie Moro, Mrs Claire Devine, Mrs Sandra Cartwright, Mrs Ashleigh Walker, Mr Paul Johnson, Mr Michael Alvisio, Mr Clinton Hall and Mr Matthew Seers back from their leave during 2019.

We also welcome the following full-time staff into the College:

  • Mr Tim Bermingham – PE
  • Mr Tom Christie – PE
  • Ms Rebecca Harris – HASS
  • Mr Leon Hill – Maths /Science
  • Ms Nina Lau – Maths/Science
  • Mr Ken Loftus – Counselling
  • Mr Jim Potts – Head of Sport
  • Ms Marissa Price – English
  • Ms Julie Smith – HASS
  • Ms Eloise Svendsen – English
  • Mr Steven Wallace – Religion/English/Indonesian
  • Mr Gregory Christensen – Technology
  • Ms Danielle Clark – Science
  • Mr Zachary Ashford – English
  • Mrs Tracey Mortimer – Year 5 Teacher
  • Ms Kate Belfrage, Mrs Amira Bosnjak, Mr Michael Bramwell, Mrs Sonia O’Brien and Ms Tayla Fitzsimon will be on leave during 2020. Mr Tim Hoysted will continue his leave period until the end of the first term.

The following staff will join us in 2020 to replace staff on leave or undertaking other duties.

Contract Positions:

  • Mr Kevin Camrass – Music
  • Mr Damian O’Rourke – Maths/Science
  • Ms Aoife Marren – Science
  • Mr Gary Woodford - HPE
  • Ms Melanie Steven - English
  • Mr Aaron Lee – English

Pastoral Matters

House Deans

The House Dean’s role is significant in the development and leadership of the Student Formation and Behaviour Development programs within the College. I encourage you to keep in contact with your son’s House Dean and utilise their expertise in supporting your son whenever required. They will be significant adults throughout your son’s journey at the College. Families new to St Patrick’s will have an opportunity to meet your son’s House Dean and Group Tutor at the House evening scheduled for Monday, 3 February. During the first term, Mr Tim Hoysted (Mooney), will continue his leave and Mr Nic Consiglio will continue in the role during this time.

Student Information

It is very important that all parents keep the College informed of any changes in their son’s health, home circumstances, or other matters which may affect his participation in College life. All such information is kept strictly confidential. When any changes do occur please inform your son’s House Dean as soon as possible. Any change in medical, address or contact details can be updated via the Parent Lounge on REALM. 

Student Planners

The College Student Planner has seen some small but significant modifications for 2020. The planner is an important and critical tool for students to be able to organise their approach to learning outside of the classroom. The College is hopeful that some small but significant adjustments will enhance the way that students engage in 2020.

The adjustments include:

  • the expectation that parents and group tutors sign and review the planner each week
  • the addition of a parent rating of their son's use of the planner for that week
  • the addition of a group tutor's rating of the use of the planner each week, which will be reviewed every Monday
  • the space for three types of "homework" to be planned for - set homework, study, and assignment work
  • We will work more closely with students in 2020 on their use and engagement with the student planner, in the hope that we can increase a student’s self-efficacy with respect to their learning at home. Work outside of the classroom is a critical component of students achieving their potential.

Uniform

The College has clear expectations regarding the wearing of the correct school uniform. All items of the uniform, including hat, should be clearly marked with your son’s name, and his tutor group and year level. Any lost items will be placed in the Student Office until claimed by their owner. If your son has lost any clothing or property, this should be the first place for him to contact.

If your son has a reason for not wearing the correct uniform, please send a note explaining the circumstances to his Group Tutor or House Dean. The College has a school bag that is sold through the Merchandise store, this bag is a compulsory part of the College uniform for all students. During Terms 2 and 3 all students in Years 10, 11 and 12 will be required to wear long trousers, school tie and their College blazer. All other students will wear the College grey jumper and school tie during these terms.

Hair

Whilst there is a great diversity of hairstyles popular amongst our students (and those at other schools), the College’s Hair and Grooming Policy can be found on REALM (under Policies) and I encourage parents to review this to save any issues of concern that may occur. Students not meeting these conditions from the first day of the term will be advised that their hair and appearance is not appropriate for school. They will be required to make the appropriate changes before returning to school. I thank you in advance for your support with this matter.

Smart Watches

In recent years the use of smart watches has increased within society. Unfortunately, within schools these devices have a similar impact on student concentration as mobile phones. After discussions with similar schools, St Patrick’s College has made the decision to no longer allow the use of smart watches on school premises. Smart Watches will be treated the same as mobile phones, it will be confiscated, handed to the student office and a detention will be issued by the House Dean.

Absentees

The Attendance Roll is taken each day at morning Tutor Group and during each class. If your son is going to be absent from the College, please phone the Student Absentee Line – 3631 9077 or send an email to absentee@stpatricks.qld.edu.au, using the Absentee button on the APP or logging an absence via Parent Lounge. before 9.00am. Students arriving after 8.30am must report to the Student Office so that their presence can be recorded. It is extremely important that parents contact the College via phone or email prior to 9.00am if their son is going to be absent. An SMS Text will be sent to parents of any students who have been recorded as absent without parent notification. This will usually be sent after Morning Tea. The term times for the academic year are clearly set out in the College calendar. To ensure that we have maximum time for teaching and learning, it is usual practice for us to run exams through until the last day of each term. Consequently, it is expected that students attend school until the end of each term so that they can complete all their assessment. Unfortunately, it is not possible for students to complete any exams prior to the set exam dates. I urge all parents to plan holidays around the set school dates. If this is not possible, please contact me by email. Please read the College’s Assessment Policy which can be found on REALM, regarding processes with respect to assessment.

Lockers

All students in Years 7 to 12 will be issued with a locker and lock in the first week of Term 1. The lockers are large enough to hold all schoolbooks, schoolbags and training gear. House Deans will organise the lockers for their respective Houses and will pass the necessary information on to the students. Students are required to keep their books and bags in their lockers and change their books at the morning tea and lunch breaks. They are not permitted to carry school bags with them during the day.

Library Books

We are seeking your support to check at home for any library books belonging to St Patricks College and return them to the library as soon as possible.

Students Driving to School 

The issue of students driving to school is a complex one. Parents or carers of senior students only may request permission, in writing, for their son to drive to school. There are strict guidelines for student drivers to follow and any breach of these guidelines will result in a loss of driving privileges. Under no circumstances are any students permitted to be passengers in cars driven by students without having sought and gained authorisation from Mr Darren Kearney, Dean of Students. We also ask students to be mindful of our neighbours and other students when driving and parking. I would ask parents to assist the College with this issue of student drivers and student passengers.

Student Drop-off and Pick-up

The Twamley Street entrance to the College is closed permanently. Students who are dropped off or picked up in Signal Row can use the Zeehan Lane entrance. This is a quite a narrow laneway. Consequently, it is most important that anyone using this lane be very mindful of cars that might use it as entry to their premises. It is our preference that students avoid this laneway and use other entrances and departures from the College if possible. I would also remind parents who drop off or pick up their son in Yundah Street and Pier Avenue to be mindful of the signage regarding bus zones and also please not to park in the driveway of any resident’s properties adjoining the College.

Co-curricular Activities

Sports and Culture

Throughout the year, St Patrick’s will compete in numerous sporting and cultural competitions. St Patrick’s College competes in the Associated Independent Colleges (AIC) competition. The College also competes in external debating competitions during the year. The College encourages all students to support these respective competitions with active participation. There is much to be gained and learned by participating in the respective sporting and cultural programs. The College Calendar has details of all sporting and cultural activities. However, it is in everyone’s best interests to refer to the weekly newsletter ‘The Calling’ and REALM for correct information pertaining to performance facilities, ovals/courts and timings. It is essential that all students check Daily Notifications in Realm and their Realm groups for all news and associated training and playing schedules. All sporting activities for students in Years 5 to 12 are coordinated by the College Director of Sport, Mr Jim Potts, whilst all cultural activities for students in Years 5 to 12 are coordinated by the College Director of Culture, Mr Geoff Samuels. I would like to welcome Jim Potts into the role of College Director of Sport. Jim comes with great experience from Kings College, Auckland, St Ignatius Riverview and Cranbrook School, Sydney. I would also like to thank Mr Daniel Nethery for his commitment and wonderful work in the role over 2019. Daniel will remain with us in his previous role of Director of Coaching. During the first term sporting commitments, the AIC competition runs from mid-January to late March and a commitment of at least two training sessions a week is required. It is an expectation that competing for St Patrick’s College should take priority over club commitments. If students choose to compete both for the College and a club, they are expected prioritize their College commitments and to arrange their club commitments around their College expectations. I ask all families to support this position. The 2020 activities begin with the following: This year it is St Patrick’s turn to lead the AIC competition. This will mean that I will be President of the association for 2020.

Cricket

Cricket Clinics and Internal Trials will be held at Curlew Park on the 14th January. Players who don’t have holiday commitments will also be asked to play in an internal trial on Friday 17 January. For more detailed information please check the Cricket page on Realm and your Cricket Group under the “my groups” tab in Realm for all information and dates. If you have any queries, please contact Mr Daniel Nethery on dnethery@stpatricks.qld.edu.au or email sport@stpatricks.qld.edu.au

Volleyball

Volleyball training will resume from 30th January. For all relevant information please check the Volleyball page on Realm and your Volleyball Group under the “my groups” tab in Realm for all information and dates. If you have any queries, please contact Mr Steve Copping on scopping@stpatricks.qld.edu.au or email sport@stpatricks.qld.edu.au

Swimming

The Swimming Camp will be held at Tallebudgera from Sunday 18th January. Training will resume on Thursday 30th January. For all training and meet dates please check the Swimming page on Realm and your AIC Swim squad Group under the “my groups” tab in Realm for all information and dates. If you have any queries, please contact Ms Kelsey Duke on kduke@stpatricks.qld.edu.au or email sport@stpatricks.qld.edu.au

AFL

AFL Training will be held at the Sandgate Hawks AFL Club, Lemke Road, Taigum. Preseason training will commence on 21st January. For all relevant information please check the AFL page on Realm and your AFL Group under the “my groups” tab in Realm for all information and dates. If you have any queries, please contact Mr Dom Crowley on dcrowley@stpatricks.qld.edu.au or email sport@stpatricks.qld.edu.au

SPC Gym

Strength and conditioning sessions for first squads are underway. The Athlete Development Program is undergoing some changes and information will be published on Realm in the coming weeks. If you have any queries please contact Mr Luke Stutter on lstutter@stpatricks.qld.edu.au or email sport@stpatricks.qld.edu.au for more information on using the gym.

Instrumental Music Program

The College will further expand the Instrumental Music Program in 2020. Registration forms will be available in Week 1. Band Program: The College Band Program continues to develop and will take new directions this year. Further information regarding this program will be available once school commences.

Debating and Chess

The College will again offer these activities to students from Years 5 to 12 throughout the year. Information regarding these activities will be available throughout the year and I again encourage students to be involved in these activities.

Schools Fees and Building Fund

School fees are issued four times per year and are payable by the due date. The College has a variety of means by which families can pay fees. The payment of school fees is a condition of enrolment at St Patrick’s College. I ask all families to honour their financial commitments by paying their fees on time. If you have any queries regarding school fees please contact the Assistant to the College Business Manager, Ms Judy Kelly on 3631 9019. Associated with the school fees is the College Building Levy. This is a compulsory levy that assists the College in maintaining and enhancing the buildings. In recent time significant money has been spent on improving the College buildings and further building programs are planned for the future.

Merchandise Store & Textbooks

To avoid long queues during this period we have allocated days for each year level. If your allocated day is not suitable please feel free to come on another day. There is also now a booking system in place. Details for this have been forwarded at the end of last year. If you have any queries regarding this, please contact the merchandise store on 3631 9055. Our staff during this period are voluntary helpers who are only too happy to give you the benefit of their own experience and we are thankful for their valuable assistance.

MERCHANDISE STORE(9am-12 noon) (12.30-3.30pm)

  • 15 January Year 5 (APPOINTMENT ONLY)
  • 16 January Year 6 & 7 (APPOINTMENTS FOR NEW STUDENTS)
  • 17 January Year 7 (APPOINTMENTS FOR NEW STUDENTS)
  • 20 January Year 8
  • 21 January Year 8 & 9
  • 22 January Year 10
  • 23 January Year 11 & 12
  • 24 January Year 12
  • 28 January Merchandise Store Open (12 noon-4pm)
  • 29 January Merchandise Store Open (12 noon-4pm)
  • 30 January Merchandise Store Open (7.30-11.30am)

Text Book Collection will commence on Friday 18 January. Each year level has been set a day for collection as set out below. The books can be collected from 8.30am to 3.30pm in the Library AV room.

TEXT BOOK COLLECTION8.00am–3pm, Library AV Room

  • 17 January Year 7
  • 20 January Year 8
  • 21 January Years 8 & 9
  • 22 January Year 10
  • 23 January Years 11 & 12
  • 24 January Year 12
  • Years 5 - 6 textbooks will be handed out in class by the teacher.

If you have sons in various Year levels text books can be collected together on one day.

Laptops

As part of the College’s educational program all students are supplied with a College laptop. Students who did not keep their laptop over the holiday period will receive their laptop upon their return to school and must bring their TANC bag to carry their laptop. Students will collect their laptops in their year levels at school if they have been replaced. As of 2020, all parents will be required to agree to the Terms and Conditions of the Laptop Program via our Parent Approval/Tour and Excursion process. Details will be outlined in communication via Realm in January 2020, but it is important to note this process must take place before boys are able to collect their laptop for the academic year. This agreement will allow the College to better cater for repairs and replacements resulting from accidental damage, malicious damage, neglect and/or loss of the device.

Communication

There are many opportunities that occur during the year for parents to meet with teachers, Group Tutor and House Dean. I encourage all families to make the most of such opportunities. Please do not hesitate to contact the College if you have any concerns. Along with the College newsletter (The Calling), we use REALM, Parent Portal, Smart Phone APP and Facebook as communication channels. Access to REALM and the Parent Portal are via a Login which will be emailed to new families early in 2020. I encourage you to familiarise yourself with the various communication media used by the College and to utilise them throughout the year. I am also aware that some parents may have set up social media communication sites for some of the year levels. Please be aware that these sites are not administered by the College and information passed through these channels may not be reliable. I strongly recommend all parents to use our communication channels as their preferred means of gathering relevant information. I would also remind parents who administer and communicate through such sites that they are to do so in accordance with our College Social Media Guidelines. If you have any concerns regarding communication, please contact Ms Jackie Upton.

St Patrick’s College is a great community because of the significance that we place on partnership and cooperation between us and the students and their families. It is our firm belief that our school community is an exciting and enjoyable place because of the people within it. I urge all members to contribute in whatever way they can so that our young men receive the best possible quality holistic education. I wish each member of the College community the very best in 2020 and I look forward to meeting with you throughout the year.

God Bless,

Mr Chris Mayes
College Principal