Principal's Post

There are certain blessings that come with working with our kids here at St Columba’s School. Moments of unbridled happiness and joy that make us all stop and appreciate just what a privileged position we are all in as educators.

Like seriously, look at this picture. How does it make you feel? What is your immediate feeling when you look at this little one’s face? I mean look at the camel. Sheer appreciation and straight-up laughter. Maybe she has just seen a short video Mr Hubbard and Mr McGivern made this week while reading books to their kids in the library. It was spontaneous and brilliant. I wonder if it should go up on the school Facebook. I am not sure what it is that is bringing her this joy, but whatever it is, it will have you smiling right now.

Laughter does not get the recognition it deserves and the accolades for what it produces in us as people. Charlie Chaplin tells us, ‘A day without laughter is a day wasted.’ This is so true for our kids. As parents, we all know this. When our kids are laughing, we know they are in a place of joy. A place of contentment. My favourite times at home are when my girls are laughing. Those moment when we are all standing around in the kitchen area and one of them retell something from their day that has us rolling on the ground in laughter…yes, you know it, when you start crying because it is that funny. I love this part of my life.

As a parent and as a teacher, the best of times are when those we love are in moments of joy. This joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that our children who make their Confirmation this weekend will be receiving. The sacrament of Confirmation for our Year 6 children will be a moment in time where we will feel the joy that comes with receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit. At the two Masses this weekend, Archbishop Costello will seal these gifts and fruits upon our children. This is such a special sacrament as it reflects so much of the goodness we have in our lives. We just need to read the words of the fruits of the Spirit in the illustration below to know that just saying these words impact upon us.


Imagine living these in our lives. This is what Confirmation calls us to be, to live. We want to impact on the lives of our children, then let them witness us in action. High expectations of ourselves. I get it. You look at these words and go, how will I live all of that in my life. You know me, I am not into perfection, I am into having a serious crack at being the best we can be, including all our failings. This is why this sacrament brings a specialness to our lives. See how you go picking one of these gifts or fruits to make a focus of this week. Maybe choose one a week. Let me know how you go. You may have worked out mine is going to be ‘joy’.

The thing is, our St Columba’s kids bring a joy that is overwhelming when they laugh. Being a principal is a rippingly good thing as I get so many opportunities to witness the funny side of life, the joy. Kids have a natural way about them that allows them to see the joy. I have spent a fair bit of this term out in the playground with the kids during the morning tea and lunch breaks, before and after school. When I spend time in the morning watching the kids play, and the parents, on the basketball court, and I chat with them, every one of them is happy, laughing, engaging. They are doing something they love. It is like being on duty at Kiss and Drive. It is one of my ‘joy’ moments every day. I get how crazy it is during this time, but you should see how many waves we get from parents and how many smiles we see come our way. For purely selfish reasons I do this duty. There is joy in every moment when we see the kids getting in their cars. You will not realise just how many moments of joy are happening. There is such love for your kids that is so obvious when they hop in the car. You are extremely busy people, and to know joy is the biggest part of the craziness of pick-up time at the end of the day, well that says something about you and your kids. We love it!

I am going to need to write a book one day about my experiences as a principal, teacher and dad, because there are so many stories that are having me smile as I write this. They say laughter is an instant vacation and that is exactly how it feels right now.

Being able to reflect on things in my Principal Post each fortnight is therapeutic for me. So even though I know many of you may not have the time to read all of my ponderings, and may only get to the images or quotes, at least know it is good for my soul. I love writing the Post. I hear you, I get it, he does waffle on a bit. Look at it this way, if you need something to help you sleep, maybe open up the Donegal, start reading my Post and there you go, around Line 8, you will be sound asleep. You should try it. I guess it could have the opposite effect. You start reading it and just want more of it. Then you go searching through our website for more Posts, then the archives, because it is just so good. Imagine that.

Enough of my random thoughts around laughter. Here are some updates about what is happening at St Columba’s. This will bring you some joy, so keep reading on. I might as well make it a Top 10. No particular order:

  1. Sacrament of Confirmation – Massive thank you to Leesa, Amanda, Jo, Kerry and Megan for the preparation of our children for this very special moment in their lives. To our parents for their support and encouragement. Your commitment to the sacrament and the engagement at the workshop last week was very special. This was so clear when the Archbishop visited to speak with our kids last week. Natural and sincere in all conversations and responses. We look forward to our celebrations this weekend. A credit to the way our Year 6’s have taken on this responsibility of preparation. Brings joy!
  2. Father’s Day Breakfast and Mass – Once again our community thrives on these occasions. Magnificent work by our mums in organising the event. The preparation was happening late into the evening the night before and then up in the dark on the Friday morning. What more could we ask for except the excitement of kids with their dads and grandads. A lot of joy around the place last Friday morning. Our Mass was a beautiful celebration of just how special our dads are. Thank you to our Year 1’s for organising this celebration.
  3. Kiss and Drive – The way the older kids look out for their younger buddies. Classic example was yesterday, a parent was unsure where their child was. We had not seen them at K and D, but one of our Year 6’s knew the little guy had mixed up days and had seen them at the library for OSHC. I mean, really, this is the quality of the kids here. Awareness of other kids. Stops and makes you see instant joy!
  4. Litter after morning tea and lunch – We have had this as a focus this last week. The other day a couple of us collected half a bag of rubbish. This last couple of days, we have picked up one or two pieces of plastic wrappings. I see kids picking up rubbish when they see it on the ground. This is quality. This brings joy. The kids get it, if you see it, pick it up, even if it is not yours. Sets an example, a standard. Our kids, from our little guys to us adults, get the idea that the standard you walk past is the standard you set.
  5. Learning Sprints – In our classroom we are doing some Learning Sprints. In a nutshell, teachers are targeting a small learning intention with either a small group or their whole class. For example, it could be the 7 times tables, or addition using double digit numbers. It is a target that is focused on for 5-10 minutes every day for two or three weeks. We then look at the impact on learning. I love how our teachers have embraced this. They do it already in their teaching because they are great teachers, but we are doing it with a whole school approach over the next few weeks.
  6. The Bayswater City Saints and Bayswater Bears Quiz Night – Another indication of what people within our school create within our Bayswater community. I could not attend the night, but I heard so many positives from those who attended, definitely a success in bringing people together and this sense of belonging that is so important in our lives. I have to say a big thank you to the organisers who placed me in a raffle on the night. I ended up winning a pearl necklace. I never win anything, well, okay I won the best principal job in the state landing here at St Col’s, but really, I have entered ten thousand raffles in my time and won zip. Funniest part is that I had been talking to staff about it being my 30th Wedding Anniversary in October. Pearl is the go-to for that one. Two days later, I win the pearl. Seriously, talk about joy!
  7. Caring Kids – The Year 6’s who have organised a raffle to raise money for Telethon and to the parents and staff that have been supporting this group of amazing kids. Pure joy! Also, to our group of Year 4’s and a Year 3 student who have connected in with the Perth Zoo around the care and protection of Sun Bears. Creativity and initiative in what they have set up for later this week and next week.
  8. The fact that so many parents, okay about 8, tell me they love my Principal Post. It used to be only my mum. Therefore, 8 is a sensational result. Readership is up about 800%, based on these latest figures.
  9. My grandpop turns 98 this week. We have a family celebration on Friday night. Frank is a quality bloke. Number 1 for me this week. Talk about people who give out good stuff. Grandpop is someone all us grandkids aspire to be like in how we treat people in our lives that we love and that are part of who we are. Cannot wait to see him Friday. I am the eldest grandchild so I get the honour of saying something about him in these times of specialness. Always have a good story to tell, like how he was not allowed to get on the roof anymore, so the kids took away the ladder. He built one out of wood. Cannot keep a good man down.
  10. Playground behaviour – Our children have been outstanding in their care for each other. There is always going to be stuff, because we are a place of learning and growth. Our kids will mess up sometimes in their friendships, their relationships with each other, but their willingness to listen and take responsibility for their actions continues to be positive. I love the way they report things to staff on duty if they are feeling things are not at the standard we expect. Part of this responsibility has been the increased pride for the way kids present with their uniform these last two weeks. This brings me an enormous amount of joy.


Website Notifications

As we continue to develop our website, we have set up notifications to parents that will come through SMS. The two key notifications will be when The Donegal [newsletter] goes live and for Merit Award winners. Merit Award notifications will go out to parents by Tuesday morning on the week of the Assembly. Thank you again for your feedback on the website. Our team continues to work on managing the website to ensure it meets the needs of our parents.


Morning Tea Get Together

Morning tea with Trish and Fay has been cancelled for tomorrow, Thursday 5th September, 2019.


Crazy Sock Day

This year, ‘The Super Six’ (Amber, Alyssa, Brooke, Chloe, Emily and Gabrielle) are raising money for the Telethon Kids Institute.  To help us reach out to others, bring a gold coin donation and join the fun of Crazy Sock Day.  This will be held on Wednesday 11th September, Week 8.  Instead of wearing your school/sports socks, spice up your day by wearing crazy, loud, funky socks with your school/sports uniform.  This is NOT a free dress day!  If you do not have crazy socks, don’t panic.  This is an optional event.  But if you do have Crazy socks it would be GREAT is you wore them and donated a gold coin to help sick children of WA.


School Banking

School banking continues on a Tuesday morning, however we will need a parent to volunteer to take on the role as banking coordinator in the near future. Jennifer Benfell has been volunteering her time over the last couple of years, but will not be continuing into the future. Jen will keep the banking going for the remainder of the term as we seek another parent to take the role on. If you have any interest in finding out more about what is required, please check in with Lisa at the office and we will put you in contact with Jen. We thank Jen for her time and commitment to school banking. We sincerely appreciate the time committed and the passion with which Jen has taken this on.


Mercy Mission Day

Mercy Mission Day will be celebrated on Tuesday 24th September. This is our major fundraising event for the year, the proceeds of which will go to the Mercy Missions and other local and global Catholic Missions and outreach agencies.

Details of the day:
9:00am Mass
11:00am-1:00pm Stalls

Each class organises a stall and the students join in fun and activities on that day.   It is requested that students bring small amounts of change (not notes) to spend at the stalls. Classes may also request small donations from families to run the stalls. This will be communicated via SeeSaw.

Students may wear free dress for a gold coin donation.

Thank you for your support.


Uniform Shop

Uniform orders placed, via, after this weekend (ie the week beginning 2nd September) will not be filled until Monday 16th September.  We apologise for any inconvenience.



Okay then, remember back to the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Which are you choosing for this week? Bring it alive in your life and wait and see what impact it has on others. Important to always know, if we keep focused on others, instead of self, we create something very special.

Many blessings to you this week. Take care of yourself and hopefully you find a moment to just be. I know, silly, you have kids, right. Enjoy and I look forward to seeing you around St Columba’s this week.

In gratitude for what you bring to us here.




School Counsellor News

Teaching boys to respect women

by Dr Rosina McAlpine

Recent events and current statistics highlight that as a nation we have a serious problem when it comes to domestic violence. While there’s no easy solution, together, we can do our part to stop violence against women. If you’re a parent or guardian, you can play an important role. Most studies shows that a boy’s disrespect towards girls generally begins in childhood.

Disrespect shows in small behavioural ways that can often be ignored or go unnoticed. These behaviours include teasing, using put downs and through verbal bullying and harassment. We can break the cycle by teaching our children to be respectful and caring toward all genders from a young age.

Start the conversation about respect early

Start by responding to your child calmly when they are disrespectful to others. The following three-step communication approach can be used from early childhood through to teen years. Let’s put it into practice.

If a boy is making fun of his sister or a female friend:

Stop: Respond calmly rather than react asking him to stop the teasing. It’s handy to have a phrase you can rely on when under pressure. For instance, “Stop please. That’s a personal put down. We don’t use put downs in this family.

Empathise: Invite your son to see the behaviour through the eyes of his sister. ‘How do you think your sister/friend feels right now?’

Educate: Provide options such as ignoring his sister or friend if she’s annoying him or providing an appropriate social script he can use to communicate his thoughts such as, “I find it annoying when you don’t share the computer”

The acronym SEE (stop, empathise, educate) will help you remember these steps.

Disrespect shows in small behavioural ways that can often be ignored or go unnoticed. These behaviours include teasing, using put downs and through verbal bullying and harassment. We can break the cycle when by teaching our children to be respectful and caring toward all genders from a young age.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

When it comes to gaining academic knowledge and learning skills, parents know it takes years of consistent effort from childhood through to adolescence. In the same way, parents can take a long-term approach to teaching life skills such as respecting women, beginning right from toddler to teen.

Resources you can use

The Stop it at the Start campaign provides parents, family members and others with information and practical resources to self-reflect, and talk to boys and girls aged 10-17 about being respectful and caring. You can find videos, guides and other resources to help you have conversations with your children here.

There is so much we can do in families to develop healthy attitudes toward women. Through modelling and teaching we can change entrenched attitudes and behaviours that will put an end to the cycle of violence against women.






Jennifer Maughan
Social Worker
Tuesday & Wednesday
9208 2703



P & F News

The next P&F meeting is Tuesday the 17th of September at 7.30pm

All are welcome to attend

Wine orders

Thank you to all those who have placed wine orders, wine orders should be arriving on Friday afternoon to school. We will let you know when they have arrived.


Athletics Carnival

The P&F will be providing the children and spectators the option of purchasing a sausage sizzle for lunch on the day. Notes will be going home this Thursday. Please provide the correct money and orders must be in by Wednesday 18th of September. We are required to pre-order rolls and sausages so we would really appreciate orders to be submitted on time.

We will be holding a cake stall on the day, if you are able to donate baked goods we would greatly appreciate it. Please remember that we are a nut free school, and we require an ingredients list to be included with your item. Savoury and sweet items wanted, and it would be lovely to have gluten free and vegan options available too. Please clearly label your Tupperware or provide the item on a disposable tray/container.  If you are able to donate please email me

Volunteers are required to help assemble sausage sizzles, cook sausages, run the lunches out to the children and man the cake stall. If you are able to spare an hour please email me. We will ensure you do not miss out on your child’s races.

A coffee van will also be available on the day.


Kids Artwork

The kids artwork order forms will be going home this week and is due back on the 18th of September. This is the perfect opportunity to stock up for Christmas with your children’s wonderful artwork. Thank you for your support.


777 Pharmacy

Don’t forget to support the Bayswater and Maylands 777 Pharmacy, just mention that you are from St Columba’s and 10% of all retail products purchased will go to the P&F.


Rachel Lange
P&F President

Library News

2019 CBCA Book Week 
Reading is my SECRET POWER

During Book Week, students were very excited during their sessions with our visiting Author/Illustrator Kylie Howarth.

St Columba’s have so many budding illustrators and writers in the making. Kylie is an award-winning, internationally published children’s author and illustrator from Western Australia. She not only draws inspiration from her underwater travels but also her own two fish-kids who are ocean explorers too.

Kylie’s picture book Chip won the 2018 WAYRBA Hoffman Award, was CBCA shortlisted, YABBA Awards shortlisted and won a KOALA Honour Award. She recently released its sequel, Chip The Lifeguard, listed as a CBCA Notable, as well as Fish Kid and the Lizard Ninja, the first book in her new chapter book series. Other books Kylie has written are Fish Jam and 1, 2, Pirate Stew.

Kylie has kindly arranged for any of her books purchased through the school to be personally signed for your child, and delivered to their classroom.

Please ask your child to collect an order form from the library asap, so that the books can be ordered through Crow Books.


A warm invitation is extended to all families to visit the library from 8:15am most mornings. (Please note, when Mrs. Cuthbert is unavailable, the library is closed.)

Kindy & Pre-Kindy families take advantage to come and read all our fabulous picture books with your little ones till 8:45am.

YES! Library open most lunch times 1:15 – 1:35 daily.




Class of the Week

Year 5 White







If any families have childrens magazines that they no longer need, the students at lunch time would enjoy reading them.








Homework/Library Bag

Just a reminder that students require the school green

‘Homework and Library Bag’ in order to borrow from the Library.

Many students will already have the green school

‘’Homework and Library Bag’ from previous years.

‘Homework and Library Bags’ can be purchased

from the Uniform Shop at a cost of $10.

Parents please order via the QuickCliq website







Rita Cuthbert
Library Officer

Pastoral Care

Happy Birthday to:

Tishan Ratnasekara 3W
Sithmi Ratnasekara 5W
Nicholas Wild 4G
Nate Hoogland PKG
Piper Walsh 4W
Alexander Lilleyman KW
Mason Campbell PPW
Gethin Humphreys 1W
Aoife Rattray 3G
Kate Rattray 3G
Milly Cooper 4G

Families rostered to bring in the raffle prize will be notified through the newsletter and on lists outside the classrooms. New families to St Columba’s will be rostered later in the year. Pastoral Care Team

Week 8 (11/9/19)
Week 9 (18/9/19)

Kindy Green

Week 8 William Parks
Week 9 Aleksander Tuma

Kindy White

Week 8 Thomas Gibson
Week 9 Connor Campbell

PP Green

Week 8 Thomas Marine
Week 9 Havarna Bova

PP White

Week 8 Ivy Hoogland
Week 9 Keely Hardeman

Year 1 Green

Week 8 Seraphim Vu
Week 9 Kensi Winkler

Year 1 White

Week 8 Annabelle Ong
Week 9 Hannah Hinks

Year 2 Green

Week 8 Zara Bell
Week 9 Kai Fermanis

Year 2 White

Week 8 Tyson Hayward
Week 9 Jack Gilber

Year 3 Green

Week 8 Chernet Desalegn
Week 9 Kate Rattray

Year 3 White

Week 8 Stella D’Esposito
Week 9 Reilly Bruce

Year 4 Green

Week 8 Hannah Kemp
Week 9 Matilda Panizza

Year 4 White

Week 8 Sophia O’Toole
Week 9 Amelia Brajevic

Year 5 Green

Week 8 Libby Byrne
Week 9 Brody Clark

Year 5 White

Week 8 Saskia O’Neil
Week 9 Lilly Smith

Year 6 Green

Week 8 Isaac Bristow-Baohm
Week 9 Monique Ward

Year 6 White

Week 8 Demi Robbins
Week 9 Marko Dimitrijevic

Award Winners

Amidst the uncertainty of weather, our dads, granddads and children arrived to a warm cooked breakfast by our team of volunteer mums, an early start for them and we thank you.

Our gathering in the church hall was attended by 360 mouths to feed. It was lovely to see the dads sharing the morning with their child/children whilst taking a moment to chat with the other dads.

An event like this is only made possible with the helping hand of the community and we’d like to thank everyone involved.

Mums, families, staff and students, past & present who assisted from collecting monies, setting up the hall, preparing the bbqs (lending and getting it to us), running between kitchens, cooking and cleaning up, thank you very much. Our raffle prize donors, thanks for your generosity and support.

Finally, thanks to all who attended, you keep the spirit of unity alive.






Community Notices











St Columba’s School Bayswater

32 Roberts Street, Bayswater WA 6053
PO Box 61, Bayswater WA 6933
Phone: (08) 9208 2700