Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
What a week of wild weather we have just experienced, while the snow never really eventuated
the cold rain, winds and general greyness tell us that winter is well and truly here.
Most winter sports (of the outdoor variety) has been put on hold until the grounds dry up.
Initially I was sceptical of this happening at all before spring but the winds we have experienced
over the past few days have certainly dried up our ‘Lake’ and the grounds are almost at a
suitable standard for the pupils to play on at lunch time.
Next Sunday (30th June) we will be holding a family Mass and opening our new school for the
parish and general public to visit, from 10-11am. We would appreciate a good turn out at Mass
and it would be great to have a number of children at the opening to answer questions and act as
tour guides.
A pupil attending Mass or the Open Day needs to be in full dress uniform i.e. no tracksuit
The reason we have decided to hold this open day is as a small way of thanking our greater
community for their support over a number of years but also to publicise and highlight the great
new facility that we have.
The final pieces of the puzzle are lining up as the team from A.J. Grant have begun to put the
playgrounds in. Thank you to Donald Mitchell and Grant Dodson for their hard work in digging
the holes to put the playground in over the weekend.
Also I would like to finish by wishing our hard working Deputy Principal Lindsay Stevens well as
she goes on sick leave to have an operation on her foot.
Have a great week.
Mike Brosnahan

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Winter has arrived with a vengeance, we are almost forced to build an ark at the beginning of the week-end and an igloo by the end. But you only have to watch the T.V. to realize that our trials and tribulations are indeed minor in comparison to those experienced in other parts of the world.
It is very important that on mornings where the weather is extreme that you check to see that school is open at the normal time or indeed at all. For the places to check we have put in an article later in the newsletter, but once again I say please check, as while you may deem it possible for your child to walk to school, a number of other factors come into play to determine if school will be shut or have a late start.
The reasons include: the state of the roads (do police deem them safe for use), the possibility for the
weather to get worse (nobody wants the situation of trying to get children home in a blizzard), the ability for the teachers and children from outlying districts to get to school (while the majority of our teachers live in the Mosgiel area a number don’t and putting them or the bus children at risk is not an option. But ultimately the bottom line is one of safety for all.
The call to either start late or close the school for the day is made by the local Principals’ Association in consultation with Civil Defence, the Met service and the Police. The reason for this is obvious as having one collective announcement for all primary schools means individual schools do not clog up the cancellation sites with a variety of notices and parents only need to listen for one notice, not one in a huge range of similar notices that could lead to confusion i.e. St Mary’s could be either Mosgiel, Milton or Kaikorai.
I am always hopeful that the predicted snow will pass us by and I know my sheep would agree but on the off chance the forecasts are correct please use the procedure to check that school is open.
Have a great week.
Mike Brosnahan
The triennial Board of Trustee elections were held last week and I would like to offer my thanks
to all of the candidates who stood for election (we are truly lucky to have such a high level of
people ready, willing and able to govern our school) and to congratulate the successful candi-dates.
I would like here to offer my thanks and gratitude to the BOT members who are standing down.
The last three years (Board of Trustees term) has been a busy one: we had visits from the Edu-cation Review Office team, The Catholic Education Review Office. We had a new school built
and moved onto the new site, we saw the advent of ‘National Standards’ and have endured the
‘Novopay’ debacle and we have developed a new Strategic Plan that will guide our school into
the future. All of these tasks have been completed to a high degree and with a great level of
This success is only possible because of the excellent governance that our school received over
the previous term. So to Donald Mitchell (outgoing Board of Trustees Chairperson), Donna
Burns, Sally McNeilly and Marty McArthur, on behalf of the school community, thank you!
We have just concluded our consultation on homework in school, and I have received a wide
range of opinions and suggestions. This information will now be collated and presented to a
Board of Trustees meeting along side other relevant information and some recommendations.
I envisage a parent information night early next term to explain what our homework recommendation will be.
A huge thank you to our resident handyman Mr Dave Scott (Connor and Callum’s father) who
gave a day of his time last week to put up a number of shelves around the school.
Have a great week.
Mike Brosnahan

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Welcome back for week five of Term Two.
The weather continues to ebb and flow from snow on Tuesday to T-shirts on Saturday. This type
of weather is perfect for breeding germs so please remember to cover those basic heath rules
with your children: ensure that they wash their hands for at least 30 seconds and dry them for the
same time at the appropriate times, that they cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing and
that if they are sick, you then please keep them at home.
Often children are only contagious for a short period of time 24-48 hours and by isolating them it
means that they can’t spread their bugs to other children (and risk getting re-infected
The voting for the Board of Trustees elections concluded last week but the ballot doesn’t officially
close for another couple of days to ensure that all postal votes are included.
Next week I will be including a personal tribute to the out going Board acknowledging their efforts
over their (in some cases multiple) term of office. I wish to thank them all for their hard work and
the hours that they have put in.
I wish to thank all of the people who have sent in feedback for our consultation on homework.
Homework is often a contentious subject in some schools with some schools giving large
amounts (I know of one school that gives new entrants 35-40 minutes per night), to some giving
none. Research can be found that supports both points of view. The challenge is to ensure that
what homework is given is relevant, interesting and received in a positive manner.
Once the consultation process has concluded I will be collating all of the information and then
working with the staff to develop a homework scheme that works for our school over the next
three years. We will hold a parent information night in term three to explain our homework
practices and to give some advice on how to make learning at home fun.
Have a great week.
Mike Brosnahan
Assembly Roo