14 September 2016

Newsletter 16/2016

Principal’s Report

Morning Tea with the Principal
Over these last two weeks I have enjoyed the pleasure of the company of:
  • Anton Zois (3S);  Hazel (2P);  Thomas (5/6L);  Josh (4W); Nik (2UO)
Due to production rehearsal timings this last week it has been a challenge to host morning tea – so I am looking forward to first week Term 4 in re-starting our ‘tea parties’!
Alice’s Adventures – Wednesday night success!
Last night I had the great pleasure in welcoming many of our community members to watch our first performance of “Alice’s Adventures.”  There has been lots of production build up over the last two weeks in particular; certainly the atmosphere yesterday for our stage rehearsal was electrifying and the evening performance by all students was amazing!
School Production time is a terrific time for school staff as we watch our students ‘do-it-alone’ on stage – their courage, determination and bravery and growth mindset to be on stage in front of such a large audience always makes us so proud; watching them all showcase their different singing, dancing and performing skills always amazes us as they shine on stage.
It has certainly been lovely reading all of the positive parent feedback comments on our Facebook page this morning too – thank you very much for taking the time to share such positive thoughts about the show, our amazing students and terrific staff!
I am really looking forward to tonight’s show!
Building Works Update
Today we have heard lots of sawing sounds, banging and hammering sounds coming from our buildings works areas – the builders are very busy! At this stage the building works completion date for all works is still by the end of December, with the demolition of the old student toilet block hopefully occurring over the Christmas break period.
Our builders will be working right through our school holiday period, so it is going to be very exciting to see what works they have completed over the two week period. Watch out for photos posted on our Facebook page on our return so we can share the new works with you!
Acacia Kindergarten Information

In our previous newsletter I wrote about understanding through parent feedback that the proposal for redeveloping Acacia Kindergarten on Mentone Park PS site may have come as a surprise to members of our community and that our school would like to ensure that the process of the possible kinder redevelopment is transparent to our community from here forward.
In the hope to open transparency about the possible kinder redevelopment attached within this newsletter is a joint letter from Kingston Council, Acacia Kindergarten and Mentone Park PS that is being released as a joint venture in open communication.
Also included below is part of a letter on behalf of our school and school council that we believe is a great inclusion for our newsletter. It highlights concerns and questions from one of our parents, and includes school council responses that possibly many of our community members may have / have had about the possible kinder redevelopment.

** As a School Council I can assure you that we had given extensive consideration to the proposal and stand by our decision that this is a great opportunity for Mentone Park Primary School. I hope that I can persuade you of this below and I will do my best to address each of your concerns.
  1. What process was followed and what options were considered?
The prior principal was involved in initial discussions with Kingston Council and Acacia Kinder from very early stages. School Council had an initial meeting with our local member of State Parliament, Mr Tim Richardson, in June 2016, where the proposal was first discussed. Both our principals continued with regular communication with Kingston Council, the kinder and the Education Department over the months since then. At the August School Council meeting, we were informed that a decision need to be made urgently as Kingston Council had just informed us that the submission for the grant was due within a couple of days of our meeting. At that time, we discussed again the opportunity that the proposal provided the school and possible impacts on our students and community. We also recognised and discussed that the urgency of the decision meant that we would be unable to go ahead with our intention to consult with the school community more broadly. This was noted as a significant concern. However, we believed that as a School Council we had given due consideration to the proposal and that it provided a positive opportunity for the school. Although the timing meant that consultation with the school community was not as we had hoped, as elected representatives we felt that it was our responsibility to take the decision to the best of our abilities in a way that ensured the best result for the school.
  1. How did such a large decision occur without consultation?
As I have indicated above, despite School Council’s intentions to consult with the community, the circumstances of the timing imposed by other organisations, as well as circumstances at school, impinged on the full consultation with the community. We did take it to the parent body at a Parents and Friends meeting, and some school councillors had discussed it incidentally with community members. However, we recognise that this was a far from sufficient level of communication.
  1. If School Council believes there was satisfactory communication how did you miss out on the information?
As I have explained above, School Council recognises that there was not satisfactory communication with the community. In moving forward, School Council is committed to improving communication with the community and certainly on this issue we will be communicating broadly including, holding a meeting for community input into further decisions about the kinder (should the grant be successful).
  1. Why does the kinder need to be positioned on the school grounds when there is sufficient land around the current site?
The current site at Acacia Avenue is surrounded by parklands that are protected by environmental regulations around the ‘Green Wedge’ and there is no possibility for the grounds of the kinder to be extended on that site.
  1. How large is the new kinder expected to be and how much of the grounds will it occupy?
There are many considerations ahead about where the kinder will be located and what space will be needed. But as an indication, one of the options proposed would be to situate the kinder in the area of the staff car park and current junior school playground. In that position, it would not take up much more land area than those current spaces. (FYI – the Junior school playground and the parking would be relocated by Kingston Council in agreed upon locations)
  1. What considerations have been given to increased traffic?
This was one of the main areas of discussion and will be further considered in decisions around placement of the kinder (should the proposal go ahead). With the kinder co-located, we expect to attract more support from Kingston Council for traffic and pedestrian management (e.g. a crossing supervisor). We have also been advised that kinder start and finish times would consider busy school times which should go some way to mitigate this.
  1. How will such a development limit the availability of land for future growth?
Mentone Park Primary School is blessed by expansive playing space and this is an important part of what makes our school such a special place for our students. School Council values this greatly and would protect this at all costs. Should the kinder come on-site at the school, there will still be ample playing space for our students and opportunity to expand school facilities whilst still having the largest playing grounds and playground space of any local schools.
  1. Is the future of the school heading in the direction of other local primary schools with very crowded outdoor space?
I have somewhat addressed this above. However, I can also assure you that we have access to predicted enrolments over the coming decade and we are absolutely confident that we can protect the gift of ample outdoor space into the future.
A couple of further comments by way of providing you as much information as is possible at this time:
  • The current situation with the proposal is that we are waiting to hear the outcome of the funding submission. This is expected by the end of the year and further decisions and actions will only occur should this grant be successful.
  • We will be passing our concerns about the lack of information provided to us about the timing and requirements of the decision making process to Kingston Council.
  • In general, we are reviewing all school communication processes and take the responsibility of consulting and engaging with the community very seriously. As I am sure you appreciate, schools are complex organisations but are staffed with professionals and volunteers who only have the very best interests of students at the centre of their decisions. We believe this is especially so at Mentone Park Primary School. We have dedicated and talented school leaders, teachers and support staff and a School Council who offer their time because they believe in our amazing school.
Finally, I would like to re-state the benefits that we believe this opportunity presents to our students, our school and the broader community.
  • There is strong evidence that co-location of Early Learning services on school sites enhances education and well-being outcomes for students through improved connections and transitions to school environments (this has been shown to be the case for kinder students regardless of if they attend the on-site school or go elsewhere).
  • Co-location of Acacia Kinder will provide opportunity for cross-age learning programs which are beneficial for our students (e.g. Buddies programs).
  • Development of the kinder on-site will have benefits to MPPS in terms of some investment in our own infrastructure (possible e.g.: new parking space, re-built playground areas) and access to the facilities at the new kinder (possible e.g.: community meeting spaces, shared garden spaces).
  • Having the kinder on-site will likely enhance our enrolment numbers. With our current downward trend in prep enrolments for 2017, attracting more students to our school is an important consideration so that the excellent level of programs we can provide at MPPS is maintained for all students.
  • The attention that the co-location of the kinder will attract will provide us with opportunity to argue our case for significant investment in our school buildings and grounds. We feel that this is very important for the future of our school so that we can have the best facilities for our students and attract enrolments to our school.
  • The local community deserves excellent options for early learning services and the development of a brand new, purpose built facility will provide this for local families. The broader community have determined that the best option for this is to situate the kinder on-site at MPPS. We feel the school should consider it a privilege that we have the opportunity to connect with and support our local community in this way.  ***
As a school and school council we certainly hope that parents and community members continue to communicate with myself or any school council member with any further questions, concerns or queries. A reminder to parents, that at this stage we are still waiting to hear from Kingston Council as to whether their grant submission for the kinder redevelopment has been successful. We believe we should hear from Kingston Council later Term 4.

Happy holidays!
On a final note for this term, I wish everybody a very happy holiday period! Whilst I know that most parents may still continue to work over the school holiday period, I hope that a break from the school morning and night routines may be a welcome relief (it certainly will be in my household!).
Take care everyone over the holiday period and I look forward to catching up on everyone’s holiday adventures next term!

Warm Regards

Renée Kennedy




Term 3, Week 9 &10



Well Done Molly and Oscar

Alison Lough

Assistant Principal

School Council Update

Dear Families,
We had an extra-ordinarily busy meeting this week for our final School Council of Term 3. Over 3.5 hours we discussed a great many significant and important issues. I would like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of our school councillors throughout that meeting. It was a very positive and cooperative atmosphere whilst we considered some challenges facing our great school at the moment. Below is a brief outline of some of the key areas that we covered during this meeting. Please be sure to contact any of the school councillors or the school if you would like more information about any of these items.
We were thrilled to see the overview of the 2016 NAPLAN results for our year 3 and 5 students as there were significant improvements in many areas. In almost all areas our students perform above state averages. Most pleasing were the results for reading and the improvements in average gain of our students from year 3 to year 5. We would like to thank all the teachers and support staff at MPPS for their dedication to continuously improving teaching and learning for our students.
Council needed to consider and improve our fee structure for 2017 in line with a number of changes to the Department of Education requirements. As I have reported before, our income for ICT support and maintenance of Buildings and Grounds has been significantly less for 2016. We are concerned about both these areas but particularly feel that we need significant investment to improve ICT over the coming years. How we manage that was part of our discussions in considering the fee schedule for 2017. The school will be providing the information, booklists and fee schedules to all families early next term.
It is so exciting to see the building works under way and we were advised that it is still on schedule to have the classrooms and the toilets complete by the end of 2016.
The council had a very long discussion about the safety of our students in the playground and measures that we can undertake to enhance this without compromising the culture of our beautiful school as a safe environment that keeps our kids well connected to the community. We believe that safety measures need to be balanced against the need to reassure our students that they are in fact very safe in our school and our community. However, we do acknowledge the seriousness of recent concerns and have agreed to a number of measures including: security cameras; more signage on all entrance points; all gates, except those to the front office, being locked during the day; and the erection of fencing around the container area. Along with the commitment staff have made to manage extra yard duty, these measures will enhance the safety of our students in the best possible way.
School Council unfortunately was not able to consult with the school community in as much depth as we would have liked about the proposal to relocate Acacia Avenue Kinder on our school grounds. We would like to apologise to everyone for this. We do however strongly believe that the decision made to accept the proposal (subject to a successful grant application) was in the best interests of the students, the school and the community. There will be some further communication about this very soon and should the grant application be successful no further major decisions will be made without increased consultation.
I hope that everyone enjoyed the students amazing performance this week and have a fantastic, safe and relaxing holiday!
Fiona Longmuir



Happy End of Term!
Friday afternoon we are opening when school finishes at 2.30p.m, with movies and popcorn. Remember if you haven’t booked vacation care try to book before the holiday programs begin as you don’t want to be stuck without care!
In our last week of term we have been relaxing. It’s back to movies, hamma beads, and free play!!! Some of our favourite things!
Next term we are looking forward to the warm weather. Anicca and Candice will not be with us in term 4 as Anicca is heading to Europe to visit Family. Candice will be teaching full time, we will have some casual staff helping out. Please make them feel welcome.
A polite reminder to the parents that haven’t brought in their immunisation records please do ASAP as we must have them for term 4.
Please also make sure you notify us as soon as possible if your child is not attending after school care at any time. We have had a few cases recently, when we have not been able to locate children  due to them being collected by a parent. We appreciate your assistance with keeping the lines of communication open.
Thanks for a fantastic fun term everyone, enjoy the holidays!
Annica & James


Dear Parents,

Below is the class roster for the rest of the school year.
Please click here to volunteer for any of the dates below.


The Kids’ Cafe Team

Term 4

Oct 7th 3G
14th 4H
21st 4W
28th 5/6L
Nov 4th 5/6R
11th 5/6S
18th all Preps & Grade 1
25th all grades 2 & 3

Dec 2nd all Grades 4, 5 & 6
9th cleaning - all welcome

Working With Children Check Reminder

All parents/guardians, visitors & volunteers to the school MUST sign in & out of the school and display their WWCC in a lanyard, which is available at the school office.

The Department of Education requires any person involved in an activity where children may be present to have a current WWCC or have supplied proof that they have applied for a WWCC with the Department of Justice. All schools are required to comply with the Working with Children Act 2005.

Volunteers are expected to carry the WWCC card on their person at all times when working or volunteering at the school or during school related activities.

There is no fee for this check. Apply now by visiting:

The Department of Education & Early Childhood Development and Mentone Park Primary School do not endorse the products or services of any private advertiser. They accept no responsibility for accuracy of information contained in advertisements or claims made by them.