Mrs Ash

(Always refer to FlexiBuzz messages for up-to-date information)

 

Have you noticed a change in our local area? One thing for sure is that the price of houses and the rental prices have certainly increased over the past few years. Talking to parents and people who live in the area about the changing environment has helped me to understand why our student numbers have slowly dropped over the past few years. Fewer families can afford the cost of the houses, fewer families can afford the cost of the rents in this area and there are fewer Catholics choosing to live here. If you add in job uncertainty and slow wages growth, you can see why people with larger families have chosen to move to areas where life is more affordable.

 

Looking at the numbers of children in our Year 6 area (56) and comparing it with the number of children enrolled for Foundation in 2018 (35) shows the change in this area is closely reflected in school enrolments.

 

Slower enrolment growth has both positive and negative consequences. On the one hand we have smaller classes but on the other hand we have less income!  Last year we decided that even though we had a small intake of Preps, we would continue with our 14 home-groups because we had enough resources to cover the cost.

 

For 2018 though, we have to make a change to our school organisation. We are saving money for our Administration area refurbishments and improvements to the playground so we need to make sure we only spend what we get in as income from fees and government funding. To make sure we live within our means, we will only have 13 home-groups next year.

 

Class sizes for 2018

 

Foundation

One homegroup of 17 children and

one of homegroup of  18 children

Year 1 / 2

One homegroup of 21 children and

two homegroups of 22 children

Year 3 / 4

One homegroup of 22 children and

three homegroups of 21children

Year 5 / 6

Two homegroups of 21 children and

two homegroups of 20 children

 

Total 13 Homegroups

We will continue with two Foundation classes, we will still have four Year 3 / 4 homegroups and we will still have four Year 5 / 6 homegroups. There will be a change at the Year 1 / 2 level. Instead of four Year 1 / 2 homegroups, we will have three Year 1 / 2’s.

 

This means we will continue work in communities. We still see this as the best way possible to allow us to deliver better targeted teaching to children with differing needs. Every Foundation and Year 3-6 student will be in a community  of two teachers just as they are now but in Year 1 / 2 there will be three teachers working in one community.

 

The blessing of this arrangement is that the every student will still be in a small home-group, probably smaller than was the experience of students in the past. Previously our senior classes have been 26 or 27 students. We see great advantages planning differentiated curriculum to meet the needs of every child when classes are smaller.

 

We will still be able to offer all the programs we currently offer, dropping one home group supports the viability of everything else we offer our children.

 

Another factor in falling numbers may be to do with the wider community’s understanding of what it costs to educate a child in a Catholic school. Catholic Education Melbourne has been running focus groups looking at why families choose or don’t choose Catholic Schools and one of their findings is that there is a lot of confusion about the cost of sending a child to a Catholic School. The reality is that a child attending our school in Year 1/ 2 pays fees of $4.30 a day all through the year. That includes the swimming program.  That is the price of a cup of coffee!

Given that a day at child care can cost about $100 a day, that is very good value!

 

I think I will have to put that on our website!

 

Before School

Thank you to all those who have reflected on the wisdom of leaving their children in the school yard before 8:30am.

 

We only begin supervision at 8:30am and I am delighted to see that many parents have decided that it is not safe to leave children unsupervised!

 

As a Principal, I get police reports every day about often bizarre behaviour of people around schools. I would not want to leave my child on the yard when no adult is there to protect them.

 

 

Christine Ash

Principal

cash@sedandenongnth.catholic.edu.au