Use of mobile phones at School

There are number of Barbreck students who parents ask to bring mobile phones to School in order to facilitate last minute changes to after school pick up arrangements.

At the commencement of each day, all students who have a mobile phone are required to hand them in to the classroom teacher and collect at the end of the day.

Parents are asked to note that students do not have access phones until dismissal time and any messages required to be given to your daughter during the day, should be conveyed through a telephone call to the staff in the Barbreck Office on 9828 3062 or 9828 3020.

Students are also being reminded that using mobile phones to message each other (in various ways) should be done, if necessary, after collection from school.

In terms of social skill building and general wellbeing, texting a friend who is walking with you whilst moving down the Barbreck stairs or the driveway for instance, is not a sensible use of a phone, nor conducive in reality to building a friendship.

As always, the framework of expectations involving safety matters, wellbeing and the School values is intended to maintain a common sense and practical approach which is developed only in the best interests of the students.

When should my daughter have an iPhone?

A question which regularly comes to our attention through parents endeavouring to respond to requests from their daughters for a phone.  It appears the question is now being asked by children at a younger age than previously, with such a question often followed by “everyone in my class level has one.”  While it may feel that way to children who really desire one, we can assure parents that this is not the case.

Every family is different and the right time to give an iPhone is a tricky one, but discussion at home regarding a framework should include “when you need one, we will talk about it” or “when we feel confident that you have enough knowledge about the use of phones, we will look into it.”


We encourage parents to always read the “Terms and Conditions” of all Apps permitted on your daughter’s phone. Small print it is, but for instance, numerous social apps are for 13+

Library News

Our libraries continue to be two of the busiest hubs within our school. Both the Barbreck and Nicholas Libraries serve our staff and students as a focused learning space, a place for collaboration and socialisation, and a designated space for a myriad of co-curricular activities.

In the midst of this activity, the core business of any Library service is to support and develop student literacy. No matter how many new devices and technologies become part of our learning, it is fair to say that we still live in a heavily text based society. There is more text for our girls to read, decode and comprehend now than ever before – more information appearing on the internet, and more and more books published (and now self-published) every day.

Therefore, reading for pleasure continues to be hugely important – not only as time out from our hectic and information saturated schedules, but as an enjoyable way to really boost our literacy and better equip ourselves to deal with the deluge of incoming text. The Library Team at St Catherine’s are ever mindful of the link between reading for pleasure and increased literacy levels, and are devoted to encouraging a love of reading in our students in a variety of ways.

We have hit the ground running in 2017, beginning the year with a celebration of Library Lovers’ Day (February 14). Students were encouraged to ‘go on a blind date with a book’, taking a chance on a wrapped book with only a few clues as to what the book might be about. This technique of ‘blindly’ choosing something to read has been very successful in exposing students to different genres and authors – often those that they would not have normally chosen. Plus, there’s also the excitement of unwrapping the ‘present’ to see what’s inside!

Hearts were in abundance from Junior School to Senior School, where students and staff shared where they love to read and what they love to read. There’s nothing more powerful than peer recommendations to boost interest in reading, and both libraries took every opportunity to allow students to highlight their most cherished stories.

It has been such a joy to see some of our Year 6 girls holding impromptu story time at lunchtime – reading stories to new students and sharing the books.

Writing in Year 2

Year 2 students love to write!  The growth and development in sentence lengths, grammar spelling and punctuation is really pleasing! For reader interest, we randomly selected just a few written items completed, recently in Term one:

The Girl Who Made a Pancake

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, who lived in a cottage. One day she made a pancake but the pancake didn’t want to be eaten, so it jumped out of the pan and ran away.

The girl was fast but the pancake was faster than the little girl. The pancake met a cow. “Hello Mr Pancake,” said the cow. “Stop rolling away so I can eat you.”  “No, no, no. I’m too fast for you.” 

Then the pancake met a goat. “Stop rolling away so I can eat you,” said the goat. “No, no, no.  I’m too fast for you.” 

Then the pancake found a place to hide and there was a pig.  The pig was very hungry.  So the pig said, “Who are you hiding from little pancake?”  “Lots and lots of people,” said the pancake.  “Thank you,” said the pig, licking his lips. He then said to himself, “Now I can finally eat him.”

The pig did eat him and he was YUMMY!  That was the end of the pancake man.  

Pernilla Coleman

The Pancake and The Fox

Once upon a time, in a forest called Windy Stream, there was a fox. He lived in a cave near an oak tree. 

One day he woke up to a huge storm, so he decided to bake a pancake. Fox was baking in his underground kitchen.  Now the pancake was frying and fox needed a snack. So, he went upstairs to the cupboard.

Meanwhile, in the stove, pancake was getting hot, so he jumped out and ran to the door. When the fox had finished his snack, he came back down and saw that the pancake was gone.  He was angrier than ever!

Outside, the pancake heard the fox, so he quickly scattered up the tree and hid.  The fox stomped outside. “Where’s my pancake?” he growled and went back inside. 

The next day, fox woke up to a cool and windy day but he was still dreaming about his pancake when he remembered what grandma said when he was young. 

One minute later, fox went outside and yelled, “Ready or not, here I come.” A minute later, he saw pancake’s hand peeping out of the oak tree. So, he jumped up and bit the burnt bit!  Pancake screamed and ran all the way to the next ree.  Fox yelled, “I, found, you!”  Pancake was scared until he had an idea.  While fox was guarding one side of the tree,  pancake slid down the other side of the tree and ran all the way to the river, across the log, around the corner and found a little cave and lived pancakely ever after…The end …… and as for the fox, he was standing there all day.

Frankie Vasilopoulos

Chloe and Zia in the Desert

Once upon a time, a sneaky girl in the desert wanted water. One day a big rain came down. Her long hair was very wet, her big sister Zia ran down to see her big sister Chloe. Zia said, “are you ok?” “Yes”, said Chloe. Zia and Chloe built a house and they got a garden.

Zhiyi (Eva) Mao

The Holiday

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Mia. She went to the beach with her grandma and rabbit named Zia. There were lots and lots of dogs there, Zia was very frightened. Mia was holding Zia but she jumped out of her arms and ran off.  Grandma and Mia were looking for Zia for two days, but they could not find her. Zia was very clever, she sniffed all the way home. In the morning they saw Zia and they got big smiles on their faces.  They all lived happily ever after.

Chloe Nash

Stem in the Mornings

There has been great excitement over the last four weeks as the before school ‘STEM in The Morning’ sessions have commenced for students in Years 2–6.

  • The Year 2 girls have begun designing, measuring and building 30 cm tall three-dimensional structures. The girls have practised using rulers and have enjoyed being inventive, persevering and problem solving until each structure reaches its precise height.
  • Students in Year 3 have been learning about changing materials and irreversible reactions whilst making play dough and window clings. The girls have followed the instructions, measured ingredients and discussed the properties of the materials when making the play dough. The transparent window clings have allowed us to discuss the opaqueness and transparency of materials.  They have observed how PVA glue (a polymer) changes from being opaque to transparent and can then be used as a window cling. During both of these STEM sessions, science and mathematics have been combined in a fun activity.
  • Students in Year 4 have begun working on their Fairground Construction. They have been developing their creative thinking skills while designing and constructing attractions of different shapes and sizes. When complete, this model will be displayed in the Junior School for families to enjoy.
  • Years 5 and 6 girls have been looking very closely at bridge design over the last few weeks. The girls have investigated the engineering behind strong design and have been working in teams or individually to design and build their own bridge out of icy pole sticks and glue. The bridges must have a span of at least 30 cm and be as strong as possible. Girls are encouraged to be frugal, and use the fewest number of sticks while still achieving their goals. At the end of the project weights will put on the bridges to test their strength and the girls will evaluate the effectiveness of their own bridge designs.

All students are welcome to attend these sessions where activities and projects promote learning in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).  Sessions for girls in Years 5 and 6 are held on Mondays, Year 3 on Wednesdays, Year 4 on Thursdays and Year 2 girls’ sessions are on Fridays at 8.00am.

Mrs Chris Hogan
Learning Plus Department