Mobile Phones at School

All Barbreck students who bring a mobile phone to School are required to hand them in for safe keeping to classroom teachers each morning. Students are forbidden to send text messages to other students whilst on the School grounds. We encourage healthy verbal conversations.

Unless mobile phones are needed, to perhaps contact parents after School, we ask families to seriously consider whether they need to be brought to School at all. If students need to call parents throughout the day for various reasons, the calls are made via classroom teachers or the Barbreck Office.

We emphasise to parents that students will not receive emails or text messages that you may send during the day as the phones are put away by staff from arrival time in the morning and distributed again at the end of the day.

Personal Safety and Mobile Phones

We urge parents to know the capacity of iPhones and to monitor your daughter’s use. It is assumed that each family will set rules and guidelines around the use of phones when given to young people. Primary school age children find it very difficult to fully understand the risks associated with some of the capacities of current phones. For instance, the use of apps such as ‘Snap Chat’ seem to create some student concerns during weekend or evening use.

We also urge parents to monitor the many available apps. So many of the current apps are deemed appropriate only for 13+ age groups. The capacity in some to ensure anonymity is difficult to manage or gauge by children and use should be monitored by adults at home.

It is essential that the fine print in the ‘Terms and Conditions’ is read by parents before permission is given to purchase and download such apps. We advise strict supervision around the use of readily available social media apps.

Prep and progress in Maths to date!

Mathematics is one of my favourite subjects and I hope to instil this love of learning in my students. Sometimes it can be making an ordinary concept fun and accessible.

Fastt maths is a new app that we are currently exploring within our classroom and it has certainly made the concept of learning number facts fun. To my delight it was met with enthusiasm and smiles. “I love Fastt Maths” commented Camilla. “Can we play Fastt Maths tomorrow and every day?” asked Anna.

Fastt Maths is one of many ways that we differentiate our delivery of curriculum and monitor student progress. This progress can not only be celebrated by the teacher but, more importantly students can view and monitor their own progress.

After independently completing a mini test, the app creates lessons that help deliver number facts at an individualised level. Students are happy and feel supported as they move and progress at their level.

Instant recall of basic number facts and strategies is an important foundation for future mathematical workings. As I often tell the students, when we confidently understand these concepts it helps us with our future work.

The girls were so delighted with Fastt Maths and Mrs Kate Bourke and I were so proud of them that we could not help but share our news with Mrs Alana Moor. When Mrs Moor came to see what all the smiles and cheers were about, the girls were happy to share their learning.

We are always learning in Prep, even the teachers.

Miss Annie Taylor, Prep Teacher
Stretching Sentences in Year 5

Literacy is an important focus for student learning at St Catherine’s, as it is integral to effective learning across all years and areas of schooling. Each week at our Junior School Staff Meetings teachers share an effective Literacy practice they use in the classroom. This provides teachers with the opportunity to build on their repertoire of approaches to the teaching of literacy, share best practice and learn from one another.

Recently, Ms Fiona Wardlaw shared a strategy they use in Year 5 to teach and encourage students to move from simple sentences to more complex sentences, making writing more engaging and interesting to the audience. This provides a scaffolded approach to build students’ ability to use clear and precise words, incorporate figurative language and other literary devices, and create sensory details, imagery and characterisation within their writing.

Below is an example by Katharine Soutter (Year 3) of how a student can build a simple sentence into a complex, interesting and descriptive sentence, using the five W’s to help.

WHO: The lonely dog howls.

WHAT: The lonely dog howls at the shimmering full moon.

WHEN: The lonely dog howls at the shimmering full moon, in the middle of the endless night.

WHERE: In a dark forgotten forest the lonely dog howls at the shimmering full moon in the middle of the endless night.

WHY: In a dark forgotten forest the lonely dog howls at the shimmering full moon in the middle of the endless night to tell the giant, crowded world that he was there.

Here are some more examples of the end product:

The scruffy lonely dog howls in the pitch black of night in the dark damp alleyway trying to find his way back home. Scarlet Westaway (Year 5)

The miserable lonely dog howls despondently at the luminous sunlit sky whilst he is inside wanting to play out in the open. Georgia Hennessy (Year 5)

Endless days and nights, Hachi the lonely dog howls loudly in sadness to his owner, waiting at the freezing cold train station for him to return. Rhea Werner (Year 5)

Ms Catherine Samuel, Deputy Head of Junior School
School Attendance Rolls

Parents are reminded that we require a message to be placed on the Student Absentee Line (03 98283021) when your child is away on any School day. In order to assist us with safety and security, we ask that parents always advise the Junior School Office on this line – even if classroom teachers have been advised. It is essential that Attendance Rolls can be accurately marked.

The School bell rings at 8.30am. At this time, the students commence the organisation required for the day. With respect for traffic conditions and families taking siblings to other schools, the attendance rolls are marked in classrooms at 8.40am. Students who are not present at 8.40am are marked absent. These records are sent to the Junior School Office for official entry.

Any student who arrives after attendance rolls have been marked, must report to the Junior School Office to sign in. Accordingly, the records are rectified. Those students who do not sign in, are still deemed absent. In terms of safety and security, it is therefore critical that these steps are followed.

Please note, if students arrive after 8.30am, it is assumed it is for traffic reasons.


Mrs Alana Moor, Head of Junior School and ELC