Parent Handbook

Parent Handbook information covering all the information you and your child will need.

If you have any further questions in relation to school times, dates, policies or other general enquiries please feel free to contact St Mary’s Primary, Rydalmere by phone on (02) 9684 4044 during weekdays between 8:30am and 4:00pm.


  • Welcome
    • Principal's Message

      Welcome Parents and Carers to St Mary’s.

      A very warm welcome to the St Mary’s Primary School family. It is our hope that your association with our school and parish community is a long and happy one in the years to come.

      By enrolling your child at St Mary’s, you have entered into an educational partnership with your child that involves your family, our staff and the wider parish community.

      Our purpose, as a Catholic Primary School in the Rydalmere community, is to provide a learning environment where all members feel welcomed, cared for and supported. In this way, we will communicate the message of God’s love for all people through our actions and example. We draw our values from the teachings of Jesus Christ as lived through our Catholic tradition and as such stress the following:

      • Love and forgiveness as a foundation for effective learning, quality relationships and personal growth
      • Honest open communication leading to justice in everyday interactions
      • The uniqueness of each person, acceptance of each other and celebration of differences
      • A learning environment which nurtures independent, discerning and critical thinkers.

      Our School Motto is CARE – Care Always, Respect Everyone. This motto is upheld by staff, parents and students. It forms the basis for all of our daily interactions. In selecting St Mary’s School for your child, you have chosen a Catholic education that will support and uphold your family’s Catholic values. Your commitment to your child’s education and faith development is vital in supporting the learning partnership between school, parish and home.

      This is an exciting and significant point in your child’s life and the beginning of your relationship with our school. We hope this relationship will deepen and grow along with your child’s religious, academic and social development. On behalf of the staff, Fr Peter and the entire school community, we welcome you to St Mary’s. It is our dream that your association with our school community be full of happy memories and wonderful experiences that support your wishes and child’s educational life.

      With every best wish,

      Richard Blissenden
      Principal

    • A message from Father Peter Lamont
      Fr Peter Lamont
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

      Dear Parents, 

      I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you and your children to St. Mary’s Primary School.  The local parish is the centre of Catholic faith from which the sacramental life of the Church flow into the local Catholic community.  The parish primary school is an important part of the parish community. 

      Catholic education in Australia was established at a time when Catholics were treated as second-class citizens, they were denied access to many opportunities.  The bishop in Australia, established Catholic schools to support the faith of Catholic parents, to provide religious instruction to children, as well as a decent education.

      Today we follow that same tradition as a Catholic community and it is vital for all Catholic primary students, and their parents to be involved in the parish sacramental programs of Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Holy Communion and participate in the active life of the parish community.

      St Mary’s Rydalmere has an excellent teaching staff, and a very close association with me, and the parish community. I look forward to meeting you all very soon.

      Fr Peter Lamont
      Parish Priest

  • Term Dates and Pickup/Drop Off Details
    • School Commencement 2017
      Term 1 Week 1
      Friday 27 January Staff Commence/ MAI Testing
      Monday 30 January MAI Testing
      Tuesday 31 January Years 1-6 commence
      Thursday 02 February Kindergarten children commence

    • School Vacations 2017
        School Opens School Closes
      Term 1 Friday 27 January Friday 07 April
      Term 2 Monday 24 April Friday 30 June
      Term 3 Monday 17 July Friday 22 September
      Term 4 Monday 09 October Tuesday 19 December

    • School Supervision Hours

      Before school supervision commences at 8.20am. Parents who need to drop children to school prior to this time need to utilise the Before and After School Care (St Mary’s OOSH) service. Children need to be collected by 3.30pm each afternoon as supervision ceases at this time. Parents who are unable to organise pick up by 3.30pm could also use the Before and After School Care (St Mary’s OOSH) service.

    • Pick Up and KISS

      Each afternoon, children assemble on the Marist playground and sit in a designated area according to the means in which they are going home. Parents who park and collect their children from the school grounds also have a designated waiting area. Parents are asked to enter the school via the main gate and ramp on Pine St and exit via the double gates on Pine St. Children will be dismissed when the bell rings at 3.10pm.

      Parents who wish to pick up their children by car can drive into Myrtle Street, via Pine St and collect their children without leaving the car. Parents can apply for a laminated sign from the office, showing their child’s name. The sign should then be displayed in the front windscreen of the car, and the teacher on duty will call the child’s name and parent volunteers will help them into the car.

      Parents who use this service are asked to volunteer as Pick Up and Kiss helpers twice a month.

      Traffic

      Remember, you have 20mins to collect your child. Almost noone is in the queue from 3.20pm onward. Our aims are to make dismissal safe and convenient (in that order).

    • Before and After School Care

      Before and after school care is available for those who wish to arrange it - please telephone St Mary’s OOSH on 9638 3225. Children left in the morning are brought over to the Marist site at 8.30 am, and those needing to be cared for after school are walked over to the centre on the Mercy site by staff at 3.10pm. Costs should be discussed with the centre co-ordinator Ms Maureen Connelly.

    • Absences

      If your child is absent, a written note to the class teacher or notification via the Skoolbag App needs to be provided upon their return to school. It is a requirement that the note must state a reason for the absence either sick or leave (e.g. medical appointment, attendance at funerals). If no reason is provided, the note is invalid and it may be considered an unexplained absence which may be questioned by auditors who inspect class attendance rolls annually. Habitually unexplained absences may be viewed as requiring investigations.

      Holidays taken by students outside school vacation periods are included as absences. Families are encouraged to holiday or travel during school vacations. If travel during the school term is necessary, the following considerations apply:

      • Prior to the leave parents inform the Principal, in writing, of the intended leave.
      • An Application for Extended Leave is completed by the parent for approval by the Principal for leave between 5 and 100 days.
      • If the Principal accepts the reason for the absence, the absence will be marked as “L” and a Certificate of Extended Leave - Travel will be issued.
      • If the Principal does not believe the absence is in the student’s best interests and does not accept the reason, the absence will be recorded as an unexplained absence.
    • Leave

      If you wish to collect your child early from school for an appointment, you must complete a form from the Office. This form is then given to the classroom teacher. Please advise the office whenever you have organised someone else to collect your child. If your child arrives late for school, you need to complete a ‘Late Arrival’ slip from the office. This slip is given to the classroom teacher.

  • General Information
    • School Contact Details
      Principal Mr Richard Blissendon
      Assistant Principal Mrs Rosemarie Gosper
      Religious Co-ordinator Miss Rebecca Boidin
      Co-ordinators Mrs Emma Atkinson
      Mrs Erica Rheinberger
      Office Staff

      Ms Susan Albertini
      Mrs Stacey Crismale
      Mrs Angela Karam
      Mrs Kristine Muir

      Phone 9684 4044
      Fax 9684 2262
      Address 1 Myrtle Street
      Rydalmere  2116
      Email stmarysrydal@parra.catholic.edu.au
      Website www.stmarysrydalmere.catholic.edu.au
      Twitter @StMarysRydal

       

    • School Hours
      School Office Opens 8:20am
      Morning Line Up 8:50am
      Recess 10:50-11:15am
      Lunch 12:55-1:50pm
      Classes Conclude 3:10pm
      School Office Closes 3:30pm

    • School Mission Statement

      Care Always Respect Everyone


      St Mary’s is a Catholic Primary School within the Rydalmere Parish Community.

      WE EXIST
      to provide quality education and to live and share Christian values.

      WE VALUE
      an active partnership between home, school and parish.

      OUR MISSION
      is to be a community where each is challenged to achieve his/her best within a positive environment

      OUR CORE BELIEF
      is care and respect for everyone as expressed in our school motto.


    • St Mary's Educational Belief Statement
      Many roads, one journey

      We Value Our Faith (Christ)

      • Christ will be at the centre of all our teaching
      • The school will support children and further develop their faith journey
      • Spirituality will be embedded throughout the whole curriculum
      • Prayer and liturgy are fostered on a daily basis

      We Value Our Environment (Safety)

      • Students are treated with respect
      • Whole school approach to problem solving and conflict resolution
      • Our class programmes are outcomes-based according to individuals’ identified needs
      • Whole school approach to classroom management

      We Value Our Community (Unity)

      • We acknowledge our multicultural background
      • We share experiences and learn from each other
      • We constantly share and celebrate education in our community e.g. assemblies, liturgies, CARE awards etc
      • Working in close collaboration with wider parish community

      We Value Our Learning (Achievement, Challenge)

      • Staff are provided with access to appropriate professional development opportunities
      • Children participate in the decision-making process
      • Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning
      • Assessment involves teachers and children
      • Student achievements are celebrated
      • Technology is an integral part of teaching and learning programs
      • We recognise and respond to the individual needs, talents and interest of all children.
    • Curriculum

      St Mary’s is a dynamic, caring educational community. We offer a comprehensive and exciting curriculum for all K-6 students, in line with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) policies and the Catholic Education Office, Parramatta.

      • We endeavour to bring to life the stories and messages Jesus gave us. The children are encouraged to develop their relationship with God through the examples given by members of a welcoming and pastoral school community.

      • We have a child-centred and literature-based approach to literacy instruction.

      • The aim of Mathematics at St Mary’s is to develop students’ thinking, understanding, competence and confidence in the application of Mathematics. Over the last several years, our school has been an active participant in the Diocesan initiative known as EMU. EMU stands for Extending Mathematical Understanding. Our maths programs emphasise the importance of mental strategies, visualisation skills, written computation and problem solving using a range of concrete materials and other manipulatives. They also provide reflection time for students to share and value their work and to make connections with past learning and learning beyond the classroom environment.

      • In 2016 we implemented the new History and Geography syllabus documents.

      • We are continually building upon the school’s English, Mathematics and other teaching and learning resources.

      • Technology is an important tool we use in 21st century learning. We have a strong commitment to the development of skills and attitudes in the use of Learning Technology throughout the school. Technology is embedded into the curriculum. This commitment is demonstrated through:
        • Every classroom having access to the school and Diocesan network, providing them with access to the internet
        • Children being skilled in the use of various forms of technology, e.g. computer applications, data projector, digital cameras, interactive whiteboards, flip cameras, iPod and iPad
        • The use of laptops, which are used in every learning space to assist with teaching and learning
        • The use of interactive whiteboards located in every learning space throughout the school to enhance student and teacher interaction
      • Over the last few years we have endeavoured to make St Mary’s an Inquiry School. We have engaged an expert in the field of Inquiry Based Learning, Mrs Kath Murdoch, to work with the staff. Learning, using the inquiry approach, involves students forming their own questions about a topic and having time to explore the answers. The students are both problem posers and problem solvers within inquiry learning. Inquiry Learning encourages learners to examine the complexity of the world and form concepts and generalisations instead of being told simple answers to complex problems.

      Education at St Mary’s is not limited to academic performance. It includes the development of mind and body, spirit, imagination and character. We aim to develop in our students the skills of inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving to be used across the Key Learning Areas. Our learning spaces are fully equipped for 21st century learning. Teachers work collaboratively in grades, utilising a variety of different teaching strategies to cater for individual differences.

      As a Catholic Primary School, we are committed to curriculum development at the school level.

      We implement the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) syllabus documents. We have specialist Dance/Drama, Sport and Music teachers who work with the children in each class every week.

      We are currently teaching the Parramatta Catholic Education Office Religious Education Curriculum, “Sharing our Story” syllabus. This is mandatory across the Parramatta Diocese.

    • Liturgies

      At St Mary’s we believe:

      • Prayer is an expression of our relationship with God and forms an integral part of our school life.
      • Depending on the nature of the prayer celebration and its purpose, children will celebrate and pray with a variety of groups:
        • Class
        • Grade
        • Whole school
      • The variety of prayer forms the children experience include:
        • Special School Prayer Celebrations: e.g. Grandparents’ Day, School Feast Day
        • Classroom Prayer
        • Reconciliation Liturgies
        • Parish Masses
        • Morning Assembly prayer each day
        • Christian Meditation

      Christian Meditation is a main focus for staff and student prayer. It is an opportunity for those involved to form a deeper relationship with Jesus through the use of Scripture. Students are involved in a Christian Meditation session at least once per fortnight. The children are encouraged to record the meaning gained from the Scripture reading and how this can be applied to their lives.

      As parents form an important part of the school community at St Mary’s, we encourage you to attend and participate in Liturgies with your children.

    • Sport

      Sport at St Mary’s plays a very important part in the education of the whole individual. The major emphasis of the P.E. Program is that of skill development. The children are taught and practise a wide range of skills covering a large number of sports.

      The P.E. Program is one that is geared to the needs, interests and development level of the children, thus it is expected that all children participate at all levels. It is compulsory and children will only be excused from sport with a written note. The situation may arise, due to carnivals or games such as T Ball, where it will be necessary for teachers to take the children across Victoria Road to the oval.

      There are four Sport Colour Houses – MacKillop, McCaffery, Tarrant and Mackinnon. Children are put into a Sport House when they start at St Mary’s. Families are kept in the same colour.

      Children compete first at the school level and then may progress to Zone, Diocesan, Inter-Diocesan and State levels in athletics, swimming and cross-country. We participate in Gala Days in a variety of team sports, such as soccer, netball and touch football.

    • Parent Helpers

      As a community of learners we sincerely value the help of parent and parish volunteers. If you wish to volunteer in classrooms or on excursions, then to comply with government regulations, you must complete Child Protection training and complete an “Undertaking”.. Please apply at the school office for more information.

      All volunteers at our school must also sign in via an iPad in the office. This explains the safe practices and emergency procedures.

    • Assemblies

      Grade and school assemblies are held throughout the year. The assemblies involve all classes. Grade assemblies are approximately forty five minutes in length.

      During grade assemblies we take this opportunity to pray together, and Principal and Care Awards are presented to the children. Children demonstrate their learning through a variety of media. All parents and grandparents are welcome to attend.

    • Band, Guitar and Keyboard

      We have an established band program at St Mary’s. Children in Years 3-6 may participate. Band practice may be before or after school each Wednesday. Children also receive a half hour lesson in small groups on their chosen instrument. Instruments include flute, trombone, clarinet, trumpet, saxophone and drums. Each Wednesday we also have guitar and keyboard lessons for those children wanting to learn these instruments.

    • Library

      Children attend a library lesson each week and are encouraged to borrow books. To keep books in good order, children are asked to have a material library bag. 

      Parents are encouraged to assist with the covering of books, as this enables us to have new books processed more quickly and cheaply.

      The library is open Monday to Wednesday:

      8:30am - 8:50am
      1:30pm - 1:55pm
      3:10pm - 3:30pm

      You are very welcome to borrow with your children at these times.

    • School Fees

      An account for the Diocesan School Fees and Building Levy will be sent out in Week 1 in the first THREE terms and should be finalised by the due date on the statement. The scale of fees is set out by the Catholic Education Office (Parramatta Diocese) and can be obtained from our office.

      In addition to the above, one third of the following fees are charged in each of the first THREE terms. There is no account in Term 4.

      Resource Fee
      Text books, exercise books and some stationery requisites are supplied by the school for a fee of $130.00 per child for the year. This is charged in Term 1.

      Special Purpose Fee
      The special purpose fee is $69.00 per child per year which goes towards the provision of specialist creative activities.

      Maintenance Fee
      The maintenance fee is $87.00 per family per year. This goes towards the upkeep of the school and grounds, e.g. cleaning of the school, garbage collection and air conditioning maintenance.

      P & F Fee
      The P & F fundraising fee is $120.00 per family and will be charged in Terms 2 & 3 ($60 each term).

    • Parents & Friends Association

      This parent group works in many ways:

      • School improvement
      • Supporting the Parish / School Fete
      • Organising social events
      • A fundraising fee of $100 per family is charged in Terms 2 and 3.

      The Parents and Friends meets approximately four times a year and all parents are welcome to attend.

      Please visit the P&F folder on this website to find out what's happening throughout the year and dates for upcoming events.


      Parents
    • Playground Accidents and First Aid

      In the event of a slight accident, graze or bump, a teacher will administer simple first aid, such as washing with water and band-aid strip. In the event however, of a serious playground accident, the teacher will have first aid administered, complete an Accident Report Sheet and notify a parent or other nominated person. In the unlikely event of a more serious incident, medical treatment is sought and parents contacted. Parents should notify the school of all allergies and other medical information pertinent to their child.

      No medication is administered by teachers. If your child needs to receive regular medication, please pick up a form from the school office, which will need to be filled out, signed and left at the office.

    • Allergies, Classroom Celebrations & Fruit Break

      Due to the number of children in our school who are at risk of suffering a severe allergic reaction if exposed to nuts, we aim to make St Mary’s a “Nut Allergy Aware Zone”.

      We request your assistance in helping us manage these severe allergies by not sending your child to school with peanut butter and nut products, including Nutella. Please discuss with your children the importance of not sharing food. With this in mind, as well as our Personal Development and Health and Physical Education syllabus which promotes healthy eating, we also have a “No junk food, no lollies and cake etc” policy for children’s birthdays at school. We celebrate birthdays at St Mary’s by acknowledging each child and presenting them with a birthday certificate on their birthday, or as close as practicable to the day.

      We appreciate your cooperation in not sending nuts, or items containing nuts, or birthday cakes, or lollies to school with your child.

      At St Mary’s we promote healthy choices and to that end classes participate in “Fruit Break” between 9:30am and 10:00am. Students are encouraged to bring fruit, vegetables or water to have in the classroom.

  • Communication between School and Home
    • Newsletter

      Every second Wednesday, the school 'Newsletter' is sent home to you so that you will be able to keep in contact with what is happening at St Mary’s.

    • School Website

      There is a school website with current information, events, copies of policies, current excursions, letters and the Newsletter. Please go to www.stmarysrydalmere.catholic.edu.au

    • Skoolbag App

      Skoolbag is a push notification application that can be downloaded free from the iTunes store or the android app store. This app enables you to access the latest information about upcoming school events, read the Newsletter and send notes regarding absences.

    • School Twitter

      We have a school twitter account, #StMarysRydal. This enables you to access the latest information about upcoming events.

    • Reporting to Parents/ Contacting Teachers

      An open line of communication is essential if a school is to reinforce values that are being taught at home. The school provides a number of structured means of reporting to parents:

      Term 1 - Parent Information Night/Interviews
      Term 2 - Written Report and Parent/Teacher Interviews (3WI)
      Term 4 - Written Final Report and Parent/Teacher Interview on request

      Teachers are available to talk to parents regarding their child. The usual process is to make an appointment through the school Secretary for a mutually convenient time. It is important that parents do not try to discuss their child’s learning while teachers are teaching or on the way to class or on playground duty, as the teacher has responsibility for all children in his/her care.

    • Parish Bulletin

      This is published each Saturday and can be collected from the Church at each of the weekend Masses.

    • Change of Address/ Contact Details

      It is most important that you notify the school office during the year of any changes to address, telephone number, home and/or business, and contact person. We need to be able contact parents when children are sick or hurt, therefore it is essential that all contact details are current. Change of address/contact details can also be notified by using the Skoolbag app.

  • Policies
    • Enrolment Policy and Procedures

      Enrolment of children into our school is an important step for both parents and our parish. It is hoped that this policy outlines the guiding principles on which decisions are made and practices are based.

      Enrolment is seen as a process commenced when a parent(s) requests and then returns completed enrolment forms. An interview is then set up with the Parish Priest, the Principal, the parents and the prospective student. This is seen as a crucial part of the relationship-building process and, where possible, both parents are asked to attend.

      After all of the interviews have taken place the enrolment committee meets to assess the school’s ability to offer positions to the applicants. The enrolment criteria from the document Enrolment Procedures In Parramatta Catholic Schools are applied.

      The documents, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Enrolment Procedures will be made available to all members of the parish and school community upon request.

      St Mary’s will endeavour, whenever possible, to provide opportunities for evangelisation. However, when the number of places available at our school is exceeded by the demand for placement, the priority for enrolment is given in the following order:

      1. Catholic children from local parishes and siblings of current students
      2. Children who are from families that are poor, marginalised and in most need
      3. Children from non-Catholic families.

      Please note: In the implementation of the above criteria, respect for pastoral concern and the individual children’s needs may require some provision for flexibility to be exercised. Where exceptions to the above criteria are proposed the Principal, the pastor and the delegate of the Executive Director must meet to make a determination.

      When St Mary’s accepts enrolment of a child, it is normal practice that continuity of enrolment is provided for the child for all year levels provided by the school.

      Children whose fifth birthday occurs on or before July 31 will be eligible for enrolment in Kindergarten that year. School readiness should be a significant factor for parents and the enrolment committee in determining enrolment.

      When considering enrolment of students with additional needs, significant consultation must occur between the Principal, the parents of the student, the pastor, relevant school staff and outside agencies, personnel from the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Student Services Team Leader, and the Director of System Performance.

      The individual educational needs of the student, as well as the capacity of the school to meet these needs effectively, will be carefully considered. This process must be consistent with the legal principles central to the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act, 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education, 2005.

    • Student Management

      Our school stance on discipline can be found in our St Mary’s Positive Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy.  As members of the Catholic community at St Mary’s, we believe that discipline is an ongoing process that nurtures the total development of the child. It cannot be a separate entity and is an interchange of values between home and school. With this in mind, we aim to develop strong supportive relationships between teacher, parent and child.

      At the beginning of each school year, every class looks at the rights and responsibilities of the members of the school community using our school motto- Care Always Respect Everyone.

      Our Positive Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy is written around our school rule of C.A.R.E.

      • Care and Respect Myself
      • Care and Respect Others
      • Care and Respect Property

      We have a mascot, Captain Care, who brings to life our school motto – CARE. Captain Care is a reminder of how we should all “care and respect” the people in our school community. Captain Care reminds us of three important messages about how we should treat others and discourage bullying.

      1. Captain care says, “SHARE, CARE AND BE FAIR”
      2. Be cool and follow the rules of the school
      3. Care always, respect everyone

      Captain Care helps us remember the need to “Care and Respect Everyone” and say NO to BULLYING.

      Classroom Expectations
      Each class teacher negotiates a set of positive class rules with the students. A process of teaching these rules will be followed from the beginning of Term 1 by all class teachers.

      The rules are prominently displayed and regularly communicated to the students.  A copy of the rules is given to the parents at the Information Session in Term One.

      Each teacher follows the six point management plan:

      1. Reminder of the Rule (Warning)
      2. Time out in the classroom
      3. Removal from the classroom (time out in another room or office). Student completes a 4W  reflection form
      4. Removal from the classroom to the office (inform parents)
      5. Child sent home where behaviour is extreme
      6. Begin each day as a new start

      Playground Expectations
      On the playground, students are expected to follow the school rules which ensure all students are safe.

      In the instance of misbehaviour, students will be given a warning and a reminder of the rule they are breaking, and this will be followed by time out (5 – 10 mins) if the behaviour has not ceased.

      Students who display unacceptable behaviour that does not cease after the above process, or display physical/verbal abuse to peers/teachers are removed from the situation. They are given a Behaviour Note. This note is taken home and returned the next day with their parents’ signature. The student is withdrawn from the playground and completes a 4W sheet with a member of the Leadership Team.

      Commendation of Positive Behaviour
      At St Mary’s, we recognise and affirm children for their efforts and achievements in academics, school spirit, Christian attitude and behaviour. Our reward systems have been established to support our teaching and learning, which assists children to become responsible for their own actions.

      Throughout the day, many opportunities arise for recognising a child’s efforts in the classroom or on the playground.

      Within each classroom, teachers are encouraged to have in place their own individual positive behaviour reward system. This system will be related to the needs of their class.

      Care and Principal’s Awards are presented to children at each assembly. Gold, Silver and Bronze awards are also presented to students.

      Children who display good citizenship on the playground receive a wristband and may accumulate these to earn a Bronze Certificate (3 bands), a Silver Ribbon (+3 bands) and a Gold Medal (+3 bands).

      Complementing this program is our House Reward System.  This is based on the four houses at St Mary’s - Tarrant, Mackillop, McCaffery and Mackinnon.

      Students earn points for their houses by:

      • Displaying good citizenship in the classroom
      • Following school rules in the classroom and playground
      • Moving safely throughout the school
      • Working well in the classroom
      • Doing their best during music, drama and sport
      • Showing initiative in CARING

      Every Friday, the House Captains collect the points and determine which house has won for the week.  The winning house has their flag hung over the assembly balcony for the week.

      In Week 5 and Week 10, all points will be added and the house with the most points will be rewarded with a Mufti Day.

      For a complete copy of our St Mary’s Positive Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy, please access our school website or ask at the school office.

    • Serious Incident and Procedural Fairness Policy

      The principles on which we base our behaviour management practices at St Mary’s school demonstrate procedural fairness.  We believe that procedural fairness is a basic right of all children when dealing with school authorities.  We apply the ‘hearing rule’ and the ‘right to an unbiased decision’.

      When it is necessary to investigate a serious incident or serious disciplinary situation, the following will be implemented:

      • A member of the leadership team (Coordinator/Assistant Principal) will investigate the situation, then report findings to the Principal both orally and in written form.
      • Students involved are also entitled to be heard by the Principal and have the right to an unbiased decision.
      • After considering (a) and (b) above, the Principal will then decide on an equitable course of action e.g. time out away from class or a behavioural contract which will be written and signed by the Principal, teacher, parent and student.
      • At all times, the Catholic Education Office Parramatta Diocesan Policy “Suspension, negotiated transfer and exclusion of students in Catholic Systemic Schools” will be followed.
      • This Serious Incident Policy also forms part of the St Mary’s Positive Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy and is also contained in the Parent Handbook.

      The following principles of procedural fairness underpin the Serious Incident procedure to ensure all incidents are addressed appropriately:

      • All situations will be investigated in a fair and impartial manner
      • Confidentiality will be observed
      • The procedure will be conducted in a manner that is respectful of all parties
      • All situations will be addressed in a timely manner

      The complete policy can be obtained from the school office or the school website.

    • Homework Policy

      There has been extensive research into the value of homework. There is little consensus in the literature as to whether homework raises student achievement. “Most researchers conclude that for primary students, there is no evidence that homework lifts academic performance.” (NSW Dept. of Education and Communities Homework Policy 2012).

      At St Mary’s we support the current research that indicates that homework needs to be relevant to each child’s learning. We also believe that due to the changing nature of society we must respond with greater flexibility by recognising the stresses placed upon families today.

      With this in mind, homework will be comprised of daily reading, sounds, sight words, spelling revision, (words will be provided by the teacher) and number facts practice.

      Homework will be comprised of:

      • Daily reading - read to and read with your child, discuss the events, character’s actions, the setting. Encourage your child to read independently - both for pleasure and information. Teachers will be monitoring home reading.

      • Spelling - learn sounds, sight or spelling words each night, look, cover, write, check, make words letters / words using play dough, write on a variety of surfaces e.g. chalkboard, crossword puzzles, find a words.

      • Investigations to complement class learning will be set by the teacher as required.

      • Separate homework will be sent home for students undergoing the Reading Recovery and EMU programs.

      Suggested activities parents can do with their children:

      • Oral language development - vocabulary discussions, conversation skills, story telling, asking and answering questions, newspapers (can be accessed online or in hard copy format), making up rhymes and limericks.

      • Written English development - write a story, write lists, write emails, notes.

      • Playing board games - e.g. boggle, scrabble, Pictionary, hangman, Cranium, Upwords, jigsaw puzzles, number puzzles e.g. Sudoku, Guess Who? and Guess Where?

      • Mathematics - practise number facts e.g. addition and subtraction, friends of 10, times tables, skip counting by 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s, 6’s, 7’s, 8’s, 9’s, 10’s (on and off the decade), counting forwards and counting backwards, doubles.

      • Playing board and card games e.g. Uno, Snakes and Ladders, Bingo, Yahtzee, fish, memory, concentration.

      • Maths conversations linked to: shopping - discuss money and addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; measurement - discuss litres, millilitres, grams, kilograms, centimetres, metres, millimetres; time - both analog and digital through travel, cooking, shopping, home renovations, sport.

      • Learning and saying formal and informal prayers, reading the Parish bulletin together, discussing current events and those who may need our prayers.

      • Suggested online learning sites:
        • Khan Academy
        • Storybird
        • Spellingcity
        • Zoowhizz
      • Learning experiences such as visits to the Powerhouse Museum, Art gallery, the Zoo and similar family venues.
    • Home Reading

      Adding ten minutes of reading time dramatically changes levels of print exposure.’

      Cunningham and Stanovich (1998) isolated the benefits of reading experience from the effects of other factors. They found that, even among students with lower general intelligence and weaker reading skills, extensive reading was linked to superior performance on measures of general knowledge, vocabulary, spelling, verbal fluency, and reading comprehension.

      At St Mary’s we believe that developing literacy skills is essential to a child’s development as an independent and confident learner. We ask that each child read with an adult and/or be read to every night. This should be a positive experience. If the reading material is too hard, please see your child’s teacher.

      In Kindergarten, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 (where needed) guided readers and home readers will be sent home for this purpose. In Years 4, 5 & 6 novels form the basis of the reading program. All students are encouraged to borrow library books.

      Children will often bring the same book home more than once. This is in order to develop fluency and confidence. As skilled adult readers we read in blocks of words or phrases. This aids our ability to take meaning from what we read. Children need to have opportunities to do the same. Reading texts one word at a time discourages children from expecting reading to have meaning or ‘make sense’. Please support us in this process by discussing what the story is about and praising your child as they read.

    • Incursion and Excursion Policy

      At St Mary’s, we believe incursions and excursions form a valuable part of children’s learning. Therefore, all children are encouraged to take part in incursions and excursions.  In cases of genuine financial hardship, parents are encouraged to discuss this problem with the Principal so that arrangements can be made.

      Children on any excursions are always strictly supervised by either teachers or parents who have been requested by the teachers to help. It is essential that parents have completed the Child Protection Course and complete the appropriate paperwork before they are allowed to help on an excursion.  It is essential that permission slips and payment are returned to school by the due date.

      Overnight Excursions
      Years 5 and 6 go on one overnight excursion each year. Notes and permission slips are sent home explaining in detail the purpose and costs of these excursions.

  • Uniform & Grooming
    • School Uniform

      The wearing of the correct St Mary’s school uniform demonstrates a pride in personal appearance, and in our school. We ask for your support and co-operation in ensuring that your child wears the correct uniform at all times. All uniform items are available from Lowes, Carlingford or can be ordered on-line from Lowes.

        Summer Uniform Winter Uniform
      Girls’ Uniform

      Uniform dress

      Navy school jumper or jacket

      Black leather school shoes

      White fold down ankle socks

      Navy blue, lemon or school plaid scrunchies, hair ribbons, clips and headbands  

      Uniform tunic

      Lemon peter pan collared long sleeved blouse

      Navy school jumper or jacket

      Navy blue tights or white fold down ankle socks

      Black leather school shoes

      Navy blue, lemon or school plaid scrunchies, hair ribbons, clips and headbands

      Boys’ Uniform

      Short-sleeved, open necked blue shirt (cloth school badge on pocket)

      Navy blue school shorts

      Navy school jumper or jacket

      Navy fold down school socks

      Black leather school shoes

      Long navy trousers

      Long-sleeved blue shirt

      School tie

      Navy school jumper or jacket

      Navy fold down school socks

      Black leather school shoes

      Unisex Sports Uniform*

      School short-sleeved navy polo top

      School navy blue sport shorts

      White fold down sport socks (no anklets or sockettes)

      Predominantly white sports shoes with white laces (ie no black or coloured sport shoes)

      In winter, the sports uniform may include navy tracksuit pants, a long sleeved navy skivvy (to be worn under the school short sleeved navy polo top) and a navy school jumper or jacket.

      Students in Year 6 are able to purchase a special Year 6 t-shirt with the students' names printed on the back.

    • Hair Policy

      For boys, 0 or number 1 hair cuts, rat’s tails, mullets etc, hair gel and hair colouring are not acceptable. Hair length for boys must be above their collars. Girls are to wear their hair tied back in a pony tail or plait and no hair colourings or streaks are permitted.

    • Makeup and Nail Polish

      Make up and nail polish are not to be worn.

    • School Hats

      At St Mary’s, there is a strict “NO HAT NO PLAY” rule. Please ensure that your child always wears their hat to school, with their name clearly marked on the inside. The hat is a unisex navy blue slouch style with a cord and toggle. The school logo is screen-printed on the front. No other hats are to be worn.

    • Jewellery

      Children are allowed to wear a watch. Gold or silver sleepers or small plain gold or silver studs are the only earrings to be worn. No other jewellery is permitted.

    • School Bags

      School bags with the school’s logo in the St Mary’s colours are available at Lowes.

    • Pre-Loved Clothing Pool

      The Pre-Loved Clothing Pool is open every Friday during the term from 8:30 – 9:30am. We sell a large range of good quality second-hand uniforms.

      Some families find it difficult to get to the Pre-Loved Clothing Pool during opening hours. If this applies to you, you may place your order in writing, leaving a contact phone number at the office. Your order will then be processed.

    • Lost Property

      There is a lost property bin located in the corridor behind the office.

      Please ensure that all of your child’s property is clearly labelled (tracksuit tops as well as bottoms). The chances of the lost item finding its way home are significantly increased if there is a name attached.

  • Transport
    • Car Parking Safety

      Off street parking is available in the Hotel parking area opposite the school. Please do not risk the safety of children by double parking. There is a “Kiss and Drop”/“Pick-up & Kiss” area available adjacent to the school playground in Myrtle Street. Parents cannot leave their car but may drop or collect from there. You are not allowed to queue in Pine Street as it is a “NO STOPPING” zone.

    • Bus Travel

      Free School Opal Cards are available to all children in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 irrespective of distance from home to school. However, for students in Years 3 to 6 to be eligible, they must reside more than 1.6 kilometres (radial distance) measured from the centre of school. Application forms for bus / train travel are available from the school office.

      If a student loses their School Opal Card, please contact transportnsw.info/school-students to organise a replacement.

      Children travelling by bus are expected to follow a code of behaviour that is sensible. Children who are consistently reported as flagrantly misbehaving will have their bus passes removed either temporarily or permanently. Parents are asked to instil in their children their expectations of behaviour to and from school.

    • Cycling - For Stage Three Children ONLY

      Children who cycle or ride scooters to school do so at their own risk. It is expected that children who, with parental consent, do cycle to school, have a good knowledge of the rules of the road and a very healthy respect of traffic. It is essential that children wear an approved safety helmet, and that parents or carers complete the permission form which can be downloaded from the school website or collected from the school office. Bicycles and scooters are to be stored in the bike racks provided.

    • Walking

      Children walking to school are expected to walk directly to school or home from school without stopping at shops, They are expected to display appropriate and safe behaviour. Children should remain on footpaths and not take short cuts through other people’s property. Children walking to or from school should be well aware of crossing at appropriate crossings and all aspects of danger in talking to strangers or accepting “lifts”. Parents are encouraged to regularly discuss safety with their children.

  • School Talk
    • Acronyms that are used at school

      Set out below is a list of some of the acronyms that are used at school.


      AP Assistant Principal
      REC Religious Education Coordinator
      RE Religious Education
      KLAs Key Learning Areas (ie school subjects)
      PBS Positive Behaviour Support (Student Management/Discipline)
      COLA Covered outdoor learning area
      Mufti Out of uniform day/ casual clothes day
      SDD Staff Development Day - same as Pupil Free Day (children do not attend school on this day)
      ICT Information Communication Technology (computer and digital media)
      P & F Parents and Friends
      PRC Parents Representative Council
      NAPLAN National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (Years 3 and 5)
      CEO Catholic Education Office Parramatta
      CEDP Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (same as CEO)
      EMU Extending Mathematical Understanding
      QCS Quality Catholic Schooling

  • Site Map

Parent Handbook

  • Parent Handbook information covering all the information you and your child will need.

    If you have any further questions in relation to school times, dates, policies or other general enquiries please feel free to contact St Mary’s Primary, Rydalmere by phone on (02) 9684 4044 during weekdays between 8:30am and 4:00pm.


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