Policies & Procedures

St Mary's Primary has a number of school-based policies and procedures that govern various aspects of our school life.

These provide the framework within which we operate. The Catholic Education Office, Parramatta Diocese also provides advice and recommendations on educational and administrative policies and priorities, and monitors policy implementation.

If you have any other questions concerning policies or procedures you can contact St Mary's Primary by phone on (02) 8844 5700 weekdays between 8:30am and 4:00pm or send us an email.

School-Based Policies

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Policies And Procedures

  Aboriginal Education Procedures

Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) is committed to enhancing the knowledge and understanding of all who work and learn in our schools about Aboriginal Australia. Implemented 2012 - Reviewed 2017.

  Catholic School Community Policy

The Catholic Church within the Diocese of Parramatta establishes schools as centres of faith and learning where students are enabled to develop personal ‘integration of faith and life’. Implemented 2012.

  Procedural Fairness Guidelines

These guidelines outline the process for responding to allegations requiring that issues be put to the respondent before a decision is made about a complaint. Implemented 2012.

  103701 Enrolment Procedures

This document outlines enrolment procedures that are followed in all Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta schools. Last updated 2017.

  103800 Enrolment Additional Needs Guidelines

All schools in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta aim to provide appropriate educational opportunities and support for students with additional needs. Last updated 2017.

  103900 Enrolment Guidelines

The Application for Enrolment, once accepted by parents and school principal is a contractual agreement within our commitment to integration of faith and life. These Guidelines apply to every enrolment in a CEDP school. Last updated 2017.

  Enrolment Policy

CEDP schools exist to provide quality Catholic schooling. This document outlines the enrolment policy for all schools in the Diocese of Parramatta. Implemented 2014.

  Child Protection Facilities Procedures

These procedures apply to inspection of a site or facility owned or managed by Catholic Education Diocese Parramatta (CEDP) or its schools as well as assessment of the physical environment for risk of harm to children and young people. Implemented 2013.

  Alumni Collection Notice 2018

The purpose of collecting alumni information is to enable us to keep alumni members informed about events and activities. This document outlines how you may access or correct your personal information and how to complain about a breach. Implemented 2018.

  Australian Privacy Principles

This document summaries the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) which establish standards for the collection and handling of 'personal information'. Implemented 2014.

  Employment Collection Notice 2018

This document outlines how your privacy is managed when applying for employment and how you can access and seek correction of your personal information.

  Schools Privacy Compliance Manual NSW 2018

The Privacy Manual contains detailed information and examples about implementation of the Australian Privacy Principles. For the most up-to-date version of the Manual always check CEC's website (www.cecnsw.catholic.edu.au).

  Standard Collection Notice 2018

This document outlines the sort of personal or sensitive information collected within Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, how it is used and how your privacy is managed.

  AntiBullying Procedures

The Anti-Bullying Procedures provide a framework for school communities to work together to prevent and address issues of student bullying. Implemented 2017.

  Banned Substances Procedure

This procedure covers the possession and use of alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs or other substances, and the misuse of 'over the counter' and prescribed medications, including the supply of restricted substances on school premises. Implemented 2017.

  Policy Procedures and Resources for Matters Involving Students and Illegal Substances

All students in the Diocese of Parramatta have the right to attend a school which is free of illegal substances. Implemented 1999 and currently under review.

  Student Attendance Completion Special Circumstances Guidelines

A child between the age of 6 and 17 may leave school only after they have completed Year 10 of secondary education or where special circumstance have been approved by the Minister for Education and Training. Implemented 2011.

  Student attendance procedures

School attendance plays a critical role in enhancing the lives of students in schools. Every day of attendance adds to a student's academic achievement and success at school. Implemented 2017.

  Student exemption procedures

These procedures outline the conditions upon which a child may be exempt from being enrolled at and attending school. Implemented 2017.

  Student Policy

This policy outlines the commitment of Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) to provide a comprehensive education to the diverse range of children and young people for the development of the whole person. Implemented 2012.

  Weapons Procedures

The Weapons Procedure aims to prevent prohibited weapons from being present on the school site to minimise risk to staff and students. Implemented 2017. Amended 2018.