Dear Parents & Carers
We are almost at the end of HSC exams, with the last one at O’Connor being Design and Technology on Tuesday 7th November. Although the exams have been challenging, the students have been studying hard and doing their best. Please keep these students in your prayers.
One of the issues that causes concern for parents, teachers, students and the whole school community is bullying. It is an ongoing issue in schools and one if not dealt with can cause ongoing issues for everyone concerned. There is strong evidence to suggest that through a strong holistic school and community approach that bullying can be effectively addressed.
A recent literature review conducted by Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation addressed this topic in a publication called Anti-bullying interventions in school - what works? A link to the article is included here for people who might like to read this:
https://www.cese.nsw.gov.au/publications-filter/anti-bullying-interventions-in-schools-what-works. This publication had a number of ways schools can work to address the issue of bullying. It also has some good ways for students to help build a culture where bullying is not accepted. One of the key ideas to come from the research is a caution against using labels such as ‘bully’ or ‘victim’. This is because of the effects of negative labelling and that it focusses too much on the individual and not on the behaviours.
In the publication it also emphasised fours key strategies that are particularly important in a whole school approach:
1. establishing school-wide anti-bullying policies;
2. focussing on preventing bullying in key environments;
3. promoting a culture of reporting bullying;
4. partnering with parents and carers.
At O’Connor, we take bullying very seriously and investigate all cases reported. I have included our bullying policy with this newsletter for your benefit. We have a clear process for investigating and reporting incidents.
Both our policy and the publication note how the role of the bystander is crucial in preventing or stopping bullying. On Monday I spoke to all students about being an ‘upstander’. Many times, instead of intervening when bullying is occurring, students often reinforce the bullying behaviour by doing nothing. ‘The term ‘upstander’ is used to describe active bystanders who behave in ways to reduce or prevent bullying’ (CESE 2017). Our Pastoral Academic Care program aims to build student’s sense of self, building their resilience and character to stand up for what they know is right. The student diaries have valuable information to help students and parents.
I would like to highlight two important upcoming events for parents and carers:
Wednesday 8th November 5.30pm
School Advisory Council training and AGM
On this night, we will be holding our AGM for the 2018/2019 School Advisory Council, commencing at 5:30pm. Mrs Catherine Ible, (Project Officer – School Advisory Bodies) from the Catholic Schools Office, will firstly present a training session which is open to all those parents who wish to nominate for a position or simply for anyone who may be interested in learning how the Council operates. This will then be followed by the AGM at 6:30pm. Please come along, you do not have to nominate for a position to attend the training.
Wednesday 15th November 6 pm
Annual Improvement Plan Reflection and Feedback
In the last newsletter, I outlined our reflection and evaluation process for our Annual Improvement Plan for 2017 and our work on the Annual Improvement Plan 2018. Parent and Carers voice is very important in decision making. I would like to invite you to an Information Evening about the College’s Annual Improvement Plan (A.I.P) on Wednesday 15th November 2017. This evening will be an opportunity for parents to reflect on the current A.I.P and to provide input into 2018. A copy of the 2017 plan can be found at
The evening will be from 6pm to 7pm.
It would be great to see many of you on these days. Could you please RSVP to Mrs Gemma Creagan (email@example.com) if you will be attending either of these events.
What new learning will you undertake this week?
St Ursula's Visit
The trip to St Ursula’s, Kingsgrove with Mr Chapman, myself and a group of Year 11 students to celebrate St Ursula’s Feast Day proved to be very successful. We thank St Ursula's for their hospitality and we look forward to their next visit to O'Connor.