Irymple Primary School

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New Notes

Latest Newsletter - T4 Week 6

Foundation Prep Orientation Session

The first Prep (Foundation) orientation session was held on Tuesday 10th November with the second session occurring this coming week. Our Orientation sessions are a little different this year due to Covid 19 as we are only allowed 10 children at one time. Many of the children have older siblings at the school and will find school to be a familiar environment. It is vital that if anyone is yet to complete their enrolment form that it is done as soon as possible.

Return to school after sickness

The same rules apply in schools as Pre-schools and Kindergartens as to the exclusion time after a vomiting or diarrhoea event. The child must not return to school for a period of at least 24 hours - timed from the last event. Over the past few weeks we have had many children absent from school with temperatures, sore throats and a general feeling of being unwell. Without adhering to the exclusion period infections will continue to be spread throughout the school community.

Students leaving the school

If any families know that they will be transferring with work or relocating for other reasons it is important that we are notified as soon as possible. We can only employ staff based on firm numbers and we are in the process of finalising staffing for 2021. Please phone the school and advise us if this applies to you.

Phone Calls to School

Parents ring the school to speak to a staff member and myself over many important matters. Brief inquiries in person or a phone call to make a time to meet is absolutely welcomed at any time.

It is not acceptable however for any parent to ring a staff member prior to school or after school with the intent to accuse, deliberately intimidate through a raised voice, criticize staff and make threats towards other people’s children.

This is often caused by a quick response to one version of an issue or situation that may appear simple, but may have many aspects to it. The facts then get clouded by the immediate feelings that are evoked. Considerate and respectful parents however, make a time to meet and engage in respectful conversations with staff and stand as models for their children (who are often listening to the phone call). Children learn desired and acceptable social behaviour from their parents.

Like all schools we will always take the time to research and speak with children if an issue is raised that we are unaware of. Sometimes this can be a quick process and other times it takes a little longer, due to student and staff availability. We have over the time at this school experienced respectful and wonderful support from the majority of our parents.

We encourage and celebrate ‘High Expectation Relationships’ for all students, staff and parents at our school.

Social Media Etiquette (rules) for All Ages

The same rules of decency and etiquette apply online as in the ‘real world’ about how to treat other people. Unfortunately, people of all ages do not always treat each other well online, and you may find at any time that you have unwittingly become the target of cyber-bullying or a personal attack, based on loosely related facts or fiction. People of all ages can have rumours spread about them online, receive nasty messages or even threats. It can happen any hour of the day, from people they know, and sometimes people they don’t know. It can leave the strongest of human beings feeling unsafe and alone. All adults should be in a position to prevent events that may cause harm. The inappropriate use of social media, is never OK. The Police now have strong powers to address issues that involve adults and children in matters that may relate to false or defamatory information being posted on-line to target a person or organisation such as a school.

Addressing Inappropriate Use of Facebook

As Principal of Irymple Primary School, it is my role to ensure the safety, security, health and wellbeing of all of our staff and students. I am committed to ensuring that everyone is treated with respect, fairness and dignity. I expect all employees, students, parents and people within the school community to act accordingly. This approach is supported by Department of Education and Training policy. The Department’s Dignity and Respect Statement confirms that unacceptable behaviour, harassment and threats will not be tolerated in Victorian Government schools. A copy of this policy can be found on the Department’s website www.education.vic.edu.au

This approach is also clearly communicated in our school policies which see inappropriate use of social media as being contrary to our school values of “Pride, Respect, Safety and Learning.”

Any incident where a student or staff member from our school is subjected to unreasonable and disrespectful comments will be dealt with immediately and in accordance with DET Policy and according to State and Federal Laws. As such, unreasonable and disrespectful behaviour cannot be tolerated for the following reasons:

  • It is contrary to Department and School Policies.

  • It is contrary to the terms and conditions of Facebook.

  • It may also amount to a criminal offence under State and/or Federal law.

This may include the following:

  • Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence (Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth))

  • Stalking (Crimes Act 1958 (Vic))

  • Using an on-line information service to publish or transmit objectionable material (Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games)

(Enforcement) Act 1995 (Vic))

It may be grounds for other legal action such as defamation proceedings.

Schools have an obligation to report all such incidences to the Department of Education.

We always encourage parents to contact the school to discuss any matters that relate to children’s education, safety, health and wellbeing.

However, this should be done by contacting the school and arranging a meeting with the appropriate staff at a mutually convenient time and place. This works very well for most of our parents and carers.

Sadly, over the past week Facebook has been used by a very small number of our parents and grandparents (who perhaps if they’d had their few minutes again may have opted not to make the same comments) to make false and defamatory claims and assumptions that are entirely ill-informed and based on emotion rather than fact. We have protocols in place to allow all parents/carers and grandparents the greatest access to staff if they have any concerns at all and at any convenient time. As a staff we pride ourselves on upholding the highest of standards. Such were the comments this past week that not one person sought to speak to any staff member to question or clarify any incident of any nature mentioned in the posts. An incident that was completely unknown to the school at the time, led to a flurry of comments that sought to vilify and defame the school and staff members at our school.

So often there are protracted and in-depth conversations and ongoing work with families, other students, our Primary Welfare Officer and paraprofessionals when children are having difficulties. In the past our parents have trusted us to take the right amount of time to investigate every incident with honesty and integrity.

We know that most parents give us the utmost support as we teach and support their children over time. We are all dedicated to our careers and we devote all our time at school and often many hours outside of school, to make this the best experience possible for all children no matter what their background.

SNAPCHAT and other messaging APPS being used by senior students

Over the past two weeks there has been a large number of incidences that have emanated from online comments made in family homes at weekends or in the evenings. Over ‘Remote Learning’ an Irymple Primary School Group was formed by students. It is intended for adolescents over the age of 13 and is not ideal for younger children.

Some of our students have unfortunately moved into making comments of a derogatory nature (name calling), sexualised comments, put downs and threats of harm to others.

The result has been phone calls from parents to the school to assist with sorting out issues. For a period of time I was happy to assist, but the sheer number of incidences has become such that I will be putting it back to the parents to discuss and resolve these home emanating issues themselves. The time taken to investigate such issues is untenable (many hours of work). The children are almost in a frenzy each day to get home and find out who has made what comments to whom. It is causing huge distress to many girls and boys.

Primary age children do not have the cognitive capabilities to cope with the hundreds of back and forth comments coming in from other students every day. Thankfully many parents have now assisted their children to delete such Apps and we would very much support this in the interest of their safety and well-being. Students have reported that the type of comments being made, made them feel very uncomfortable.

Perhaps the increased time online has resulted from the two Remote Learning periods where the students have had greater access to electronic devices. We acknowledge that some of that time was necessary for learning. For some students however, online time has continued for many hours each day and developed into an unhealthy habit. Home time, should be for enjoying the time with their families to engage in fun, chores, conversations, exercise and relaxation.

If anyone has any questions regarding any issue raised in this Newsletter with regard to Phone Calls, Facebook or Messaging/Chatting Apps please do not hesitate to contact me at school. If you would like any assistance on how to restrict the use of devices Mr. Thompson our Information Technology Teacher and Technician may be able to assist you.

Best Wishes

Our heartfelt best wishes are sent to our much-loved student in Room 13, Jesse McGlashan. Jesse is currently undergoing medical treatment in the Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. We send our love and best wishes to the whole family. His friends and classmates miss him very much and have prepared some great surprises for Jessie when his health improves.