It has been wonderful to catch up on all the news from the students and families as we begin the new school year. It certainly has been a bit of a bumpy start with the devastating bushfires around our country as well as the Coronavirus. We will continue to keep the community updated. We are currently in the process of organising a new date for our Welcome BBQ when we can all come together.

It is always a special time of the year watching our new Foundation students begin their school journey. There were more smiles than tears as they strode into their classrooms with confidence.

Along with our new students we had six new staff begin: Emily Bolin, Brooke Roberts, Peta MacGregor, Garin Sandler, Claudia Bellwood and Shae Glass. We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of our new students and staff on behalf of our community.

Our staff at Mckinnon have had everything ready to go for their students, as a result, classes have been engaged in their learning from the moment students have arrived. It has been a team effort from the office to the classrooms with everything running smoothly due to the preparation of everyone throughout the whole school. A very smooth start, even with the bumps!


On Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st January, the entire McKinnon PS staff participated in two very valuable professional learning days. On Tuesday, our whole staff (around 64) gathered for the very first ‘Circle Time’ of the year. This was not only a wonderful way to reunite and gather again after the break but reminded us all of the importance and power of using Circle Time in the classroom on a daily basis to build connections. This led to further discussions about the importance of our role in building groups and social opportunities for our students. During the curriculum day on Wednesday, McKinnon teaching and education support staff participated in a professional learning seminar on contemporary approaches to teaching and learning spelling. The presenter was Dr Tessa Daffern from Wollongong University. She reported on her recent research on the contribution of spelling to students’ writing confidence and success. Staff consolidated their knowledge of the importance of focusing on all of the elements of effective spelling: phonology (the sound-symbol correspondence), orthography (spelling pattern, rules and generalisations) and morphology (the components and etymology of words). Staff also appreciated the opportunity to analyse student writing samples and experiment with different teaching strategies and games.

This seminar is the first step in a school-wide review and refinement of our approach to teaching spelling with the continued support of Dr Daffern as a critical friend.


Next week we are holding Year level and Specialist Information Nights. This is an opportunity for parents to come along and hear from the parents about the learning program this year. Please find timetable below.

Date Time Team Location
Monday 10th February     5.45pm Year 6 Learning Centre
6.45pm Year 4 Staffroom
6.45pm Year 5 Learning Centre
Tuesday 11th February     5:45pm Year 2 Learning Centre
5:45pm Year 1 Staffroom
6:45pm Foundation Learning Centre
6:45pm Year 3 Staffroom
Wednesday 12th February 6:00pm Specialist Team Learning Centre



Our Information Nights are aimed at parents and teachers working together to meet the needs of our kids. The students, on the other hand, have been developing their learning community as they begin to build relationships in their new group. All year levels have been engaged in a school-wide mini-unit called Building a Learning Community, using the Central Idea of ‘A supportive learning community helps us take risks with our learning and achieve our personal best’ using the key concepts of function- How does it work? and responsibility- What is our responsibility? This helps the students explore what a learning community feels like and how it best works to meet the needs of all learners and has led to reflections on all learner profile attributes and PYP attitudes. Each homegroup has developed its class essential agreement, which will govern how they treat each other throughout the year. Part of this unit also sees students taking responsibility for their own learning and setting goals for themselves which they will share with you at the upcoming three-way conferences. Three-way conferences are scheduled to be held on Tuesday 18th February.


The Victorian Government provides assistance for Camps, Sports and Excursions. If you have a Concession Card you may be eligible to receive $125.00 per annum for each primary school student through the CSEF (Camps, Sports and Excursion Fund).

Application forms are available online https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/Pages/csef.aspx?&Redirect=1 through the Department of Education and Training website or from the school office. We need a copy of your concession card. The requirement for parents to complete and submit a new application form each year has been removed from 2018. Parents that received CSEF at school in 2019 do not need to complete an application form in 2020, providing there has been no change in your family circumstance. The school will be in contact if we have any difficulty with rolling your application over.


Please be aware there is no supervision in our yard until 8:45am or after 3:45pm. Please make arrangements with Team Kids if you need to drop your child off before or after this time. Their number is 1300 035 000. Please ensure you have organised appropriate supervision for your child. If children are repeatedly early or aren’t picked up by 3:45pm they will be enrolled at Camp Australia and costs will apply to families.


Personal property is often brought to school by students, staff and visitors. This can include mobile phones, calculators, toys, sporting equipment and cars parked on school premises. Please note that the Department of Education and Training does not hold insurance for personal property brought to schools and it has no capacity to pay for any loss or damage to such property.


As outlined by the Department of Education and Training parents and guardians are responsible for paying the cost of medical treatment for injured students, including any transport costs. If you wish for your child to be insured for accidents at school, student accident insurance policies are available from some commercial insurers.


A reminder that we will conduct our whole school assembly on the final Monday of each month. Our first whole school assembly will take place on Wednesday 26th February 2:45pm-3:30pm. All whole school assemblies take place in our gymnasium. We are planning a special assembly for the presentation of the SRC and Year Six Leadership badges and will notify the community when confirmed.


Thanks to those parents who have made payments towards their school fees. If you are yet to submit your payment plans, please do so ASAP as this supports the school in the budget provision and to plan appropriately for your child’s participatory program. We have a wonderful learning environment at McKinnon PS and for us to continue to provide the highest quality learning experience we rely upon parent contributions and fundraising. Much of the operational costs including the provision of computers (including laptops), high-quality school resources, extra sports equipment, library/ICT support and equipment, quality art and science supplies and maintenance.  The provision of new curriculum initiatives are supported solely from local fundraising, including parent payments.


On days when it is extremely hot, the children will remain in classrooms and be supervised as they are on wet days.


If students are late to school, you need to bring them into the office and sign them in using the Compass Kiosk. Students are not allowed to sign themselves into the school, they must be accompanied by a guardian. The student takes a red late pass tag from the office and hands it to the teacher, this shows they have signed in at the office.

Rolls are marked promptly at 9am by teachers, so even if you are only a couple of minutes late you need to follow this procedure.

Text messages are sent out at 9:30am to all families with students marked absent.


Please update Compass as soon as you know your child will be absent. This stops you receiving the absence text message. If you have received a text message, please log into Compass to update the reason for the absence.


If you need to pick your child up early from school, please let the teacher know what time they will need to be at the office for collection. When it is time for them to leave the classroom, the teacher will send your child to the office with two buddies who will then return to class. You will then need to sign your child out of school using the Compass Kiosk.

Due to the size of the school and the variety of activities, it can become very difficult to track down a child at the last minute (particularly at break time or the end of the day). Office staff can go and collect your child if there is an unforeseen early pickup, but prior notice is appreciated to minimise interruptions and unexpected delays.

Parents of Year Three students also need to come to the office to sign a child out using the Compass Kiosk and to check with the office staff that the child is not on the main site with a specialist class. The office staff can then notify the teacher across the road that the parent is coming over to collect their child and they have been signed out.


Simone, Ben and Suzanne