A – Z

Absences: If your child is unwell the best place for them is at home. There are also some infectious diseases that have their own exclusion times (please check with our First Aid officer). All absences must be approved by the parent on Compass (See under ‘Compass’ later in this document).  All absences are closely monitored by Education Department data collection.

Active to School Program: The Active to School program promotes and supports healthy and safe travel options for the students of Great Ryrie PS. We encourage students and their families to exercise their bodies to get to and from school i.e. scooting, walking or cycling.

Ambulance Calls: In the event of a potentially serious injury or illness, school staff have the authority to immediately call an ambulance.  If the situation and time permits, parents will be contacted, however, should an ambulance be called by the school the parent/guardian is liable for cost. It is recommended that all students have personal accident insurance and ambulance cover as this is not provided through the department or the school.

Anaphylaxis: We have many students who suffer from Anaphylaxis and therefore request that parents do not send ‘nut’ products to school for snacks, lunches or birthday treats. Staff have been educated and trained in the use of an EpiPen or similar device, if a situation arises. Should your child suffer from anaphylaxis, ensure that the school is advised and that your child is aware of the steps they need to take to protect themselves while at school. You are required to provide the school with an auto-injecting device (EpiPen) and the accompanying information.  Great Ryrie encourages a ‘Nut Free’ school.

Assemblies: Assemblies are held at 9am on most Mondays in the quadrangle (weather permitting). School Captains take the assemblies and they include Level reports, Student of the Week awards given for students who have achieved in class and at Specialist programs, as well as notices from staff and house points. All students sit with their class and parents are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

Asthma Friendly School: We became accredited as an Asthma Friendly School in 2007. To achieve this status we have been recognised as a school that provides our community with a better understanding of asthma, high standards in the care of students with asthma and the education of staff.

Athletics: In Term 2 of each year the Physical Education program has an athletics focus. Years 3-6 have a House Athletics day where the winners are chosen to be part of our Interschool team. This team competes at various levels, depending on their success, such as Zone, Region or State.

Aussie of the Month: Once a month ‘Aussie of the Month’ assemblies are held in the Sports and Performance Centre. These assemblies are run by the students of the Junior School Council. Advance Australia Fair is performed by the school band. A guest presenter is invited along to acknowledge the work done by a student chosen from across the school as the ‘Aussie of the Month’ who is presented with a perpetual trophy, a badge and a certificate.

Before and After School Care Program: Qualified staff are employed by Camp Australia who run this program in the Brian Allen Hall. The times are –

Before School Care: 7.00am – 8.45am

After School Care:     3.30pm – 6.15pm

To contact Out of School Hours Care Program supervisors please telephone them direct. All students must be booked into the program and have completed a registration form.

Buddies: Foundation students are matched with a buddy from Years 5&6. Buddy activities help develop positive relationships between students and support Foundation students in their learning. Activities occur on a regular basis when suitable to both levels. Foundation parents will be introduced to their child’s Years 5&6 buddy.

Camp/Tour Program: Camps are held every 2 years on even numbered years. Years 3&4 and Years 5&6 attend camp. Staff and parents supervise students and First Aid trained staff are present as well. Parents must complete vital medical information sheets before students can attend.  2016 is a camp year.

Canteen: The school canteen is operated by Canteen Management Systems who offer nutritious food for students’ lunches.  A canteen price list is sent home to every family.  Please send correct money in a paper bag with the students’ name, grade and order written on the outside of the bag.  The order is placed in the classroom based lunch bag. The canteen is also open at recess and lunch time for students to make purchases.  There is a limit of $2 per child for over the counter sales (excluding drinks).

Car Parking: Parents are asked to encourage their children to walk to school, even if this means dropping them off a block or two away. All drivers are required to adhere to parking and traffic regulations around the school precinct.  Parents are permitted to use the staff car park in order to drop off or pick up children at set times.  This is a matter of student safety!  No child should walk through the staff car park at any time, even if accompanied by an adult.

As well as not using the staff car park, attention is drawn to the yellow line which designates NO PARKING in the parent car park. This is to avoid accidents. The car park that services Aquinas College is only for the use of parents of Aquinas students.

Drivers should also remember that double parking and crossing the double lines in Great Ryrie Street is an illegal and very dangerous practice. Police and council officers patrol the area and on the spot fines are issued.

Chaplaincy: The school has received government funding to run a Chaplaincy program since 2008. Alan Silverwood is our school Chaplain and Alan is available to see students and parents on three days each week. Students can elect to see Alan for an initial visit but will then require a signed consent form for further contact.  Areas that Alan can assist with include grief and loss counselling, social or family issues or any concerns that need an independent and caring, adult ear.

Chess Club: Each Friday from 3.30pm to 4.30pm students can be part of our chess classes. A trained expert conducts the classes. Many of the students then go on to compete in inter school competitions. This is an additional cost.

Choir: As an extension of the Performing Arts Program, we offer Junior Choir for those in Years 1–2, Intermediate Choir and Senior Choir for Years 3-6. Performing Arts teachers coordinate choirs and anyone is welcome to join. Choirs are given performance opportunities such as; Aussie of the Month assemblies, the fete and a variety of school functions.

Class Values: Classes at Great Ryrie develop their class norms. Rather than the teacher creating a set of rules, the value-setting process involves all students. The aim is to establish behaviours and attitudes which respect all class members and for students to take responsibility for their own behaviour.  Great Ryrie Primary School aims to establish an atmosphere in which all children feel happy, safe and secure and have the maximum opportunity for learning.

Classroom (Volunteer) Helpers: At Great Ryrie, we value the support of parents in the classroom program and on excursions. During Term 1 most classroom teachers will establish rosters for Classroom Helpers and during the year a Classroom Helpers’ Training Program is offered to those parents who are working in classrooms for the first time.

Communication: Parents and teachers work together in partnership for the education of our students. Communication is very important and we encourage you to read the weekly newsletter, which is also available on our website or through email. Special events will be notified in the newsletter. Information will be sent home pertaining to class activities during the year when required.

If you have any questions, ideas or concerns, please speak to the classroom teacher, Office Manager, Assistant Principal or Principal.  Parents are welcome to attend whole school activities such as assemblies, sports and special occasions.

Compass: The Compass Portal is a web based software application through which parents must approve absences and monitor their child’s attendance as well as view reports.  Parents can also communicate with teachers via email through the Compass Portal.  Upon enrolment all families are given a Username and Password with which to access Compass.  Google Chrome is recommended as the most effective web browser to use when using Compass. There is a computer terminal in the office foyer available for use by those parents who do not have internet access at home.

Competitions: At Great Ryrie, we provide students with the opportunity to participate in a range of academic competitions in order to provide extension and enrichment in areas of interest and expertise. Many competitions are for students from Foundation to Year 6 but the Australasian Schools Competitions and the Westpac Maths are for Years 3&4 and Years 5&6 only. Students also have the opportunity to take part in GATEWays, Tournament of the Minds, Science Talent Search and Premier’s Reading Challenge.

Computers – ICT: Classrooms are all equipped with 4 or more desktop computers that are used to support and enhance the learning of our students as well as tablet devices. Years 3&4 and Years 5&6 also have sets of laptop computers that a whole class can use. Our computer lab has 30 computers and every child can maximize their computer lab time. Each classroom is fitted with an interactive whiteboard for use by teachers and students. Each classroom also has use of iPads.

Concerns: Don’t let things worry you!  Come to the school or phone your child’s teacher, so that we can talk them over.  It may be that there is no problem at all or that we can do something about it.  Remember that a problem dealt with early can often be solved, but if it is left to build up over time it will often become much harder to resolve. It is preferable to make an appointment if you are coming up to the school, so that we can be sure to give you the time required.  Teachers cannot leave classes unattended during class time.

If you have any concerns or queries about your child’s progress or schooling do not hesitate to contact the school and make an appointment to see the class teacher.

Connections Groups: On enrolment every child is placed into a Connections Group.  Children stay with the same group, with the same teacher, throughout their time at Great Ryrie. Connections Groups are composed of 17 children (2 or 3 from each year level) and one teacher.

The aim is to enable children to form a connection with other children across the school, who are not in their class and with one teacher for all of their time at school. Once each month these groups meet for 25 minutes, to engage in fun activities that help build their understanding of each other as individual members of the one school community.

Curriculum: The school teaches the Foundation to Year 10 AusVELS curriculum.  These describe the essential knowledge; skills and behaviours students need to prepare them for further education, work and life. For each year level there are standards that define what students should know and be able to do at different stages of learning. Teachers report against these standards.

Dance Group: A lunchtime class is available to Years5&6 students. Styles include modern and ballroom.

Dogs at School: While dogs make wonderful family pets, even the most well-behaved puppy can be a risk in a busy school ground, especially at the start and end of the day when children are milling around classrooms in large numbers. Both children and dogs can be unpredictable and we do not want any one frightened or hurt.

We therefore require that dogs are kept away from the classrooms and buildings, that you have control of your dog on a lead at all times and that you collect any excrement in a bag to take home!

All dog owners are asked to arrange to say goodbye to their children from the oval in the mornings and for their children to meet them with the dog on the school oval at the end of the day.

End of Term Days: On the last day of Terms 1, 2 and 3 children are dismissed at 2.30pm.  In Term 4 children are dismissed at 1.30pm.

English as an Additional Language (EAL): At Great Ryrie PS an EAL program is provided to support students from an EAL background. Additional to this we receive funding to support students who are refugees. We employ a Multicultural Educational Aide and teachers to work with these students and enhance community relations

Excursions: Educational tours and school visits are selected to complement the classroom program.  Permission notes specifically named for each student must be signed and sent to school by the due date at the bottom of the form.  Late returns are generally not able to be considered. Students, unless otherwise specified, are expected to wear school uniform.  Parents will be notified of details and costs involved in advance of the planned activity.

If parents are experiencing financial hardship they are asked to speak with the Principal before the due date. Our aim is to ensure all students attend excursions.

Fete: The school community runs a Fete in November of every second year (even numbered years). The organisation is undertaken by an active Fundraising committee made up of parents and staff. Stalls are run by classes under the coordination of a class rep. These fetes are a wonderful community activity and also provide the school with much needed funds for purchasing and upgrading school facilities and resources.

First Aid: A First Aid Officer is employed to supervise the First Aid room. If your child has been treated, there will be a written report given to them to pass on. If required, parents will be contacted by phone, so please ensure that we have up to date phone numbers and emergency numbers.

During the day, all medication is administered by the First Aid Officer as instructed by a doctor or parent. (See Medication)

Students who are unwell should not attend school. If a student becomes unwell during the school day they may be directed to the First Aid Room and monitored by staff. Depending on the nature of their symptoms, staff may contact parents/carers or an emergency contact person to ask them to collect the student.

Foundation Testing: In February, Foundation students do not attend school each Wednesday as teachers conduct Foundation assessments. Early in the year, parents come to school for a discussion with the teacher about their child’s transition into school. Next each student is required to attend one Wednesday session for about an hour at a nominated time to take part in tasks including Maths and Literacy assessments. This helps teachers to get a complete picture of where each child is, in starting their learning.

Fruit: Great Ryrie promotes a healthy lifestyle and encourages students to eat fruit and drink water in classrooms for Snack Attack time.

Graduation: During the final week of school, Year 6 students will take part in a graduation ceremony. Students and teachers share a meal together prior to the presentations. Family attend the presentation. We currently have two categories of awards for students graduating from Year 6.

  1. Community Service and Citizenship: (The Deakin Shield and the McCutcheon Shield – recipients receive a small shield)
  2. Curriculum Awards: (Perpetual plaques for Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Health & Physical Education, Information & Communication Technology, English, LOTE, Mathematics, Humanities, Science and Technology and Multicultural (recipients receive a small shield; encouragement award winners receive a laminated certificate).

Green Team: All classes from Years 1-6 elect a Green Team representative to take part in environmentally related actions such as promoting Rubbish Free days, gardening projects, Walk to School days, recycling, reusing and composting. This team meets regularly to discuss ideas and plan events. Representatives pass information on to their own classrooms.

Homework: We believe that home can provide a supportive environment for children to experience a broad range of opportunities that assist in lifelong learning. Homework develops a link between home and school and acknowledges the importance of working together. We respect the diversity within families and their cultural, personal, time and economic needs. Homework will support the learning that takes place at school and have a clear purpose communicated to students and home.

Homework is encouraged but not compulsory as per our Homework policy. Any homework completed will be shared with the class and seen by the teacher.

At the start of each new year, minimum expectations for each level will be outlined to students and parents.  Expectations will be consistent amongst each classroom within a level and accommodate the different abilities, interests and learning styles. If homework is creating stress or conflict within the family, please contact your classroom teacher or the Team Leader.

A copy of the Homework policy is available from the office or website.

Hot & Cold Food at School: Please note:  We do NOT refrigerate or heat food for students at school. Hot and cold food can be purchased from the canteen or brought to school in a thermos. Children should bring their own spoons and not take these into the yard.  No knives or forks should be necessary.

House Teams: On enrolment, all students are allocated into House Teams in Foundation and are placed in the same house as siblings at the school. They remain in this house for the remainder of their school days. The houses are Gold – O’Neill, Red – Perkins, Green – Moneghetti and Blue – Freeman.

Instrumental Music Tuition: Great Ryrie supports students to learn musical instruments and develop new skills. The school provides for this through organizing private tuition during school times. Qualified teachers who are able to teach a variety of instruments offer bass guitar, drums/percussion, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, flute, violin, piano, guitar and recorder. For most instruments students can either have group or individual lessons. Some instruments are available for hire. There is a fee structure and guidelines that are available from the office or our Performing Arts teacher.

Inter-school Sport: Years 5&6 Inter-school Sport takes place during Term 1 and 2. And in Term 2, we have the Cross Country competition with Term 3 being Athletics. There is a cost for this program. It is essential that money and permission forms are returned by the due date. Students must be in school uniform and have a hat during Term 1 and 4. Teams that win in the Inter-school Sport competition can progress to the Zone level and if successful the Regional level of competition. The school also participates in Inter-school competitions.

Junior School Council (JSC): Students from Year 6 nominate for a position and after giving speeches are elected by their peers to perform many and varied tasks across the school. They also run school assemblies and organise fundraising for charity organisations. They meet regularly to plan activities.

Late Passes: If students are late to school they are required to visit the office and collect a Late Pass to take to their classroom teacher. This ensures that all students are accounted for.

Library: The Library is a valuable resource and is staffed by a Library Technician who oversees and maintains the collection. Class teachers take a weekly 50 minute session with their class where literature and research skills are developed. Each child needs a library bag so that books are kept in good condition. There is a fee if books are lost while at home.

Medication: During the day, all medication is administered by the First Aid Officer as instructed by a doctor or parent.

Please provide the office with written instructions for the administration of any short-term medication. At the end of each day, the medication will be returned for home. If your child has ‘long-term’ asthma or allergies, the information must be registered with the office and an Action Plan from the doctor provided.

Any ‘long-term’ medication needs to be supplied and it will be named and kept in the First Aid room. During excursions, medications will be taken with the other first aid equipment.

Mobile Phones:  Permission must be obtained from the Principal for students to bring mobile phones to school. If this is the case, they must be kept turned off in bags and the school doesn’t accept any responsibility for loss or damage. Parents need to complete a Mobile Phone form.

Money: Please send money for payments to the class teacher in an envelope with your child’s name, grade, room number and reason for payment, marked clearly on the outside.  To assist our office staff, please send money to school before the specified day.

Newsletter: We have a weekly newsletter that is published through Compass and on our website every Thursday. Parents must log into Compass each week to check for information on school news and upcoming events.

Orchestra: Students who learn an instrument at school are encouraged to join the Junior or Senior Orchestra. These orchestras are ability based and are led by an instrumental teacher. There is a small charge for those in Senior Orchestra. Junior Orchestra and Senior Orchestra rehearse Wednesdays in 2015.

Portfolios: Each student will have a portfolio, which is a folder of work samples. These portfolios come home at the end of each term. This gives parents and students an opportunity to discuss the work and see what has been achieved. Parents are asked to return it to school with a positive comment inserted as encouragement for their child.

Production: Every second year (odd numbered years) the school runs a whole school production at a nearby theatre, as part of our Performing Arts program.  All children from Foundation to Year 6 are given the opportunity to perform on stage over two nights.

Personal Property and School Insurance: Personal property is often bought to school by students, staff and visitors. This can include mobile phones, calculators, toys, sporting equipment and cars parked on school premises. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development does not hold insurance for personal property brought to schools and it will not pay for any loss or damage to such property.

Pupil Free Days: The first two days of school 28 and 29 January are Pupil Free Days. There are two other days for staff to continue their professional learning on areas identified by the school.

Reading Recovery: This program offers support to students in Year 1 in Literacy. Students on the program receive an individual session each day by our qualified Reading Recovery teacher until they are ready to discontinue.

Religious Instruction – Special Religious Instruction (SRI): This is not part of the school curriculum. Instruction classes are held across the school when  trained, volunteer SRI instructors are available. The program follows the State Government Guidelines and is taken in classrooms with a classroom teacher present. There is a small cost to cover student booklets and materials. Parents need to complete the consent form sent home each year, prior to the start of each program, in order to register their child.

Reporting to Parents: An initial conference later in Term 1 where teachers, parents and students negotiate to write an Individual Learning Plan for each student highlighting their strengths, areas for future learning and what the school and home can do to help out with these.

A 3-Way Conference in Terms 1 & 3 to monitor progress.

A mid-year written report.

An end of year written report

Student work portfolios go home at the end of  terms 2 & 4 and an interview with your child’s teacher/s can be requested at any time throughout the year.

Rubbish Free Lunch: One of our efforts towards being a Sustainable School is to encourage students to use re-usable containers for snack and lunch as much as possible. The use of re-usable containers each day helps us to keep our school grounds rubbish-free.

Smoke Free: All Victorian school buildings and grounds are ‘Smoke Free Zones’ in order to provide a healthy environment for our school community.  Outside the school grounds, smoking is not allowed within 4 meters of the school gates.

Snack Attack: Students are encouraged to bring a fruit/vegetable only snack for mid-morning ‘Snack Attack’. They are also encouraged to bring along a water bottle.

School Council: School Council is the governing body of the school and is involved in making decisions about the school. Parent representatives are elected by the school community and serve for 2 years.

Sign In Book: All children arriving to school after 9.00am need to be signed in at the office and collect a Late Pass. Parents collecting children early from school also need to sign their children out before collecting them from the classroom.

Specialist Programs: The Arts – Performing Arts and Visual Arts, Language – Indonesian, Health /Physical Education. Students have a 50 minute lesson in each specialist area each week.  In addition classroom teachers take their grades for a 50 minute session each week in the school Library and Computer Lab.

Student Injuries and School Insurance: The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development advises that parents and guardians are generally responsible for paying the cost of medical treatment for injured students, including any transport costs. Most medical costs will be covered by Medicare. If you are a member of an ambulance or health fund, you may also be able to claim transport or other expenses from the fund. The Department does not hold accident insurance for school students.

SunSmart: As a SunSmart school, SunSmart hats are compulsory wearing for all students from September to April each year. Only the school approved SunSmart hat, available from the Uniform Store, is acceptable as school uniform at Great Ryrie.

 Supervision of Students: Teachers supervise the playground from 8.45am to 8.55am in the morning and 3.30pm to 3.45pm in the afternoon in addition to recess and lunch times. Parents are asked to plan for delivery and collection of children between these above times.

Sustainability: We are a ‘Sustainable School’. Throughout their years at Great Ryrie, students investigate biodiversity, water, waste and energy and the impact of these elements on the environment. Children may also take part in activities such as gardening, the Green Team and helping with our water tanks, recycling, composting and worm farms.

Swimming:  An intensive 8 day swimming program is held over two weeks, early  in Term 4, each year, for children in Foundation and Years1&2. Lessons are provided for the children, in groups of ten or less, by Aquapass qualified pool staff.

Transition: Student transition from pre-school to school (Foundation), Year 6 to Secondary School and across school levels from Foundation to Year 6, are all catered for with a variety of supportive activities and programs.

Uniforms: All students are expected to wear school uniform. By wearing a school uniform, children develop a sense of identity and pride in their school.  The uniform is practical and comfortable for all school activities.  Uniforms are sold to the school community through the school uniform shop.

As part of the Sun Smart policy children must wear a school hat from September to April (only the official school approved SunSmart hat, available from the Uniform Store is allowed).  A written note is required if your child is out of uniform at school. The school uniform policy excludes the wearing of jewellery and makeup (including nail polish).

Units of Work – Curriculum: Units of work are prepared by teachers for the level after finding out what students already known or want to learn about. They ensure that all areas of the curriculum are covered and that the work is relevant to students’ needs. The units incorporate the use of ICT and thinking skills as well as ensuring sustainability has a strong focus.

Valuables: Private property brought to school by students is not insured and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage. Please do not allow your child to bring valuable jewellery, electronic and valuable toys or sums of cash to school as no guarantee can be given against damage or loss.

Values: The school values have been negotiated with parents, students and staff and are displayed and encouraged in all school activities. They are listed at the beginning of our School Information book.

Volunteers: We encourage parents to participate in a range of school activities. All volunteers must have a current Working with Children Check which can be arranged at a post office and must be up-to-date.

Wellbeing: Student Wellbeing is a high priority at the school. The main role of the Assistant Principal is to coordinate all services to care for students in need. Programs that we have at the school include –

– A Restorative Practice approach is followed across the school with a focus on developing positive relationships through the use of Community Circles. The belief is that if   students do anything inappropriate then they harm a relationship and Restorative Chats are used to discuss the impact and help mend the harm done.

– School Chaplain on three days of each week, who runs Seasons For Growth and Friends For Life, as well as other programs that support student wellbeing.

– Student surveys to identify potential problems.

– Connection Circles cross age groups help students to get to know other children from all    other year levels

– M-Power‘N-Girlz program for Years 5 and 6 girls

– Un-Mask-‘N-Boys program for Year 6 boys

– Teachers trained in focussing on education for boys

– Kids’ Hope program with community mentors

– Also lots of other processes and procedures across the school and classrooms to ensure the welfare of all students.

Working Bees: The Facilities subcommittee of School Council organises Working Bees as required and all parents are asked to attend at least one to help keep the grounds in pristine condition. Any parents with particular skills are encouraged to make themselves known to the Principal so that their skills can be utilised. Parents who cannot attend can contribute by paying the Working Bee Levy in their school fees.