Newsletter February 17, 2021
Dear Parents and Families,
It is with enormous relief that our premier Daniel Andrews has announced that our hard lockdown will end at 11.59 p.m tonight. That means that all students can return to school tomorrow - Thursday 18th February. However, there are still a number of restrictions/requirements relevant to our school and community:
- Wearing of masks is compulsory outdoors and also when indoors when you cannot physical distance from others
- We are permitted up to 5 visitors to your home
- Up to 20 people at public gatherings
So with the above in mind all should return school tomorrow following the guidelines from the commencement of the school year.
We so look forward to seeing everyone back tomorrow!
Yesterday was Shrove or Pancake Tuesday and I know many of the home learning activities were centred around this theme - so I’m sure there were plenty of interesting toppings and flavours being sampled. Let us know some of your family favourites!
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. As we begin Lent, The Lord himself asks and reminds us “return to me with your whole heart.” When we stray from God, no matter how far we have gone, He is always inviting us back. He is a loving Father with outstretched arms longing for us to receive His warm embrace. God is “gracious and merciful”, “slow to anger”, and “rich in kindness”. Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is chiefly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too. Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting.
It is certainly our hope that we will be able to conduct our Colour Run at Mill Park next Thursday evening as planned, but naturally that will be subject to any changing COVID restrictions. We would love to see all families come along to this night and reconnect with all in our school community. All students should wear a white t- shirt and families need to bring their own picnic. Our back up plan if unable to conduct this event will be to hold our Colour Run during school hours on Thursday afternoon, but we will keep you updated as more information unfolds.
Traditionally as the Parish of Gordon, our two schools - St Brigid’s and St Patrick’s have come together to celebrate our Feast Day. We will again be doing this in 2021, however we have decided to do something a little different this year. All of the students from both schools are heading to Ballarat to celebrate mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 11.00 a.m. Our Bishop Rev. Paul Bird will be the key celebrant for this event. Our goal in undertaking this excursion is to provide our students with the opportunity to experience the cathedral, but also to begin to come to an understanding, that we as a school and parish are part of a faith community that is much larger than Ballan and Gordon - we belong to the Diocese of Ballarat and effectively the Cathedral is it’s parish church. Additionally, we belong to something much larger again - that of the universal Catholic Church.
After our celebration of the mass we intend to take all of the children to the Inclusive Playspace, in Victoria Park Ballarat where they can spend some time together playing and having lunch. All parents and parishioners (subject to numbers) are invited to come along to the cathedral and share in our liturgy to celebrate the Feast Day of our Patron Saint.
More details around this event will follow shortly.
I feel as though our Outdoor Project is a little like the Westgate Tunnel Project - both are experiencing challenges and delays to the completion of the project. In recent weeks we have seen some significant development with concrete steps installed, many of the hold ups can be attributed to the need to clarify and recheck the levels of the various aspects of the project. It is vital that all of the pathways are stalled at the right level to ensure accessibility for everyone to all areas of the playground. The checking of all of the levels has been a somewhat frustrating delay but once the hard lockdown has been completed we are hopeful of the project really gaining momentum.
2021 School Fee Statements have been emailed to families. By now, all families should have completed and returned their fee payment arrangement form. Thank you to those families who have returned these. If you have not yet returned your forms, please do so as soon as possible.
A reminder also that the $100 early payment discount offer finishes next Friday 26th February, 2021.
In all Ballarat Diocesan Catholic Primary Schools, a Family Fee Assistance Scheme is available to families eligible for a means tested Health Care Card, Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card or Veteran Affairs Pensioner Card. The scheme is available to both catholic and non-catholic families and reduces the cost of the Family Tuition Fee and Capital Levy to a combined maximum of $520 per year ($10 per week). The Curriculum Levy, Technology Levy and Excursion and Camp costs are then added to this to give a total fee amount for the year.
The Victorian Government offers a Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) providing payments to assist eligible families to cover the costs of camps, sporting events and excursions.
If you hold a valid means-tested concession card you may be eligible for CSEF. The allowance will be paid to the school to use towards expenses related to camps, excursions, or sporting activities for the benefit of your child.
The annual CSEF amount per student is currently $125 for primary school students.
Please see the attached information regarding Family Fee Assistance and the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF). For further information, please contact the school office.
Please complete this form if you hold a valid concession card
Currently, two school buses operate to and from St Brigid's School Ballan
Bus 1 serves Greendale
Bus 2 serves the Mt. Wallace and Bunding areas
To be eligible to use the bus service, students must live at least 4.8 km from the school on the bus route.
If eligible, parents are required to complete and sign the attached permission form to access the service. Hard copies are also available from the school office.
Students who already travel on these services and will have previously completed the form, do not need to complete a new application.
Due to insurance issues, non-bus travellers who need to use the bus occasionally must complete an adhoc travel form at least two days before the date of intended travel.
Please note the following recent changes to the Department of Education and Training’s Code Red Day policy and procedures.
Any school bus routes that are within, or pass-through, weather districts where the fire danger is determined to be Code Red will be cancelled.
Based on the experience of the 2019 Code Red day in Mallee and Northern Country weather districts, the Department has decided that all school bus routes will be cancelled on future Code Red determined days in impacted weather districts.
The Department’s primary rationale for making this policy change is to protect and preserve the lives of students, staff and education communities by taking the most prudent approach to the risk posed by the most catastrophic bushfire conditions.
The Conveyance Allowance assists families with the cost of transporting their children to and from school. To be eligible to receive a conveyance allowance you must:
- Be aged between five years (by 30 April in the year that the allowance is sought) and 21 years.
- Live more than 4.8km by the shortest practicable route from the nearest Catholic school attended, or, live more than 4.8 km from the nearest bus service.
Further information regarding the Conveyance Allowance can be found in the link below. If you believe you are eligible, please contact the school office.
|1st Sunday||2nd Sunday||3rd Sunday||4th Sunday||5th Sunday|
|Saturday 6.30pm||Dunnstown||Springbank||Dunnstown||Clarkes Hill||Springbank|
Gordon Parish Sacramental Program 2021:
Thursday, Feb 18 – Parent Information Night, 7pm St Patrick’s School Gordon – Reconciliation Preparation
Sunday, Feb 28 – Enrolment Mass – Reconciliation, Gordon – 8.45am / Ballan – 10.30am
Thursday, Mar 25 – Reconciliation Ceremony, 4pm - St Patricks Church, Gordon
Position Vacant: The Parishes of Gordon & Bungaree are looking to jointly employ a suitably qualified person to fill the position of Parish Secretary across both parishes. (12 hours pw Gordon / 5 hours pw Bungaree). More information is available from the diocesan website
Applications close February 26, 2021.
Bank Details for Weekly Collections at Mass:
If you would like to make a deposit directly into our Bank account for the weekly loose collection at Mass, our details are as follows:
Bendigo Bank BSB 633 000 - A/c No: 1602 757 98
For enquries please contact Parish Secretary on 5368 9280 or 0492 903 409