Ibis Flyer

Balnarring Primary School
18 March 2024


Anne, Krysha, Georga Bryant (School Council President) and Conor Mullan (long standing School Council member) and I met with a group of parents today to discuss our work and response to the issue in Kirinari. Kerri Collins had several questions from other parents that we discussed along with other queries. I urge all parents to call and make a time to meet or chat on the phone with me if you have any questions or queries that you have not been answered through COMPASS communications. I am always more than happy to meet with parents and families. When we communicate directly and work together, we can solve many issues and come up with great solutions and outcomes for our students.


I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to all families, staff and students for being so resilient and flexible moving out of Kirinari into classrooms in the main building. A special shout out to Carmen Brancatisano and Rachel Jacobson for thinking of our staff and providing coffee and chocolates to keep them going, and to the Oldfield family (Westernport Bicycle Shop) for their very kind donation to purchase new school hats for all of our grade 4 to 6 students. It is so lovely to know that we have such a supportive, thoughtful, and kind community who all have our students’ best interests at heart.

We are organising and ordering new pens, pencils etc. for all our grade 4-6 students and other essential learning items that they need whilst in alternative rooms. It has just been brought to my attention that a student has glasses in Kirinari that they require for learning. If your child has glasses or other important items in Kirinari that they require to assist their learning, please call or email me through COMPASS. I will organise remediators to come and clean the essential items as soon as possible.


Our ‘Balnarring Way’ award winners now have morning tea with me, Anne and our School Captains, Mackenzie, Reid, Ruby and Daisy each Monday morning during snack time. This week we meet with Syd, Ava, Zoe and Cooper. This is a great time for us to be able to really connect and listen to students’ ideas about what they like about our wonderful school and what they would to see at our school to make it even better. Our School Captains write notes and use these conversations to help inform their work in their leadership roles.


Carol & Murray Turner from The Long Journey Partnership-Connecting Communities through Education & Health hosted a visit from some members of the Minyerri school and Land Council in Northern Territory. Kathy-Anne Numamurdirdi (Councilor – Roper Gulf Regional Council), Helen Lee (Deputy Mayor – Roper Gulf Regional Council), Tony Jack (Mayor – Roper Gulf Regional Council) and Patricia Farrell (Councilor – Roper Gulf Regional Council).

They came to spend a few days on the Mornington Peninsula and visited our local council to explore how the two councils can connect and work together.

We were also fortunate to have them visit us at BPS. They were so impressed with the work we do here, explicitly teaching about our First Nations Peoples with a dedicated First Nations specialist teacher, Mel Brooks, and the way we are continually embedding and weaving a First Nations perspective and lens through all we do at school. We took them on a tour of our school,  Anne and I were very proud to showcase the work our students and staff do here and share how our Balnarring Primary School community prides itself on our appreciation and strong connection to our natural world, our First Nation People’s culture and our strong commitment to learning and actively working in the areas of Science, Sustainability and caring for country.

We started our conversation and sharing in our dedicated First Nations room, and then went for a walk around the school grounds to show first hand the work we do and the visual representation and artworks that visually display our school community commitment to learning about and honoring our First Nations Peoples and their culture. We are working together to connect our two schools and hopefully in the future have groups of students and interested families spend some time at each other’s school. It would be a fabulous learning experience for all if we can arrange for groups of our students to spend some time attending Minyerri school and for groups of Minyerri students to spend some time attending Balnarring Primary School.

General points of information for parents

To follow are a few general points of information for parents:

Mobile phones, smart watches and similar devices: New technology keeps challenging us, especially in the education industry and we have recently encountered a new challenge to which we need to respond. We have always had a rule regarding mobile phones and now we find students wearing watches that, unlike previously, work without a phone being present. Essentially, this is a phone and the same rule now applies to these and similar devices. Below are the current rules regarding mobile phones, phone-capable devices, camera-equipped devices, gaming machines, gaming-equipped devices or phone/communication-capable watches.

Children MUST NOT have the above devices or similar at school. If a device is required before or after school, your child will be required to hand the device in to the office when they arrive at school each morning and collect it again as they leave each afternoon. Children must NEVER have one of the above devices or similar in their bag, locker or in their possession during school time. Any children who wish to bring such devices to school must have parent permission and contact the office to inform the school their child will be handing in a device for the school day.

Policy regarding “Private property brought to school”: Private property brought to school by students, staff or visitors is not insured and the Department nor the school, accepts any responsibility for any loss or damage. This can include mobile phones, electronic devices, expensive watches, calculators, toys, sporting equipment and cars parked on school premises. As the Department does not hold insurance for personal property brought to schools and has no capacity to pay for any loss or damage to such property, students are discouraged from bringing any unnecessary or particularly valuable items to school. We ask for parent support on this issue.

Helmets and riding to school: Only students from Year 4 or above are permitted to ride to school unaccompanied. Students from Year 3 and below may ride to school in the company of a responsible adult. This includes bicycles and scooters. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that children riding to school are capable and that they understand road rules and road sense. Parents should also ensure that all riders wear helmets at all times and that bikes and scooters are safe and in good repair. Riders should follow all relevant road rules and should be particularly careful when riding close to the school where pedestrian traffic is heavy.

Student accident insurance and ambulance cover: Parents are reminded that the Department of Education does not provide personal accident insurance or ambulance cover for students. Parents and guardians of students who do not have student accident insurance or ambulance cover, are responsible for paying the cost of medical treatment for injured students, including the cost of ambulance attendance or transport as well as any other transport costs. It is the responsibility of parents or guardians to look into their preferred options in regard to accident insurance and ambulance cover. It is highly recommended that families consider ambulance cover, in particular. In the event of a serious accident or illness, we will call an ambulance, regardless of whether you have ambulance membership or not. The costs for ambulance transport can be very high. I suggest all parents investigate Ambulance Victoria membership.

Heat Policy: We have formulated a policy to cater for days of extreme heat. Should the temperature reach 37 deg or over at lunchtime (local temperature), children will be kept inside and supervision arrangements as for a wet day timetable will be implemented. If parents feel that children are better off at home on a very hot afternoon, then you are welcome to call at the office before 1:15pm to pick them up.

Medication: We CANNOT give medication of any kind, without your written permission. If you need your child medicated during the day, whether on a short term or long-term basis, you must fill out a medication form, available from the office. The information that you send should have full information as to dosages, times, indications for use and permission for the medication to be administered. This information should be given to the office along with all medication in original containers. If the medication is for ongoing issues such as ADHD or asthma, a full management plan should be given to the school on the appropriate form.

Early morning and after school supervision: Children should not be in the school grounds prior to 8.30am each morning. The school grounds are supervised from 8.30am and we have a closely supervised Before and After School Care program that opens at 7am. Beyond this, we cannot take responsibility for children left in the playground in the morning unsupervised. This applies equally after 3.30pm in the afternoon.


What can our school community do to prepare?

  • Make sure you understand the fire danger for our area.
  • Review and update your family’s bushfire survival plan, including how your child will be cared for when the school or childcare service is closed due to threat of fire. Your child should not be left unattended.
  • Check that we have your current contact details, including mobile phone number.
  • Keep in touch with us by reading our newsletters and COMPASS notifications, talking to your child’s teacher and to others in our school community.
  • Talk to your child about bushfires and your family’s bushfire survival plan.
  • Talk to us including our principal, teachers or school council representatives
    if you have any concerns.

Make a bushfire plan.

  • The Country Fire Authority (CFA) provides great resources to support you and your family to plan ahead for the fire season.
  • Remember that you don’t have to live in the country to be at risk of fire.
  • As a member of our school community, we recommend thinking about how you will plan ahead for fire season.
  • Taking steps to get prepared before the fire season means you know what to do when you’re at risk of fire. 
  • Visit Your Bushfire Plan to use the CFA’s resources at: https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/before-and-during-a-fire/your-bushfire-plan

Frequently asked questions

If I’m concerned about the risk of fires, can I keep my child away from school, even if the school remains open?

Yes.  If your family decides to enact its bushfire survival plan, the most appropriate place for your child may be with you and your family, and not at school.

Talk to us about your family’s bushfire plan ahead of the fire season. You should also advise the school as soon as possible of your child’s absence if your plan is enacted.

What happens if the Catastrophic forecast improves?

The final decision to close our school due to a Catastrophic fire danger day school will be made the day prior to the planned closure. 

Any improvements in the weather forecast after this time will not change the decision to close.

This will help limit confusion and provide time for parents to make alternative care arrangements for your children.

When the school is closed, will any staff remain on-site?

No. The safety of staff and students is our main priority, and no staff will remain on-site, and all other visitors and contractors will also not be allowed on site.

Is it possible that schools will be closed for consecutive days?

If yes, how will parents be advised?

It is possible that our school will be closed for consecutive days.  If this occurs, keep up to date via our COMPASS communications. We will be closed on all forecast Catastrophic days.

In addition to our communications, you can also check the Department’s website for updates.

Kind regards

Nicky Walker


Somerville Police talk Cyber Safety with grades 3,4,5 and 6

Students from grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 were visited on Tuesday 20th February by police personnel Neil and Keisha from Somerville police station. They discussed the laws that apply to digital users and how students can keep safe with their online presence.

University of Sydney lecturer in media and communications, Dr Catherine Page Jeffery, had the following suggestions when deciding if your child was ready for social media. The full article can be viewed using the following link.


In deciding whether your child is ready for a social media account, parents might consider:

  • Is my child especially vulnerable to online harms?
  • Does my child have the required maturity and resilience to manage potentially negative online social interactions?
  • Does my child listen to advice and follow rules?
  • Is my child aware of the risks, and do they have strategies for managing them?
  • Will my child come to me with any problems they encounter online?

Parents might also consider their children’s offline lives, as these often carry over into online spaces. This includes what their friendships are like, their propensity for taking risks, and their ability to consider the consequences of their actions.

Student Support Services

Student Support Services assist schools within our region in identifying the types of adjustments that students may need within a school setting.

There are psychologists, speech therapists, social workers and other Student Support Officers who can offer behavioral management expertise. These specialists are able to do basic assessments, may observe in the classroom, give advice and provide staff with a range of adjustments that they can try in the classroom and playground setting.

They don’t provide ongoing therapies such as speech therapy or psychological therapies. They also do not diagnose things such as ADHD or ASD. If these are the types of things that you think your child may need, please contact the school and ask to speak with Anne or Kim (our Wellbeing coordinators and we may be able to direct you to some service providers.

Our school has a process for identifying students who require these SSS support. Your child’s teacher will have a conversation with you if they believe that these services may be of benefit to your child. Likewise, if you have any concerns and think that your child may need access to any of these services, please speak your child’s teacher. Together we will work out the best course of action in supporting your child.


Attendance- Every Day Counts

The beginning of the school year can sometimes be challenging for young children. It can be a rollercoaster at times, managing to get reluctant children to school. If you are experiencing difficulties in getting your child to school, please don’t hesitate to contact the school and ask to speak to me. Together, we can work to put some strategies in place to make life a little easier for all involved.

The information below may also assist you in your endeavors.


No matter how hard parents try, some students may be reluctant to go to school.

Addressing attendance issues promptly and setting up good attendance patterns can lead to future success and can help students feel more engaged and connected at school.


  • Patterns of late arrival at school or missing classes are early warning signs of disengagement from school
  • Missing one day of school each week adds up to 2 months missed over a year
  • Each day of absence has an impact on skill development and social connections
  • Poor attendance may be associated with future unemployment, criminal activity, substance abuse, and poorer health and life expectancy.
How many days of school has your child missed this semester?

This is within normal range.  A child with this attendance rate is able to take full advantage of the teaching and learning opportunities available to them.

This attendance rage is below average.  A child with this attendance rate could miss over one year of schooling between prep and Year 10

This is a poor attendance rate.  A child with this attendance rate days could miss out on up to two years of schooling between prep and Year 10

This is a very poor attendance rate.  A child with this attendance rate could miss over two and one half years of schooling between prep and Year 10



  • Act early if you are concerned
  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day, make that the expectation.
  • Regular attendance at school sets up good behaviours for regular attendance at future workplaces and other life commitments
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless genuinely sick. Complaints of headaches or stomach aches may be signs of anxiety.
  • Reward appropriate behaviour and don’t unintentionally reward unwanted behaviour by letting children who stay home have access to their devices and the internet
  • Be sure to set a good example – how you meet your commitments impacts on how they will meet theirs

Daily Routines & sleep

  • Help your child maintain daily routines such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Primary school aged children need about 10 to 11 hours sleep. Teenagers need an average of 8-9 hours of sleep to be healthy and alert.
  • You may also need to monitor your child’s use of the Internet, mobile phone and TV at night to ensure they are not staying up too late or being disturbed while sleeping
  • Consider how your child is sleeping – is their room cool and dark and have all devices, including TVs and mobile phones, been removed?

Talk about school

  • Talk to your child. What are their feelings about school? What interests them at school? Are there any difficult situations?
  • For younger children, talking about the school day shows your interest. Ask simple, positive and specific questions about parts of the day e.g. What was fun? What did you learn today? Who did you play with today? Did you help anyone today?

Warm regards

Anne McDonald
Assistant Principal


International Women’s Day Breakfast at Western Port Secondary College

On Thursday the 7th of March we went to Westernport Secondary College for the Westernport Women’s Day breakfast. We had some inspirational women in all different careers come and speak to us and the many other visitors. They talked to us about how Covid affected their careers and how they learnt being yourself is so important. After the many questions, we had a special breakfast made by some of the year 12 students from Westernport Secondary. While enjoying this breakfast we met some of the inspiring women that had shared their work and personal life experiences. What an incredible opportunity and an experience we won’t forget.

Ruby D, Daisy F and Mackenzie W



Supervision before school commences at 8.30 am and after school until 3.30 pm.

There is no supervision on Student Free Days.

Wellbeing News

The ‘Balnarring Way’ is to
. Respect and care for self
. Respect and care for others
. Respect and care for the environment

As part of Balnarring’s wellbeing values– ‘The Balnarring Way’,  we will be bringing you regular updates of positive wellbeing initiatives that are happening around our school!

What a busy week in Balnarring this week!

Students have demonstrated ‘The Balnarring Way’ wonderfully.

Many of our students and families attended the Womin Djeka Festival (Balnarring Ngargee) at Emu Plains on Saturday. They were part of a fantastically inclusive event, dancing, eating, crafting and connecting with First Nations peoples.  What a way to Care and Respect Others!

Meanwhile this week at school students have demonstrated how they Care and Respect our Environment by taking part in our own ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ school event– we like to call ‘Clean up Balnarring Week’.

What Great citizens we have here at Balnarring Primary School.


What activities are coming up?


Click the button below to download the calendar.