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Moggill State School > Calendar and news > Principal's blog
April 04

By Michael Hawton, Child Psychologist (MAPS) and Parentshop founder

If you've had a child at school for more than a few years, chances are that there have been times when you have considered whether to go up to the school about an issue that is affecting your child. Working out what requires your intervention can be tricky. Sometimes your child's passionate pleas for you to do something can be persuasive. It might be that your child has been moved from one class to another or that your son has been denied permission to go on a much-anticipated excursion or there has been an incident on the playground.

Parents can sometimes feel like they are not parenting properly unless they go to the school to address the problem.

In recent years, Australian schools have been dealing with an increasing number of parents coming to the school. I say this as a result of speaking with hundreds of school leaders across Australia and internationally.

So, what is causing this?

  1. Many parents are less trusting of institutions in charge of the care of their children, including schools. They are therefore less willing to give school staff the benefit of the doubt when it comes to making decisions that involve their children.
  2. There are an increasing number of parents who have become more anxious about their children and tend to intervene in smaller and smaller issues.
  3. Many of these parents have lost the ability to see that frequent interventions ultimately undermine a child's sense of competency and confidence.

So, how do you decide if an issue warrants your intervention?

First, if your child is in physical or psychological danger then you should intervene.

However, if the issue is not of this magnitude, ask yourself this; what would happen if I didn't go to the school about this issue?

An important part of being a parent is helping children learn to deal with disappointments and difficulties. We can help our children learn to cope emotionally with uncomfortable feelings by being there and listening to them. We can acknowledge that sometimes life is challenging or unfair but that we can learn to cope with this. Helping our children recognise emotions and deal with them, without being crushed by them, teaches our children emotional resilience.

We can help our children feel more competent by helping them think of some alternative ways to deal with a problem, which empowers them by giving a sense of agency and control.

With this in mind, some issues are worth recognising before you come to the school in search of a remedy on your child's behalf.

Firstly, the school must make 'system' decisions. While all schools try to follow principles of fairness and equity, it is not always possible to decide matters fairly. There will always be cases where some children will not get the teacher they wanted or be seated close to their friends.

Secondly, all school staff aspire towards providing an environment where the best interests of the child are held paramount. While teachers may not have the same attachment to a child that a parent does, the majority of school staff care personally for the children in the school.

Thirdly, each time a parent jumps in where a problem could be resolved by their child, they may be robbing them of an opportunity to develop resilience skills.

Making a decision about whether or not to go up to the school is about assessing the problem and seeing if it can be an opportunity to help your child to learn to manage their emotions, increase resilience and become an independent problem solver.

Who said parenting is easy?

April 04

As you know, Moggill State School is a large school, with over 900 humans (young and 'older') either studying or working on the grounds, all with different needs, hopes, backgrounds and expectations.Therefore issues and problems are inevitable at some stage of your child's school life (if your child sails through only experiencing minor speed bumps, you can count yourself extremely lucky!).
Recently, our professional organisation QASSP (Queensland Association of State School Principals') shared this article by Mr Michael Hawton, Child Psychologist (MAPS) and Parentshop founder that helps give parents some guidance on whether you should raise an issue being experienced by your child.

As a parent myself of two children in the state school system (both secondary and primary), sometimes even I am confused as to whether I should approach the school regarding a problem they are experiencing. In his article, Michael provides a rationale for parents sometimes waiting and watching before approaching their child's teacher, a Deputy Principal or myself to "fix" it.

You can find a copy of this article at the ParentShop website and in our newsletter below. As Michael emphasises in his article, if your child is in physical or psychological danger, you should make contact with either Mrs Tracey Campbell, Mr Paul Niner or myself immediately so that we can resolve and manage the issue as soon as possible. My approach has always been to "work a problem through" with students and their families. This provides an opportunity for students to watch the adults in their lives talking, listening and collaborating together to resolve issues, and develops an understanding that often solutions are not instantaneous (if we are lucky – they are!) but may take some time. This helps students to develop resilience, understanding and empathy to be successful future citizens.
As always, education is a partnership, and we encourage you to work with us to achieve the best outcome for your child.

April 04

Over the past two weeks, we have celebrated a number of school events. My sincere thanks to Mr Tim Gall and the Year 3 to 6 team for their support of not one, but two big sporting events – the Senior Cross Country and Athletics carnivals. These events take considerable time and energy in their planning and implementation, and often exceed the daily roles of staff. It was also great to see parents and family members being able to take time out of busy working lives to come along and support our students.

A HUGE  thank you also to the teachers who have taken class groups to the Pullenvale Environmental Education Centre (PEEC) over the past term. We know that PEEC is highly valued by our staff and students, and these excursions are looked forward to by all. The feedback from these visits is always overwhelmingly positive. My thanks also to our P&C who continue to subsidise students to attend PEEC every year.

April 04

We've made it to the end of the first term of 2019! A special congratulations to our Prep students and families – the first term is very tiring for our youngest school members!

As you would now be aware, I will remain at Moggill State school for at least the first 8 weeks of Term 2 as Mr Nathan Freeman continues to rest and recover. Thank you to the staff, parents and community members who have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome at Moggill State School – it's been greatly appreciated!

I wish our families and staff a relaxing and safe school holidays and Easter break, and we look forward to welcoming you back on Tuesday 23 April. Don't forget, that Thursday 25 April is also a public holiday (ANZAC Day), so we will be having a short week when we return!

March 27

At Moggill State School, we school fund the employment of several Teacher Aides in the morning. The school devotes funds to ensure that students who arrive before the bell (8.50am) have supervision before school. This supervision provided by the school is for a very limited timeframe, and is not a replacement for our Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) service. Students arriving before 8.30am should be enrolled in OSHC, so that they are adequately cared for and supervised in the morning.

Any parent/caregiver who arrives at school before the bell knows that this is very busy time of the day. Teacher Aides who are on duty at this time of the morning are responsible for the care of many children. They may make directions to students or redirect them in ways that are consistent with how we manage behaviour and mitigate risk on an everyday basis. There are many ways parents can help our very hard working aides in the mornings:

  • If you are with your children before school, please ensure you are supervising them closely and take responsibility for them at all times;
  • Be respectful and supportive of the requests Teacher Aides may make of you or your children before school – they are trying to make sure safety and effective management is being maintained;
  • Refer any issues to the closest Teacher Aide – under no circumstances should a parent attempt to resolve an issue between students;
  • Drop your child off as close as possible to the school's 8.50am start time.

I know as a community, we can work together to support our students to ensure that they have positive start to the school day.


March 27

Last week, our school recognised Harmony Day and Day of Action Against Bullying. As I addressed the issue of bullying in my previous newsletter article, I thought it would be timely to talk a little about the meaning of Harmony Day for our school community.
Harmony Day is celebrated annually on the 21 March in Australia. The continuing message of Harmony Day is 'Everyone Belongs'. It is about community participation, inclusiveness, celebrating diversity, respect and belonging. This year, in the wake of the terrible atrocious perpetuated in Christchurch, Harmony Day 2019 was a well-timed reminder of how important it is for every day Australians to practice tolerance, understanding and kindness in order to create a harmonious society.

Schools are becoming very aware of ensuring that we are inclusive of students with different cultural, ethnic, language and religious backgrounds (although we are not perfect at doing this yet!). However, the concept of inclusivity is much broader, and includes our students with disability.At Moggill State School, approximately 25 of our students have a verified disability and many more have an unverified disability (such as ADHD, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, speech-language delays, sensory difficulties, learning difficulties and so on). In Australia, we have a Disability Discrimination Act that articulates our obligations as a school (and as a society in general) to support the needs of students who, through no fault of their own, are unable to access education on the same or equal basis without support and adjustments. When you see a student either struggling with their behaviour or acting in a noncompliant way, it is easy to label that child as "naughty" or "bad". Yet, it might be that the child is struggling with anxiety, or does not have the language skills to express how they are feeling, or might not yet have met a certain level of brain development that allows them to be able to self-regulate efficiently. It could be that they might be having difficulty dealing with the sensory demands of a classroom or playground or need to recharge their "social battery" so that they interact effectively with others again. For some children, controlling their impulsivity and knowing the appropriate behaviour isn't because of "bad parenting" or a lack of school "discipline" but a result of diagnosed or yet to be diagnosed medical conditions.

To be truly inclusive, we need to all understand and support our students with disability. As a parent, you can help your child to create a world that promotes respect and belonging by ensuring that you speak openly about disability, promoting empathy for how people and children with disability may struggle with every-day tasks or situations through no fault of their own. It's important to not speak negatively about other children to, or in front of your child. Encouraging your child to make friendships with students with a disability (or suspected disability) is also important, as children with disabilities are still children first. They want friends, respect, and inclusion just the same as any other human being.  By promoting empathy and understanding for all children in our community is the best way to ensure our students grow into kind adults and minimises the risk of what all parents fear… bullying. As a community we can all do our part to ensure that we strive towards a harmonious school community – every day, and not just on one day of the year!
For more information about the Departments' Commitment to Inclusion, please visit the Education Queensland website.

March 21

In last week's newsletter, I announced the exciting news that as a result of the hard work of the P&C, the school is able to action the upgrade of the space between the hall and E block, through the establishment of a new Year 1 playground area. At the same time, a school funded outdoor learning area will be installed between Prep 1 and the hall.
These works will commence during the school holiday period, and it is anticipated that the completion period will be 10-12 weeks.
During this time, this area will be completed fenced off for the safety of our students, parents and the community (please see "mud map" below).

We know this will be initially inconvenient, however it will be short term pain for long term gain. Please ensure that during this time, you and your child remain outside of the fenced off area and adhere to any relevant signs or the directions of our staff.
The school will be finalising arrangements for alternative play areas for our Prep and Year 1 students and will notify you when these are finalised.



March 21

In this newsletter is an information pack inviting parents to nominate as a representative on the school council. The term of membership is for 2 years.

As a member of the school council you will be required to:

  • Be conversant with the School Council Constitution and the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006
  • Be familiar with the Department of Education and Training's strategic plan
  • Be familiar with the school's strategic plan
  • Understand the philosophy and core values on which the school's services and programs are based
  • Demonstrate a personal suite of values aligned to realising harmonious and constructive conversations and decision making
  • Offer an array of personal capabilities to assist creative and productive discussions and decision making relative to the strategic responsibilities of the school council
  • Be able to work cooperatively with other council members to ensure productive and constructive discussion
  • Be able to leave aside personal agendas and bias
  • Assist in strategic planning and development
  • Understand the difference and the delineation between operational, governance and strategic issues
  • Liaise with relevant stakeholder groups to effectively represent views and opinions of staff, parent and community bodies
  • Engage in shared leadership
  • Work with other council members, school personnel and other decision-making bodies, for the benefit and betterment of all students and the community
  • Demonstrate ability to follow through on tasks and meet associated timelines
  • Attend council meetings as required
  • Represent the school council and support decisions made
  • Actively promote and portray a positive image of the school council
  • Undertake extra activities or duties as requested by the council or the chair
  • Approve key strategic documents, as well as reviewing and monitoring school performance
  • Develop strategic initiatives that meet the unique needs of the students of the school
  • Keep the broad school community involved in the activities of the school council

A school council may not, under the Act:

  • interfere with management by the school's principal of day-to-day operations of the school and its curriculum (s.81(3)(a))
  • make operational decisions about the use of teaching or learning resources at the school (s.81(3)(b))
  • make decisions about the individual teaching style used, or to be used, at the school (s.81(3)(b))
  • make a decision that is contrary to law or a written policy of the department (s.81(3)(d))
  • have control of funds (s.82(a))
  • enter into contracts (s.82(b))
  • acquire, hold, dispose of or deal with property (s.82(c))
  • sue or be sued (s.82(d)) or
  • establish a committee or subcommittee (s.114).

Nomination forms for parent representative membership of the School Council is due to the school office by 4 pm on Tuesday 23 April 2019.

March 21

This week, all parents should have received an email detailing how to use the PTO system to book Parent-Teacher interviews for the last week of Term 1. 
After consultation with the P&C in 2018, this year the school has decided to trial using timed 8 minute interviews to provide parents/caregivers with a "snapshot" of how their child is progressing at school.
While we are aware that this is a quick turnaround time, it's important to know that should you have any further concerns about how your child is progressing at school, our teachers are open to making another meeting time with you early Term 2.
Our specialist teachers are also available for you to "drop in" and see them on the evening, so please look out for where they are situated on the night.
We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday 3 April 2019.

PTO Bookings OPEN Wednesday 20 March at 3pm
and CLOSE Wednesday 27 March at 3pm



March 21

With only just over 2 weeks of this term to go, we still have so many events to look forward to:

  • Harmony Day / National Day of Action
  • Senior Cross Country
  • Senior Athletics Carnival
  • Parent / Teacher Interviews
  • Easter Hat Parade

We look forward to seeing parents, grandparents and caregivers at these events, to celebrate the end of a busy, but successful term at Moggill State School!

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