Update on Building Works

Construction on the Iona building has officially kicked off, marked by the commencement of demolition work within the internal spaces yesterday. The sound of heavy machinery and the sight of debris removal signify the initial steps towards transforming this space. As walls come down and interiors are stripped bare, the promise of a new beginning looms large. This pivotal moment, with not just the physical reshaping of the building but also the anticipation of what is to come—a revitalised structure ready to serve its purpose anew.

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Lael Stone - Parent Session Bookings

Lael Stone is an educator, TEDx speaker, author, mother, and parenting counsellor who has been working with families for over 20 years. Her work as a birth educator, post-natal trauma counsellor, and parenting educator has seen her work with thousands of families consulting about newborns all the way to the teen years.

She is the co-creator of Woodline Primary School, an innovative new school based on emotional well-being and connection. Lael is the co-host of The Aware Parenting Podcast and a sought-after public speaker who talks candidly about her experiences and her great passion for creating wellness in families through connection and communication.

As well as sitting on a few advisory boards and consulting with organisations around emotional awareness and trauma-informed practices, she has teamed up with The Resilience Project to deliver presentations about raising resilient children all over Australia in 2022/2023.

Tips for parents will include:

  • Guiding our children to be resilient adults
  • Practical Strategies to build stronger connections with your children
  • Supporting your children through challenging situations
  • Simple ways to create cooperation
  • Dealing with our own triggers as a parent 
  • Understanding big emotions and feelings

We welcome Lael next Tuesday evening as a guest speaker to share her wisdom with our parent community at 6:00 pm at Mary’s Mount Loreto College Ballarat. Please book via the trybooking link here.

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Foundation Wednesday Rest Days for Term 1

Foundation students will not attend school on the following Wednesday's for Term 1:
Wednesday 14th February
Wednesday 21st February
Wednesday 28th February
Wednesday 20th March

Please be advised Foundation student literacy & numeracy assessment days will scheduled during these Foundation Rest Days. Foundation teachers will provide further information.

Please note the following:
Wednesday 6th March - Students will attend due to School Closure Day
Wednesday 13th March - Students will attend due to Labour Day Long Weekend
Wednesday 27th March - Students will attend due to Good Friday Public Holiday

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School Advisory Council Meeting

The School Advisory Council is an active body made up of members of the school community who work in consultation with the Principals and represent the parent body to act as a conduit in providing feedback and thoughts around Community Engagement and future direction for our school. The SAC is also involved in positively promoting the school through marketing in the parish and community.

Our first meeting for the year will be held on Wednesday 28th February at 5:30 pm at the school. An induction process for new members will facilitated by Jo Anne Bond at this meeting, along with the allocation of roles and responsibilities within the group for the 2024 school year.

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Year 5 / 6 Urban Camp

The recent Urban Camp for our Year 5/6 cohort was an immense success, leaving our students brimming with excitement and new experiences. Throughout the trip, they were treated to a diverse array of Melbourne's cultural and historical landmarks, from the solemn tranquillity of the Shrine and the grandeur of St Patrick's Cathedral to the lively bustle of Lygon Street. The visit to the Melbourne Zoo allowed our students to marvel at the wonders of the animal kingdom, while the tour of the Old Melbourne Gaol offered a glimpse into the city's darker past. The highlight for many was undoubtedly the dinner in Lygon Street, where they indulged in delicious cuisine and soaked in the vibrant atmosphere of one of Melbourne's most iconic dining precincts. Overall, the Urban Camp provided our students with an enriching and unforgettable experience, fostering a deeper appreciation for the diversity and richness of our city's culture and history.

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Important Dates

Term 1
Wednesday 14th FebruaryAsh Wednesday - Mass @ 9.30am
Tuesday 20th FebruaryVisiting Author/Speaker - Lael Stone Parent Presentation - 6:00 pm @ Mary’s Mount - Loreto Ballarat  (Please note change of venue) 
Wednesday 28th FebruarySAC Meeting 5:30 pm in St Columba’s Staffroom
Friday 8th MarchSchool Closure Day - Staff Professional Learning
Monday 11th MarchLabour Day Long Weekend - Public Holiday
Tuesday 12th & Wednesday 13th MarchStaff/Parent Meet & Greets - 3:15pm
Monday 18th MarchCaritas K's - Liturgy & Walk (TBA)
Monday 25th & Tuesday 26th MarchYear 3 /4 Camp - Log Cabin
Wednesday 27th March

Year 3 /4 Staff TIL Aquittal Day - No new learning day for community post camp (camp reflection day)

Thursday 28th MarchHoly Week Re-enactments
Thursday 28th MarchLast Day for Students - 2:30 pm finish
Friday 29th MarchGood Friday - Public Holiday School
Sunday 31st March

Easter Sunday



Term 2


Monday 15th April

First Day back for students and staff for Term 2

Thursday 18th April

Sports Day at Llanberris

Tuesday 23rd April

School Photo Day

Thursday 25th April

ANZAC Day Public Holiday


Kind regards,

Bambi Afford & Shaun Mohr
Co-Principals

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Welcome

Dear Families,

As we embark upon the Lenten Season, we invite you to join us in this sacred journey of reflection and renewal. Today marks Shrove Tuesday, a day of feasting and celebration before the solemnity of Lent begins. In observance of this tradition, we will participate in various activities within our school community. Additionally, we are delighted to announce that our students will attend the Ash Wednesday Mass at 9:30 am tomorrow alongside the parishioners of St. Columba's. This Mass is an opportunity for spiritual growth and communion with our wider faith community. We encourage you to embrace this Lenten period as a time of introspection, prayer, and growth. Together, let us walk this path of faith with humility and grace.

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Lael Stone - Parent Session Bookings

Please note change of venue: This event will now be hosted at Mary’s Mount, Loreto. We thank Loreto for their assistance in hosting this event and making it available to larger numbers.

As part of our ongoing work in building community and supporting families, we are excited to be able to announce we have Lael Stone working with us this year. Lael may be familiar to some families through her writing or popular TED talk - How to raise emotionally intelligent children. Lael’s work looks at how we build relationships and connections with our children, dealing with big emotions and managing our own triggers as parents. Lael will be working with staff on how we develop relationships within the classroom, set boundaries and expectations in a positive manner, and create a positive learning environment. 

Lael will be running a parent session on Tuesday 20 Feb 2024 6:00pm

Please use the following trybooking link to confirm your attendance and numbers (please complete this even if you have previously responded to the Google Form)

https://www.trybooking.com/COTUF

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Foundation Wednesday Rest Days for Term 1

Foundation students will not attend school on the following Wednesday's for Term 1:
Wednesday 7th February
Wednesday 14th February
Wednesday 21st February
Wednesday 28th February
Wednesday 20th March

Please be advised Foundation student literacy & numeracy assessment days will scheduled during these Foundation Rest Days. Foundation teachers will provide further information.

Please note the following:
Wednesday 6th March - Students will attend due to School Closure Day
Wednesday 13th March - Students will attend due to Labour Day Long Weekend
Wednesday 27th March - Students will attend due to Good Friday Public Holiday

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Entrances & Exit points for the school

Please note the change to entry and exit gates. 

The YMCA Bus will now depart from Howard Street's top gate.

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Technology Update

Safer Internet Day will take place next Tuesday. As a part of each Learning Community’s STEM lessons, they will explore some age appropriate ways to stay safe online. Safer Internet Days takes place in February each year to raise awareness of a safer and better internet for all. 

Parents and carers play a crucial role in empowering and supporting children and young people to use digital technologies responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. There are plenty of ways for you to participate in Safer Internet Day, whether it is by ensuring an open dialogue with your children, educating them to use digital technologies safely and positively or acting as digital role models. 

Over the next week, all students from Years 3-6 will receive their St Columba’s Technology Agreement. We encourage you to explore the creation of your own Family Technology Agreement, which is a set of rules about how devices, like tablets and gaming consoles are used in your home. We have attached a link to a resource from the eSafety commissioner which outlines how to create a Family Technology Agreement. Talking with your child about tech rules will help develop their digital intelligence  and build good habits around technology. The eSafety commissioners website also provides free webinars for parents and carers, which can be found using the link below.

Creating a Family Technology Agreement

Webinars for Parents and Carers 

Safer Internet Day February 6th 2024

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Important Dates

Term 1
Friday 3rd FebruaryBeginning of the Year School Mass 9:30 am at St Columba’s Parish Church - All welcome
Tuesday 6th February2024 Information Session - All levels 4:00 pm  - 5:00 pm
Wednesday 7th February

Open Classrooms 3:15pm-3:45pm

School Welcome Picnic - 3:45 pm start - 4:30 pm

Thursday 8th & Friday 9th FebruaryYear 5/6 Camp
Monday 12th February

Year 5/6 Staff TIL Aquittal Day - No new learning day for community post camp (camp reflection day)

Tuesday 13th FebruaryShrove Tuesday
Wednesday 14th FebruaryAsh Wednesday
Tuesday 20th FebruaryVisiting Author/Speaker - Lael Stone Parent Presentation - 6:00 pm @ Mary’s Mount - Loreto Ballarat  (Please note change of venue) 
Friday 8th MarchSchool Closure Day - Staff Professional Learning
Monday 11th MarchLabour Day Long Weekend - Public Holiday
Tuesday 12th & Wednesday 13th MarchStaff/Parent Meet & Greets - 3:15pm
Monday 25th & Tuesday 26th MarchYear 3 /4 Camp - Log Cabin
Wednesday 27th March

Year 3 /4 Staff TIL Aquittal Day - No new learning day for community post camp (camp reflection day)

Thursday 28th MarchHoly Week Re-enactments
Thursday 28th MarchLast Day for Students - 2:30 pm finish
Friday 29th MarchGood Friday - Public Holiday School
Sunday 31st March

Easter Sunday



Term 2


Monday 15th April

First Day back for students and staff for Term 2

Thursday 18th April

Sports Day at Llanberris

Tuesday 23rd April

School Photo Day

Thursday 25th April

ANZAC Day Public Holiday


Kind regards,

Bambi Afford & Shaun Mohr
Co-Principals

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Welcome

Dear Families,

As we embrace the new school year, it brings us great joy to share how seamlessly our students have settled back into the rhythm of school life after the summer holidays. The enthusiasm and positive energy radiating from our classrooms is truly inspiring.

Students have quickly reconnected with their peers and teachers, forming strong bonds that contribute to the vibrant and supportive learning environment here at St Columba’s. The dedication of our educators and staff to creating nurturing spaces has played a pivotal role in this smooth transition. 

We are immensely proud of their resilience, adaptability, and commitment to making this academic year a resounding success, particularly when we add the Building project and reduced yard space into the equation. Our students have embraced these changes enthusiastically, and we look forward to a year filled with growth, exploration, and shared accomplishments.

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2024 Student Free Days

Tuesday 30th January 2024DIBELS Training / Staff Professional Learning
Friday 7th June 2024Structured Literacy Curriculum Day
Monday 15th July 2024Structured Literacy Curriculum Day
Friday 1st  November 2024Structured Literacy Curriculum Day
Monday 4th November 2024 (Melb Cup Eve)Curriculum Day

Local School Closure Days:

Student-free days are days where students do not attend school within the gazetted attendance period but are designated for staff professional development, school professional development activities, planning. Each year, the first day of term one and the last day of term four will be a student free day in all schools. 

In exceptional circumstances, the Executive Director of Catholic Education Ballarat or delegate can approve days beyond the normal 6 Student Free Days.

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Foundation Wednesday Rest Days for Term 1

Wednesday 7th February
Wednesday 14th February
Wednesday 21st February
Wednesday 28th February
Wednesday 6th March
Wednesday 13th March
Wednesday 20th March
Wednesday 26th March

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End of Year Reports to Parents - via PAM

Your child’s school report is now available for download from the PAM. These reports represent your child’s achievements to the end of this current year. Thank you to our teachers and band of proofreaders for supporting this process.

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Year 6 Graduation

Congratulations to all students who will participate in the Year Six Graduation Ceremony tonight. It will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with family and friends and mark this special occasion. Thanks must go to our Staff, in particular, the 5/6 Staff for their organisation and ensuring the Graduands are well prepared. Thanks also to our band of parent helpers who have willingly given their time to ensure the students have a night to remember.

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2024 Revision of Student Medical Needs

PAM medical accounts will be reset next week. We ask all families to take some time over the holiday break to ensure their child/ren’s medical needs are updated. If your Child suffers from Asthma, Anaphylaxis or any other medical condition, please ensure you see your Family Doctor over the break to request an updated medical plan. Please ensure you provide this to the Administration Staff at the commencement of the year. Thank you for supporting this important process.

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Leaving Families

It is always sad to say farewell to many families who are moving on either to secondary school or beyond. We wish these families every blessing for their future and take this opportunity to thank them for their support over the years.

The Bourke Family (Elliott)

The Burton Family (Joey)

The Chetcuti Family (Zara)

The Clark Family (Finn)

The Eeles Family (Addi)

The Gleeson Family (Sam)

The Grant Family (Charlotte)

The Hoiles Family (Bodhi)

The Jones Family (Sadie)

The Joyce Family (Inigo)

The Kinniburgh Family (Mali)

The Lin Family (Shanae)

The Mardling Family (Ethan)

The Martin Family (Poppy)

The McCarthy Family (Tanner)

The Newton-Powell Family (Jie and Lun)

The O’Keeffe Family (Liam)

The O’Keeffe Family (Samara)

The Ripper Family (Arli)

The Taylor Family (Patto)

The Valenzuela Family (Harry)


The Reus Family (Trixie)

The Ormrod Family (Madeline)

The Parkinson Family (Seth & Lily)

The Pougnault Family  (Jonte, Sebastian, Reuben)

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Baby News

We would like to congratulate Keely and Darren on the announcement that they are expecting their first bundle of joy next year. As you can imagine this is an exciting time for Keely & Darren and their families and our school staff. We wish them every happiness and joy throughout this exciting journey.

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