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Annual School Report (2013)

St Michael's Primary School, Blacktown South

155 Reservoir Road, Blacktown South NSW 2148
Principal: Mr John Laffan
Phone: 9622 9910
Fax: 9622 6902


About the Annual School Report

St Michael's Primary School is registered by the Board of Studies (New South Walesas a member of the Catholic system of schools in the Diocese of Parramatta.

The Annual School Report provides parents and the wider school community with fair, accurate and objective information about various aspects of school performance and development. The Report describes achievement of school development priorities in 2013 and gives information about 2014 priorities.

This Report is a legislative requirement under the Schools Assistance Act, 2008.

The information in this Report is complemented by the school website where other school publications and newsletters can be viewed or obtained from the school

Message from key school bodies


I am proud to present to you the 2013 Annual School Report for St Michael's Primary School, Blacktown South.

The focus for 2013 was the continued growth and capacity building in Extending Mathematical Understanding (EMU); the gaining of a deeper understanding of the new English Syllabus with continued work in reading and writing and our ongoing faith formation through the writing of St Paul. Through 2013 we also applied a great deal of resources in building our understanding of co-teaching in Agile Flexible Learning Spaces.

During this year we continued to support teacher capacity through the ongoing work of triads. These professional networks brought teaching educators, teachers and school leaders in close professional relationship. Through teacher observation and feedback sessions we were able to ensure high levels of consistency in successful pedagogies. Through our core teams in English, Mathematics, Religious Education and curriculum we have found success in bringing about deep learning.

Over this period we found success when:

  • We were acting on student data.
  • We met and discussed student performance.
  • Following professional learning opportunities, we again shared our understandings and evaluation.
  • We planned programs together based on our understanding of children's needs and our new learnings.

This year we have planned further opportunities for the teachers to work through our framework for professional learning as highlighted by points one to four above.

At St Michael's Primary School we firmly believe that:

  • All children can succeed.
  • Knowing the child and providing the right stimulus and learning space will maximise engagement in learning.
  • Working closely with parents will support all of our work.

Parent body

St Michael's Primary School parent community has had a long tradition of support for the growth and building of our community. 

Through a vibrant Parents and Friends (P&F) the parent body support the school community by:

  • school fair
  • fundraising
  • Mothers Day/Fathers Day stalls
  • school disco

Parents are also involved in the school through:

  • English and Mathematics workshops
  • classroom support in numeracy and literacy
  • library support and book covering
  • excursions, sports training and sports carnivals
  • canteen

Student body

At St Michael's Primary School our students play a vital role in the day to day life of the school. School leaders and senior students lead assemblies and actively participate in award assemblies and liturgical celebrations.

Students at St Michael's Primary School are currently involved in movie making, school choir, Sports Tutor program and strings ensemble. In 2013 we developed a program of representative sporting teams including netball, rugby league, soccer and touch football. Each week our student leaders met with the assistant principal to provide feedback.

Who we are

History of school

St Michael's Primary School, Blacktown South, was established in 1962 by the Sisters of Mercy, who handed responsibility of the school over to the Presentation Sisters the next year. The Presentation Sisters served the St Michael's Primary School community with courage, determination and dedication until 1997. The charism of the Presentation Sisters is still visible in the school today.

The school motto, Love One Another, was chosen as it was the final instruction given by Nano Nagle to the order of Presentation Sisters which she founded.

Location/drawing area

St Michael's Primary School is a coeducational Catholic systemic school of the Diocese of Parramatta. It is the centre of learning for 726 students from Kindergarten to Year 6. Located in Blacktown South, the school consists of a high percentage of children from non-English speaking backgrounds and draws on students from Blacktown, Prospect, Doonside and Huntington Heights. It serves the parish of St Michael's.

Enrolment policy

St Michael's Primary School follows the Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) document, Enrolment Procedures in Parramatta Catholic Systemic Schools, January 2002. This document can be obtained from the school office or is available on the CEDP website

Current and previous years' student enrolments

Year Boys Girls Total
2011 375 370 745
2012 369 359 728
2013 352 376 728


Characteristics of the student body

The table below shows the number of students in each of the categories listed.

Language Backgrounds other than English (LBOTE)* Student with Disabilities (SWD)* Indigenous
 457 23 11


School review and development

Annual school priorities

 Priority Reason for the priority  Steps taken to achieve the priority Status of the priority (Achieved, not yet achieved, Ongoing, no longer a priority)
Our first priority was to develop our understanding of student growth points in Mathematics and develop high yield strategies which would ensure student growth in the four domains.
Teachers needed a deeper understanding of growth points and rich mathematical problems.
  • ongoing professional development in growth points, open rich mathematical problems, tracking of students, review of Maths Block, creation of rubrics
  • continuation of tTriads supporting teacher capacity through coaching and regular feedback
  • co-teaching and cooperative planning
  • development of technology in collecting and analysis of data
Our second priority was introducing the new English Syllabus and ensuring our developed pedagogy and literacy block supported all aspects of this new syllabus.
  • It was mandatory for all schools to commence operating from the new English Syllabus in 2014.
  • As a Focus 160 school we were required to maintain a focus on reading with special emphasis given to pedagogy around, Running Records, modelled reading and guided reading.
  • The National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) and other assessment data indicated our children's needs around comprehension and accessing information from a variety of texts.
  • a series of professional learning opportunities investigating all components of the new syllabus
  • linking new syllabus with our shared pedagogy
  • ensuring tracking of all readers through our data wall
  • ongoing resourcing of readers at approximately $70k
  • continued work in triads with a particular focus on Year 2
Our third priority was formation. In 2013 we continued to grow in our understanding of St Paul, his conversion and life. Through his letters we were able to reflect on what God was telling us and asking of us. Our purpose was to continue our faith formation and renewal and so ensure the ethos within our school was maintained and enhanced.
  • ongoing professional development sessions exploring the life and writings of St Paul
  • staff development days and reflection
  • Christian meditation sessions


Projected school priorities

 Priority Reason for the priority
Steps to be taken to achieve the priority
In 2014 we will continue to develop a consistent and shared whole-school practice in effectively tracking students' growth points.
  1. Data will drive our directions in teaching and learning.
  2. Understanding growth points provides clear benchmarks for measuring student growth and skills.
  3. Success of all students is our imperative.
  4. NAPLAN data indicates overall growth. However place value and multiplication and division require greater support.
  • continued development of the validation of Mathematical Assessment Interview
  • continued development of mathematical data walls
  • ongoing capacity building of teachers in consistent pedagogy in all phases of the numeracy block
  • extensive analysis of all data in leading our teaching and learning
In English we will develop our 2014 programs in response to the guidelines within the new English curriculum. This work will be supported by our existing pedagogy which is in keeping with our system intent.
  1. To ensure compliance with government and system requirements.
  2. Our assessment data points to reading, comprehension and writing as areas requiring high levels of intervention.
  3. Ongoing capacity building in contemporary pedagogy is required to ensure student achievement.
  • a series of inservice programs investigting the new English curriculum
  • analysis of all data with development and upgrading of our data wall a high priority
  • leadership attending system inservice around the subjects of reading and writing
  • continued program of Early Intervention

Catholic identity

Prayer, liturgical life and faith experiences

At St Michael's Primary School our prayer and liturgical life is celebrated through:

  1. staff prayer
  2. celebration of sacraments and support of the Parish sacramental program - Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation
  3. celebration of 'Opening Beginning School' with Nagle College
  4. class Reconciliation
  5. whole-school liturgies for Mothers Day and Fathers Day
  6. St Michael's Feast Day
  7. Holy Week celebrations

Social justice

Our motto, Love One Another, is the benchmark for all our social justice experiences.

Our response to different charities, and the needs of our poor and cultural groups is ever present. Policy and programs including fee support, Sudanese homework classes and family outreach, allow us to live out our motto.

School, home and parish partnerships

At St Michael's Primary School the links between school, home and parish are maintained through strong relationship with our parish priest.

Our parish priest supports our school through celebration of Eucharist and attendance at significant celebrations throughout the year. He also supports religious education curriculum through close association with the Religious Education coordinator and class visitation.

Members of our parent community are always welcomed at our school liturgies. 

Finally, we work closely with our Sacramental coordinator in planning and facilitating parent meetings.

Religious Education

Religious Education

The school faithfully follows the Diocesan syllabus, Sharing Our Story. This classroom-based program provides a systematic and comprehensive form of Religious Education. The programs incorporate the various teaching and learning processes that characterise other contemporary classroom programs. 

As religious educators, teachers use a wide range of educational strategies to encourage the learner to reflect on self, the world and God in the light of personal experience, sacred Scripture and tradition. In so doing they seek to cultivate reflection; discernment; decision making and action; and to nurture the development of an informed conscience.

Professional learning of staff in Religious Education

In 2013 we continued work in understanding the 'Letter of St Paul'. This work promoted our goal of supporting evangelisation and faith renewal in both our adult lives and religious education.

Learning and teaching

National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) 2013

Students in Year 3 and Year 5 across Australia participated in National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) in May 2013. The purpose of this test is to provide information to parents and teachers about the achievements of students in aspects of Literacy and aspects of Numeracy. The test provides a measure of the students’ performance against established standards and against other students in Australia. Each year the results are analysed by the school to inform teaching with a view to improving student performance.

The Commonwealth Government sets minimum acceptable standards for literacy, numeracy, reading, writing, grammar, punctuation and spelling at particular ages. These are referred to as national minimum standards. Band 2 is the minimum standard for Year 3 and band 4 is the minimum standard for Year 5. Student performance in NAPLAN in our school is compared to these standards. The percentages of students achieving at or above these national minimum standards, and the percentages of students in the top three bands are reported in the table below.

 % of students at or above national minimum standard% of students in top three bands
Year 3:    
Literacy100.00 95.00 82.47 71.70
Numeracy95.90 95.80 68.04 62.00
Reading100.00 95.30 73.20 69.30
Writing99.00 95.00 86.60 75.40
Grammar and Punctuation97.90 95.30 72.16 73.40
Spelling94.80 93.90 72.16 67.40
Year 5:    
Literacy99.00 94.00 56.86 58.17
Numeracy92.10 93.40 39.60 51.70
Reading98.00 96.20 58.82 62.80
Writing94.20 91.70 51.46 51.90
Grammar and Punctuation96.10 94.80 54.37 61.50
Spelling96.10 93.10 67.96 58.30

In all areas, except Year 5 Numeracy, the percentage of students are above Australian standards. The school is showing increasing growth in our NAPLAN results.

School curriculum

At St Michael's Primary School there are two special education teachersThe success of our Special Education program is based upon the cooperative relationship between school, parents and specialistsIndividual Program (IP) meetings take place regularly and support the development of student needsThe Special Education program is further supported by the Catholic Education Office (CEO) and their team of specialist teachers, for students with sensory or communication disabilities, and speech therapists, communication and fine motor specialists.

As well, additional teaching programs in Music, Physical Education, Dance and Movement are offered to all students.

Transition programs exist at St Michael's Primary School which assist children entering a new phase of their learningIdentified preschool children are invited to attend a Transition program prior to attending KindergartenTransition to Kindergarten involves the following:

  • preschool interview, term 2
  • identification of students with specific learning needs, English as a Second Language (ESL), phase 1 learners, and children who have not attended preschool
  • identified children invited to attend the Step Up To School program
  • 0ngoing monitoring of children who participated in the Step Up To School program
  • parent information evening
  • orientation morning for children
  • communication with families during Christmas holidays
  • orientation week
  • a welcome to St Michael's Primary School barbecue

Year 6 children entering secondary school attend reflection daysinformation sessions, open days and visits from our local Catholic high schools.

Year 5 children attend a leadership day to highlight the responsibilities to be undertaken in Year 6.

An orientation session from Year to Year takes place in term 4 each year.

The school offers a wide variety of co-curricular activities for our students, which include:

  • rugby league, soccer, netball, basketball, touch football
  • cross country
  • swimming
  • chess
  • Voice of Youth
  • choir
  • dramatic arts

Initiatives to promote respect and responsibility

At St Michael's Primary School:
  • All staff and students have the right to a safe and supportive environment, free from any form of abuse or discrimination.
  • The relationships between staff and students are governed by trust; the ethical values of the teaching profession and the specific ethos and culture of Catholic education.
  • Staff and student interactions take place within an employer and employee relationship that involves specific and mutual rights and responsibilities.
  • All of these relationships take place within a legal context that supports the rights of all concerned.

In 2013 we again developed a new response in meeting the needs of our refugee families from AfricaA series of meetings and social gatherings supported topics such as 'Relating to Children', 'Life in Australia' and 'Cultural Differences'.

In both 2012 and 2013 we continued our work with Nagle College, Blacktown South, in a Sudanese Homework program.

Parent satisfaction with the school

During 2013, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta engaged insight SRC to conduct the Quality Catholic Schooling (QCS) survey to provide feedback from parents, students and staff about our school. This survey will be conducted annually.

The QCS data collected and reported showed and highlighted:

  • the strong bonds between school and parish
  • the need to support greater understanding of new pedagogy

Student satisfaction with the school

The QCS data showed student at St Michael's Primary School felt a high level of teacher motivation and support. Children believed that a safer school environment was best supported by clearly expressed expectations.

Teacher satisfaction with the school

The QCS data showed:

  • Teachers expressed satisfaction and a high level of support for learning.
  • Teachers expressed a need to build levels of empowerment and team work.
  • Teachers expressed a high level of satisfaction when working within their teams.

Workforce composition

Number of Staff
Number of teachers who hold teaching qualifications from a higher education institution within Australia or as recognised by AEI-NOOSR*.
Number of teachers who have a bachelor degree from a higher education institution within Australian or within AEI-NOOSR* guidelines but lacking formal teacher qualifications.
Number of teachers who do not have qualifications as above but have relevant successful teaching experience or appropriate knowledge relevant to their teaching context.
Number of teachers accredited to teach Religious Education
Number of teachers currently undertaking accreditation to teach Religious Education
Number of non-teaching staff (includes teachers aides)
Percentage of teacher who are Indigenous 0

*Australian Education International - National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition

Professional learning

This included:

  • faith formation with and through the letters of St Paul
  • English curriculum
  • developing skills in Reading Recovery
  • extending skills in guided reading
  • developing numeracy blocks
  • creating Mathematics data walls

Teacher attendance and retention rates

Teacher attendance

The average teacher attendance for 2013 was 94.38%.

Teacher retention

Of the 2013 teaching staff, 94% were retained from 2012.

Student attendance rates

Percentage of student attendance by Year level and school average:

Kindergarten Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 School Average
 96.3 94.1 95.5 95.6  96.4  95.2  95.3  95.3

Managing non-attendance

Regular attendance at school is essential if students are to maximise their potential. Schools, in partnership with parents and guardians, are responsible for promoting the regular attendance of students. The compulsory schooling age is 6 to 17. Parents and guardians are legally responsible for the regular attendance of their children, explaining the absences of their children in writing within seven days to the school, and taking measures to resolve attendance issues involving their children. School staff, as part of their duty of care, monitor part or whole day absences. They maintain accurate records of student attendance, follow up unexplained absences through written and verbal communication, implement programs and practices to address attendance issues when they arise, and provide clear information to students and parents regarding attendance requirements and the consequences of unsatisfactory attendance. The principal or their delegate may grant permission for late arrival at school or early departure from school, leave, or exemption from attendance only in individual cases, on written request from parents and guardians. The principal/delegate will undertake all reasonable measures to contact parents promptly if an unexplained absence occurs. If truancy is suspected, the principal will contact the parents/guardians to ascertain the reason for the absence. If a satisfactory response is not received, the matter will be referred to Catholic Education Office staff for follow up.

Pastoral care of students

Student welfare, discipline and anti-bullying policies and pastoral care

At St Michael's Primary School we have as our basis the belief that each member of our school community is a unique person created in the image of God and must be valued as suchIt is through our school motto, Love One Another, that we must endeavour each day to show our commitment to this belief and that

  • Positive student management creates an atmosphere of total care within our school community.
  • Student management supports parents in their role as primary educators of their children.
  • Student management aims to help each child grow to his or her potential socially, emotionally, spiritually, academically, intellectually and physically.
  • Student management enables children to be responsible for their own behaviour and to identify inappropriate behaviour; make better choices and modify their actions when required.

St Michael's Primary School has an Anti-bullying policy as part of our Welfare and Wellbeing policy which is communicated to staff, students and parents through assemblies and newsletters. Bullying is totally against the mission and vision of St Michael's Primary School.

The school is committed to providing an educational environment in which students feel valued and secure. To achieve this end, we have created a school culture of respect and understanding.

The full text of student management, welfare and discipline policies can be obtained through the school office. There were no changes to our policies during 2013.

Complaints and grievances policy

The school has formal written protocols in place to address complaints and grievances. These protocols are in line with the Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta Complaint Handling policy. A copy of the school policy is available from the school office or is available on the CEDP website There were no changes to the policy during this year.

Financial statement

School recurrent and capital income

School recurrent and capital income

In 2013 St Michael's Primary School received $49,633.00 as interest subsidy.

Our school community is appreciative of the support it received from the NSW State Government under the Interest Subsidy Scheme and looks forward to the implementation of the Building Grants Assistance Scheme as these are of vital importance to the ongoing wellbeing of this school.

Fees relate to diocesan and school based fees, excursions and other private income from fundraisers.

State relates to State Recurrent Grants including per capita funding, interest subsidy and special purpose grants.

Commonwealth relates to Commonwealth Recurrent Grants including per capita funding and special purpose grants.

Capital relates to Government Capital Grants including monies received under the Building Education Revolution.

Other refers to Other Capital Income including drawdowns from the Diocesan School Building Fund to fund Capital Expenditure.

School recurrent and capital expenditure

School recurrent and capital expenditure

Salary refers to the total of all Salaries, allowances and related expenses such as superannuation, workers compensation and leave.

Non-Salary refers to all other Non-Salary Recurrent Expenses.

Capital refers to Non-Recurrent Capital Expenditure including School Buildings, Furniture and Equipment.

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