General School Information


Attendance at school is compulsory and therefore we must have notification explaining any absence a child may have from school. This is a legal requirement. Parents can fill in the online absence form available via the school website and school App and this satisfies the legal requirements for absences. All student absences should be made prior to 8.30am in the day of the student absence.



St. Mary's Out of School Hours Care program is managed by "CAMP AUSTRALIA". Camp Australia is a reputable family owned and operated business and the leading OSHC operator in Australia, providing a range of services in child care, sports coaching and events. They currently run OSHC programs in over 250 schools, including a number in the local area. The Program is a fee for service program offered to parents who need to drop children off before school hours or are unable to collect their children after school hours.
The program runs all year round and operates form 7.00 - 8.30am and from the end of school until 6.00pm.
Reimbursement of program fees is available through Centrelink, if eligibility is established. Non Payment of fees may eliminate children from attending. Enrolment Forms are available at the OSHC House, School Office or online at Bookings can be made on 1300105343.



We have several children in our school who are anaphylactic, which means they have serious allergic reactions.
Each of these children has an individual Action Plan and EpiPen provided by the parent. These are clearly displayed in our First Aid Room. A photo of these children, with a copy of our School Anaphylaxis Management Plan, is displayed in our tuckshop, staffroom and in the children's classroom.



If your child suffers from asthma we ask that you fill in the School Astma Action Plan, have it signed by your child's doctor, and return it to the school. This form is kept on file in our sick bay for future reference.



Bullying is not tolerated in any form. When dealing with bullying behviour we adopt a Restorative Approach outlined in our Behaviour Management Policy.

We particpate in the National Day of Action Against Bullying in March each year and make it the focus of our work in the area.



Assembly is conducted on Monday afternoon commencing at 2.20pm., in the hall, and twice per month Prayer Assemblies are conducted in the Church commencing at 2.20pm. Parents are welcome to join the school community for assembly.
A class level is responsible for conducting the assembly each week.
Items may include:

Birthdays in our school
Principal's Awards
News and Information
A musical/class item
News from around the rooms
Sports reports and much more.



During the year the school arranges for Ashton Scholastic Book Club to distribute to the children a range of their publications. Book Club offers children an opportunity to purchase high quality books at reasonable prices.
Order forms and money are to be returned to school by the set date. Books are distributed to children when they arrive from the publisher.
Parents are under no obligation to purchase books from Book Club.



2 Year Prep Classes
3 Year 1/2 Classes

3 Year 3/4 Classes

1 Year 4/5 Class

3 Year 5/6 Classes



Child Safety Code of Conduct & Policy

We have a Child Safety Code of Conduct that establishes for all staff working with our children, clear behavioural expectations and boundaries. Our 2016 Code of Conduct recognises the critical role that our staff play in protecting the children in our care.



Communication is an essential element in your child's education. It is important that the school communicates with you and that you communicate with the school. Education of your child is a partnership between the family (home) and St. Mary's School. In order to maximise the benefits for your child we must communicate effectively.
The school communicates with parent in the following ways:



An eNews is sent home every Friday afternoon via email. Parents need to subscribe to the newsletter via the 'subscribe' button on the school website. All information/reports and other relevant information will be included in the Newsletter. Where possible no information will be sent home on other days. 



We have a school app which can be downloaded for the App Store for iPhones of Google Play for Androids. Alerts and calendar dates are sent out via the App as well as access to the online absentee form. 



OPEROO is a Health and Safety platform that we are introduced in 2017. It ensures parents can provide the school with the most up to date medical and emergency information for their children. It is also the means of notifying parents of upcoming excursions and camps and gaining permission for children to attend.



From time to time the school will conduct evenings for parents on specific topics. These may be curriculum related, on religious education or simply administrative. We encourage all parents to attend these evenings. You will find it much easier to help your child if you are well informed about what is going on.



The Office window is always open and parents are encouraged to come and see us about any concerns or problems that they may have. If you wish to meet with the Principal an appointment can be made by contacting the school office on 9398 4842.



During the first few weeks of school a 'Meet the Teacher' afternoon is arranged. This is an opportunity for all parents to meet their child's teacher. We encourage you to come along and tell the class teacher about your child.



Towards the end of the second term, mid year reports are issued. At this time we schedule a Parent/Teacher/Student Interview where your child's progress is discussed in a formal setting. Appointments are made and you are encouraged to attend these meetings. At the end of terms one and three, opportunities are provided for parent/teacher/student contact.



Are always available to discuss your child's progress at St. Mary's. Please do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher. Parent/Teacher night does not just happen in June. You are welcome at any time.
Please be aware that the teachers do have commitments after school i.e. Committee meetings etc., so making and appointment would be preferable. Please also be aware that at 15 minutes to nine in the morning teachers are in the midst of commencing their day's work. This may not always be the best time to catch teachers for 'just a minute....'



If you can't call in to arrange an appointment then please call us. We encourage all parents to use the phone to call us if you have any concerns or if the situation in the home changes in any way. Often changes at home are reflected in behaviour and attitude at school. We need to know if a child's circumstances have changed.



We do have email, so if it is more convenient to use email, then please do so. We will acknowledge receiving your email ASAP. A response will be sent to you as soon as practicable.



We do have a School Facebook Page. Our intent is to grow our school and communities understanding of social media and to make connecting with our school more convenient. Our Facebook page is a place where we build our community by building school spirit. We ask that our community accentuate the positives and bring to everyone's attention the little things that make our school community great. Please do not access our Facebook page until you have read our "Code of Conduct". This can be accessed on our school website.



The classroom environment is such that contagious diseases can spread very quickly and epidemics are not unknown in schools. In order to reduce the possibility of a serious outbreak occurring, it is required that the instructions below are strictly adhered to.



Chicken Pox

Fully recovered. Some remaining scabs are not an indication of continued exclusion

Conjunctivitis Discharge from eyes has stopped
Diarrhoea Diarrhoea has stopped
Hepatitis A Receipt of medical certificate of recovery from infection or until symptoms disappear
Hepatitis B Recovery form acute attack
Impetigo Until sores have fully healed. The child may be allowed to return providing appropriate treatment is being applied and that the sores on exposed surfaces such as scalp. face, hands and legs are properly covered with occlusive dressing.
Measles At least seven days from appearance of rash or until a medical certificate is produced. All children who have not had a measles/mumps vaccine will be excluded from school if there is an outbreak of measles.
Mumps Fully recovered

Pediculosis (Head Lice)

Appropriate treatment has commenced
Ringworm  Appropriate treatment has commenced

Rubella (German Measles)

Fully recovered and at least 5 days from onset of the rash
Scabies Appropriate treatment has begun
Slapped Cheek School exclusion is not required
Whooping Cough Two weeks after the onset of the illness and until a receipt of medical certificate indicating recovery from infection


If your child contracts any of the above diseases or other infections etc which have the potential to spread quickly, it is vitally important that you contact the office immediately.



The school may call up to six curriculum days during the year. This allows staff time to work on curriculum development. planning and other activities which require time for development. Four weeks notice is required before the school may call a curriculum day. The school is not open on these days.



In families where Custody/Access Orders are in force it is essential that the school is aware of and has a copy of the restraints/conditions of these orders. We cannot guarantee the safety of the children if this type of information is not passed onto us. Your cooperation in this matter is essential.



If you have a medical, dental or personal appointment for your child and it requires them to leave school before the allocated time, you must call the office and complete and 'Early Release' form. This form is to be handed to the class teacher.
Teacher will not release children unless an 'Early Release' form has been signed.
Parent are asked to arrange appointments etc. out of school hours if this is possible.
Parents who have arranged for another person to collect children must telephone the school and inform office personnel of the person's name and identity.



If you are a holder of a current Health Benefits Card, Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card, you are eligible for the Education Maintenance Allowance. This payment entitles you to $221.00 towards the costs of educating your child. $110.50 is paid to the card holder and $110.50 is paid directly to the schools towards education costs for your child. Please call at the office for further details and an application form.



Excursions/Incursions are an integral part of your child's educational program, provided for at St. Mary's. Excursions/Incursions can be a stimulus to learning and provide different experiences for your child, which are not possible within some family situations.
All children are expected to take part in school excursions/incursions unless a valid reason has been given for not doing so.





Family Fee - $1575 - This is charged per family



Curriculum Levy for 2021 is $225.00 - This is charged per child
The levy covers the following items:

Classroom Materials
Religious Education
Student Welfare Programs
Curriculum Resource Development
Various visiting educational activities



Curriculum Levy for 2021 is $70 - This is charged per child



One third of your total school fee is to be paid by 26th March, two thirds of the total fee by 25th June and the final third paid by 17th September.  Failure to do so will result in your account being placed in arrears.



There are a number of other costs that occur during the course of the school year. The Camp/Outdoor Education Program, Swimming program are likely to be the main costs. Notification of these events will be given well in advance and the cost will be added to your school fee account.


Prep:        Swimming Programme $81, Camp $5

Grade 1:   Swimming Programme $81, Camp $30

Grade 2:   Swimming Programme $81, Camp $30

Grade 3:   Reconciliation $40, Camp (1day, 2 night) $255

Grade 4:   First Eucharist Programme $40, Camp (1day, 2 night) $255

Grade 5:   Camp (2 nights, 3 days) $270, Interschool Sport $45

Grade 6:   Camp (2 nights, 3 days) $270, Big Day Out $105, Confirmation Programme $50, Graduation $75, Interschool Sport $45, Year 6 Rugby Top $25



Piano, keyboard and guitar lessons are conducted by a private company called Creative Music. They currently conduct lessons during school time. They can be contacted on 9818 2333 or visit for further details.



We understand that from time to time families can suffer a financially stressful time. If this is the case, and school fees are unable to be paid at the time, please do not hesitate to make an appointment to see the Principal and some mutually agreeable arrangement can be instigated. It is not our policy to ask children to leave the school because families are suffering financial hardship.



If a child is hurt or injured in class or in the yard, they are sent to the office where appropriate attention will be administered. We have a well maintained and cheerful First Aid Room adjacent to the office. Every child treated is issued with a slip recording the type of injury and treatment. Serious injuries are reported to the parent via telephone as well as recorded in an Accident Record Book. Every care is taken for the welfare of the children.



In the interests of security for all children, all gates leading into the school property are locked after 9.00am and are not unlocked until 3.10pm. (2.50pm Monday). Access to the school is gained through the administration area during school hours.



We value and promote healthy eating and good nutrition. It is important that children have a balanced and wholesome diet for good health and optimum learning. We ask parents to help us in our endeavours to teach the children about the importance of healthy eating by filling their lunch boxes with nutritious foods for them to eat throughout the day.

'Brain Food' is an important part of our day at St. Mary's. Teachers encourage the children to eat fruit and vegetable snacks at set times during the day to aid concentration. Water bottles are also essential and our children are encouraged to have a water bottle with them in the classroom and at specialist classes so they can drink throughout the day.
We promote messages for healthy living: Tap into Water Everyday / Plant Fruit and Veg in your Lunch box / Limit 'Occasionally' Foods / Move, Play & Go / Stride and Ride / Turn Off, Switch to Play. 



The House competition has been in operation for a number of years and is a points based competition. All students are allocated a House colour (Red, Blue, Green or Yellow). Children are encouraged to participate in competitions for House points. These competitions may include cultural events, such as National Anthem singing competition, or and athletic competition such as House Relay competition. These competitions are usually run at lunch time. Houses can also win points for maintaining the tidiest yard area. All children are encouraged to participate in this aspect of the House Competition. Children may also win points for being involved in school based activities. Children are also expected to attend House meetings one or twice per term. The House with the most points at the end of the year has the House name engraved on the Cup.





Term One: Wednesday 27th January - Thursday 1st April

Term Two: Tuesday 19th April - Friday 25th June

Term Three: Monday 12th July - Friday 17th September

Term Four: Monday 4th October - Wednesday 17th December



Labour Day Monday 8th March

Good Friday Friday 2nd April

Easter Monday Monday 5th April

A.N.Z.A.C Day Sunday 25th April

Queen's Birthday Monday 14th June

Grand Final Friday 24th September

Melbourne Cup Day Tuesday 2nd November



Senior students participate in the Altona District School Sports Association (ADSSA) competitions:

Year 5/6

Summer Sport (Volleyball, Hot Shots Tennis, Basketball, Softball)

Winter Sport (Football: AFL and Soccer, Netball & Tee Ball) 

Year 3 - 6

Athletics, Cross Country and Swimming 

After competing at District level, students who excel are invited to compete at Divisional, Regional, State and National competitions.



Primary school children are not ready to be responsible for their own medication. It is necessary that teachers and school administrative officers, as part of their Duty of Care to children, share in this work.

To assist teachers and school administration officers, parents should supply prescribed medications in a container that gives the name of the child, the dose and the time that the medication is to be taken. The name of the tablet (if applicable) should be clearly marked on the container. A signed note it to accompany all medication.

Medication is not to be left at school overnight unless prior arrangements have been made between parents and the classroom teacher. No child is permitted to have any form of medication in their possession. This includes Disprin, Aspro, Panadol, etc. Children discovered with any form of oral medication will have the medication confiscated.



The Parents and Friends Association exists to support the school. It has two primary functions: Firstly as a fundraising group, and secondly as a vehicle to provide a social setting for interaction within the community. The functions and events conducted by the P & F raise money to pay for equipment which is used in the school, and provides much needed social interaction for parents and families. All children benefit from the work of the Parents and Friends.

The work of the Parents and Friends must be supported by the parent body. It is essential to the ongoing success of our school. We ask all parents to support the efforts of the P & F, and to come along and help out in this very important work.



St. Mary's runs a number of Wellbeing / Pastoral Care programs including:

School Psychologist

St. Mary's has access to the services of a school counsellor provided by Catholic Care, a company supported by the CEOM. Our counsellor regularly visits students who have been referred through our Wellbeing Leader. If you think your child could benefit from counselling please see our Student Wellbeing Leader Margaret Masseni.

Buddy System

The prep children will be allocated a 'Buddy' prior to them commencing school. The role of the Buddy will be to ensure that all prep children are welcomed into the school. Buddy's will assist with practical things like: knowing where the toilets are, where they can play and the general routines of the school. Teachers of Prep and Year Six classes will co-ordinate this program and monitor during the year.



St. Mary's has a well formulated Behaviour Management Policy. Our strategies are fair and just and reflect a positive approach to behaviour and self control. We use a restorative approach to dealing with behaviour management issues.

Restorative Practice is a way of managing conflict and tensions be repairing harm and strengthening relationships as a way of building community. When children have a disagreement, staff encourage the children to discuss what went wrong and how can things be made right.

Restorative Practice sees staff working with the students in a cooperative and collaborative approach to discipline. It is about developing young people who make good decisions, who are thoughtful about the impact their behaviour has on others, who take responsibility for their actions, who see that when they make inappropriate decisions or choices that they harm relationships and need to be responsible for repairing them.



As a general rule, primary aged children should not require the use of a mobile phone at school. If however in your particular situation you require your child to bring a mobile phone to school, it is to be handed into the School Office upon arrival at school and collected on departure.

It is strongly recommended that children do not bring their own toys, games etc to school. However if a child wishes to bring along an item to show the rest of their class, it is important that parents ask the teacher when 'Class News' is on and what sort of items are suitable.

As in all public places there is the risk that an item may go missing, or be damaged during the course of the stay at school. The school takes no responsibility for damage or loss of private property.



A reminder that school does start at 8.50am. If your child is late for school, they often miss out on the very important part of the day. We encourage all parents to make a special effort and have children at school at the correct time. Children who are late must fill in a late slip and hand it to their teacher. Records of late arrivals are monitored.



All children at St. Mary's School attend religious education lessons. Class masses, school masses and paraliturgies are used to show the importance of celebrating our faith. The children are encouraged to participate in all these celebrations.



Children are prepared for their sacraments throughout their school life. Preparation for the administering of sacraments takes place at the following year levels:

Year Three    Reconciliation

Year Four      Eucharist

Year Six        Confirmation

Whilst the school does take some responsibility in preparing children for sacraments we recognise and support the parents and guardians as the first educators in faith of the children. Special parent programs are conducted to help the parents prepare their children for the sacraments. All parents are encouraged to attend these programs.



St. Mary's operates five days per week from 8.50am until 3.20pm.
The school closes on one day per week at 3.00pm to allow staff time to attend a staff meeting. This day will be Monday.


Tuesday to Friday

8.45am First Morning Bell
8.50am Second Bell - First teaching Session begins


11.00am Recess
11.30am Second Teaching Session Begins


1.30pm Children eat lunch (supervised)
1.40pm Lunch Break


2.25pm First bell
2.30pm Second Bell - Third Teaching Session begins


3.15pm First bell
3.20pm End of the Day


Mondays Only

8.45am First Morning Bell
8.50am Second Bell - First teaching Session begins


11.00am Recess
11.30am Second Teaching Session Begins


1.20pm Children eat lunch (supervised)
1.30pm Lunch Break


2.15pm First bell
2.20pm Second Bell - Third Teaching Session begins


2.55pm First bell
3.00pm End of the Day



Mrs Sonia Riccardi


Mrs Margaret Masseni

Deputy Principal

Mrs Carol Hicks

Year Prep HT (Mon-Thurs)

Mrs Rowena Talbot

Year Prep HT (Fri)

Miss Melanie Bubevich

Year 1/2 B

Miss Caitlyn Gallagher

Year 1/2 G

Mrs Niamh Bannon

Year 1/2 N

Mrs Lisa Said

Year 3/4 S

Miss Nicole Barnes

Year 3/4 B

Miss Randa Assaad

Year 3/4 A

Miss Brenda Lycke 

Year 4/5 L

Mr Tim Creak Year 5/6 C
Mr Tony Freeman Year 5/6 F
Mrs Olive Chodowski  Year 5/6 KC (Mon-Wed)
Ms Corina Kapusta Year 5/6 KC (Thurs-Fri)
Mrs Anthea Zimmerman Art Specialist
Mrs Angela Hamilton Performing Arts Specialist
Ms Alessandra Sotttile PE Specialist
Me John Cruikshank LOTE - Italian
Mrs Loretta Balfoort Classroom Release
Mrs Margaret Masseni Student Wellbeing Leader

Mrs Cathy Sims 

Learning Diversity Leader

Mr Matthew Taylor

Learning and Teaching Leader, Religious Education Leader

Miss Brenda Lycke

Literacy Leader

Mrs Lisa Said

Mathematics Leader

Mrs Ronnie Tucker

Digital Technologies Leader

Ms Rishika Sangetta


Mrs Katrina Chavarria

Administration Officer

Mrs Carolyn McGuffie

Administration Officer

Mrs Maree Ryan Learning Support Officer
Mrs Nicole Singleton Learning Support Officer
Mrs Jane Sammut Learning Support Officer
Mrs Margaret Jones

Learning Support Officer

Mrs Stella Solarino

Learning Support Officer

Mrs Frances Fazio

Learning Support Officer

Mrs Adriana Everett

Learning Support Officer

Miss Milly Siebring Learning Support Officer & Library Technician
Mr Tony Grima Cleaning & Maintenance
Mrs Amy Xu Canteen 




Enrolments for most catholic and private secondary schools are completed by early March of the year the child is in year six. Government Secondary Schools conduct enrolments later in the year.

Parents are advised that work on selecting a secondary school should ideally begin when your child is in year four or year five. The staff at St. Mary's are only too willing to discuss matters of transition with any parent.

Secondary Schools by their nature are independent, and children attending St. Mary's are not in any way guaranteed a place at a Catholic Secondary School.

The year six teachers are in dialogue, through a Transition Committee, with Catholic Secondary Schools in the area.



The school Nurse will visit the school at some stage during each year. Prep children are examined by the nurse (providing parental permission is granted) for general health, hearing, sight and co-ordination. If the school Nurse has any concern about any child she will discuss those concerns with the parents.



If children are feeling sick they cannot function to the best of their ability. They should not be sent to school. Children who are ill at school will be sent home to be cared for. Parents will be contacted in this case.



St. Mary's is a Smoke Free workplace. As from 23rd June, 1992 smoking has been banned from all buildings and grounds within the fenced areas.

The No Smoking Policy extends to all parents and teachers who attend excursions with classes outside the school grounds.



We recognise that the sun's rays are dangerous and can be detrimental to one's health. Therefore, from the beginning of SEPTEMBER to the end of APRIL no child or teacher is permitted to be in the yard during recess, lunch time or during class time unless they are wearing a hat. This also includes Physical Education and Sport sessions and while on Excursions.

We encourage parents to observe these rules also. We recommend that children wear sunglasses with UV protection when outside.



The school conducts school banking through the Catholic Development Fund. Children are encouraged to open a passbook savings account. Catholic Development Fund lends money to parishes and schools for necessary capital building works.



The school exists primarily because of the generosity of the parishioners who came before us. Many voluntary hours of work and a great deal of money has been contributes to the parish by the Altona parishioners in order for the school to continue to prosper and offer Catholic children in the parish a quality Catholic education.

Many parents do not see the connection between the parish and the school. The school would not exist without the parish of St. Mary's Help of Christians.

One practical way that all families can acknowledge the work carried out in the school and the parish is to commit themselves to the Thanksgiving Offering program. By offering an amount each week the ongoing provision of goods and services to the school is assures. A 30% tax deduction is also available for all donations made to the Thanksgiving Offering Program. Please call at the office if you are interested in helping out in this very practical way.



Our Tuck shop menu has been carefully devised. Foods are categorised as Everyday / Healthy Choice (green) and select carefully (amber). Our Healthy Choice foods are labelled with a smile. We ask parents to support our attempts to improve the variety and nutrient content of the food offered to students by supervising their child's choice of food to ensure that a balanced selection is made from these categories.

The Tuckshop is open each day for recess and lunch trading.

To order your child's lunch:

  • write your child's name and grade and order on a brown lunch bag. Place the correct money inside the bag and place it in the lunch order box in your child's classroom. Lunch orders are delivered to the classroom prior to lunchtime.
  • The Tuckshop is also open for trading during lunch and recess times. Children may purchase icy poles and other items.
  • A Tuckshop Menu is distributed to all families with the Newsletter at the beginning of each term. The menu changes each term.
  • The Tuckshop is run by a paid manager, but we still require the services of parents who are able to help out. If you are able to help the Tuckshop please contact the school office.



St. Mary's School does have a school Uniform and all children are required to wear it at all times in a neat and orderly fashion. The uniform should be worn with pride as it reflects the distinct nature of our school.



All visitors to the school are required to report to the School Office, fill in a 'Visitors Pass' before making their way into the school property. Visitors are required to sign out and record time of leaving.



During lunch and recess breaks two staff members are on duty in the yard and one in the Office/Sick Bay area. The teachers supervise areas where children are allowed to play. Any incidents which occur in the playground must be reported to the teacher on yard duty.

A teacher is on duty in the yard form 8.30am until the bell rings at 8.45am, and after school from 3.20pm until 3.40pm. During days of extreme weather conditions children are kept indoors during recess and lunch times.



The Victorian Government introduces a new checking system that will affect many adults who work or volunteer with children (under 18 years of age). The WWC Check helps protect children from sexual or physical harm by checking a person's criminal history. No parents will be able to assist in school activities or on excursions with