Australian Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Marriage

You will shortly receive a Pastoral Letter on Marriage that Archbishop Anthony Fisher has asked to be forwarded to members of our Catholic Education parent community.

I understand that for many in the Catholic community, this is a complex and emotional issue.  The Church does not seek to impose a theological view of marriage; it respects civil marriage.  The fundamental point the Letter makes is that if legislation is changed, the idea of marriage as a biological union of man and a woman for children (that is, keeping marriage conjugal) will be redefined as being for an emotional commitment between two people. This has consequences for children and for that, we can afford to respectfully listen to all sides of this debate. Any enquiries can be directed to the CEO Sydney Director of RE and Evangelisation, Mr Anthony Cleary on 9568 8419.



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Reading your child’s report

Reports can mean anxious times for children. Will my parents be disappointed or proud? This is the main concern of most children.

Could try harder . . . always does her best . . . lacks concentration. . . easily distracted . . . a pleasure to teach . . . Do these comments, taken from a batch of student reports sound familiar?

Student reports bring mixed feelings for parents. Pleasure and pride if they are performing well but considerable angst when children are not progressing as you hoped. Reports can mean anxious times for children too. Will my parents be disappointed or proud? This is the main concern of most children. Kids of all ages take their cues from their parents, so your reaction to their school report can affect the way they see themselves as learners and as people. Before you rip open the sealed envelope containing the report do a little self-check to see if you are in the right frame of mind:

  1. Are your expectations for your daughter realistic and in line with their ability? Expectations are tricky. If they are too high then kids can be turned off learning. Too low and there is nothing to strive for. Pitch your expectations in line with your child’s abilities. A quick check of your child’s last report cards may provide you with a good yardstick


  1. Do you believe that children learn at different rates? There are slow bloomers, late developers and steady-as-you-go kids in every classroom, so avoid comparing your child to siblings, your friends’ children and even yourself when you were a child. Instead look for individual progress.


  1. Are you willing to safeguard your child’s self-esteem rather than deflate it? Self-confidence is a pre-requisite for learning, so be prepared to be as positive and encouraging as possible. School reports come in different formats. Some are prescriptive while some use grading systems such as A, B, C, etc. with room for teacher comments. Regardless of the format school reports should provide you with an idea of your child’s progress in all subject areas, their attitude and social development.

Here are some ideas to consider when you open your child’s report:

Focus on strengths

Do you look for strengths or weaknesses first? The challenge is to focus on strengths even if they are not in the traditional 3Rs or core subjects. Take into account your child’s effort and attitude to learning. If the report indicates that effort is below standard, then you have something to work on. If your child is putting in the required effort, then you cannot ask any more than that, regardless of the grading.

Broaden your focus away from academic performance to form a picture of your child’s progress as a member of a social setting.

How your child gets along with his or her peers will influence her happiness and well-being, as well as give an indicator to her future. The skills of independence and co-operation are highly valued by employers so don’t dismiss these as unimportant.

Take note of student self-assessment

Kids are generally very honest and will give a realistic assessment of their progress. They are generally very perceptive so take note of their opinions.

Discuss the report with your son or daughter talking about strengths first before looking at areas that need improvement.

Ask for their opinion about how they performed and discuss their concerns. After reports are read and discussed celebrate your child’s efforts with a special activity or treat. In this way you will recognise progress and remind them that the holidays are just around the corner when they can forget about assessment, tests and reports for a while.

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Our mantra:

“Girls can do anything.
Bethany girls can do everything!*
(*except divide by zero)”
Vicki Lavorato