Issue 48, 19 August 2020

Head of College Update

Dear Colleagues,  

On occasions staff members ask me how I am? A genuine and very acceptable question to ask of a colleague in the workplace - but one that always triggers in me the thought of what am I doing that our community may not be aware of? Much of my role is unseen by sectors of the school community simply because of the way larger organisations are structured. The role of ‘Principal’ is one that centres on curiosity, and Principals naturally ‘dabble’ in most areas of the institution as required, and hopefully without becoming too intrusive.   

At this stage of every year and in every Independent school across the nation, the Principal is heavily engaged with the preliminary budgeting process for the coming year. Several key elements are simultaneously on the front burner and inextricably linked: government funding arrangements, enrolments, staffing, resourcing, fee structures and future focal points for the College are all front and centre in a myriad of meetings.  I know that many of you continue to have input into one or more of these elements as we seek to develop the first 2021 budget draft by the end of August – thank you!   

The ‘tricky’ parts of the budgeting process relate to the unknowns, and to the balancing of all elements before we get to a final position later in the year.

  • Government funding arrangements are very fluid as they (the governments) seek to introduce a new funding formula that is both new and unknown to us all (Direct Measure of Income – DMI).
  • The College Council also has a ‘futures committee’ which is charged with planning the years ahead in a strategic and focussed way. This working party has resumed its work and the next workshop is to be held on the second weekend of September.
  • Staffing is directly related to enrolment levels and to the educational priorities of the College. We are still ‘on the road’ in many ways, with two more rural engagements in St George (this week) and Roma (3 September) and a growing number of firm enquiries across all campuses. A moving feast that will not settle until late in 2020.
  • Thank you to those who have had input into area or subject budgets. The input from those who manage cost centres is invaluable and really appreciated. 
  • We are always mindful of fee structures in this competitive environment, and the debate at College Council level centres on the balance between affordability and value for money as perceived by parents, and as highlighted in the community survey results from 2018.

There you have it – aside from the normal daily activities, and the planning for an Annual Giving program and a 75th Anniversary (and manoeuvring through a pandemic), life for a Principal is both exciting and challenging. I am indeed privileged and blessed to work with staff who are dedicated and committed to the teaching and learning of young people in our Christian environment.   

Kindest regards and many blessings, 


Need to know!

A reminder to all staff that the College has procedures for handling grievances and complaints, both by staff and parents/community members. Allison Busiko (HSC Teacher), Marie Smith (WSC Teacher) and Karen Rohde (SSC Teacher) are the College’s trained Contact Officers and can support you with these processes as well. 

Staff Updates

Our best wishes are extended to Dennis Wolbers, HOD of Science who is moving into a middle management position at St Ursula’s in the coming weeks. We thank Dennis for his continued support of students in a part-time capacity through until the end of October.

We are seeking internal expressions of interest for Acting Head of Department, Science for the remainder of this year. Please email Mel Foreman by Friday, 21 August.

We are now receiving applications for the positions of Head of Department, English and Head of Department, Science commencing January 2021. Your support in circulating these opportunities within your professional networks is appreciated, and please note the closing date of 30 August. 

Rachael Burrows, Year 2 Teacher at HSC will be on leave for the remainder of this year. Thank you to Stacey Warrener and Libby Scouller who will provide an exceptional team teaching experience for these students through until the end of Term 4. 

Important Dates

Date Event / Activity Attendance
Friday, 21 August 6.30pm Farewell to Winter Concert Facebook Live Stream Open to all

Escape for a moment...

If you are running low on this essential item, here is an alternative that is “designed to be remembered”.

Blue Card System

Starting 31 August, the Queensland Blue Card System will be changing. There will be a simplified application process for staff; increased regulations regarding volunteers; and enhanced checks to provide even better protection for children.

If you are a current Blue Card holder, please view this video of the key changes.

TASS Updates

Great news....we are improving the way we submit and approve leave applications. 

Go into Teacher Kiosk and to the Payroll/HR tab along the top of the page. Click on the drop down box and select My Payroll/HR, and then Leave Applications from the left menu options. Click New Application.

Select the date/dates of the leave and click next. Here you can select your leave details, add any comments and submit. 

If you lead a team, you will now also approve your staff leave applications through the same menu. You will receive an email on each occasion. 

If you have any questions, please email payroll or phone the Business Office. We are also happy to hear any feedback as well.

Chriss Briskey, Payroll


Although student events are few and far between at present, a reminder that if you need to check media consent for students, you can do this at any time through Teacher Kiosk by going to:

Listings > Student Details (Lists/Emails)select year group/s or campus; in the “Additional Fields” box, scroll down and select ‘Media Consent’ > Go

Who was I?

Which colleague was born in Toowoomba; has travelled the UK/France/Italy and Switzerland; can't stand coriander; is blessed to married 30 years this year; has stood face to face with Michael Caine; wants to live in the UK or Switzerland for a year; serves as chairman and vice chairman of his church and parish; ran his own business and employed 5 staff for 7 years; and is a past student?

Geoff Becker, Technology Teacher Aide

Who am I? 

When I was a teenager…I wanted to become a Vet

Last read…The Midnight Line by Lee Childs

I studied...Justice Administration at Griffith Uni

I love...the beach, mountain biking, camping and caravanning and exploring areas we have not been before

Went to school…Guardian Angels Primary School and then Wynnum State High School

Worked as…. Records Management and Cabinet Officer in Dept of Premier and Cabinet (a long time ago), Creche Leader, Finance and Ordering Officer in a Water Treatment Company and a Beauty Therapist

Bands I have seen live…TISM and Suzi Quattro (though not a band)

Lived in…Brisbane, Wagga Wagga, Perth and Melbourne but kept returning to Toowoomba

In the rare spare time currently likes to…spend hours in the garden and pond

Will…sometime soon, hopefully, go on the cruise that was planned for April

Library Update

New resource: Understanding Learning Difficulties

Understanding learning difficulties is an easy to understand and practical guide to supporting students with learning difficulties. It provides strategies, tips on how to implement strategies and examples in a simple and well thought out table format, as well as definitions and what to look to for in a student who may be struggling. It also includes a CD with digital resources and information sheets.

This is highly recommended reading and we have two copies at SSC, which are available for anyone in the college. Loans will be limited to two weeks. 


Clickview – SSC

Did you know you can create clips of videos in Clickview? It’s very easy and takes only minutes!

See the video here:

Heidi Edwards, Teacher Librarian 

Education in the News

A Catalyst for Change (Our Schools – Our Future), Independent Schools Queensland

Mental health has never been more important, Julia Gillard, ACER

The ABC has launched Australia’s first kid’s fiction podcast series performed by kids called Mackaroy Uncovered. It all starts with the school’s principal disappearing and is suitable for 8-12 year olds. You can read here about the challenge of finishing the final edits during lockdown.

Health and wellness

COVID-19 continues to dominate the headlines and social media, and the Queensland Premier announced on Monday the intention to keep Queensland’s borders closed. While the focus is on protecting the physical health and physical safety of ourselves and others, there is an unseen issue as well – our mental health.

COVID-19 is impacting everyone’s mental health. There are a variety of concerns and anxiety that you may be experiencing depending on your personal circumstances and those of your loved ones.   Keeping the importance of your mental and emotional health in the front of your mind in the midst of a pandemic is not easy!

Here are some ways that you can help build positive mental and emotional habits to complement your new physical health habits such as hand washing and sanitising.

Turn off notifications - do you have Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and your newsfeed all updating you when things happen? Turn them off! It will help your peace of mind by not constantly bombarding your mind and attention. Set boundaries around how much you look at and talk about the crisis.

Identify your fears - name them, talk about them and make sure to challenge your thoughts. Is what you are thinking about real? Is it factual? Is it exaggerated? Have you catastrophised your situation? Brainstorm ideas on how you can manage those thoughts.

Look for the helpers - look for people who are positive, who help us to see another perspective. Anxiety is contagious, catastrophising with others helps the fear to grow. Find and seek out good news stories which trigger positive feelings. Positivity, calmness and optimism are equally as contagious – but in a good way!

Process your emotions that you are having and talk about them when you can. This could be with a loved one or an EAP professional.

AccessEAP continues to be there to support you whatever the nature of your concerns. For a confidential conversation with one of their experienced clinical professionals, please contact 1800 818 728.

‘Whatever’ Days

Today is International Orangutan Day. The event is to help encourage the public to take action to preserve this amazing species. Orangutans are only found in two places in the world, Sumatra and Borneo and deforestation to farm Palm Oil is the biggest threat to their ongoing survival. Avoiding products with Palm Oil, or purchasing certified sustainable palm oil products is an easy way to take action.  

Watch what happens once ‘School’s Out’ after a fun day at Forest School for rescued orangutans in this BBC natural history clip. 

The Bunya Pine


The Home Project Driveway Mural Workshop by local artist, Jon Vargas and Toowoomba Regional Council. 

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