Message from the Principal Week 1

Dear Parents and Carers

I trust you had a wonderful break from the routines of school, and were in a position to enjoy some of the glorious weather.


I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our three new families who have children in Kindergarten and Pre-Primary. It’s also my pleasure to introduce you to two new staff members and a special visitor. Firstly, Kim Knowles yesterday commenced as our permanent deputy principal. She is in the process of meeting all the children. I asked Kim to write a small introduction which you will find in our General News section. Secondly, a new permanent Head Cleaner, Ms Rina Lund, also started with us yesterday. Finally, we a have an Artist in Residence who is joining us from Italy. Ms Colleen Corradi Brannigan will be working with students on a very special project, over the next few weeks. Thank you for welcoming these people into our school community.
With respect to the ‘very special project’, if families have access to spare tiles (porcelain, ceramic or glass of any size) or happen to have access to some tiles at a reduced cost, that would be a great help. Please contact Anna Trovarelli who is working with Colleen, via


Yesterday you may have noticed news items that highlighted the prevalence of unauthorised student absences during the school term.  The West Australian reported that attendance data from Semester 1 revealed that one in seven unauthorised absences ‘related to students going on holiday with their parents’. The West’s article, on page 7, began:

‘Middle-class and wealthy parents have been warned they are breaking the law by taking their child out of school during term after it emerged that a rising number of children from affluent families are missing lessons to go on holidays.’

It was reported that a parliamentary enquiry was recently informed that ’40 percent of unauthorised absences in higher socio-economic schools (were) because of holidays’ and that this was ‘a newish phenomenon’.

To put the commentary on attendance into the context at Kapinara, at the end of Term 2, over 10% of our students in Pre-Primary to Year 6 were absent. At the start of this term, that figure is was just under 10%. Our upper school classes had between four and seven students away on the first day back, yesterday. A very small number of these were authorised absences (those requested and approved prior to the absence and due to an ‘exceptional circumstance’).

As a school we can reinforce the policy position of the Department of Education WA, and the contemporary research on student attendance. We can highlight that when children miss school, they miss a number of learning opportunities; which may include an introduction to new learning, guided or independent practice of skills, opportunities to apply knowledge and understandings in new contexts, and assessments of and for learning. The rest is up to you! Please work with us to ensure all of our students are in a position to maximise these opportunities.


If you are collecting a child at any time during the day, please ensure you report to the office in the first instance, unless you have already completed a ‘sign out’ form. Teachers are not able to release children without signed documentation. Students being collected for ongoing events such as PEAC, are (i) to be collected directly from their classroom or (ii) to wait at the office until the parent collecting the student(s) arrives at the school.

Best Wishes
Elizabeth Blackwell

Principal’s Message Week 8

Thanks P & C

I am delighted to share both a photo and Sonja W’s clever drawing of the new swing in the Pre-Primary playground. This was one of the purchases that the school and P & C shared the cost of recently.
Special thanks also to the crew who turned up on Sunday morning to spread some of the free mulch we received a month or two ago. While our valued gardener Simon Dewar, does an amazing job, even he was going to take a long time to spread that much mulch! Thanks to the mulching crew!








Cross Country Events

Congratulations to our students in Pre-Primary to Year 2 who completed the 650m cross-country run last week. We were all very thankful for the great weather that afternoon.
We are also hoping for good weather tomorrow, when ten local schools participate in the Interschool Cross Country event being held at City Beach Oval. Best wishes to the 64 Kapinara students from Years 3-6 who are running tomorrow.

Annual Report

It sounds strange to say that you may like to view our 2017 Annual Report on our website, but the official version is now there to be viewed. School Reports or Annual Reports are a requirement of all public schools. They are primarily intended to provide information regarding how the school is tracking in terms of meeting the targets articulated in the Business Plan. Some, including ours, also capture some of the school’s programs and events. The 2017 Annual Report has a small but special section on Kapinara’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. We have printed a small number of these. If you are not a member of the School Board or the K50 organising team, but you would like a hard copy, please contact Gail Preston via

Deputy Principal

My highly valued colleague, Wendy Tusak, has worked in a number of roles at Kapinara, most recently in the Deputy Principal role following Michael Davey’s retirement last year. Her commitment to this role has been exemplary and she has been an enormous support to her colleagues, students, parents and particularly to me.
This term as required, we completed a recruitment process for a substantive Deputy Principal. This has resulted in the appointment of Ms Kim Knowles, an experienced deputy principal, who has also spent the last two or three years working with a range of schools in a consultancy role at State-wide Services. She will commence at the beginning of Term 3.
I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Wendy for the many qualities and skills she has brought to the role and to acknowledge her passion for, and dedication to, all things Kapinara. She will be taking some well-deserved leave in the coming months (she is going to be a grandmother again!). I’m confident that you will join with me in thanking her, wishing her well and eagerly anticipating her return. Thank you Mrs Tusak!

Student Reports

End of semester reports will come home with children early next week. These reports are a key part of the ‘Reporting to Parents’ process and as such they are intended to survive the journey home intact! The only comment directed to children are those written by me, and some written by teachers at the end of the general comment. On the website will be some information previously written about the reporting process. We will also include a glossary of common or newly introduced terms (most of the latter are likely to come from the Technologies curriculum over time); and the Learning Area Grade Allocation document that is made available at the end of each reporting period.
In summary, here are a few key points pertaining to student reports:

  • Please take particular note of the bottom section of your child’s report (Attitudes, Behaviour and Effort) and the general comment from your child’s teacher
  • Without taking anything away from the importance of high levels of achievement, please consider talking about the above section with your child
  • Each grade is assigned against an ‘Achievement Standard’ for each learning area and each year level. Students are only assessed on the part of the Achievement Standard that has been taught in the first semester
  • The grade each child receives within each learning area tells you whether your child has demonstrated achievement of the knowledge, skills and understandings contained in the Achievement Standard at a satisfactory, high, excellent or in some cases limited level
  • ‘Satisfactory’ = ‘achieving at the expected level for that year group’
  • Reports should reflect what your child has demonstrated independently, over time and in different contexts (unless otherwise stated)
  • There a range of reasons why your child’s levels of achievement may change from year to year and semester to semester. Your child’s teacher will be able to talk to you about your child and his/her achievement this semester.

Finally, striking a balance between providing parents with information that relates directly to the Achievement Standard and therefore the grade, and providing parents with information that you can interpret and that means something to you, is a signi?cant challenge. I am very open to feedback about this. Parents have a broad range of backgrounds, and something that makes sense to some won’t necessarily make sense to others. We are also aware that education, like most other disciplines, has its own lexicon/language. It’s something we try to be aware of in the reporting process. We may or may not be achieving it! We’ll be emailing a very brief survey out when reports have gone home, to try to see how closely we are hitting the mark.

Kind Regards

Elizabeth Blackwell


Principal’s Message Week 4

Dear Parents and Carers


I am pleased to confirm that as expected, our students in Years 3 and 5 comfortably completed NAPLAN online last week. The only exception to this was Year 3 Writing which was handwritten. The merits and potential issues associated with Year 3 students completing the writing assessment electronically versus being handwritten, continue to be debated at a national level, so Year 3 students across Australia completed the pencil and paper version.  You may hear that some students in other schools are still completing NAPLAN online this week, as schools had a two week window for scheduling the assessments. Unlike the pencil and paper assessments which must be completed on the same day throughout Australia, the online platform enables schools to complete the assessments on different days, as the specific test items differ from student to student. There are several ‘versions’ of each test item that have been developed and trialled to enable individual assessments to be different but comparable. Some of you will perhaps have read about this via links in previous newsletters. The primary advantage of our students completing the assessments online, is that we expect to receive information about our students’ performance considerably earlier than in past years. Watch this space!

School Development Day

Just a reminder that next Friday, 1 June is a School Development Day. I particularly value these days, as we work as a staff, focused on planning and/or reviewing specific aspects of our Business Plan. Sometimes this might also involve examining new policies or initiatives released by our Department, and looking at data about our students; ranging from NAPLAN data to National School Opinion Survey data, to the student wellbeing survey recently completed by students in Years 4-6. Whatever the focus, people are working hard!


On Friday children from Pre-Primary to Year 6 will be attending a music incursion. Children from Pre-Primary to Year 3 will attend for an hour between recess and lunch and children from Years 4-6 will attend from 1:30 – 2:30pm.

ICAS Science

Please be reminded that ICAS Science is on Monday, 28 May in the library. Please refer to your schedule at home to see if Science was one of the assessments in which you enrolled your child or children. Please ensure your child arrives at the library at 8:00am. The assessment starts at 8:15am sharp.

Running Club and Cross Country

It’s fabulous to see so many students AND parents involved in Running Club on Wednesday and Friday mornings. Our faction cross country event for Years 3-6 will take place at City Beach Oval on Wednesday 6 June (Week 6). You will be notified at the beginning of Week 7 if your child will be involved in the interschool event in Week 8. The interschool cross country event at City Beach Oval which involves students in Years 3-6 only, is on Wednesday 20 June. The faction cross country event for children from Pre-Primary to Year 2 will take place on Wednesday on 13 June (Week 7) at Kapinara. It would be great if you could join us for these events.

Please remember how important it is that we all work together – children, parents, teachers and sometimes external agencies – to ensure that collectively we meet the individual needs of your child

or children as effectively as possible. Your child’s teachers and I very much appreciate the information you share with us, and your willingness to ask questions and raise concerns sooner rather than later.

Thank you.

I hope to see you at one or more of the events that will take place in the following few weeks.

Best wishes

Elizabeth Blackwell


Principal’s Message Week 2

Dear Parents and Carers

Anzac Day Service

Anzac Day and our Anzac Day service seem a long time ago, despite being only one week ago. I’d like to thank and congratulate the children in Mrs H’s class and in Mrs Jonklaas’s and Ms Filov’s class for leading us through such a thoughtful Anzac Day service.  Thank you to these teachers for their work with the students;  to Felix C’s mother Jo for playing the Last Post and the Rouse for us; to the many families who brought flowers; the parents who created the beautiful wreaths; and to Mr Sean L’Estrange MLA for sharing his thoughts and perspectives as a Defence Force veteran. I would also like to commend our students on their very respectful participation.

Scribblers Festival

Some very excited Year 3-6 students (and staff!) will be heading to the inaugural Scribblers Festival on Thursday. I smiled as I read the introductory paragraph on the Scribbler’s website (below) as it looks very much like our school purpose and our school vision. It reads

‘Developed with the input of internationally recognised creativity expert Paul Collard, CEO of Creativity and Culture in Education (CCE), the Creative Learning Program seeks to work with children and young adults in equipping them with the skills and confidence to approach the challenges of a changing world with lateral thinking ability, creativity, and resilience.’


In the next week or two the media will probably shift its focus from Gonski to NAPLAN. Our students, along with many others, will complete NAPLAN online (the exception being Year 3 Writing which will be pencil and paper).  Schools have paper versions of the assessments should something unforeseen happen. WA is actually well placed to oversee the administration of online assessments, given that our State has been administering OLNA in secondary schools for several years. As I have said many times, schools have a myriad of ways of ‘assessing’ children’s learning – ranging from informal strategies to check for understanding, which might be as simple as asking a question, to more formal assessments such as NAPLAN. Ensuring children are ‘ready for NAPLAN’ will be like any other day of being ‘ready for school’ – a good night’s sleep, breakfast and arriving at school in plenty of time will ensure we maximise children’s opportunities to learn and thrive.

Cross Country

This year Mr Hodgson has been teaching Physical Education to students from Pre-Primary to Year 2, and Mrs Smith to students in Years 3 -6. Aligned to this, we will hold two separate Faction Cross Country events (Term 2) and two separate Faction Athletics events (Term 3). The older children will complete the cross country event at City Beach oval and the younger children on our upper oval. The Year 3-6 cross country event is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday 6 June. We anticipate that the P-2 event will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 13 June.


On Friday we will farewell our Manager of Corporate Services, Ms Sandi Davies. Sandi has been an integral member of our administration team for over two years and on behalf of our staff and the broader school community I would like to sincerely thank her for the contribution she has made to Kapinara Primary School. We wish her every happiness and success.

Best wishes
Elizabeth Blackwell


Principal’s Message Week 11

Dear Parents and Carers

School Board

At our most recent School Board meeting, a new Chair was elected, and we are very pleased to welcome Cherie Atchison to this role. Chris Higgs, who has been our Board Chair for the last four years, will support Cherie as he ‘hands over the baton’. On behalf of the Board and the school community I would like to acknowledge Chris’ contribution to our school. This takes many forms, but we are particularly grateful to him for his role as Board Chair. Thank you Chris.
At the next meeting of the School Board we will be considering the allocation of our budget for 2018. Unfortunately, government departments are bound by the timelines of Treasury, which is why we are only able to finalise our budget now. Having said that, we have been working with a draft budget (albeit a tight one) throughout Term 1. The Board plays an important role in ensuring that the way in which resources are allocated, enables us to effectively implement the focuses of our Business Plan this year.

P & C
Through the financial contributions of our parents and the great fundraising efforts of our P & C, we have been able to purchase a range of new reading materials for independent reading. Thanks everyone!

Our neighbours
In the last week we have received correspondence from a distressed neighbour. The neighbour had been offended by the behaviour of someone dropping a child at our school in the morning. While I appreciate that it can be difficult to park at pick-up and drop-off times, this is the situation at almost every school.  You may recall that we previously worked with parents and officers at the Town of Cambridge, to consider ways in which we could potentially improve the efficiency of the pick-up/drop off experience. This resulted in the extended ‘Kiss and Drive’ bays and some other minor changes around our school boundary. The ‘Kiss and Drive’ section of our boundary received another small modification in the last few months.          
Some of you who have a considerably longer experience with the school, may recall that for a number of years there has been a strong request for those in vehicles to move around the perimeter of the school in an anti-clockwise direction, at pick-up and drop-off times.  I believe that these measures  maximise our attempts to make the beginning and end of the school day as safe and efficient as possible. Please be mindful of our neighbours – particularly their driveways, which should enable them to enter and exit without difficulty at all times, and please do not double park—the risk of accident and injury is too great. Thanks for your cooperation.

Court Orders
This is just a reminder, to please ensure that we have copies of any Court Orders. Court Orders, like Psychologist’s reports and other confidential documents are kept in a locked filing cabinet separate from student files that contain more general information such as enrolment details, some medical information etc

Anzac Day Service
Our Year 3 students will be leading us in an Anzac Service on the first day of next term, Monday 30 April 2018. You are most welcome to join us at 10:50am.

Interschool Swimming
As Term 2 draws to a close, so too does Swim Squad. Congratulations to our many students who participated in Swim Squad and the Faction Swimming Carnival; and thank you again to Mrs Smith and her many parent helpers who helped make these the positive experiences that they were. On behalf of the school community, our very best wishes to our team of swimmers who will represent Kapinara at the Interschool Carnival tomorrow morning.  I hope some of you are able to join us at HBF stadium tomorrow morning.

On behalf of the Kapinara PS staff, my best wishes for a safe and happy holiday break.

Elizabeth Blackwell


Principal’s Message Week 8

Dear Parents and Carers

I’m taking the opportunity with this newsletter, to provide you with some information about student attendance, from a Departmental and school perspective. The following information for parents is taken from the Department of Education WA’s website.
‘As a parent, you are required by the School Education Act 1999 to ensure your child attends school every day that the school is open for instruction (Section 23). Principals are responsible for monitoring and accurately recording the attendance of every student enrolled at their school in accordance with Section 28 of the School Education Act 1999.
If a student is absent, a responsible person, usually the parent, must notify the school of the reason for the student’s absence as soon as practical. 
Lesson attendance codes are used by all Western Australian public schools to record the reason for every half-day absence.  Accurate record-keeping ensures principals can identify patterns of absence at both a school and individual student level and implement appropriate measures to restore attendance where there is cause for concern.
Absences are grouped as either ‘authorised’ or ‘unauthorised’ according to whether they meet the requirements of excusing a student from attendance pursuant to Section 25 of the Act. The total half-day absences are displayed on your child’s school report each semester.’

So what’s all the fuss about attendance? Several years ago, the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research released a report called Student Attendance and Educational Outcomes: Every Day Counts. The research was based on three main measures: attendance rate; ‘authorised’ absence rate; and ‘unauthorised’ absence rate and how these impacted on outcomes for children. Authorised absences are primarily absences due to illness or an exceptional family circumstance.
Unauthorised absences are absences that are either unexplained or not considered to be valid reasons for non-attendance. (For example, absence for a birthday, holidays during term, a day of rest after a busy weekend or late night.)
The research revealed ‘the relationship between absence from school and achievement, across all sub-groups of student strongly suggests that every day of attendance in school contributes towards a child’s learning, and that academic outcomes are enhanced by maximising attendance in school. Further, the effects of absence also accumulate over time.’ Absence from school was related to academic achievement in literacy and numeracy ‘not only in the current year, but in future years as well’.

The Every Day Counts report argues the following: ‘There is a commonplace and perhaps growing assumption that children can be absent from school with little consequence on their onward academic achievement. This data show that every day of attendance matters and that there is no minimum threshold of tolerable absences.

Thank you very much to families who have written to me regarding planned student absences.  In a small number of circumstances I am able to ‘authorise’ a vacation absence. This is primarily around attendance at a specific event, often interstate or overseas which can’t be scheduled for another time, and must be approved prior to the absence.

If you would like any more information about attendance please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes
Elizabeth Blackwell






Principal’s message

Year 6 Camp

I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend. I’m sure the Year 6 students, and the adults who accompanied them at camp last week, were particularly glad of the extra day. The Year 6 students were again at Woodman Point, where a broad range of activities organised by the Department of Sport and Recreation personnel, kept everyone very busy.  I trust that you will enjoy viewing a sample of photos in today’s newsletter.

Faction Swimming Carnival

Our annual Faction Swimming Carnival (Years 4 – 6) was held today at Bold Park Aquatic Centre. It was terrific to see so many family and friends cheering everyone on – I think we had more than half of them ‘working’ in some capacity. The carnival could not have run without the help of so many – so thank you!  Thanks too to the parents who have been at Swim Squad in the mornings before school.

There were some fabulous examples of a willingness to participate; support for and encouragement of others; persistence to complete events; and for striving to achieve a personal best. There were some great examples of resilience in the face of disappointment and of shared delight in the achievements of others. Congratulations to all our swimmers, and thank you to staff, particularly Mrs Louise Smith, for their efforts with the carnival. Champion Boy and Champion Girl for each year level will be formally announced at our next assembly on Friday 23 March.


Kapinara will be among the first group of schools in WA to complete NAPLAN online. You may be aware that we were poised to do this last year, but Education Ministers across Australia decided to postpone the online program at the eleventh hour. Students in Years 3 and 5 will bring home some more detailed information about NAPLAN Online in the next day or so. The information has been made available by our State regulatory body, the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA). The National body, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) also have information on their website which you might wish to view. This includes several ‘demonstration tests’   Please note that the Year 3 students will complete the ‘writing’ task in pencil and paper format, as they have done in previous years. We will share some more information with you in the next few weeks.

P & C

A huge thanks to our P & C, and community members who contribute to the great work of the P & C via the voluntary contribution and/or through ‘service for others’. The P & C not only shared with us the cost of the new shade sails, and the refrigerated air-conditioning in the library. At the P & C meeting last week they approved a donation of $2000 toward picture books and chapter books. The additional books will enable us to provide Literacy Pro (a lexile program) for Years 3 and 4, without reducing the number and range of books available to students in all year levels. Other costs associated with the program will be covered through our annual English budget. For those of you who recall a similar program which was previously offered through the school, this is an updated version of that lexile program, but will be organised differently.  The emphasis will be firmly on encouraging children to read … and read! Thanks everyone.

Best wishes

Elizabeth Blackwell