June 4, 2021

< All Issues


Principal's Message


Anxiety in Our Young People

Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week

Vanishing Species

Careers News

Principal's Message

Lock down 4.0

We find ourselves in lockdown once again, although we were very pleased to welcome back our Year 11 and Year 12 students on Friday.  We revisit all the emotions that surfaced during the extended lockdowns last year:  an appreciation for a slower pace of life and the extra time with family; apprehension regarding income and work; distress caused by the lack of face to face connection; anxiety about how long this lockdown could last; and when it might happen again.  We sit with all that emerges, good and bad, and give ourselves permission to feel all that we are experiencing.  In our quiet, we listen for the voice of God resonating in our hearts, we listen for the spirit that guides our actions and thoughts.  If we need to we reach out to access the supports in place to manage the emotions that might debilitate and stop us doing what we want and need to do.  I encourage you to reach out to the College if you need to, or if you are worried about your daughter for any reason.  I have included the link to the wellbeing resources for families and students that I shared in my letter to you last Thursday.

Our teachers have been working to maintain and encourage motivation, connection and participation.  From all accounts our students have settled into the routine of remote learning with ease, and while this is not the preferred mode of learning for all students, they have shown their resilience and adaptability once again in getting on with the circumstances as they are.


Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) and Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS)

From 19 April this year, the College, along with all other schools in Victoria, has been required to work under two new information sharing schemes which allows for improved information sharing to support young people who may be at risk of harm.  The Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) enables authorised organisations and services (including schools) to share information to promote the wellbeing and safety of children.  The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) enables authorised organisations and services (including schools) to share information to facilitate assessment and management of family violence risk to children and adults.

Schools operate under a raft of laws relevant to child wellbeing and safety obligations including the Child Safe Standards, Mandatory Reporting, Reportable Conduct, Duty of Care, Privacy Laws and Criminal Laws.  These existing obligations continue to apply.  The CISS and FVIS provide additional permissions to share relevant information.  The College has been preparing for the implementation of these schemes since the latter part of 2020, and has provided training to staff to understand the impact of the reforms on our work.  Importantly, a key principle underpinning these reforms is the work we do with parents and legal guardians in ensuring that our young people are safe.  It is also important to understand that if an adult in the community forms a reasonable belief that the safety and/or wellbeing of a young person is at risk then they are mandated to report, and can face serious consequences if they fail to do so.  As an approved information sharing entity (ISE), where the College believes a young person is at risk of harm, relevant information can be shared without the consent of parents and legal guardians if the reasons for sharing meet the relevant thresholds. 

These reforms come as a response to several inquiries and commissions that have taken place over the last 10 years including the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry, The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Royal Commission into Family Violence, various Coroners Court of Victoria reports and CCYP Child Death Inquiries.  At St Columba’s College we take the wellbeing and safety of our young people seriously and we welcome the reforms that support us to undertake this element of our work more effectively.

Strengthening and supporting improved outcomes for children and young people is the key objective in the implementation of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework, which will guide information sharing under both CISS and FVISS wherever family violence is present.  It is important for all parents and legal guardians to understand the structures that are in place to support flourishing and thriving families.  Schools are one of those structures.  I have also attached a flyer from Catholic Social Services Victoria that provides a list of further resources relevant to family violence should families need them. 

At this time when women are fighting to change the narratives that have defined their lives, we make a commitment to supporting women and men, and our young people to strive for safe, happy and confident families.


Loving Creator,

We asked for strength, and you gave us difficulties to make us strong.

We asked for wisdom, and you gave us problems to solve.

We asked for prosperity, and you gave us purpose and brains to use.

We asked for courage, and you gave us fears to overcome.

We asked for patience, and you gave us situations where we were forced to wait.

We asked for love, and you gave us troubled people to help.

We asked for justice, and you called us to be just and lead with integrity.

Lord, we have received nothing that we asked for or wanted.

And yet, we receive everything that we needed.

For this we give thanks.

Anxiety in Our Young People

Researchers believe that brain changes in adolescence increase a teen’s vulnerability to depression and anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders of adolescence and nearly one in three adolescents (31.9%) will meet criteria for an anxiety disorder by the age of 18.

Feeling anxious is part of the normal range of emotions, just like feeling angry or embarrassed. For most teenagers, anxiety doesn’t last. But for some teenagers it doesn’t go away or is so intense it that it stops them from doing everyday things.

We have provided some resources which we hope you will find useful in supporting your children with their anxiety. One is an article entitled, ‘Stress, anxiety and girls’ and another is a mindfulness tool that can be used by young people and adults alike – ‘Rating Anxiety in the Body’. The following website also provides a wealth of information about anxiety and all things parenting:

Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week

Recently at St Columba’s we have acknowledged two key components of the Justice calendar, Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week. National Sorry Day is celebrated on the 26th of May. The day offers an opportunity to remember and acknowledge the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, now known as the Stolen Generation. 

At STC we asked students to acknowledge the past and make a commitment to a future of recognising, respecting and working towards reconciliation with Indigenous people. This contribution was achieved by asking students to sign our banner, marking their commitment to acknowledging the past, and advocating for a more just future. 

Reconciliation Week begins on the 27th of May and is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements. Whilst exploring how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The week’s theme for 2021 is, ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.’ This theme urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful actions.

To mark the start of Reconciliation Week for 2021 we introduced our copy of the Uluru Statement from the Heart in our opening liturgy in the Chapel. The Uluru Statement from the Heart was released on the 26 May in 2017, during a National Constitutional Convention that aimed to seek constitutional change and structural reform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The statement calls for the establishment of a First Nations voice to be enshrined in the Constitution.  

The Indigenous Perspectives group had organised activities to take place over the course of the week, however our good old mate Covid had interrupted plans. Fortunately, these plans will be postponed until further into the term when restrictions are eased. 

Despite our onsite experiences having been put on hold, we decided to continue to acknowledge this important week remotely. Each day, we highlighted different Indigenous Australians and their achievements via the College Instagram. 

If you would like to learn more about the Uluru Statement from the Heart please check out the link below:

If you would like to learn more about Reconciliation Week please check out the link below:

Vanishing Species

In Science, the Year 7’s have been studying a topic called ‘How can we look after the Earth?’ where we’re learning about ecosystems. We have an upcoming project where we will be researching endangered species in Victoria so our teachers organised an incursion for us called ‘Vanishing Species’ which was run by Mike from a company called Black Snake Productions. During this incursion we were able to learn about some of the vanishing species in Australia. We learned about a number of animals, such as green tree frogs, sugar gliders, barking owls, dingoes, corroboree frogs and a few more.

We got to pet an alpine dingo called Yera and learnt how dingos nearly went extinct, because people were killing them because they would hunt cattle on farms. We got to see a diamond python, and some people even got to wear it around their neck! We learnt that bushfires had nearly killed them all, and it was very rare to see one in the wild. We got to touch a baby crocodile, named Fluffy. All The Year 7’s had a great time, and learnt lots about what we can do to help save species from extinction.

Careers News

In this week’s edition:

  • Free study skills resources
  • Defence Force Gap Year
  • Swinburne University – guaranteed industry experience
  • Focus on exploring TAFE, apprenticeships and traineeships
  • What type of apprenticeship would you be suited to? Take the quiz!
  • Careers in veterinary nursing
  • The University of Melbourne – information and upcoming events
  • Upcoming career events

Access the full newsletter here.

Visit the pathways website here.