Term 4 Newsletter No.4 (1 December 2017)

Hello everyone,


Here is the latest news as we approach the end of a productive year.

College Council

Catherine Chalker has resigned as Chair of the College Council, 4 years after the graduation of Kate, the youngest in the Chalker family. Catherine’s commitment to Kildare and to education in

general has been persistent and generous. She has led an equally generous team of parents which has been instrumental in supporting, promoting and completing improvement plans for the College.



Ursula Harbison is resigning as Chloe finishes Year 12 and Jo Eady is resigning 12 months after Lauren finished Year 12. Ursula and Jo have an optimistic, informed view of education and have been excellent advocates for the College.  Ursula’s commitment as a Boarding parent has also involved significant travel and late nights after our monthly meetings.


Amanda Howard, Maria Vecchio, Ken Grimson, Joe McGirr, Cath Munn, Katrina Cooper and David Collie make up the remainder of the Council. I thank each of them for their energy, expertise and generosity. Council meetings are positive, supportive affairs which focus first on improving opportunity, learning and wellbeing for our students. We will look at Council numbers early next year and invite nominations for new members if required.




Here is a summary of staffing changes. We expect to have 920 students next year and this increase in numbers allows us to employ several new teachers.

  • Colin Parker has resigned after a combined 39 years of service as a Science teacher at Mt Erin High School and Kildare.
  • Catherine Banks leaves us to take on a leadership position at Mater Dei Catholic College.
  • Peter Hunt has accepted a 12 month secondment to work at the Catholic Schools Office, supporting the 5 Diocesan secondary schools as a School Support Officer: Curriculum and Pedagogy.
  • Brendan Ashby has resigned as Leader of Boarding after 6 years of service to boarders and their families.
  • Jenny Stephens joined us recently as a Science teacher.
  • Dannyelle Gater joins us next year as a Science and Maths teacher.
  • Tess Lyons joins us next year as a Maths teacher.
  • Caitlin Fahey will be Leader of Academic Care and Wellbeing for 2018.
  • Angie Cooper is the new Gandhi House Academic Care Coordinator.
  • John Nielsen is Teresa House Academic Care Coordinator for 2018.
  • Christine Savage is Leader of Mission for 2018.


Fulltime On-site Psychologist from 2018

From 2018 we will employ a full-time psychologist. This will allow high level specialist support for individuals, families and groups. Psychological assessment, counselling, intervention planning and other services will be available on-site and integrated into various teams that work to improve learning and wellbeing for individuals and groups. This appointment will be made and announced before the end of the 2017 school year.


The CSO contract with Centacare for provision of counselling services continues, with a focus on Primary schools. Our current counsellor Emily Dowling will continue her work in Diocesan Primary schools.



Sport in 2018

From 2018, Sport will be integrated into the PDHPE curriculum. The combined hours will be exactly the same. The key advantage is that expert teachers are allocated to take all PDHPE and sport hours, rather than teachers who are below load on a timetable and ‘topped up’ with Sport. Integrated sport has been the recommended pathway for quite a few years from those concerned with getting young people more active more often and with ensuring best teacher fit. For this to happen we have to increase the size of the PDHPE Department. Several teachers who teach in PDHPE and other subject areas have had their PDHPE loads increased and we have employed new staff in the Science (2) and Mathematics KLAs.


In 2017:      4 x 1 hour lessons + 2 hours sport each fortnight =      120 hours/year

In 2018:      6 x 1 hour lessons =      120 hours/year


In 2018 the extra 2 lessons from Sport will always be sport and activity. The 4 lessons from PDHPE will remain a mix of theory and practical, following the 7-10 PDHPE Syllabus.



2017 Trial of a daytime Awards Assembly

Three of the five secondary schools in the Diocese have a daytime Awards Assembly, while Mater Dei and Kildare have traditionally had evening events. This year we are trialling a daytime ceremony and early next year we will collect feedback to see which format best suits our community and our purposes in holding the event. The Awards Assembly will be at 12.30pm on Tuesday December 12. All are welcome. Parents of students who are receiving awards will be informed before the assembly. You will be sent a link before the assembly giving access to a live stream. Holding the assembly at lunchtime and streaming it will hopefully allow those unable to attend an opportunity to watch the event.



191 Year 6 students to begin Year 7 in 2018

Our Year 7 students for 2018 enjoyed an energetic and friendly ‘0h’ Day, today. Alison Sutton and Maxine Mowett, with helpers, made sure that every student had a fun and reassuring day with plenty of activity and the meeting of new friends. We are all looking forward to welcoming them again next year, when Year 6 from 18 different primary schools become Kildare’s 2018 Year 7.

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