Annual School Report (2013)

St Patrick's Primary School, Guildford

34 Calliope Street, Guildford NSW 2161
Principal: Mr Philip Mahony
Phone: 9632 5468
Fax: 9632 1495


About the Annual School Report

St Patrick's Primary School is registered by the Board of Studies (New South Walesas a member of the Catholic system of schools in the Diocese of Parramatta.

The Annual School Report provides parents and the wider school community with fair, accurate and objective information about various aspects of school performance and development. The Report describes achievement of school development priorities in 2013 and gives information about 2014 priorities.

This Report is a legislative requirement under the Schools Assistance Act, 2008.

The information in this Report is complemented by the school website where other school publications and newsletters can be viewed or obtained from the school

Message from key school bodies


I am proud to present to you the 2013 Annual School Report for St Patrick's Primary SchoolGuildford.

As a Catholic school we exist to support and celebrate the beliefs and values of our Catholic faith. At St Patrick's Primary School we value and celebrate:

  • the Catholic church and its mission, giving witness to gospel values
  • the individuality and the dignity of each member of our community
  • respect, partnership and open communication between staff, students, parents, parish and the wider community
  • quality teaching and learning opportunities

Our school aims to provide a supportive environment in which each person can grow and learn. The parish and school work closely together to provide children with many opportunities to experience God's love and to nurture their faith in prayer, celebration, Sacrament and community.

St Patrick's Primary School celebrated 100 years of learning in 2010 and is proud of the high standard of education that it provides.

Parent body

Parent involvement at St Patrick's Primary School is highly encouraged and parents are very much welcomed by the principal, staff and children. Parents appreciate the opportunity to see first hand the children's progress and the rapport that the teachers have with our children. The very rich collaboration of parents and the school contributes to the strong spirit of the school community.

The Parent Group meets once a term and is very active in supporting the school by organising fundraising events, community acitivities and providing warm hospitality for visitors to  St Patrick's Primary School.

Student body

The students at St Patrick's Primary School learn in classrooms that are well-resourced and equipped with modern technologies. All children are provided with many opportunities to showcase their talents and achievements, and are very mindful of the need to support those less fortunate in the community.

Students in Year 6 are elected by their peers and teachers to be school leaders. They take responsibility for preparing the whole-school assembly each Monday, for welcoming special guests to the school and for assisting staff whenever there is a need. The student leaders also participate in significant celebrations and ceremonies throughout the year, such as Grandparents Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and special school masses.

All students in Year 6 are trained as peer support leaders and take responsibility to lead the Peer Support program each year.

Who we are

History of school

In the early 1900s the people of Guildford realised they needed a Catholic parish and school to accommodate the growth of the area. On 2 April, 1910, the community celebrated the opening of a new church building. Later that year the building began to serve a dual purpose when the Sisters of St Joseph started to use it as a school room. The initial enrolment of students in 1910 was 50 pupils.

The Sisters of St Joseph rented a cottage in Guildford Road to be closer to the church/school building. Every Friday the school room would be transformed back into a church and vice versa on Monday mornings. In 1935 the old church was moved to accommodate a new one, and a convent was built for the Sisters of St Joseph. A presbytery beside the church was completed by 1940. The school continued to grow and over time many more buildings and facilities were added to both the school and the church.

This year, the school celebrates 104 years of delivering Catholic education to children in Guildford.

Location/drawing area

St Patrick's Primary School, Guildford, is a multicultural school catering for the needs of its many students. It is a three stream school Kindergarten to Year 6 (K-6) with a current enrolment of 558 students. There are over 40 teaching and non-teaching staff. An extensive building program in recent years has given the school a mix of well-maintained older buildings as well as well-appointed modern buildings. Teachers and children enjoy air-conditioned classrooms and large covered areas that provide shade on hot days.

On the completion of their primary education, the majority of students attending St Patrick's Primary School attend Cerdon College Merrylands (girls), St Paul's Greystanes (boys) and Delany College Granville (coeducational).

Enrolment policy

St Patrick's Primary School follows the Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) document, Enrolment Procedures in Parramatta Catholic Systemic Schools, January 2002. This document can be obtained from the school office or is available on the CEDP website

Current and previous years' student enrolments

Year Boys Girls Total
2011 307 265 572
2012 297 258 555
2013 295 263 558

Enrolments remain steady and it is anticipated that this will continue over the coming years.

Characteristics of the student body

The table below shows the number of students in each of the categories listed.

Language Backgrounds other than English (LBOTE)* Student with Disabilities (SWD)* Indigenous
 518  51  3

School review and development

Annual school priorities

 Priority Reason for the priority  Steps taken to achieve the priority Status of the priority (Achieved, not yet achieved, Ongoing, no longer a priority)
Our first priority was to strengthen the understanding of Catholic faith and spirituality through intellectual formation.
As a Catholic community we always need to look for ways to provide meaningful experiences and learning in order to deepen our spirituality, knowledge and commitment to living a Christian life.
  • Students practised meditation and prayer as part of a weekly routine.
  • Students explored the Scriptures to gain a deeper understanding of their faith.
  • Students and teachers together identified ways to link social justice issues to the Catholic faith.
Our second priority was to develop a deeper understanding of comprehension for all students.
This priority was chosen as a result of the analysis of the National Assessment Program- Literacy and Numeracy NAPLAN, Progressive Achievement Test in Reading (PAT-R) Comprehension and other school-based data that demonstrated that some students are having difficulty in comprehending texts at levels beyond literal understanding.
  • Students were encouraged to read texts of increasing complexity.
  • Students were encouraged to use more complex vocabulary in writing and in conversation.
  • Differentiated learning tasks and point of need teaching focused on specific learning needs.
  • Professional development opportunites were provided to assist teachers implement strategies to improve reading comprehension.
Our third priority was to provide evidence of student achievement in reading on a reading data wall.
This priority was chosen in line with the Catholic Education Office's directive for targetting student achievement that is visible and and personalised.
  • A  data wall was established for all grades showing growth in reading.
  • Regular staff conversations were held based on the evidence of the data wall.
  • Case management meetings were introduced for those students not achieving benchmarks.


Projected school priorities

 Priority Reason for the priority
Steps to be taken to achieve the priority
Our first priority will be to continue to strengthen the understanding of Catholic faith and Spirituality through the development of intellectual formation.
This priority was chosen as a result of our focus in 2013 which provided opportunities for teachers and students to plan, prepare and participate more fully in liturgy.
  • introduction of the model 'Head, Heart and Hands' as a guide for understanding and action
  • weekly prayer and meditation
  • exploring ways to build community
  • professional learning for teachers and staff


Our second priority will be to ensure students use effective and accurate sentence structure, grammatical features, punctuation conventions and vocabulary relevant to the type of text being composed. This priority was chosen in consultation with teachers and from school data that demonstrates that some students experience difficulty in producing texts at appropriate levels.
  • Specific goals will be set for achieving writing standards across each stage of learning.
  • Each writing lesson will have an explicit focus on sentence structure/grammar/punctuation.
  • Teaching strategies will be guided by Focus 160.  
  • Teacher capacity will be built using the teacher learning triad.
  • There will be ongoing professional development.
Our third priority will be to explore the new Mathematics curriculum and to embed an efficient numeracy block that reflects this curriculum. This priority was chosen as a result of changes to the NSW Mathematics curriculum and an identified need for improvement in student achievement levels in Mathematics.
  • Teachers will  work closely with a teacher educator to implement the new Mathematics curriculum.
  • All students in Kindergarten and Year 1 will be assessed using the Mathematics Assessment Interview (MAI).
  • A variety of manipulatives will be purchased and used to assist students' mathematical understanding.
  • A growth point framework will be introduced to show students' mathematical achievement in counting, place value, addition and subtraction, and multiplication and division.
  • There will be ongoing professional development.


Catholic identity

Prayer, liturgical life and faith experiences

St Patrick's Primary School is proud to have a very active liturgical life. Feast days, holy days and special events (eg Grandparents Day, St Patrick's Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day) are celebrated with liturgies and special prayer services. ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day are also celebrated as they are important national days.

Students take part in various religious experiences which guide and develop their faith.  Students participate in Sacramental programs that are taught and celebrated as part of the school's Religious Education program and the parish priest visits the school regularly to celebrate mass and class penance. 

Regular prayer is an important part of school life including daily prayer in classrooms, staff prayer and community prayer at whole-school assemblies.  

The staff gather together every Tuesday to pray and share their spirituality.

Social justice

Students and staff are very mindful of social justice and readily promote special occasions such as Harmony Day, Multicultural Day and Mission Week. The students generously donate to causes such as Project Compassion and Caritas, as well as national and worldwide disasters. The students are encouraged to assist with local community projects that support the underprivileged and needy.

School, home and parish partnerships

Parents regularly assist teachers in the classroom with reading, art, sport, in the library, on excursions and in the canteen. The Parent Group meets every term with an emphasis on building community, sharing in the decision making process and setting directions for fundraising. Special morning teas are organised for special events such as St Patrick's Day, Grandparents Day, Mothers Day and Fathers Day and to welcome new Kindergarten parents. A small secondhand uniform shop is organised each month by a group of volunteer parents.

St Patrick's Primary School has a very strong link to the parish. A mass is held every week for children and parishioners and the parish priest is a regular visitor to school assemblies, staff prayer and special school events.

Regular communication with parents occurs through the student's diary, phone calls, meetings and the fortnightly school newsletter.

Religious Education

Religious Education

Religious Education follows the Sharing Our Story syllabus document of Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta. The major concepts studied are God, Jesus, Church, Sacraments, Scripture, Christian Life and Prayer. Learning in each Stage builds on the learning in previous Stages of schooling. Emphasis is placed on the school community modelling the gospel values and talking to God though participation in the Sacraments, liturgy and prayer. Students are prepared for the Sacraments of Penance, Holy Communion and Confirmation as part of the school's Religious Education program.

The Religious Education coordinator leads teachers in ways to prepare for liturgy, the Sacraments and using resources such as Exploring Scripture techniques and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to enhance teaching and learning activities.

Professional learning of staff in Religious Education

One of the priorities for 2013 was to provide teachers with opportunities to deepen their understanding of comprehension for all students and to track their learning on a reading data wall. Teachers were engaged in professional workshop sessions which included ongoing analysis of assessment data, the introduction of case management conferences and the implementation of the data wall. The intended outcome of this learning was for teachers to understand that assessment must inform future learning and teaching.

Staff development days were allotted to unpack the new English curriculum, to investigate teaching strategies for developing comprehension skills and to review assessment tasks in reading, writing, talking and listening.

Learning and teaching

National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) 2013

Students in Year 3 and Year 5 across Australia participated in National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) in May 2013. The purpose of this test is to provide information to parents and teachers about the achievements of students in aspects of Literacy and aspects of Numeracy. The test provides a measure of the students’ performance against established standards and against other students in Australia. Each year the results are analysed by the school to inform teaching with a view to improving student performance.

The Commonwealth Government sets minimum acceptable standards for literacy, numeracy, reading, writing, grammar, punctuation and spelling at particular ages. These are referred to as national minimum standards. Band 2 is the minimum standard for Year 3 and band 4 is the minimum standard for Year 5. Student performance in NAPLAN in our school is compared to these standards. The percentages of students achieving at or above these national minimum standards, and the percentages of students in the top three bands are reported in the table below.

 % of students at or above national minimum standard% of students in top three bands
Year 3:    
Literacy100.00 95.00 87.50 71.70
Numeracy98.70 95.80 55.70 62.00
Reading100.00 95.30 75.00 69.30
Writing100.00 95.00 93.75 75.40
Grammar and Punctuation100.00 95.30 88.75 73.40
Spelling98.80 93.90 85.00 67.40
Year 5:    
Literacy100.00 94.00 69.01 58.17
Numeracy97.20 93.40 28.17 51.70
Reading100.00 96.20 64.79 62.80
Writing100.00 91.70 60.56 51.90
Grammar and Punctuation98.60 94.80 63.38 61.50
Spelling100.00 93.10 76.06 58.30

The NAPLAN results for 2013 clearly show that, in both Literacy and Numeracy, the students in Year 3 and Year 5 are performing above the national minimum standard. In all components of Literacy, our percentage of students in the top three bands is higher than the national average. In Numeracy, however, our percentage of students in the top three bands is below the national average. For this reason, Numeracy will be a major focus for learning in 2014. Ongoing review of existing programs and strategies will be conducted throughout the year to ensure that children's educational needs are met.

School curriculum

At St Patrick's Primary School we take pride in providing a supportive environment in which each person can grow and learn. Our highly qualified and committed staff work together as a team to nurture children as they grow academically, spiritually, emotionally and socially.

Teachers work collaboratively in grades and as a whole staff to plan and implement teaching and learning programs. Literacy, numeracy and Religious Education are strongly emphasised, and teachers have developed challenging school-based integrated units to meet the many outcomes of the NSW curriculum.

A dedicated and hard working Learning Support team liaises closely with class teachers to identify and support children with learning needs. A highly successful learning program is implemented and the Learning Support team meets regularly to monitor students' progress. The Learning Support team provides in-class support as well as small group and individual instruction. The learning needs of all children who receive Commonwealth funding are met through individual plans and these children are closely monitored.

Specialist teachers in Music, Physical Education, Personal Development and Health, as well as an Enrichment program, provide children with many opportunities to enrich their learning and to showcase their talents. Children participate in many sporting events, Wakakirri, Dance Fever, gymnastics displays, school choir, chess club and debating.

Students entering Kindergarten meet teachers and are guided through a series of activities to gauge their readiness for school during an Orientation Day. Those assessed as needing greater assistance the following year are invited to attend a Transition program which runs a day a week for four weeks. Specific learning activities, focused on occupational therapy and language deficiencies, form the basis of this program.

Year 6 students enrolling in high school are visited by their high school principal and Year 7 coordinator throughout the year. They undertake a day's orientation at their new school in term 4.

Initiatives to promote respect and responsibility

The core of our Student Management policy is respect and responsibility for self and others. Consequences are in place if these expectations are not followed.

A whole-school assembly is held each Monday. Parents are welcome and share in the assembly. Children from each class are presented with the principal's weekly values award. This award recognises behaviour that reflects the values promoted by the school.

Module assemblies are held twice each term. At these assemblies, children receive merit awards for following class and school rules, doing their best work in class or improving in a specific Key Learning Area.

At the end of each term, two students from every class and learning support group receive a principal's gold award. This award is presented to children who have consistently achieved high standards in their learning and behaviour. They are invited to attend the principal's morning tea in recognition of their hard work.

Parent satisfaction with the school

During 2013, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta engaged insight SRC to conduct the Quality Catholic Schooling (QCS) survey to provide feedback from parents, students and staff about our school. This survey will be conducted annually.

The QCS data collected and reported showed that parents were happy with the school and with the programs offered. Parents particularly identified Learning Focus, Homework, Classroom Behaviour, Student Safety, Connectedness to Peers, Behaviour Management and School Improvement as areas of strength for the school. Parents also acknowledged Approachability, Parent Input, Social Skills,  stimulating learning, Student Motivation Connectedness to School and teacher morale as being very high.

The one area identified by parents for improvement was in extra-curricular activities. Currently, extra-curricular programs that are organised by the school include: Dance Fever, Learn to Swim, Soccer/Rugby/Netball Gala days and Wakakirri.

Student satisfaction with the school

The QCS data showed that students felt very connected to the school, they found learning stimulating and were motivated to learn. Most students reported that they had a close connection to their peers and enjoyed positive friendships. Overall, student morale was high as was student learning confidence. Students felt supported and valued by their teachers and enjoyed learning in a safe environment.

Teacher satisfaction with the school

The QCS data showed that teachers and staff strongly supported the student management programs in the school and believed that these contributed to the positive school learning environment. Teachers reported that they were supported in their work by the leadership team and, while they acknowledged the many challenges of their profession, they felt empowered in their teaching roles and supported the curriculum processes that were followed. Teachers were onboard with the goals and direction of the school and valued the opportunities to work together in teams. Teachers also valued the support given by parents and believed that, overall, students were motivated to learn.

Workforce composition

Number of Staff
Number of teachers who hold teaching qualifications from a higher education institution within Australia or as recognised by AEI-NOOSR*.
Number of teachers who have a bachelor degree from a higher education institution within Australian or within AEI-NOOSR* guidelines but lacking formal teacher qualifications.
Number of teachers who do not have qualifications as above but have relevant successful teaching experience or appropriate knowledge relevant to their teaching context.
Number of teachers accredited to teach Religious Education
Number of teachers currently undertaking accreditation to teach Religious Education
Number of non-teaching staff (includes teachers aides)
Percentage of teacher who are Indigenous  0

*Australian Education International - National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition

Professional learning

In 2013, the main focus for professional learning was on implementing the new English curriculum. Staff Development Days and staff Learning Meetings were provided for teachers to work in teams to explore the new curriculum, to develop teaching strategies linked to the outcomes, to review components of their literacy teaching block and to apply strategies from Focus 160.

Other professional development learning included:

  • Child Protection: Essential Child Protection Training for Staff
  • Implementation of the NSW English Curriculum
  • Reading Recovery
  • Extending Mathematical Understanding

Teacher attendance and retention rates

Teacher attendance

The average teacher attendance for 2013 was 95.97%.

Teacher retention

Of the 2013 teaching staff, 98% were retained from 2012.

Student attendance rates

Percentage of student attendance by Year level and school average:

Kindergarten Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 School Average
 97  96  96  96  95  95  95  96

A number of families required exemption for children to travel overseas to visit extended families at this time of the year. This always impacts on student attendance rates.

Managing non-attendance

Regular attendance at school is essential if students are to maximise their potential. Schools, in partnership with parents and guardians, are responsible for promoting the regular attendance of students. The compulsory schooling age is 6 to 17. Parents and guardians are legally responsible for the regular attendance of their children, explaining the absences of their children in writing within seven days to the school, and taking measures to resolve attendance issues involving their children. School staff, as part of their duty of care, monitor part or whole day absences. They maintain accurate records of student attendance, follow up unexplained absences through written and verbal communication, implement programs and practices to address attendance issues when they arise, and provide clear information to students and parents regarding attendance requirements and the consequences of unsatisfactory attendance. The principal or their delegate may grant permission for late arrival at school or early departure from school, leave, or exemption from attendance only in individual cases, on written request from parents and guardians. The principal/delegate will undertake all reasonable measures to contact parents promptly if an unexplained absence occurs. If truancy is suspected, the principal will contact the parents/guardians to ascertain the reason for the absence. If a satisfactory response is not received, the matter will be referred to Catholic Education Office staff for follow up.

Pastoral care of students

Student welfare, discipline and anti-bullying policies and pastoral care

St Patrick's Primary School has a strong stance against bullying and immediate action is taken to resolve any reported incidents of bullying. Parents are contacted by the assistant principal if serious breeches of the school rules occur. Their support is greatly appreciated

In 2012, the Student Management policy was updated and this process involved staff, students and parents. A Code of Conduct clearly outlines acceptable behaviours and consequences for failing to uphold these behaviours. These consequences vary according to the level of misbehaviour with parents being informed at all levels.

Students are rewarded for positive behaviours at a weekly school assembly and at a principal's morning tea each termCorporal punishment is not accepted under any circumstances.

All individuals are valued and their dignity preservedStudents are encouraged to practise explicit Catholic moral and ethical values. St Patrick's Primary School encourages a safe, protective and just school.

There were no changes to this policy in 2013The full text of the Student Management policy is available on the school's website.

Complaints and grievances policy

The school has formal written protocols in place to address complaints and grievances. These protocols are in line with the Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta Complaint Handling policy. A copy of the school policy is available from the school office or is available on the CEDP website There were no changes to the policy during this year

Financial statement

School recurrent and capital income

School recurrent and capital income

In 2013 St Patrick's Primary School received $9,799.00 as interest subsidy.

Our school community is appreciative of the support it received from the NSW State Government under the Interest Subsidy Scheme and looks forward to the implementation of the Building Grants Assistance Scheme as these are of vital importance to the ongoing wellbeing of this school.

Fees relate to diocesan and school based fees, excursions and other private income from fundraisers.

State relates to State Recurrent Grants including per capita funding, interest subsidy and special purpose grants.

Commonwealth relates to Commonwealth Recurrent Grants including per capita funding and special purpose grants.

Capital relates to Government Capital Grants including monies received under the Building Education Revolution.

Other refers to Other Capital Income including drawdowns from the Diocesan School Building Fund to fund Capital Expenditure.

School recurrent and capital expenditure

School recurrent and capital expenditure

Salary refers to the total of all Salaries, allowances and related expenses such as superannuation, workers compensation and leave.

Non-Salary refers to all other Non-Salary Recurrent Expenses.

Capital refers to Non-Recurrent Capital Expenditure including School Buildings, Furniture and Equipment.

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