Winters Flat Primary School
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3 Roberts Ave
Castlemaine VIC 3450

Phone: 03 5472 1522

FLAT CHAT | 3rd February 2021

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FLAT CHAT | 3rd February 2021

Dear Winters Flat Community,

We’ve had a great start and it was lovely to welcome back everyone for the 2021 school year as well as our Preps and new students. Special thanks to Blair Venn and Richard Goonan who worked so hard in the heat, to tidy up the grounds prior to school starting. Thanks also to Helen K, Rosie, Kitty, Kacey, Kirsty and Emma for organising the Welcome Morning tea on Thursday.

Teachers were excited by the professional learning presentation from Michael Minas on Monday, where we discussed the Big Ideas in Number with staff from Maldon PS. We’re looking forward to an exciting year of maths learning.



Our school collects, uses, discloses and stores student and parent personal information for standard school functions or where permitted by law, as stated in the Schools’ Privacy Policy.

Please take time to remind yourself of the school’s collection statement, found on our website

For more information about privacy, refer to: Schools’ Privacy Policy — information for parents



We were targeted once again during the January break with graffiti, broken windows, broken bottles and damage to buildings. The cost is significant in terms of the distress this damage causes as well as the time and materials to repair it. Experiences across the state suggests that installing CCTV can be a significant deterrent, as has been the experience of at least one local school here in Castlemaine.

In consultation with police and the Department of Education and Training Incident Support and Operations Centre Security Unit, we are considering installing two temporary CCTV cameras. There are strict Guidelines for the use of CCTV in Victorian schools which include a list of requirements and it is our intention to work closely with the Security Unit.

The two cameras will be mounted from inside to focus on the two deck areas – main building and art room. The footage will only be viewed for after-hours activity by senior staff and if an offence committed – the police.

If you have any concerns about this proposal please contact me directly: or 5472 1522


To proceed we additionally require School Council approval.



The 2020 school year was an extraordinary and challenging one for every school community.

Many Victorian students spent much of Terms 2 and 3 last year learning remotely and Victorian schools and their communities made an exceptional effort to provide continuity of teaching and learning to our students during this time.

During Term 4, schools across Victoria were focused on supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing, in addition to assisting students to readjust to on-site learning. Teachers were focusing on assessing student learning, addressing individual learning gaps and identifying those students who need extra support for their learning, using classroom-based observation and assessments.

We know that the remote learning experience was different for every student. While some students thrived, some students may not have engaged as fully with remote learning.

For most of our students, regular high-quality teaching in 2021 will be enough to help them progress to the expected level of learning. Some students will benefit from additional intensive learning support in 2021.

As you may be aware, in response to this, the Victorian Government is investing $250 million in the Tutor Learning Initiative to enable schools across Victoria to engage around 4,100 teachers as tutors in 2021 to support students who need extra assistance with their learning. Schools will determine how this initiative is best implemented for their students and will ensure that students will get this support in a way that minimises disruptions to other learning or school activities.

By engaging additional teachers to support children with intensive learning, classroom teachers will have greater capacity to ensure that all other students’ achievement, engagement and wellbeing needs are met, so that all students receive the support they need in 2021.

If you are concerned about your child’s engagement in their learning, while learning at home or following their return to school please contact your school.


Our tutor Michelle Creed will be working with students in small groups commencing this week. Parents and Carers of the students invited to participate in the tutor program should have received a letter with their Financial Statement yesterday.


Welcome back Sausage Sizzle/Picnic – 5.00pm – 6.30pm next Thursday 11th February

An event for all families to re-connect after the summer break. We will have sausages and veggie burgers available and encourage families to bring picnic food to share. For catering purposes please fill out the attached form (hard copies available at the office). Please complete and submit by this Monday 8th February.


Staffing 2021


Fiona Johnston


Bianca Alvarez Harris


Helen Weir


Keenan Lucas


Karen Brooks & Sam Milner


Michelle Creed

Visual Arts

Jennifer Thoma


Sam Milner


Katie Kilgour

Performing Arts

Suzanne Kinnersly


Karen Mahoney & Renae Wilson


Rosie Annear & Terry Willis

Student Support

Marg Stevens, Morgan Sherry, Bronwyn Tracey, Kay Tomlinson & Anne Neath

Welfare Officer

Hannah O’Keefe

ICT Support

Ben Colla


Harry Poulton (volunteer)


We welcome Hannah O’Keefe as our new chaplain/wellbeing coordinator. Please introduce yourself to Hannah who will be working here on Tuesdays and Fridays. National Chaplaincy consent forms (approval on XUNO or hard copies available at the office) are updated each year and are required if you would like your child to see Hannah.

A reminder that the Chaplain provides pastoral care and emotional support but does not advocate for a particular religious view or belief.



A reminder please to ensure your children have enough to eat at school. We suggest some fruit for 10.00am Munch and Crunch, a healthy snack for 11.00am and a balanced healthy lunch for 1.25pm. Some ideas at 50 Fun School lunch ideas.


Prep – Year 3 Meet and Greet Interviews 24th February

On Wednesday 24th February you will have the opportunity to meet with teachers to talk about the individual needs of your child. We have attached a questionnaire to guide the conversation, with the expectation that this is an opportunity for parents and carers to meet the 2021 teacher or re-connect if they are continuing from 2020. Bookings to be made on XUNO.


Year 4 – Year 6 Meet and Greet Interviews 3rd March

Once again on Wednesday 3rd March, you will have the opportunity to meet with teachers from Years 4-6 to talk about the individual needs of your child. Again, this is an opportunity for parents and carers in the Senior Learning Community to meet the 2021 teacher and re-connect if they are continuing from 2020. Please fill out this questionnaire if you haven't already before the interview. Bookings to be made on XUNO.



Assemblies will resume again fortnightly on Monday afternoons in even weeks. During Term 1 we will meet on The Deck.


School Captains 2021

Captains: Chilli Holt & Felix Mensah

Vice-Captains: Jacob Markoff, Teekah Murray & Byron Plousi


Chess 2021 - Thursdays

Harry Poulton will continue to offer the chess program here at Winters Flat on Thursdays in 2021. Harry volunteers his time to coach chess and we are grateful that he is able to continue with the program this year. Permission forms for After-school Chess are available here or at the office.


Mango Drive 2020

Congratulations once again to the Frost family for selling the most mangoes during our end of year mango drive with a whopping 105 trays. Brilliant effort!!

Money raised in 2020 will be spent on the installation of a Split System in the 3/4W classroom.

We are hoping to raise money in 2021 to enhance and upgrade play options in the playground.


Committees, Volunteers and School Council

This year we are once again inviting parents and carers to consider joining one of the School Council sub-committees here at Winters Flat. Thank you to those who have already signed up. We have vacancies in:

  • Buildings and Grounds – manages grounds of the school and identifies building maintenance issues
  • Fundraising – organises and coordinates fund raising opportunities
  • School Community engagement – looks for ways of involving our community and the wider Castlemaine community in school life, as well as promoting our school
  • Sustainability – supports the ResourceSmart 5 Star rating through daily school routines, leadership, curriculum and innovation.
  • Wellbeing – promotes health, mental, social and emotional wellbeing in our community with students, staff and parents


If you have an interest in joining any of these committees please complete the attached Volunteers form (hard copies available underneath the blackboard out the front of the school), or phone 5472 1522. It is not necessary to be on council to participate. Thanks to those who have already expressed interest. We will send out a meeting schedule as soon as possible. School Council elections will be held in March and there are a number of vacancies for parents/carers.

Volunteers are welcome in every classroom as well as the Kitchen/Garden and Specialist. If you have the time and inclination please let us know.


Suzanne Kinnersly


Welcome back to Term 1 and a special welcome to new families to the school. The office is your first point of call when you have questions. Karen Mahoney is the business manager and works full time in the office. Renae Wilson is administration support and works Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.


Camps, Sports and Excursion Fund Applications

The Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund helps eligible families to cover the costs of school trips, camps and sporting activities.

If you have a valid means-tested concession card, such as a Veterans Affairs Gold Card, Centrelink Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card, or are a temporary foster parent, you may be eligible. There is also a special consideration category for asylum seeker and refugee families.

Payment amounts this year are $125 for eligible primary school students. Payments are made direct to the school to use towards expenses relating to camps, excursions and sporting activities for the benefit of your child.

If you applied for CSEF through our school last year, you do not need to complete an application form this year, unless there has been a change in your family circumstances.

If you would like to apply for the first time, you can download the form here. Forms are also available at the office.

You can also download the form, and find out more about the program and eligibility, on the Department of Education and Training’s Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund web page.

Please return completed forms to the office as soon as possible.


Fees and voluntary levies

The fee schedule for 2021, with statements attached, were sent home yesterday, Tuesday, with the youngest child in the family this week, so please ensure you check their bags.

Payment by the end of Term 1 is appreciated.



If any families are having issues with logging onto XUNO, please contact the office.

Currently, the app gives you access to: 

  • Messages (send and receive messages to your child’s teachers)
  • Timetable
  • Calendar
  • News
  • Attendance (and the ability to respond to previous absences)
  • Events, Camps & Excursions (and the ability to approve events)
  • Payments (to pay for any camps/excursions)
  • Parent Teacher Interview Bookings (now available to book)

We encourage all families to be regularly logging into XUNO, either via the website or the app.


SAKG Laundry Roster

If you are able to help with the SAKG laundry, please contact us in the office.


Hats and uniforms

We keep a supply of hats at the office to purchase. It is compulsory for hats to be worn from September to May.
Other uniform items can be purchased at the Beleza shop in town (the old JM Leech building) Barker Street on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays from 10am to 5pm and Saturday mornings from 10 am til 1.00pm. We also carry some second hand items that can be purchased from the office.


Parent class reps

We require a class rep for the following class this year: P/1J, 2/3A, 4/5L, 6B.  Register here to be a 2021 class rep


Sushi Friday's

Sushi is back again this year.

Lunchbox Sushi in Castlemaine work with the school to provide flavoursome, healthy sushi to the students each Friday.

Sushi rolls are $3.30 each with 13 different flavours available, all of them being nut allergy friendly and many of them catering for vegetarian, vegan, dairy free and gluten free also!

All orders to be made through the School Lunch Online web based ordering system-

Orders need to be made by 5pm on Thursday to ensure an order is placed for the child/ren to enjoy at lunchtime on Friday.

For existing users

  • Login to your account
  • Choose 'My account'
  • Choose 'Manage users'
  • Select your child's name
  • Select their new class

**Please make sure this is done before you place your orders.


Tea Towels

We have 3 tea towels up for grabs leftover from last year's fundraiser. First in best dressed at $20 each.


Karen Mahoney & Renae Wilson


**Orders for the current issue of Book Club are due by 17/2.
**Copies of the current issue are available at the office.


Hello and welcome back to school! Here’s hoping that 2021 will be as smooth and predictable as we can make it.

My name is Hannah O’Keefe and I am the new Wellbeing Officer at Winters Flat P.S. My job is to support the emotional wellbeing of students by providing individual and group support where needed. A large part of my work is having one-one-one sessions with students to help them to feel safe and better equipped to integrate and enjoy their time at school by feeling a sense of belonging and connectedness to their peers, teachers and school in general. Another responsibility that I have is to assist families and the wider community to connect with the school and to help them access support and/or appropriate referrals in difficult situations such as during times of grief, or when students are facing personal or emotional challenges.

My work hours are Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30-2:30. If you would like to arrange a phone meeting to discuss any concerns, feel free to email me on

Hugely important to us as educators, carers and parents is encouraging our children and students to seek help. Promoting help-seeking behaviour is crucial if we want to assist our children to work through any challenges they are facing. It can be hard to ask for help but it is important that your child knows that it is okay. Encourage help seeking in your child by:

  • asking how things are going
  • letting them know it’s okay if they are feeling sad or frustrated
  • listening without judgement when they seek out your support
  • providing children with a range of information about where to get help if they need it.

For more information on how to promote help seeking in children, please see the following:

For support when concerned about your child’s mental health, don’t hesitate to contact me or the school. Your family GP can also help and there are also a range of useful organisations and agencies in our region that can support you and your family:

  • Bendigo Health - Community Mental Health Services

1300 363 788 (Currently a full-time clinician works from the Castlemaine Office)

  • Castlemaine Community Mental Health Service
    Slater House
    142 Cornish Street
    Castlemaine 3450
    Ph: (03) 5471 1000



Wellbeing Officer


*If you wish for your child/ren to participate in sessions with Hannah, please ensure you provide permission on XUNO or sign a hard copy of the permission form available at the office. 



What we're cooking in the kitchen this week...

Vietnamese rice paper rolls

Wheat Tortillas


Leafy Salad

Apple Crumble


Remember, all our recipes are available on our school website, so you can try them at home.


And what we're harvesting from the garden...




Soft Herbs



A big thank you also to our voulnteers who helped out with watering over the Christmas Holiday Period.

We currently have a lot of pears growing on the school grounds. If you know how to use fowler jars and can help with preserving them, please let us know.


Rosie & Terry
Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden


Australia’s Healthiest Lunchbox Competition
Nutrition Australia have joined forces with Life Education in the search for Australia’s Healthiest Lunchbox. Upload your photo on Life Education website and you'll be in the
running to WIN one of three prize packs consisting of a $250 Woolworths e-Gift card and a Healthy Harold lunch pack! Submissions close Thursday 11th February.


It is never too early to get kids helping to pack their
lunchbox. Involve them in:
• choosing fruits and vegetables at the shops
• easy kitchen tasks like stirring or measuring
• packing their own lunchbox from a healthy
Visit @nutritionaustralia Healthy Lunchbox Week
website for plenty of child friendly lunchbox recipes to
help get them started.