Principal's Update March 2022


What a strange and disrupted start we have had to the 2022 school year and yet despite that our students have very quickly and calmly settled in to their learning. Thanks to our whole school staff for their efforts in ensuring that overall, the start to the school year has been very calm and smooth.

It is great to see that collectively our students have continued to demonstrate the sense of independence and confidence in their school environment, that we have seen develop throughout the last couple of years.

It was a happy day on Wednesday when we all returned to school on the first bright sunny day for quite a while and we do hope that none of our families, have been badly impacted by the recent flooding.  Of course, this week we are also looking forward to the easing of COVID restrictions from Friday. This will see us pretty much return to “normal" operations.

Sometimes it is hard to remember what pre 2020 “normal" was like, but I am fairly sure we will adjust to that quite quickly. Most notably no one will need to wear masks at school anymore and we will return to a whole school Assembly each Monday afternoon at 2:30 in the Hall. Parents are welcome to attend, and are all once again welcome in the school grounds.

We thank you all in advance for continuing to follow the social distancing guidelines whilst in and around our school. This will not only help to keep us all safe and healthy, but in this instance you are also modelling social responsibility for your children and so they learn about the part we all play in “doing the right thing". After a topsy, turvy start we are optimistic that 2022 will once again feel like 2019, with camps, excursions and sports days, amongst other things, all back on our calendar!

Our official enrolment to start the year was 786, which is very consistent with this time last year. In the last few years our school has seen significant growth and we are now at a stage where we can only maintain that number, as we are virtually at capacity with 32 classes.

We begin the year with a few changes to our teaching staff. We welcome new teachers on contract – Rebecca Skarparis, teacher of 6S, Marty Trescott teacher of 6T, Odette Hattingh teacher of 5H, Amanda Conway teacher of 4A, Jess Ferguson and Cathy Schabe, SEP teachers. We are very fortunate that all of these teachers are experienced, bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise with them. We also welcome back Olivia Lake as Acting Head of Curriulum (HOC), replacing Ben Truscott who remains Acting DP,   and   Tara Christie as acting Head of Special Education Services (HOSES).I am sure that all of these people already feel part of the highly professional Thornlands staff team. This team of highly committed and skilled individuals - teaching and non-teaching - working together to benefit all of our students is very exciting to be a part of. As parents you can be very confident that your children's education is in great hands at Thornlands SS!!

Thornlands SS Explicit Improvement Agenda 2022:

  • aligns with Our school Vision which is about ensuring the very best outcomes for each and every one of our students-



  • builds on the ethos of a whole school approach to effective Teaching and Learning and knowledge of best practice, that we have been engaged with here at Thornlands, for the last 10+ years.
  • builds on the consistent work of the last several years with further consolidation of the whole school approach to the effective teaching of reading and writing.
  •  places focus on the explicit and regular teaching of basic number concepts
  • continues our ongoing priority of ensuring that our most capable students are being extended to the full range of their potential.
  •  Focuses on the explicit teaching of the school's Social Emotional Program and Supportive School Environment lessons

As you know all of our students have their own individual reading and writing goals. This assists them to strive for improvement and track their own progress. Each year we utilise a broad range of data to track our performance as a school and the individual progress of each and every student. We also set school goals in order to track how the school is improving overall.  NAPLAN results, in a given year, and over a number of years are just one such measure. This year our targets for achievement of students in the Upper 2 Bands (U2B) in NAPLAN are as follows:

YEAR 380%70%70%
YEAR 550%30%50%

Other 2022 targets:

  • Maintain percentage students in Prep- Year 2 achieving, or exceeding, Benchmark standards in reading to 80%.
  • Increase % students achieving a “C",or above, in English in Prep –Year 6 to 85%
  • Increase % students achieving a “C",or above, in Maths in Prep –Year 6 to 85%

A strength in curriculum at Thornlands is enabling year level teams to plan co-operatively once a term with the HOC. This is a very important aspect of effective curriculum delivery as it enables a lot of professional sharing and consistency across classes. This will continue in 2022.

Investing 4 Success funding (I4S) is $281185 in 2022, up about $12000 on last year. As in previous years, this funding has enabled us to enhance our team structure even further by maintaining dedicated teacher aides in each year level and a fulltime aide in every Prep classroom. This additional classroom support and consistency has helped achieve a very smooth transition into the 2022 school year.

Also as part of I4S, the Rally Readers program will expand in 2022 to operate for all Prep - Year 4 classesSusie Moreland (Support teacher Literacy and Numeracy), assisted by teacher Janice Wilson, will bring their breadth of training and expertise in the teaching of reading to co-ordinate this program and also mentor teachers and teacher aides in the teaching of reading.

The Student Needs Action Committee continues to meet every second Wednesday morning to prioritise students with support needs. The range of support in our school is diverse including Guidance Officer, Learning support, Special Education Program, Speech Language Pathologist and OT. Continuation of our targeted intervention programs to support students with identified needs will also continue as a matter of priority.

Identifying and programming for our Gifted and Talented students continues to be a key priority for us this year. In 2022 we will continue with Thornlands Thinkers, Impact, STEM and other programs.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) will continue to be a focus area for Thornlands with two teachers- Debbie Banks and Tania Cross leading this program.

A new innovation this year is that all Prep - Year 3 classes will receive a specialized Digital Technologies lesson each week. This exciting program will be delivered by Kate Connor in one of the computer labs. To enable this Kate will be supported in her role as Teacher librarian by Fran Moore.


Growing the Whole Child at Thornlands SS

Of course a Thornlands education is not just about academics. Thornlands SS values very highly a holistic approach with a range of extra curricula activities, to maximise the strengths and interests of each individual (“Growing the Whole Child"). Now that we are operating in a “COVID normal" way, we expect 2022 will see the return of most school events (although some modifications may still be necessary). We expect the school Cross Country and the Easter Hat Parade will return before the end of this term and the Anzac Day Ceremony shortly after holidays.

A Positive, Supportive Learning Environment at Thornlands SS

A key focus in 2022 is the ongoing implementation of a positive and consistent approach to supporting student behaviour across the whole school.  As part of this we will continue to deliver a structured program of simple lessons in the area of social emotional development, in order to assist all of our students to enhance their understanding and development of attributes such as resilience, self-esteem, respect, confidence, being a good friend, problem solving, resolving conflict and teamwork. The intent is that this will only take a few minutes a week for teachers to explicitly teach the same concept of the week across the whole school ( as we do with regards to our school rules and how they apply in various situations at school) and in this way the shared language and understanding, in this most important area, will gradually be embedded.

By this stage you will all have received, from your child's teacher, a note outlining their classroom behaviour plan. This details the class/school rules and the consequences for breaking these rules, as well as the strategies the teacher will utilise to reward students for good behaviour. I ask you to discuss this plan with your child/ren in order to assist us in ensuring the best possible behaviour at school.

Please note also, that if your child should need to attend the Time Out Room, as a consequence for a serious breach of our school rules, that you will be informed via email. This is to ensure that our communication reaches you as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thank you in advance for supporting us at home, by then discussing the reason for the time out with your child. It is this partnership between home and school that will get the best outcome for your child/ren.

Parent Involvement at Thornlands SS

Don't forget that school is a wonderful way to meet new people and form new friendships. All parents are encouraged to become involved in our school, in whatever way is most convenient for you in 2022. Volunteers are once again able to help out in classrooms, in the tuckshop, and assisting with fundraising (in a COVID  safe way), or you may simply just like to attend P&C Meetings. The opportunities are many.  (Please note that it is not a requirement for parents generally, but in order to volunteer in any Queensland school you must be fully vaccinated)

We would love to see some new faces coming along to our P&C Meetings. For those of you who would like to come along, the AGM will take place prior to the March General Meeting on Wednesday 16 March at 5:00pm in the Admin building.

Communication at Thornlands SS

As the year progresses, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your children at school, the classroom teachers are the first point of contact between you and the school. They are in a position to know your children best and I encourage you to ask questions of them if you have any concerns at all. Note that in the first instance, email is the preferred method of communication. If a face-to-face meeting is appropriate, that can then be organised at a mutually suitable time.  Please be aware that teachers are busy people and are unlikely to respond immediately to your email, however they will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.  Don't forget, also, that teachers like to receive positive feedback, so I encourage you to pass that on too.

Should you feel that more follow up is required, please be aware, that the Deputy Principals and I have an “open door" policy. We are happy to talk to you if you would like to do so. Feel free to contact us through the school Office. For your awareness, Ben Truscott  is the DP overseeing the lower school (P-3) and Kristy Warriner the upper school (Yr 3-6). We prefer to be proactive and frequently find that a simple conversation can help solve issues or concerns while they are still relatively easy to deal with.

Working together- school and parents - we can achieve the very best for your children and we all look forward to working with you throughout  the rest of 2022.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our great school,


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Last reviewed 07 March 2022
Last updated 07 March 2022