Learning & Teaching

Staff Learning = Students Learning Too
As you are aware Mathematics is a focus for us at St Finbarr's this year. The teachers have been working closely to analyse data, identify trends,  patterns and gaps and plan lessons accordingly. School improvement is impossible without a shared vision so part of this work has also been to refine our shared beliefs and practices to ensure we are all clear about what Mathematics lessons  at St Finbarr's should look like. 

We believe that it is important for students to know what they are learning and why (and that they can articulate this) - we call this our learning intentions. We also believe that it is important for students to utilise the "third teacher" (our classroom environment) to help them with their learning. We want our students to feel a sense of achievement and to know how they are going with their learning - ensuring we co construct success criteria with the students enables them to be a part of the planning which supports them to know what success looks like. 
To ensure we are continuously reflecting and improving our leadership team walks through the classrooms to look for evidence that our professional leanring and shared beliefs and practices are being enacted. We can then identify our next steps for learning and success.

Mini Fins
This week we welcomed all of our Mini Fins students together- our 2023 Kindy cohort. It was so lovely to connect with the students and their families. The kids had a great time exploring Nature Play

Mini Fins

Yours in Partnership,

Mrs Lauren Magnus
Assistant Principal - Learning & Teaching

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Year 6 Graduation Fundraiser

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2022 Finnies Golf Day

The 2022 Finnies Golf Day is fast approaching 

Sunday November 27th - arrive at midday for a 12.30pm tee off!
Golfers of all abilities are welcome. Put together your team of 4 - it's an Ambrose event, so it'll be lots of fun, with heaps of prizes and raffle items to be won.

$50 per player, or $200 for your team of 4.

To book a golf cart send an SMS to 0415 242 524

Do you want to 'Sponsor A Hole' for $200, or donate a prize for the day?

Please contact Michael on 0415 242 524

Don't want to play? Come and join us for a drink and/or dinner from 5pm - we'll be selling raffle tickets with heaps of awesome prizes!

Please follow the link below to purchase your tickets.

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Stage 3 Performance Poetry Day

Stage 3 was fortunate enough to travel to Mullumbimby and participate in a 'Poetry Day' with Stage 3 students from St. John’s Catholic Primary School. The students wrote some amazing poetry under the guidance of the poet Luka Lesson. 

Luka Lesson is a poet, rapper and educator of Greek heritage born in Meanjin/Brisbane. His work combines the history of his family homeland, political issues and self-reflection. A former Australian Poetry Slam Champion (2011), Luka has featured at the pinnacle for slam poetry: the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe (NYC) multiple times, performed with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and toured with respected UK rappers Akala & Lowkey.

Stage 3 Teachers

Luka Lesson workshop & some students poetry

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St Finbarr's $20 Boss Market Day

Fun for the Whole Family!

Bring your cash and support Stage 3 entrepreneurship for a good cause. All our profits will be donated to charity.  With a variety of interesting products on sale, everyone can find something they love. Christmas is just around the corner so it could be a wonderful opportunity to find that perfect gift!

We will be selling:

  • sweet treats
  • smoothies and juices
  • jewellery
  • tote bags
  • slime 
  • candles 
  • and much, much more!

Items will vary in price: $1, $2, $5 and $10. Cash only please!

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Sports News

Tweed Zone Summer Sports
Well done to all of the students who nominated and  participated in the Summer Sports Trials. 

Congratulations to:

Hamish. K-Tennis

Jackson. G- Cricket

Angus.  A- Touch

On their progression to the Diocesan Trials held later in the term. We wish them all the very best.

Todd Woodbridge Cup-State Finals( 14th Nov)
Well done to our St Finbarr’s team on their participation at the Todd Woodbridge Cup State Finals in Sydney yesterday. They played six different teams in doubles and mixed doubles, a total of 12 games on a hot and very windy day. While they didn’t win the event, they were praised for being a wonderful team, who were well behaved and great sports by the on court supervisor.

A very big thank you to all of the parents who helped to stop nets from blowing off the court, putting your work on hold to bring your child and for giving them a wonderful memory.

Lisa Clark
Sports Coordinator

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Father David Gilbey

This Sunday marks 35 years to the day of Father David Gilbey’s Ordainment. 

Father David Gilbey was ordained on Friday the 20th of November 1987 by Bishop John Satterthwaite in Coffs Harbour. This is a truly remarkable achievement highlighting many years of dedicated service to the Church and commitment to God.

Father David, we appreciate your dedication to service, your articulate and thoughtful homilies especially during school masses and guiding us on our journeys of faith - with the Sacraments. We thank you for the many ways you have inspired, served and led people to Christ through your 35 years of dedicated priestly ministry. 

From all of us at St Finbarr’s Catholic Primary School, we congratulate you on this milestone of devotion and service and pray the love of the Lord continues to guide, direct and strengthen you to continue the ministry entrusted to you for many more happy and healthy years ahead. 

With our sincere congratulations, blessings and thanks,

St Finbarr's Catholic School Community


Last Tuesday our Year 4 students attended the retreat day,  Accendere. Accendere means to ‘switch on’, kindle to catch fire, light to strike, to produce/spark the flame. The Accendere program supports students on their faith journey and allows them to be immersed in a day that focuses on the theme of friendship based on the scripture,  

‘And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.’  

John 13: 34-35 

The day was held at the Lennox Head Community Centre where our Year 4 students rotated through a variety of activities which included games, creative arts and storytelling that focused on the concept of friendship and the importance of having healthy relationships. The day ended with a beautiful student led liturgy.

I would like to thank our Year 4 teachers, Miss Bronte Doolan, Mrs Sharon Boggis, Mrs Lisa Clark and Mr Paul Hanslow who did a wonderful job  organising and facilitating the retreat.

K-2 Mass

Our Kindergarten, Year One and Year Two students will be celebrating Mass on Friday the 25th of November. All families are warmly invited to attend what is sure to be a beautiful Mass.

When: Friday 25th of November

Where: St Finbarr’s Church, Byron Bay

Time: 9:30am


The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas day which, this year, falls on Sunday the 27th of November. Advent is the season when we prepare our hearts to celebrate Christ's first coming at Christmas two thousand years ago

Sometimes when we think of Christmas, presents and gifts always come to mind. But can we start giving gifts before that?

Can we use this season to be more mindful of the gifts we can give each day, such as the gift of understanding, compassion, joy or peace? Can we be generous in our deeds and kind in our thoughts?

Advent is a time where we can reflect and share these gifts with each other before Christmas making this time a time to live out Jesus’ message. The season of Advent offers us a time for patience, a time for waiting, a time to focus, prepare and appreciate the meaning of Christmas on a deeper level. 

Prayer for Advent

Gracious God, 

you sent us your son Jesus to show us how to be 

kind and understanding, honest and true. 

 Open our hearts so that we may be prepared for your coming 

by sharing our gifts of 

understanding, compassion, peace and joy with each other. 

Help us to give freely of the gifts which 

cost us nothing but thought and effort. 

We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name.


Yours in Partnership,

Mrs Sonya Piccoli
Assistant Principal -Mission & Additional Needs

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Principal's Message

Remembrance Day

The school celebrated a beautiful Remembrance Day liturgy in the school hall. The highlight of the gathering was the beautiful choir with Freyja, Sophie and Sasha accompanying Mrs Piccoli in a moving tribute to those who gave their lives for their country. We look forward to the return of our school choir as we head into end of year celebrations.

Our Minifins program winds up this week with the final parent session next Monday at 9.15 am in the school hall. Staff, parents and students are excited for the commencement of the new Kinder cohort in 2023. Year Five students will be supporting their new Kinder ‘buddies’ in the final Minifin session.

Next Friday the 25th at 9.30 am Kinder, Year One and Year Two will celebrate their final Mass for the year and all parents and families are most welcome to join us.

14 Parameters of Learning
Following from our previous newsletter, please see below the work staff are currently exploring in staff meetings and Professional Development days to improve student learning throughout the school.

The 14 Parameters of System and School Improvement

1. Shared beliefs and Understandings
a. All students can achieve high standards given the right time and the right support.
b. All teachers can teach to high standards given time and the right assistance.
c. High expectations and early and ongoing intervention are essential.
d. All leaders, teachers, and students can articulate what they do and why they lead, teach, and         learn the way they do. (Adapted from Hill & Crevola, 1999)

2. Embedded Knowledgeable Others

3. Quality assessment informs instruction

4. Principal as lead learner

5. Early and ongoing intervention

6. Case management approach

7. Focused Professional Learning at staff meetings

8. In-school meetings - collaborative assessment of student work

9. Book rooms of leveled books and multi-modal resources

10. Allocation of system and school budgets for learning

11. Collaborative Inquiry - a whole-system approach

12. Parental and community involvement

13. Cross-curricular literacy connections

14. Shared responsibility and accountability
a. We all own all the FACES!

Staff Farewells and Nativity Play

What a beautiful way to end the year and also farewell two outstanding long standing staff members. Please join us on Monday 12th December at 2.00 pm in the school hall as we pay tribute to Mr Tom O’Dwyer and Mrs Donna Clark. Year Two will present their special version of the birth of Jesus at the commencement of this gathering.

Term 4 School Fees
Term 4 School fees are now overdue, thank you to all those families who have paid their account. For those who are unsure if your fees are finalised for 2022, please refer to your Compass APP for outstanding invoices. Could I ask that all outstanding Term 4 fees be finalised by the end of the week. If you require assistance with school fees, please contact Alison Mason in the front office. 

Ninja Warriors Challenge
Well done to the organising team and our three winners in the Ninja Warriors challenge last week. A great initiative by the boys!

Yours in Partnership,

Tim Bleakley

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Sports News

State Athletics Carnival
Congratulations to Roley and Kaia on their participation in the State Athletics Carnival. We are all very proud of them both for reaching this level and their achievements in their Athletics this year.

A very big thank you to their parents for preparing and giving them the opportunity to achieve their best.

Todd Woodbridge Cup-State Finals( 14th Nov)
Well done to our two St Finbarr’s teams on their participation in the Regional Finals held in Week 1 of this term. On the day, one team finished 2nd and the other 6th.

Congratulations to Oliver B, Roley, Rai, George T, Holly H, Sahara, Alessandra and Kya, who will be travelling to Sydney to compete in the State Titles. We wish them all the very best.

Our Water Safety and Awareness program for Stage 2 began last week, with Stage 3 beginning this Friday. Any students who do not attend this program will participate in our Intensive Swimming Program held later in the term.

Lisa Clark
Sports Coordinator

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Halloween Disco

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$20 Boss Program

During Terms 3 and 4, students in Stage 3 are participating in the $20 Boss Program.
We recognise that enterprise skills (such as critical thinking, teamwork and creativity) are crucial for preparing students for the future. 
The program was originally designed by the Foundation for Young Australians and is now being delivered by Young Change Agents (YCA).
The program gives students $20 of funding to create, launch and operate their own business over the course of a school term. Students learn key elements of social entrepreneurship and are taught how to make money and create social good. $20 Boss is aligned with the NSW Curriculum across Religious Education, English and Mathematics.
Stage 3 had to learn to use skills such as teamwork, empathy, resilience and being comfortable with taking risks. We began by participating in STEM challenges that started off by doing exercises that tested these such skills. By being able to develop these capabilities, we progressed to developing empathy,  working as a team and creating business ideas. The sustainable goals gave us a clear point of what we were working to solve in our groups
We thank the parents, Ellie, Matt, Chris, Sarah and Kane for visiting the school and talking to our Stage. Thank you for giving us the inspiration and knowledge to pursue our businesses.’

The Market Stall will be held in Week 7 where students will showcase their businesses and sell their products.

Stage 3 Teachers

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Vinnies Christmas Appeal for Mini Vinnies

Each and everyday at the Vinnies conference which covers all of Byron/Bangalow and surrounds we see ordinary people making extraordinary differences in their local communities.  Our volunteers are inspired by the joy of our Community and our Churches teachings that doing things does matter.  The desire to feed, heal and shelter - the power to changes  lives within the spirit of everyone. 
As we move into the next season of Christmas and the oncoming summer, unfortunately there are still so many families in our community experiencing disadvantage, poverty, loneliness and homelessness.
We are looking for vouchers from any local supermarket or store - Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, IGA, Kmart, Big W and our local business to be given to families at Christmas time to assist them with this special and family time.
There will be a collection point at the school and the vouchers can be left for pick up by a Byron Conference member to be distributed to those in need. 

If you would prefer to make a donation please see instructions below:
At any Vinnies Shop
Or in the Christmas Appeal Collection Box

Blessings to you all from,
Byron Bay Conference 

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Principal's News

Professional learning
Recently, six staff members from the leadership group gathered at Coffs Harbour to share their learning with other schools from the Lismore Diocese. Guest speaker was leading Canadian Educator, Dr Lyn Sharratt. Lyn’s work highlights the 14 parameters of school and system improvement. Below are the parameters which were thoroughly dissected during the two day course. St Finbarr’s staff will continue this important work during staff meetings and Staff Development days in 2023. Please contact your class teacher or a member of the school leadership team if you are interested in learning more about the direction the school is heading in regard to teaching and learning for our students.

Library News
Books are back! In this digital age I have been reminded this week of the power of reading and how much our students love books! The library is open each Wednesday at lunchtime and individual classes visit each fortnight this term where they are able to borrow books to take home. Below is some feedback from our Stage Three students:

"Books are a new world, when you open a book it's a holiday/adventure in your head"
"Books are portals to a magical world where you can do anything and anything can happen"
"Books are interesting, they help me learn and take me to a world of magic"
"Books are a portal to another world"
"In books you can explore your wildest dreams"
"Books are travelling to other world's, meeting new people and trying new experiences, while you are in your living room"
"Books are filled with stories and different perspectives"
"Books are a way to explore different universes from the comfort of your room, house, school, or anywhere"
"Books are something that opens you up to a world of wonder, where you can be whatever you want to be"
"Books are a gateway into a life where you can be what you want to be"
"Books are a blessing to our world"
"Books are a magical place where anything your mind thinks of happens"

Library Fun

Our second cohort of Minifins commenced yesterday and settled in beautifully.

We are very pleased to announce that Mrs Lauren Magnus has been appointed as Assistant Principal -Teaching & Learning at St Finbarr’s for the next five years. Lauren has been acting in the position this year after moving from St Anthony’s Kingscliff. Her professional and personable approach has been a wonderful asset to the school in 2022 and we are very excited that Lauren will be continuing to be working with us as we strive to build a school of excellence with happy, engaged and successful learners. Lauren puts our students first in all decisions, displays compassion and courage and has helped lead important educational change this year. Congratulations Lauren. 

Welcome Miss Hamer
We welcome Lily-Anne Hamer to our teaching team at St Finbarr’s. Lily will be one of our Kindergarten teachers in 2023 however gets an early start with us as she takes on the role of Stage Three Lawson teacher for the remainder of the year. Ms Sheryl Hurley will be taking leave for the remainder of the year and we look forward to her returning to her teaching role in 2023.

Halloween Disco Fun
What a brilliant night! Thank you students, parents and teachers for all the hard work and for joining in the spirit of the occasion. Special mention to Gabby Le Brun who coordinated the event so successfully. After years of dedication to St Finbarr’s Gabby passes the baton on to our new enthusiastic group of parents. We are really looking forward to building on this community spirit and we plan to meet later this term to design a two year plan for social and fundraising activities. Please let us know if you would like to be a part of this fun, dynamic team.

Yours in Partnership,

Tim Bleakley 

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Stage 2 Mass

Last Friday our Stage 2 students, their families, teachers and parishioners celebrated a beautiful Mass on the Feast Day of Saint Jude and Saint Simon. St Jude and St Simon were apostles who both devoted themselves to Jesus’ message and building God’s Kingdom. The Mass was so beautifully prepared by the teachers and the students who all actively participated throughout the Mass.

During the Homily, Father David spoke of St Jude and St Simon, how they began as friends of Jesus, becoming disciples, to then being His apostles. Father David explained to the students how they used their passion for Jesus to set out to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

This Mass was also an extra special occasion for Jake B who with the guidance of Fr. David and two of our Year 6 students, altar served during the Mass for the first time. Father David acknowledged all the teachers and students for such a beautiful Mass where everyone actively participated.

All Souls Day & All Saints Day

This week we celebrate both All Souls and All Saints Day. 

All Saints' Day is celebrated on November 1st. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church. This day should inspire us with tremendous hope. All lived on earth lives like our own. They were baptised, marked with the sign of faith and were faithful to living out Christ's teaching.

All Souls Day is celebrated on November 2nd. All Souls Day is a day set aside to remember all those who have died. It is a special  day to fondly remember loved ones who are no longer with us. 

Prayer for All Saints Day

Dear Lord,

Today we gather to celebrate the feast of All Saints. 

We remember many good men and women who brought hope to others through their words and their deeds.

They helped others to believe in a God who loved them and cared for them and would never leave them no matter how bad things were.

Inspired by the way they lived their lives, we pray today that we too try to be hope-filled people  who lift up and encourage others.



On Tuesday 25th, Lucy R, Alice F, Harry S and Harry B represented St Finbarr’s at the Exuro faith retreat experience. The day encompasses various prayer methods, group processes and student-led discussions to equip students to be faith leaders in their parish school communities. These students were brilliant representatives of St Finbarr’s. - Emily Roden

At the Catholic retreat we learned how to help people in tricky situations. We split into small groups and learnt how to help the community with our hands, our feet and our eyes. How one small act of kindness can rebound back to you. It can really affect people by doing simple kind gestures. A definite highlight was when Miss Roden bought us ice cream on the way home.

🍦- Lucy R and Alice F

Yours in Partnership,

Mrs Sonya Piccoli
Assistant Principal- Mission & Additional Needs


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Staying Safe on Social Media Parent Presentation

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"Marshmalloween" free community event

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