Goodbye on-line learning?

This will be my final message of the partial shutdown of Queensland schools. We have now returned to everyday classroom interactions, and although we still cannot have assemblies and the junior pick up resembles the end of a music festival we can be assured I think that our College is slowly returning to normal.

So, although instruction will be face to face, we now have a student body and workforce who are more attuned to the possibilities of e-learning. This represents a really great opportunity and one that I am not very keen on letting pass by.

Fore example, a number of our teachers have started using lightboards as a means to deliver homework tasks. Mrs Wolff in secondary Maths and Mrs Carter in Prep have led the way with this rather simple strategy and the feedback has been really positive.

The picture above is from a survey sent today to parents of Prep Bilbies. Whilst there will always be a need to balance our traditional modes with innovation, it shows that this (currently small) sample of parents feel that this innovation is successful. In the same survey, three quarters of respondents felt the use of the lightboard increased engagement with home learning. This is of course not a gap between an abacus and a calculator or handwriting and the printing press. Our classrooms are exciting, positive and inclusive places of learning with the current levels of tech. A balance between the two can only bring advantages though.

It is the Covid crisis that has led to this development, and I want to maintain that positive momentum.

So, whilst this is indeed goodbye to on-line learning – I am hoping that the strategies we have developed will in many ways be maintained.

Finally – thank you very much for your ongoing patience and understanding during what has been a challenging and overwhelming time. It has been greatly appreciated.

Take care

Mr Chris Gabbett

College Principal

Traffic Management (P-6)

To limit congestion at Junior pickup, can parents please be aware;

From Friday, 22 May, P-2 children can be collected from Uluru from 2:45pm. If you are waiting on older year levels please delay your entry to the College to allow the collection of younger years. 

In the afternoon from 2:45 – 3:20 cars exiting onto Highfields Road need to turn left only. 

Staff will hand out more Look Out! Cards at pick up today.  I encourage you to write your family surname on these and display them at pick up to expedite the process.

From Monday, 25 May, years five and six children (and younger siblings if collected by older siblings) can be collected from the Senior carpark, the front gate on Highfields Road or the AFL oval on Highgrove Drive from 3:00pm. 

We would prefer parents stay in their cars at pick up and drop off and while we realise this makes some processes slower we appreciate your patience and understanding.

These variations will remain in place until social distancing requirements are eased by the State Chief Medical Officer.

Many thanks

Mr Chris Gabbett


Announcement from the Education Minister

As expected, the Minister for Education has confirmed this morning that Queensland schools will re-open for all students for face-to-face learning from 25 May 2020.

The Department of Education will revise the Term 2 Operating Guidelines – these will be passed on as they become available.   

As a College, we will begin the process of re-aligning the standard timetable.  We have sent the attendance letter to all families for next week – please do complete it by Sunday so we can ensure a spread of resources. Please remember that next week remains on-site supervision only for years 2-10, with the maintenance of online learning.

Thank you all very much for your patience during the pick up and drop off on the Junior side of the College. As more students return and social distancing needs to be maintained, the pressures will increase. Please do keep supporting us in keeping the site safe.

I hope you all have a really lovely weekend.

Mr Chris Gabbett


Winter is coming…

Regular school functions return next week for four of our year groups, and the numbers of other year groups are gradually creeping up as businesses re-open. We are slowly returning to normal.

It is timely to remind the community that terms 2 and 3 at Mary MacKillop are when winter uniform is worn. Can the transition please be made to the winter uniform as outlined in the college expectations here. Please note that in the Senior college, blazers are now a standard element of the winter uniform.

You will recall that we are looking to institute a winter formal uniform for girls in the Junior college, who do not have that option at present. A P and F committee have come up with some recommendations and I will be going through a process of consultation very soon. The plan is for these to be available for purchase for this year, once approved, but to NOT be compulsory for at least one full year. Many thanks to that committee.

Have a lovely weekend. Stay safe.

Mr Chris Gabbett


Site safety… a reminder

With four year groups returning to the site on Monday, I consider it useful to reiterate guidance regarding site access and site safety.

Access to/on the site:

We ask that parents and siblings do not get out of the car at drop-off or pick-up in line with the directive given by the Chief Medical Officer to ensure social distancing. Parents will not have the ability to go into students learning areas until further notice.

Only students attending school are able to enter our learning areas and if you must go to Junior reception please make sure there is only one person in the foyer at a time.

If you are coming on site for any reason, including dropping off forgotten items, please present to administration where a staff member will assist you.

Junior Drop Off:


Students may be dropped off at the AM drop and go zone or Uluru from 8:00am and need to make their way to Billabong.


Students may be dropped off from 8:00am and are to make their way to Uluru.

Senior Drop Off:

To enable social distancing please use our drop-off zone.

Junior Pick-Up:

To enable social distancing please utilise our pick-up zones at Uluru or the AM drop and go zone.


P-2 will be collected in the AM stop/go zone. The parking zone outside Prep will be cordoned off with bollards, and children will congregate there. This means the top circle area will be a pick up only zone and there will be NO parking available. From 2:45pm, Prep children will be available for collection. Years 1 and 2 will be dismissed and available at 2:50pm. If you need to park, please park in the Junior car park or on Highfields Road. Please do not leave your car if you are in the pick-up line.

If you have not collected you child by 3:00pm they will be seated outside Junior reception.

Years 3-6:

Years 3-6 will be in Uluru for collection. 

If you have Prep-2 and 3-6 students to collect please collect the Prep – 2 first and then make your way to Uluru.

Senior Pick-Up:

As normal in the Senior school.

Using the car pick-up lines:

Using the car pick-up lines increases social distancing, please do not come into the school unless absolutely necessary. If you must come on site please report to administration first and a staff member will assist you.

Birthday celebrations:

I recognise that this is a really lovely and inclusive practice, but I ask please if parents can stop sending in food for communal consumption. 


Please remember to send in any medications your child may need along with a completed Administration of Medication Form found on our website.

I do understand that some of these rules hinder a quick getaway, but I want them maintained at this time so that we are doing everything possible to guarantee the safety safety of the children and wider community.

Thank you so much, take care

Mr Chris Gabbett


Premier’s announcement – 4 May

You will by now have seen the statement by the Premier regarding a staggered return to school.

From next Monday (11 May), Prep, and Years 1, 11 and 12 will return to ‘normal’ school.

It is acknowledged that some parents of Prep, Year 1, Year 11 and Year 12 students may still wish to keep their children home from school due to concerns about COVID-19 and due to student health concerns. This is an acceptable decision and your child won’t be marked as being absent, rather that they are learning from home. In these cases, parents and carers remain responsible for their children. This includes ensuring their children stay at home and continue their learning.

The State Government operational guidelines indicate that the classroom teacher is not responsible for providing an alternative home-based learning program for students in Prep, Year 1, Year 11 or Year 12 where parents elect to keep children at home after 11 May.  However, if parents of these children contact the school, the teacher can discuss with them ways they can best support their child at home.

At this stage, the current processes for years 2-10 will be maintained until May 25. A new survey for week 4 will be distributed very soon, aimed at Years 2-10.

The Queensland Government has chosen Prep, 1, 11 and 12 for a number of reasons. Research shows that the early years of schooling is when the building blocks for learning occurs. By allowing young children to return to Prep and Year 1 schools can continue to provide them with the teaching and learning that enables them to grow into capable and confident young people.

The senior years of schooling are important as young adults make decisions about the pathways they will take after school. In addition, 2020 is the first year of Queensland’s new Senior Assessment and Tertiary Entrance (SATE) reforms and it is important that our senior students continue their learning at their school during this significant year.

Children of essential workers and vulnerable children from other year levels will continue attending school sites as they have done since the commencement of Term 2. 

To maintain safety at Mary MacKillop, the following measures will be maintained:

  • students and staff who are unwell must not attend school
  • physical distancing of 1.5 metres is required by all adults
  • adults must not gather in and around school grounds, car parks, school gates and outside classrooms
  • parents should use stop, drop and go rather than walking their children into school
  • students will engage in regular effective handwashing and hygiene protocols, including regularly washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser and covering coughs and sneezes
  • increased cleaning frequencies of high-touch surfaces such as light switches and door handles
  • technology such as video conferencing used for gatherings, meetings and assemblies

If you have any questions about this, please do contact the College. Have a lovely day.

Mr Chris Gabbett


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