FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does the school get good academic results?
Yes – academic results should be considered in the context of the student’s capability. We pride ourselves on ensuring that we understand every child and find ways to help them get the best possible results. Collectively this success of the school has been recognised throughout the State.

Does the school have good pastoral care?
The inspiration of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop helps to guide the school’s dedication to the care of the students in our care. We care about all our students, individually and collectively. 

We are aware that the current generation of Australian children are experiencing unprecedented levels of mental health and social challenges. As educators we know that learning cannot start until the child feels safe and secure in their environment, which is why we say that caring makes learning possible. We are blessed to see this care underpin transformations in academic results, social skills and sense of self that form the foundations of confident capable students ready for whatever the world may bring. 

How does the school deal with bullying?
The school takes a proactive approach to the social interaction of all students within and across year levels. The school culture and cohort actively discourages bullying and teaches strategies that helps all students to be in respectful relationship with each other.

At times, students may be part of a coaching conversation with their teacher or leadership, utilising our W-W-H - What happened? What is important? How are we going to act? Formulating a growth action plan to move forward.

Does the school have extra-curricular activities?
We are blessed to have access to a wealth of resources and committed staff and community members that enable our students to explore their interests in extra-curricular activities and discover new interests by participating in a wide range of activities. These including gardening, caring for animals, sports, cooking, reading, art and various other creative activities.

Are non-Catholic families welcome?
Yes – our school continues in the tradition of our famous founder Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop in welcoming all students and their families regardless of their background. Once part of the school and school community, Catholic  and non-Catholic students and families have expressed the same sense of belonging in our school and school community.

Are all families welcome?
Yes - As a school we believe and share St Mary of the Cross MacKillop's vision, that no child should be turned away if they wish to attend our school. This has the blessing and support of the Catholic  Education South Australia to ensure that no child is denied a catholic education for financial reasons. Once part of the school and school community all children and families are treated with respect and compassion.

How important are the school fees?
100% of the school fees go to the school, providing the school with funding that can be directed to where it will have the most benefit to the students, both now and in the future. The funding of the school comes from multiple sources including state and federal government and the Catholic Education Office, with school fees contributing less than 10% of the funding mix. While the contribution that school fees make can be the difference between something happening or  not happening within the school, school fees will not stand in the way of a child attending the school. 

How well resourced is the school?
Mary Mac has been a beneficiary of the generosity of the community and the Catholic  Church for generations. Subsequently we have an abundance of indoor and outdoor spaces and resources. In addition to our spacious classrooms, our students have access to horticulture and permaculture, sports, arts, cooking and performing arts resources. All of which are well supported by our high teacher to student ratio.

What makes MMMS different?
As a parent trying to choose between schools it can sometimes be very difficult to discern the key differences between them. Sometimes people resort to type, Government vs Catholic vs Independent without truly understanding that every school is unique. Even within a school different children will have different experiences and create different  memories. However, what is common to the children and families of Mary Mac is the care and compassion that is ingrained in everything we do. 

The Mary Mac staff know that learning cannot start until the child feels safe and secure in their environment, which is why we say that caring makes learning possible. We are blessed to see this care underpin transformations in academic results, social skills and sense of self that form the foundations of confident capable students ready for whatever the world may bring.

This deep sense of care and compassion is also adopted by the students, evident in the numerous multi-year-level activities and friendship groups that have become a natural part of our recess and lunchtime activities. This ensures that individual students are not restricted in their choice of friendship groups and are able to have a wide range of interests and play activities. This has also benefited students moving into secondary education where class structures and friendship groups are more fluid.

We are very proud of how our past students have been able to flourish in their education and life beyond primary school. The current generation of Australian children are experiencing unprecedented levels of mental health and social challenges. We believe that we are preparing our students to face these challenges and their individual futures with self-confidence and resilience.

How big will the school become?
The size of the school will reflect the number of young families in the district. The school itself will always be well supported by the Catholic Education South  Australian. This is evident in their recent investment in growing the school and making it more readily available to families outside of Penola through the provision of transport.

The forecast growth of the school across all year levels will be proactively managed to ensure that the school culture is not adversely affected while ensuring that each student receives the individual care and attention that they need. We have no doubt that the students will welcome new students to any year level with open arms as we have seen them do this many times before.

Is there a bus service for nearby towns?
The school provides a van (small bus) service, providing transport to students from Nangwarry and Kalangadoo. 

What is Mid-Year Reception?
Many Catholic schools across South Australia are now offering a mid-year Reception enrolment intake for students who turn five on or before October 31. Mary MacKillop Memorial School is delighted to be one of these schools, providing flexibility and enhanced learning opportunities for our community. Our Mid-Year Reception program is a nurturing and nature filled environment designed to facilitate a smooth and seamless transition into Reception.

Note: Students who start in Term 3 will spend 18 months in Reception before progressing to Year 1.

Will kids from government schools find it hard to adapt?
Not at all. We regularly receive enrolments from families who have found the government system has not met  their expectations. Like any significant change, changing schools can be daunting, however within days, hours or weeks the students are well settled in their new environment having established new friends and routines. As a school we are very proud of how a child having concerns or issues at another school has become a high performing student at Mary Mac.

When can we enrol?
We accept enrolments at all times. Whether you are a moving into the district or simply moving schools, we can assist you with the process and time the transition to best meet the needs of your children. For families wanting the reassurance of knowing where their child is going for Reception , we can also formalise the enrolment early and welcome you into our school and community events. 

What is the first step?
First step is to contact the school office and express your interest. We will then discuss the process with you. Some families like to do lots of research, others know us well enough that they simply want to formalise the enrolment. Wherever you are on your enrolment journey we are ready to help.