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Principal News – 31 October 2019


Please read this Letter to Community about the Formative Appraisal of Mr Vincent Feeney, Principal of St Francis Xavier College.


Recently I met with a group of staff to look at attendance rates across the College. The reason we do this is because of the direct relationship between school success and attendance is a direct one. The more a student is at school the more likely their chances of being successful ­– and not just academically; in all aspects.

As a school our average attendance rate is just below 90%. This could be higher.

I understand that people get sick, have family commitments or other obligations which affect attendance. Some can have long term health issues which severely affect their capacity to attend.

We need to work together as home and school to reduce the negative impact of such absences.

There are some external expectations which are relevant to us all here:

  • Students receiving allowances are expected by the government to attend at least 90%. Below that and the school is obligated to report each term on such attendance rates which may affect these allowances.
  • VCE students are expected to attend sufficient days so as to be able to complete the class work component let alone the school-based assessment.
  • VCAL students must attend for 1000 hours ordinarily.
  • All students up to the age of 17 must be enrolled and attending regularly. This obligation sits, as you know, with parents and carers.

For most families this is not an issue. A number of students can be proud of achieving 100% attendance. Part luck in not falling ill at any stage, but also part persistence as well.

In every student’s report there is a section on attendance; at school and in class, subject by subject. I invite all families to look closely at these attendance rates.

Next year the Wellbeing Team, led by Michelle Pereira, will start to develop an approach to helping students attend more regularly; through expert services, parent support initiatives, early contact and by being as flexible as possible in how we adapt student learning programs.

I will ask that the Parent Focus Groups take this on as a task to advise the College on its plan and help us make it as smart as possible.

Stand by for that opportunity which will be publicised in the newsletter in 2020.


Vincent J Feeney


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