St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Wednesday November 8th 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families,

Remembrance Day is a day when we acknowledge those who have died while serving in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. Remembrance Day is held on 11th November. This is the anniversary of the Armistice that ended fighting with Germany in World War 1.  In Australia and many other countries a one minute silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the Armistice came into effect. It is a time to honour our service personnel who died in service of Australia.

Loving Father,

You always hold and protect us in your love.

Grant eternal rest to those who have died

protecting our nation from the horror of war.

May we who stand shielded by their sacrifice

always remember and thank you for their gift.

May war never again threaten us,

and where war rages in our world,

we pray that your peace will reign.

We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.

As a school we will gather at 9.00am on Friday 10th November to remember all who have been affected by war.

Monday 20th November - School Closure Day - 2024 Planning

Starting School Webinar - Carley McGauran

We were most fortunate to have Carley McGauran present how to ‘Thrive not just Survive’ starting school on our first Prep 2024 Transition session.  Carley is a psychologist and mother of three children. She provides a practical approach to preparing parents and children for the commencement of school.

For parents who are interested in tips and suggestions from Carley please click on the link below to register for the webinar:

Congratulations Lorelei

Recently, our Year 6 student Lorelei C represented St John the Baptist in the SSV Primary Schools Competition where she progressed from a district level right through to the State Championships. Lorelei competed in the 100 & 200m running events where she made both finals in the events and ran personal best times. There was great excitement in the Yr 5/6 classroom as we watched Lorelei compete via the livestream. Lorelei competed in the both finals and finished 6th in the 100m & 4th in the 200m final in the entire state of Victoria out of hundreds of competitors in her age group. In addition, Lorelei spent the last few weekends also representing St John the Baptist School in the Victorian All Schools competition, competing in the under 14 age group in the 400m and 200m event, once again achieving Personal Best times and competing at a very high level. We congratulate Lorelei on her outstanding performances and achievements over the recent weeks. She represented our school admirably and we were all very proud of you!

Changes to School Daily Times commencing 2024

Throughout Term 4 the staff, Consultative Committee and School Improvement Team undertook a rigorous process of reviewing the daily school times. As part of this process each team reflected upon scheduled contact teaching, access to the curriculum, specialist timetabling and eating times.

The staff were unanimous in the decision to move to a daily 2 hour literacy block, daily numeracy block and preservation of 2 eating times.  Whilst the decision to preserve 2 eating times was unanimous, it was also agreed that the first eating time would be 10 minutes and the later eating time would be 5 minutes. Students will be prompted to have their main food break at the first break and a smaller snack at the second break. Students will be able to place wrappers in the bin and take out the remainder of their snack outside with them.

The daily schedule for 2024 was presented to the School Advisory Council for feedback.  The School Advisory Council were presented with the information considered by the staff along with the consideration that the change to the daily schedule will provide students with access to an additional 2 hours 5 minutes of learning and teaching each week.  An outcome that we believe will only be of benefit to the students.

Please see the daily schedule to be implemented at the commencement of 2024.

8:30am Yard supervision commences

8:35am Doors open for students to prepare for the day

8:45am Teaching and Learning commences for the school day

10:55am Eating time

11:05am First recess commences

11:45am Teaching and Learning recommences

1:30pm Eating time

1:35pm Second recess commence

2:15pm Teaching and Learning recommences

3:15pm End of school day

We ask that all families please make note of the changes to the start and finish times to the school day for the commencement of 2024.

Year 6 - End of Year Key Graduation Event Timetable

Year 6 families please take note of the key dates and events as scheduled for the final weeks of Term 4.  

Thursday 14th December School Day Year 6 Fun Day Celebration

  • Students walk to Ferntree Gully Bowling Club for Barefoot Bowls and lunch

  • Students walk to Wally Tew Park to play - Cake & fruit

  • Students to wear casual clothes and are encouraged to embrace the spirit of the day & where possible wear bowling whites!! There is no need to purchase an outfit, be creative with any whites you have at home!!

Thursday 14th December -5.00pm-6.00pm 

  • Graduation Mass & Year 6 Presentations 

    • Our Year 6 families are invited to the Year 6 Graduation Mass on Thursday 14th December.   At the conclusion of the Mass we will make all formal presentations to our Year 6 children and recognise those families who conclude their formal association with St John’s School.   

    • Students to wear neat casual clothes to Graduation Mass

Friday 15th December 

  • Students attend school day

  • Signing of graduation bears/balls & t-shirts - students to bring t-shirts to school

  • Whole school farewell assembly commencing at 1:15pm

  • Guard of honour as students leave hall

  • Students to wear regular school uniform. Uniform being worn are not to be signed

Sacramental Program 2024 - Reconciliation candidates

As a school we are commencing preparations for the 2024 Sacramental program. Due to increased enrolments Sacraments will begin to occur on an annual basis. In 2024 students in Year 3 will prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and students in Years 5 & 6 will prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation.

In the event where students are not yet Baptised and families would like their child to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, families are asked to make contact with the Parish prior to the end of this year to discuss their child’s Baptism.

Dad’s and Kid's Weekend- Gilwell Park

Wishing all our Dads and kids a great weekend away at Gilwell Park next week.  There has been a wonderful uptake of Dads and kids attending the annual event this year.  Wishing you all fabulous weekend away. 

 The weekend Dads and kids annual weekend away is a great way to get to know families within the SJB community, as well as, enjoy a weekend of camping and fun activities.

Thank you to our P & F team for promoting the weekend away and all those involved in organising this terrific event.

Prep Transition Uniform Purchasing - Thank You

Last Friday it was terrific to see the SJB community spirit in action as a number of community members assisted with uniform purchasing  for our 2024 Prep families. A big thank you to all who were involved in assisting our 2024 Prep families with their uniform purchases, as well as, to those who supplied morning tea.

The morning was a great opportunity for our families to get to know each other while purchasing uniforms for their son or daughter.

Thank you to all.

Student Departures/Future Numbers

If your child/ren (Prep- Year 5) will not be returning to St John’s in 2024 we ask that you please notify us.

As we plan ahead for 2024 classes, we ask any families who know that they will not be returning to St. John's in 2024 to inform the school as soon as possible by emailing

Prep Enrolment Forms for 2024 are now Overdue

We request that all parents with Prep enrolments for the 2024 school year submit enrolment forms in the coming days.  If you are aware of friends or family members wishing to enrol at St John’s please advise them that enrolment forms need to be submitted to secure a placement.  Enrolment forms can be found on the school website or can be collected from the School Office.

Christmas Carols Night - save the date

The SJB Christmas Carols evening will be held on Thursday 7th December at 7pm. We look forward to a great evening and seeing our students shine.  

Our terrific P & F will be preparing a BBQ for families to order sausages in bread and drinks between 5:30 - 6:30pm prior to Carols commencing.

Further information will be shared in the coming weeks.

Wishing everyone a fabulous week ahead.

Kelli Johnston

Parents and Friends Update - Calling all interested parents

We are seeking expressions of interest from parents who are interested in being members of the P & F committee for 2024.  The P & F committee is a team that welcomes and promotes community engagement and connectedness through a variety of events throughout a school year. The role of P & F is to promote a sense of community, belonging and inclusiveness across the school.

We ask that existing P & F members and any new members of our community who are interested in joining the P & F please email either Ursula De Corrado or myself.  We warmly welcome all members of our community to join and be members of our terrific P & F committee.

Ursula email:                                                       

Kelli email: 

Please feel free to chat to Ursula or myself should you require further information.

2024 School Fees and Levies

School levies and fees for the 2024 school year have now been finalised in consultation with the School Advisory Council

Levies for School Camp and Swimming Levies will be dependent on the costs of the swimming pool charges and camp provider charges.  We would hope that there would be minimal increases with these levies. 

FEES (per family)

          $1,600 - Recurrent

          $   200 - Capital

LEVIES (per child)




ICT LevyGraduation


(per child)



Year 1$300$115

Year 2$300$115

Year 3$220
Year 4$220
Year 5$220
Year 6$220



Stationery Orders - Book Lists 2024

Book List 2024 - Yr 3, 4, 5 and 6

Families of students who will be in Years 3-6 in 2024 are now able to access 2024 Book lists via Lilydale Books - see link above.  Students in Year Prep - 2 will have their stationery delivered to school prior to the commencement of next year.

We ask families to please note that books are specific to each year level. Each booklist will have specific dotted third books that are different and specific to each year level. We ask families to check that they have the correct books outlined on the list for their child/ren.

OPTIONAL COMPUTER MOUSE - if your child prefers using a computer mouse with their Chromebook in the classroom, we ask that you kindly provide one of their own to ensure their comfort and productivity.

School Choir Performance - FTG Library

We have been invited to take part in the Ferntree Gully Library’s Christmas Celebration on Tuesday 5th December at 6pm. 

An excited group of about 50 students from Year 1-6 are gathering each Tuesday at lunch time to rehearse their favourite Christmas songs.  Please ensure you have responded to the Operoo notification to give permission for your child to take part on the night.

Everyone is invited to come along to the library and support our Christmas Choir.

Sue Cahill 

Performing Arts teacher

School Advisory Council - Expression of Interest

We are seeking Expressions of Interest from members of the community who would like to join the School Advisory Council for 2024.  To qualify for nomination a person must be a parent of a student attending St John the Baptist Parish Primary School.

The School Advisory Council provides a forum for discussion and discernment, where the parent/guardian voice and perspective are available to inform and support the decisions made by the Principal and Parish Priest for the good of School and Parish where the wellbeing and outcomes for students is paramount. 

The main duties of the School Advisory Council are to:

  • Support the Catholic ethos of the school.

  • Assist in planning for the future development and direction of the school in consultation with the Parish Priest and Principal.

  • Assist on the setting of priorities through the use of the school's Annual Action Plan and School Improvement Plan.

  • Assist with the process of School Review which occurs on a four year cycle.  

  • Advise on finance-related matters such as school fees and building/maintenance programs.

  • Assist on issues such as enrolments, school improvement plans and enrolment trends

  • Giving advice about the school Master Plan

  • Assist with activities that promote the school within the parish and the broader community.

The Council meets on a minimum of 6 occasions per year. 

Your commitment requires:

  • Membership for 3 years.  

Please note that membership on the School Advisory Council ceases once a Council member no longer has children enrolled at the school. 

  • Attendance at scheduled Advisory Council meetings for each year

The aim of the SAC is to provide advice to the School Leadership and Parish Priest in order for them to provide the optimum educational and spiritual environment for our children. The Council meets at regular intervals during the school year to discuss and address a range of relevant issues pertaining to the school.

Parents interested in becoming a member of the School Advisory Council are asked to email myself with the following information:

I _________________________________ (full name) am interested in becoming an School Advisory Council member.

Children enrolled at St John the Baptist School (include Grade level):


Contact no. ___________________________________

Date.           ___________________________________

Signature: ____________________________________

Poppy Appeal

We have a number of items for sale in the office to support this year's Poppy Appeal.

$2 - Small poppies

$3 - Wristbands

$4 - Key rings/bag tags

$5 - Large poppies and pens

Parents & Friends News

Teacher's Thank You Lunch - 20 November

It is a tradition at SJB that the P&F provide a lunch for the the teachers to say thank you for the year for all that they do to support our children. This takes place on Monday 20th November, the last pupil free development day of the year.  If you would like to help us by making something or coordinating the event please let us know via email at

If you have any delicious salads or dishes that consider gluten free, dairy free, vegan or veg diets this would be most appreciated.


3/4SC have been learning about the good work Caritas does all around the world.

Term 4 Dates for the Diary


10th Remembrance Day Prayer Service

11th Kids and Dads weekend Gilwell Park

20th School Closure Day - Staff PL

28th Education Board and Parents & Friends Thank you evening


1st First Friday Mass - Year 1/2

3rd First Sunday of Advent - Hope

7th Christmas Carols Night - 7pm

8th Thanksgiving Mass 11am

10th Second Sunday of Advent - Peace

14th Year 6 Graduation Mass - 5pm

15th Last day of school year - school concludes 2pm

17th Third Sunday of Advent - Joy

24th Fourth Sunday of Advent - Love

25th Christmas Day - Merry Christmas to all

Canteen News

Canteen orders can be placed via

Orders must be placed no later than 7.30am on the Wednesday or Friday.

Canteen Roster

Wednesday November 8thFriday November 10th
Nat Conway

Nelson Serrao

Cassie Croning

Wednesday November 15th Friday November 17th
Jessie Stephens

Caroline Walsh

Anna Kristoff

Uniform Shop News

Parish News

Save the Date

Click links here:

Camp Australia

Camp Australia Pricing

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully