A walk in the Bossley Park

Blog of Kip McGrath Bossley Park

October Newsletter

November 04
by bossleypark 4. November 2014 12:23


Here is the October edition of our newsletter. We have made it our mission to have a monthly newsletter to keep you informed about what is happening at Kip McGrath. We will also have some special guest writers during some up coming newsletter.


Happy Reading!

Newsletter Term 4.pdf (250.75 kb)


The results are in!

August 19
by bossleypark 19. August 2014 13:55

 It is that time of year again when the NAPLAN results have been released. Everyone has their own opinion about the worth of such testing and this blog is again my opinion, many will argue against me BUT I am ok with that J

I personally think that NAPLAN is a great tool, one of many tools that should be used by parents, teachers and students to determine the strengths and weaknesses of both students and teachers. When the NAPLAN results arrived at school, I would closely examine the results of students that I had previously taught. Were there any similarities in the skills the students hadn’t obtained and is there something that I could improve in my teacher to assist this.

I also feel from a student’s and parent’s perspective, it allows them to review the ability level in comparison to a much bigger sample size.  This can only be a good thing! I speak with so many parents who tell me that they believed their child was having difficulties but compared with their class they were doing really well. The NAPLAN data then showed what the parent had believed was actually correct.

In the Australian newspaper recently, there was a discussion stating that the Literacy Levels had declined and that ACARA had taken responsibility as the writing assessment was more difficult and that the schools were not given the direction that they have been in previous years. I am going to controversially step out and say that I don’t agree! This should be an assessment that is determining where the student’s individual ability level is and how they respond to variety of questions that they have not been trained to complete. It shouldn’t matter what text type is in the test as the students should have been taught all text types in the years leading up to the NAPLAN.

As far as the question being too difficult… well again that is open to interpretation. My own children were taught about rules from the time they were little “It’s not ok to hit other children” “You must share your toys”. From Kindergarten, students are taught the school rules and are expected to follow them… this is not a new concept. Most of the students that I spoke with after the NAPLAN really embraced the topic and it lead to some interesting conversations that week at Kip.

We cannot accurately compare data from one year to the next because as a teacher I can tell you every year is different. The comparison should be made looking at the improvement the individual student in making throughout the years of completing the NAPLAN. And how did these students compare with the other students that sat the same test in the same conditions.

My concern with the NAPLAN is the fact that schools are preparing students for them by giving practise papers, sending home NAPLAN style questions for the homework the Term before NAPLAN is on. OR when I have parents telling me that they have been asked to keep their children home on the days of the NAPLAN. ALL students should sit NAPLAN!

I think people should look at NAPLAN for what it is… it is another tool to determine if your child is where they need to be in comparison to their peers. To get the help and support for those students who have fallen behind and to look at how we can engage those students who are in the average bands to the next level.  In the press release from the Australian Tutoring Association (ATA) they state “The ATA takes the view that the results from the NAPLAN tests should be used to make informed decisions about the use of supplementary accredited tutors who can fill skills and knowledge gaps.”

If you are confused about how to read your child’s NAPLAN results I will be holding some information sessions over the coming weeks. I will also have days where you can bring siblings in for an assessment to see how they are going. More information to come ….

Any of our existing students who sat NAPLAN can you please make sure you give us a copy of the report when you get them as I really like to review the strengths and weaknesses of all our students.

Till next week

Karen xo



July 16
by bossleypark 16. July 2014 12:51

Most adults would agree that reading is one of the most important skills that children need to learn to be able to "survive" in the world as an adult. There is not a day that goes by in our everyday lives that do not require us to be able to do some form of reading, yet when I speak to students they do not see the importance of this skill.

One afternoon, I was discussing with a group about why we need to be able to read, when a student said to me "Karen, I don't think reading is important because we don't do much of it anymore because we have more we can do like play X-Box, IPODS , watch TV and go on the computer". I smiled and said to this student "So you haven't had to read anything all day today?". The student replied with NO and I could see that they generally believed they hadn’t read anything. I asked the student to write down everything that they had done in the past 24 hours, and then we could talk about it. After about 5 minutes of going through the list, the student realised that they had actually spent most of the day reading.

This was a break through moment for this student, as they had considered reading as sitting down with a novel. I also understand that this is not a realist expectation with the use of IPADs and the huge change that has come with the technological age. So why is reading important? There are many reasons but my top 5 are:

1. It is a vital part of today's society -  Following a map, reading the instructions to be able to cook dinner or take medicine as per the instructions on the bottle and completing forms. This names only a few of our everyday tasks which requires reading and we can also understand the severe consequences if we are unable to read.

2. Knowledge - By reading we are introducing ourselves to new information. Again this reading does not always have to be in a book, it could be online, newspapers or magazines. All of these require us to read and interpret the information being provided.

3. Imagination and creativity - Part of reading is interpreting, as a result we can all create different images from the text we read. This is an exciting way to develop children's imagination and creativity.

4. Builds self confidence - Reading is a skill. If you do not have the ability to read fluently, accurately and with a sound understanding then you will struggle at school and in life in general. This leaves you with a poor opinion of yourself and hence a lack of confidence. This in turn will affect your actions and your future.

5. Makes learning difficult - Poor reading skills does not just affect a student’s English results, it will affect all subject areas including mathematics. All subject areas require students to be able to read and interpret text.

Many times I have had student brought to my centre, as the parents are convinced that they have a problem with mathematics. I always ask if I can complete a full assessment and quite often I will discover that the student has poor reading and comprehension skills. This directly affects the student’s ability to read and understand what a question is asking them to do. I have had a number of students who are on a reading program tell me how much better their math results are getting.


Early intervention for students who are experiencing difficulties, is always the best approach. Don't just wait and see if their reading improves because research has shown that it is very difficult to catch up on ideas and concepts which are taught in the early years.


A new beginning

January 20
by bossleypark 20. January 2014 12:30



bossley_park_flyer_relocation.pdf (677.92 kb) 

2014 marks a new beginning for the Bossley Park Centre. We are very excited to be moving to a new location. The team has been very busy over the past week sanding, painting, running power, cleaning and very soon acting like removalists. We would like to send a very special thank you to our local fire brigade that paid us a visit on Friday after we set off the smoke alarm with too much sanding! They do such an awesome job and I did feel a sense of relief in how quickly they respond to the alarms.

So after running a week behind schedule I am happy to report we are back on track. Telstra is at the centre as we speak connecting the new phone lines and they will connect the ADSL tomorrow (woo hoo!!!!), carpet will go in tomorrow and then all the furniture will be moved in on Wednesday. New assessments will start on Friday and the teaching recommences on Tuesday.

Yesterday as we were leaving the centre I stood in absolute amazement at how wonderful it looked. What a fantastic team we have at Kip McGrath. We worked 17 hour days all weekend to catch up so thank you to Mark, Philip, Emma, Mitch and Andy - WE DID IT! We achieved great success. This is going to be the inspiration that I want to use for the year. When a student arrives for their initial assessment they may feel a bit defeated (we certainly did last week) but when they have achieved their goal I want them to look back in the centre with the same sense of achievement as I did yesterday.


I love new begins.

I will share some photos soon.





April 2012 Newsletter

June 18
by lauri.teo 18. June 2012 09:53

We would like to extend a very warm welcome to all our new families to Kip McGrath Bossley Park for 2012. I have been overwhelmed by the number of assessments that I have done since the start of the year, but I am delighted to say that a lot of the new business is due to our existing parents telling their friends and family.

It has been a very busy and exciting start to 2012 for us, and I apologise that it has taken me so long to get a newsletter out to you. With the introduction of a number of new systems, it has taken a lot of time to prepare lessons and set up our new administration procedures. I am thrilled to say that with streamlining our processes, it means that we are able to provide a better administration service, and that we are also able to utilise Emma as a teaching assistant to help with the younger students who are on reading programs.

If you have not completed a 2012 enrolment form, could you please drop in and see Emma as there has been many changes to the terms and conditions of enrolment, as outlined in a number of the 2011 newsletters, and we want to make sure that everyone understands them, and that we have the most current details for all students.

Warmest Wishes,

Make-Up Lessons

As we move into the winter months, I wanted to remind everyone of the procedures concerning make-up lessons. It is essential for your child to make the desired improvement in their studies by attending ALL lessons.

Should your child be sick or unable to attend, then you must call the office with as much notice as possible. This allows us the opportunity to add another student to the session. The terms and conditions of enrolment state that 24 hour notice must be given, however we understand that children get sick and that short notice can be unavoidable. Recently, we have had a number of people not contact us at all. Unfortunately, in future if this happens, we will forfeit the missed lesson at full charge as the teachers still need to be paid. If you miss a lesson, and you pay weekly in the centre, that lesson must be paid for the next time your child attends.

Make-up lessons can be organised by talking to Emma. We now have the opportunity to schedule make-up lessons at home via our brilliant online computer system. This is particularly useful if your child does a number of after school activities and you find it difficult to bring them to another session. Alternatively, you can book a different time and day to complete the lesson in the centre. Please note, you only have 10 weeks from the missed lesson to do a catch-up.

Insight Computer Program

Mark, Emma and I would like to to thank all our families for being so supportive of the new computer system that has been launched throughout Term 4 last year and Term 1 this year. We are very excited that head office has chosen our centre to be a pilot of their new technology.

As with any new system, there are always bugs, and without having willing and patient people to assist us in the process, it would be impossible for companies to release such innovative products to their clients.

    Insight has been such a huge hit with the students. They love it when they discover new items which have been added to the program...and there are plenty more coming.

    It has given the teachers the capability to program the students' needs better, provide a more engaging curriculum for students, to see the students' progress on a weekly basis and will assist in providing more comprehensive information to parents.

    Being able to allocate homework online ensures that students are being given a variety of tasks specifically catering to their needs. It may be something that has been identified by the teacher as needing more reinforcement, or it may be the ability to consolidate skills already taught. The teachers all get a report which outlines what a student completed for homework, their score, what questions were incorrect and the time it took to complete. This information was simply not available using the old "pen and paper" method.

    We are one of three centres worldwide that are trialing the new make-up lessons at home, and also a new system of "FLEXI LESSONS." The at home, make-up lessons have been mentioned in the Make-Up Lessons section of the newsletter. When you are calling to say your child is going to be away, Emma will discuss this as an option for your child. We would love to use this as a standard method of make-up to ensure that students are being delivered a lesson every week and to ensure that make-up lessons are not lost.

    These are lessons that are booked to be completed at home. We already have a number of students who are requiring two lessons a week, but due to time constraints could not attend a centre, are taking part in our flexi lessons. The flexi lessons work using the students' homework interface. In the future, this option will allow more flexibility as far as ratio to centre and at home lessons. Of course this option will not suit all students and discussion around suitability will need to take place before a students would be recommended for this program.

'When I Grow Up' Competition


Last term, the Australian Kip McGrath network ran a competition to find out what students wanted to be when they grew up. The students could enter the competition in the Draw, Write and Look categories. We had a number of entrants in the Draw and Write category. It was fantastic to see our students' work displayed, and to see such an overwhelming response on our Facebook page.

We are very excited to announce that Biljana B. won the National Prize in the Draw category. She is now the proud owner of an iPad, which I am sure she is going to love.


Congratulations also goes to Michael I. for being the winner of the Centre Prize in the Write category. We have attached his story to the newsletter for all of you to read.

A big thank you goes to all the students who entered the competition and to all the people who voted for our wonderful entrants!

Supporting the Local Community

Where possible, Mark, Emma and I, try to offer support in the local community. This year, we have become naming right sponsors for the Holroyd Parramatta Goannas Under 13's AFL team. We have a number of Goanna's players from different teams attending tuition at our centre, and with Mark heavily involved with the Club, we thought it would be great to help them out. We are very excited that the Under 13's have been recruiting hard and are currently sitting 3rd on the table.


Later in the year, we will also be holding the MS Readathon. We have chosen to do this as it is the Year of Literacy, and also because we know many families that are affected by this disease. More details will be issued later.




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