Select a School
St John's School, Silkwood
Motto Always Reaching for New Heights St-Johns-logo-RGB.jpg
Address Harold St, SILKWOOD QLD 4856
Postal Address PO Box 252, SILKWOOD QLD 4856
Phone Number (07) 4065 2193
Fax Number (07) 4065 2355
Email Address
Web Site
Total Enrolments 64 Jo Martorella (Acting)
Year Levels Offered P-6
Student Population Co-Educational
Principal Jo Martorella (Acting)
Parish PriestFr Kerry Crowley Southern Deanery Dean
Parish Number (07) 4065 2128

About our School

The small rural school of St John’s at Silkwood prides itself on being both Christ and child centred, providing excellent learning opportunities for the students it serves. The school is located in the heart of the Southern Deanery on the Cassowary Coast. Geographically placed in between the larger towns of Mission Beach, Tully and Innisfail, the school draws many of its students not only from Silkwood, but also the surrounding communities of Kurrimine Beach, Mission Beach and El Arish.

St John’s proud history commenced in 1948 when the school was opened by the Missionary Franciscan Sisters. The school comprised of children from the Silkwood area who were mainly of Italian descent and whose parents worked in the sugar cane industry. The Sisters served the local community for forty years, leaving in 1987. Today the dedicated lay staff continues the proud tradition of quality Catholic Education to many of the children and grandchildren of those first students.

The current St John’s community is respectful of the past and excited about the future, as it plays its part in inspiring St John’s students to live the school motto of “Always Reaching For New Heights.”

Distinctive Curriculum Offerings

St John’s is proud to offer several distinctive curriculum features to existing and prospective parents and indeed the wider Silkwood community.

St John’s is proud to be able to deliver “one stop learning” for students from Kindergarten through to Year Six all on the one site. Our stand alone Kindergarten facility presently caters for 3-5 year olds three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday).

Many of our current P-6 students first met at St John’s Silkwood Community Kindergarten. This service is affiliated with Catholic Early Learning and Care (Diocese of Cairns) and offers a program designed for children aged three and a half years and older. The program aims to enhance a child’s physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, creative and social development.

The curriculum taught at St John's School encompasses all of the Australian Curriculum Learning Areas, with an emphasis placed on Religious Education, English, Science, Hass, The Arts and Technology. Programs are created with the understanding that children develop and learn differently and with an awareness of multiple intelligence's and different learning styles.

St John’s offers a number of specialist programs. “Social and Emotional Learning” is developed through the “You Can Do It!” program to help foster better social and emotional intelligence. A music tuition program caters for the musically talented students and provides an additional opportunity for performance at special assemblies that feature our musicians. Physical Education is provided by a specialist teacher. The school is also very well resourced in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).  In addition to classroom computers, the school offers students access to laptops, chromebooks and iPads which can be transported into classrooms, the library or outdoor learning areas. Interactive White Boards which are located in all classrooms and the new library are providing many new 21st century teaching and learning opportunities for the school community. The integration of iPads, chromebooks and other ICT's has enhanced our teaching and learning outcomes across the curriculum.

St John's is committed to a variety of assessment and reporting procedures that demonstrate student achievement and success at their respective level of development. Student Portfolios and parent / teacher conferences are completed in both first and second semester which provide a formal opportunity for students, parents and the classroom teacher to celebrate aspects of each students' learning journey and set goals for the following semester or year. St John’s also send out a school based student report card at the completion of both semester one and two which provides parents with a detailed account of a student's overall achievement across all aspects of school life.

Extra Curricular Activities

Excursions and Camps

Excursions and camps are part of the curriculum at St John's.  School camp for the years 3-6 students has provided an opportunity for students to visit a diversity of interesting places including O'Brien's Creek, Undarra, Cooktown, Tinaroo, Charters Towers and recently the Dinosaur trail.

  • Students in Prep- 6 are expected to participate in any excursions that have been organised.
  •  Students in Yr4/5/6 are expected to participate in any camp that is organised.

Student Council

The SRC is made up by school leaders and sport's house captains. Regular meetings include an agenda, minute taking  and decision making processes.

Premier's Reading Challenge

All students from P-6 participate in the Premier's Reading Challenge. Students are asked to read 15-20 books over a period of three months and receive a certificate from Premier.

School Sports

  • School Cross Country for all students P-6
  • District Cross Country for all eligible students
  • School Inter-house Athletics carnival for all students P-6
  • District Athletics Carnival for all eligible students
  • School Swimming Carnival for all students P-6

Swimming Program

Swimming lessons for P-6 students are held in Term Four. The objective of this program is to raise student's water awareness and safety.

Other Sports

  • Soccer is without question the most popular pursuit of both male and female students, many of whom are members of the Silkwood Soccer Club and Peninsula Representative teams. St John's has an active association with the Silkwood, Mena Creek Sports Association which provides inter-school and representative sporting opportunities for our students.
  • Tennis lessons have been included as part of a School Sporting Grant. 

The construction of an 800 square metre undercover sports facility enhances outdoor learning opportunities in all weather conditions for our students.

The library and classrooms provides a state of the art learning facility to promote contemporary and digital education. Our extensive sporting fields are complimented by two synthetic run ups for our long jump pits and a full size 400m athletics track.


St John’s has had a long association with Mrs Tina Patane who visits St John’s to take a large number of our students for private Speech and Drama lessons. Additionally, Mrs Patane instructs and conducts the whole school in preparation of Choral Verse speaking. Each year the students participate in the Innisfail Young Performers Eisteddfod, with much success.


A music tuition program provides small group music instruction with a qualified music tutor.

 At St John’s, the unique gifts and talents of all students are valued. Within and beyond the school, every effort is made to find new and innovative ways to celebrate these.

Social Climate

St John’s School is a true reflection of the friendly and community minded Parish and town in which it is located. People who are new to the school (children, families and staff) are always welcomed openly. The work ethic and tireless commitment of the families of St John’s maintains an optimistic and committed view towards the future for their children.

Parents gather for regular social evenings each term which alternate in focus from parents versus students soccer games to undercover volleyball challenges. Our pizza nights have proven to be a highlight of the school year!

St John’s is very fortunate to have access to a school counsellor and benefit greatly from regular visits from our Parish Priest.


Parent Involvement

The school prides itself on an incredibly hard working and effective Parents and Friends Association. The Parents and Friends are involved in coordinating the school tuckshop, uniform shop, social events, working bees as well as being the major source of raising revenue for the school. The St John's Parents and Friends Association has a unique constitution that reinforces the School Board functionality of its purpose. 

St John’s School recognises and respects that parents are the first educators and as such, are important stake holders in optimising the educational outcomes of their children. The ongoing partnership between the school and parents occurs formally four times a year (Assessment and Reporting) and informally daily, weekly and each term. Parent information evenings, year and term overviews, assemblies, newsletters, open days, parent helpers in class, excursions, sports coaching, sacramental programmes and camps are all ways staff and parents work together for the benefit of students.

The small school enrolment (35 families) creates a family atmosphere at St John’s. Another benefit of a small school is the capacity for everyone to become involved in the social and family orientated events held each year.

Parent Satisfaction

Through the sample of parents surveyed, the majority of parents report that St John’s School always aims to improve the education it provides. All parents said that St John’s was a place of learning in a Christian environment. From the same sample, the majority of parent’s report that the teachers try to make learning fun and that the teachers encourage their children to learn. 100% of parents also report that St John’s always strives  to improve. These results have indicated our commitment to be child centered in all that we do in the delivery of curriculum. St John’s will continue to be a place of continual improvement and renewal.

Data Last Updated Wed 15 Jun 2016

Staff Reporting Data
Qualification Highest level of attainment Doctoral / Post-doctoral Masters Bachelor degree Diploma Certificate
% Staff with this qualification 0% 1% 5% 4% 1%

Workforce composition
Headcount FTE (Full-time equivalent)
Teaching Staff8 7
Non-Teaching Staff 8 2.99
Indigenous 1 0.16

Total funds expended on teacher professional development$1126

Teaching Staff Involved in Professional Development100%

Major Professional Development Initiatives


  • Visible Learning
  •  Australian Curriculum - HASS
  • Evidence into Action
  • Three Worlds of the Religious Text
  • Meditation using Scripture
  •  Teaching Strategies for ASD
  • TREWTH Conference
  •  CES Curriculum Conference
  • Religious Education Unit Planning for Composite Schools
  •  Social Emotional Learning
  •  Literacy Coaching
  •  Guided Reading
  • Numeracy
  •  Spirituality
  •  Information Communication Technology
  •  Developing English Language
  • Data and NAPLAN Analysis
  • Consistency of Teacher Judgement
  • First Aid, Siloam Retreat
  •  Professor Thomas Groome
  •  NAPLAN - Principles of Good Writing.

Average staff attendance rate for the school year, based on unplanned absences of sick and emergency leave for periods up to 5 days96%

Percentage of teaching staff retained from the previous school year90.00%

Staff Satisfaction

The majority of staff at St John’s agreed that the school provides for a Christian Learning environment. Our staff strongly agrees that their workplace encourages a climate conducive to learning and the leadership team manage change well. St John’s is a place that encourages student responsibility, this is important when preparing students for secondary school. Our staff believes that St John’s is a workplace with a positive ethos where the school encourages and values staff input when making decisions. St John’s staff believes that their colleagues set good examples to students and that they have opportunities for professional development.


Data Last Updated Mon May 29 2017

Student Reporting Data
Average student attendance rates
Prep YR 1 YR 2 YR 3 YR 4 YR 5 YR 6
93.62% 93.65% 96.24% 94.96% 96.6% 94.53% 94.53%
How non-attendance is managed by the school

At St John's parents are requested to make contact with the school via telephone or email on the day that the student is absent. Unexplained absences are followed  up with a telephone call from the school. If patterns of non-attendance the principal will request a meeting. These procedures are outlined in the parent handbook as well as published in the school newsletter.

The distance travelled

At St John's we use the principles of visible learning and visible teaching. Teachers recognise learning through the eyes of the students and see themselves as learners. Evidence is used to create innovation in the learning environment.  The characteristics of a good learner are promoted in all aspects of school life.  These include the following: articulating what they are learning and why, understanding assessment tools and what their results mean, positively supporting their peer's learning, setting goals and actively seeking feedback.

We recognise the need to teach thinking strategies which encourage higher order thinking skills placing a high priority on empowering students with thinking skills such as: The ability to reason, To make informed judgments, To critically evaluate information, Thinking creatively. The Literacy Coaching Program enhanced teaching and learning at St John's. Significant time and money has been invested into professional development, purchasing and organisation of resources.

Where are we going ?

St John's School staff is committed to achieving excellence in teaching and learning. Alignment between the Mission and Vision statements has the enhanced effect of providing a safe, supportive and challenging learning environment for the students. A school wide focus on our vision "plant the seed, nurture the gifts and celebrate the harvest", promotes student achievement.

The staff at St John's is working to ensure that we have a collaborative approach to teaching, learning and assessment that is explicit and promotes visible learning. St John's ambition is for students to develop a lifelong engagement with learning. St John's has established high standards for our students and responds to individual needs through differentiated programming.

Student Satisfaction

The overwhelming majority of the students surveyed at St. John’s School agree that they feel good about being a student at the school and feel like they belong. The vast majority of students surveyed report that their teachers are well prepared and that the school is preparing students well for the future.

Data Last Updated Mon May 29 2017

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 3, 2015
Reading Average Score for the school 386.505
Average Score for Queensland 410.764
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%
Writing Average Score for the school 377.553
Average Score for Queensland 400.538
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%
Spelling Average Score for the school 363.688
Average Score for Queensland 393.185
% students at or above the national benchmark 83.333%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 395.548
Average Score for Queensland 423.055
% students at or above the national benchmark 83.333%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 352.116
Average Score for Queensland 386.145
% students at or above the national benchmark 83.333%

Data Last Updated Wed Jun 22 2016

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 5, 2015
Reading Average Score for the school 501.273
Average Score for Queensland 486.738
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%
Writing Average Score for the school 505.831
Average Score for Queensland 464.011
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%
Spelling Average Score for the school 494.173
Average Score for Queensland 485.912
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 532.863
Average Score for Queensland 492.985
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 541.971
Average Score for Queensland 480.54
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%

Data Last Updated Wed Jun 22 2016

School Funding By Source
Income 2015

Australian Government recurrent funding$1,313,747

State/Territory Government recurrent funding$301,963

Fees, charges and parent contributions$185,247

Other private sources$38,367

Total gross income (excluding income from government capital grants)$1,839,324

Deductions 2015

Income allocated to current capital projects$18,900

Income allocated to future capital projects and diocesan capital funds$0

Income allocated to debt servicing (including principal repayments and interest on loans)$23,592


Total net recurrent income$1,796,832

Schools And Colleges

There are 29 Catholic schools and colleges in the Diocese of Cairns. With the exception of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School at Thursday Island and St Joseph’s Parish School, Weipa, all schools and colleges are within two hours driving time from Cairns.

The Cairns Diocese has two Prep to Year 12 colleges (St Andrew's Catholic College at Redlynch and MacKillop Catholic College, Mount Peter), 20 primary schools and 7 secondary colleges. Of those, St Augustine's College, Cairns is an All Boys college and St Monica's College, Cairns is an All Girls college. In addition to day schooling, St Augustine's offers boarding for students of St Augustine's and St Monica's. Mount St Bernard College, Herberton (MSB) is a day and boarding secondary college for boys and girls.

In 2016, Catholic Education opened two new schools to meet growing demand. MacKillop Catholic College is located in the Cairns southern growth corridor at Mount Peter and offers Prep to Year 3 in 2016. It will grow to full Prep to Year 12 status, with the possible early commencement of secondary in 2018. St Joseph’s Parish School opened in Weipa, offering Prep to Year 6.

In a strong initiative towards social justice engagement, Catholic Education opened a Flexi School for disengaged young people in Cairns and Cooktown in 2015. Holy Spirit College caters for students aged between 11 and 17 who have disengaged from education or for whom enrolling in a mainstream secondary school is not the best alternative. Holy Spirit College has capacity to enrol up to 52 students in Cairns and up to 38 in Cooktown, of whom up to 32 can be weekly boarders drawn from the wider community including HopeVale and WujalWujal.