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2017 Annual Report for St Rita's School, South Johnstone
Motto Forward to a Better World St-Rita_s-School-SJ-logo-col-RGB.jpg
Address 8 Green Street, SOUTH JOHNSTONE QLD 4859
Postal Address PO Box 8, SOUTH JOHNSTONE QLD 4859
Phone Number (07) 4064 2153
Fax Number (07) 4064 2766
Email Address
Web Site
Total Enrolments 117 Mr Brad Williams
Year Levels Offered P-6
Student Population Co-Educational
Principal Mr Brad Williams
Parish PriestFr Kerry Crowley PP VG
Parish Number (07) 4061 6633

About our School

South Johnstone is a small rural township situated 100 km south of Cairns and 9 km south-east of Innisfail. St Rita's caters for students from Innisfail, Kurrimine Beach, East Palmerston, Mena Creek, Mundoo, Moresby, Mourilyan and South Johnstone. We are a small school providing a Catholic education in a rural setting.

The township of Innisfail has a Catholic Secondary School (Good Counsel College) and a State College. Within 10kms of South Johnstone there are numerous State Primary Schools, as well as Good Counsel Primary School.

Agricultural industries and support services are predominant in the local area.   It is these industries that are the primary source of employment for the families with children attending school at St Rita's.

The school opened in 1932, operating from the building adjacent to the school in Green St, which presently hosts a long-running playgroup and regular church meetings. The school moved across the road in 1933 to where the present building is situated. The Sisters of Good Samaritan staffed the school up until 1977 when the first lay principal was appointed. From this time, to the present, solely lay people have staffed the school. The face of the school has changed over time, with the addition of new classrooms, a purpose built Prep facility and state-of-the-art undercover multi-purpose hall. Recent additions include the building of a staff room, meeting room and toilet facilities.

St Rita's is proud to be a community school, with a reputation for having a strong family focus.   St Rita's is blessed with a committed Parents and Friends Association.   The hardworking P&F provides much needed financial support through various fundraising ventures. The P&F also assist with organizing social activities that aim to bring families together.   New families have commented on how welcoming the parent body is and how the support that is offered helps them to make a smooth transition into school life.

A team of devoted teachers staff St Rita's.   They range in age and experience, many having worked at the school for over a decade.   However, they all share a passion for education and a commitment to Catholic ethos.   The staff works together within a professional learning community, sharing their knowledge and supporting early career teachers. A team of vastly experienced school officers supports the teachers.   Our school officers are vital to the day to day running of our school.   Working in classrooms, administration, the library and with those students requiring extra support as well as extension. The staff is aware that they are educating students for a rapidly changing world.   Therefore, the teachers and school officers are constantly searching for new learning opportunities to help them meet the diverse needs of their students.

Distinctive Curriculum Offerings

At St Rita's, we believe that preparing students for an unknown world, requires courage and energy, because student needs have changed so drastically.   Literacy and numeracy will always remain the keystones of curriculum.     Reading and writing have not been replaced by the new technologies.   However, there are new literacies connected to information technology and communication, which we have now included in our whole-school curriculum plans and teach explicitly.   Information is everywhere and is instantly accessible.   Therefore, research skills have become vital.   Teaching students to find, analyse and use information responsibly is vitally important. Technology has also allowed our students to access their learning in new ways. In keeping with our school motto, "Forward to a Better World", we want to ensure that our students leave, fully equipped to tackle the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

Religious Education is a highly valued Key learning Area at St Rita's. Whole school and class liturgical celebrations are a significant element of the religious education program at the school.

At St Rita's we are committed to effectively delivering the Australian Curriculum to our students.     This means ensuring that our teachers receive quality professional development and that our resources are current.   This allows our teachers to ensure that each student is being taught the knowledge and skills that they need in a way that suits their specific learning style.

Extra Curricular Activities

At St Rita's we offer a diverse range of extra curricular activities to allow students to pursue their special interests. These include:

  • Australasian Schools Competitions: Computers, Science, Mathematics, English and Spelling  
  • Teams for sporting events such as football, athletics, futsal, soccer, softball and netball  
  • Sport coaching sessions - Netball, Cricket Australia, NRL development
  • Instrumental Music
  • Wonder of Living Program
  • Mary Mills Cup
  • After School Sports Programs such as Auskick
  • Chess competition
  • Handball competition
  • Student vs. Parents sporting activities
  • Reader's Cup
  • Under 8's day
  • Read to Me Day - Tully
  • Bravehearts
  • Innisfail Young Performers Competition
  • Dance Fever
  • Show displays
  • Camps and excursions


Social Climate

At St Rita's we are determined to help each student achieve his or her full potential.   We acknowledge that each child is truly unique and therefore learns in different ways and at different speeds.   Every effort is made to cater to each student's individual needs.      

Though we are small, our size is not a weakness, but one of our greatest strengths.   Students learn to "pitch in" and help out around the school and to assist with younger students as a part of our "buddy" program.   We enjoy seeing younger siblings in and around the grounds before they join their big brothers and sisters at school when they start Prep.   We also love hearing about past pupil's adventures and successes long after they exit the front gates for the last time.   In essence, St Rita's is a small school with a very big heart.

Parent Involvement

Parents at St Rita's are recognized as the first educators of their children and as such are encouraged to participate wherever possible:

  • Class Information Afternoons
  • Parent Education, eg Susan McLean (cyber safety expert), Maggie Dent (accomplished author/educator), Mark Davidson (behaviour expert)
  • Parent Teacher Interviews
  • Parent invitations to classrooms as helpers or visitors
  • Parent invitations to school assemblies and liturgies
  • Parents vs. Students sporting activities
  • Parents and Friends Association  
  • Combined Schools' Board
  • Playgroup
  • St. Rita's Feast Day
  • Mother's Day Morning Tea
  • Father's Day Prep Night
  • Father's Day Minute to Win It
  • Oral and Written Reports - interviews
  • Naidoc Activities
  • Camps/Excursions
  • Sports days
  • Under 8's Day
  • Christmas Concert
Each year, an annual report is presented to the Parents and Friends Association and is then distributed to the parent community and staff. Attached to the report is a review of school processes, goals and achievements. All school community stakeholders have an opportunity to give feedback and assist in the guidance of the school for the future year. This review is well received and feedback is always of a positive nature.

Parent Satisfaction

A recent survey of parents, indicated that 93% of parents felt that St Rita's School is a welcoming and caring community where everyone is made to feel welcome. 94.5% feel that St Rita's has a good reputation in the local community and over 90% feel that the classrooms are well presented and stimulating placed for learning and that the school is well equipped with learning and teaching resources. The majority of those surveyed have confidence in the teaching staff at St Rita's and agree that the school offers a broad and relevant curriculum and delivers quality outcomes for its students.

Data Last Updated Tue 26 Jun 2018

Staff Reporting Data
Qualification Highest level of attainment Doctoral / Post-doctoral Masters Bachelor degree Diploma Certificate
% Staff with this qualification 0% 6% 47% 16% 0%

Workforce composition
Headcount FTE (Full-time equivalent)
Teaching Staff16 10.3
Non-Teaching Staff 16 5.76
Indigenous 1 0.71

Total funds expended on teacher professional development$5055

Teaching Staff Involved in Professional Development100%

Major Professional Development Initiatives

 Staff have been involved in professional development opportunities covering:

  • OWHS - keeping up to date with policies and procedures to ensure the safety of themselves and others eg. fire equipment training, back care, evacuation procedures, risk assessments etc.

  • Student Protection- keeping teachers abreast of legal and protection issues, to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.

  • Disability Standards Training

  • Literacy Writing Focus

  • Visible Learning Practices

  • Maths coaching

  • APRE Focus Days

  • TREWTH conference

  • NAPLAN Analysis

  • Administration Officer's PD

  • Consistency of Teacher Judgement - engaging teachers in a process of assessing student work consistently within the school community and across schools within the Diocese.

  • Information and Communication Technology - teachers use computers extensively to assist planning, communication and reporting. Training is provided to ensure ICT skills are at an appropriate level.

  • Restorative Practices workshop (Real School Australia partnership)

  • Get Reading Right PD

  • PLT Training

  • Language PD - 7 Steps to Writing Success.


Average staff attendance rate for the school year, based on unplanned absences of sick and emergency leave for periods up to 5 days98%

Percentage of teaching staff retained from the previous school year50.00%

Staff Satisfaction

From a survey 100% of staff feel that St Rita's is a welcoming and caring community where everyone is treated with respect. 100% of staff also feel that social justice, compassion and service is promoted well at St Rita's. All staff feel that the school is well managed and organised with the overall majority feeling that they are provided with adequate feedback on their work. All staff responding to the survey felt that the staff work productively together while 95% of staff feel that St Rita's School delivers quality education outcomes for its students.

Data Last Updated Fri Jun 15 2018

Student Reporting Data
Average student attendance rates
Prep YR 1 YR 2 YR 3 YR 4 YR 5 YR 6
91.62% 92.95% 94.57% 95.28% 91.11% 92.04% 94.03%
How non-attendance is managed by the school

Parents are to contact the school on the morning of non-attendance by phone or e-mail. If contact has not been made, a message will be sent to parents advising them of their child's absence and asking them to contact the school. If the child is absent for a period of time without notification or a pattern of non-attendance is recorded the parents are contacted to discuss any issues or concerns regarding the student.  


The distance travelled

 Education is constantly evolving. At St Rita's, keeping up with the changing curriculum and new approaches to teaching and learning it is a priority. We go to great lengths to ensure that the needs of each individual student are being met. Teachers are given every opportunity to access quality professional development and resources are regularly purchased and upgraded.

St. Rita's prides itself on a tradition of academic achievement. Testing results, whether from class, school or national tests, are collated and analysed, so as to formulate programs based on the children's needs and varied learning styles. Our learning support staff work closely with classroom teachers and are committed to ensuring that students receive support where necessary and that the curriculum is being differentiated for those students with specific learning needs.

St Rita's has continued its long tradition of involving the students in many sporting activities. These range from the much-anticipated school sport days, to a variety of carnivals that draw competitors from many other schools within the district.

St Rita's upholds the long-standing practice of school-wide school camps and excursions. Each year, every class ventures on either a planned camp or a day excursion, carefully planned by their teachers together with the principal. The students, staff and attending parents enjoy these camps immensely.



Where are we going ?

 ·         Contemporary learning practices for all students

 ·         Establishment of Morning Routines

 ·         Continued focus on coaching with an emphasis on reading and writing

 ·         Providing specialist teachers in performing Arts, PE and Science

 ·         The teaching of Italian to our year 6 students

 ·         Development of the St Rita's Way

 ·         Explicit focus on developing reading goals

 ·         Continued use of a Teacher Librarian

 ·         Formation of Professional learning teams across the school

Student Satisfaction

Students at St Rita's indicate that they feel happy and relaxed at school. Students agree that their teachers are well prepared for class and deliver lessons that are both engaging and challenging, ensuring high expectations for each child in their care.

Data Last Updated Fri Jun 15 2018

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 3, 2017
Reading Average Score for the school 468
Average Score for Queensland 425.2
% students at or above the national benchmark 94.7%
Writing Average Score for the school 421.8
Average Score for Queensland 402.3
% students at or above the national benchmark 94.7%
Spelling Average Score for the school 402.1
Average Score for Queensland 408.7
% students at or above the national benchmark 94.7%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 489.9
Average Score for Queensland 437
% students at or above the national benchmark 94.7%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 421.1
Average Score for Queensland 402.1
% students at or above the national benchmark 94.7%

Data Last Updated Mon Jun 18 2018

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 5, 2017
Reading Average Score for the school 536.1
Average Score for Queensland 502.7
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%
Writing Average Score for the school 473.2
Average Score for Queensland 461.4
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%
Spelling Average Score for the school 515.4
Average Score for Queensland 496.5
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 524
Average Score for Queensland 496
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 495.5
Average Score for Queensland 490.4
% students at or above the national benchmark 100%

Data Last Updated Mon Jun 18 2018

School Funding By Source
Income 2017

Australian Government recurrent funding$1,628,610

State/Territory Government recurrent funding$316,671

Fees, charges and parent contributions$196,192

Other private sources$26,566

Total gross income (excluding income from government capital grants)$2,168,039

Deductions 2017

Income allocated to current capital projects$12,360

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

Income allocated to debt servicing (including principal repayments and interest on loans)$32,255


Total net recurrent income$2,123,424

School Annual Reports

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Cairns meet their annual reporting requirements under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (the Act) Section 423 (1) by updating their information on this section of the Cairns Catholic Education website. Information contained in each section of the report relates to the previous calendar year. The required information is published by 30 June each year, excepting post-school destinations data for Year 12 completers which is published by 30 September.