2018 Annual Report for St Thomas's School, Mareeba
Motto Walk in the light FINAL 2St-Thomas_-logo.jpg
Address 63 Constance Street, MAREEBA QLD 4880
Postal Address 63 Constance Street, MAREEBA QLD 4880
Phone Number (07) 4092 1570
Fax Number (07) 4092 2935
Email Address
Web Site
Total Enrolments 423 Mrs Rita Petersen
Year Levels Offered P-6
Student Population Co-Educational
Principal Mrs Rita Petersen
Parish PriestFr John Sullivan OSA
Parish Number (07) 4092 1077

About our School

As a Christ-centred learning community, inspired by the Mercy values of love, hope, service and respect, St Thomas' strives for equity and excellence in education. St Thomas' School provides a co-educational faith-based Catholic education to students from Prep to Year 6. We celebrate and value the gifts and talents of all students, parents and staff. We provide a learning environment to develop successful, confident and creative individuals. Our Catholic tradition is celebrated through the Religious Life of the School. We develop students' academic, artistic, sporting and cultural pursuits, in the light of the Gospel values. Our school promotes positive parent engagement and strengthens meaningful connections with the wider community including our St Thomas of Villanova Parish. We are committed to a whole school approach for positive behaviours for learning where students stay safe, take responsibility, actively learn and respect self and others.

The school has an enrolment of approximately 425 students. Presently our enrolments include a significant number of students with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Characteristics of Student Body


Characteristics of Student Body

·         Student Enrolment - 425 (201 Boys and 224 Girls)

·         Class Structure - 2-3 streams

·         Verified students -  5.4%

·         Indigenous - 11.2%

·         EAL/D - 6%

·         NCCD - 16%

·         Catholicity - 42%

·         Attendance - 92%

·         ICSEA - 1023

Cultural diversity

·         Indigenous - Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and/or both

·         Japanese

·         Dutch

·         German

·         Punjabi

·         French

·         Ukrainian

·         Spanish

·         Nepali

School Annual Improvement

Priority 1: To engage in a deeper understanding of Catholic Identity and expression of Faith

By the end of 2018 the school staff will have engaged in professional learning in Catholic Identity and the Charism of St Thomas' School.

This will be measured by:

  1. Staff articulation and understanding of our Vision & Mission Statement - Why are we here?
  2. Staff utilising and understanding the language and terminology of the Catholic Identity Project

Strategies and resources implemented

  • Staff PD on revisiting our Vision & Mission Statements on 25/10/2017 provided by Joan Neal
  • A Catholic Identity team was formed within the school.  Team comprised of both staff, parents and students
  • Writing of units in Year 4 & Year 6 to reflect a recontextualization model of Catholic Identity and the associated language and concepts.
  • Opportunities for staff to be engaged in professional discussions regarding Catholic Identity and the Religious Life of the School

Priority 2: To develop teachers' capacity to effectively use and understand data from the Business Intelligence (BI) tool to directly influence their teaching to progress student learning

In 2018, staff participated in fortnightly 40 minute PLT meetings to analyse data, plan and differentiate the curriculum for the diversity of all learners.  Teachers accountability within the PLT framework included sharing of best practice (grounded in evidence-based research), reflecting on strategies implemented and an increase in frequency of visible learning practices.

Strategies and resources implemented

  • Professional development in the use of the BI tool to analyse student progress and to guide teaching implemented
  • EO and LST to support differentiation strategies
  • PLT meetings included:
    • analysis of school data
    • explicitly addressing the school's professional learning agenda
    • collaborative planning
    • embedding cross curricular skills
    • utilising learning progressions
    • setting specific improvement targets with timelines with SMART goals
    • engaging in professional conversations about contemporary pedagogical practices
    • collaborative common assessment planning of writing
  • Initiation of a data wall for all students on Reading
  • Implementation of the 'The National Phonics Screening' checklist at the end of Year 1
  • Teachers reflecting on their current teaching of reading to review and inform future pedagogical practices (refer to: Simple View of Schools - Debbie Hepplewhite -2015)
  • Literacy Coach to support teachers by planning lessons together; filming of lessons for feedback; teachers to review and reflect lessons filmed; and ongoing peer observation and coaching
  • EO to support PLT process with CST

PRIORITY 3:  St Thomas' professional learning community will continue to review, evaluate and build-on curriculum design and development, centred on improving teacher efficacy to maximise and know their impact on learning and setting high expectations for all learners

Strategies and resources implemented

  • Completion of St Thomas' Essential Agreements - (Reading, Phonological/Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocab, Comprehension, MR, Writing, Grammar & Punctuation, Spelling, Handwriting, Speaking & Listening) which make explicit what (and when) teachers should teach and students should learn
  • Master coach, Joanne Dooner provided modelled explicit teaching practices and worked alongside classroom teachers with an emphasis on Morning Routine, Reading (Big 5) Spelling (4 knowledges) & Writing.
  • Prep & Year 1 classroom teachers critically reviewed current phonics and phonological awareness pedagogical practices with JoAnne Dooner to ensure the implementation of best practice
  • Setting of learning goals each term to work on by students.  Explicit expectations and feedback given by teachers to students
  • Gathering of evidence based on classroom walk-throughs by leadership
  • Modification of teaching practices using the principles and framework of Visible Learning, explicit teaching and literacy coaching.

Areas of growth

Priority 1: School's Mission Statement was reviewed in Week 0, 2018.  St Thomas' now has a new Mission Statement, Vision and Statement of  Religious Character.  Our statement was presented to the School's Identity Team involved staff, parents and students.  Year 6 RE units have been rewritten in 2018.  

Priority 2: Teachers have engaged in regular PLT meetings to complete essential agreements including sequence and scope documents, vertical alignment of text types in writing, guided reading rotations, explicit instruction.  Ongoing reviews are conducted.  National Phonics Screening completed in Term 4.

Priority 3: Literacy coach worked alongside Prep/Year 1 teachers to build efficacy in the teaching of phonics. Literacy coach worked with all teaching staff to build capacity and the theoretical understanding of Morning Routines.  Leadership visited JoAnne Dooner's schools in Sydney to seek clarification and future directions regarding implementation of Morning Routine, Phonics and Literacy Block.

Distinctive Curriculum Offerings

  • The School offers students a sound academic education in all key learning areas including Religious Education.  Social and Emotional Learning is an important part of daily class lessons.
  • Specialist teachers deliver Australian Curriculum in LOTE (Japanese) and HPE
  • Student excellence showcased through school-based programs in instrumental music, public speaking, chess, choir, band, student representative council and sports including Rugby League, netball, cricket, soccer, and futsal.
  • Our students actively support a range of social justice pursuits including Caritas, Catholic Mission, St Vincent de Paul and School of St Jude in Tanzania.
  • Optional lunch time activities including Readers' Cup, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, STEAM/STEM, Robotics and Mini Vinnies.

Extra Curricular Activities

These include:

  • Student Representative Council
  • Sporting - netball, rugby league, soccer and cricket
  • Athletics and Cross Country teams
  • Instrumental Music Program
  • Band
  • Choir
  • Chess
  • Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program
  • Mini Vinnies
  • Robotics Club
  • Opportunity to try out for a variety of sports

Social Climate

St Thomas is a friendly and supportive school community where parents and staff work together to provide a safe, progressive and enjoyable environment for students. Wellbeing is an important factor for all students at the school and social emotional learning permeates all aspects of the curriculum. 

As a Parish school St Thomas's is closely linked to community activities with a view to raising student awareness about need beyond their own. Students become involved in fundraising appeals such as collecting items for the Winter and Christmas Appeals and educating others about the work of St Vincent De Paul.  We also raise funds for Project Compassion during Lent and Socktober; a crazy sock day to support Catholic Mission and our sister school in Tanzania, The School of St Jude.  Students also warmly welcome visitors each year such as the students from Loreto College Sydney and grandparents during Catholic Week.

The school has a Learning Support Team, a School Counsellor and various School Officers who support integration, classroom and our diverse needs programs. 

Parent Engagement

St Thomas' recognises the importance of parents as the first educators of their children and actively encourages parental involvement. All parents are members of the school Parents and Friends Association.  Family barbecues are organised by the Parents and Friends Association and have been very successful opportunities for families of students in each year level to meet and mix socially. These evenings also promote and celebrate the importance of families spending time and having fun together. In the spirit of community and valuing your child's education, parents are encouraged to take an active role in the life of the school through the P&F Committee.

Our parents actively work to assist in improving student outcomes in a variety of roles. Parents help in classrooms by helping with literacy or maths groups, creating resources for classrooms and our library, collecting money from stallholders at the monthly Mareeba Markets, assisting in the tuckshop, assisting during swimming lessons and attending class excursions.

Parents are also made to feel welcome at events such as Whole School and Year level Masses and liturgies, our School Swimming Carnival and Athletics' Day, Harmony Day, St Thomas of Villanova Feast Day, celebrations for NAIDOC WEEK, to parade with students on Anzac Day and to attend weekly assemblies.

Fortnightly newsletters keep parents informed and parents can download our school app and access alerts for any updates for calendar events or school news.


Parent Satisfaction

Many of our parents feel our school is a welcoming and caring community where everyone is treated with respect.  Parents believe that St Thomas' promotes justice, compassion and service.  Parents also agree that St Thomas' has a good reputation in our local community and would recommend the school to others.

Parents also report that the school is meeting the academic needs of their child with teachers making learning fun and encouraging of children's efforts.  Overall, our parents believe that their child is receiving an well-rounded education in a stimulating environment at St Thomas of Villanova School.

Parents believe that St Thomas' School grounds, buildings and outdoor facilities are well-presented and maintained.  Parents also report that St Thomas' School provides relevant information clearly and timely.

Data Last Updated Wed 19 Jun 2019

Staff Reporting Data
Qualification Highest level of attainment Doctoral / Post-doctoral Masters Bachelor degree Diploma Certificate
Number of staff with this qualification 0 4 16 8 1

Workforce composition
Headcount FTE (Full-time equivalent)
Teaching Staff33 26.9
Non-Teaching Staff 36 14.94
Indigenous 1 0.28

Total funds expended on teacher professional development$16394

Teaching Staff Involved in Professional Development100%

Major Professional Development Initiatives

The teachers have been involved in professional learning in the following areas:

  • Professional Learning Teams with a focus on improved reading and writing outcomes
  • School improvement and school effectiveness
  • Religious Education
  • Social Emotional Learning and wellbeing
  • Special needs
  • Collaborative teaching and coaching in literacy
  • Industrial training
  • 360 ° feedback process
  • WPHS
  • Leading with Integrity Program
  • Enhancing Catholic School Identity
  • Synthetic Phonics
  • Implementing a Literacy Block
  • Guided Reading
  • Getting Reading Right: Big 5 of Reading (Phonics, Phonological Awareness, Fluency, Vocab & Comprehension)
  • Getting Reading Right - Morning Routine
  • Cognitive load theory

Average staff attendance rate for the school year, based on unplanned absences of sick and emergency leave for periods up to 5 days97%

Percentage of teaching staff retained from the previous school year94.00%

Staff Satisfaction

Staff at St Thomas' live out Catholic values in their words and actions. Staff believe that St Thomas' School is well managed and organised and delivers quality educational outcomes for students. They feel valued and respected and believe that their skills are utilised effectively.  Staff believe that the school is well-resourced and that they are given the resources that they need to do their job effectively.  All staff strive to improve and innovate to enhance its educational offerings to students.


Data Last Updated Tue May 21 2019

Student Reporting Data
Average student attendance rates
Prep YR 1 YR 2 YR 3 YR 4 YR 5 YR 6
90.75% 91.08% 92.84% 93.45% 91.55% 92.26% 92.37%
How non-attendance is managed by the school

Teachers alert the school office to student non-attendance promptly every morning through their marking of the electronic school roll. The office staff then contact the parents unless the school has already been notified with a reason for the absence.

The school sends SMS Messages to advise parents if their son or daughter is marked absent (unexplained) or is recorded as arriving late to school without explanation.

Student Satisfaction

Students feel safe at St Thomas' School.  The majority of students indicated that they are encouraged to set learning goals.  They also agreed that their teachers give specific feedback about their learning and encourage them to learn from their mistakes.  Students also appreciate that their teachers use learning intentions and success criteria as part of lessons.  Technology is regularly used at school for learning and most students agree that teachers help when they experience a problem in their learning.

Data Last Updated Fri Dec 14 2018

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 3, 2018
Reading Average Score for the school 433.4
Average Score for Queensland 437.8
% students at or above the national benchmark 94.6%
Writing Average Score for the school 383.4
Average Score for Queensland 410.5
% students at or above the national benchmark 89.7%
Spelling Average Score for the school 445.8
Average Score for Queensland 432.9
% students at or above the national benchmark 94.7%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 415.5
Average Score for Queensland 406
% students at or above the national benchmark 94.7%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 405.1
Average Score for Queensland 413.1
% students at or above the national benchmark 93%

Data Last Updated Thu May 30 2019

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 5, 2018
Reading Average Score for the school 491.2
Average Score for Queensland 517.1
% students at or above the national benchmark 85.1%
Writing Average Score for the school 445.1
Average Score for Queensland 469.4
% students at or above the national benchmark 85.3%
Spelling Average Score for the school 488.1
Average Score for Queensland 511.1
% students at or above the national benchmark 96%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 489.5
Average Score for Queensland 497.9
% students at or above the national benchmark 97.3%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 467.3
Average Score for Queensland 501.2
% students at or above the national benchmark 88%

Data Last Updated Thu May 30 2019

School Funding By Source
Income 2018

Australian Government recurrent funding$4,560,335

State/Territory Government recurrent funding$1,194,497

Fees, charges and parent contributions$1,336,037

Other private sources$289,786

Total gross income (excluding income from government capital grants)$7,380,655

Deductions 2018

Income allocated to current capital projects$333,621

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

Income allocated to debt servicing (including principal repayments and interest on loans)$177,798


Total net recurrent income$216,360

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.