CNPS Bulletin 2023 | issue 10 | december

CNPS SCHOOL VISION: To build a community of curious, creative and engaged learners who are empowered to meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world. Collectively we will work with our students to become responsible global citizens who have the skills, knowledge and personal attributes they need for their future.

Principal’s Column

Wominjeka everyone!

I extend my sincere thanks to everyone for the warm reception upon my return to CNPS after a period away. The kindness and thoughtful words from many of you have made me feel truly valued. I am currently back on a part-time basis and am glad to be back at school.

A special acknowledgment goes to Michelle Tedeschi and Pat Lynch for stepping into the principal role at CNPS. Pat has been an invaluable support during my part-time return, and collaborating with him and my team has been great easing my reintegration. For the remainder of the year, I will be working on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, with Pat holding down the fort on Wednesday and Thursday.

As we approach the conclusion of this year, the pace quickens with preparations for 2024. I'm excited to share with you the progress we've made in finalising our plans for the upcoming year. There will be more to come in our final newsletter next month.

2024 Class Sizes and Year Level Structures

This time of year I let everyone know about our class sizes and our year level structures. A number of considerations are taken into place when determining the class numbers and year level structures. As our school has a low SFOE, we receive a minimal amount in equity funding (School Family Occupation and Education - better educated families equals less funding from the government). This reduces our ability to provide lower class sizes for the school as our staffing budget doesn’t allow capacity to hire extra teachers. This year CNPS received $18,000 in equity funding.

How does the funding work?

  • Most of our school funding (90%+) comes from the state government, known as the Student Resource Package (SRP).
  • The SRP is primarily driven by enrollment numbers, with extra funding provided to students with additional needs (e.g. those from a low socioeconomic background).
  • Most of the state government funding goes towards employing school staff (80% to 90%).
  • The remaining funding is for day-to-day school operations (e.g., utilities, printing etc.).
  • The SRP is a devolved funding model, where schools have autonomy to make hiring decisions, and are also responsible for managing the cyclical nature of their staff expenditure (as staff stay at the school and become more experienced, the staffing profile becomes more expensive).
  • We work hard to secure non-government income sources (e.g., TheirCare and Montessori) to increase our funding ability.
  • We use a portion of the non-government income sources to cover additional staffing expenses where possible, such as lower class sizes and a more experienced teaching profile.

How does the school work out the class sizes for each grade?

The school uses the information from the VGSA (Victorian Government School Agreement) to determine class sizes. Unfortunately the new union agreement did not allow for a change in class sizes for primary schools which can result in student numbers in Years 3 to 6 higher than those in high school. The department guidelines on class sizes state that they should be planned on the minimum possible and planned on the following basis:

  1. Prep to Grade 6 (whole school) – an average class size of 26 provided that;
  2. The average class size of 21 is maintained at Foundation to Grade 2.

Therefore, based on our school numbers of 546 students, we are only required to operate 21 classrooms.

Let’s break this up to see how this works:

Understandably, 31 students in Years 3-6 per classroom is not ideal. This is when school’s such as ours with low SFOE need to be creative in how to fund additional teachers. This often includes employing graduate staff when possible and looking into other funding avenues, such as the income we receive from Theircare (before and after school care) and the Montessori Kindergarten.

Looking at all these factors, as well as needs within our School Strategic Plan and student cohorts, we have decided to dip further into our SRP (staffing) budget and fund an additional 4 classroom teachers (above the minimum requirements) and keep the additional specialist STEAM to our program (Art, Music, PE, Italian and STEAM) using our existing timetable model. This reduces the average class size in Years 3-6 to 23 students. This comes to an approximate cost of $450,000 to the school.

What will the class sizes and structure look like for 2024?

Once the leadership team works out an idea on how the structure may look, it is then discussed with the school's consultative team and then widely with all teaching staff. Below is the agreed class sizes and structure for 2024.

Class Sizes for 2024 (as of November 2023)


We are currently in a challenging phase for education, with many schools in Victoria struggling to secure teaching staff. Some schools are grappling with the task of finding teachers for multiple classrooms, resorting to Casual Relief Teachers to fill the gaps. The demanding nature of the job is leading educators to leave the profession. This situation presents an unprecedented challenge in the field of education.

Despite these challenges, we are fortunate to have secured our teaching staff for 2024 (fingers, toes, arms, and legs crossed for no further changes). We are in a privileged position, considering that many schools are still struggling to attract applicants.

Next year, we will bid farewell to eight staff members. The following teachers will be leaving us at the end of the year (including those who have already left to start families):

  • Stephanie Dimovski (Year 1) will be a first-time mum welcoming twins.
  • Carmel Post (STEAM) left earlier this year to welcome twins (yes, two sets of twins).
  • Gabby Young (PE) will become a first-time mum early next year.
  • Amelia Buckland (Year 4) will be taking on Casual Relief Teaching while traveling.
  • Georgia McNaughton (Year 6) will also be taking on Casual Relief Teaching while traveling.
  • Laura Rossi (Year 6) will also be taking on Casual Relief Teaching while traveling.
  • Sarah Jackson has accepted a position closer to her home, saving her close to 2 hours in driving time.
  • Paul Sutton (Buildings and Grounds Manager) has been promoted and will take on a position at Balwyn Secondary College as their Building and Facilities Manager.

We will also see some changes within the school:

  • Kieran Kaufmann (Year 6 teacher) will replace Gabby Young in PE.
  • Myu Thompson (Wellbeing and Inclusion Team Leader) will take on Tier 3 Intervention.
  • Courtney Jory will take over from Sarah Jackson and work with Kristin Davies as the STEAM teacher.

New Addition

As our school has grown and the needs for student wellbeing and inclusion have risen, we have recruited an additional Assistant Principal who will lead Wellbeing and Inclusion across the school. I am pleased to announce that our current Acting Principal, Pat Lynch, will take on this role!

2024 Staff List (as of November 2023)

Classroom Teachers

  • Foundation Team: Carly Briant; Annemie Hansen; Michael Hill; Hannah Rolls-Korin
  • Year 1: Sophie Corbett; Grace Pear; Bernadette Maxwell
  • Year 2: Taylor Reid; Berenice Ruiz ; Nick Stubbings; Alex Svikulis
  • Year 3: David Bulley; Annie Wilson; Lucy Hughes; Feeona Stenton
  • Year 4: Sebastian Fitzgerald; Geordie Corbet McAll; Emily Stenton (yes, another Stenton - they are twins!)
  • Year 5: Mandy Jones; Laura McKinnon; Ben Smith
  • Year 6: Alice West; Jasmin Tsiatsias; Simon Presljak; Angus Kininmonth

Specialist Teachers

  • Music: Stephen Sharpe
  • Art: Brigette Pusello
  • Italian: Elyssa Agnoletti
  • PE: Kieran Kaufmann
  • STEAM: Kristin Davis and Courtney Jory

Supporting Staff

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Leader: Kathleen O’Callaghan
  • School-Wide Positive Behaviour: Alyce Testaz
  • Tier 3 Tutoring: Myu Thompson
  • Psychologist: Eva Andropof

Admin Team

  • Business Manager: Mark Pickett
  • Reception and Enrolment Officer: Stephanie Santoro
  • Office Manager: Debb Davis
  • First Aide Officer: Sara Heal
  • Library Technician: Rita Arena
  • Buildings and Grounds Officer: Caleb Hutchinson

Leadership Team

  • Principal: Monika Gruss
  • Assistant Principal: Tim Prendergast
  • Assistant Principal: Pat Lynch
  • Leading Teacher: Katrina Gouramanis

Tune in next year to find out more about our new teams and how they are structured at Coburg North Primary School.

Learning and Wellbeing Goals for 2024

As we approach the final year of our school's Strategic Plan, exciting developments are on the horizon. Our focus for the upcoming year involves enhancing Wellbeing and Inclusion practices throughout the school. To achieve this, we will be implementing the Berry Street Model and incorporating the Resilience Project.

Continuing our commitment to literacy, we will delve into the six pillars of reading, building upon the foundation laid by our previous focus on Phonics over the past two years. We will continue to work on our Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum, with a particular emphasis on the new literacy update scheduled for 2024.

Stay tuned for more information in the coming year as we share detailed insights into our goals for the next chapter of our educational journey.

That is all for now, I look forward to seeing you around the school for a very busy end to 2023!

Monika Gruss

Student News

Click below to view the end of year article written by Eliza one of our Newsletter Captains

What happened this month?

Grade 2 Sleepover

Written by Olivia, Frances and Charlie from 2C

On Thursday the 2nd of November, all the grade two students excitedly arrived back at school at 6:30pm in their pyjamas. The parents helped sign us in and then we were ready to sleep over! We were feeling very excited, but some people were also nervous.

First, the boys and girls got into separate rooms. Next, we set up our beds. We rolled out our sleeping bags and got our things ready. When we finished setting up our beds, we said goodbye to our parents and played in the prep playground.

After that, the teachers gave us hot Milo and chocolate teddy bear biscuits to eat, it was delicious. Then it was time to watch the movie with crunchy popcorn. It was called ‘Emperor’s New Groove.’ The funniest part of the movie was when the king turned into a silly and clumsy lama.

After the movie we brushed our teeth and hair and got ready for bed. It was fun sleeping in the classrooms, but it was hard to get to sleep. Near the morning some of the girls got up and had a dance party. In the boys’ room (according to Charlie) ‘Everything was great. We all went to sleep straight away and woke up on time!’

In the morning we packed up our sleeping bags and things then we had breakfast. The teachers were dumbfounded at how independent we were. For breakfast there was rice bubbles and corn flakes.

We brushed out teeth and did our hair ready for the day. We had to pack our recess snacks in our bags. We got to play in the school grounds early before any other kids. Then the bell rang to start the school day. We were very tired the next day at school.

It was the best day and night ever! We can’t wait for camp next year!

Grade 5 Term Update

It’s been a pretty eventful term. It’s nearly over and we’ll be in Grade 6 before we know it.

During the past few weeks, we have been applying for Captains positions for next year. We had 19 students apply for School Captains positions. We wish all applicants the best of luck!

Sandridge Beach Excursion

On Wednesday 22nd November, the Grade 5s went on an excursion to Sandridge Beach. It was organised by Gabby (thanks Gabby!). We learnt a bunch of stuff about water safety and the sessions were run by real life savers from Life Saving Victoria. The things we learnt included CPR, how to use floatation devices, reading beach signs and calling for help.

Stacy Hymer Visit!

The Grade 5s had a guest speaker from the Victorian Institute of Sport earlier in the term. Stacey is a Taekwondo champion and has competed in tournaments around the world, including the 2020 (or 2021) Olympics in Tokyo!

Firstly, she started with a slide show showing a clip of a fight between her and Canada. She explained that all the places she’s travelled because of her Taekwondo abilities. She told us that one time she was sparring with someone and dislocated her knuckle. And now she is missing that knuckle!

Stacey explained that Taekwondo is very tricky and she has a strict diet that she follows to keep fit. Stacey told us she started Taekwondo at the age of 4 and has slowly progressed through leagues and representing teams, Victoria and Australia. It was exciting to know that she lived locally and went to school in Coburg. Amazing things can happen to everyday people like us.

After her talk, pretty much every Grade 5 students lined up to get her autograph.

The big take away from her talk was that we can’t give up on what we want to achieve. If we focus on it and work hard, we can go places.

Written by Ruby A from 5A

Grade 1 Inquiry - Parent Visits

A few weeks ago the Grade 1 Cohort were very lucky to have 5 parents visit us to support our Inquiry. They shared with the students their job and how it helps the community. The students really enjoyed having parents visit and learnt about a range of different jobs!

MUSIC 2023

2023 has been a great year for the music program . Let's look back at some of the highlights:

Harmony Night and Carols:

In Term 1 we celebrated Harmony Day by holding a big concert where the whole school performed songs from around the world. Each grade performed a song as well as the Grade 6 band. On the 12th of December all students will again perform at the Carols night.


In Term 1 the String Ensemble and Performance Choir went to Bupa which is a place where elderly people live. The Choir performed “Fix You”, “One Fine Day", “Wa Ha Bing De” , "II e Tu e” and "Eye of the Tiger". The String Ensemble performed “Jupiter”, “Action Movie", “Kingstown Calypso" and "Fanfare”. We had good feedback from BUPA. Everyone enjoyed watching and had great fun.


In Term 2 the Performance Choir and the Grade 6 band went to the School of Rock at Tullamarine. There were Primary schools and High schools. It took us 20 min to get there, but one high school from country Victoria had to drive 3 hours! There were many bands and choirs. One school even had an ensemble consisting entirely of violins and violas, they played “Somewhere over the Rainbow”. Our band performed “Song 2” by Blur and “Beat it” by Michael Jackson. The Performance Choir performed “One Fine Day”.

CNPS has Talent

After much discussion, the PE and House Captions decided the winner of the talent show.

Rueben who sang “A Million Dreams” won and earned 50 points for his house. The runner ups for the show were Audrey, Pascal, Quinn, Josh and Kilian. It was fun to watch the talent show and the performances were very entertaining.

Junior Choir

The Junior Choir had a big year with a stunning Assembly performance of “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I. In the final week of School they will sing Christmas songs at the Coburg North Shopping Centre.

Other Performances

There have been many great Assembly performances from both Choirs, the Grade 4 Band and various solo instrumental performers. Students and parents have really enjoyed the variety of performances. The String Ensemble performed at the Film Festival opening and we had a great Lunchtime concert with the Grade 4 Rock Band

2023 has been a busy year for the Music program at CNPS. We look forward to another great year in 2024.

Emma (Music Captain) and Stephen

Buildings and Grounds

It has been yet another busy month around the grounds of CNPS

It has been yet another busy month around the grounds of CNPS.


The COLA surface is complete and looks great. Our down ball and bat tennis players are now eligible for world ranking points – and both Hawkeye and Snickometer be available soon.


The final stage of the Block B renovation is underway with plasterers hard at work. The work will be completed prior to the start of the 2024 school year. Thank you for your patience during this long delay. There is already a resource room for staff with repurposed benches and cupboards.

There is also a new resource room for staff that includes extra storage and photocopying facilities.


We have new bench seats around the foundation and grade 3 classrooms. The original design of the building included seating to provide students with the option of indoor/outdoor learning – and they are a great spot to relax during breaks!


There is new joinery in the STEAM room that brings together the space, provides more storage, an island bench, and a viewing position through the windows into the hall. And room 23 has some new cupboards too!


More projects will be underway during the school holidays including the final stage of landscaping around the COLA and two new shade sails – one for the foundation playground and a series of three for the pirate ship.


This is my final newsletter entry as I have accepted a new role that begins in December.

I am very grateful to have been a part of this community and for the support of the families and staff of CNPS during the last three years.

Paul, Manager Buildings and Grounds

School Council

School Council had our last meeting for the year on 29th of November. We've been looking at school camp options, upcoming capital works, and generally making plans for 2024. There will be lots of opportunities to contribute to the school, from working bees, to fundraising events with Parents and Friends, and also, becoming part of school council (nominations happen early in the new school year). Monika's report reflected how busy the school is in these last few weeks of the year!

Robbie Napper

CNPS School Council President 2023

TheirCare: After School Care

Parents and Friends

That’s (almost) a wrap on a busy year for P&F!

Thanks to everyone who helped out with Parents & Friends events in 2024. The year is not quite over yet and we are calling for donations and volunteers for the bake sale fundraiser at Carols night on Tuesday 12 December.

We also want to say farewell and give a massive thanks to the members of the P&F team who are leaving the school at the end of the year. You may pass them in the playground or on the street and not know how much these wonderful people have contributed to the fabric of our school over the years.

P&F will be back in 2024 and we are looking forward to another year with lots of opportunities to come together as a community.

Calling all Grade 6 families to get involved in ’hosting’ the ‘Tea and Tears’ morning tea on Tuesday 6 February. The event is an opportunity to meet the new Foundation parents and share some stories and tips on navigating school life. We ask Grade 6 families to also bring a plate of morning tea.

We’d also like to invite everyone to join our monthly P&F meetings. Our first meeting and Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at 7pm on Monday 4 March at the school. The AGM includes a (quick) recap of 2023 activities and a lookahead of events planned for 2024. To register your interest to get involved or to find out more, please email us at

We’d love to see you in 2024!

Bakers and volunteers needed for Carols Night!

P&F will be holding a bake stall at Carols night on Tuesday 12 December, and we are asking for donations of home baked items to sell on the night. This will be our final fundraiser for the year.

Homemade sweet treats and popcorn will be available to purchase on the night. Cash and card payments accepted.

Please donate cakes, biscuits, muffins and slices (please also consider some gluten free/vegan options). Individual baked items (rather than whole cakes) are always a winner with the kids!

Home-baked goods must comply with the following safety guidelines:

  • items must be prepacked, cooked and not contain cream fillings
  • each item must have a list of ingredients
  • no nuts please.

Please deliver to school at pick up (3.30-3.45pm outside the library - someone will be there to take the goods) or when gates open at 5.30pm on the night of the event.

If you'd like to volunteer on the night please sign up here;

Farewell and thanks for all the snags, cookies and friendship

The end of a school year is a time for goodbyes and as the Grade 6s prepare to finish their time at Coburg North in the coming weeks, the Parents & Friends (P&F) group will farewell some of their parents, who are also finishing their time with the school.

On behalf of P&F and the school community, thank you to every single one of our outgoing parents and guardians for their contribution to our school. Thank you for every time you signed up to volunteer, cooked a BBQ, grew plants for our plant sale, donated a craft or baked item or helped at a working bee – you have helped make this school a great place to be.

P&F particularly wants to recognise three of our past and present members - Ruzi Duric, Briar Stevens and Shirley Santacroce - for all that you have done, and the many, many, many hours you have dedicated to P&F and the school.

Ruzi Duric

There should be a building at Coburg North Primary School named after Ruzi Duric (seen wearing white apron in the photos) as her contribution to the school has been so enormous. She is a former P&F president in 2019 and 2020 and would have been a familiar face to many on Saturday mornings as the school’s farmer’s market coordinator. Every Saturday morning for many years, rain, hail or shine, Ruzi was running the school’s pancake stall and barbecue. During the week, she was wrangling volunteers and helping Foundation students to get their ‘pancake licences’ so they could help out at the stall. She oversaw the revamp of the P&F content on the school’s website, and kept P&F going during the COVID years, including organising our first fabulous online school trivia event to keep the school connected while we were all apart. The energy, passion and strongly principled approach to fundraising and community building that Ruzi brought to P&F will be hard to replace. As well as her friendly face and willingness to always pitch in and help whenever needed. And not to be forgotten, thank you and acknowledgement of the contribution of Matt Abbott - because we know there’s a great man behind every great woman (in his case, head chef on the barbecue and general odd jobs man as required!)

Briar Stevens

Briar's contribution to the school has touched many areas and hearts at CNPS. She has been involved in securing funding for our amazing playgrounds, on the Sustainability Group, as Parent teacher rep in the early years and more recently as P&F rep on the School Council. As part of the Playground for CNPS team, she helped secure a $200K grant to build new playgrounds the students now enjoy. Briar has also helped out with innumerable activities over the years, from bbqs, to the Spring plant market, to bake stalls and craft-a-thons for Mother's Day/Father's Day stall, she has been a prolific contributor with her time and skill. Anyone who has received a lavender bag or “poo pourri” drops for Mother's/Father's Day can thank Briar!

Shirley Santacroce

Shirley joined P&F to do good things with awesome people and she has achieved that! Shirley was involved in school life from the get-go as a parent teacher rep in the early years. She has also led the school’s Bunnings BBQ organising for a number of years (pictured second from the left). She has also been integral in Harmony night BBQs over the years. Her involvement has also seen her take on roles as P&F Vice President and Secretary. Thank you Shirley for your commitment to making the school a better place for all.

Kirrily Noonan

A former Coburg North school councillor and long time P&F member, Kirrily Noonan (pictured at far left) will also leave an enormous legacy when she departs the school at the end of this year. Kirrily’s beautifully handcrafted items and amazing organisational efforts will be much missed, as well as all those times she volunteered to barbecue, sell items, corral volunteers and generally just turned up to save the day.

A heartfelt thank you from all at P&F and the entire CNPS community!

Upcoming Events

Week 10

  • Grade 6 Camp - Ballarat - Monday, 4 December - Wednesday, 6 December

Week 11

  • Whole school transition: Double session - Meet 2024 grade/teacher - Tuesday, 12 December
  • CNPS Carols Night - Tuesday, 12 December
  • Grade 6 Graduation - Thursday, 14 December
  • Whole School Transition: single sessions - Wednesday, 13 - Friday, 15 December

Week 12

  • Whole school transition: two sessions - Monday, 18 December
  • Assembly - 1pm & Last Day 1:30pm dismissal -

Term 1 2024 Dates

Week 1

  • Students Return to School - Tuesday, 30 January
  • 2024 Foundation students testing - Tuesday, 30 January - Friday, 2 February

Week 2

  • 2024 Foundation students testing - Monday, 5 February
  • Foundation Students First Day of School & Parents Tea and Tears - Tuesday, 6 February

Community News

At CNPS we believe that by being respectful, responsible and resilient we can succeed and thrive as a community.