Our frontline faces

This week’s post comes from Kath Phelan


I seem to spend a lot of time at the front office at school: handing in forms, asking really basic questions or rushing in to pick up my boys when I occasionally run late (darn flat bike tyres!). But I do feel like it has taken me almost four years to really get an idea of how the front office works and I would like to introduce all of you to our wonderful team.

KPS_KimHello Aisha, Debbie, Ruth and Kim! Can you tell us about each of your roles and also which days you are in the office?

Aisha: I share the Education Support Officer role with Ruth and I am in the office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We do finance, administration, the newsletter, the website (Ruth is the technological brains!), we deal with parents and provide support to all staff.

Debbie: I am the School’s Bursar so I collect all incoming money, pay the bills, do the banking, prepare end of month statements, and invoice anyone with outstanding bills. I am in the office every day – and even sometimes during the holidays to do tasks like the end of financial year statement.

KPS_DebbieRuth: As Aisha mentioned, we job share so I do the Education Support Officer role on Monday and Friday. On Wednesday and Thursday I work in the library where I do the shelving, buy new books, catalogue and cover them. I also take book requests from staff and students.

I have had a few phone calls from you about my boys Kim! But before this I haven’t actually met you.

Kim: That might be because I am in every day just between 10.30am and 2pm. I have been the school’s First Aid Officer (level 2) for the past 12 months and I assist with any incidents that might happen in the playground or classrooms.That sometimes involves giving parents a courtesy call about their child.

I’m afraid I only know your first names!

Aisha: My surname is Ali.

That’s not a really common Australian name, Aisha. Have you always lived in Australia?

Aisha: I was born in the UK and my parents were born in India (although they lived in Pakistan after Partition and Independence). I have only lived in Australia for the last eight years: I have also lived in Milan, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur and Brussels. But we plan to stay here!

Debbie: My surname is Capaul as my husband’s family is from the Romantsch speaking part of Switzerland. I was born in Glenelg [a great palindrome!] and moved to Melbourne as a young child. I would like to try living somewhere else for a different experience, but it hasn’t happened yet!

Kim: I am born and bred in Melbourne. My surname is Del Tito as my husband’s family is originally from Italy.

KPS_RuthAnd Ruth, your surname is…Woolven. I grew up in Sydney. We moved to Melbourne five and a half years ago for my husband’s work. It was great living near the beach with four young boys but I like Melbourne because we are close to the city and can go in to the Wheeler Centre and the State Library.

Could you each describe some of your favourite aspects of working at Kew Primary?

Interruption from Clare Connor: The PE staff!

Aisha: Especially when they make me skip! I also really enjoy meeting and dealing with parents and I find the kids very endearing. Robin and James are great to work with and are very supportive. Job sharing with Ruth is great as we are on the same wavelength.

KPS_AishaDebbie: Things are always changing! I have been here since 2002 so I have seen and learned a lot over that time.

Ruth: The parents. My younger boys came here to finish primary school and during that time I volunteered in the library, and then got this job so I really feel part of the community.

Kim: For me, it’s the kids. It is so good to see them walk out of the First Aid room with a smile. I really enjoy making them happy and comfortable.

Now tell us truthfully, do any of you remember harassing the office staff when you were at primary school?

ALL: NO! Of course not!

Just to finish up, if you could change one thing at Kew Primary, what would that be? (apologies to Mr Penson for pinching his question from the parents survey – it’s a good one!).

Aisha: I would change the location of the office! It’s not an easy place to find. I couldn’t work out how to even get into the school when I came for my job interview. I would like the office to be at the school’s main entrance.

Debbie: Just generally more resources for the children. More computers, more books. Things that are up to date but at the same time support the basics.

More books Ruth?

Ruth: Definitely but also more resources for the library generally like new shelving, a cage for the chess pieces as we can’t leave them outside overnight as they disappear, and generally sprucing up the courtyard.

Kim: I would love some renovations to the First Aid room. A window would be lovely or at least an exhaust fan as it can get hot and a bit smelly sometimes! I would also really like a mini fridge to store my bits and pieces.

Lots of great suggestions. Duly noted on the building-related issues; I can mention those at our next Building and Grounds subcommittee meeting. And I know the PTA has amazing fund-raising skills so maybe your ideas could have an influence on their next efforts!

Thanks so much to you all. See you at the office soon!

2 thoughts on “Our frontline faces

  1. I really appreciate our frontline team of ladies, who are always happy and willing to help. They are a tremendous support to the PTA, and to the whole school. My daughters love going to the office too, or to Kim, as they know they will be looked after well.

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