Priority Items

Free phonics check for all Year 1 students (Ref: 164/20)

Parents, teachers and educators can now access a free tool to help students master the fundamentals of learning to read.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan yesterday launched stage one of the Year 1 Phonics Check that will help parents and teachers ensure children are developing the skills to become strong speakers, readers and writers.

The Year 1 phonics check, phonics check for families and resources can be found on the Literacy Hub website here.

‘School’s In, School’s Out – Says Who?’ - Kathleen Burrow Research Institute Publication (Ref: 167/20)

An important question has arisen throughout the COVID-19 period: who makes decisions about school hours, the closing and opening of schools, and the school calendar?

The Kathleen Burrow Research Institute, an education think-tank within Catholic Schools NSW, explores this issue in it publication ‘School’s In, School’s Out – Says Who?’.

It explains that these decisions are, for non-government schools, largely left in local hands. This arrangement is the result of over a century of productive dialogue between government and the non-government schools sector, which continues today.

This works well for Catholic schools. The history of this issue also shows how productive dialogue can help find the right balance between the public interest and giving schools flexibility and discretion for their own communities.

You can view this Issues Brief on the Catholic Schools New South Wales website here.

Professional Learning

Masterclasses with Michael Fullan (Ref: 162/20)

Global Education Equity Alliance, (GEEA) has developed a series of differentiated Masterclasses with Michael Fullan to build the leadership capacity of head teachers, assistant principals, principals, system leaders and policy makers. Based on one of his three latest books and using blended learning methodology, you will engage in independent study, reflection and action with the support of weekly on-line sessions delivered and facilitated by Harvard Data Wise coaches, who are experts in establishing online learning norms and using protocols to ensure equity of voice and deep reflection. You will dedicate no more than 2.5 hours each week over 8-9 weeks, culminating in an intimate Masterclass with Michael Fullan. Tuition includes all study materials, weekly online study groups and the respective e-book. Spaces are strictly limited to 50 per course, so register now to avoid disappointment.


Australian Copyright Council 2020 Webinar Series Dates Announced (166/20)

The Australian Copyright Council’s (ACC) 2020 National Seminar Series will now be delivered entirely online this September!

Run by specialist copyright lawyers, the ACC’s webinars will break down the Copyright Act into understandable, practical sessions, designed to focus on you and your industry.

For dates, topics and to register please click here.


NESA Online professional development: Awarding Year 11 ROSA grades (Ref: 165/20)

Stage 6 teachers would be aware that the previous round of this professional learning was fully subscribed almost overnight and many teachers were not able to register. 

Catholic Schools New South Wales has negotiated with NESA to provide two additional workshops for the NSW Catholic Schools sector on the 26 and 27 August at 3:15pm – 4:30pm.

Below are the URL links to the registration page of the Eventbrite website which is the preferred method of workshop registration to NESA accredited workshops.

26 August 2020 – 3:15 – 4:30pm

27 August 2020 – 3:15 – 4:30pm

Please note, registrations for these events will close 24 hours prior to the scheduled date.


Teachers are encouraged to register promptly for these workshops as numbers are limited to 40 teachers in each. 


COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 study confirms low transmission in educational settings (Ref: 161/20)

The rate of COVID-19 transmission in New South Wales (NSW) educational settings was extremely limited during the first wave of COVID-19, research findings published today in The Lancet Journal of Child and Adolescent Health have shown.

Researchers from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and the University of Sydney released their preliminary findings from this work from January to April 2020.

The Lancet publication today contains detailed analysis on COVID-19 spread in 25 educational settings (15 schools and 10 childcare settings) in Term 1. Additional data from Term 2 and 3 are also available today.

For more information on this study please click here.



Commonwealth modern slavery legislative regime (Ref: 160/20)

We expect that most diocesan Catholic schools offices and religious institutes would now be aware of the Commonwealth modern slavery legislative regime, which requires entities with a consolidated annual revenue of more than $100 million to submit a Modern Slavery Statement on what risks of modern slavery have been identified, the steps they are taking to ensure their supply chains are slavery-free and the effective of those measures.

Catholic entities which do not have consolidated annual revenue of more than $100 million can still decide to voluntarily opt-in to comply with the modern slavery legislation, in line  with the Catholic Church’s overall commitment to prioritise and take a leading role in the eradication of modern slavery.  Catholic Schools (NSW) Limited has opted in to comply and is participating in the Modern Slavery Risk Management Program supplied by the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network (ACAN) (which is co-ordinated by the Anti-Slavery Taskforce of the Archdiocese of Sydney), comprising the provision of resources and tools to assist with implementation and compliance with the legislation.

A key part of Catholic Schools New South Wales’s work is contacting the suppliers of goods and services to Catholic Schools NSW to inform them about the new obligations and to scrutinise their supply chains, including their own labour standards and the standards of their suppliers and sub-contractors. We are also making modern slavery questions an integral part of the selection process for any new supplier we engage at Catholic Schools NSW.

On 29 July 2020, ACAN launched its first annual report highlighting the greater scrutiny Catholic organisations are playing in supply chain decisions to help protect the rights of vulnerable workers and combat modern slavery. It also found that found the risk of modern slavery has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Find the annual report here.

We strongly encourage our member schools and diocesan schools offices to consider the impact of the modern slavery legislation, particularly the legislative timeframes for submitting a Modern Slavery Statement, and the important role that Catholic bodies can take in minimising the risks of modern slavery in their own supply chains.  For those who are not yet participants in ACAN, subscriptions are encouraged to assist you with the resources and tools you need to assess your suppliers and comply with the legislation. You can find out more about ACAN here.


Students on bridging visas – clarification from Commonwealth Department of Education about recurrent funding status  (Ref: 152/20)

We have recently been liaising with one of the Diocese offices about how to classify students on bridging visas where the student’s initial substantive visa has expired. The Commonwealth Department of Education has now provided clarification as follows:

  • Where a student has a bridging visa and the student’s substantive visa has not expired, then the student is classified according to their substantive visa. For example, if the student holds a Class 500 substantive visa which has not expired as well as a Class 010 bridging visa, then they should be classified pursuant to the Class 500 substantive visa (that is, as an overseas student).
  • Where the student has a bridging visa and the student’s substantive visa has expired, then the student is classified according to their bridging visa. The Commonwealth Department of Education has confirmed that in these circumstances, students on bridging visas will not be classified as overseas students and will therefore attract Commonwealth recurrent funding.
  • The practical effect of this is that the student will only need to pay the tuition fees levied by the school. Note that whilst students on bridging visas attending NSW Government schools need to pay an administrative fee and a temporary residents’ education fee per week (pursuant to the Education Act 1990 (NSW)), there is no such requirement for non-Government schools to charge these fees.
  • Schools will also need to keep apprised of the status of the bridging visa, as this will expire at the earlier of either:
      • The student obtaining the new substantive visa that they have applied for. In these circumstances, the student then needs to be classified according to the new substantive visa. For example, if this is a Class 500 substantive visa,  then the student would then be classified as an overseas student and would no longer attract Commonwealth recurrent funding; OR
      • The expiry date of the student’s bridging visa. In these circumstances, the student may no longer hold a visa and may therefore not be able to legally study in Australia. If this occurs, it should be checked whether the student has obtained any further visa to legally permit them to continue their studies.


School Newsletter

Fruit & Veg Month – it’s not too late to register! (Ref: 163/20)

Fruit & Veg Month starts soon. Register now so your resource pack can be mailed out to you before it commences.

Registered schools receive free resources to help teach about fruit and vegetables and encourage students (and their families!) to eat more of them!

Fruit & Veg Month is a primary school health promotion event funded by NSW Health.

The event will be held during the last 4 weeks of Term 3, Monday 31 August to Friday 25 September.

For more details on Fruit & Veg Month, and to fill out the quick and easy online registration form, go to:

Engage your students in a creative challenge (Ref: 157/20)

Over the years we’ve heard from many schools that the Write a Book in a Day competition is a collaborative activity that students love to participate in. The competition can be completed online or in person.

Register your team or teams now for Term 3 and watch your students thrive in an activity that encourages:

  • literacy development
  • problem-solving skills and
  • lasting community impact through support of childhood cancer research

Please click here to register.

Your team(s) will have until Wednesday 30 September to write and illustrate their books. If you have any questions, please contact the Write a Book in a Day team on 02 8394 7711 or

Sun and UV at School Challenge (Ref: 153/20)

As part of the release of our new Sun and UV at School classroom resources in September, the Cancer Institute NSW will launch a Sun and UV at School Challenge for NSW schools.

Separate primary and secondary school challenges will encourage K–to10 students to work individually or in groups to solve real-world problems linked to skin cancer prevention. They will be tasked with demonstrating how to best protect themselves, their friends, and the wider community from the harmful effects of the sun.

Inquiry and project-based learning is at the core of this initiative. Students will build on existing ideas of what it means to be sun safe and develop contemporary solutions to shade provision. The challenge draws on the new classroom resources’ learnings and activities and the objectives, content, skills and outcomes of the aligned K–to10 PDHPE and Science syllabuses.

For more information please click here.

St. Merkorious Charity (Ref: 156/20)

Established in 2013, St Merkorious Charity is a local, not for profit charity assisting those in need of financial support. They currently provide over 4,000 nutritious meals a week to individuals and families who are financially stressed (mainly the homeless, elderly and disabled), and fresh and dry hampers for those that can cook for themselves but are unable to afford essential items.

Recently they have joined Bass Hill High School’s Breakfast Club in supporting them to provide nutritious breakfast and lunch meals for those students who are going without. This is turning out to be a huge success in benefiting the students to start of their day right.

As you know, running a charity involves a lot of different activities, which is why we are reaching out to teachers all over Sydney who would like to volunteer their time for a wonderful cause. If any teachers or other members of staff would be willing to spend even a few hours volunteering, it will be one of the most fulfilling things they have ever done.

Please call St Merkorious Charity on 0478 760 450 or email for more information.

2020 NAIDOC Week Initiatives (Ref: 155/20)

Due to COVID-19, NAIDOC Week Initiatives have extended the closing date for student’s entries to coincide with the new national NAIDOC dates 8-15 November.

Please click here for the entry form for the 2020 NAIDOC Week School Initiatives.

Young Australians studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are encouraged to apply for the newly launched Australian Defence Force (ADF) Future Innovators Award (Ref: 149/20T

Young Australians studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are encouraged to apply for the newly launched Australian Defence Force (ADF) Future Innovators Award.
The award is a cash prize that encourages Year 10 and Year 12 high school students in their STEM pursuits, and recognises their innovative talents.

For more information please click here.

ANZAC Memorial Remote Learning Program Launch (Ref: 150/20)

The Anzac Memorial is excited to launch its Remote Learning Program with a range of online learning modules for primary and secondary students. Guided by a team of actors and educators, each module utilises drama and storytelling to explore the Memorial’s art and architecture, its unique collection of objects and artefacts and the Australian experience of the First World War.

The modules are designed for flexible delivery in the classroom or at home and are now available to order free of charge until the end of Term 3, 2020.

Click here for more information.