Priority Items

Give low-income parents a school choice: that's the key to equity - Blaise Joseph & Glen Fahey (Ref: 176/20)

Blaise Joseph and Glen Fahey from the CIS penned an notable article on school funding and equity in the Sydney Morning Herald last week. To read the article please click here.

Fairtrade certified sports balls (Ref: 174/20)

Through Catholic Schools New South Wales’s work with the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network, we have been advised of an offer currently being made to schools by RREPP, which makes Fairtrade Certified match quality sports balls. RREPP is offering each school a bulk order discount of 20% – schools only need to purchase a minimum of 5 sports balls to obtain this discount. Schools can reach out directly to Scott Goddard at RREPP with any inquiries or to place an order. His details are:
Scott Goddard & The RREPP Team
M: 0422 004 954

Because of shipping delays due to COVID-19, RREPP is taking orders by the 1st November at the latest, to be able to make deliveries by the beginning of Term 1 in 2021.

The purchase of goods from Fairtrade-certified suppliers is one way that schools can take action to minimise the risk of modern slavery in their supply chains and help protect the rights and conditions of vulnerable workers. See the Fairtrade website for further information.

The Early Years Foundations for Learning website is now live! (Ref:171/20)

We are delighted to be launching ‘Phase One’ of the Early Years Foundations for Learning website.

The Early Years Foundations for Learning project responds to the national and NSW bilateral reform priority to support students, student learning and student achievement, with a particular focus on boosting early achievement in literacy and numeracy.

The project has been funded under the Commonwealth Government’s Non-Government Reform Support Fund.

The website can be found here.

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 its 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

New RBA Topical Talk - Monetary Policy in 2020 (Ref: 173/20)

Expressions of interest are now open for a new online Topical Talk to support teachers’ professional development.

Deputy Head of Domestic Markets, Andrea Brischetto, will discuss Monetary Policy in 2020. This talk will focus on the effects of COVID-19 on the Australian economy and the RBA’s response to it.

Date: Monday, 24 August

Time: 3.45 – 4.45 pm

The talk is free for educators, and expressions of interest can be made here


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.




Proposed new copyright reforms (Ref: 175/20)

The Australian Government has proposed a number of changes to Australia’s copyright laws, which includes some proposed amendments which will assist schools in an increasingly digital environment. The proposed changes will be contained in draft legislation which the Government expects to be released for public consultation later this year.

In brief, the Government has announced that the proposed reforms will comprise:

1. The introduction of an ‘orphan works scheme’, allowing the use of copyright materials that do not have an identifiable copyright owner where a ‘reasonably diligent search’ for the copyright owner has been undertaken. Works will still need to be clearly attributed to the author as far as reasonably possible.

2. A new fair dealing exception for non-commercial quotation, which will enable quoting of copyright material for non-commercial purposes by educational institutions (and others), so long as certain criteria is met (including ‘standard fairness factors’). The Government has stated that this new exception “will reduce uncertainty and administrative burden for schools….when they quote words from a book, a passage from a piece of music, or a visual image taken from a work of art”.

3. Amendment of library and archive exceptions, which will enable materials held to be available online for browsing, so long as reasonable steps are taken so that the person accessing the material does so in a way that does not infringe copyright.

4. Amendment of the education exception as follows:

(a) Removal of some of the current limitations, so that copyright materials that can validly be used in a school or classroom learning environment can also take place outside of the premises (eg in an online environment). Reasonable steps will need to be taken to limit wider access to copyright materials than that reasonably necessary;

(b) A ‘special cases’ exception for education institutions to cover other reasonable uses of copyright material that will not impact the creator’s commercial market, including in times of regional or national crisis;

(c) Restoration of the exception in section 106 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) which impacted on public schools only (ie not independent schools) playing sound recordings for non-curricular activities such as school concerts.

5. Updates to the Government copyright licensing scheme, including (relevantly) changes to the fee structure for collecting societies including removing the requirement for a sampling system (survey) to be used.
More information about the proposed new reforms can be found 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

New DART Events Website (Ref: 172/20)

DART Connections is pleased to launch their latest website that allows teachers, parents and students to find incredible Live, By Request, or On Demand learning experiences offered by museums, galleries, research institutes, scientists, writers, athletes, artists, musicians, zoos and many more content providers.

The new search facility allows you to filter excursions by Key Learning Area, by Year, by Subject, by Price and many more.

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.