Priority Items

Referendum Proposal: An Indigenous Voice to Parliament - Information and Guidelines for Catholic Schools (Ref: 224/23)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced the date of the referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament as 14 October 2023. The Voice is anticipated to be an ‘independent, representative advisory body for First Nations people’ to the Federal Parliament. 

It is right we have the needs of First Nations people at front of mind as we progress towards this historic vote. Through all of our work, be it in the classroom, staff rooms or office, one recalls our long tradition of promoting a model of civic engagement that supports the common good and respect for all Australians. 

In the history of our nation, our Constitution has been amended only eight times in 44 referenda; the document is the foundation of our democracy, any amendment requires serious discussion and consideration in the best traditions of free inquiry and discovery.

To support activities in promoting balanced engagement with the referendum, Catholic Schools NSW has prepared a brief for school and system leaders to assist in observing relevant compliance considerations, engaging with the school community and obtaining related resources. In particular, schools should refer to the not-for-profit guidelines for charities when considering any referendum-related activity; you will note specific legal obligations can apply.

The brief can be accessed here.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council also has a website that has collated and created statements and resources on the Voice to help with the process of discernment.


Changes to accreditation for Proficient Teachers (Ref: 225/23)

Following NESA’s consultations, teachers will no longer need their principal or service director to attest to their maintenance of practice against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. 

From November 2023 (with a final date to be advised by NESA), Proficient Teachers only need to declare to NESA that they have completed the required professional development aligned with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. 

Teachers will continue to meet their accreditation requirements by completing relevant professional development.

To support the implementation of the changes, NESA will soon distribute the updated Teacher Accreditation Manual and the relevant procedures to help employers/schools/services revise their policies and procedures. NESA will also communicate directly to principals and those teachers whose maintenance is due before the end of 2023, ahead of the change. 

You can read further about the changes in Paul Martin’s letter here.  


Professional Learning

2024 CSSA Trial HSC Examinations - Preliminary Information (Ref: 233/23)

The following information is provided to schools in preparation of their 2024 school calendars:

  • The 2024 CSSA Trial HSC Examinations are scheduled for Monday 5th August to Monday 19th August with a security period up to and including 8am, Thursday 22nd August 2024.
  • The 2024 dates for online ordering examinations including disability provisions are available on the CSSA website here. Note these dates in 2024 executive school calendar.
  • The 2024 DRAFT CSSA Trial HSC Examinations Timetable will be available on the CSSA website from Week 2, Term 2 2024.

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Positive Schools 2023 Wellbeing in Action Conference (Ref: 231/23)

The Positive Schools Wellbeing in Action Conference runs from 25 October to 27 October 2023 in Sydney.

Register now via the Positive Schools website: https://www.positiveschools.com.au/

There is a full 25% discount for NSW Catholic school teachers and leaders on conference registration fees. Simply use the discount code CATHPOSITIVE23 when registering.

This code is only valid until 6th October. NESA professional accreditation hours are available upon completion of the conference. Visit the Positive Schools website for more details.

Download the event brochure here.

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R U Ok Day (Ref: 229/23)

14 September 2023 is R U Ok? Day. The Student Wellbeing Hub, an initiative developed by Education Services Australia for the Australian Government Department of Education, has many resources for schools, designed to help promote student wellbeing, safety, and positive relationships.

One resource developed by the Student Wellbeing Hub is the upcoming Coping With Emotional Challenges in Career Development webinar. This webinar will provide educators and parents with the right tools to support young people cope emotionally as they navigate choosing their future career.

Join the webinar on 14 September from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. You can register and find more information here.

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New resources for schools on digital and media literacy (Ref: 228/23)

The Australian Government has entered into a funding agreement with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, to make their range of digital and media literacy education products available to all Australian schools. This has taken shape in the form of the eSmart website.

These resources are designed to equip students with the necessary tools for navigating the online world. The products are aligned to the curriculum and come paired with supporting resources to help teachers develop the confidence and skills to deliver them in classrooms.

For more information, please contact eSmart via email

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NESA Syllabus Launch Inform Session: Health and Movement Science 11–12 (Ref: 226/23)

The Health and Movement Science 11–12 Syllabuses have been released and are available for schools and teachers to use for preparation and planning. In collaboration with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), CSNSW is hosting a Syllabus Launch Inform Session for you to hear more about these syllabuses. The session will be on Wednesday, 13 September, from 4:00 pm to 4:30 pm.

In this briefing, we will provide an overview of:

  • The new syllabus’s key features
  • Implementation timelines
  • What support materials will be released
  • How to access the syllabuses on the Digital Curriculum

The presenters from NESA will be Clare Cotton, Director, Curriculum Development and Liz Jones, Subject Matter Expert.

The webinar can be accessed via this link.

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The Place of Religion in the School Curriculum (Ref: 218/23)

The PM Glynn Institute, a public policy think tank established by Australian Catholic University, has recently published a monograph written by academic Dr Kevin Donnelly. This monograph addresses the common assumption that teaching religion in schools is generally not permitted in Australia.

Dr Donnelly examines the current legislative framework and outlines the different provisions in state legislation that permit teaching religion in schools. It argues that the study of religion has continued relevance for schools and is backed by current practices in Australia and other commensurate overseas education systems.

He concludes with three models for incorporating religion into the curriculum, stating that while there is no one-size-fits-all option, “ensuring the national curriculum’s…general capabilities deal with religion in a more substantial way” is worthwhile, and, importantly, feasible.

You can download the monograph here: The Place of Religion in the School Curriculum.

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Creating and Coding Animated Narratives in the English and Digital Technology Curricula (Ref: 223/23)

ACU Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education, in conjunction with University College London, Federation University, Macquarie University and participating schools, present this free two-day Symposium for teachers, teacher educators, researchers, and English and Digital Technology curriculum personnel.

The Symposium draws on cutting-edge research and teaching expertise from the ARC-funded Coding Animated Narratives (CAN) project using ‘Scratch’ to create short animated micro-narratives. Presentations by teachers and researchers will include background information and practical examples of classroom work with upper primary and junior secondary students on coding and multimodal authoring.

When: 18 October 10:00-5:00, 19 October 9:30-4:30

Where: Peter Cosgrove Centre, Level 18, Tenison Woods House, 8 – 20 Napier Street, North Sydney.

Register for in-person or online attendance by Sept 15 at: https://codingstories.com.au/event/

There is no registration fee, but places are limited.

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Resources for Learning

Transition to School Resources (Ref: 220/23)

The movement from preschool to kindergarten is one of the most significant transitions in a child’s life. Families and schools working together will support a child to transition to school successfully.

Check out the transition to school resources created by Catholic educators for Catholic educators here and here.

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Bullying Checklist (Ref: 216/23)

Professor Donna Cross recently shared a school checklist to assist schools in reducing bullying behaviour. This checklist is designed to assist primary and secondary school staff review and consider aspects of their school’s built (physical) environment that may help to reduce bullying behaviour and promote student wellbeing.

You can access the  checklist here.

You can explore the research behind the checklist here.

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School Updates & Newsletter

REGISTER NOW: 2023 Kathleen Burrow Research Institute Annual Lecture (Ref: 213/23)

Catholic Schools NSW is pleased to announce that the Premier of NSW, the Hon. Chris Minns MP, will deliver the Kathleen Burrow Research Institute Annual Lecture for 2023 on Tuesday 24 October at 6:00 pm.

The Lecture will take place at St John’s College, 10 Missenden Rd, Camperdown, Sydney. Guests are invited to enjoy drinks and canapes following the lecture.

We welcome Catholic Schools NSW board members, school principals, relatives of Kathleen Burrow and any stakeholders in Catholic education to join us for this fantastic evening.

Click here to get your free tickets today.


2023 Australian School Leader Occupational Health & Wellbeing Survey (Ref: 222/23)

Australian Catholic University’s Institute for Positive Psychology and Education is researching the increasing demand and complexity of the Australian school leader occupation by inviting participants to fill out a confidential survey.

The survey is aimed at:

  • Principals
  • Deputy/Vice/Acting Principals
  • Retired Principals
  • All School Leaders
  • (In every school sector & Australian State/
    Territory)

After completing the survey, participants will receive a personalised report of their health and wellbeing status. The interactive report graphs compare results to others in similar school situations and those in the general population. The report displays how previous scores compare to 2023 responses so people can track results. The report will have clickable charts to see these results at individual data points.

To participate in the survey, register by clicking here.


Scholarships and Awards

Nominations for the 2023 Dr David Dufty Award (Ref: 232/23)

The nominations for the  2023 Dr David Dufty Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Society and Culture have been extended to 13 October. 

Teachers of Society and Culture in NSW are invited to apply for, or peer nominate a colleague for the Dr David Dufty Award. This award is conferred annually and presented yearly at the Society and Culture Awards evening. The successful recipient will receive the Society and Culture medal.

This award is by either self-nomination or peer nomination. If peer nominated, the SCA will contact the nominee to gather evidence. Nominee Information is to be submitted to info@sca.nsw.edu.au prior to Friday 13 October 2023.

See the full nominee criteria and form here.

The recipient of this year’s Dr David Dufty Award will be announced on Thursday, 14th December 2023.

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WorldSkills Success (Ref: 217/23)

After 3 gruelling days of tough competitions across 15 industries at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, NSW has retrieved the VETiS Shield from WA, securing a total of 22 medals; 16 by students from Catholic schools.

7 of the 8 gold medals achieved by NSW were won by Catholic school students:

  • Automotive: Abbey Slater, Newman
  • Brick & blocklaying: Kingsley Threlfo, Newman
  • Business Services: Flynn Hall, Newman
  • Carpentry: Cooper Williams, Newman
  • Commercial Cookery: Claudia Walker, Marist Sisters Woolwich
  • Health Services Assistance: Lillie Jepp, Newman
  • Plumbing: Ryan Fahey St John’s Woodlawn

The 3 silver medals won by Catholic school students were:

  • Automotive: Felix Gonzales Freeman, studying at Good Samaritan (St Joseph TSC)
  • Commercial Cookery: Elka Monckton Newman
  • Electrotechnology: George Tsopel Marist Kogarah, studying at LaSalle (St Yon TTC)

The bronze medals won by students from Catholic schools were:

  • Electrotechnology: Marley McNamara, Holy Spirit Bellambi
  • Food & Beverage: Emma Marchant, Newman
  • Hairdressing: Jessica Nieradka, Southern Cross
  • Information Technology: Jayden Farrington, Newman
  • Tourism: Jasmyn Debreceny, Newman
  • Wall & floor tiling: Ashton Pullen, McAuley Catholic College, Grafton

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