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Urgent need to finalise federal religious freedom legislation

The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) has called on the Morrison Government to move on long-awaited religious freedom legislation, saying proposed reforms to Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act could curb the ability of Catholic schools to act in accordance with their ethos, and lead to unnecessary lawfare.

NCEC executive director Jacinta Collins said governments are obligated to respect and protect the religious freedom of parents who choose to send their children to a school where they will be taught in accordance with their religious convictions.

“The unprecedented character of Victoria’s proposed reforms will create confusion for Catholic schools, particularly in the employment of staff, and could potentially lead to unnecessary litigation,” Ms Collins said.

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Suggested levy on Catholic school families has no support

The suggestion that Catholic schools and hospitals levy families and patients to fund sexual abuse payouts lacks substance and won’t go ahead (‘Call for Catholic tax to fund abuse crisis’, The Australian, 13 November).

The notion that Catholic school families or patients would voluntarily pay a 1% levy is nonsensical, lacks any official standing and has no support from Church agencies and leaders. 

Recompense for those who have suffered abuse is vital, but ‘taxing’ those who use its educational, health and social services is not a viable way to address the issue. 

The Church is divesting assets, supporting small dioceses and contributing to Catholic Church Insurance to ensure it meets its responsibilities, without the need to place financial burdens on families.

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Australian Catholic education virtual symposium to focus on school improvement and student learning

The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) is hosting its second annual Virtual Symposium on Wednesday 27 October at 3pm AEDT with a keynote presentation by international educational expert Dr Lyn Sharratt focusing on school improvement.

The ‘Faith in the Future’ symposium will be held each year to mark World Teachers Day celebrated in Australia on Friday 29 October, and is the final national event for the celebration of the Bicentenary of Catholic education in Australia.

Dr Sharratt’s keynote address titled,‘This is the WORK!’, will explore the need for alignment, focus and resolve by teachers and leaders to ensure every student can meet and exceed their potential.

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Catholic education to enhance student learning through PISA for Schools partnership

Catholic schools across Australia will have access to the OECD PISA-based Test for Schools as a result of a partnership between the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) and Janison an Australian online assessment company.

National Catholic education executive director Jacinta Collins said the partnership will enable Catholic schools to engage in PISA for Schools with up to 50 Catholic schools participating in the pilot program this year.

“PISA for Schools aims to build teacher capacity and drive school improvement which contributes to our strategic priority of improving student learning opportunities,” Ms Collins said.

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Appointment of Commissioners to the National Catholic Education Commission and Chair of the Faith Formation & Religious Education Standing Committee

 
The Bishops Commission for Catholic Education has announced the appointment of two new members of the National Catholic Education Commission: Professor Francis Campbell and Kate Rayment.
 
Professor Campbell is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Notre Dame Australia. Kate Rayment has worked in Catholic education for almost 40 years and is the principal of St Scholastica’s College in Glebe, NSW. She will also take up the position as Chair of the National Catholic Education Commission’s Faith Formation and Religious Education Standing Committee.
 
In announcing the new Commissioners, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP as chair of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education paid tribute to outgoing Commissioners Professor Greg Craven and Sr Elizabeth Dodds RSC.
 
 
Kate rayment web  Francis Campbell web 

Latest NAPLAN results reflect the persistence of educators and families

Catholic education acknowledges the hard work and persistence of school leaders, teachers and families on the release of NAPLAN 2021 results showing no significant impact on student literacy and numeracy achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins said the summary results also demonstrate an upward trend across most literacy and numeracy domains.

“Given the significant disruption for students during this period it’s encouraging to see improvement in literacy and numeracy achievement, particularly the steady upward trend in reading and signs of improvement in writing,” Ms Collins said.

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National Religious Education resources available for Catholic educators

New video resources are now available for school leaders and teachers to support the delivery of Religious Education in Catholic schools across Australia.

The series of professional learning videos are designed to encourage discussion among Catholic educators through the unpacking of the Framing Paper on Religious education in Australian Catholic Schools (2018).

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Role of parents and families highlighted during the bicentenary of Catholic education in Australia

Catholic schools across Australia will celebrate Family Week from 8 – 14 August, to recognise the significant contribution parents, carers and families have made to the foundation, growth and continuity of Catholic schools in Australia over 200 years.Catholic schools across Australia will celebrate Family Week from 8 – 14 August, to recognise the significant contribution parents, carers and families have made to the foundation, growth and continuity of Catholic schools in Australia over 200 years.

Family Week coincides with the Feast Day of Australia’s First Saint, Mary MacKillop, who was a passionate educator and advocate for children and families, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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Students raise their voices to celebrate the bicentenary of Catholic education in Australia

Catholic students from across the country have joined together in a video performance of the national song ‘Faith in the Future’, to celebrate 200 years of Catholic education in Australia, which marks the anniversary of the first official Catholic school opened in Parramatta in October 1820.

The ‘Faith in the Future Australian Catholic Schools Version’ features 370 students from 29 Catholic schools across Australia including remote, regional and rural communities such as: Our Lady Sacred Heart School Waiben (Thursday Island), St John's Catholic School Richmond in Tasmania, Sacred Heart College Sorrento in Western Australia, and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic College Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

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National Mass to celebrate the bicentenary of Catholic education in Australia on 24 May 2021

A National Mass will be celebrated simultaneously across Australia on the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians on Monday 24 May 2021 to mark the occasion.

National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins said the National Mass would be a highlight of the bicentenary year.

"As a faith community, our National Mass to celebrate 200 years of Catholic education holds significant meaning, particularly on the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians - the Patroness of Australia," Ms Collins said. 

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Federal Budget responds to areas of significant educational need says Catholic sector

The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) has welcomed $1.6 billion funding for Early Childhood learning and $63.5 million to support gender equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls announced in the 2021-22 Budget, saying it responds to areas of significant educational need.

National Catholic Education Executive Director Jacinta Collins said the continuation of universal access to 15 hours of preschool will enable children to build critical foundations in the year before commencing school.

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Catholic sector says Disability Standards recommendations place students and families at the centre of education

The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) said the recommendations from the Review of Disability Standards for Education 2005 are a positive step forward and place the needs of students and their families at the centre of education.

“The report’s focus on empowering families, strengthening standards and service quality, and increasing accountability will help support an ever-increasing number of students with disability in school communities,” said National Catholic education executive director Jacinta Collins.

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Education Minister’s focus on school improvement is on target says Catholic sector

The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) said the Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge’s MP speech to the Menzies Research Centre today, which outlines his focus on improving Australia’s educational performance, is on target.

NCEC executive director Jacinta Collins said the Catholic sector has developed its own set of national priorities to support the continual improvement of educational outcomes for all students in its 1,751 schools. In Australia, Catholic schools educate one in five (768,000) students.

“We are heavily focused on working with government and other educational bodies, like ACARA, to identify evidence-based practice to support quality learning and teaching across our schools,” Jacinta said.

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Pastoral Letter on Catholic Education - 200 Years Young

Download a copy of 200 Years Young - a Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of Australia to the leaders, staff, students and families of Catholic education in Australia

National Launch: Catholic education in Australia celebrates 200 years

In 2021, Australian Catholic education celebrates 200 years of Catholic schooling in this country. A virtual launch of the bicentennial celebrations will be streamed for Catholic school communities across Australia on Thursday 18 February 2021 at 10am and 2pm AEDT.

National Catholic education Executive Director Jacinta Collins said the bicentennial celebrations recognise the enormous contribution of Catholic schools in Australia.

“Over 200 years Catholic schools have educated millions of Australian students,” Ms Collins said. “We have grown alongside the government sector in ensuring the education of generations of young people, and have contributed to the development of individuals, local communities, and the economic and social fabric of this nation.”

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