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Broad approach to respectful relationships will help keep young people safer

Labor’s announcement today of $77 million to teach students about respectful relationships recognises a broad approach is needed to prevent violence and keep young people safe.

National Catholic education executive director Jacinta Collins said Labor’s plan to ensure quality, age-appropriate respect education programs will support a consistent approach across all sectors and states.

“We’ve seen too many examples where young people do not feel safe and have not been appropriately supported to seek help or identify harmful behaviours."

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Final report of the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review – an important step forward

Today’s release of the final report of the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review is an important step forward for teacher education, National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins, said.

“The report builds on the strength of current programs and practices to support the delivery of quality teaching and to ensure Australian students receive a high quality education.

“Its key recommendations are aimed at attracting high-quality, diverse candidates, ensuring evidence-based preparation and inducting new teachers well.”

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Catholic education welcomes bipartisan support for faith-based schools in Religious Discrimination legislation

The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) welcomes the bipartisan support of faith-based schools by Australia’s major parties and calls on the Parliament to pass the Religious Discrimination legislation without delay.

“Both major parties have acknowledged the importance of our schools maintaining their religious ethos with their support for the protections proposed in the Religious Discrimination Bill,” National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins said.

“This important legislation realises Australia’s international responsibility to protect religious freedom including establishing religious schools and the rights of parents to ensure the education of their children in line with their religious beliefs and values.”

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Teaching students to work in Catholic schools to address the COVID-19 teacher shortage and plan for future workforce needs

In a joint partnership between the Australian Catholic University and the National Catholic Education Commission, teacher education students will be employed in NSW Catholic schools as paraprofessionals to address the growing shortage of teachers and provide paid, in-the-classroom experience.

The plan will not only address the short-term challenges posed by COVID-19, it is part of a long-term strategy to place highly trained, workplace-ready graduates into AustralianCatholic schools and early childhood education centres.

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NCEC congratulates Eva Skira AM on appointment to CECWA

The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) welcomes the appointment of Eva Skira AM as a Commissioner and Chair-elect of the Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia (CECWA).

National Catholic Education Executive Director Jacinta Collins congratulated Ms Skira saying she looked forward to working with her when she takes up the appointment in June.

“Eva brings considerable experience and a strong commitment to Catholic education to the CECWA,” Ms Collins said.

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‘Catholic schools should be free to be Catholic’ - Catholic education chief to tell Joint Parliamentary Committee

National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) executive director Jacinta Collins will tell a Joint Parliamentary Committee Inquiry today that “Catholic schools should be free to be Catholic”.

Ms Collins will appear with NCEC deputy director Sally Egan at the Inquiry considering the long-awaited Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and related bills.

“Parents should have the right to choose a school for their children that reflects their values and beliefs,” Ms Collins said. “And for Catholic schools this means being able to preference the enrolment or employment of students or staff who are Catholic, or who are willing to support and share in the ethos and mission of the school.”

“We know from a recent survey that 63% of the general population, 82% of Catholics and 79% of parents with children in Catholic schools believe religious schools should be ‘entitled to require employees to act in their roles that uphold the ethos and values of that faith and the school should be free to favour hiring employees who share these values’.” 

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New Commissioner a positive step for regional education says Catholic sector

The appointment of Australia’s first Regional Education Commissioner will help support better outcomes for regional, rural and remote education, the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) Executive  Director Jacinta Collins said today. 

As Regional Education Commissioner former Senator Fiona Nash will apply her long-term commitment to regional Australia and oversee the implementation of recommendations from the National Regional, Rural and Remote Tertiary Education Strategy (the Napthine Review). 

Ms Collins said nearly 40 per cent of the 1,755 Catholic schools were in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia. 

“We know that students outside of metropolitan areas are not performing as well as their peers in the cities,” Ms Collins said.

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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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