Issue 280 -  7th September 2021

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Dear colleagues,

As the lockdown and remote learning continues we know that work is becoming more challenging. We must acknowledge that many of you are juggling home parenting responsibilities with working from home and going to school/work sites on a rostered basis. Many of the normally satisfying aspects of our roles have been stripped away and our mental health is being challenged. Many of you are sick of Zooms and emails seem more annoying than usual. Perhaps it is the loss of variety in our roles that we normally enjoy or the missing faces of the students we get our energy from. The stress we see our students and their families under always impacts on people who care about others. Our very employment is about caring for others, and this is harder at the moment.


Nevertheless we have much to be grateful for in Australia. Our health system is robust. Our quality of life is—for the most part—sound. Christian values still inform our society in most regards. Our teachers are doing an amazing job of responding to the challenges of remote learning. The feedback and appreciation from our parents has been overwhelmingly positive. I hear stories of parents sending in small tokens of appreciation (often food!) to school staff. Parents are recognising the professionalism of teachers and learning how much more sophisticated the learning and teaching process has become since they went to school. Our Catholic values are being recognised in the level of care being provided to families as we maintain regular communication and reasonable expectations of student learning for the sake of the students wellbeing. We continue to be excited about the future as we consider plans for 2022 and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our resilience and positivity is getting us through in a country where the weakest in society are considered, and where if they are not, it is being even more exposed. Wellbeing for all must be a priority. 


Last year I reflected on many occasions on what we are learning about education during the pandemic. I refer you to this recently released e book collection that contains e bulletins from March 2020 (and some great photos!). This document—Supporting and Challenging our Schools in 2020 and Beyond—collates the key eBulletin messages of the last two years.  Hopefully we do learn from this experience and translate our learnings into our future practices. Do you still agree with what I thought we learnt last year? My observations are that you are putting many of these learnings into practice right now and that is why you have transitioned back to remote learning in such a professional manner. 


Take care of yourselves and each other, and thanks for your great work,
Chris Smyth
Director of Schools

Joy Defeats Despair

One would need a heart of stone to be unmoved by the finding safe and return to his family of three-year old AJ Elfalak yesterday. In a second the family’s worry, sorrow, emptiness and despair was replaced by infinite joy. Perhaps we witnessed on our screens a “resurrection moment”. The family’s world was turned upside down in a wonderful, sudden way. That’s the core of Christianity. Through, with, in and by Jesus Christ, the world, its people and their lives have been transformed. Goodness has defeated evil, joy has defeated despair.


How can that be true? Many reading this will have terrible worries, pain and suffering in their lives right now. They have been or will be part of life for all of us.  Most of the people of Afghanistan would find such glad sentiments hard to swallow. While there is no doubting the complete joy and unbounded happiness of the Elfalaks yesterday, it’s worth remembering that joy and happiness may not always be found together.  Happiness may be experienced in learning of a loved one’s success in some endeavour; joy is known in the daily living out of that love, with all its ups and downs.


“... joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved.” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, par 6, 2013)

Gerard Hore
Education Officer: Catholic Life

View the CSO Calendar

Superannuation Check-ups

To help staff with their superannuation, Rita Svensson from Australian Catholic Super will be available for private Teams or phone appointments for the remainder of this week.

To book an appointment please click on the link below:

Australian Catholic Super appointments

Please contact Rita Svensson, Regional Manager, on 0408 645 326 for further information
(Paul Baylis)


Working With Children Check Extended For Three Months

The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG)  has advised that working with children checks due to expire between 19 July 2021 and 26 September 2021 have been extended for three months. The three-month period applies from the date of the person’s current expiry date. Anyone granted an extension will be advised by email from the OCG.

(Leanne Woods)

Roger O'Sullivan Memorial Award

Applications for the 2021 Roger O’Sullivan Memorial Award for Family, School and Community Partnerships for Learning. The due date is now Wednesday 20 October 2021.

Further information click here
(Carmel Heagney)


ICT Remoting Learning/Working from Home Information

CSO ICT Services has created a central Google Doc to put ICT Remote Learning/Working from Home Information to assist staff as their first point of call. This doc will be updated regularly. We recommend that you bookmark this for easy access.

ICT Remote Learning/Working from Home Information

As always if you have any questions or experience any issues please reach out via the ICT Service Request Form.
(ICT Services)


Child Protection Week/ Resources for Safeguarding Sunday

National Child Protection Week is 5-11 September

The Catholic Church in Australia will mark Safeguarding Sunday on September 12 this year.  

It makes a commitment to practices and protocols that create and maintain safe environments for all people, especially children and other people who are at risk. It invites people to pray for those harmed by abuse directly and indirectly.

A series of resources have been developed and can be found in this Google Drive folder and on this page on the Bishops Conference website:

Professional Learning Opportunity: iPad Assistive Features

Catholic Learning Online are offering an online PD opportunity entitled ‘iPad ‘Assistive Features: Reaching all Learners’

Learn about tools and resources from Apple that allow all students to create, communicate, personalise and explore in new and powerful ways.

During this webinar you will: 

Explore the powerful assistive features built-in to iPad that can complement each learners’ vision, hearing, motor skills and learning needs. As well as experiencing how with iPad, students can learn in ways that meet their own specific needs.  For more information and to register follow this link.
(Alicia Pringle)


Professional Learning Opportunity: Microsoft Minecraft Series

Catholic Learning Online brings you a four webinar series for Minecraft: Education Edition from Microsoft. In this 4 part course, we will explore how Minecraft: Education Edition supports teaching and learning through a game-based interface that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is the learner’s imagination.

For more information follow this link
(Alicia Pringle)

CAPA Grants in the Armidale Diocese

A reminder that Creative and Performing Arts in the Armidale Diocese grants are available to all Primary and Secondary schools. All information can be found on the CAPA in the Armidale DIocese website.
(Heidi Hardaker)

Catholic Mission: Socktober

RECs will have received an email from Jacqui Toakley of Catholic Mission about Socktober last week. Webinars to explain this year’s project are available today, 7 Sept 3.30pm-4.30pm or Thursday 9 Sept 5.30pm-6.30pm
(Gerard Hore)


200 Years Commemorative Book

This book contains the story of every first Catholic school in each Australian diocese. That’s St Mary’s Armidale for us. Paperback and hardback editions are available and can be ordered now for delivery later in the year. Go here and scroll down to find the pre-order form.
(Gerard Hore)

Diocesan Men's Gathering - Postponed

Please see the following letter from Bishop Michael Kennedy:



Webinar “It’s All About Relationships”

CSNSW is offering this, primarily for School Chaplains, next Tuesday morning, 14 September, 9.30am-10.30 am. Other members of staff with a “wellbeing”   role are welcome  to attend too. See preliminary flyer here.

(Gerard Hore)

RUOK Day 9th September 2021

RUOK? Inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the  people around them and start a conversation with those in their world who may be struggling with life.

A conversation could change a life.

(Geraldine Chapman)

For Further Information See OUR VACANCIES

Classroom Teacher, St Joseph's Primary Tenterfield
Temporary full-time for 2022

Closes 10/09/2021


Aboriginal Education Assistant (AEA), St Joseph's Primary Warialda
Temporary, part-time (20 hours per fortnight)
Closes 10/09/2021


2 x Classroom Teachers, St Joseph's Primary Walgett
Permanent, full-time
Closes 17/09/2021


English Teacher, McCarthy Catholic College Tamworth

Temporary, full-time

Closes 15/09/2021

TAS Teacher, McCarthy Catholic College Tamworth

Permanent, full-time

Closes 15/09/2021

Canteen Supervisor, McCarthy Catholic College Tamworth
Permanent, part-time (30 hours per week)
Closes 15/09/2021


Positions in other Diocese:

Head of Human Resources, Catholic Education Diocese of Bathurst 

For further information, visit
Closes 08/09/2021

Catholic Education Wilcannia-Forbes
For a full list of positions vacant, please click here

Manager: System Safeguarding and Development, Catholic Education in South Australia

For further information visit Catholic Education SA website
Closes 17/09/2021

Follow this link for the latest National Catholic Education Commission Newsletter:

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