Issue 279 -  31st August 2021

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Dear colleagues,

I know that the CSO staff and the leaders and teachers in our schools still have the learning and wellbeing of our students as their focus and because of this, our school and system improvement processes continue, despite the challenges of our current situation. In the coming weeks I will share with you a summary of our ongoing improvement journey in which NAPLAN is one measure of the effectiveness of our evidence-based approach to improving learning and teaching in our schools.


Our story is important to ensuring that shared beliefs and understandings exist across our system of schools. This document—Supporting and Challenging our Schools in 2020 and Beyond—collates the key eBulletin messages of the last two years. It includes important reminders of the Foundations that are contributing to our success, and the research that underpins our approach. 


This publication follows the earlier documents that will prove useful in the induction of new employees into our diocese. These documents are also timely reminders of the improvement  journey that brought us to this point, and the Non-negotiables of a CPLC that have both emerged from, and guided our professional learning and discussions along the way. 


The earlier documents I refer to are:

Faith Formation, Learning and Teaching in a Catholic Professional Learning Community 2015-2017

Further Developing the Catholic Professional Learning Community Vision 2019.pdf


I hope these documents will continue to contribute to future professional dialogue about what is working, as well as where we need to focus our attention as we begin the process of strategic planning for 2022.


The DRAFT AIP 2022 has been shared with school principals, and the School Performance Leaders will be meeting with them in the coming weeks to seek feedback and to assist in the development of local school plans. We face many challenges but your tenacity and resilience–never better demonstrated than by the challenges of the current pandemic—will ensure that we strategically plan to meet those challenges whilst remaining cognisant of the workload of teachers and leaders in our schools.


My sincere thanks for all you are doing to support your school communities and each other during this difficult time.
Chris Smyth
Director of Schools

My nephew runs marathons. That’s something I’ve never come remotely near doing.  A few Sunday mornings ago we exchanged text messages marvelling at the achievement of Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya in winning the Tokyo Olympics men’s marathon. The conditions were terrible; hot and humid. Kipchoge’s time meant he ran at an average pace of about 320m/min. I’d probably need hospitalisation after trying to run 320m in a minute. The little man from Kenya did it for 128 mins on end. His competitors were only slightly slower. Runners in the women’s marathon, won by Peres Jepchirchir of (you guessed it) Kenya, showed similar marvellous endurance. Her average speed was 286m/min.

Of course endurance isn’t seen just in sport. A mate of mine became a quadriplegic when he was accidentally shot at age 14. Now in his late 60s, someone recently told him he was probably Australia’s oldest quadriplegic in paid employment. He works in Disability Advocacy. That and all the other great good he has done in his life are tributes to wonderful medical care and to his own positive attitude and endurance. Not as obvious are the decades where his parents, both now deceased, got up at least twice a night to roll him in his bed to reduce the chances of “bedsores” developing. This was in addition to  attending to all his waking-hours needs. That’s silent, heroic endurance.

I’m sure most of you know similar unsung heroes. I expect many of you, while never blowing your own trumpet, are such people yourselves. At present we are having to endure lockdown, something we would rather not have to experience. The two little stories above were not told in a spirit of, “Don’t complain, there are plenty putting up with a lot more than we are.” Rather, I hope they are an encouragement; hard things can be endured, success can be achieved. 

No two ways about it, lockdown is hard. But when we have seen it through, we know we will have done something of great good for ourselves, our loved ones and our society. 

Gerard Hore
Education Officer: Catholic Life

View the CSO Calendar

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)


NEW Aboriginal Education Website Launch

This week CSNSW launched their new Aboriginal Education Website (see link above).  This site holds lots of very useful ideas, strategies and videos to support schools in improving the learning, well-being and faith outcomes for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students K-12.

Can I encourage you to have a look at the site and ask that you encourage your staff, especially your AEAs and Focus teachers, to visit the site as well.

We congratulate Sharon Cooke and her team for the work they have put in to this fantastic resource.
(Gary Burdett)

Staff Retreat CANCELLED

Due to the current situation in the Hunter New England Health District and the Retreat facilitator being based in Sydney, we have regretfully decided to cancel this retreat.  Thanks to those staff who have nominated to attend.  We look forward to continuing this initiative in 2022.
(Gerard Hore)

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)


Primary Sport

Armidale Diocesan Primary conveners and team manager nominations are open for 2022. Any current Armidale Diocesan staff are encouraged to apply. Role descriptions can also be found on the ADPSC website under the staff tab. It is a great opportunity professionally to build relationships outside your school community with students and staff, whilst supporting the students to gain access to sporting pathway opportunities. ADPSC (Armidale Diocesan Primary Sports Council) and CSO cover the cost for relief days, accommodation, meals and travel for all team managers and conveners to attend all Armidale Diocesan sporting events. 

If you are interested could please complete your nomination by Friday 3rd September 2021 using the Google form like below. 

2022 Armidale Diocesan nomination form: Team Manager, Convener & sports trial location.

If you have any questions about the roles please do not hesitate to get in contact.


'A good coach can change a game, a great coach can change a life' - John Wooden (UCLA Basketball Coach)
(Heidi Hardaker)

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)

RECs Zooms Friday

A reminder to RECs that there are short Zoom meetings for each cluster planned for this Friday. Check calendars for times.
(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

These gatherings are a project of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference. See link. There are two phases but participation in the first, while recommended, is not a prerequisite for participation in the second. In the first, available from early August, men in small groups from parishes, schools etc. are invited to come together for three one hour sessions, each based on a pre-recorded talk of about 20 mins. For Phase 2, a gathering is planned to take place at St Nicholas’s Tamworth on Saturday 16 October. Male staff members are urged to consider taking part, either as part of a parish group or by forming a school-based group. If the group is school-based, a leader should contact the organisers as indicate in the linked flyer.
(Gerard Hore)


Catholic Mission Online Conference

Catholic Mission is still taking bookings. You can take part fully or as time allows. See here for more information.
(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)

Extension on Maintenance of Accreditation and Proficient teacher Accreditation due this term
Teachers who are overdue or due to complete Proficient Teacher accreditation or maintenance of accreditation in Term 3, 2021 have been given an extension to the start of Term 4, 2021 (5 October 2021).

(Millie Woolaston)

For Further Information See OUR VACANCIES

School Support Officer (SSO) - Finance, Holy Trinity School Inverell
Permanent part-time 50 hours per fortnight, start date to be negotiated
Closes 05/09/2021


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


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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