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.  

CLOSING SOON: Choose to Have Your Say on the Draft Syllabuses (Ref: 227/23)

The Have Your Say surveys on the Draft K-6 Creative Arts, HSIE, PDHPE, Science &Technology syllabuses and the 7-10 Geography, History, PDHPE and Visual Arts syllabuses will close next Monday, 11 September.

Every teacher, educator and education community is encouraged to have their say on the proposed syllabus. It is an important opportunity for all Catholic schools to contribute to developing the new syllabus.

The surveys are available at the NESA’s Syllabus Consultations page.

Professional Learning

TOMORROW: Webinar with Donna Cross: Leading Wellbeing Through Equity and Excellence​​​​​​​ (Ref: 221/23)

Pastoral care and wellbeing programs can significantly impact the culture within a school. Through research and evidence-informed practice, Emeritus Professor Donna Cross will discuss how wellbeing can contribute to achieving equity and excellence in schools.

WHEN:           Wednesday 6 September

TIME:              3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

HOW:              Online webinar via Teams (link to be emailed to attendees)

Click here to register for the webinar.


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 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.


Strategies for Addressing School Refusal – Be You Online Webinar (Ref: 214/23)

Please join us as we discuss early intervention strategies for school refusal and proactive strategies to support positive attendance on Thursday, 7 September, 7:30-8:30 am.

Click here to register.

Be You is the national mental health in education initiative and provides NESA-accredited professional learning, factsheets, online events, tools, surveys and support from an experienced consultant. Be You is federally funded and comes at no cost to every educator and school in Australia.


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.


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:

There is no registration fee, but places are limited.


New K-10 Auslan Syllabus (Ref: 212/23)

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Education launched the state’s first Auslan syllabus direct to school and deaf consultants who helped shape the syllabus!

The new syllabus gives students who are first language Auslan users the opportunity to formally study the language of their community.

It also provides all students the chance to learn from and engage with an important language in Australian society.

The new syllabus will be available for schools to plan and prepare from now until the end of 2025, with schools being able to teach the syllabus from 2026. Schools who feel ready to deliver the syllabus earlier can do so.

View the new syllabus here.


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.


Child Protection Week Resource (Ref: 219/23)

Child Protection Week is acknowledged from 3 – 9 September this year. The Australian Childhood Foundation has shared a Safe and Secure trauma-informed practice guide. The guide is for all professionals, regardless of their role, who come into contact with or work with children who have experienced family violence.

In the face of family violence, children need to experience safety. They need to be comforted and reassured. They need their questions answered and their feelings acknowledged and validated. They need the world to feel more consistent. They need to experience softness in their relationships. Safety and security spread in concentric circles around children affected by family violence locating the basis of change in their relationships with their mother and siblings, with their father, their extended family, their community, and their friends.

It is the aim of this guide to offer a framework that can support the practice of professionals who connect with children and young people affected by family violence.


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.


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.

The Lecture will take place at St John’s College, 10 Missenden Rd, Camperdown, Sydney. The event will commence at 6.00 pm. 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/

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.

RSL and Schools Remember ANZAC Art Competition for 2024 (Ref: 215/23)

The RSL and Schools Remember ANZAC Commemoration was first held in 1953 and co-hosted by RSL NSW and the Department of Education. Over the years the service has expanded to Catholic Schools NSW and the Association of Independent Schools NSW. Proceedings, held at the Anzac Memorial Hyde Park in April each year, are delivered entirely by school students including the Master of Ceremonies, keynote address, readings, and musical accompaniment. The Service also includes an Inspection of the Guard by the official party, The Ode, The Last Post, and Rouse.

The service aims to educate primary and secondary school students about Australia’s military history, whilst paying respect to the service and sacrifice of servicemen and women of the Australian Defence Force.

To mark the 71st Anniversary of this service in 2024, RSL NSW, the Department of Education, Catholic Schools NSW and the Association of Independent Schools NSW are launching an art competition for NSW school students. The theme of the competition is “Why Lest we Forget?”, inviting students to create an artwork that considers why we commemorate ANZAC Day. Two artworks will be selected for the cover of the 2024 service program and all finalists’ artworks will be displayed at the Anzac Memorial and included in the program.

More information including the guidelines, how to submit artwork, judging and FAQs can be found here.

Scholarships and Awards

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