Newman News Term 1 Week 6 : From the Principal

Dear Parents and Guardians

The challenge of the modern Christian is to reflect on our place in the world and our journey with God.  Our lives are filled with so many things that we do, be they at home, at work, and within our community.  This is coupled with the expectations that others place on us as well as the expectations we place on ourselves.  Our busyness can often lead to distraction and frustration which doesn’t allow us to focus on what really matters – relationships with family and friends.  In my house, my wife Anita, and I juggle the challenge of full time work, being there for each other, our children and community while, at the same time, trying to take time to nourish ourselves in our faith and wellbeing.  This is a challenge and often occurs in the early hours of the morning or late at night and this invariably becomes tiresome if not frustrating.

One of the great things about our Lenten season is that we are invited to take the time to reflect on our Christian journey and our relationship with God.  This requires us to take the time, to search for those moments of peace so that we can be the people God intends us to be.  The Easter Season is a time of restoration and a time to renew.  In our Marist Community, Family Spirit and Presence are critical in developing relationships and culture.  I really encourage families in the busyness of the day to build that time to be present and to cultivate relationships with each other.  Lent is a great time to do this.

Child Safeguarding

Towards the end of 2020, Marist Schools Australia adopted the National Catholic Child Safeguarding Standards, as recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse.  As a result, all Marist schools across the country have moved from a Child Protection module to the more rigorous Child Safeguarding Standards module. The following information has been published on the College website:

Newman College has a Child Safeguarding Team, comprising the following members of staff:

  • Principal
  • Vice Principal
  • Deputy Principal Secondary
  • Leader of People and Culture
  • Leaders of Wellbeing Secondary
  • Leader of Early Childhood
  • Leader of Primary

The Child Safeguarding Team meets once per term to ensure policies and procedures are adhered to and that relevant information is disseminated to parents, via the newsletter and during Parent Information Evenings. Students are educated on protective behaviours at school, the Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum is delivered through our Wellbeing Programs and through the Health Curriculum.

All Staff, including full-time, part-time, casual, relief, teaching and non-teaching staff, are required, as a condition of their employment at the College, to comply with our Child Safeguarding Program, including the Child Safe Codes of Conduct, and their legal obligations with respect to the reporting of child safety incidents or concerns and regarding Working with Children Checks.

It is each individual’s responsibility to be aware of key indicators of child abuse, grooming and other harm, to be observant, and to raise any and all child safety incidents or concerns with one of the College’s Child Safeguarding Officers and with external agencies where required.

Year 12 Retreat

This week, Vice Principal Dr Lucie McCrory and I visited the Year 12 Retreats in Serpentine.  I thank students for immersing themselves in this very significant opportunity, which most students maintain was the highlight of their school life.  For many students this will be their last opportunity to take the time to reflect on their place in the world, their connection to God and to each other.  In many ways Retreat is a significant rite of passage for our students as they prepare to conclude their secondary education and go off into the world. To view photos from the Year 12 Retreat please click here.

Strategic Directions 2021-2023 – Commitment to Excellence / Annual School Improvement

The College’s Strategic Directions 2021-2023 has been published on our website.  Its official launch will be later this term in parallel with our Vision for Mission and Vision for Learning statements.  Our 2021 Annual School Improvement Plan captures a number of the strategic intents outlined in the Strategic Directions.  This Plan is led by our senior leaders across the school and its performance is measured by our ongoing feedback from staff, students and families.

One of the areas of significant focus for this year is the strategic intent, Transformational Learning; Discovery Learning – Developing extension earning pathways that enhance the opportunities for gifted and talented students.  This intent was determined by significant community feedback in relation to the status and development of the provision and support for gifted and talented students across PK-12.  To that end, the College has appointed a new Gifted and Talented teacher, Mrs Lara Ognenis, who is leading this area and engaging an analysis of future resourcing of this area.

Newman Parents Consultative Committee

Last week, Vice Principal Lucie McCrory and I met with the NPCC Executive (Kathy Blitz-Cokis, Caterina Celisano, Laura McFadgen and Deborah Attard Portughes) and discussed the content of the next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday 10 May.  Agenda items are as outlined below.

  1. Strategic Directions 2021-2023
  2. Annual School Improvement Plan 2021
    2.1 Discovery of Learning
  3. Terms of Reference
  4. Community Consultation – date to be advised
  5. Parent Sundowner – date to be advised
  6. PK-12 Mass – date to be advised

The focus of our next NPCC meeting will be Discovery Learning, Developing extension learning pathways that enhance the opportunities for gifted and talented students.  The College’s senior leaders, as well as Mrs Ognenis, will provide feedback to the Community about our progress and development of opportunities.

We warmly welcome all parents and guardians to this meeting.

John Finneran