Above: Representatives of key stakeholders meet with NCEC Staff 4 times a year
On Wednesday February 21 Andrew Watson and Frank FitzGerald attended the first stakeholder meeting for 2018 of NCEC, CSPA, ACPPA and CaSPA held in Sydney.
Firstly it was an opportunity to meet the Interim Director of NCEC - Ray Collins - who spoke of the importance of Principals being supported in the running of their school, which was heartening to hear from CaSPA's perspective
The issues discussed at the meeting were:
Update from NCEC (Ray Collins and NCEC staff):
o NCEC response to NSRB regarding SES review
o Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework
o Review of the ACNC legislation (see attached submission)
o Update of arrangements for National Directors of Catholic Education forum
Other matters discussed were:
o Update on CSPA research project
o A future NCEC Conference
o Response of the Catholic education sector to the Royal Commission's recommendations and governance models for Catholic secondary schools post the Royal Commission
o Gonski 2.0 and possible impact on the Catholic education sector
May 1 at Thomas Carrr College, Tarniet, Victoria
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On Monday Feb 19, 2018 the NSW Catholic Principal Association [ACSP] held its Executive Meeting in Sydney. CaSPA was delighted to receive and invitation from ACSP President - Fran Bonnano - to attend the meeting and provide an update on CaSPA activities.
Representing CaSPA at the meeting were:
Maria Pearson [NSW Director for CaSPA] was due to attend but was unable to do so due to ongoing poor health,
The CaSPA President provided some broad background on the structure and organization of the Association and also observed that due to a range of factors, CaSPA has not always been able to engage as closely as it would have liked with the jurisdiction that has the largest number of Catholic Secondary Schools - NSW. This is due to a number of factors including geographical distance, the fact that there are so many different dioceses who tend to work independently of others and the historical "divide" between system and independent Catholic Colleges. This is in sharp contrast to other parts of Australia where despite similar challenges, the Catholic Secondary Principals have managed to form the one network within each State or Territory for support and collegiality.
In order to support NSW Principals to move to a similar arrangement, CaSPA has appointed a NSW Liaison person, Rob Laidler. Rob is a former Catholic Secondary College Principal, who until recently lead Loyola College in Mt Druitt. He has now taken up a role where he will meet with NSW principals - both individually and in groups - assist them in their networking with colleagues. As part of this, he is planning to travel to all Dioceses over the course of 2018 to attend scheduled meetings of principals in those networks.
It was also encouraging to see that both the President and Executive Officer of ACSP will be attending the annual meeting of CaSPA Presidents and Executive Officers at the Cairns Confer enc in July this year. Likewise, CaSPA has indicated that all of its Directors have scheduled their May 2019 Board meeting to coincide with the ACSP Biennial Conference in Sydney.
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Above: Rob Laidler, Andrew Watson, Tanya Plibersek, Frank FitzGerald
Earlier this week members of the CaSPA Executive had the opportunity to meet with shadow Minister for Education Tanya Plibersek in her Sydney electoral office. A number of important issues were discussed including:
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition indicated that it was her particular choice to take up the Education portfolio given the importance of education in shaping the lives of young Australians and hence the future of our country.
The members of the CaSPA Executive who attended the meeting were appreciative of the opportunity to discuss such items of mutual interest.
Attempts to have similar meetings with the current Minister for Education have not been successful up to this point.
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2. Navitas Education Trust (NET)
The Navitas Education Trust (NET) was established in 2013 to support charitable organisations and activities. Education-oriented organisations are encouraged to apply to be considered for a partnership (DGR status required). Applicants should base their submissions on the NET guidelines. Applications close 15 February 2018. See the website for more information https://www.navitas.com/organisation/responsibility
4. Local Sporting Champions grant
The Local Sporting Champions (LSC) program is an Australian Government initiative designed to provide financial assistance for young sportsmen and women aged 12-18. If successful, applicants will receive a $500 grant that can be used towards the cost of travel, accommodation, uniforms or equipment when competing, coaching or officiating at an official national sporting organisation (NSO) endorsed state, national or international sporting championships, or a School Sport Australia state, national or international championships. Round Three applications close on 28 February 2018. https://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/grants_and_funding/local_sporting_champions
6. Grow your school's sustainability in 2018 (VIC)
Momentum Energy and Junior Landcare are partnering again in 2018 to fund 200 sustainability or environmental projects in Victorian schools, childcare centres and youth groups. Applications will be opening early in term one, and closing on 22 March 2018. Grants of up to $1,000 will be available. https://landcareaustralia.org.au/powerful-youth-projects
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"This must include the right to choose all staff based on their belief in, and adherence to the beliefs, tenets and doctrines of the religion concerned."The associations argued schools must also retain the right to select students and families based on religious criteria.
"Faith communities, including Christian schools, must be able to take action that separates individuals from that community when their actions undermine the community," they said."While not a preferred outcome this option remains a necessary response to situations determined by a community to be a threat to that community."
The associations called for the appointment of a "freedoms commissioner" within the Australian Human Rights Commission.They also recommended protections pushed by conservatives in last year's same-sex marriage debate, including freedom of speech on defining marriage and securing the charitable status of religious organisations.
However, campaigners behind the push to legalise same-sex marriage campaign told the inquiry that enabling legislation struck the right balance and should not be revisited.Submissions lodged by LGBTI rights advocates and human rights organisations called for religious exemptions to discrimination law to be wound back or dumped.
"We oppose all state, territory and commonwealth provisions that allow discrimination and vilification on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status and relationship status," LGBTI rights group Just.Equal said."This includes those provisions that allow discrimination and vilification by religious individuals and organisations including schools, hospitals, welfare agencies and aged care facilities."
Melbourne Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins, president of the National Council of Churches in Australia, said the right to freedom of religion was in reasonable shape.
However, the council said it was seeing more verbal and physical abuse of people based on their religion.
The ability to eject students who posed a threat to religious communities must also remain intact, Christian Schools Australia said.
The council recommended the government examine the possible benefits of a bill of human rights, and review the way schools teach about major religions of the world.
From: EducationHQ News Team
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