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From the Principal (Issue 11 2017)

Written on the 3 August 2017

Dear members of the Sacred Heart College community,

Welcome to Term 3!

Marist Schools Australia (MSA) Biennial Conference
Earlier this week a number of Sacred Heart staff and Head of Marymount, Mrs Shana Bennett, and I attended the MSA Biennial Conference. Focused on our Marist theme for the year - 'Awaken - Marists 200>' and with a particular focus on 'Bringing Christ life to birth as Mary today', Fr (Dr) Kevin Lenehan provided the intellectual and spiritual input to provide numerous points of reflection for the 180 delegates from across Australia.

One of the small group sessions was focused on Pope Frances' homliy from the Mass held on New Year's Day, which marks the solemnity of Mary, as well as the World Day of Peace. In his homily, the Pope states:

"Mothers are the strongest antidote to our individualistic and egotistical tendencies, to our lack of openness and our indifference. A society without mothers would not only be a cold society, but a society that has lost its heart, lost the 'feel of home'... Celebrating the feast of the Holy Mother of God makes us smile once more as we realize that we are a people, that we belong, that only within a community, within a family, can we as persons find the 'climate', the 'warmth' that enables us to grow in humanity, and not merely as objects meant to 'consume and be consumed'."

Herein lies the significant affirmation and challenge of belonging to the Sacred Heart 'family'. It is to be a community with a family spirit which provides a sense of warmth and belonging so that each of us can grow to become our complete selves. Much to ponder here!

Schools Funding
Late last term the Federal Government passed legislation regarding changes to the funding arrangements for all Australian schools. At this time I sought your support in lobbying your local Members of Parliament and sought to keep you informed of developments. The lobbying did have an impact and a number of concessions were achieved, but not all that was being sought. Following is a summary of 'where things are at':

  1. Under the new legislation Catholic Schools in Australia will receive less funding than that which was recommended by the original Gonski review into Funding to all Australian schools. Catholic schools will not transition to the 2.0 model under the same timeframes as Independent Schools - at this point in time.
  2. Catholic Education has won a major concession in that the Government has committed to a review of the Socio Economic Status (SES) model of determining funding to schools. This current funding model which determines the capacity to contribute of parents and care givers to the education of their child in a non-government school is one which clearly does not provide an accurate indication of the financial status of families in Catholic Schools. The review panel includes Dr Lee-Anne Perry, who is Queensland's Catholic Education Commission (CEC) Executive Director, who said she will bring the perspectives of Catholic schools to the panel's table, as well as her own experience as a teacher, principal and education administrator.
  3. The Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, has indicated that there will be no change to current funding arrangements in Catholic Schools for 2018 while this review is carried out.
  4. There will be a change to the way students with disabilities are funded in all schools. Catholic schools educate a growing proportion of students with a disability. Under the Quality Schools Package, funding for students with a disability will be allocated based on new data collected as part of the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on Student with Disability. There are many questions relating to the accuracy of this data and therefore more information and clarification is required.   

So, thank you to the members of the Sacred Heart community who are engaging in this issue. There is still much detail to be finalised and I will continue to keep you informed.

Best wishes for the term ahead, including to all students involved in the annual 'Intercol' this weekend and to our Girls' Open Football team who are scheduled to play the State Grand Final as a curtain raiser to the Showdown this Sunday!

Go Hearts!

Steve Byrne



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