I am delighted to present the 2013 Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM) Annual Report. The report highlights our key organisational priorities, significant activities and our collective achievements. In the 2013 report the activities and initiatives of Catholic education are presented in the framework of the strategic objectives and five action areas of the 2011–2015 Directions for Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
Melbourne’s Catholic schools sector is thriving. Enrolment growth has been strong, with 40 per cent of new enrolments in Victoria going to Catholic schools, pushing Catholic student numbers over 200,000 for the first time. St Mary of the Cross MacKillop Catholic Parish Primary School, Epping North, was officially opened this year, and is the first of 13 new schools earmarked for the Archdiocese over the next decade.
The Review of Funding for Schooling (Gonski Review) impacted significantly on Catholic education in 2013. The CEOM held ongoing negotiations with the Australian Government on key aspects of the reforms. We continue to work with the new Federal Government and the State Government to ensure adequate financial support continues for Catholic schools.
The Catholic Leadership Centre (CLC) opened in 2013. Effective leadership underpins successful school communities, and the CLC facilitates staff formation to help our students excel in a contemporary learning context. Also in 2013 the Enhancing Catholic Schools Identity Project initiative was extended into all Catholic schools via the School Improvement Framework.
I express my gratitude to teachers, school leaders, priests, religious, staff, families and community partners who have shared their time and talent to support Catholic education, and in turn, nurtured students to reach their full potential in a myriad of ways.
In 2013 the Year of Faith proclaimed by the universal Church continued to challenge us to deepen our faith, by centring our lives on core Catholic teachings and tradition. We welcomed Pope Francis, as successor of Pope Benedict XVI, coincidentally, on the same day we celebrated Catholic Education Week and the annual Mass of St Patrick for Schools. World Youth Day 2013 celebrations were also a highlight of the year for staff and students who participated in this pilgrimage to Rio de Janeiro.
In closing, while we acknowledge the work and celebrate the achievements of 2013, we move forward as a faith-filled learning community with confidence and enthusiasm, embracing opportunities which enable all facets of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne to shine.
Stephen ElderExecutive Director of Catholic Education
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