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  • 3.11Plan

    There is an increasing need to provide school services more efficiently and effectively. We need to continue developing strategic alliances and stronger partnerships with parents, parishes, local government, business and community services and explore options to co-locate schools with community health centres, kindergartens and activity centres.

    Theme 3: Capability to Better Serve and Lead, Catholic Education Melbourne Strategic Plan 2015–2019 

    Personal Story

     

    Patricia Cowling
    Former Principal, Genazzano FCJ College, Kew

     

    Overview

    The Planning Unit’s main responsibility is the strategic provision of schooling across the Archdiocese of Melbourne. As part of this work involves an understanding of demography and its impact on trends in enrolments, the Unit produces projections for all schools, acquires sites for schools, estimates the timing of establishing new schools, and identifies schools with declining numbers that may be threatened with closure if not assisted or re-structured.

    The Unit takes a leading role in the establishment of new schools, and assists parishes in investigating the feasibility of early learning facilities such as kindergartens.

    Relationships with schools, parishes, government planning authorities such as the Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA), municipal councils, developers and other Catholic agencies are integral to our work. Managing these relationships is a high priority.

    Fostering research into a variety of issues is another ongoing priority, and the Unit currently is partnering with Infrastructure Staff Group and LEaRN at University of Melbourne to evaluate the effectiveness of our learning environments.

    SPIDA

    In 2015 the Planning Unit initiated a software development project called School Planning and Infrastructure Data Analytics (SPIDA) to help us deliver more efficient and effective services to schools. SPIDA will provide holistic information support across the entire life cycle of educational spaces and reduce risks inherent in the legacy platform that it replaces. It will also integrate more effectively with the technology used in the Integrated Catholic Online Network (ICON) project.

    The recently completed first phase involved system analysis, requirements definition, design of software architecture, market scan, and vendor selection. Phase Two, in 2016, will implement modules for strategic planning, demographic analysis, enrolment forecasting, master planning, building project management, grant and funding administration, and facilities management.

    New Schools

    Three primary schools opened in the Archdiocese in 2015 – St Clare's Catholic Primary School, Truganina with an enrolment of 167; St John the Apostle Catholic Primary School Tarneit with an enrolment of 106; and St Paul the Apostle, Doreen with an enrolment of 46. Throughout the 2015 school year these schools have built and demonstrated strong growth within their communities.

    The new school planning process has commenced for three new primary schools planned to open in 2018 in the areas of Wallan, Craigieburn West and Torquay North. Local steering committees have been established to assist in the planning process including input into the design/masterplanning as well as being actively engaged in marketing initiatives to assist in building community relationships.

    The new school planning process has commenced for one new secondary school planned to open in 2019 located in the Armstrong Creek area.

    There were no school closures in 2015.

    Archdiocese of Melbourne Strategic School Provision Plan

    Catholic Education Melbourne achieved a significant milestone with the preparation of the first-of-its-kind Strategic School Provision Plan for the Archdiocese of Melbourne in 2014. The year 2015 saw the commencement of the implementation of the Plan with a special forum held for schools identified as having surplus space. The forum was an opportunity to explore the best and most appropriate use of the surplus space and consider the appropriateness of establishing other uses ancillary to the school use.

    Ongoing work with the Metropolitan Planning Authority has occurred to secure appropriate locations for the 81 identified future Catholic schools in Melbourne’s growth areas as part of the continuous rollout of Precinct Structure Plans.

    Early Learning

    The completion of the School–Community Partnerships policy paper for consideration by the Executive Director occurred in 2014. A draft paper was developed in 2013 by Professor Loretta Giorcelli and the Planning Unit finalised the paper following a workshop with Dr George Otero in March 2015. The paper highlights the importance of placing Catholic schools within community hubs at the heart of community facilities, following the direction that the Catholic Education Melbourne policy on Schools as Core Social Centres has set. In particular, it recognises the importance of early learning centres (ELC) in this association of Catholic schools and community.

    This follows the initiatives taken by St Mark’s School in Fawkner and St Francis of Assisi School in Mill Park in building kindergartens onsite or taking over the operation of one already adjacent to the school.

    The vision and rationale behind incorporating Early Years on Catholic school sites was presented to principals and parish priests at a briefing on 25 March 2015. School and Parishes were invited to register an interest in exploring further. These schools were then invited to a workshop on 19 May 2015 to discuss the development of kindergartens on school sites. To date, over 30 Catholic schools and Parishes have registered an interest in pursuing early years on their respective site.

    On 29 May 2015 the State Government announced that the 2015–16 Children’s Facilities Program grants round was opened and included an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for Major Infrastructure Grant for eligible applicants.

    Nine established Catholic school and one proposed new Catholic school submitted an EOI to the Children’s Facilities Capital Program on 7 August 2015.

    The Planning Unit will continue to work with schools that have registered an interest in exploring early years provision throughout 2016.

    Other initiatives

    • Recognition of Catholic schools in the planning process
    • 2015 saw the implementation of the agreed process with the Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA), seeking to provide more certainty in the delivery of Catholic schools.
    • Designation of Catholic School Sites on Precinct Structure Plans
    • Securing sites and ensuring certainty of provision continues to drive debate with government officials to have sites strategically justified for Catholic schools designated as ‘Catholic’ rather than as ‘non-government’ school on Precinct Structure Plans to accommodate future population growth and development.
    • Workshop on secondary educational briefs
    • Workshop on secondary educational briefs with Dr Julia Atkin and Mary Jeavons, 17 November 2015.

    Professional learning programs

    CATEGORY COURSES AND INSTITUTIONS PRIMARY SECONDARY Total
    Planning Profiles Training Training module on how to use Planning Profiles (3 hours) 4 15 19

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