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
Patricia CowlingFormer Principal, Genazzano FCJ College, Kew
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.
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)
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Professional learning programs
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