RAY COLLINS: The Federation of Parents and Friends

The contribution of parents to the education program offered in Catholic schools is an essential part of ensuring that our system of schools reflects the needs of parents and families.

This contribution was highlighted at the Annual General Meeting of the Federation of Parents and Friends held on Sunday at St Brigid’s Primary School hall at Raymond Terrace. In her report, the President of the Federation, Mrs Giavanna Angeli, outlined her role in a range of consultations and celebrations across the educational programs offered by the Catholic Schools Office.

This was followed by reports from members of the Federation who outlined their participation in various committees such as the Special Needs Working Party, the Vision Statement Review Working Party, the Parent Education Working Party, the CSO Fee Management Policy Review Committee and the Council of Catholic Schools Parents.

In providing parent engagement in educational matters, opportunities are created to allow the highly respected opinions and vision of our parents to feature in the decision-making process.

The Federation represents the various Parents and Friends Associations in each of our schools. The P&Fs fulfil a crucial role in the life of a school and provide enormous support to the Principal and school staff. There has been a number of highlights for the Federation this year, including the annual Special Needs Mass celebrated by Bishop Bill and held in the parish of ForsterTuncurry, the series of parent seminars held in Newcastle and in the Manning region featuring psychologist Dr John Irvine; “An Evening with Craig Moore” looking at setting boundaries for children and the Special Needs Information Days held in Kotara and Taree.

On behalf of the staff in our schools and the CSO, I extend to the Federation our grateful thanks for all they do to support the education of all the young people enrolled in our schools. In particular I acknowledge and appreciate the willingness of so many parents to nominate and serve the interests of other parents, whether it is at school P&Fs or as office bearers and Council members of the Federation. I am delighted to see that Giavanna Angeli has been re-elected as president of the Federation for 2016. Giavanna has a passionate interest in the education provided in Catholic schools and represents the Federation at a range of celebrations and meetings during the year.

I also thank and congratulate Mrs Cath Garrett-Jones, the Parent-Liaison and Resource Officer, who is the executive officer for the Federation as well as a highly valued advocate for parents. Her energy, wisdom, advocacy and advice ensure that parents are very well served in ensuring that their interests are taken into account in developing the programs offered in our schools. 

To all parents involved in the work of school Parents and Friends Associations and that of the Federation of Parents and Friends, I offer my sincere thanks for your commitment, not only to your children but to all children in our schools.

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Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.

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