A visit to St Mary’s Catholic College Gateshead saw us meet with Deputy Leader of the Opposition Ms Tanya Plibersek and local Member for Shortland Mr Pat Conroy. Their visit to Gateshead highlighted the need for the continuation of Gonski funding as the extra funding is needed to provide the required resources, infrastructure and teaching staff to expand the school as it introduces curriculum provision for Years 11 and 12.
Principal Mr Larry Keating and his staff are very excited about the provision of Stage 6 education and introduced us to the Year 10 student cohort who are equally excited about remaining at St Mary’s for their final two years of study for the Higher School Certificate. The students were aspirational about their dreams to gain a credential which will allow them to pursue further study at Tafe and University. Subsequent visits to the classrooms indicated a vibrant learning atmosphere and I found the robotics class a delight, and thanked their teacher Mr Shane Abell for his dedication and enthusiasm about his teaching vocation.
I also visited St Joseph’s Primary School Dungog and Principal Mr Michael Maloney took me to each class where I was able to observe classes in Mathematics, Religion and Writing. Clearly the 94 students at Dungog are happy learners and receiving the very best pedagogy from their dedicated teachers and were and absolute delight. It reminded me of the important things that we must concentrate upon in the Catholic Schools Office as we aim to support the religious and educational outcomes of our schools. It certainly grounded me in the things that are important in our schools, and how we must take every step to offer leadership and service to our schools so that they continue to improve in their service delivery.
I look forward to visiting more schools in our diocese in coming weeks.