Education Programs

Education Programs

Catholic schools provide quality learning and teaching by recognising that each child can and will learn and ensuring that their individual needs are met and their gifts are developed.

To respond to the diversity of needs, interests and abilities of students we provide a flexible curriculum and multiple learning pathways.

Our focus is on literacy and numeracy through:

  • good classroom practice
  • early intervention
  • Individual case management for vulnerable students.

In addition to the BOSTES (Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards) curriculum, our system-wide programs are based on sound educational theory and practice and are focused on building the capacity of classroom teachers and school leaders. These include the following.

Focus 160

A whole-school literacy and numeracy strategy (with initial focus on K-2) that delivers as a minimum, 100 minutes of literacy and 60 minutes of numeracy instruction each day for all year levels.

Reading Recovery

An early intervention strategy aimed at Year 1 students who require additional literacy support in reading and writing after their first year of school. Specially trained Reading Recovery teachers provide daily 30-minute individual instruction to students to engage them in reading and writing and enable students to accelerate their learning.


A comprehensive research-based program for improving numeracy levels in schools. Students begin each year with a one-on-one Mathematical Assessment Interview (MAI) resulting in a personalised, targeted approach to their Mathematics learning.


A secondary (Years 7 and 8) program that provides rich learning opportunities to enhance and extend student skills, knowledge and understanding of English and Mathematics.

Indigenous education

Aboriginal education is incorporated into the curriculum from Kindergarten through to Year 12. Many schools also have special Aboriginal study units such as Aboriginal Languages and Aboriginal Cultural Experiences.

The Jarara Indigenous Education Unit interacts with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and families from across the Diocese.

Learn more about the Jarara Indigenous Education Unit


The ESL (English as a Second Language) program operates in primary and secondary schools across the diocese.

'Non-English speaking background' is defined as being born outside Australia with a first language other than English or Australian born with a parent or primary carer whose first language is not English. Priority is given to schools with the greatest number of new arrivals, first and second phase ESL learners.

Students receive specialist support from ESL teachers using a variety of support models.

New Arrivals

The New Arrivals program provides intensive English language instruction for primary and secondary students who are migrants or refugees during their first few months in Australia. Support for primary students is provided by specialist itinerant new arrivals teachers who support children according to their needs. This support is normally provided for three to four terms. Secondary students attend the Catholic Intensive English Centre at Westmead where they receive assistance for a period of three to four terms.

Reading Recovery

The Reading Recovery program aims to help children catch up with their classmates by giving them help when they are still young. The program usually lasts for about 15 weeks and during that time the child is given an individual half-hour lesson each day, by a specially trained teacher. The program started in New Zealand and is now taught throughout the world. It has been very successful everywhere it has been adopted.

Seasons for Growth - training for companions

The Seasons for Growth program is designed to assist students to understand and manage grief and loss in their lives. The inability to cope with grief resulting from the loss of a parent or significant other through death, separation or divorce can have a profound effect on a student's capacity to learn. Training is offered for any teacher or parent who would like to train as a 'companion'. This enables the teacher or parent to take small groups of students through the Seasons for Growth program.

Drug education

The misuse of drugs has become a major problem in Australia, so it is important that effective drug education is a part of the PDHPE curriculum area. The Catholic Education Office supports this important aspect of education by the provision of an adviser to assist teachers in the development of their drug education programs and many up-to-date resources, both books and audio-visuals, in the CEO library.

Road safety education K-12

Road safety education advisers support primary and secondary schools in:

  • the development and implementation of road safety education programs within the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) key learning area
  • whole-school planning to improve teaching and learning in K-6 and 7-12 PDHPE
  • supporting K-6 and 7-12 PDHPE curriculum networks
  • facilitating the professional development inservice program in K-6 and 7-12 PDHPE for the diocese
  • liaising with community agencies in the areas of road safety and health promoting schools


These Diocese-wide programs are having a positive impact on student learning, as reflected in results from NAPLAN testing.

Research and Evidence

Catholic schools work with education experts and academic partners including Professor Lyn Sharratt, University of Toronto and Dr Ann Gervasoni, Dr Ann Downton and Professor Peter Sullivan, Monash University. This ensures programs are based on the latest research and evidence.


Our schools encourage innovative and varied means of learning to enrich the curriculum and bring students face to face with authentic learning experiences. Learning technologies are integrated throughout the curriculum to enrich learning and teaching. We encourage 'hands-on' experiences with technology so that students are able to explore and develop as independent and effective users of information.

In 2017, 53,000 computers and devices were used by students in the diocese


Further information

For further information regarding any of our programs and initiatives please contact the Catholic Education Office.




Mentors needed now!

Mentors on the Lighthouse Program offer their students the gift of time, attention, and a chance to learn about the world of work.  

Students see that people in the community care enough about their future to give them this chance.  For many students this can be a turning point in valuing their time at school - for opportunities their education will give them in the future. 

The Lighthouse Program is currently seeking caring, interested volunteers to mentor students. Tradespeople are particularly welcome.

Are you in a position to become a mentor? Know someone who is?

Contact the Catholic Education Office today.


Contact Us

You can contact Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta by email or phone on (02) 9840 5600 weekdays between 8am and 5pm.

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Contact Us

  • You can contact Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta by email or phone on (02) 9840 5600 weekdays between 8am and 5pm.

  •  Send us an email
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