Choosing Catholic Education

Why choose Catholic schools? Learn how Catholic education provides children with academic excellence enhanced with traditional Christian values.


Thank you for considering enrolling your child at a Catholic school in the Diocese of Parramatta. This guide will help you to choose a great local learning community to support your child's learning journey.

As well as answering some of your frequently asked questions, this website provides information about faith-based and affordable education, learning and teaching and extra-curricular activities.

 

 

 

Discover Catholic Education

Be Welcomed. Be Valued. Be Confident. This is Home!

Explore the amazing opportunities we're creating for our students

 

 

 

Key Links

 

IconLearn

Learn more

Click to learn more about our amazing schools.

Learn more

IconFind

Find a Catholic School

Use our map to find your local Catholic school.

Find a Catholic School

IconChat

Prefer a chat?

Speak to our friendly staff or leave a message.

Contact Us

 

 

Facts and Figures


A Catholic education in the Diocese of Parramatta is innovative, personalised and relevant to the needs of today's learner. The individual child is the focus of the learning and teaching with a curriculum that caters for a wide range of interests and abilities.

The Diocese of Parramatta is located in one of the fastest growing areas of New South Wales. The Diocese is west of Sydney and reaches from Dundas Valley, west to Katoomba, south to Luddenham and north to Richmond.

80

CATHOLIC
SCHOOLS

25

CATHOLIC OUT OF
SCHOOL HOURS CARE CENTRES

5

CATHOLIC EARLY
LEARNING CENTRES

2

TRADE PATHWAY CAMPUSES

43,000+

STUDENTS

5,000+

TEACHERS
AND STAFF

 

 

Our Purpose


Catholic education is a work of love, for the full human development of students, grounded in the person of Jesus Christ and at the service of society. All staff share in the evangelising mission of the Church as they work to bring about a synthesis of faith, life and culture in their communities.

The system of schools in the Diocese of Parramatta is a work of the Church, under the leadership of our Bishop and in collaboration with priests, parents, students and staff, to realise the mission of bringing the person of Jesus Christ into the lives of the young people in our care and their families.

Our Strategic Intent

 

 

Learn about our amazing schools

 

Why-Academic

Academic Excellence

Catholic schools have a history of academic excellence and as providers of quality, Christ-centred and child-focused education, our schools and colleges enable students to gain confidence in their abilities and to achieve to their unique potential.

Why-Affordable

Affordable education

A quality Catholic education is affordable and accessible for every family! As a guide, the cost of a Catholic education is around $6-$8 a day for primary and $11-$18 a day a day for a child in Year 7*. Significant discounts apply for siblings.

Why-Parents

Parents as partners

We recognise the family as each child’s most influential educator and actively partner with parents and caregivers, encouraging open communications and supportive learning environments.

Why-Diversity

Diversity in learning

Catholic schools promote education for all – celebrating the diversity and achievements of every student and encouraging them to discover their abilities and reach their full potential.

Why-Goals

Our commitment to you

The ongoing commitment by every Catholic school in the Diocese of Parramatta is to provide quality Catholic schooling through improving learning outcomes for all students and promoting a professional and rewarding working life for teachers.

Why-Community

Part of your community

With 80 schools across Western Sydney, finding a Catholic school near you is simple.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Enrolment

Children whose fifth birthday occurs on or before 31 July are eligible for enrolment for Kindergarten that year. By law, all children must be enrolled in school by their sixth birthday.

A new Enrolment Policy for Parramatta Diocesan Catholic schools has been introduced which offers Catholic families greater choice by allowing them to apply for enrolment at a Catholic school anywhere in the Diocese.

Where places are limited, priority will be given in order to:

  • children of Catholic families in the local parish
  • children of Catholic families who live outside the parish geographic boundaries but regularly attend the school's local parish
  • children of Catholic families who are parishioners of another parish
  • children of families who actively participate in the life of the school and local parish community
  • children of Orthodox families
  • children whose families belong to other Christian churches who, with their parents, respect and agree to support the Catholic mission of the school including the faith education it offers for their children
  • children of non-Christian faiths who, with their parents, respect and agree to support the Catholic mission of the school including the faith education it offers for their children
  • children who, with their parents, respect and agree to support the Catholic mission of the school including the faith education it offers for their children provided that:
    • siblings of presently enrolled children will have preference over applicants who have no sibling in the school within each category in the priority list
    • a child who has completed primary education in a Catholic parish-based primary school will usually be offered continuity of enrolment in a Catholic secondary school.

Catholic schools have a strong religious dimension and people of other faiths who wish to enrol in Catholic schools should be willing to participate in the religious activities of the school. Check with the principal of the school you are applying to.

Siblings

Siblings of children already enrolled in the school are considered by the same criteria above. However, within each of these categories, a sibling of a child already enrolled will have preference over an applicant who does not have a sibling enrolled in the school.

What if my child already attends a Catholic primary school in the Diocese?

A child who has completed primary education in a Catholic parish-based primary school will usually be offered continuity of enrolment in a Catholic secondary school. If no places exist at the chosen school, Catholic Education's Director System Performance will assist families to enrol in another Catholic secondary school in the Diocese.

While Catholic schools accept enrolment applications at any time during the year (pending vacancies), the main enrolment period is from February to May for the following school year. Contact the school to check when enrolment applications are due.

Find a Catholic School    Enrolling in a Catholic School

Each primary and secondary Catholic school looks after its own enrolment process so it is best to contact the school you are interested in to find out what you need to do. Most schools conduct an enrolment interview.

Find a Catholic School    Enrolling in a Catholic School

The following documents are required as part of the enrolment application. A copy of the original documents must be provided with a completed enrolment form. The original documents will need to be sighted by the school at the enrolment interview or as arranged.

  • Passport size photograph of student
  • Proof of residential address (e.g. council rates notice, current driver’s licence)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Citizenship/Residency/Visa (country of birth other than Australia)
  • Parent and Child Passport and Visa (if student is not Australian)
  • Latest school report from previous school
  • NAPLAN results (Years 3, 5, 7, 9 only)
  • Sacrament certificates (Baptism and Confirmation if applicable)
  • Approved Immunisation Certificate
  • Special needs and assessments reports for speech, hearing, cognitive, occupational therapy or others (if applicable)
  • Medical Action Plan e.g. Asthma, Anaphylaxis (if applicable)
  • Medical Plan e.g. Mental Health plan, Medication plan (if applicable)
  • Family Court Orders / Parenting Agreements / AVO/DVO / other documents relevant to student (if applicable)

Secondary schools may also require:

  • school reports with academic records for (at least) the previous two years

The school will let you know what documentation is needed at the time of application.

Catholic schools welcome students with diverse needs and aim to provide appropriate educational opportunities and support for students with additional needs. Once the school has evaluated whether the prospective student meets the general enrolment criteria, the additional needs of the student and the school’s capacity to meet them must also be evaluated.

Additional needs are varied and sometimes complex to identify and evaluate. Close partnership with parents is important to support the prospective student in finding what may be their best interests. In some instances a school placement may not be available at the desired school or be in the best interests of the student. The Principal and Catholic Education's Director System Performance may seek a way forward by working with the family, if the family would like assistance.

Parents of children with additional needs are advised to approach the desired school more than a year in advance.

High Support Learning Needs Centres    Meeting Diverse Learning Needs    Enrolling in a Catholic School

Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta welcomes enrolment applications from students from overseas or whose families may be seeking asylum. These applications will be considered in accordance with the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta enrolment policy.

Please note that students who are not Australian citizens cannot be enrolled in preference to an eligible local student. Applicants who are not Australian citizens must have a valid visa with the exception of subclass 500 (further details below). Further considerations include:

  • capacity exists within the school in the relevant year group
  • the student's language and academic needs can be catered for within the existing school structure, or the school can otherwise provide the additional requirements
  • preference in enrolment is given to overseas students from practising Catholic families
  • non-Catholic students enrolled and their carers make a commitment to respect and agree to support the Catholic mission of the school including the faith education it offers for their children
  • The Diocese of Parramatta is registered as a CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students) provider, No 03340M, to enrol overseas senior secondary school students who are on a subclass 500 visa in the following five schools only:
    • Bede Polding College South Windsor
    • Caroline Chisholm College Glenmore Park
    • Cerdon College Merrylands
    • Delany College Granville
    • St Mark’s Catholic College Stanhope Gardens.

The Diocese is not currently registered to enrol overseas primary students or junior secondary students who are on a subclass 500 visa unless they are a dependant of a subclass 500 visa holder.

Families are encouraged to contact the school in which they are seeking enrolment directly to arrange an enrolment interview. Original documentation is also required to validate the student’s current visa status so that the fees payable can be determined.

Please note that the fees payable will depend on the visa subclass that has been issued by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). Students holding a bridging visa who have applied for a non funded visa are required to pay fees at the level of Full Fee Paying Overseas Students. However, the Catholic Church is committed to ensuring that no student is denied an education because of a families’ inability to pay school fees.

Students with visas granting temporary residency can be offered enrolment only until the expiry date of the current visa. Continuing enrolment will be dependent on evidence that a new visa subclass has been issued by DHA. Parents/carers of students who are not Australian citizens must ensure that the school is provided with evidence of any change to the student’s visa status throughout their enrolment period.

Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta does not actively recruit students from overseas and does not enter into any arrangements with education agents or pay any commissions in relation to any prospective student enrolment.

A child who has completed primary education in a Catholic Diocesan primary school will usually be offered continuity of enrolment in a Catholic Diocesan secondary school. If no places exist at the school of choice, contact other Catholic schools in your area or for further advice you could contact the Enterprise Service Desk on 9840 5600 and communityliaison@parra.catholic.edu.au.

Find a Catholic School    Contact Us

Yes, subject to the enrolment criteria and availability of places within each school.

A growing number of our schools provide before and after school care or are close to council or private before and after school care centres. Contact your local Catholic school to find out if before and after school care is available at the school or close by or search our available centres from the link below.

Find Catholic Before and After School Care    Find a Catholic School

Funding and School Fees

There are three levels of annual fees, billed in instalments during Terms 1, 2 and 3:

  • Annual Diocesan Tuition Fees set by Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
  • Diocesan Building Levy set by Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
  • School-based fees.

Annual tuition fees in Catholic systemic schools vary from Kindergarten to Year 12 but there are very significant discounts for your second and third child. In fact, there are no fees for your fourth and subsequent children.

In addition to the tuition fees, there is a Diocesan School Building Levy which is charged per family per year. There are also school-based fees which are set by each school. Contact your local Catholic school to find out what service fees are payable.

Find a Catholic School    School Fees

If you have children in other Diocesan schools, please click on the Sibling Discount Applicable Schools Discount attachment to see if a discount will be automatically applied.

If any of your children attend a school listed where a sibling advice notice is required, please complete and return the Sibling Registration for Diocesan Tuition Fees form.

Please note that for automatic discounts to apply the residential address on each enrolment form must be the same. It is up to parents to advise schools of other siblings in order to receive the discount. Please note that discounts are not backdated.

No child will be refused enrolment from a Catholic school because of a family's inability to pay school fees

If your family can afford kindergarten fees you can afford Catholic school fees. Fee discounts for siblings are generous and parents unable to pay school fees because of financial hardship are invited to confidentially approach their principal who will respond to their situation with care and sensitivity. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by finding out for yourself, so why not arrange a visit to your local Catholic school to find out more about the Catholic school difference?

Find a Catholic School    School Fees    Scholarships    Byallawa co-contribution scheme

General School Information

The Diocese of Parramatta is located in one of the fastest growing areas of New South Wales. The diocese is west of Sydney and reaches from Dundas Valley, west to Katoomba, south to Luddenham, and north to Richmond.

There are 80 Catholic systemic schools in the diocese (56 primary and 24 secondary), 25 out of school hours care centres, 5 early learning centres and 2 trade training centres with 43,000 students and 4,500 staff.

The ongoing population shift to the west of Sydney continues to increase the demand for Catholic education in this diocese, with an average of one new school opening each year.

The final responsibility for Catholic schools in the Parramatta Diocese rests with the Bishop of the diocese, who delegates responsibilities to the Executive Director of Schools.

Our Story

Catholic schools provide a comprehensive education so all students experience an equally high standard of instruction in all subject areas. For this reason there are no selective Catholic schools in the Parramatta Diocese.

Where a child shows particular aptitude or talent, the school will seek to develop that talent through enrichment programs or acceleration where appropriate.

Education Programs    Extra-Curricular    CAPTIVATE Creative Arts Program

Our schools have well-equipped library/resource centres and utilise the latest technology to engage students in their learning. This includes access to computers, the internet, multimedia equipment and other tools for learning. Many of our schools use data projectors, interactive white boards and other teaching aids.

The Teacher Learning Resource Centre at Mt Druitt, incorporating information technology, professional development and library services, is a focal point for enhancing teaching and learning throughout the diocese.

Contact your local Catholic school for more information regarding their specific facilities and resources.

Find a Catholic School

Most schools in the Parramatta Diocese are easily reached by public transport.

Students in Kindergarten to Year 2 are automatically eligible for free public transport to and from school. Students in other years may be eligible depending on the distance from home to school. Details of public transport arrangements will be provided by the school at the time of enrolment.

Personal accident insurance is provided at no cost for all students enrolled in systemic Catholic schools in the Parramatta Diocese. The insurance policy, known as School Care, covers students while at school and includes travel between school and home, and any activities sponsored by the school (such as school organised excursions, sport and secondary work experience).

The cover is broad and includes up to $5000 towards medical and hospital costs not covered by Medicare, up to $1000 for emergency transport, up to $1000 for home tuition, and varying amounts for compensation of a range of serious injuries.

A copy of the insurance brochure is available from schools.

Catholic schools have a fine reputation for pastoral care and the positive discipline of students. Our schools believe that discipline works best when there is a partnership between parents, teachers and students.

Each school has a pastoral care policy which focuses on self-discipline. The policy sets out codes of behaviour, rights and responsibilities of students, and the consequences of inappropriate behaviour.

In addition, our schools have programs, like restorative practice, that encourage students to resolve conflict and problem solve in positive ways.

Parents as Partners   Policies and Procedures

On four (4) days each year schools have pupil-free days so staff can undertake essential whole-school planning and professional development. On these days students are asked not to attend school. The first day of school each year is nominated as a pupil-free day and three (3) other days throughout the year.

Check with your school to find out when these days have been scheduled.

Each school has an official school uniform that is agreed on by the school principal and parents.

Students are expected to wear the school uniform. Where this creates economic difficulty for parents, the parish will often assist by providing a uniform. Many schools also have 'uniform pools' where second-hand uniforms are provided at a reduced cost.

Contact your local Catholic school for more information.

Find a Catholic School

Catholic schools are extremely popular. In fact, they enrol about 20 per cent of Australian school students.

Many parents say they have made their educational choice for reasons such as:

Catholic schools are faith-based places that are grounded in Christian values

The Catholic faith is not just taught in Religious Education classes but is experienced within the total culture of the school. Christian values are up front and explicit. Catholic schools are intrinsically connected to the parish in which they reside and are an integral part of the mission and life of the Church.

Our Catholic Tradition    Religious Education

Catholic schools strive to achieve very high standards of education

Expectations of achievement and conduct are high. While there is a focus on the individual child, a broad curriculum caters for a wide range of interests and abilities.

Learning

They are safe yet challenging places

Relationships are warm and friendly. Parents, students, teachers and pastors see themselves as working in partnership. The children belong to a community that really cares about each one of them.

Parents as Partners    Wellbeing and Safety

School term dates and holidays are generally the same as government schools.

School term dates

Learning and Teaching

Catholic schools teach the same curriculum as government schools. Expectations of achievement and conduct are high. With a strong focus on the individual, a broad curriculum caters for a wide range of interests and abilities.

The curriculum covers:

  • Religious Education
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Technology and Applied Studies (TAS)
  • English
  • Human Society and its Environment (HSIE)
  • Creative and Practical Arts
  • Personal Development
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Languages other than English

Secondary schools also offer a range of vocational education courses, some of which have industry accreditation. These are delivered by specially trained teachers. Students also have access through their schools to TAFE delivered vocational programs, and in some cases, university courses.

Learning   Learning Pathways

Our teachers are highly qualified and trained. Most teachers in our schools are four-year trained and many have post-graduate qualifications. Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta considers the professional development of teachers to be very important and offers them more than 200 courses each year.

Careers    Professional Learning

Religion has a very important role in the life of a Catholic school and all primary and secondary students study Religious Education. The schools share in the mission of the Church which is based on a rich heritage of faith and tradition.

Teachers are specially trained and accredited to teach the diocesan Religious Education program. This comprehensive program was developed in the Parramatta Diocese and is approved by the Bishop. Senior secondary students (Years 11-12) can undertake either the Parramatta Diocese curriculum or Studies of Religion as a HSC subject.

All students in Catholic schools also take part in activities such as regular prayer, liturgy and retreat programs to develop their faith.

Our Catholic Tradition    Religious Education

Each school develops a homework policy in consultation with parents. Generally homework begins about halfway through Kindergarten when the children are given very simple and enjoyable activities that usually involve reading.

The amount of homework given, and level of difficulty, naturally increases with each year of schooling. In Years 11 and 12 students will have a more demanding homework schedule to assist them to achieve their personal best in the Higher School Certificate. Homework is most effective when parents take an active interest.

Catholic Schools Parramatta Aboriginal Education

Aboriginal 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.

Jarara Indigenous Education Unit

 

Catholic Schools Parramatta Literacy

Literacy and numeracy

The schools in the Parramatta Diocese place particular emphasis on literacy and numeracy. Extra teachers, special reading programs and professional development courses for teachers ensure that the literacy and numeracy needs of the children receive constant attention.

Education Programs

 

Catholic Schools Parramatta Help With English

Help with English

English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are available for those children whose parents' first language is not English. 

 


Catholic Schools Parramatta Gifted and Talented

Gifted and Talented

Many schools have Gifted and Talented programs which provide students with the opportunity to extend themselves. 

 

Catholic Schools Parramatta High Support Needs

Children with high needs

All schools in the Parramatta Diocese strive to provide for students with high learning needs. If your child needs special consideration discuss this with the principal at the time of application for enrolment. All schools in the Parramatta diocese have Specialist Support Teams who are able to assist children with disabilities, whether visual, hearing, intellectual, physical, communication, learning or behavioural.

Meeting diverse learning needs    High Support Learning Centres

 

 

Compulsory Schooling FAQs

In NSW school attendance is compulsory for children over the age of six years until the minimum school leaving age of 17 years. Students must complete Year 10 and after Year 10, until they turn 17 years of age, students must be:

  • in school or registered for home schooling, or
  • in approved education or training (e.g. TAFE, traineeship, apprenticeship)
  • in full-time, paid employment (average 25 hours per week) or in a combination of work, education and/or training.

If your child has to be absent from school, you must tell the school and provide a reason for your child’s absence. To explain an absence parents and carers may:

  • send a note, fax or email to the school
  • telephone the school, or
  • visit the school

Your school will inform you of the required procedures for notifying them.

A small number of absences may be justified if your child has to:

  • go to a special religious ceremony
  • is required to attend to a serious and/or urgent family situation (e.g. a funeral)
  • is too sick to go to school or has an infectious illness

Children need to arrive on school and class on time. Lateness to school or leaving early from school must be recorded as a partial absence. Your school will inform you of the required procedures for late arrivals and early departures from school.

If you consider that it is in your child’s best interests to be exempted from the legal requirement to attend school for any length of time, you must apply to the principal for an exemption. The school will provide an Application for Exemption from Attendance at School form, and assist you to complete it, if necessary. The principal will consider your application and decide whether to grant a Certificate of Exemption from Attendance at School.

Principals help to ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of your child. They must also keep accurate records of student attendance. Principals are able to question requests for a child to be absent from school and are also responsible for deciding if the reason given for an absence is justified. Principals may request medical certificates or other documentation for long or frequent absences explained by parents as being due to illness.

When absences are unexplained by parents, or explanations are not accepted by the principal, the school will work with parents to identify the reasons for non-attendance and put in place strategies so the child can return to school. Principals may ask support staff or other agencies to assist.

It is important to understand that the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC), on behalf of the State Minister for Education, may take further action in cases where children of compulsory school age have recurring numbers of unexplained or unacceptable absences from school. The following actions may be taken in these cases:

Attendance meetings

Parents, and sometimes their child, can be asked to attend a meeting with school and Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) personnel and in some cases, DEC regional officers. The aim of the meeting is to help identify strategies to support the child and family and remove barriers to non-attendance. Other agencies may also be invited, if parents agree.

Compulsory attendance conferences

If school attendance does not improve, parents and sometimes their child, can be asked to attend a compulsory attendance conference. The conference, which will be run by a trained conference convenor, aims to help the school, parents and other agencies to further identify the issue impacting on a child’s attendance. The outcome of a compulsory attendance conference is for the parties to agree to undertake certain actions to improve the child’s attendance. These actions are agreed in writing.

Compulsory schooling order

If previous attempts to resolve the issue of a child’s attendance are not successful, legal compliance can be sought through an application to the Children’s Court for a Compulsory Schooling Order. The aim is to assist a family and/or child to address the issues preventing satisfactory school attendance. This has the added enforcement of a Court’s powers.

Prosecution

If all attempts by schools, CEDP and DEC regional support staff fail to improve a child’s attendance, action can be taken in the Local Court with the result of fines being imposed up to a maximum of $11,000.

Interpreting services are provided where possible for parents and carers who do not speak or understand English well and for Deaf parents and carers who use sign language. For more information on interpreter services contact your school or phone the Telephone Interpreter Service and have them contact the school. The telephone number to ring is 131 450. Ask for an interpreter in the required language and the interpreter will call the school and stay on the line to assist you with your conversation. You will not be charged for this service.

National Catholic Safeguarding Standards

Child safeguarding is embedded in the entity’s leadership, governance and culture


Indicators

  • 1.1 The entity publicly commits to child safeguarding and takes a zero-tolerance approach to child abuse
  • 1.2 A child safeguarding culture is championed and modelled at all levels of the entity from the top down and bottom up
  • 1.3 Governance arrangements facilitate implementation of a Child Safeguarding Policy across the entity’s activities
  • 1.4 A Code of Conduct provides guidelines for personnel on expected behavioral standards and responsibilities
  • 1.5 The entity has risk management strategies focusing on preventing, identifying and mitigating risks to children
  • 1.6 Personnel understand their obligations on information sharing and record keeping.

How CEDP is meeting these requirements

  • In 2019, CEDP localised a Safeguarding Team with dedicated Safeguarding Specialists who support the implementation of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards
  • CEDP Policies and procedures include: Safeguarding Procedures, Code of Conduct, Code of Conduct when Working with Children and Students, Working with Children Check Policy, Responsible Use of ICT and Social Media for Students, Responsible Use of ICT for Staff and Child Protection Facilities Guidelines
  • CEDP has a child friendly Safeguarding Commitment Statement which is available to everyone via CEDP's website and staff Intranet (OSCAR)
  • A Safeguarding Organisation Chart is available, which show lines of authority and reporting. This is attached to the CEDP Safeguarding Procedures
  • Safeguarding has become a regular agenda item on executive leadership meetings with regular briefings provided. Safeguarding is also reported weekly to the Director Enterprise via Head People and Culture
  • Child Safeguarding is promoted regularly through Learning Exchange resources
  • Video Conferencing Guidelines have been made available for staff and students
  • Mandatory Safeguarding training is completed by staff on an annual basis and must be completed on induction by new employees
  • Safeguarding of children and students is considered in all Risk Assessments for school excursions
  • CEDP's Safeguarding Risk Management programs, including CEDP's Risk Register include strategies that focus on preventing, identifying and mitigating risks to children
  • Information Sharing Guidelines have been developed in addition to strict record keeping process for Safeguarding information
  • The development of a CEDP Risk Management Plan which focuses on preventing, identifying and mitigating risks to children
  • Design, development and implementation of the Safeguarding Case Management System which supports CEDP's obligations for record keeping.

How schools meet these requirements

In addition to the above, CEDP schools meet the Standards utilising local programs and initiatives. These may include the following:

  • utilising the Video Conferencing Guidelines for teachers
  • safeguarding is encouraged at school meetings and staff briefings
  • a postcard has been printed in all secondary student diaries to promote Safeguarding
  • a safeguarding post is put in the school newsletter each term
  • schools are required to complete mandatory compliance programs including, 24/7, Facilities and WHS audits to ensure the safety of students.

Children are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously


Indicators

  • 2.1 Children are informed about their rights, including safety, information and participation
  • 2.2 The importance of friendships is recognised and support from peers is encouraged, helping children feel safe and less isolated
  • 2.3 Where relevant to the setting or context, children and families may be offered access to abuse prevention programs and related information that is age appropriate
  • 2.4 Personnel are attuned to signs of harm an facilitate child-friendly ways for children to express their views, participate in decision-making and raise their concerns.

How CEDP is meeting these requirements

  • CEDP uses student surveys (Tell them from Me Survey) which are tailored for both primary and secondary students. The surveys allow the students' voices to be heard and the data collected from this engagement is analysed at both a school and system level
  • Video conferencing guidelines are available for students
  • CEDP's Responsible Use of ICT and Social Media for Students
  • Providing students with access to school counsellors
  • The implementation of the PDHPE curriculum, syllabus and resources which incorporates education units in respect to protective behaviours for children and students
  • Safe contact cards are provided through the Student Services Team
  • Student Wellbeing and Pastoral Care programs are provided to students at a school level
  • Evangelisation days and religious education programs incorporating elements of positive relationships for children and students are promoted
  • Anti-bullying policies and procedures are implemented in schools, which contain relevant and clear information relating to the management aspects of child safety
  • Mandatory safeguarding training is completed on an annual basis for: Safeguarding (Reportable Conduct) and ROSH Online
  • The Personal Development, Health and Physical Education K-10 Syllabus
  • The curriculum for Religious Education.

How schools meet these requirements

In addition to the above, CEDP schools meet the Standards utilising local programs and initiatives. These may include the following:

  • schools hold sessions with students and parents around cyber-safety (where often police are guest speakers)
  • CEDP's learning hub provides information and resources to students and parents/carers on e-safety
  • schools promote and coordinate student leadership programs that provide students with a voice
  • students are encouraged to participate in the creation of materials and programs relevant to them and their peers
  • schools regularly talk to children and arrange education programs about their right to feel safe and who to speak to if something is worrying them
  • schools work with the Student Representative Council (SRC) to find ways to ensure that the school is a safe place for students.

Families, carers and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safeguarding


Indicators

  • 3.1 Families and carers participate in decisions affecting their child
  • 3.2 The entity engages and openly communicates with families, carers and communities about its child safeguarding approach, and relevant information is accessible
  • 3.3 Families, carers and communities have a say in the entity's policies and practices
  • 3.4 Families, carers and communities are informed about the entity's operations and governance
  • 3.5 The entity takes a leadership role in raising community awareness of the dignity and rights of all children.

How CEDP is meeting these requirements

  • E-safety webinars for parents/carers are run throughout the school-year for primary and adolescent aged children. Communication (including online safety education) is provided to families via newsletters and through the local parishes.
  • Building Child Safe Communities outlines the standards of behaviour and reporting requirements for parents/carers/families as volunteers in our schools. This includes incursions/excursions and volunteering at school carnivals.
  • Building Child Safe Communities external web pages
  • Video Conferencing Guidelines for Parents outlines a parent's role in monitoring online lessons for their child
  • Providing forums for engaging with clergy and members of congregations and religious including; Parish Priests, religious brothers and sisters
  • Promoting various resources for parents/carers in the community which supports a child safe culture
  • Offering a range of opportunities for parents to engage in the services and supports provided to their children
  • Providing opportunities for parents to work in partnership with schools via various forums including information evenings and meetings that schools provide throughout each year
  • Establishing Parent Representative Councils
  • CEDP provides parents the opportunity to complete a 'Tell them from Me Survey' which includes information relating to the safety of students
  • Families are informed and made aware of the roles and responsibilities of staff via CEDP's Safeguarding Procedures and Code of Conduct When Working with Children and Students
  • Families are made aware of the entity’s Leadership Team and their Safeguarding roles and responsibilities via the safeguarding ORG chart, which is attached to the Safeguarding Procedures and available via the CEDP public website
  • Families/carers as volunteers and contractors within the community are aware of their roles and responsibilities via the BCSC Undertaking and training modules
  • CEDP has taken a pledge for the 2020 National Child Protection Week to promote the regular safeguarding of children and students
  • CEDP promotes links to Government and non-Government websites which host various safeguarding resources and information for parents and communities
  • CEDP provides links on the entity’s website to statutory child protection agencies
  • During the school-year, CEDP (in partnership with the Diocese and Parishes) hosts information sessions in partnership with e-safety commissioner on a range of relevant topics, such as e-safety, with targeted information for Primary and Secondary school age students.

How schools meet these requirements

In addition to the above, CEDP schools meet the Standards utilising local programs and initiatives. These may include the following:

  • schools provide parents/carers with information on upcoming organised information sessions
  • schools engage with Police Liaison Officers from relevant LAC units. Presentations and discussions in relation to child safety are organised by schools and are regularly conducted.
  • providing students and their families with access to school counsellors.
  • issuing parents with Cyberwise postcards, which contain itemised actions that parents can take to teach their children about cyber-safety. This can be found on CEDP's Learning Hub.

Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice


Indicators

  • 4.1 The entity actively anticipates children's diverse circumstances and backgrounds, and provides support and responds effectively to those who are vulnerable
  • 4.2 All children have access to information, support and complaints processes in ways that are culturally safe, accessible and easy to understand
  • 4.3 The entity pays particular attention to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, those who are unable to live at home, and children of diverse sexuality.

How CEDP is meeting these requirements

  • CEDP has in place risk assessments and personalised plans for students who are vulnerable
  • Employs a range of specialist staff to implement programs with particular emphasis to the diverse learning needs of students including but not limited to: English as an Additional Language (EAL/D) and sight and hearing impaired
  • Offers a range of wellbeing services through CEDP's Wellbeing Team
  • CEDP ensures its practices are underpinned and supported by a range of policies, procedures and guidelines which are embedded in those practices including, but not limited to:
    • National Aboriginal Education Strategy
    • Closing the Gap
    • Enrolment Additional Needs Guidelines
    • Managing Complaints Policy
    • Code of Conduct when working with children and students
    • Personalised Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)
    • CEDP Guidelines for Supporting Students with Gender Dysphoria
    • Student Attendance Completion in Special Circumstances Guidelines
    • Transition and Planning for Students with Disability
    • CEDP Personalised Plans Guidelines
    • High Support Needs Guidelines
    • Diversity is the Norm: Guidelines
    • Aboriginal Education in Diocesan Catholic Schools: NSW
    • Personalised Learning Plans for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students
    • Staff training across CEDP - Cultural Competency training for staff working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and committees - 'Crossing Cultures Hidden Histories'
  • Appoints and supports Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (Jarara Indigenous Education Unit) within specific schools to act as a link between their community and to support the needs of students
  • Employs Sudanese support officers, leading teachers and specialist teachers who have experience and expertise working with school teams to develop their capacity to ensure personalised planning for students with disability
  • Alternate formatting specialists to format learning materials for students with vision impairment
  • Increased focus and attention on safety and additional risks in closed high support needs units. Risk assessments updated regularly and increased supervision ratios for students.
  • Implements a range of learning programs pertinent to the particular needs of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Promotes and engages in NAIDOC Week
  • The Personal Development, Health and Physical Education K-10 Syllabus
  • The Religious Education curriculum.

How schools meet these requirements

In addition to the above, CEDP schools meet the Standards utilising local programs and initiatives. These may include the following:

  • schools have in place, and implement policies and procedures in relation to pastoral care, specifically, the identification of and provision of support for students with special needs. (Compliance audit number MR516 & RANGS 5.6.2)
  • ensuring the physical environment reflects a positive and welcoming approach to children from diverse circumstances, cultures and backgrounds. This is achieved by displaying posters, symbols, decorations or artwork that nurture a sense of identity.

People working with children are suitable and supported to reflect child safeguarding values in practice


Indicators

  • 5.1 Recruitment, including advertising, interview questions, referee checks and pre-employment screening, emphasises child safeguarding
  • 5.2 Relevant personnel (including all seminarians, clergy and religious) have current working with children checks or equivalent background checks
  • 5.3 Personnel receive an appropriate induction and are aware of their child safeguarding responsibilities, including reporting obligations
  • 5.4 Ongoing supervision and people management is focused on child safeguarding.

How CEDP is meeting these requirements

  • Working With Children Check (WWCC) is compulsory in every job advertisement
  • All staff must possess an active WWCC number
  • Implements, reviews and monitors rigorous recruitment and screening processes
  • Incorporates child protection screening questions and checks into the selection and recruitment process
  • Referee checks are completed using the Xref Template (Referee Questionnaire). The template has been amended to include new OCG definition of reportable conduct in one question. The template has been reviewed to ensure the questions meet standard 5 requirements.
  • A position description statement has been developed and is currently in the process of being included at the end of every position description template
  • A standard advertising statement has been developed and is currently in the process of replacing everything under “The Organisation” heading in all job templates.
  • The Building Child Safe Communities process has been implemented
  • A WWCC policy and safeguarding procedures have been developed
  • Established processes for staff in regards to renewal processes and verification processes are established with records kept. WWCC for volunteers and contractors are maintained in the Building Child Safe Communities portal. These processes include the following:
  1. the name and position of each person in child-related work
  2. their WWCC number (or equivalent) if applicable
  3. date of issue of check
  4. registration as the ‘employer’ with the OCG
  5. verification of the check by the ‘employer’ (if prescribed by regulation) before work with children begins
  6. the date of renewal of check
  7. a reminder/alert system to prompt regarding expiry/renewal dates
  8. the process for action if a check is found to be lapsed or otherwise invalid
  9. a process to seek, document and monitor exemptions under the relevant state or territory legislation where appropriate
  10. a process to inform the state or territory regulatory body of a change of status of an individual in relation to risk to children (e.g. barring offences, sustained reportable conduct findings).
  • Through renewal process/reports from payroll
  • Captured in relevant CEDP compliance programs.

How schools meet these requirements

In addition to the above, CEDP schools meet the Standards utilising local programs and initiatives. These may include the following:

  • from Compliance 247 (number MR504):
    A school must have in place and implement policies, procedures (and training) to ensure that all persons engaged in child-related work at the school, as defined by the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012, have a working with children check clearance from the Office of the Children's Guardian as required. Compliance audit (MR505 & RANGS 5.6):
    A school must have in place and implement policies, procedures (and training) to ensure that evidence of working with children check clearances is maintained by the school for all persons in child-related work at the school as required under the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012.

Processes for raising concerns and complaints are responsive, understood, accessible and used by children, families, carers, communities and personnel


Indicators

  • 6.1 The entity has an effective Complaints Handling Policy and procedures which clearly outline the roles and responsibilities, approaches to dealing with different types of complaints, reporting obligations and record keeping requirements
  • 6.2 The entity has a child-focused complaints handling system that is understood by children, families, carers and personnel
  • 6.3 Complaints are taken seriously, and responded to promptly and thoroughly
  • 6.4 The entity has policies and procedures in place that address reporting of concerns and complaints to relevant authorities, whether or not the law requires reporting, and cooperates with law enforcement
  • 6.5 Reporting, privacy and employment law obligations are met
  • 6.6 The Church Authority ensures mechanisms are in place to care for adult complainants
  • 6.7 The Church Authority ensures mechanisms are in place to monitor and support respondents facing allegations.

How CEDP is meeting these requirements

  • CEDP has a Complaints Handling Policy, Safeguarding Procedures and two Code of Conduct documents in place
  • Employs a Wellbeing Team including ROSH Coordinator and Behaviour and Attendance specialists to support mandatory reporting obligations
  • Employs a Safeguarding Team to respond to any complaints or allegations raised in relation to children or students
  • Established conflict of Interest Procedures:
    If an internal investigation needs to occur following an allegation and there is no police investigation, it is important that the investigator and/or decision maker does not have a conflict of interest (actual or reasonably perceived). The Safeguarding Team's Case Management System (CMS) requires declaration of conflict of interest.
  • Safeguarding CMS has a conflict of interest declaration for each matter at the time of intake/assessment
  • CEDP records and follows the reporting requirements of the Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG), NSW Police (NSWP) and the Joint Child Protection Response Program (JCPRP) and DCJ
  • Fosters strong relationships with external agencies and proactively networks with the OCG, NSWP and JCPRP to ensure quality and regular review of CEDP policy and procedures
  • A CEDP centralised student management system holds information in connection with counselling records and other disclosures. ROSH online is also utilised for recording mandatory reports. All systems are permission based and restricted
  • CEDP has its own Assault Register
  • A CEDP case management system (CMS) has been designed and developed to record all information in relation to allegations/complaints. This is supported by a centralised email for correspondence, and restricted U-Drive access. An online intake form has also been developed to support reporting of concerns/complaints in relation to employees.

How schools meet these requirements

In addition to the above, CEDP schools meet the Standards utilising local programs and initiatives. These may include the following:

  • Compliance 247 (number MR501):
    A school must have in place and implement policies, procedures (and training) to ensure that staff who have direct contact with students are informed ANNUALLY of their legal responsibilities related to child protection, mandatory reporting and other relevant school expectations [including the exchange of information under Chapter 16A of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998].
    Compliance audit (MR506 & RANGS 5.6): A school must have in place and implement policies, procedures (and training) to ensure that all staff who are mandatory reporters under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 are informed annually of their obligations and the process that the school has in place in relation to mandatory reporting.

Personnel are equipped with knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through information, ongoing education and training


Indicators

  • 7.1 Personnel are trained and supported to effectively implement the entity’s child safeguarding policies and procedures
  • 7.2 Personnel receive training to recognise the nature and indicators of child abuse, including harmful behaviours by a child towards another child
  • 7.3 Personnel receive training and information to enable them to respond effectively to child safeguarding risks, concerns, disclosures and allegations of child abuse
  • 7.4 Personnel receive training and information on how to build culturally safe environments for children.

How CEDP is meeting these requirements

  • CEDP have partnered with the eSafety commissioner and developed and conducted a range of e-safety webinars for leadership, staff and parents/carers of the Diocese
  • CEDP designed, developed and implemented the Building Child Safe Communities undertaking and learning module. This program requires all volunteers and contractors of the Diocese to complete a short learning module on Safeguarding standards within CEDP prior to engagement in their role. Videos, fact sheets and OSCAR (staff Intranet) and external website page resources were developed in support of this initiative.
  • CEDP designed, developed and implemented the Safeguarding (reportable conduct) Online Training and ROSH (Risk of Significant Harm) online training. Both modules take one hour each to complete and form part of the mandatory annual training requirements for all staff in CEDP. The completion of these modules can be tracked by the development of site and CEDP specific training dashboards (analytics) and forms part of all schools audit programs.
  • SALT online mandatory training is also required for all employees at the commencement of their employment with CEDP. SALT covers complaints involving staff members and the Children's Guardian Act in addition to understanding mandatory reporting (RoSH)
  • All training requires registration via the PL portal or via SALT online. Mandatory training dashboards have been created to monitor completion at a system and local level of SALT, Reportable Conduct and ROSH online
  • Mandatory training programs in WHS also require relevant staff at schools to be training in first aid, CPR, anaphylaxis, asthma and diabetes
  • Staff have access to the Student Services course list
  • Access EAP offers 'culturally sensitive counsellors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counsellors' and also 'cultural competency training.'

How schools meet these requirements

In addition to the above, CEDP schools meet the Standards utilising local programs and initiatives. These may include the following:

  • Compliance audit number MR125: The school provides support for beginning teachers by ensuring Beginning Teachers and Supervising Teachers attend induction, CEDP System Professional Learning for Beginning Teachers and NESA information sessions as required. CEDP / RANGS 5.2.1
  • Compliance audit number MR106: The school must have guidelines that outline the process used by the school for outside tutors to ensure that in accessing any outside tutor, the school continues to comply with the requirements under the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012. RANGS 5.2.2 MR115 MR501-MR506
  • Staff have access to the Student Services course list.

Physical and online environments promote safety and contain appropriate safeguards to minimise the opportunity for children to be harmed


Indicators

  • 8.1 Personnel identify and mitigate risks in online and physical environments without compromising a child’s right to privacy, access to information, social connections and learning opportunities
  • 8.2 The online environment is used in accordance with the entity’s Code of Conduct and safeguarding policies and procedures
  • 8.3 Risk management plans consider risks posed by the entity’s settings, activities and physical environments
  • 8.4 Entities that contract facilities and services to and from third parties have procurement policies that ensure safeguarding of children.

How CEDP is meeting these requirements

In addition to the above, CEDP schools meet the Standards utilising local programs and initiatives. These may include the following:

  • Induction and regular updates are given to staff on appropriate behaviours to encourage and to avoid when interacting and engaging with children and students
  • For safeguarding investigations, a risk management plan/process is conducted. The manager and safeguarding team undertake a risk assessment to determine whether there is a risk to the alleged victim, subject of allegation, community and/or school while the allegation is investigated
  • The annual Child Protection Facilities Audit addresses specific types of child protection risks in relation to the school's physical environment
  • Responsible use of ICT and Social Media (Students) Guidelines and Acceptable use of ICT and Social Media (Staff) Guidelines are in place
  • Video Conferencing Guidelines for Teachers and Students outlines the guidelines for safe use of technology during video conferencing. The guidelines are available for access by teachers, parents and students.
  • CEDP's Code of Conduct When Working with Children and Students
  • CEDP have an authenticated account for online programs such as Zoom. There are passwords on all zoom meetings, which also have an enforced waiting room. There are default settings in regards to video and audio and zoom organisers have greater control.
  • CEDP reports online offences to NSW Police in accordance with legislative reporting obligations
  • Specialist safeguarding support and human resources support is provided within CEDP
  • Regular reviews are conducted in regards to policies and procedures pertaining to the use of acceptable ICT
  • CM3 contractor management process are in place.

How schools meet these requirements

  • Schools are required to complete CEDP annual compliance programs including 247, WHS and Facilities audits, which include identifying and addressing physical risks to students
  • Responsible use of ICT and Social Media (Students) Guidelines and Acceptable use of ICT and Social Media (Staff) Guidelines are in place
  • Video Conferencing Guidelines for Teachers and Students outlines the guidelines for safe use of technology during video conferencing. The guidelines are available for access by teachers, parents and students.

Entities regularly review and improve implementation of their systems for keeping children safe


Indicators

  • 9.1 The entity regularly reviews and improves child safeguarding practices
  • 9.2 The entity analyses concerns and complaints to identify causes and systematic failures to inform continuous improvement
  • 9.3 The Church Authority reports on the findings of relevant reviews to personnel, children, families, carers and community.

How CEDP is meeting these requirements

  • CEDP Safeguarding has implemented and manages 'The Self Assessment Compliance Tool' as part of CEDP's implementation plan. This plan is continuously reviewed by the Safeguarding senior manager, with involvement from the Safeguarding team. Leadership receive quarterly reports and review the progress towards the implementation plan. The Safeguarding Committee also receive regularly reports via the leadership reporting mechanism. Minutes of meetings and report to leadership are available.
  • Regular reviews (every three years) of CEDP policies are conducted, with amendments during that period as the need arises
  • CEDP distributes monthly reports to the Diocesan Safeguarding Office for analysis of trends and patterns at a Diocesan level
  • The safeguarding procedures have a review date outlined on the document (which will occur prior to March 2023)
  • CEDP meets quarterly with the OCG via Catholic Schools NSW office which makes recommendations and informs direction in relation to policy and procedure development
  • CEDP has developed tableau dashboards for relevant data, including BCSC information which allows for review of relevant data and analytics to improve processes within CEDP.

How schools meet these requirements

In addition to the above, CEDP schools meet the Standards utilising local programs and initiatives. These may include the following:

Policies and procedures document how the entity is safe for children


Indicators

  • 10.1 Policies and procedures address the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards
  • 10.2 Policies and procedures are accessible and easy to understand
  • 10.3 Best practice policy models and stakeholder consultation inform the development and review of policies and procedures
  • 10.4 The Church Authority and leaders champion and model compliance with policies and procedures
  • 10.5 Personnel understand and implement the policies and procedures.

How CEDP is meeting these requirements

CEDP have a range of policies and procedures that address the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards. These policies and procedures are referenced below:

  • CEDP Code of conduct and Code of Conduct When Working with Children and Students. These documents are available for all personnel, parents/carers and the community via the public website.
  • Child Protection Facilities Guidelines - SSFRMAT accessible to staff via OSCAR the staff Intranet
  • Complaints handling processes
  • Safeguarding procedures
  • Working with Children Check Policy
  • CEDP reviews feedback provided by the OCG at the completion of each investigation and ensures any recommended changes are implemented and/or responded to
  • Annual completion of compliance programs including 247, WHS and Facilities Audits
  • Policy Central is available for all staff to access polices and procedures. Relevant policies and procedures are also available on CEDP's external website for the public.

How schools meet these requirements

  • Annual completion of compliance programs including 247, WHS and Facilities Audits.