Start of term message: Debra Sayce

01 August 2022

Dr Debra Sayce - Executive Director, Catholic Education WA

Welcome back students, staff, and CEWA school families to Term Three!

I trust you have had a good break, and that you return rejuvenated for the many exciting opportunities you will be presented with this term.

Last term was full of highlights including the celebration of NAIDOC Week during the school holidays. This year’s theme “Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!” calls on us to support and secure institutional, structural, collaborative, and cooperative reforms. It is also an opportunity for all in our community to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and celebrate the oldest continuous living cultures on earth.

The Plenary Council which culminated in early July with the second general assembly during which more than 30 motions were put to a vote. The process sets the direction for the Church and, by extension, Catholic education for the coming years. As such, I encourage you to read about Archbishop Costelloe’s closing homily and access the outcomes of the decrees here.

Looking ahead, Webinar Week returns in Term Three for all staff across the system. This is always a highlight of any term and presents an opportunity for us to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of our staff members.

We also have the Leaders’ Forum Roadshow, across the state, which is an opportunity for principals and the school leadership teams from all corners of our state to join CEWA office leaders as we work together implementing the Quality Catholic Education Framework.

The second week of term will see the opening of our Intensive English Centre at Majella Catholic Primary School. This centre will help meet a growing need within our school communities for greater language support. The new IEC also aligns strongly with CEWA’s vision of creating engaged learning environments that are Christ-centred and child-focused.

Also, a reminder that nominations for our 2022 QCE Awards are now open. These awards embody the CEWA community, celebrate the wonderful work that happens in our schools, and showcase the very best of Catholic education in WA.

The incredible talents of our staff and students will be showcased this term with the return of the Spirit of the Arts Festival. This year’s Festival Concert will be held on Monday 12 September at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. This term highlights the incredible talents of our young people and support of the staff and parents.  I hope you have an opportunity to attend at least one performance or exhibition.

On 30 July we mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons, a sombre but important time in our calendar. According to the Global Slavery Index, there are over 40 million people world-wide in some form of slavery-like conditions, 15,000 of those in Australia. Catholic education recognises the importance of strong action in this space and our schools actively incorporate social and ecological justice issues into learning through a Catholic Social Teaching lens. You can find the CEWA 2019-2020 Modern Slavery Statement here.

In August we celebrate the Feast Day of St Mary MacKillop Australia’s first saint, a passionate educator and an advocate for children and families who has had a profound and lasting impact on Catholic education. St Mary MacKillop’s continued legacy provides inspiration to Catholic leaders, educators and students across Western Australia who identify with her vision and spirit.

While many of us had hoped that the worst of COVID was behind us, you may have seen Premier McGowan’s statement encouraging the use of masks in schools for students across all three education sectors in WA. This collaborative measure will help to ensure that our schools remain open as new sub-variants of COVID-19 have led to reinfections and another spike in case numbers. We urge the support of parents and carers in helping us educate students about the importance of mask-wearing and good hygiene in minimising the spread of COVID-19 through our schools.

I encourage you all to continue to prioritise your own and each other’s wellbeing this term.

I am looking forward to sharing more of the great news coming out of our schools over the coming months!

Dr Debra Sayce
Executive Director
Catholic Education WA

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