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Last night I had the great pleasure of attending the opening night of our Musical Production: High School Musical. The production is performed by a combination of students: the young men from our College and young women from St John Fisher College. Whilst the performance was held at our College, the bulk of the responsibility for this year’s production fell upon the staff from St John Fisher College. I would like to congratulate their staff along with Mr Nic Consiglio and Mr Geoff Samuels from our school for all their time and effort in preparing so many young people and the stage and technical crews. Their efforts were very well rewarded with a great opening night performance. Likewise, the talented band was also made up of staff members and past and current students. I thoroughly enjoyed the night and would recommend it to everyone. Most importantly, all the young men and women who performed appeared to really enjoy themselves. I hope that they are justifiably proud of their efforts, they were very good.

There has been much in the media recently about funding for Catholic schools. While some news articles suggest all Catholic school will receive a significant funding boost under the Federal Government’s proposed new model, others suggest there will be cuts and fee increases.

Our Queensland Catholic Education Authority is advising us that, as a whole, the Catholic system in Queensland will see some funding growth from the Federal Government’s package. However, the impacts from the proposed model may vary considerably from school to school. The precise impact on our College is still being determined and when I have more information on this I will be communicating that to our school community. From what I have been told by our system authorities there is certainty that the proposed funding growth for all Catholic schools will not be at the rate that would have flowed from years five and six of the original Gonski recommendations. The Federal Government has not been able to allay several of the Catholic sector’s concerns about the package.

The main points of concern are that:

  • Funding for students with disabilities will change in a way which adversely impacts Catholic Schools. The new NCCD methodology used to calculate this funding has serious flaws and on 16 December 2016, even the Minster went on record as saying the NCCD “fails a basic credibility test.”
  • Funding for Catholic schools will not grow at the same pace as other sectors over the next 10 years even though our wages and operating costs will rise at the same rate.
  • The new funding model relies on the use of the SES (Socio-economic status) methodology. The original Gonski Review called for a review of the SES formula because of its inadequacies and we want the Government to commit to this. We say this system has flaws. The tool previously used by the Catholic sector to correct some of these flaws (the ‘System Weighted Average’) has now been abandoned by the Government despite the Gonski Review supporting such an approach.

You may have seen or heard about the Commonwealth’s School Funding Estimator website. I have been advised that the numbers shown on the site for our school are notional figures based on what would happen if the new funding model was already in place, when it is not. They do not accurately state our funding position in 2017 or beyond and parents should not rely on it. This is because Catholic schools (as a sector) allocate funding within their system as supported and approved under the current legislation.

During last Tuesday’s assembly, we congratulated our Senior Mathematics Team for their top placing in the recent Narangba Valley Mathematics Challenge. This is the third year in a row that the team has won this challenge. Our intermediate team was placed second in their competition. The senior team members included Liam Smith, Mason Bugden, Sean Lahey, Harry Lawrence and Callum Waite. Our intermediate team members included Thomas Irwin, Ben Evans, Craig Gilpin, Mitchell Bell and Karl Oberman. Congratulations on a wonderful effort by all. During the assembly, we also recognised 21 young men who will be representing the College in the QUT Chemical Titration competition this weekend. These young men and Mrs O’Sullivan have been working very hard in preparation for the competition.

This weekend our junior teams compete at Curlew Park in Rugby and Football whilst the senior teams travel to Ipswich to play. Last Saturday, our First XI Football team continued their undefeated run with a 1-1 draw with Marist College Ashgrove (MCA) whilst our First XV Rugby team suffered their first loss for the season. Overall, our day at MCA was very difficult because it was very strong competition from them. However, I was very proud of the way that many of our teams stuck to the task and the sportsmanship and respect shown by all the teams from both schools.

Our Chess teams travel to Ipswich to compete against St Edmund’s College. They have had a very successful season to date and are currently ranked on the top of the AIC table.

We have just completed the sixth week of a nine week term. Our Year 11 and 12 students have only nine more days before they start their end of semester block exams. Our students from Years 5-10 will also have assessment and exams over this time. It is most important that each young man is well into a program of study revision and exam preparation, especially the young men in secondary school. Generally, last minute preparation reaps last minute results.

Next week I will attend the EREA National Principal’s Conference in Canberra from Tuesday to Friday. This is a great opportunity to not only learn from the vast array of guest speakers but also to network with other Principals from around the country and find out what initiatives are happening within their schools.

Live Jesus in our Hearts!

Mr Chris Mayes – College Principal