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    General Overview

    The CEOM Strategic Plan 2011–2015 identified several key objectives which were relevant to Planning, including the:

    • building of communities of faith and hope
    • development of Catholic schools as core community centres
    • Promotion of a culture of creativity and innovative practice
    • effective stewardship of resources
    • planning and provision of safe, contemporary and effective learning environments.

    The CEOM Planning Unit marked a significant step in the achievement of these objectives with the successful completion of a number of key projects, including:

    • Archdiocesan Strategic Provision Plan 2015–2018
    • School–Community Partnerships policy paper
    • ongoing identification and site assessment for future schools in Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs), centred around community hubs
    • Community Planning for Learning Spaces process concluding with three communities building new primary schools to open in 2015
    • the establishment of agreements with Whittlesea and Hume Councils to explore partnerships of Catholic schools and local community facilities
    • a consultation process with schools regarding the Education for Sustainability Framework draft document, and the attendant transfer of the Environmentally Sustainable Development leadership from CEOM Planning to Curriculum and Secondary Services.

    Entering the next iteration of the CEOM Strategic Plan 2015–19, the Planning Unit is preparing to extend this agenda into further actualisation of planning objectives and the development of more innovative practice to better meet school and community needs.


    Contemporary Learning spaces at newly constructed school, St Clare's, Truganina. 

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    Main Activities

    Archdiocese of Melbourne Strategic School Provision Plan

    The CEOM has achieved a significant milestone with the preparation of the first of its kind Strategic School Provision Plan for the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The Plan will confidently guide Catholic future education provision across the whole Archdiocese. It is designed to ensure the appropriate number, location and timely delivery of new schools into the future. The study also takes stock of existing schools and their capacity to cater for future provision demand in their catchment areas.

    The Plan provides clear direction on the future demand for Catholic education and provides a framework to inform decisions in respect of capital works expenditure ensuring the efficient and timely delivery of Catholic education.

    Recognition of Catholic schools in the planning process

    An agreed process has been achieved with the Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA), to be consistently applied for strategically justified Catholic schools, as part of the Precinct Structure Planning process, providing more certainty in the delivery of Catholic schools.


    Personal Story


    Molly McQueen
    Year 12 student in 2014
    Avila College, Mount Waverley.
    Profoundly deaf and totally dependent on two cochlear implants to hear, Molly McQueen graduated from Avila College, Mount Waverley, at the end of 2014 with an ATAR of 84.6 and is now studying psychology and forensic science at Swinburne University.

    I think the best thing I can say about my time at Avila College is that they treated me as a normal person and made sure my disability didn’t stop me doing anything that I wanted to do at school. So many activities, like the Year 10 study trip to Italy, will stay with me for a lifetime.

    I always thought it must be pretty expensive to provide for someone like me, but when I stopped to think about everything Avila did it reinforced that I had the best time at high school.

    The personalised support I received was wonderful –from radio frequency microphones that transmitted directly into my ear and specialist computer equipment, to teachers being my ears at swimming carnivals and providing a note taker in Year 12 English.

    And it went well beyond funding. So many teachers were there for me, like Mr Johnson in Year 12 legal studies, who met with me one-on-one every week to make sure I understood everything. I got a study score of 40 and was so glad to be able to repay his commitment.

    I now want to help others and to work in the legal justice system, maybe with victims of crime, and also to mentor people with deafness, because not a lot of deaf students had the same access to funding and the same experience as me.

    I know I wouldn’t be where I am without Avila.

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    Among other things the CEOM is now to be identified as the lead agency for delivery of the school irrespective of the status of ownership of the land within approved PSPs incorporated into the relevant planning schemes affording recognition of the role of Catholic schools in education delivery.

    A renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the CEOM and the MPA, which provides the terms of reference for including the CEOM as a stakeholder in the planning and development of new areas, ensuring that demand for Catholic schools is met into the future.

    New Schools and Closures

    One primary school opened in the Archdiocese in 2014 – St Mary of the Cross, located in Point Cook in the parish of Laverton, with an enrolment of 152. This school received a commendation for Education Initiative or Design Solution for an Innovative Program at the 2014 CEFPI Victorian Chapter Awards, announced in November 2014. Additionally, a recent school opened in 2010, Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Wyndham Vale, won the category of Entire New Facility at the same awards ceremony.

    Three new primary schools were planned for 2015; these include, St Clare's Catholic School, Truganina; St John the Apostle Catholic Primary School, Tarneit; and St Paul the Apostle, Doreen. Construction for all three schools commenced in early 2014.


    The 'beehive' at St Mary of the Cross, Point Cook, was commended for its design. 

    Each of the local steering committees has been actively engaged in marketing initiatives to assist in building community relationships.

    There were no school closures in 2014.

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    Support for schools in enrolment decline

    With the support of the parish priest, a Working Party was established in 2013 to investigate the underlying reasons for the continued decline in enrolments at St Stephen’s School, Reservoir East, which had reached a critical point, and develop and implement strategies to grow enrolments.

    A renewal strategy was developed to support enrolment growth over a three-year period. In addition to school staff, families and the local community, professional advice and assistance was called upon from various departments across the organisation, including the Northern Regional Office, Planning, Infrastructure & Capital Funding, Marketing & Communications, Wellbeing & Community Partnerships, and Finance.

    Among many achievements, the major outcomes for 2014 included:

    • the rebranding of the school with a new logo
    • a curriculum focused on personalised learning
    • new landscaping, which considerably improved the appearances of the grounds
    • increased signage in the local area.

    The Office will continue to monitor the enrolment situation of the school over the next couple of years.

    Archdiocesan Enrolment Committee

    The Archdiocesan Enrolment Committee (AEC) serves to advise the Executive Director on enrolment matters in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Many of the issues discussed and assessed are related to Catholic secondary schools.

    Recurring matters that come across the Committee include complaints of schools enrolling prospective students outside their designated priority parishes (or catchment area) or schools wishing to increase their Year 7 ceiling level to take on more students. 

    The Archdiocesan Enrolment Policy seeks cooperation and collaboration between schools in their efforts to source students from their rightful catchment area. This is necessary to ensure the viability of our schools but in practice is much more complex to administer.

    That said, in recent years, with the reduced number of complaints and correspondence received by the Office, it would appear that schools are increasingly observing this protocol. It is important for school leaders to acknowledge that they are part of a broader system that encourages enrolment growth, but not at the expense of other Catholic schools.

    School–Community Partnerships and Community Hubs

    The completion of the School–Community Partnerships policy paper for consideration by the Executive Director occurred in 2014. A draft paper was developed in 2013 by Professor Loretta Giorcelli, the Planning Unit finalised the paper following a workshop with Dr George Otero in March. The paper highlights the importance of placing Catholic schools within community hubs at the heart of community facilities, following the direction that the CEOM policy on Schools as Core Social Centres has set.

    In particular, it recognises the importance of early learning centres in this association of Catholic schools and community.


    Learning spaces at newly built St John the Apostle Catholic Primary School in Tarneit 

    This follows the initiatives taken by St Mark’s School in Fawkner and St Francis of Assisi School in Mill Park in building kindergartens onsite or taking over the operation of one already adjacent to the school. Further work on this aspect will be taken up in 2015 as part of the implementation of the Archdiocesan Strategic Plan 2015–2018.

    The policy of placing new schools in community hubs in new PSPs in growth corridors prompted the study of five existing partnerships between schools and community facilities. The purpose was to assess the levels of success of some of the examples of co-located Catholic schools, government schools and community facilities. This took place at the latter half of 2014, with the cooperation of the schools, the Department of Education and Training (DET) and the MPA. Outcomes of the study will be used to guide the establishment of any new community hubs in the Archdiocese.

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    Other Initiatives

    • Planning Profiles training for CEOM staff and school personnel
    • submission to the Minister of Planning on Zone reform on behalf of all Catholic schools
    • ongoing work to ensure that ‘as of right’ use permits are transferred across the new growth zones when implemented.
    • enrolment protocol cluster support with regional managers
    • mapping, demography and school profiling for school boards
    • consultation on draft framework Education for Sustainability in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

    Key Events 

    • February 2014 – opening of St Mary of the Cross, Point Cook
    • March 2014 – workshop on Community Hubs policy with Dr George Otero
    • April 2014 – construction begins on new schools in Tarneit and Truganina
    • June 2014 – construction begins at new primary school in Doreen
    • October 2014 – construction completed in Tarneit 
    • November 2014 – Archbishop Hart endorses Archdiocesan Strategic Provision Plan
    • December 2014 – construction completed in Truganina
    • January 2015 – construction completed in Doreen.

    Construction on St Paul the Apostle, Doreen, began in June 2014. 

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