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    I am very pleased to present to you the 2015 Annual Report of Catholic Education Melbourne.

    Foreword SteveIt was a significant year for us in 2015, as we launched our new Strategic Plan 2015–2019: To Serve and Lead. With the new strategic plan, we have renewed our commitment to serve and lead Catholic schools in their evangelising and educational mission. It is a commitment to every young person in our schools, to their wellbeing and their possibility.

    With the launch of the Strategic Plan, the Catholic Education Office Melbourne was renamed Catholic Education Melbourne. The new name captures the responsibility we share with schools and reflects our united approach to teaching and learning in the education of over 150,000 students in Melbourne’s Catholic schools. The new name is accompanied with a new branding: it includes a fresh take on our logo design and colours and incorporates the new name.

    In our Strategic Plan 2015–2019 our objectives and strategies are organised under three themes:

    1. Enhancing Catholic identity
    2. Quality teaching for all learners
    3. Catholic Education Melbourne capability to better serve and lead.

    In 2015, I had the privilege of addressing the International Catholic Education Congress in Rome: Educating Today and Tomorrow: A renewing passion. I shared our Enhancing Catholic School Identity Project as a long-term solution to re-contextualising our Catholic tradition and renewing our identity. I detailed our progress in developing a common language of Catholic identity across Catholic schools, and research instruments to help each school assess its Catholic identity. We are reviewing and renewing our pedagogical frameworks to reflect what we have learned from the project and we are moving from assessment to enhancement of Catholic identity. In reality our work has just begun.

    In developing the Strategic Plan we reviewed our operations to identify how we could more effectively meet the needs of schools and the young people in our care. In addition, the review examined the capacity of our existing structures to achieve the objectives of the new Strategic Plan. A process of restructure began, with a major focus on the Catholic Identity and Education Services Staff Group, which was renamed Catholic Education Services. A process of reflection, discussion and discernment has continued as we develop new ways of working with and supporting schools founded on the best research and practice and a common vision for Catholic education.

    Melbourne’s Catholic school sector is thriving. With growing enrolments and growing demand, we are planning 19 new schools – 14 primary and 5 secondary – in Melbourne and Geelong in the next decade. NAPLAN results in 2015 showed continued Catholic school improvement in all age groups in numeracy and reading. Year 12 results were better than the state average and in line with research that has shown that, on average, Catholic schools provide a six-point ATAR advantage in all levels of achievement, when compared with students at government schools.

    The annual HILDA report showed the prevalence of bullying in Catholic secondary schools is relatively low at 15%, and supports internal Catholic Education Melbourne data indicating an overall decline as we aim for zero-bullying environments.

    We welcomed the Victorian Government’s non-government schools funding legislation, which locks the 25% linkage funding arrangements into law. This guarantees equitable, reliable and transparent funding arrangements for our schools into the future. We will again be making funding a priority in 2016 with the federal government, and we strive to ensure reasonable levels of funding growth in the year 2017 and beyond.

    I want to express my gratitude to all those who contributed to the education and wellbeing of the children and young people in our care – school leaders, teachers, other school staff, parents, our bishops, priests and religious, our own staff and our community partners. We celebrate all our achievements in 2015 and, with the grace and mercy of God, move into 2016 with confidence and hope.

    S. Elder signature  

    Stephen Elder
    Executive Director

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