CSPD System Leaders Symposium

On 2 and 3 November 2023 senior staff from Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese (CSPD) met for the annual System Leaders' Symposium, creating an opportunity for reflection and discussion on strategy and holistic educational wellbeing.

The inaugural day of the symposium saw leaders participating in the early stages of crafting a multi-year strategy for CSPD.

The Deputy Premier of New South Wales, Minister for Education and Early Learning, and Minister for Western Sydney, the Honourable Prue Car MP, was a special guest speaker.

Minister Car addressed the pressing issue of the current teacher shortage, emphasising the imperative to support retention, particularly among early career educators. She confirmed the NSW Government's commitment to addressing challenges within the education sector, with a focus on elevating educational outcomes.

Prue Car MP

“Lifting education outcomes is the most important priority of this Government. High-quality schooling that equips students to reach their full potential in whatever pathway they choose.”

Reflecting on her own Catholic education at Our Lady of the Way Primary Emu Plains and Caroline Chisholm College Glenmore Park, Minister Car spotlighted the pivotal role teachers play in shaping communities.

“A defining feature of any community is a well-educated population and for that we need a strong system that supports schools to function at the best of their ability,” Minister Car said.

"We have beautiful schools but the magic is the teacher in front of the children. There is no way I would be standing here without my Catholic education.”

The symposium's first day also featured a panel session with members of the CSPD Board, including Chair Elizabeth Crouch AM, reflecting on the initial ten months post the incorporation of CSPD on 1 January 2023. The session delved into future opportunities and challenges envisaged for CSPD and the broader education sector.

In the evening, a dinner was held to farewell retiring and departing principals: Michael Hopley, Sue Veling, Danuta Maka, Jim Fanning, Kevin Mills and Paul Finneran.

On the second day, Wellbeing Counsellors engaged in an in-depth immersion into the realm of Wellbeing for Learning, sharing insights and fostering collaboration with their respective school Principals.

Dr Helen Street

Day two commenced with a captivating keynote address by best-selling author and Honorary Fellow at The University of Western Australia, Dr Helen Street.

Dr Street presented the concept of contextual wellbeing, emphasising the pivotal role of cultivating connections and a sense of belonging among staff, students and families.

A series of workshops followed, covering diverse topics such as 'harnessing student voice’, 'building stronger foundations to support a multi-tiered system of support’, 'staff wellbeing’ and 'SchoolTV’.

Renae Dunleavy, Principal of St Patrick’s Primary School Lithgow, shared insights in her workshop on 'creating wellbeing hubs in schools’, detailing the transformative impact of this initiative on her school's learning culture.

2023 CSPD Leaders Symposium

The Symposium's collaborative spirit was further exemplified by a wealth of ideas, challenges, and anecdotes shared over the two days, laying a robust foundation for co-creating a system strategy.

This strategy will aim to propel CSPD forward over the coming years while, at the same time, nurturing the wellbeing of all members of CSPD's 80 school communities across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.


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Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese

Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese

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