Catholic School Parents Australia (CSPA) hit the ground running in 2023 with the first council meeting held in Brisbane (February). In her role as Acting Chair, Siobhan Allen welcomed everyone to the meeting and spoke of the significance of 2023 being the tenth year for CSPA. Planning is underway for some celebration of this milestone in August. Siobhan and Carmel Nash were founding members of CSPA. Siobhan also noted that Madonna King had resigned from the position of chair and that a process would soon commence for her replacement. Special welcome was also extended to Wayne Crase who was recommencing as a CSPA representative from Catholic School Parents Queensland.
Jacinta Collins (National Catholic Education Commission, Executive Director) was a guest presenter at the meeting and her sharing with CSPA focused on the proposed reforms to discrimination legislation and the possible impacts on Catholic schools. She gave an outline of the evolution of discrimination legislation and religious freedom and noted that with a review every 5 years we were always having to defend how our Catholic schools operate and what might constitute discrimination – the individual versus the community of faith of the Catholic school. A key premise to the discussion was that Australia has a strong and vibrant Catholic education sector, so we need to be able to maintain this.
Later in the day, Fr Michael Twigg OMI celebrated Mass and joined councillors for dinner at the Pullman Brisbane Airport Hotel. Fr Michael’s presence is always much welcomed, not only for his thought-provoking Mass celebrations, but his many stories on current education matters.
A key theme running through a busy agenda at the February meeting was CSPA’s representation and advocacy for Catholic school parents. Over the past twelve months, CSPA has reached out to parents through national surveys and forums to obtain their views in relation to the wellbeing and learning of their children. CSPA appreciates that much of this work has been assisted by funding from the Federal Government.
A 2023 – 2024 Service Contract was signed in April 2023 with the Australian Government. This work will include: collecting and reporting on evidence from teachers and parents on communication between home and school; a deeper dive into parent views on communication from the CSPA 2022 Parent Views survey and the 2023 parent views in relation to disruption in the classroom; identifying and publishing communication “success stories”; identifying examples of pre-service teacher education programs which have significant input on communication with parents; collecting 2024 parent views on student wellbeing and learning for comparison with 2022 evidence; and collecting 2024 parent views on other topics of interest.
During May, CSPA will appoint a Project Manager who will play a key role with much of this work.
Since December 2022, CSPA has made the following submissions and reports to the Federal Government. Participation in panels and senate hearings are also listed.
Each submission is linked below and also available on the CSPA website https://www.cspa.catholic.edu.au/
- CSPA Submission: Inquiry into school refusal - The Senate Education and Employment References Committee (8 December 2022).
- Parent Perspectives on Student Wellbeing and Learning – Project Report (ARACY, December 2022).
- CSPA Media Release: CSPA supports cuts to HELP debt for remote teachers (24 Jan 2023).
- CSPA Submission: Review by the Australian Law Reform Commission into religious educational institutions and anti-discrimination laws (24 Feb 2023).
- CSPA Submission: Copyright Enforcement Review (10 March 2023).
- CSPA Media release regarding NAPLAN (10 March 2023).
- CSPA Submission: Senate Education and Employment Committee Inquiry into disruption in Australian school classrooms (31 March 2023).
- CSPA Submission: Review of the impact of COVID – 19 on school students with disability (11 April 2023).
Two CSPA representatives participated in the Developments in higher education admission practices focus group session (13 April 2023).
A CSPA representative appeared at the Senate Hearing into Classroom disruption (20 April 2023).
Work continues on the 2021 – 2022 Service Contract with the Australian Government through a deeper dive into the evidence from the 2022 CSPA Parent Views Survey and 25 Reference group Forums – a report will be completed by mid-2023.
On 29 March 2023, Minister Clare announced a Review to Inform a Better and Fairer Education System. CSPA is pleased to be invited to have a representative on the Review to Inform a Better and Fairer Education System’s Ministerial Reference Group. The first meeting is scheduled for July 2023.Read Less
- CSPA keenly supports and promotes the work of the eSafety Commissioner. Parents/ carers are encouraged to visit the Parent section in the eSafety website and see what resources are available.
- Andrew Fuller (2023) notes that while the pandemic years have challenged us all, the effects have been especially severe for girls and young women. Read more of Andrew’s reflection on this topic in Helping girls to regain their confidence and motivation which is available at https://theparentswebsite.com.au/helping-girls-regain-their-confidence-and-motivation-from-andrew-fuller/