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One of the more significant pleasures of my role as Bishop is the opportunity it affords me to spend time in our schools and with our students. In discussions with our senior high school students and student leaders, I am continually impressed by the quality of these young people who are the products of our schools. Their commitment to justice, intelligent inquiry and basic human decency, and their confident readiness to step up and take their part, all bode well for their making real contributions to the good of the local community and our Australian society. In our primary schools, I am struck by the spirit of fun and of enjoyment in learning that pervades our classrooms. I am also struck, of course, by the amazing facility these young children have in working with new IT devices and systems that I would hardly know how to turn on. Our schools are lively places.

This website, of course, will not open up for you all the pleasures of engaging with our schools. It does, however, open up various points of access to what is going on, from the reports to the plans, from the values to the latest news. I hope you will explore these pages and find them helpful and enlightening. The site will also serve to connect you to other aspects of the life of the Church community in our diocese.

At the present time there is a great deal happening that bears on the present and future of schooling in Australia. All of our schools have benefited greatly by the new facilities provided under the Commonwealth’s Building the Education Revolution funding of recent years. On the other hand, the NSW Government has announced substantial cuts to spending on education that will have an impact on all schools. The Commonwealth Government’s Gonski Report on education proposes sweeping and largely positive changes to education funding, but it is as yet unclear which of these will be implemented, or how or when.

Catholic schools have operated in this diocese virtually from the time of the first European settlements. The present rapid growth in population in some areas presents real challenges to us as we try to continue to make Catholic education available across the diocese. We are committed to meeting that challenge. Whatever the future may hold, however, our fundamental commitment is that our schools, new or old, will be safe and stimulating places of learning, centred on the Christian faith lived in the Catholic community, and providing not only an excellent academic curriculum but also, in partnership with families and the church community, a deep care for the development of the whole human person of our students. I invite you to learn more about our schools through this website. Welcome!

+ Bill Wright

Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle