From the Principal

The Education Gap

NSW regional education plan to improve outcomes for kids in the bushSMH, February 2021

A government review has shown that regional and remote areas in NSW show a significant educational disadvantage. Regional NSW Minister John Barilaro this week launched a 20-year education strategy to try to end the huge disparity between city and country schools.

St Columba’s foundation was predicated on the belief that students in a regional area, like the Hastings, should not have to accept a second rate education and should have the opportunity to access an education equal to that offered to students in city areas.

This determination is reflected in the school’s stated vision: At St Columba we will transform the lives of our students by offering the educational opportunities that will allow them to have lives of purpose, service and engagement.

It appears that things are not good across regional NSW: “Regional schools face myriad problems from attracting qualified teachers in specialised subjects to a shortage of physical school buildings in some areas.”

“When we look at results, despite good efforts from our government and teachers, there is still a gap when you look at HSC completions, enrolments in early childhood education, the whole gamut.” Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell.

We believe that our School has managed to develop in such a way that we really do deliver the kind of first class education that is the equal of that offered by successful city schools (at a much lower fee level) .

When you look at what the research says about what makes a really good school, our report card is impressive:

What really good schools have:

  • A positive atmosphere
  • Good governance
  • Clear lines of leadership and management
  • An abundance of high quality co-curricular activities
  • Highly-trained and innovative teachers
  • Strong financial and administrative systems
  • High graduation rates
  • A great campus

Rather than resting on our laurels, our goal is to be a consistently great school.

How are we doing with that goal? Well…..

  • Have a clear set of core values and focus on a higher purpose;
  • Make decisions and take actions that reinforce and affirm their vision;
  • Have the right people in the right positions;
  • Have disciplined people, who use disciplined thought to produce disciplined action;
  • Are aware of emerging trends and potential problems and willing to act to confront them;
  • Set high standards for students and school personnel and allocates resources to achieve success;
  • Make steady, consistent efforts to improve in key areas.

I will leave it to our families and community to determine: “Are we there yet?”

Terry Muldoon

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