Priority Items

2020 Non-Government Schools Census (Ref: 129/20)

Catholic Schools NSW issued updated advice to Diocesan Offices and RI PJP schools this week after the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) issued its 2020 Non-government Schools Census Update on Friday 19 June 2020. This advice confirms Friday 7 August 2020 as the census reference date. It also outlines a range of changes to the census specifications. For more information visit the DESE website.

Further information for systemic schools is available from their Diocesan Office, whilst RI and PJP Schools are invited to contact Catholic Schools NSW via a dedicated Census Support Centre using the details below:

Schools Plus School Funding Applications Opening Soon (Ref: 131/20)

Schools Plus is a national charity that connects schools in disadvantaged communities with donors who are passionate about education.

This is an exciting opportunity for eligible schools to receive $20,000 – $250,000 in funding for a project that will bring a profound change to disadvantaged students.

Applications open July 20

From Monday 20 July, schools will be invited to lodge a simple Expression of Interest for a chance to be matched with a donor who will provide funding for a project designed to improve student outcomes.

Eligible schools must have a value below 1000 on the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA).

For more information please click here.

Tell us about your famous Catholic school alumni! (Ref: 126/20)

Catholic Schools NSW are reaching out to our stakeholders for a list of any famous or notable alumni that have previously graduated from a Catholic school.

Think sports stars, actors, musicians, politicians, doctors, lawyers – anyone recognisable, we want to know!
Send your list to Milly Waldren, Manager Media & Communication at Catholic Schools NSW via email


COVID-19 Update

HSC Marking Support Packs for 2020 HSC courses affected by COVID-19 (Ref: 135/20)

As per previous advice from NESA, HSC Marking Packs have been developed for HSC courses affected by COVID-19:

• Dance Major Study (all students in schools offering Composition and/or Film and Video)

• Visual Arts Body of Work

• Design and Technology Major Project (product, system or environment)

• Industrial Technology Major Project (product)

• Textiles and Design Major Project (textile item)

On Wednesday 24 June, an email was sent to principals advising them that the HSC Marking Support Packs will be delivered via the Canvas learning management system (LMS). A copy of that correspondence is available by clicking here.

Teachers must register to access the Marking Support Packs; principals have been provided with information regarding the registration process. 

Teachers will have until 24 July (end of Week 1 Term 3) to register in the LMS. Access to the LMS is only for teachers of the affected courses for the 2020 HSC. No other executive staff or teachers should have access to the courses on the LMS.

On Monday 29 June NESA will begin the staggered release of the first phase of the HSC Marking Support Packs. Registered teachers will receive email notification when the Support Pack for their course becomes available. The second phase of the release will take place on 27 July for Dance, and 3 August for the other courses. The packs have been developed for a teacher to work through individually, although teachers may, if they wish, do this part of the process with a colleague.

The packs include:

• HSC Marking Support Information specific to the course

• How to Allocate Marks – includes the marking process and the key considerations

• Benchmark examples – samples and annotations

• Practise Marking (Term 3).

Teachers will gain three hours of NESA Registered Professional Development for engaging with the Marking Support Pack and allocating their students’ marks.

Any queries regarding the HSC Marking Support Packs should be sent to the NESA COVID Support Team <> or on 1300 138 323.


Continuation of temporary boarding payment arrangements for Term 3 of 2020 (Ref: 134/20)

As advised on 16 April 2020, the Australian Government introduced temporary changes to ABSTUDY and AIC policy for Term 2 of 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.  These changes were implemented to support the boarding sector to maintain continuity of education services to students, including protecting students’ boarding places so they can return to boarding as soon as they are able.

These temporary changes to ABSTUDY and AIC policy have been extended for Term 3 of 2020.

Under these temporary arrangements, boarding students who qualified for ABSTUDY or AIC boarding payments in Term 2 will continue to qualify for payments in Term 3, provided they continue to maintain their existing boarding arrangements.

How do the temporary boarding payment arrangements work?

Payments will continue to be made by instalments as close to the normal scheduled timing as possible, based on the current enrolment information held by Services Australia.  Where the boarding provider is a boarding school and parents have requested changes to a student’s enrolment in Term 3, the school must inform Services Australia immediately.

Boarding payments will continue for students for whom payments were made in Term 2, whether they were present at the boarding facility or not. If a student is not attending the boarding facility the following criteria must continue to be met:

  1. The student remains enrolled/registered for the same boarding arrangement, and
  2. The student’s boarding place is reserved for their return as soon as the student is reasonably able to resume boarding, and
  3. The school/boarding provider maintains ongoing contact with the student and/or the student’s family during the period, and
  4. Where the student normally resides at a boarding school, the school provides the student with the curriculum and necessary support for remote learning.

As usual, student entitlements may vary based on individual circumstances such as parental income. 

What do boarding providers need to do?

Where students continue their education remotely, boarding providers should continue to:

  1. remain in contact with students and continue to provide educational support and pastoral care; and
  2. notify Services Australia immediately if the student discontinues their enrolment.

Where students return to boarding in Term 3, their boarding payments will continue in accordance with the usual arrangements.  Fares Allowance will be available for eligible ABSTUDY students, as per the usual process.

Where a new student enrols in Term 3 or partway through Term 3, the usual processes will apply.  However, claims for new boarding students in Term 3 will only be approved for students who are physically present at the boarding location.

What about ABSTUDY Term 3 Tuition Fees?

ABSTUDY School Fees Allowance (Group 2) for Term 3 will continue to be paid for tuition fees while schools continue to provide a curriculum and the necessary educational support to the eligible student.

If you have enquiries regarding these new policy arrangements, please contact the Department of Social Services at

For ABSTUDY payment enquiries, please phone the Third Party Contact Channel on 131 158.

For AIC payment enquiries, please phone 132 318.


Capturing Learnings from COVID-19 (Ref: 127/20)

Catholic Schools New South Wales and the NSW Department of Education know the last few months have been challenging. Schools and teachers had to think creatively and quickly to overcome those challenges. Now we would like to acknowledge your efforts and celebrate your innovative work throughout COVID-19.

The Department is conducting a rapid review into learnings from the last few months and is inviting teachers from schools across the NSW education sector to share their stories of innovative practices.

In particular the Department is looking for stories where teachers:

  • have significantly improved learning outcomes by applying new teaching practices
  • have supported student led initiatives which had great learning outcomes
  • provided equitable access to high quality education throughout COVID-19
  • supported students to thrive in different learning environments and how that has been maintained with the return to face-to-face learning
  • developed partnerships between families and schools that supported improved outcomes for students.

Submit your case study to help showcase how schools across the state rose to the COVID-19 challenge.

Submissions are open until Wednesday 15 July 2020.

Details on how nominations can be made are available on the Department’s website.

If you require further information about this case study please contact Gerard Delany, State Manager – Policy and Programs on (02) 9287 1549 or email.


NESA School Inspections Update (Ref: 125/20)

Please find below information from NESA Regarding school inspections for the remainder of 2020:

Non-government school inspections

NESA inspectors are contacting schools where 2020 inspections were postponed.
Adjustments to the inspection process and timing are being considered based on a risk assessment in consultation with individual schools.
Schools due for inspection in 2020 should continue to communicate with their designated inspector if they have any questions.
NESA will provide information about the 2021 inspection program later in 2020.

Government and non-government schooling systems

The Department of Education and non-government schooling system authorities are responsible for any adjustments to their school monitoring processes.
Government schools should contact the Department’s Leadership and High Performance Directorate (02 9244 5713) for advice about the Department’s monitoring in 2020.
Systemic non-government schools should contact their system for advice about their monitoring in 2020.

Random school inspections

NESA has cancelled the remaining 2020 program of schools selected randomly for inspection.
NESA will provide details of the 2021 program before the start of the 2021 school year.

Non-government school annual reports

Non-government schools have until 9 October 2020 to publish and submit to NESA an annual report for 2019.


Stay Healthy During the HSC - NESA Campaign (Ref: 113/20)

In any ‘normal’ year the HSC requires dedication and focus as well as the support of friends and family.

This year hasn’t exactly panned out to be a ‘normal’ year, with announcements about changes to the HSC due to COVID-19.

This year NESA is partnering with mental health organisation ReachOut to deliver news, information, guidance and advice to support all HSC students.

You’ll hear from experts, teachers, parents and other students as well as some inspiring spokespeople.

ReachOut’s Study Hub has heaps of info about taking a proactive approach to student’s mental health or where to go if you need more support. ReachOut’s Forums are great for sharing what’s going on for students and get ideas about the best ways to feel happy and well.

Students are being encouraged to follow and use #StayHealthyHSC for regular health and wellbeing updates and information.

View NESA’s range of social media images, posters and flyer to help you get involved and share the Stay Healthy HSC message with your community.


School Newsletter

$1500 Scholarship for ATSI Orchestral Musicians (Ref: 130/20)

One Day In January – a summer intensive for young ATSI orchestral musicians will be held in Melbourne from Jan 23 – 25 and led by Yorta Yorta composer Professor Deborah Cheetham AO. ODIJ is Australia’s only Indigenous led orchestral music program. This scholarship is open to ATSI musicians studying an orchestral instrument and will cover:

– Participation in the One Day In January project
– All tuition during the intensive
– Travel and accomodation*

Selection Criteria:

1. You must be an active member of your local ATSI community eg. participates regularly in community activities such as, but not limited to, traditional dance group, traditional language studies, art and music group or sporting team

2. Further to point 1 the Scholarship application form must be accompanied by a letter of introduction from a local registered ATSI organisation from the place of residence.

3. Age range 14 – 25

4. Currently studying an instrument with at least 2 years experience

5. Available to travel to Melbourne in January 2021.

6. If you are under 18 years of age at the time of the intensive travel will be provided for 1 parent or guardian to attend. No additional siblings.

7. 18+ will be expected to travel unaccompanied and be accommodated at Quest apartments in Southbank with a staff member from SBO or fellow participant

This Scholarship, valued at up to $1500, will provide the recipient with an opportunity to study with some of Melbourne’s finest musicians in a culturally empowering environment.

This Scholarship will help to develop a pathway for the recipient into Short Black Opera’s new ATSI Orchestra – Ensemble Dutala.

Ensemble Detailer
Ensemble Dutala emerges from Short Black Opera’s One Day in January project, established in 2019 and is designed to increase the visibility and status of professional ATSI orchestral musicians in Australia. Inspired by the language of Prof. Cheetham’s grandmother, the Yorta Yorta word Dutala, meaning Star Filled Sky, was the inspiration for this new ensemble.

ARTEXPRESS Virtual (2019 HSC Students) (Ref: 124/20)

The NSW Department of Education and NSW Education Standards Authority have officially launched ARTEXPRESS Virtual 2020.

Please click here to explore the interactive website. We welcome you to share the invitation with your colleagues, friends and family.

If you have any questions please contact the ARTEXPRESS team at