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Monday, June 17, 2024
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Leader honours educators’ hard work

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Dallas McInerney, CEO of Catholic Schools NSW. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Dallas McInerney, CEO of Catholic Schools NSW. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

The Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Schools NSW has honoured parents, carers, educators and wider school communities for their hard work and dedication over the past three tumultuous school years.

Dallas McInerney took the opportunity during his keynote address at the 2022 Catholic Schools NSW Education Law Symposium to thank senior school and system leaders for their efforts while facing the challenges of the “largest unplanned experiment of schooling” in human history.

Mr McInerney praised Catholic educators for their ingenuity as they pivoted to home based learning during the pandemic without any notice, “proper planning or a blueprint of any kind.”

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Citing UNICEF and UNESCO research, he stated that more than 1.6 billion children had their education disrupted by COVID, missing on average 224 days of schooling.

“For Catholic schools … the suspension of our sacramental programmes both school or parish based … were felt deeply.”

With the symposium theme being the “spirit of service” Mr McInerney spoke of the need for “children’s education and scholarship that could also bear witness to the Gospel and the example of Christ”, touching on the fact that NSW Catholic School students did not just miss out on education during the lockdowns, but religious formation.

“For Catholic schools, the impacts went beyond the learning, the suspension of our sacramental programmes both school or parish based, such an important part of our Ministry, were felt deeply and work continues to support those year groups that missed out during that time,” Mr McInerney said.

Catholic Schools NSW, the peak body for Catholic education in the state, is calling parents, schools and educators to continue working collaboratively to ensure that young people do not become a generation that ‘went without’, so that there are no long term impacts from the pandemic.

“Catholic education at its best, is also courageous, optimistic and whatever the challenges we face – and there are many – we know we can bring the values formed over our long history to today’s responsibilities of stewardship,” he said.

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