Capability to Better

Serve and Lead

Building future school capacity

Catholic Education Melbourne is responsible for the strategic provision of schooling across the Archdiocese of Melbourne, in order to ensure access to Catholic education for those Catholic families that wish it.

New schools for growing Catholic communities

For many of our parents and grandparents, the physical layout of today’s Catholic schools is quite different from their experience of school. Rows of wooden desks have been replaced with brightly coloured furniture, and blackboards have made way for individual tablets.

In the 200 years since the first Catholic school in Australia opened its doors, school spaces have changed so much they would now be unrecognisable to those early pioneers.

Changes in the way teaching and learning occur, additional services offered to students and families, and rapid developments in technology have changed the way new school buildings are being designed.

Schools are making changes to enable whole-class, small group and individual work to flourish.

Indoor and outdoor areas are being redesigned to cater for different types of learning, and to promote a healthy and safe environment for our students.

Administration facilities handle increasingly complex situations, while providing services and welcoming families and visitors.

Two new schools opened in 2019 that are examples of this innovative approach to school design: Glowrey Catholic School, Wollert, and Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School, Sunbury. The new schools are both in Melbourne’s north, to support the growing Catholic community in this area.

Catholic Education Melbourne staff project-managed and coordinated the delivery of two more new schools in 2019: Iona College Geelong, Charlemont, and St Catherine of Siena Catholic Primary School, Armstrong Creek.

Delivering a new school is complex and requires staff from Catholic Education Melbourne and its partners to work together to ensure that statutory approval requirements are appropriately satisfied, key milestones in the construction program are achieved, and essential services are commissioned and available at the time of the school opening.

Construction of these schools was completed in 2019, and both were open and accepted enrolments for the commencement of the 2020 school year.

Community members were involved in important aspects of the design for both schools.

Donna Bryce, foundation principal at St Catherine of Siena Catholic Primary School, said: ‘We’ve had families assisting with the design of our school uniform, as well as our two playgrounds’.

‘It’s important for our community to be able to discuss what they want for our school and be an integral part of the formation of St Catherine of Siena Catholic Primary School.’

Streamlined process for delivering new and upgraded schools

Catholic Education Melbourne has long advocated for the Victorian Government to streamline the planning permit process required to deliver a new school or upgrade existing school facilities.

In December 2019, the government introduced interim measures which would achieve that goal for permit applications funded under the Victorian Government’s Non-Government Schools Capital Fund.

Catholic Education Melbourne Acting Executive Director Jim Miles was supportive of the government’s changes.

He said, ‘These changes will reduce the time and cost associated with the planning permit process, enabling Catholic education to better respond to the schooling needs of our community’.

‘We expect these changes to help Catholic education increase access to education in growth and regional areas over the long term, supporting parents to choose a school that meets their children’s needs.’


Planning for the future

Providing access to a Catholic education requires an understanding of demography and the impact of changing trends on school enrolments. These factors then guide decision-making in relation to the establishment of new facilities and the expansion, refurbishment or rationalisation of existing schools.

In 2019, Catholic Education Melbourne’s Planning unit completed an update of the Strategic School Provision Plan for the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

The updated study used newly released population projections to reaffirm the need for additional school provision in all growth areas and parts of the inner city, and also identified new trends from the updated data.

Alongside this work, the Planning unit took on responsibility for the management of all land held by the Roman Catholic Trusts Corporation for future school development. 

This change is a reflection of Catholic Education Melbourne’s role in negotiating land acquisitions for new schools.

In 2019, negotiations were completed to acquire land in Greenvale to facilitate the opening of a new Catholic primary school for the commencement of the 2022 school year.