Catherine McAuley Catholic College, Medowie, the Hunter’s newest school will open in 2021.
The NSW Department of Planning has approved the Development Application and construction of the school is expected to commence in late 2019.
The development application includes a high school, early education centre, chapel and primary school all co-located on the one Medowie Road site.
Community consultation has shaped the planned development, which will commence with the construction of the chapel and provision of Years 7 and 8 at the college from 2021, with the opening of a St Nicholas Early Education Centre to follow soon after.
The high school will eventually cater for 1,200 students in Years 7 to 12 and will feature state of the art learning centres, including a library and recreation areas.
Catherine McAuley Catholic College will be the first Catholic high school in the Port Stephens region and has received strong support from locals, particularly as there is no public high school in Medowie.
The Catholic Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, Bishop Bill Wright is particularly buoyed by the difference this will make to the lives of students, saying once opened the college will reduce travel time for students in the Port Stephens area who may have otherwise travelled to Newcastle to access a Catholic secondary education.
“The reduced travel time will be a great outcome for students and their families,” Bishop Bill said. “Rather than spending up to two hours a day on a bus, students will have increased opportunities to be involved in after-school activities, study and spend time with nearby friends and family.”
Bishop Bill said the characteristics of a school under the patronage of Catherine McAuley, grounded in the Mercy traditions of justice, excellence, integrity, courage, hospitality and mercy had inspired the college’s name.
Catherine McAuley College Principal, Scott Donohoe has said the college will deliver contemporary and engaging learning opportunities for students.
“The curriculum and learning will be aligned with essential competencies such as creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication,” Mr Donohoe said. “Rather than a sole focus on knowledge retention, learning experiences will be inquiry-based, personalised and relevant to the real world. A key focus will be developing strong partnerships with local industry to support young people in post-school pathways.”
“Spaces will support a shift from the traditional teacher-centred approach to student-centred learning in which voice, choice and agency are evident. Additionally, a key feature of the college’s design will incorporate a learning/research centre that animates the key focus on STEM,” Mr Donohoe said.
Families seeking to enrol students at Catherine McAuley Catholic College for Year 7 or 8, from 2021, can register their interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. By registering their interest they will be kept up-to-date with matters relating to the school including construction works, community forums and enrolment periods.
If families have any questions about the college, they can contact the Foundation Principal Scott Donohoe on (02) 4979 1155 or email email@example.com.