Pre to Post School Vision Becomes a Reality

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The Catholic Learning Community (CLC) of St John XXIII and St Mark’s College at Stanhope Gardens has welcomed its first intake of university students.

This new partnership at CLC represents the beginning of how post education can be implemented in Catholic Schools in the future.

CLC Principal Dr Peter Webster said this is a tiny step on a bold journey.

"A lot of people talk about pre to post schools, however, here we are making that dream a reality," Dr Webster said.

"We are a Catholic Learning Community because on site we have a parish, parish office, Catholic Early Learning Centre, Catholic Out of School Hours Care, Primary School, St Mark’s Catholic College, students learning in Vocational Education and now Australian Catholic University education."

Dr Webster said it has taken a year for the school and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) to come up with a sustainable model and this year they have welcomed up to 10 students who will be completing their Masters of Teaching at Stanhope Gardens.

"The students will complete their lectures, tutorials and practical work onsite," he said.

"Some of the students are travelling quite a distance because it is such a unique opportunity for them.

"The students have already begun doing some of their practical teaching components in class, which will give them an opportunity to learn from our staff and our staff can learn from them."

ACU representative Dr Judith Norris said they are very grateful to The Catholic Learning Community at Stanhope Gardens for this opportunity.

"We have a school in Canberra, which has a similar embedded model like this," Dr Norris said.

"We are very excited to see how it may unfold and have great hope for this model because of the vision of the executive leaders here."

Marco Panozzo from Wollongong will be doing his Masters of Teaching after having completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in accounting, business law and economics.

"I had done some work as a student support officer at Holy Spirit College and I worked with a range of children," he said.

"It was one specific student who looked upon me as a bit of a father figure, who spurred me on to complete my Masters.

"It also made me reflect on my days as a Catholic school student and how well I was looked after when my father passed away while I was doing my HSC.

"Now is my chance to give back."

Fellow students including Laura Clissold from Kogarah and Sally-Anne Webster, CLC Principal Dr Peter Webster’s daughter, will be doing their Masters of Teaching too.

Miss Clissold has already done a Bachelor of Inclusive Education and Disability Studies and is keen to teach in an inclusive classroom, where the diverse learning needs of students can be met.

Fellow ACU student Miss Webster said she decided to leave her full-time advertising job and join her family of teachers by completing her bachelor degree in society and culture and history, and going on to doing her Masters of Teaching.

She is not fazed by the fact she will be completing her Masters of Teaching with her father on site.

"Dad has always encouraged me to go back to school and to continue learning, " Miss Webster said.

Both are excited they will be able to have their lectures and do their practical placement on the same site.