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In recognition of their outstanding leadership and innovation, Catholic Education Diocese of Bathurst (CEDB), has been awarded an Australian Council for Education Leaders (ACEL) Team Leadership Award for New South Wales 2023 at a recent awards dinner, held in Sydney on 4th August.

ACEL awards are presented to those who have demonstrated exceptional educational leadership and made significant impact and contribution to educational outcomes for students.

In response to critical staff shortages and the specific need of staff to teach extension courses in regional NSW, CEDB designed an innovative solution providing equitable access to extension courses for all students. With a strong commitment to high levels of learning for all, the Diocesan Learning Hub has challenged the possibilities of traditional education and mobilised the great strengths of our Catholic system of schools.

The team’s dedication and innovative approach to education has had a significant impact on the learning outcomes of students, promoting a culture of high expectations and fostering student success.

The launch of the Diocesan Learning Hub occurred two years ago, it provides a rich and engaging learning opportunity for students to acquire deeper learning through a more flexible approach to curriculum delivery, whilst responding to the specific requirements of the extension syllabuses. The Hub supports the development of diocesan cohorts through small group mentoring, enrichment days, specialist workshops, and online learning. This contemporary learning approach encourages student ownership, promotes critical engagement with the material learned both individually and collaboratively and provides challenges that require higher-order thinking and the application of learning in a variety of settings.

The Hub has increased the accessibility of higher level courses to all students, increased student numbers in extension courses and provided students access to proven HSC expert teachers. Furthermore, the Hub has demonstrated exemplary performance in teacher professional learning, providing ongoing professional development opportunities to its teachers, mentors and support staff.

Lastly, the Hub has established a culture of collaboration, innovation, and continuous improvement within the organisation and the profession at large.

The Hub has strengthened partnerships with industry academics and universities, developing students’ skills beyond their knowledge of the respective course.

The Diocesan Learning Hub project team is a dedicated group of educators, highly trained and experienced who have a passion for providing students with opportunities to excel and achieve their full potential.

At the awards dinner, recipients were formally recognised. Attending the evening was Executive Director of Schools, Mrs Christina Trimble and several members of the Hub team including Ann Walton, Caitlin Fahey, Jan Mendham, Kristi Ryan and team leader Rose-Marie van Raad (Kate Harris was not able to attend). On accepting the award R. van Raad said, “This is a wonderful recognition of the hard work over the last two years by our team, as well as the teachers within our schools teaching the courses, who also deserve this recognition.”