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This is my first Ignatian for the year, and so I take this opportunity to wish everyone a successful and happy year ahead. It is great to have all students back in class, and I feel very positive about what we may achieve together in 2022.

Related to this, last week, Professor Denis Ralph, the Chairperson of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools (SACCS), launched the new Catholic Education South Australia (CESA) strategic plan. The plan, Towards 2027: Expanding Horizons and Deepening Practices, clearly outlines CESA’s intended path forward for the next five years.

Whilst Saint Ignatius’ College is a Catholic school in the Ignatian tradition, we are a separately incorporated entity with our own governance arrangements, responsible to Jesuit Education Australia (JEA) and the Provincial of the Jesuits in Australia, Fr Quyen Vu SJ, and so we have our own strategic plan, Striving for the Magis 2019−2023.

The launch of CESA’s plan was online due to current circumstances, but both the State Premier, Steven Marshall, and the Leader of the Opposition, Peter Malinauskas, along with the Minister for Education, John Gardner, and the Shadow Minister, Blair Boyer, presented to the online audience. From this array of speakers, it is obvious that Catholic Education is a very important educational sector, and so attention to its plans for the future is well and truly warranted. Click HERE to view the full livestream.

The Director of CESA, Dr Neil McGoran, also spoke briefly about the new schools opened by CESA in the north, south, and west of Adelaide, and attention was also given to technical school offerings and arrangements for preschool learning.

Saint Ignatius is extraordinarily blessed to have its own preschool structure with our Ignatius Early Years (IEY). Under the wise and visionary leadership of Rosemary Allen, the IEY has consistently rated very highly against all external requirements, and so in this sense, CESA developments won’t directly impact us.

Similarly, our curriculum offerings, focusing on Christian humanism as they do, won’t be affected by technical school developments. Having acknowledged this, though, there is still significant synergy between CESA’s strategic plan and our own, especially related to care of students and care for the environment. CESA’s emphasis on educational excellence is also encompassed by our own focus on human excellence, and CESA’s reference to ‘Raising Hearts and Minds’ echoes our language of ‘igniting hearts’ and ‘forming young people of competence, conscience, compassion, and commitment’.

We are very fortunate to share such a positive relationship with CESA. Under the leadership of Professor Ralph and Dr McGoran, CESA has experienced strong growth and expansion, which has assisted our own continued development.

There was another element to some presentations last week, and that is not really surprising given that there is a state parliament election next month.

The issue of state government support for Catholic schools was openly canvassed, with both the Government and the Opposition committing to maintaining current levels of recurrent funding. There was also reference made to capital funding, and CESA expressed gratitude to the government for providing some capital funding in this term of office for the first time ever. The Government and the Opposition have committed to maintaining some level of capital funding, but not at the levels advocated by CESA. I must admit to being disappointed by this.

Catholic schools educate around 48,000 students in SA, yet our capital funding is disproportionately small. I continue to be bewildered by those who agree against funding for Catholic or ‘private’ schools. If all schools in the private sector closed and all the students educated in that sector moved over to the public sector, then the system would collapse. The demand on the public purse would increase by billions, and government spending would be strained beyond recognition.

Our families – taxpayers – make great sacrifices to support the education of their children and assist the Government and others through their support of schools. It is not unreasonable, therefore, for the government, of whatever political persuasion, to acknowledge this and provide sufficient funding to reflect this.

I encourage all in our community to consider educational policies in forming their view in the coming election.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of living in a democracy is that we get to determine who governs us. With a state election in March and a federal election soon after that, we are fortunate to be able to exercise our democratic freedoms in ways that many others in the world can’t. I know that I’m very grateful for this privilege and responsibility.

Deo Gloria

Mr Peter Coffey
Principal

OREMUS (Let us pray)

We remember all in our College community. May our prayers comfort those suffering at this time. May God’s blessing be a source of support in their sorrow and loss, and bring courage, patience, and hope.

“Ask and you shall receive … knock and the door will be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7)

If you would like someone to be remembered by the College community in prayer (even anonymously), please provide details to the Rector, class or Home Group Teacher, or Year Coordinator.

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