Main building works have started at Newman Catholic College following months of demolition and preparation at the school’s site on the grounds of James Cook University. Foundation Principal Lauretta Graham will begin in her role on February 15. A school office will open at Smithfield Shopping Centre soon after she starts. Then, enrolment interviews will commence at the end of the month.
Dr Andrea O’Brien, Cairns Catholic Education Services Director of School Effectiveness P-12 and Secondary, said work on the ground was progressing well and enrolment numbers were strong.
“We have taken more than 100 applications so far for Year 7, 2022 and inquiries continue to flow,” she said.
“We had projected a total of about 750 students by 2027. However, expressions of interest suggest we will exceed those figures. People are excited about the innovative facilities. Additionally, they’re excited about the emphasis we are placing on design, digital and inquiry-based learning, in conjunction with the Australian Curriculum. The co-location with JCU is a major point of interest, given the potential to share facilities and resources.”
Newman Catholic College will open with a Year 7 cohort in 2022 initially. From there, a year level each year will be added to be a full Year 7-12 secondary college by 2027. It is the first Catholic school in Australia to be located within a university precinct, offering unprecedented opportunity for collaboration.
“A taskforce group is currently working to explore and develop these opportunities,” Dr O’Brien said. “Possibilities include sharing of facilities and teaching staff, as well as education students mentoring Newman Catholic College students. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to study university subjects while still at school. Our Cairns-located secondary colleges have long had waiting lists. Newman Catholic College will cater to this need while also offering the Far North a unique and innovative education option.”
Dr O’Brien said the partnership between Cairns Catholic Education and JCU would benefit all Catholic colleges. However, Newman Catholic College’s physical co-location would further enable the benefits of that relationship.
Newman Catholic College is accepting enrolment applications through its website, which also offers detailed information about its design and development.
Academic excellence and pathway options will be a major focus, but the school will place equal emphasis on student wellbeing and fostering a nurturing atmosphere. The buildings will feature abundant natural light, access to landscape views and quiet nooks for down time.
Dr O’Brien said there was a “massive amount” of work taking place behind the scenes to ensure a smooth opening next year. “Consultation has already begun around the uniform, and this will continue once the new principal begins,” she said. “Throughout this year, work will continue on policy, processes and guideline development, enrolments, curriculum, and pastoral and wellbeing design as well as the ordering of furniture and resources, recruitment and appointment of staff.”
Mrs Graham was previously Foundation Principal at St Andrew’s Catholic College in Redlynch, guiding the school from 2001 to 2011. For the last nine years, she was Foundation Principal at Mackillop Catholic College in the Northern Territory.
Lauretta Graham Dr Andrea O’Brien
Dr Andrea O’Brien is Cairns Catholic Education Services Director of School Effectiveness P-12 and Secondary. She has been overseeing the planning, development and execution of Newman Catholic College to date until Lauretta Graham starts in the role of Foundation Principal of Newman Catholic College on February 15. Dr O’Brien’s role at Cairns Catholic Education includes the oversight of all secondary and P-12 colleges.