Secondary concerns addressed

Access to Catholic secondary education on the Port Stephens peninsula is now a reality, with Catherine McAuley Catholic College this week opening its doors to almost 300 eager students. 

Foundation Principal Scott Donohoe has been busy putting the finishing touches to the Hunter's newest school, with support from a group of experienced and passionate colleagues. 


The kernel for the college's foundation was a study Bishop Bill Wright commissioned in 2015-16. The investigation uncovered a strong desire from the Port Stephens community for a co-educational, Years 7-12 Catholic secondary college on the peninsula, which subsequently became one of the adopted recommendations. 


Given the historical roots of Irish Catholic families on the peninsula, the Mercy congregation's solid presence at St Brigid's, Raymond Terrace, St Michael's, Nelson Bay and St Peter's, Stockton, there was a strong argument for naming the college after Blessed Catherine McAuley. This Irishwoman, who founded the Mercy nuns, could speak strongly to the young people of today with her deep sense of social justice and her commitment to the education and healthcare of poor communities in Dublin. 


Since that initial study was undertaken, Catherine McAuley Catholic College has transitioned from a vision to reality. This process has involved ongoing community consultation with local parishioners, families and the Worimi people to ensure the college reflects their hopes and aspirations.


Robust and innovative design and building works will facilitate contemporary learning within environmentally intuitive spaces. Insistent research into best-practice pedagogies will ensure students' academic outcomes are optimised and their wellbeing remains at the fore. 


In 2021 the college will offer educational opportunities to students in Year 7 and 8. In the years to come, this will expand by one new year group each year until 2025, when the college will reach capacity and accommodate up to 1200 students in Years 7-12. 


From Foundation Principal, Scott Donohoe.


"Our Moral Imperative is to empower a community of confident, agile, reflective learners.

Our college is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, but it is our relationships that will be critical in building a genuine sense of belonging and culture of trust within our community. At the heart of this are our values: Hospitality, Compassion, Courage and Faith in Action, inspiring our McAuley graduates to lead purposeful lives and contribute to a changing world.


A new school provides a beautiful opportunity to reimagine education as we prepare our young people to be life-ready and career-ready. Central to this will not just be knowledge, but also the development of essential skills and capabilities necessary to thrive. Our learning approach will honour the uniqueness of each child as we commit to offering choice in the curriculum, and meeting individual passions, interests and needs.


As Foundation Principal of Catherine McAuley Catholic College, it is a tremendous honour and privilege to serve the families of Port Stephens. These next few years will be exciting ones as we build, together, a unique learning community that is "United in Mercy".

Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Other Aurora Issues