2nd February 2023
Strong growth for new College
From little things big things grow was a great way to describe the growth of Catherine McAuley College, Mackay, according to Principal Jim Ford.
“I think we would be quite unique in terms of our dramatic change in student and staff numbers for the start of the 2023 academic year,” Mr Ford said.
The Catholic co-educational College entered its second year of operation more than doubling student enrolments to over 260 and expanding to two Year levels offering Year 7 and Year 8 cohorts in 2023.
The College also saw a 50 percent increase in staff levels including 10 new teachers this year.
“Our expansion plan will see the College add a new Year level each year until 2027 as we steadily build to a full secondary school for Years 7 to 12,” Mr Ford said.
Mr Ford said a new wave of construction would soon commence to provide facilities for subsequent year levels.
Continuing with the tradition of identifying College buildings by the letters of the Greek alphabet, construction of Blocks Kappa and Theta was due to commence in February/March.
“Kappa will see a major expansion of modern classroom facilities, Library, and covered student area. Theta block quite suitably will be a specialist facility in Information Technology and Design,” Mr Ford said.
Classes will commence using the new facilities as of the 2024 School Year.
“Most importantly, though, we are all about young people and their experience of school at Catherine McAuley College,” Mr Ford said.
“Everyone is new at the start of Grade 7. It’s an exciting and an anxious time for most with an array of uncertainties; ‘Will the teachers be nice? Will I make friends? Will the classwork be challenging? Will I know where to go? Will my parents embarrass me?’.”
The answer to all the above, Jim Ford said, is YES.
“High school is an exciting time full of new experiences, challenges, changes, and a much broader curriculum than students have experienced so far in their educational journey,” he said.
“Our dedicated and passionate teachers and staff at Catherine McAuley College are here to make it happen supporting students and their families every step of the way,” Mr Ford said.
Catholic Education – Diocese of Rockhampton (CEDR) opened Catherine McAuley College in 2022 following extensive community consultation and planning in response to the need for increased enrolment capacity on Mackay’s southside and surrounds.
CEDR Diocesan Director Leesa Jeffcoat said the development of the new college was very pleasing.
“It’s extraordinary growth and very much in line with forecast demand from a growing number of families choosing a Catholic secondary education,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
“Catholic Education has enjoyed enormous support from the Mackay community for over a century and Catherine McAuley College has been a great addition to our existing Colleges in the region,” Miss Jeffcoat said.