In its 119th year of delivering primary catholic education in Bathurst, this year has been like no other for the students and staff of St Philomena's Catholic Primary School. With the challenges of remote learning, St Phil's pushed themselves to new levels, delivering education via carefully prepared learning modules and utilising various technologies, to ensure the continued delivery of education at the highest standard across all areas. This has been reflected in the outstanding results achieved in recent end of year testing.
Enrolment numbers continued to climb with the reputation of St Phil's in the community being that of a kind, caring and compassionate school that offers a wide range of opportunities to children both academically, and with a vast array of extra curricular offerings. This is further enriched by an active and high achieving parent body that works hard to contribute to the ever changing landscape of the school. Refurbished sports fields, additional native landscape and a new, multipurpose basketball court, have all been contributed to by the St Phil's Parents and Friends (P&F) committee.
Community involvement, whilst minimised due to COVID-19 restrictions, allowed staff and students the opportunity to work with Bathurst Regional Council to help revegetate the neighbouring Hawthornden Creek Reserve and also participate in the Environmentors water savings program delivered to schools. Students also continued interactions with residents of St Catherine's Nursing home, opting to write letters in the absence of visits, to continue their engagement with members of the elderly community.
Connecting with Aboriginal culture continues to be a priority. All staff have undergone training with the Centre for Cultural Competence and students engage in many activities and lessons based on Aboriginal culture and history. This is done in partnership and consultation with local Wiradjuri Elders and community. St Phil's also offers many extra-curricular opportunities, including the reintroduction of music programs through the Bathurst Academy of Music and lunch-time activities such as dance, garden club, chess and drama.
This year has seen the school bid farewell to some long standing and cherished employees including Mrs Louise Davies, who has spent 29 years at St Philomena's as a teacher, librarian, Assistant Principal, Religious Education Coordinator and Principal. Louise will be acknowledged for her outstanding service at a special ceremony later this term recognising her immense contributions, tireless dedication and commitment to the students, staff and families of St Phil's. Adding to the change is the addition of a new Principal for 2021, Mr Jaydem Hadson, who is currently Principal of St Joseph's in Oberon.