Held on COVID ‘Freedom Day’, Sydney Catholic Schools’ latest Family Forum focused on how Sydney Catholic schools are supporting our students’ transition back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Titled The Road Back to Face-to-Face Learning, more than 2,000 people tuned in to Sydney Catholic Schools’ third live, online Family Forum.

“We can’t wait to have our students back in the classroom” – Executive Director, Tony Farley

Hosted by Sydney Catholic Schools’ Executive Director, Tony Farley, and featuring Dr Jacqueline Frost, Chief of Staff, and Dr Kate O’Brien, Director of Education and Research, Kevin Carragher, Director of Systems Performance, and four Principals, the Family Forum centred on four key areas of the transition.

Sydney Catholic Schools' Term 4 online Family Forum

The Term 4 online Family Forum in progress.

These were: environmental, including managing current COVID-19 restrictions; academic; social; and family.

There was a Primary and a Secondary session.


“We know that our family community has concerns about the changes, so we needed to offer our families the opportunity to hear from Sydney Catholic Schools and its many experts on what they can do to support their children during the transition,” Mr Farley said.

During the forum Principals Linda McFadden (St Ambrose Catholic Primary School Concord West), Peter Cranney (St Declan’s Catholic Primary School Penshurst), James Corcoran (Good Samaritan Catholic College Hinchinbrook) and Melinda Melham (Assistant Principal of Mount Saint Joseph Catholic College Milperra and newly appointed principal of Freeman Catholic College Bonnyrigg Heights for 2022) talked about the importance of managing the social and emotional and academic needs of Sydney Catholic Schools’ students.

The forum outlined the steps the schools are taking to socially reintegrate students into the school community including how to bring fun into learning; having a priority focus on communication; cultivating interaction and socialisation; and how they are planning on managing any student anxiety.

Speakers emphasised that the transition back to school should be gradual and the importance of reigniting school day routines while still in remote learning.

They encouraged parents to think about some of the positive rituals to come out of lockdown, such as outdoor family exercise and cooking together – and to consider maintaining these post lock down, to foster greater family cohesion.

Throughout the interactive forum, the audience was invited to vote for topics they wanted the hosts to expand on further.


Sydney Catholic Schools kicked off its first, live and online Family Forum for parents and carers in Term 2, 2021. Watch it here.

“Family Forums are designed so that everyone can learn more about how we are equipping our students with the skills, knowledge and opportunities they need to become active, global citizens,” Mr Farley said.

The Term 3 Forum centred on student wellbeing and the Sydney Catholic Schools programs designed to help your child thrive.


If you missed the Term 4 Family Forum, you can still watch both sessions via the live links below.