A unique Sydney Catholic Schools support structure is in place to optimise learning for all students. High-quality inclusive education is provided for students with diverse learning profiles relating to: giftedness, speech, language, communication, vision, hearing, literacy acquisition and post-school pathways. Central office diverse learning teams work with our classroom teachers to enhance their capacity to maximise learning outcomes for students. Specialists in these teams collaborate widely to consolidate an inclusive approach to learning. Each school also has dedicated learning support staff.

Sydney Catholic Schools provides reasonable adjustments to assist and support students with disability to successfully engage in learning. All Sydney Catholic Schools engage in the annual Nationally Consistent Collection of Data for School Students with Disability. Students with moderate intellectual disabilities and complex developmental needs may benefit from the educational program at Eileen O’Connor Catholic College Lewisham.


Newman Selective Gifted Education Program

Exclusive to Sydney Catholic Schools, the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program provides a clear educational pathway, underpinned by contemporary research, for identified gifted and talented students from Kindergarten to Year 12.

The Newman Selective Gifted Education Program provides gifted learners with an authentically rigorous program of learning within the nurturing environment of their Catholic school. It caters to a variety of gifted learners by offering a range of opportunities that support students’ growth as a whole person, including their social and emotional learning and wellbeing.

Teachers experience high-quality professional learning in gifted education that allows them to engage in best practices to enhance the teaching and learning in their schools.

Specific Learning Support

Through expert support and resources from Sydney Catholic Schools, we collaborate and deliver personalised plans for students who have cognitive or developmental disorders, sensory disability, autism, physical disability, and speech, language and communication disorders. These plans focus on specific educational goals and adjustments related to areas such as curriculum, communication and social skills.

The College’s Diverse Learning Support team which includes both teachers and Learning Support Officers ensures that we meet our obligations under the Disability Standards for Education 2005. At Bethlehem, all students with additional learning needs are supported in being able to participate in their learning on the same basis as their peers through learning support programs and in class support.

A Peer Reading Program is offered at the College for students in Years 7 and 8 who have been identified through assessment data (NAPLAN, Allwell Testing, School based screening tests) as requiring support with reading comprehension work. The students are paired with a trained Year 10 Volunteer Peer Reading tutor on a weekly basis on intensive skills development. The Learning Support teachers oversee the program and monitor the progress of all students.

Homework Club is offered by the Learning Support Team and supported by volunteer teachers and senior students each Wednesday afternoon in the Library from 3.15-4.15pm. It is designed to support any student requiring additional assistance with completing homework and assessment tasks.

Additional academic support is also provided on a weekly basis at lunchtime by three KLAs: English, Mathematics and Science. It is designed to support any student requiring additional assistance with classwork and assessment tasks.

Disability Provisions

Disability Provisions are applied for on behalf of students in Years 11 and 12 to NESA (NSW Educational Standards Authority) for their HSC examinations and, subject to NESA approval, are offered to eligible students in all school assessments. Students must be able to verify a learning or medical disability to qualify for application to NESA.

Post-School Pathways

Year 12 students preparing to move on to work or further study after their HSC have the opportunity to convert a Certificate II qualification into a Certificate III in the final six weeks of the year. The Smart and Skilled training is subsidised by the NSW government and courses include Certificate III in Business, Early Childhood Education and Care, Individual Support (Ageing) and Information, Digital Media and Technology.

Students learning English for the first time are supported by dedicated staff within our school, staff from the Sydney Catholic Schools offices, and programs for new arrivals.

Our EAL/D expert works collaboratively with teachers across the curriculum to ensure effective identification and learning strategies are employed.

We are committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families to ensure students obtain a high-quality education as a platform for achieving their full potential.

Science and Engineering Challenge

The Science and Engineering Challenge (SEC) is a nationwide STEM outreach program presented by the University of Newcastle in partnership with communities, Rotary clubs, universities and sponsors. Through the SEC, students experience aspects of science and engineering which they would not usually see in their school environment. The Challenge Days are designed for Year 9 and 10 students competing against other schools in fun and engaging hands-on activities such as designing an earthquake proof tower, building a hovercraft or bridge, providing electricity to a city or creating an environmentally friendly house. Points are awarded based on their performance and the school with the highest point score at the end of the day is the winner.

NSW Chemistry Titration Competition

The NSW Schools Titration Competition is a quantitative analytical competition open to NSW students currently enrolled in Senior Chemistry studying towards the Higher School Certificate. Students compete in teams of three and, in ninety minutes, must complete a set of acid-base titrations to determine the unknown concentration of a weak acid.

Stage 5 iSTEM

Stage 5 iSTEM classes where students have the opportunity to participate in a range of unique STEM activities including: Robotics, biomedical science, forensics, coding, solar sprint challenge, through partnership and mentoring from external organisations such as CSIRO and Universities to promote the role of women in STEM.

MyScience Mentor Program

MyScience mentor program sponsored by Macquarie Uni “Real Science” where students in Years 9 and 10 become science mentors for small groups of primary students from our Feeder Primary Schools.

Creative Arts

In the area of Creative arts, students with talent in Music can participate in the Year 8 Gifted and Talented Music program, the College instrumental, Band and choir programs and the numerous performance opportunities available at the College. Modest scholarships are also available for Music, Dance and Drama from Years 8-12.

Representative Sport

Students with talent in Sport can participate in two representative sporting programs available at the school through the MCCS and GGSSSA sporting associations.

Public Speaking and Debating

Students with a talent and interest in Public Speaking and Debating can participate in the Catholic Schools Debating Association Public Speaking (Term 1) and Debating (Term 2) Competitions.

NSW Law Society Mock Trial competition

Students studying Legal Studies or with a passion for the law can participate in the The Mock Trial Competition. This is conducted by The Law Society of New South Wales and is a practical means of introducing students to the law and to increase understanding of the basis of our judicial system.

Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) 

The Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) is a significant international Rotary youth program in which our District participates. Senior high school students develop an awareness of the United Nations and the countries they represent at a simulated UN Assembly. The resolutions to be debated are based on some actually debated by the UN as well as some proposed by the teams.