Chief Operating Officer
Often when I tell people I work at Loreto Normanhurst their first question is “what do you teach?”. While teaching is the heart of any school, at Loreto we are also fortunate to have many dedicated professionals and industry leaders working alongside our teaching staff to provide the best learning environment for our students. Non-teaching departments include Boarding, Finance, Human Resources, Grounds, Maintenance, Information and Communications Technology, Administration, and Development, which encompasses Enrolments, Marketing & Communications, Events and Community Relations. Approximately 40 per cent of the staff who work at Loreto Normanhurst support our community in these non-teaching roles.
We encourage our students to be critical thinkers who are open and adaptive to change. This is also a philosophy we foster in our staff culture as we challenge our teams to lead change and to strive for excellence and best practice in their respective fields.
In line with our strategic pathway as an ecology-centred school, sustainability is as much a focus for our operational teams as it is for our students. This practice extends to our partnerships with external vendors and suppliers with whom we align.
I recently discussed our sustainability initiatives with Chartwells, our catering provider, to understand if they had any learnings through their national network with other schools. It was pleasing to note their response which indicated that Loreto Normanhurst is leading the way in many areas on this front. We are at the fore, testing new catering packing products as they come to market. Single use packaging has been significantly minimised across all areas, particularly in the Boarding School, Tuck Shop and school run events. In the past year, we have reduced the total amount of harmful plastics from 85% of products sold to just 2%. Overall packaging has been reduced by 40%, with only biodegradable and environmentally friendly packaging used for in-house made products. This has been a challenge and sometimes a compromise for our catering offering as we have had to rethink menus to complement this ethos. The outcomes, however, are far greater, and we are proud of the concerted efforts of our community as we continue to strive for sustainability across all areas of our school.
This week at Assembly, the students once again raised the bar, with their “War on Waste”, challenging us all to move from “low-waste Wednesday” to “no waste Wednesday”.
A new introduction to the curriculum this year is the Agricultural Program which will encourage students to think of agriculture as a career path and build awareness of where their food comes from. On the school site, we now have an area dedicated to the program which includes chicken coops, a worm farm, and fruit and vegetable gardens. We are lucky enough to have fruits growing here already! I thank the Grounds and Maintenance Team, who partnered with Landscape Solutions, for their hard work on this project which began at the end of 2018.
As new technologies and new ideas emerge we hope to build on the sustainability foundations currently in operation. We also welcome new ideas, so I encourage you to get in touch!
Ms Jacquie McCann
Chief Operating Officer