Principal’s Blog

New College Principal

St Patrick’s Technical College has announced a change of leadership after more than a decade under the helm of foundation principal, Mr Rob Thomas.

Mr Danny Deptula will take over as principal from Mr Thomas from January 2018. Mr Deptula’s appointment was announced to staff by Catholic Education SA at the Edinburgh North campus this week.

Mr Deptula said he was excited to take on the leadership role and would be building on the positive work done by the College over the past decade.

“I am really looking forward to working with the staff, students and the College community. I have been working in the northern area for over 20 years and I am passionate about creating the opportunities which help to change the lives of the region’s young people, and ensuring they have the same prospects as other students throughout the state.’’

Mr Deptula’s role as deputy principal at Thomas More College has seen him expand the school’s VET program over the past few years. He said stepping up to principal in a specialist technical vocational education and training school was an exciting opportunity to further his knowledge and he was looking forward to working with the College’s board, staff, stakeholders and business and training partners.

Dr Neil McGoran, Director of Catholic Education South Australia, said Mr Deptula was an experienced educational leader, having undertaken various leadership roles within Catholic Education SA throughout his career.

“He has a deep personal faith, a strong commitment to providing flexible learning pathways and improving learning outcomes for all students,’’ Dr McGoran said.

“Danny brings to the position, energy, enthusiasm and high expectations for ensuring excellence in teaching and learning. I am confident that his personal and professional qualities, skills and knowledge will be an asset to the leadership of St Patrick’s Technical College.”

Mr Thomas also welcomed the news, congratulating Mr Deptula who he described as “a long-time friend to the StPatsTech community’’.

“In his role at Thomas More, Danny has actively promoted to students and families the benefits of the pathway to employment offered by programs at St Patrick’s.”

As StPatsTech foundation principal, Mr Thomas has overseen the development of the specialist technical and trade training school since its establishment in 2006 as the Australian Technical College – Northern Adelaide. During his tenure over 800 students have gained apprenticeships and the College has drawn acclaim for its success from across government, industry, employers and the education and training sector.

An educator with more than 40 years’ experience, Mr Thomas announced at the start of 2017 that he would be retiring at year’s end. He said he would miss the school, staff, students and College community but was proud of what had been achieved in the past decade.

Mr Deptula is married with two sons and brings to his new position 23 years of teaching and educational leadership experience

Celebrating St Patrick’s Day

St Patrick’s Day was celebrated in style today. The college community was delighted to welcome Archbishop Philip Wilson to lead a special St Patrick’s Day liturgy. The Archbishop was also assisted by our local parish priest, Fr Pat Woods. As part of the liturgy a newly acquired print of St Patrick was blessed by the Archbishop. This print is now proudly on display in the College foyer.

DSC_1411Following the liturgy, an assembly was held at which Mrs Helen O’Brien, Director of Catholic Education and Cr Duncan McMillan, Deputy Mayor of the City of Playford, spoke to students and staff. Both speakers commended the college on all it has achieved so far and looked forward to the college continuing to play such a positive role within the region in the future.

Special green iced donuts were distributed to students following the assembly to recognise that this was their feast day. The celebrations will continue with the traditional annual ‘Irish Games’ to be played next Thursday afternoon. The St Patrick’s Technical College community is proud of its connection with a remarkable man who continues to inspire young people in our world today.

Welcome to 2016

PTourWelcome to the 2016 school year at St Patrick’s Technical College – our tenth year of operations. The year ahead promises to be one of our most successful.

Our Year 11 and new Year 12 students began this week and there has been a smooth start for all. The students have undergone an induction and orientation program, with a mixture of training courses, employer and other information sessions.

We look forward to Monday for the start of the Academic year, with TAFE and College classes getting under way, and when all students will be together for the first time this year.

There was a very successful Year 12 Information Night held last Tuesday with guest speaker, Mr Ivan Neville, from the Department of Employment. This was an insightful session with useful information around employment trends and ways to maximise the chances of gaining an apprenticeship.

Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of forty days of Lent. This period leading up to Easter is preceded by Shrove Tuesday. There will be a whole school liturgy on Wednesday morning with Elizabeth Parish Priest, Fr Pat Woods, to mark the beginning of this important time in our preparation for Easter.

I wish all members of our community all the very best for the year ahead and look forward to working with you.

Rob Thomas
College principal

Will your next tradie come from St Patrick’s?

This week Director of Catholic Education SA, Helen O’Brien, had the pleasure of meeting with the School Board at St Patrick’s Technical College, Edinburgh North. The School Board members comprise both educational personnel and business representatives who have strategic relationships with the college. They are all passionate about the vocational outcomes for all of their students.

Helen says that St Patrick’s Technical College provides a strong vocational pathway for young people from the north, from Catholic, government and independent schools. This is a light house school which has a bright and secure future in our Catholic system. Both St Patrick’s Technical College and Marcellin Technical College enjoy the strong support of Archbishop Wilson who often expresses delight in knowing of their work and the contributions they make to the lives of young people.

Over its relatively short history, St Patrick’s Technical College has seen almost 700 apprentices exit from the college into local industry. This is an extraordinary achievement! Perhaps the next trades person you engage will have begun his or her career at St Patrick’s!

“I congratulate Principal, Rob Thomas and his staff for the significant work they do” Helen said.

View the original article published on the Catholic Education SA website here >

Sam Holty – RIP

The thoughts and prayers of the entire St Patrick’s Technical College community this week are with the family of Class of 2014 Graduate, Sam Holty.

Sam was killed in a motorcylce accident on Gorge Road last weekend, while riding with a group of friends.

Sam was a well liked member of the St Patrick’s Technical College community and his death has come as a shock to his former teachers, peers and the broader College community. The school is offering support to those effected by the tragic loss.

Our deepest condolonces are with Caroline, Ian and Sarah at this difficult time.

New Sub-schools Structure for 2015

This year, St Patrick’s Technical College has adopted a new internal structure aligning courses, staff and students into three sub-schools:

  • School of Building & Construction
  • School of Community Services, Hospitality & Lifestyle
  • School of Engineering & Transport

This structure mirrors those in place at TAFE SA and establishes a framework for the future expansion of courses at St Patrick’s.

College Deputy Principal, Mr Terry Neville, explains the pedagogy behind this move in this edition of the Principal’s Blog.

TNE2St Patrick’s Technical College is well known as an innovative educational institution, with a history of excellence in all areas of teaching and learning. One of these reasons for excellence is the personal attention given to students through the use of mentoring and now development of the Sub-school infrastructure.

These Sub-schools are semi-autonomous units that are self-directing and self-governing. They are responsible for the course development and delivery, monitoring of behaviour and progress of students, communication with parents and provision of pastoral care.

They are led by three educational leaders who assume the multi-dimensional role of Head of Sub–school and are supported by the student welfare team who are jointly responsible for the monitoring of behaviour and progress of students in the school.

Sub-schools improve student learning outcomes through the promotion of positive student-teacher relationships. They encourage and support communication among teachers in improving their teaching and enhance collaboration among teachers in attacking school-wide problems. The traditional school organisation minimises collective, collegial behaviour on the part of teachers. “It leads to bureaucratic, rule-prone direction from the top but then creates autonomous teachers who, behind their classroom doors, can readily ignore much of the top-down direction.” St Patrick’s Technical College has been deliberately structured to avoid this.

Central to the concept of Sub-schools are a number of other beliefs:

  • That an organisation’s structure can enhance the working environment for students and teachers.
  • That a consistent, whole of school approach to effective teaching and learning is essential to the development of an effective school that seeks to maximise student learning outcomes (i.e. academic, social and personal).
  • That teaching strategies and curriculum should focus on the maturity level of students. The more individualised instruction, the more it meets the psychological needs of students, particularly young adolescents.
  • That teaching and learning is relevant to the employment needs of industry.
  • That only through the collective efforts of teachers, can schools operate effectively.
  • Collective teaching has a stronger influence on student achievement than individual teaching.
  • Teacher accountability is achieved through ownership, commitment and collegiality rather than through supervision.
  • In a shared-influence setting, such as a Sub-school, teachers have less individual autonomy because the pressure to do things differently comes from a source they need to respond to – their peers. This loss of individual autonomy is offset, however, by the collective ability to do things on behalf of student learning that the teacher is not able to do in isolation.
  • Learning partnerships are generated.
  • Sub-schools foster student growth and development and a deeper sense of belonging for all involved in the school community.

The three Sub-schools at St Patrick’s Technical College are:

  • School of Engineering & Transport
  • School of Building & Construction
  • School of Community Services, Hospitality & Lifestyle

Aims of the Sub-schools:

  • Improved student outcomes
  • Increasing enrolments
  • More diverse school community
  • Very high expectations from parents and staff for student achievement
  • Effective parental engagement
  • Very few behaviour issues
  • Greater employment outcomes
  • Opportunity to develop new specialist pre-vocational courses

Heads of Sub-schools support teachers and teaching through:

  • Ensuring explicit teaching is a focus throughout the school
  • In-class and on-job teacher mentoring
  • Regular schedule of collective teaching
  • Collaborative planning
  • Moderated assessment
  • Helping to set individual student targets
  • Assisting in the transfer of learning from Professional Development back into classrooms

Terry Neville
Deputy Principal

A copy of this paper can be downloaded here >

Class of 2014 Graduation Dinner

Last night the Adelaide Convention Centre hosted the St Patrick’s Technical College Class of 2014 Graduation Dinner & Awards. Over 400 guests, including numbers of industry partners, awards sponsors and VIPs, attended the spectacular affair to celebrate the achievements of our graduating students.

Special thanks to our generous sponsors who supported the various awards categories.

Students recognised on the night for their outstanding achievements as part of the Class of 2014 were:

SPONSORSPrincipal’s Award – Student of the Year
Jarrod Morton (presented by Adelaide Tools)

Max Davids Award – Apprentice of the Year
Samantha Dougherty (presented by Group Training Australia (SA))

College Spirit Award
Mathew Smart (presented by RAA Driver Education)

Long Tan Award for Leadership and Teamwork
Jarrod Morton (presented by the Australian Defence Forces)

Applied Engineering – Student of the Year
Jarrod Morton (presented by CalibreOne)

Automotive – Apprentice of the Year
Mitchell Hicks (presented by MTA Group Training Services)

Automotive – Student of the Year
Reid McEntee (presented by TAFE SA)

Building & Construction – Apprentice of the Year
James Palmer (presented by Adelaide Pressed Metal)

Building & Construction – Student of the Year
Ryan Leahy (presented by Stratco)

Electrotechnology – Apprentice of the Year
Mason Browning (presented by Totally Workwear)

Electrotechnology – Student of the Year
Ryan Greenhalgh (presented by Training Prospects)

Food & Hospitality – Student of the Year
Ashleigh Clark (presented by Hospitality Group Training)

Hair & Beauty – Apprentice of the Year
Samantha Dougherty (presented by TAFE SA)

Hair & Beauty – Student of the Year
Mikayla Pitman (presented by Statewide Group Training)

Metals & Engineering – Apprentice of the Year
Luke Forrest (presented by MEGT)

Metals & Engineering – Student of the Year
Braedon Jackson (presented by AI Group Training Services)

Plumbing – Apprentice of the Year
Brendan Murphy (presented by TAPS)

Plumbing – Student of the Year
Jake Partridge (presented by PEER VEET)

StPatsTech commended in national awards

St Patrick’s Technical College has received a commendation from the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) during their Growth that Works congress held in Adelaide this month.  The specialist trades and technical College, operated by Catholic Education SA, was recognised for ‘Developing Apprenticeship Skills in Northern Adelaide’.

The commendation was awarded in the ‘Skills Development’ category of the inaugural NGAA Awards which recognises ‘projects or actions that provide skills for the jobs of the future’ in outer metropolitan growth areas.

The commendation from the judges reads:

St Patrick’s Technical College provides students with placements into the industry sectors of their choice and curriculum that is tailored for industry needs. A significant number of students have been successful in gaining an apprenticeship, helping to address skill development needs for the Northern Adelaide region. The College has been recognised as an exemplar for the development of skills in young people resulting in trade apprenticeships, particularly those in skills shortage areas. The judging panel particularly wanted to recognise:

  • the enduring commitment to VET in schools and successfully embedding the model into school frameworks;
  • the strong demonstrated outcomes;
  • that it is a model of successful brokerage between schools and industry.

NGAA Chair and City of Playford Mayor, Glenn Docherty said, “These awards are part of the Growth that Works Congress being held in Adelaide. This event has provided expert input to help us examine how to open up the opportunities and jobs of the future in outer metropolitan growth areas. Our aim is to end the ‘drive in drive out’ phenomenon and create more productive and liveable cities. These areas currently house 4 million residents. 1 million jobs are needed by 2026 just to maintain the status quo. The awards show what we are capable of. We want to build on these successes to become the ‘go to’ areas for innovation and showcases for Growth That Works.”

The National Growth Areas Alliance represents 25 of Australia’s fastest growing municipalities. While individual circumstances may differ, all NGAA member councils share the common characteristic of growth and the need to deal with the social, physical and planning challenges that come with it.

On receiving the commendation, St Patrick’s Technical College Principal, Mr Rob Thomas commented that, “St Patrick’s is proud to call Northern Adelaide home and seeks to be an active contributor to the positive education, training and employment growth in the region.”

Archbishop’s Awards for Excellence

Mathew Smart (’14 Applied Engineering) & Melissa Bagnato (’14 Hair & Beauty) have been awarded Archbishop’s Awards of Excellence for Senior Students. The awards were presented during Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral tonight, by Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson.

Apb2Mathew and Mel were among 56 students, two from each Catholic secondary school in Adelaide, nominated for the annual Archbishop’s Awards of Excellence for Senior Students.

Both Archbishop Wilson and Director of Catholic Education SA, Dr Paul Sharkey, spoke of the importance of recognising young Catholics in this way during the Mass and presentation.

The criteria for nomination are:

  • a demonstrated commitment to the Catholic faith as well as to personal excellence;
  • a positive contribution to the school and wider community; and
  • approaching the future with a sense of optimism and hope.

During the celebratory supper following Mass, Archbishop Wilson made special comment of the particular interest he takes in St Patrick’s Technical College and the pride he feels in the school’s achievements in assisting young people to transition from school to work.

St Patrick’s Technical College congratulates both Matthew and Melissa on their awards.

Message from Canberra


Thank you for your email of 27 August 2014 informing me that Mr Luke Forrest has become the 600th apprentice at St Patrick’s Technical College.

I would like to congratulate St Patrick’s Technical College on this incredible achievement, which is a testament to the high status of vocational education and training at your College. School-based apprenticeships provide an important pathway for students to make an effective transition from school to work.

I commend you for the leadership you have shown in working with employers in Northern Adelaide to help meet their workforce development needs. The Government believes that a quality education system, which caters for all students, is critical to the enduring prosperity and economic growth of the nation.

Thank you for sharing this commitment and supporting your students to achieve their potential.

Yours sincerely
Christopher Pyne MP
Minister for Education