St Thomas More is a co-educational Catholic parish primary school located in Ruse in the Macarthur, NSW. The school caters for students in Years K-6 in a two-stream configuration and has a current enrolment of approximately 350.
The school is located in the Parish of Ruse and is under the direction of Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong. St Thomas More School traditions have been enriched from the foundational charisms of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan and the Marist Brothers. The school endeavours to cater for the spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, behavioural and physical education of all.
St Thomas More School has 14 mixed ability classes and a Specialist Setting Class for students with Autism (known as our Samaritan Class). As a parish school, it is intended that the spiritual growth and welfare of the students be carefully integrated within a needs-based education, which is a shared responsibility of the parish priest, principal, staff and parents.
St Thomas More Catholic Parish Primary School promotes stewardship by valuing, respecting and encouraging the unique gifts of every person. The school places a strong emphasis on building resilience and operates successful pastoral care programs.
St Thomas More is committed to the creation of contemporary and future-oriented learning programs, where educational excellence is encouraged, by providing a relevant, stimulating and challenging curriculum that incorporates the use of learning technologies. The students are able to access laptops, iPads, online resources and state-of-the-art interactive whiteboard technology which supplement and enhance innovative teaching and learning programs. Students in Years 4, 5 and 6 participate in the Bring Your Own Designated Device (BYODD) program where they bring an iPad to school every day.
Students are given many opportunities: academic, sporting, religious and cultural, to discover and make the most of their talents and they regularly participate in diocesan and local community events. St Thomas More Catholic Primary School is a school where students, staff, parents and parish priest work and celebrate together in a spirit of true partnership.
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St Thomas More Catholic Parish Primary School was established in 1978 as a result of intense lobbying from parents seeking a Catholic education for their children.
With the establishment of the suburbs of Ruse and Airds during the 1970s, the population of Campbelltown grew dramatically and the local parish school of St John’s was unable to offer places to all those Catholic families seeking enrolment for their children. Many parents seeking enrolment for their children in a Catholic school were faced with frustration and disappointment.
A meeting of concerned parents was held during 1977 to pursue ways in which to overcome this problem. As a result of the perseverance of parents, a parcel of land owned by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan was made available.
During the latter part of 1977 the land was surveyed and working bees began in earnest to prepare the land for the arrival of demountable buildings.
Parents finished their daily work and arrived at night to dig the trenches and lay the foundations for the new school. Having already completed a full day’s work, these men and women were famished and dinner was prepared and brought down to them by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan in the local convent. The Sisters extended their hospitality for many months and many friendships were formed.
A demountable building arrived only days prior to the children’s first day of school in February 1978 and Miss Penny Shaw was appointed as a teaching principal.
The first stage of St Thomas More School was officially blessed and opened on 3 December 1978.
Catholic schools have a long and proud history in the Australian educational landscape. Originally established by orders of brothers, nuns and priests in the nineteenth century, they are now almost entirely staffed and led by lay people.
Catholic systemic schools in the Diocese of Wollongong are either parish primary schools like St Thomas More, or diocesan secondary or K-12 schools. They are all co-educational schools. (The diocese also has another seven independent congregational secondary schools, some of which offer single-sex education.)
Catholic schools have a unique character because as well as being places where learning is highly valued, they are places where priority is given to a values-based education in the Catholic faith. This involves all staff and students proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. Staff identify strongly with their school and take pride in their work and the school’s achievements.