Chris Smyth -the director of schools for the Armidale Diocese of the Catholic Schools Office looks back on the education year in the New England and North West

The director of schools for the Armidale Diocese of the Catholic Schools Office says Catholic schools rose to the challenges of COVID-19 in 2020, ensuring the learning and well-being needs of students were a priority.

Chris Smyth said as blended learning was implemented due to the pandemic, schools remained focused on literacy and numeracy, staying connected with families in their respective school communities, and keeping staff and students safe.

"Thanks to the dedication and professionalism of our school leadership teams, teachers and educational assistants, students maintained a positive learning trajectory throughout the learning from home period," he said.

"Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the system of schools was required to reimagine how to celebrate Catholic Schools Week.

"This year the Catholic Schools Office provided a locally-sourced morning tea for each school in order to celebrate how much had been achieved.

"It was a chance to say thanks to the schools, while also supporting local businesses."

Read more from the year that was in Catholic education:

Schools across our region took to social media and other online mediums to celebrate the hard work of teachers, support staff, students and parents. A video presentation was complied from these productions and shared - it shows a snapshot of what Catholic education in the Diocese of Armidale looked like during school site closures.

"Our schools used a collaborative approach to support the educational and well-being needs of our students," Mr Smyth said.

"And this included an emphasis on innovative thinking, planning, action and extensive commitment."

As schools returned to the new normal and school visits could resume the Diocese of Armidale produced a series of videos to celebrate inclusion and the achievements of students with disabilities.

"These videos share the incredible stories of teachers, education assistants and peers who impact the learning of students who require adjustments in the classroom in order to access the curriculum," Mr Smyth said.