Holy Spirit College is a years 7 to 12 co-educational Catholic college offering a second chance for young people who have found mainstream schooling unsuitable. We have two campuses, the main one is in Cooktown with boarding and day facilities, while the Cairns campus is a day only facility. The establishment of Holy Spirit College was seen as necessary to fulfil the core purpose of Catholic Education Services “To provide excellent Catholic education for families of the Diocese of Cairns”. Like Pope Francis, who is taking church to the streets, it was recognised there was a responsibility to strengthen the mission of the tradition of Catholic education which is “education for all”.
In establishing Holy Spirit College as a “Special Assistance School” and offering different learning opportunities, Catholic Education in the Diocese of Cairns extended its mission to reach out to the marginalized and disenfranchised. This mission finds its voice in the Church’s Magisterium Literature.
The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium [1997] addresses the needs of the “new poor”: … those who have lost all sense of meaning in life and lack any inspiring ideal, those to whom no values are proposed and who do not know the beauty of faith, who come from families which are broken and incapable of love, often living in situations of material and spiritual poverty, slaves to the new idols of society, which, not infrequently, promises them only a future of unemployment and marginalization.
Locally, the Bishops of Queensland [2001] in Catholic Schools for the 21st Century spoke of the Catholic school as a model of a lived experience of Christian community:

“This will be particularly evident in the way the community will be prepared to speak and act on behalf of disadvantaged and marginalized people. Justice education and action on issues at local, national and global level will be integral to the education experience of the Catholic school.”
Holy Spirit College fills a recognized gap in the goals of The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians [2008] through aiming to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous youth and disadvantaged young Australians, especially those from low socio-economic backgrounds.
We offer more than an alternative style of learning, we walk beside young people and encourage them to achieve their dreams. We do this through providing an education rich in life-skills; we assist and support them to find a direction and purpose in their lives and hope for a better future.
One of the differences between Holy Spirit College and traditional schools is our unique approach to learning through mentors and mentoring activities. The activities allow mentors to build positive relationships with young people in a family-like environment. The focus of the mentoring is on building relationships which assist in guiding behavioural change through respect and responsibilities.
The focus of our curriculum is to assist young people to gain skills in the fundamental areas of English and Mathematics as we aim to fill gaps in their education to move them towards age appropriate levels.
As young people gain in confidence and skills we encourage them to identify their goals and pursue their dreams. We support them to achieve their individual goals. Young people are supported to transition to:

  • TAFE and other vocational training;

  • school based traineeships;

  • apprenticeships;

  • employment;

  • or back to other schooling, including other boarding schools.