The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has confirmed it plans to expand its St Nicholas Out of School Hours (OOSH) service to all its schools requiring care, and to replace all third-party OOSH providers currently serving its schools.
"Over time, the Diocese plans to replace all existing OOSH providers operating from its schools' premises," diocese chief executive Sean Scanlon said. "Whilst the annual agreements do not extend beyond 2019, this does not mean all OOSH services will be operated by St Nicholas OOSH from 1 January 2020. Some are likely to be transitioned throughout 2020, and others possibly later."
He said staff of outgoing services would be given "the first opportunity to apply for employment" at the same centre with St Nicholas.
YMCA, the OOSH provider at St James' Primary School in Kotara, St Paul's Rutherford and St Therese's New Lambton, said it was "incredibly saddened" its centres would be transferred to St Nicholas on November 9.
A clause in OOSH agreements with the diocese means the diocese can terminate licences to operate in schools with two weeks notice.
Mr Scanlon said in "most cases" transfers had taken a minimum of 42 days.
A YMCA spokeswoman said the diocese had given 12-weeks notice before terminating the service at St James' and six-weeks at St Therese's.
YMCA sought the transfer of St Paul's, she said, understanding the diocese had made an "executive decision" to eventually transfer all services to St Nicholas OOSH. The not-for-profit organisation had been operating in each of the schools for a minimum of eights years.
"We are saddened to leave, but appreciate the support and positive engagement we have enjoyed with children, staff and families," she said.
"These services are three of our best performing sites. Two of them achieved an 'exceeding' rating against the [national] standards."
The diocese has replaced two other services with St Nicholas OOSH at St Aloysius Primary School in Chisholm and Holy Name Forster.
Three existing services have volunteered to terminate their licences since the diocese founded St Nicholas last year.
Operations director of Wemoosh Dan Stallard, who established an OOSH service at St Columban's Mayfield last year, said the organisation initiated the termination of its service at the school in August after hearing at meetings with other providers that the diocese was planning to replace services.
The diocese reimbursed Wemoosh for the costs of establishing the centre.
"We wanted to pre-empt it so we could do it on our terms," Mr Stallard said. "We have multiple services so we were able to absorb those workers."
Mr Scanlon said the diocese had founded St Nicholas OOSH, now operating in nine schools, to ensure there was "quality before school, after school care and vacation care across the diocese".
The diocese was taking a "risk-based approach" in St Nicholas' expansion, he said.
"Several factors influence the rollout of St Nicholas OOSH across the diocese, including problems or complaints received in relation to an OOSH provider; an existing OOSH provider indicating they are planning to discontinue service," Mr Scanlon said, as well as a school's wish to establish a service and other "practical" considerations.
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