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Holy Spirit College, Manoora
  • Overview
Motto Every Person. Every Chance. Every Day. Holy Spirit College logo_col.jpg
Address 13 Moignard St, MANOORA QLD 4870
Postal Address 13 Moignard St, MANOORA QLD 4870
Phone Number (07) 4053 4550
Fax Number -
Email Address
Web Site
Total Enrolments 65 Erica Prosser
Year Levels Offered 7-12
Student Population Co-Educational
Principal Erica Prosser
Parish PriestFr Frank Gordon
Parish Number 07 4053 1383

About our School

In a strong initiative towards social justice engagement, Catholic Education opened a Special Assistance School for disengaged young people in Cooktown and Cairns in 2015.

Holy Spirit College caters for students aged between 11 and 17 who have disengaged from education or for whom enrolling in a mainstream secondary school is not the best alternative.

Holy Spirit College has capacity to enrol up to 52 students in Cairns and up to 38 in Cooktown, of whom up to 32 can be weekly boarders drawn from the wider community including HopeVale and WujalWujal. The College's enrolment numbers are currently very close to capacity.

Enrolment applications may be made at any time and a waiting list kept where necessary.

The school delivers a specialised curriculum that addresses numeracy and literacy skills, life skills (food and nutrition, personal health, grooming, money management etc), ICT, music, art and outdoor education. There is  access to certificate courses in vocational education.

The goal is to help young people recognise their own worth and potential and to assist them in a transition to the next phase of their lives, which may include onto further education and training, employment along with school-based traineeships and appreticeships or back to mainstream education. Each young person's hopes and dreams are explored and a pathway developed for the individual.

The school works closely with a wide range of agencies and service providers. The school also seeks support from other schools, parishes and the wider community including the recruitment of volunteers who may wish to play an active role in helping the young people towards more positive life outcomes.

The school received the enthusiastic support of the Cairns and Cook local governments whose councils provided land for both Cairns (Manoora) and Cooktown (Hope St) in recognition of the serious social issues relating to disengaged young people. Catholic Education operates a training site in Cooktown in partnership with Gungarde Aboriginal Corporation.

Staff at the school reflect a need for both teachers and those with a background in human services such as social workers and counsellors.

The Cooktown facility provides a different opportunity for the large number of local young people who have not made a successful transition to boarding schools – the community has identified that a closer weekly residential campus may be a better option.

The school does not charge tuition fees.

“Like Pope Francis, who is taking church to the streets, we recognise that we too have a responsibility to strengthen our mission and what the tradition of Catholic education is, which is education for all,” says Bishop James Foley.

Distinctive Curriculum Offerings


The educational focus of Holy Spirit College is to engage young people in a journey of returning to learning and transitioning to better outcomes in health, well-being, academic education, training and employment. Each young person will have a different journey and transition pathway.

While the learning programs include a diverse range of skills such as art, music, cooking, textiles, outdoor education and integrated projects such as garden development, the dominant focus is on the foundations of language, literacy, numeracy, technology and life skills as these skills are particularly significant in promoting independence, empowerment and community connections.

Initially, foundation skills such as literacy and numeracy aren’t made explicit but rather are embedded within an 'interest' based class. An example of this would be a cooking class which requires the learner to use weights and measures, set temperatures and times, take notes and possibly research further cooking ideas. The educators design the initial learning stages by “stealth”, with the young people’s interest at the forefront and the learning outcomes seemingly occurring by default.

Extra Curricular Activities

The Cooktown boarding staff offer a range of after school activities for the weekly boarders.

Social Climate

The pastoral care and support at Holy Spirit College ensures each student’s individual issues and barriers are addressed to provide maximum opportunity for student participation, engagement and improvement. We work, in a holistic manner, with each young person’s parents/carers and other support agency representative to address their emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual needs.

For young people who have negative experiences or perceptions of learning it is particularly important we maintain an environment which is both physically and psychologically safe. This means ensuring that equipment is appropriate to the capacity of learners and the physical space presents no hazards, it also means observing the class dynamic carefully for interpersonal issues and potential power imbalances.

Supporting our young people is the basis of the re-engagement programs and can require a range of approaches from different angles to address the significant barriers experienced by some learners. Learner support is also often one of the more challenging aspects of program delivery as it can require intense engagement, considerable investment of time and money and a network of dedicated teaching and support staff working together in order to be effective.

Parent Involvement

One of the differences between Holy Spirit College and traditional schools is our unique approach to learning through mentors and pastoral care activities. Pastoral care and support is extended to the families as well as students and goes beyond the gates of the college or the time young people are with us; when students leave Holy Spirit College, our Student Services Team work to support young people and their families to transition to the next phase of their lives. Apart from collaboratively working with families and agencies, the primary role of the Student Services staff at Holy Spirit College is to provide guidance to the young people in our care.

Parent Satisfaction

Our families words:

“You’re the best—at the mainstream school our daughter was lost, with you she feels safe and included” [Parents of 15 yr old]

“You were able to get my son from a desperate situation to a better place” [Father of17 yr old] Son gained Yr 10 to apply for the Armed Forces

“He has done better with his education and at home he is a lot more respectful” [Grandparent carers of 16 yr old] Attendance 99% is working toward a School-based Apprenticeship

“Since being with you they show a lot more respect at home…. We don’t need ACT For Kids support now” [Mum of twin brothers]

“This is the best place for my son as you ’get it’ - you understand where my son is coming from; my daughter wants to come” [Mother with 2 young people attending]

“I see her [daughter] as a lot more positive young woman than this time last year” [Mother of 13 yr old]

“I haven’t seen my son so happy. He is up ready every morning this has not happened for a long time” [Mother 14 yr old]

Data Last Updated Fri 01 Jul 2016

Staff Reporting Data
Student Reporting Data
Average student attendance rates
School Funding By Source
Income 2015
Schools And Colleges

There are 29 Catholic schools and colleges in the Diocese of Cairns. With the exception of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School at Thursday Island and St Joseph’s Parish School, Weipa, all schools and colleges are within two hours driving time from Cairns.

The Cairns Diocese has two Prep to Year 12 colleges (St Andrew's Catholic College at Redlynch and MacKillop Catholic College, Mount Peter), 20 primary schools and 7 secondary colleges. Of those, St Augustine's College, Cairns is an All Boys college and St Monica's College, Cairns is an All Girls college. In addition to day schooling, St Augustine's offers boarding for students of St Augustine's and St Monica's. Mount St Bernard College, Herberton (MSB) is a day and boarding secondary college for boys and girls.

In 2016, Catholic Education opened two new schools to meet growing demand. MacKillop Catholic College is located in the Cairns southern growth corridor at Mount Peter and offers Prep to Year 3 in 2016. It will grow to full Prep to Year 12 status, with the possible early commencement of secondary in 2018. St Joseph’s Parish School opened in Weipa, offering Prep to Year 6.

In a strong initiative towards social justice engagement, Catholic Education opened a Flexi School for disengaged young people in Cairns and Cooktown in 2015. Holy Spirit College caters for students aged between 11 and 17 who have disengaged from education or for whom enrolling in a mainstream secondary school is not the best alternative. Holy Spirit College has capacity to enrol up to 52 students in Cairns and up to 38 in Cooktown, of whom up to 32 can be weekly boarders drawn from the wider community including HopeVale and WujalWujal.