In addressing the changing needs of our
students, teachers, parents, parishes and the community, and the Catholic
Education Melbourne community, the Catholic education system is challenged to
reflect continuously on its Catholic identity, in particular the ways we
articulate our identity and vision and express our distinctiveness as Catholic
communities in a pluralistic society.
Theme 1: Enhancing
Catholic Identity, Catholic Education Melbourne Strategic Plan 2015–2019
Matthew FyfieldTeacher, Mazenod College, Mulgrave
In 2015 the Religious Education and Catholic
Identity Unit sought to address the challenges highlighted in the new Strategic Plan through the following activities.
Maintaining and Building a Culture of Prayer
A major focus for the Religious Education and
Catholic Identity Unit in 2015 was the establishment of the Culture of Prayer
Working Party. This group was tasked with developing recommendations regarding
the maintenance and development of practices of prayer and ritual in Catholic
Education Melbourne (both the Office and schools) that support and celebrate
the Catholic ethos and that are pastoral, invitational, formative and inclusive
of all staff and students.
The Working Party Report was presented to
Archbishop Hart who accepted the recommendations of the report. Principals
were asked to:
Religious Education Curriculum Framework Renewal
During 2015, the Religious Education and Catholic
Identity Unit worked, in collaboration with schools, on the renewal of the ‘Coming
to Know Worship and Love’ curriculum framework. The focus of the renewal is
to ensure a continuous learning pathway from Prep to Year 12 and consistent
approaches to learning and teaching, and assessment and reporting in Religious
Enhancing Catholic School Identity
The 2015 Enhancing Catholic School Identity (ECSI) survey in the
Archdiocese of Melbourne registered 91 schools. Significantly, 42 of these
registered schools undertook the ECSI survey for the second time, providing
Catholic Education Melbourne with the first longitudinal data set arising from
this important research project.
With 93% of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne now having
completed the ECSI survey at least once, the focus of ECSI is shifting from
assessment to enhancement. This second phase of ECSI seeks to engage Catholic
schools in a broader conversation regarding their Catholic identity and the
ways in which religious leadership can impact meaningfully on the school’s
context and explicitly express the school's Catholic identity and faith.
This second phase emphasis on enhancement and on religious leadership is
contributing in new ways to the work of all units in the Catholic Education
Services Staff Group, with the entire Staff Group shifting to a shared
responsibility for the Catholic identity of this Office and the schools.
Accreditation and Sponsorship
In 2015 over 750 applications for Accreditation to
Teach Religious Education in a Catholic School and Accreditation to Teach in a
Catholic School were received, the great majority of which were approved.
Over 470 applications were received from schools
and other institutions for approval of in-house accreditation as part of the
completion of requirements of Policy 1.6 for Accreditation to
Teach in a Catholic School.
Religious Education Sponsorship
In 2015, 265 teachers were sponsored to undertake
studies in Religious Education and Theology at one of four tertiary Catholic institutions
(Australian Catholic University, Catholic Theological College, John Paul II
Institute, and Yarra Theological Union).
A total of 907 school and parish staff participated
in one or more of 20 Religious Education professional learning programs in
2015. These programs addressed a range of areas including Catholic identity,
teacher formation, faith leadership, scripture, theology, liturgy and prayer.
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