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  • 1.01RECI  

    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 

    Personal Story

     

    Matthew Fyfield
    Teacher, Mazenod College, Mulgrave

    Overview

    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:

    • study the report 
    • ensure that each school day begins with vocal prayer 
    • attend to the formation of staff and promote staff prayer 
    • take action to continue to build a culture of authentic Catholic prayer and liturgy that includes a rich mix of traditional and contemporary prayer. 
    • The report was distributed to schools and its recommendations implemented. 

    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 Education.

    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 

    Accreditation 

    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.   

    Accreditation Number of Applicants
    Accreditation to Teach in a Catholic School 354
    Accreditation to Teach Religious Education in a Catholic School 516

    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).  

    Religious Education Sponsorship Number of Accepted Applications
    Primary Secondary Total
    Sponsorship for studies towards Accreditation to Teach Religious Education in a Catholic School 182 83 265
    Sponsorship for Further Studies in Theology and Religious Education 13 19 32

    Other Initiatives  

    • Support for Leaders of Religious Education (primary and secondary)  
    • Leadership in Faith (principal induction program)  
    • Catechist Support (support and formation)  
    • RESource (online resource for Religious Education teachers)  
    • Australian Catholic Youth Festival  

    Professional Learning

    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.

    PROFESSIONAL LEARNING CATEGORY NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS
    Catholic Identity 344
    Theology Forums 34
    Meditation 104
    Induction Programs 41
    Formation 101
    Prayer, Liturgy and Sacraments 84
    Social Justice 51