CaSPA News


CASPA President, Loretta Wholley, with Parramatta Secondary Principals

Posted by CaSPA on 28 June 2019
CASPA President, Loretta Wholley, with Parramatta Secondary Principals

On 26th June CaSPA President Loretta Wholley and NSW CaSPA Director Stephen Kennaugh met with a group of Parramatta Systemic and Congregational Secondary Principals at the CASPA Presidents Dinner held at il Lago restaurant, Norwest. The Principal's Dinners are an initiative of the CASPA President and intended to gather groups of key Secondary Principals in each Metropolitan Diocese to, discuss significant professional issues and build cross sector companionship in a relaxed casual setting.

Loretta was particularly interested in the progress of the NSW Principals Enterprise Agreement due to be negotiated this year and offered CaSPA support to Parramatta Secondary Principals in their negotiations with employers.

All present strongly endorsed the CaSPA President's Dinner initiative and each was  presented with a CaSPA badge to commemorate the evening.

The next CaSPA President's Dinner for Secondary Principals will be held in the Wollongong Diocese in Term III.

Rob Laidler
CaSPA NSW Field Officer


Posted in: Catholic Secondary Principals Australia   0 Comments

Join CasPA on LinkedIn (Closed group)

Posted by Phil Lewis on 3 June 2019
Join CasPA on LinkedIn (Closed group)
Please join our closed Catholic Secondary Principals group to share ideas, learning and collaboration -
Posted in: Leadership Catholic Secondary Principals Australia   0 Comments

ACARA _ Future Priorities

Posted by Phil Lewis on 3 June 2019
ACARA _ Future Priorities


27 MAY 2019

280 Elizabeth Street Sydney

Learning Progressions & Formative Assessment Development

An Online Tool is proposed to help teachers with resources to assist them in developing the skills and knowledge of students in Literacy and Numeracy related to the Australian Curriculum.
The tool is designed to reduce and assist teachers with workload not add to it
Students and teacher groups being consulted too.
ACARA working in collaboration with AITSL & ESA to develop the tools.

Discovery Phase

Dr Jenny Donovan will lead a "Discovery Phase" in relation to these online assessment tools and will report to the Education Council about the proof of concept in 6 months time.

Reconciliation Action Plan beuing developed. David Carvalho announced that ACARA is preparing an Action Plan to bring the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander perspectives into the content of the Australian Curriculum.

NAPLAN Online matters

ESA responsible for the online platform.
Only 5% of online students were affected given option to re-sit the writing test.
Issues being resolved in readiness for 2020 when it is hoped all NAPLAN tests will be online.
New standards will be released when all students online. They will be developed to target higher order thinking and understanding and will be aligned to the expectations of the Australian Curriculum and international benchmarks.
These matters will be discussed with Education Council & State Ministers.

NAPLAN Writing Model

Review into the model to be conducted due to static and some falling results. Is the test style contributing to this trend?

Lowden Report

Lowden report will be out soon and will provide feedback and recommendations about the way NAPLAN is reported on My School.
Stakeholders suggested that "Like Schools" is misleading and not useful and it was reported that only 5% of parents use My School when choosing a school.

Curriculum Program of Research

ACARA has been requested to provide advice to the Education Council in regards to refinements of the Australian Curriculum.
This will be done through the Annual Reports, International research (OECD) and International Comparisons (NZ, BC, Finland & Singapore).

ACARA seeking Association responses from stakeholders to their 4 questions which will inform the Review of the Austrlain Curriculum:
1.Essential Content Is there room for improving content of the AC to allow more depth and rigour over breadth?

2.Place of the General Capabilities Are there better ways of embedding general capabilities into learning area content and achievement standards?

3.Recognition of First Peoples Is the place of Australia's First Peoples appropriately covered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross curriculum priority?

4.Support for implementation What should be the focus to better support teachers to implement the AC?

Other News

ACARA seeking Association responses to their 4 questions.
4 meetings / year with Stakeholders intended to continue.
Looking for more connection in Social MediaParent Update newsletter being distributed.
Looking for more engagement with rural and remote communities to identify future actions.
New biennial Stakeholder survey coming in June / July this year
Posted in: ACEL ACARA   1 Comments

CASPA GOVERNANCE PAPERS - Feedback From Other Stakeholders

Posted by CaSPA on 27 April 2019
CASPA GOVERNANCE PAPERS - Feedback From Other Stakeholders

As you are aware, the CaSPA Board ratified its submission to the 2020 Plenary Council on the theme ofGovernance in Catholic Education. Since then, the submission has been distributed broadly among Governance groups in Catholic Education.  At least 25 different groups have been in contact some at the initiative of CaSPA, and some seeking further discussion with CaSPA as they had learnt of the existence of these papers.

Over the past 11 months, CaSPA has been fortunate to have the assistance of Dr Peter Casey []. Peter has undertaken doctoral studies in the topic of Governance of Catholic Education at the University of Melbourne. He was commissioned by CaSPA to prepare an excellent background paper for its submission to Plenary 2020.  In recent weeks, Peter has generously volunteered to continue consultation with key stakeholders. His work is highly recommended to any group who is interested in developing their understanding of Governance in Catholic Education.

Following are some of the Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs] that arose out of discussion with these stakeholders:

What was the most common response in these discussions?

Many were surprised at the strength of feeling among Principals who had concerns about Governance arrangements in their jurisdictions. The fact that 1 in 4 CaSPA Principals finished in their roles in 2018 in less than ideal circumstances came as a surprise to many.

What significant responses have impacted on the potential development of the CaSPA submission?

CaSPA members have great regard for the primacy of the principle of subsidiarity, in line with the Church's social teachings. Other stakeholders have pointed out that the complementary principle of solidarity calls on our members to accept responsibility of acting for the common good while cognisant of one's own subsidiary rights.

(An amended table of elements of Good Governance is included below)

A number of high order governors such as trustees saw the primary roles of governors as ensuring fidelity to mission as an agent of the Church while boards were to ensure the practical civil and canonical compliance of the operation.


What was the most surprising response in these discussions?

The response by one Governance group was that the principals collectively were incapable of exercising their duty in regard to compliance and so had this responsibility taken away from them and given to the local CEO who had to employ significant staff numbers to undertake a role that is exercised quite successfully by schools in most other parts of the

We met with a senior CEO group charged with the governance of the schools of an Archdiocese. They told us that they had not yet been invited by the Archbishop to investigate governance despite the recommendations of the Royal Commission hence they had not looked at the issue. They invited us to meet with them because of the concerns of secondary principals who referred them to CaSPA and its submission.

What was the response to the recommendations?

While many agreed with the need for an independent body to oversee and support good governance within the Church, there was quite a deal of comment about how this would work in practice e.g.

How would it be funded?

Is this not already the role of the NCEC so why create a new entity?

How could it be successful if it did not have any powers of enforcement?

....the Bishops would never agree to it

The Church is not capable of creating processes that can impartially review its own activities

Have there been any suggestions for enhancing the recommendations?

There have been some significant discussion around leveraging off existing civil authorities. Most states and territories have the equivalent of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority. These bodies already oversee aspects of the governance of non-government schools and have a number of other facets which appeal:

they have legal standing

as an existing entity, they do not require funding to come into being

their findings are enforceable by law

they are external to the Church and Clerical authority

While it may be a little ideal, it is not outside the bounds of possibility that with the following amendments, these existing Authorities could fulfil the role envisioned in the original CaSPA recommendations:

We already have at the National level, the COAG Education Council that oversees most aspects of Education in Australia, a collaboration between federal and state/territory jurisdictions;

The group of existing RQA bodies could ideally operate in a similar way to promote and monitor good Governance practice in schools

What has been the response from others in the non-government sector?

There have been preliminary discussions with the Chair and Executive Officer of AHISA. While they believe there would be caution from their colleagues at the prospect of greater regulation in the area of Governance, they do recognise that there have been less than optimal practices occur with governance in some instances.

They are however interested in further discussion regarding the establishment of Governance Standardsto complement the existing Principal and Teacher Standards that have been developed by AITSL in recent times.



Key dimensions of governance




Canon Law

The governing body is recognized by the Catholic Church as responsible for ensuring fidelity to the teaching, pastoral and evangelical life of the Church as required by Canon Law

Civil Law

The governing body is recognized by state and federal governments as a legal entity and is charged with responsibility for ensuring accountability for compliance with all relevant legislation


The governing body defines the key roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of those in the entity


The governing body models and promotes best practice in decision making, communication and professional relationships, honouring subsidiarity and responsible autonomy


The governing body makes decisions cognizant of the impact on its own schools but also in support of the common good of other schools in its neighbourhood, system, state and the nation

Human Resources

The governing body appoints, supports and evaluates the performance of those in key leadership roles


The governing body ensures the appropriate use and development of, and accountability for finances and physical resources

Strategic Planning

The governing body plans strategically for the growth and development of the entity


The governing body effectively enacts its espoused organizational and operational principles, thus engaging the implementers of the enterprise relationally to pursue the vision and mission of the entity


Components of Governance


Component of Governance





High Performing


Low Performing


·  Bishop of the Diocese

·  Leader of the Religious Institute

·  Holds the title deeds

·  Accepts ultimate responsibility for the wellbeing of the entity as an integral part of the mission of the Church

·  Accepts responsibility for ensuring all the dimensions of good governance are observed and promoted in the entity (Refer Table 3)

·  Understands and practises subsidiarity in both theory and practice




Servant leadership

·  Reverts to a more hierarchical model of church organisation with great power vested at this level


Might is right

·  Reluctant to embrace and/or exercise overall leadership of the entity




Laissez faire

Delegated Authority

·  Director, Catholic Education Office

·  President, PJP

·  Parish Priest as Canonical Administrator

·  Delegated Canonical Administrator

·  Acts on behalf of the Licensee to oversee operations

·  Leads strategic direction of the organisations

·  Key interface with other agencies e.g. governments

·  Models high level leadership practice

·  Consults with those at lower levels

·  Provides critical feedback at higher levels

·  Develops professional and robust relations with all levels

Relational leadership

·  Tends to micromanage other levels of the entity

·  Is unwilling or unable to be consultative with lower levels of the organisation





Command and control

·  Lacks confidence or capacity to work as leader

·  Is overwhelmed by strong personalities in the organisation's structure

·  Lacks training and/or experience to lead with credibility



Promoted beyond competence


·  Usually located in the staff of a CEO or PJP

·  May be found amongst members of a high performing Board and its committees


·  Provides expertise, knowledge and support to which a typical school would not have access


·  Possesses the appropriate skills, expertise and knowledge

·  Provides these skills in a timely and effective manner

·  Is conscious of the time and demands on schools when providing support or seeking information

Support and service

·  Focuses on process rather than service

·  Sets unreasonable timelines for communication

·  Unreasonably prioritises compliance at the expense of pedagogy


Bureaucracy is an end in itself

·  Lacks the skills or experience to provide the levels of service required by the organisation

·  Exhibits poor organisational and/or communication skills that undermine the support function



Mediocrity rather than service

Site Leader

·  Principal


·  In theory is responsible for all matters that occur within and impact on the school

·  In fact, this varies according to the jurisdiction in which the principal operates; some principals have delegated employer status; some have budget control; some systems have central control of many aspects of the school's operation

·  Is aware of the needs of the local community and works successfully to meeting these

·  Operates in a spirit of cooperation and collegiality with other levels of governance and with peers

Support and leadership of local community

·  Can be preoccupied with local issues at the expense of others

·  Leads autocratically

·  Lacks cooperation with other levels of governance and peers



Looking after 'Number One'

·  Lacks confidence or capacity to work as leader

·  Is overwhelmed by strong personalities in the organisation's structure

·  Lacks training and/or experience to lead with credibility


Leader in name only


Posted in: Governance Catholic Secondary Principals Australia   0 Comments

VET for secondary school students: a snapshot of the past 20 years

Posted on 26 April 2019
VET for secondary school students: a snapshot of the past 20 years
Latest research shows participation in VET programs by secondary students has trended upwards over the past two decades, from 60 000 in 1996 to over 240 000 in 2017.

VET for secondary school students: acquiring an array of technical and non-technical skills provides a snapshot of these students and their participation in programs by qualification type and level, field of education, and apprenticeships and traineeships over the last 20 years.

It also finds that students have opportunities to develop non-technical skills as part of these programs.

It is part of a larger program of research that extends on the previous report:

VET in Schools students: characteristics and post-school employment and training experiences.

Posted in: VocEd pathways   0 Comments
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