CaSPA News


New Governance Models Proposed for Catholic Schools

Posted on 16 February 2018
New Governance Models Proposed for Catholic Schools

Above: St Joseph's Primary School principal Michael Gray supports reform in Catholic primary schools. Picture: Rob Gunstone

At the coming CaSPA Board meeting to be held in early March at Merici College in Canberra, the Directors will be considering the issue of Governance of Catholic Schools - especially in light of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse.  Clearly this is a significant issue for others in the Catholic Sector as evidenced by this recent media article:

Catholic primary schools in Victoria are facing one of the most significant overhauls in their 150-year history, with principals pushing to strip priests of their power over schools.

A report commissioned by the Victorian Association of Catholic Primary School Principals calls for a review of the governance of the state's parish primary schools.

"The model absolutely fails," a principal quoted in the report said.

"I build structures around my staff to protect them from the parish priest," another said.

The report, by Australian Catholic University researchers, comes as parish priests in the Sale diocese have surrendered their power in schools. Unlike other Australian states and territories, parish priests in Victoria appoint principals, employ staff and sign off on the annual financial statement of parish schools. They also oversee occupational health and safety protocols.

In Sale, the diocese has set up a new company and board of directors that will oversee the employment of staff and the management of school properties, reporting to the bishop.

In a letter to clergy, teachers and principals, Sale Bishop Patrick O'Regan said the new model would let priests focus on the pastoral and spiritual aspects of schools and parishes "without having to deal with complex management and legislative compliance issues".

"It will also alleviate them of the responsibility and personal legal liability in relation to the management of schools," he wrote.

Other dioceses are considering the same, as they digest the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. "The position of the parish priest as the employer of staff of diocesan schools has the potential to adversely impact on the open and effective reporting of complaints against priests," the royal commission's report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne said.

Association's president Michael Gray said: "The expertise and knowledge of running a school is very complicated and parish priests don't necessarily have that training." Mr Gray, who is also the principal of St Joseph's Primary School in Warrnambool, said these complexities took priests away from what they did best - pastoral work.

The report highlighted several anonymous examples of interference: "If I call tradesmen for emergencies, I am told to cancel the work required," one school head said. Another said that the parish priest ordered them to replace the school captain with another child.

The report comes as the Catholic Education system faces criticism about transparency and funding, including in a 2016 report by the Victorian Auditor-General. Victorian Catholic schools receive more than $2 billion a year in federal and state government funding.

The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria has refused to disclose to the federal government the assets and liabilities of more than 350 of its Victorian schools despite a legal requirement to provide audited financial statements. Only about a quarter of Catholic schools provided the information, The Age has found through a freedom of information request.

The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria did not provide comment.


Age, Melbourne  by Henrietta Cook Ben Schneiders Royce Millar
15 Feb 2018

Posted in: NCEC Strategic Catholic Secondary Principals Australia   0 Comments

Whitefriars boys unite to put an end to violence

Posted on 15 February 2018
Whitefriars boys unite to put an end to violence

The boys at Melbourne CaSPA School - Whitefriars College, Donvale - have been encouraged to speak out to help tackle violence against women

The school marked last month's White Ribbon Day with a barbecue to raise money for White Ribbon Australia, which raises awareness of violence against women.

The boys formed a ribbon on the oval with a drone flying over to create a video, now on the college's Facebook page.

A video of senior students speaking out against violence is also on the school's Facebook page.

College youth worker Brie Ellett said students were encouraged to sign a pledge banner.

'Men speaking to other men about violence against women is a powerful catalyst for change because women's safety is a man's issue too,' Ms Ellett said.

This article was originally published in the Manningham Leader 11 December 2017.

Posted in: wellbeing   0 Comments

Government provides resources to help your school with Cyber Safety for the Commonwealth Games

Posted on 14 February 2018
Government provides resources to help your school with Cyber Safety for the Commonwealth Games
Dear Stay Smart Online Partners

The countdown to the 2018 Commonwealth Games is on. We are pleased to provide you with the this link to the resource kit to promote cyber safety to your audiences before and during the Games.

Major sporting events like the Commonwealth Games draw attention from around the world and can be a prime target for cyber criminals. We've developed this resource kit to help everyone prepare and remain cyber aware throughout the Games.

The kit includes suggested social media posts and graphics, along with a guide to the recommended timing of the content. The kit also includes links to the news stories Stay Smart Online will be promoting on Facebook, sharing advice and tips on how to:
  • buy tickets safely,
  • avoid travel and accommodation scams,
  • connect to public Wi-Fi safely,
  • protect your business throughout the Games,
  • keep business websites and social media channels safe,
  • keep business point-of-sale systems secure, and
  • avoid Games-related email scams.

As the Games draw closer, Stay Smart Online may update these stories to reflect new info regarding cyber activity or social media stats for example, so stay tuned and we will provide you with these updates if need be.

We strongly encourage you to use these materials to promote Commonwealth Games cyber security to your audiences.

From the Stay Smart Online team, enjoy the Games!

Stay Smart Online team
Attorney-General's Department
W:   |  E:
Posted in: Government   0 Comments

Regulations to be relaxed to encourage those with trade experience to be registered as Teachers

Posted on 13 February 2018
Regulations to be relaxed to encourage those with trade experience to be registered as Teachers

It is interesting to read the content of the following article that appeared in the National Media given that one of the recommendations from CaSPA to the current Review of STEM by Alan Finkel was to provide for easier Teacher Registration for those with Trade Experience:

The Turnbull government wants to encourage tradies to become teachers, and nurses to swap the clinic for the classroom, under a plan to "shake up" the country's schools.

A national review of teacher registration - to be announced Saturday - will look to streamline the process for becoming a teacher around Australia, with a view to making it easier for people in trades and other professions to switch careers.

At present, most states require teachers to attain at least a diploma of education, if not an undergraduate teaching degree - but it depends on what type of teacher someone seeks to become.

Teachers also need to reregister at least once every five years, and demonstrate ongoing suitability, classroom hours and professional development - but the requirements vary from state to state.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said it should be easier for people with experience in specialist areas to teach those trades at schools and vocational colleges.

"Students need to learn from people from all walks of life," he said. "Those different life experiences could shake up Australia's schools and add more depth to the talented teachers we have."

In particular, Senator Birmingham said former tradies and builders - "who might want to hang up the work boots and get into a classroom" - would help open students' minds about their postschool options.

"Many people with the skills to build houses also have skills to build knowledge in certain subject areas," he said. "There is no doubt that tradies who have done the hard yakka on the construction site could bring new skills and a different perspective that could be invaluable for student learning."

The review will be led by the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership under deputy chair Chris Wardlaw, who is tasked with examining whether current registration requirements impose excessive barriers to entry into the teaching profession.

Signed off by the Education Council, which includes Senator Birmingham and state education ministers, the review will also try to eliminate inconsistencies between states.

The government already helps fund programs aimed at encouraging young professionals to try their hand in the classroom, such as the well-known Teach for Australia, which sends outstanding graduates into disadvantaged schools.

Australia's falling position on global literacy and numeracy rankings, as well as disappointing NAPLAN results, have worried education ministers.

In 2016 the council toughened the test for prospective teachers by requiring them to place in the top 30 per cent of the population for literacy and numeracy.

While this review will not rehash teacher standards, it will consider how the standards can be better embedded in the registration process to strengthen teacher quality.

"The thing that makes the biggest difference to students is great teaching," said AITSL chief executive Lisa Rodgers. "Our teachers deserve to get the same level of support and development, no matter which state or territory they live in."

As well as differing procedures on background checks, it can be onerous for teachers to transfer registration between states.


The Saturday Age, Melbourne  by Michael Koziol
10 Feb 2018

Posted in: STEM Government VocEd Principals Australia   0 Comments

Reinventing Your School - is it really that hard?

Posted on 12 February 2018
Reinventing Your School - is it really that hard?

One renowned commentator on the Education Sector once remarked that:

The School Sector is one of the least innovative in society - it is largely "Change Averse".

The way schools are still visioned, organised and managed is closely akin to the way asylums and prisons were run in the 19th Century...

While "disruptive" approaches permeate many other sectors, education and schools largely continue to follow their well worn tracks.

The diagram above describes how you as leader can undertake a relative simple approach to re-imagine your school. In many ways it employs a combination of the DeBono Black and Green Hat[s] approach to meeting challenges.

A more detailled description of this approach can be found at:

Posted in: Leadership   0 Comments
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