Catholic Identity - Curriculum

The Catholic Identity section had a successful year during 2020 in working with its sectional intent as expressed in the CESA Corporate Plan 2020-2024: To enhance the Catholic identity and mission of Catholic education in South Australia.  Below is an overview of the key facets of the work of the various teams in the section: the Religious Education and Faith Formation Team, Catholic Studies, Family and Parish Based Catechesis Team, the Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults, the Catholic Resource and Information Service, and the Catholic Schools Music Festival. Inspired by the Christian Tradition and focusing on the integration of faith, life and culture, these teams educate, form and resource those involved in the educational mission to children and young people in the Catholic dioceses of South Australia.

Religious Education and Faith Formation Team

The Religious Education and Faith Formation (REFF) Team had a number of strategic work priorities, including development of the new Religious Education curriculum and consolidated human sexuality curriculum, research initiatives with enhancing Catholic school identity, supporting the sector’s incorporation of the CESA Key Capabilities, support for Assistant Principals Religious Identity and Mission, religious leadership development, and staff spiritual and religious formation. The team continued to provide various important operational services, including the Graduate Certificate in Catholic Education, contribution to the Teacher Induction Module, teacher professional development in the religious domain,  the Catholic Professional Formation Allowances, Ecological Conversion services, prayer and liturgy school support, and the National School Chaplaincy Program.  

Religious Education Curriculum and Learning

Crossways Redesign

The redesign of Crossways, the Religious Education curriculum for South Australian Catholic schools, which commenced in late 2016, was a key priority for the REFF team consultants in 2020. The Crossways Redesign project in 2020 involved: finalising the written content, completing the theological review process with the Australian Catholic University’s Faculty of  Theology and Philosophy, progressing the approval process with the Archbishop and Bishop, commencing a partnership with Prescient (the professional learning service of the SACE Board of South Australia) to research and develop an approach to assessment and moderation, refining the Scriptural Text Scope and Sequence, and partnering with SACE on the Religion Studies subject renewal project.

A priority for the REFF team over the past three years has been to build the capabilities of APRIMs, RECs and school leaders to lead the implementation of the redesigned Crossways curriculum in their school communities. In 2020, the regionally-based Networked Implementation Program continued with thirteen regions joining eight networks to complete three phases of implementation. The program was designed to support school leaders and teachers to deepen their understanding of the new Crossways curriculum and its potential to enhance the Catholic identity of school communities through contemporary pedagogies and high quality teaching and learning. The program comprised three phases: five regions completed Phase 1 in face-face mode and, due to the onset of COVID-19, eight regions engaged in Phase 1 implementation via online modules and MS Teams meetings. The Implementation program included school APRIMs, Principals and teaching staff who, through engagement with the materials and processes, built their capacity to lead professional learning and support staff with their understanding of the Crossways curriculum in their school communities. Following schools’ trial of the curriculum in Phase 2, networks were supported in phase 3 (face to face) to complete a Religious Education curriculum scope and sequence in preparation for 2021.  

The design of the digital platform for the Crossways curriculum and the MITIOG program gained traction, and through a partnership with the ICT section, Boylen Web Design was contracted to complete the project in early 2021.

The University of South Australia Graduate Certificate in Education (Catholic Education) program was refined in 2020 to include updated content referring to the redesigned Crossways Curriculum. The Teaching Methodology and Curriculum Design courses have a specific focus on Crossways curriculum content.   

Engagement with draft versions of the redesigned curriculum and draft achievement standards occurred with various stakeholders across CESA, including APRIMs and other religious leaders through the CESA Religious Leaders Day and their associations, and School Quality and Performance Consultants via regional meetings. 

Visit the RE Curriculum website

Made in the Image of God

REFF consultants finalised work on the consolidation of the new Made in the Image of God (MITIOG) human sexuality program and the CEO acquired an affirming theological approval from Rev Dr Hoa Trung Dinh, lecturer in Bioethics and Sexual Ethics at the Catholic Theological College in Melbourne.  It is anticipated that all CESA schools will be teaching from the consolidated MITIOG curriculum in 2021 once final local Church approval is received.

Due to COVID the REFF team was unable to deliver face to face professional learning workshops. To enable teachers to obtain training to teach the MITIOG human sexuality curriculum, four online modules were developed with two options, either school based led by a MITIOG key teacher or with a consultant facilitated online workshop. The online modules were very popular especially with country schools. A total of 273 teachers from 67 schools took up the training in 2020.

Key Capabilities

With the launch of the CESA Key Capabilities Continua at Directors Day in February, the REFF team embedded the continua into resources and initiatives in a variety of ways during 2020:

  • refining the Crossways learning design template to include the use of the Spiritually Aware, Inspired by Faith continua as a suggested resource when teachers are considering possible spiritual hopes for the unit of work
  • including the Key Capabilities Continua in the online resources created for the Religious Education tiles
  • working collaboratively with the School Quality and Performance Section to incorporate the Key Capabilities into the learning design proforma introduced to SEQTA
  • naming and exploring the CESA Key Capabilities within the professional learning suite for teachers including the Graduate Certificate courses.
Visit the Key Capabilities Continua website

Religious Literacy Assessment Tool (ReLAT)

The Religious Literacy Assessment Tool (ReLAT) for Year 4 students was cancelled for 2020 because of the restrictions arising from the COVID pandemic. The REFF team continued in its redesign of ReLAT for the pending new Crossways religious education curriculum.