Catholic Identity - Leadership Developement

Religious Leadership Development

The APRIMs and Religious Education Coordinators (RECs) appointed to both substantive and temporary positions for the 2020 year were supported both formally and informally by the Leadership Development and REFF teams. The REFF team provided all new APRIMs with direct support and companioning both in 1:1 and group modes. A successful development was the introduction of peer support meetings held twice a term via MS Teams. APRIMs were able to connect with colleagues without travelling to the CEO and this led to greater engagement.

The REFF team also provided support to the Leadership Induction Program and the Aspiring Leaders Program, running sessions on the collaborative nature of religious leadership in CESA schools and the importance of staff formation in Catholic identity.

The APRIM Renewal and Enrichment Program allocated funds to seven applicants at the beginning of 2020. Due to travel restrictions and COVID-19 precautions, none of the intended travel or experiences occurred. Similarly, the Religious Leadership Formation Program was affected in 2020.

The REFF team continued to collaborate and support the two religious leadership associations, the Primary Religious Identity and Mission Association (PRIMA) and the Secondary Professional Religious Education Leaders Association (SRELA). Their activities were curtailed during 2020. PRIMA began the year with a day in late February on the theology of hospitality provided by Jane Angha, who was visiting from Minnesota where she runs ‘Ministry Blueprints. PRIMA used MS Teams to Break Bread Together at the end of July. This enabled participants from across the sector to engage with each other in a two-hour session over lunchtime for prayer, Q and A and sharing their experiences of leading the Catholic identity of schools during COVID. In November PRIMA members were able to gather together at the new Mary Mackillop Precinct for a keynote address from Sr Mary Ryan rsj.

The Secondary Religious Education Leaders Association provided networking, collaboration and professional learning opportunities for APRIMs, RECs and identified emerging leaders in 2020. In particular, a reflection on an experience based on contemplative prayer, an invitation into awareness, connection and renewal was facilitated by the SRELA Executive.

Catholic Identity Consultant - Diocese of Port Pirie

The Catholic Identity Consultant’s role supported those in Religious Education leadership in schools within the Diocese of Port Pirie in collaboration and partnership with the broader REFF team. The key focus in 2020 continued to be the implementation of the redesigned Crossways curriculum. This involved the facilitation of regular online cluster meetings and individual meetings with each school leader of Religious Education to continue the development of APRIM/REC capabilities in leading the RE curriculum in each school context.

There was support provided to religious leaders for their work with school staff in supporting staff and student spiritual and religious formation using the 2020 Diocesan theme of Bring fire to the earth. 

An emphasis continued with developing online networking opportunities throughout the year for Early Career Teachers. Introductory online workshops were offered and incorporated the themes of both prayer and Scripture.

Enhancing Catholic School Identity

The REFF team continued its key role in the CEO’s support for CESA strategic planning and initiatives in Catholic identity and mission in light of the CESA Corporate Plan 2020-2024, the CESA Living Leading Learning Framework and its accompanying Standard. The Enhancing Catholic Identity Reference Group continued to provide oversight for this work on behalf of the Catholic Identity Standing Committee.

There were several major Enhancing Catholic School initiatives that were supported in 2020:

  • Nine schools undertook the Enhancing Catholic School Identity (ECSI) Research with a combination of quantitative and qualitative surveys.
  • The national 2020 Enhancing Catholic Identity Colloquium was a remote gathering for all systems and universities that are involved in collaboration with Leuven University (KUL) and ECSI research initiatives. It was held over four sessions and provided an opportunity for continuing collaboration, new learning and updates with new developments.
  • CESA continued in its membership of the Australian ESCI Professional Learning Consortium and contributed to the development of a teacher prayer resource that the consortium is developing in partnership with KUL for trial in schools in 2021.

Assistant Principals Religious Identity and Mission

Twenty-three substantive Assistant Principal Religious Identity and Mission (APRIM) positions were advertised and filled during 2020. In four of these schools the APRIM vacancy occurred through the APRIM coming to the end of their tenure and winning the position for a new tenure. Other vacancies occurred due to movement of APRIMs to other leadership positions and retirement. Eleven acting APRIM positions were also filled throughout the year with vacancies also occurring due to movement of APRIMs to other leadership positions or leave.

The APRIM Policy and Guidelines Committee continued its work on behalf of Catholic Identity Standing Committee. The revised APRIM Policy and new APRIM Procedures were approved by SACCS in September 2020, with information sessions about the policy and procedures occurring in November. The work of the committee will continue in 2021 for accompanying documents to the procedures including appraisal guidelines for new ‘Band C APRIM allowance and conditions of employment.

Church Relationships

The REFF team actively supported the development and promotion of resources for the Plenary Council of the Australian Catholic Church. The Plenary Council is to be held over two sessions between 2021 and 2022.