Leadership & Workforce Development

Selection of Diocesan Principals and Deputy Principals

Throughout 2020, 23 panels were formed to recommend to the Directors the appointments of 12 substantive principals and 11 substantive deputy principals.  In addition, 50 acting leadership appointments were recommended to the Directors in metropolitan and regional/rural school communities (this included 11 acting positions for 2021).  Hutton Consulting Australia was commissioned to conduct an audit of current selection processes and documentation and commenced this work in the latter part of 2020.  The audit will be completed in 2021 and a report with recommendations will assist in bringing changes and improvements to the current processes.

New Leaders’ Induction Program

This program was expanded in 2020 to provide new deputy principals with 1:1 leadership coaching and personality profiling.  1:1 coaching was also an added support for new principals in the areas of leadership and strategic mindset.  A new primary principals’ network group was also constituted and met regularly during the year.

Preservice Teachers

Connections with SA based universities were strengthened and ‘Working in a Catholic School’ presentations to preservice/graduating teachers were conducted via online webinars.  CEO and Aquinas College staff agreed to explore potential partnerships to support students studying teaching, and an information session about working in a rural Catholic school took place later in the year. 

Two scholarships were awarded in the 2020 SACCS Country Scholarship program.  Both recipients completed their studies in late-2020.  In 2020 the program was promoted more overtly with a Southern Cross advertisement and an update to scholarship promotional material.  Four university students were awarded scholarships of $2,500 each for 2021, including three students from Aquinas College.

Early Career Teachers

The ECT consultancy (one consultant with responsibility for early career teacher support and teacher certification) was reinstated in 2020.  A comprehensive database of teachers in the first two years of teaching was established and provided the opportunity for a much larger cohort of teachers engaging in the early career/new teacher induction program.  A proactive campaign to raise awareness and highlight requirements for teacher accreditation also contributed to this increased take up, along with strong engagement in Graduate Certificate units.  Some initial work to increase consistency for all schools to have a designated ECT teacher mentor will continue in 2021.  Professional learning, including from the Teachers’ Registration Board, was provided for teacher mentors particularly in the area of supporting teachers to move from Graduate to Proficient Teacher status.

Teacher Certification

A consultant was appointed to oversee teacher certification, a role shared between early career teacher support and certification.  While the current number of certified teachers was fewer than 20, a strident campaign recruited over 100 teachers who commenced the certification process during the second half of 2020.  Two teachers were formally certified in 2020 and it is anticipated that those who commenced during the year will submit for certification during 2021.  Certification assessor training took place resulting in 40 CESA assessors in readiness to meet the anticipated demand in 2021.

Professional Learning Program

An expanded and comprehensive 2020 professional learning program was impacted by COVID restrictions.  A number of offerings and programs were cancelled, postponed or modified into online options to ensure some professional learning continued during the challenges and demands of 2020 including:

  • the Aspiring Leaders’ Program continued via a series of online webinars
  • Pathways to School Leadership commenced late in the year
  • Executive Ready Program for Women took place online
  • three Dare to Lead Programs were successfully facilitated
  • Renewal Leave applications were cancelled or deferred
  • Study Incentive Program support continued, albeit a number of study programs were cancelled or conducted via online sessions
  • one School Leader Retreat was completed before restrictions prevented further retreats from occurring.

School Leader Retreat Program

Diocesan principals and deputy principals are required to undertake an approved 3-day retreat at least once every three years.  In the 2020 CESA Program, three retreats were offered either in a 3-day residential mode or a non-residential three days over three weeks. Two retreats were postponed due to COVID restrictions and have been rescheduled for 2021.  Five school leaders were able to undertake a CESA program retreat experience and overwhelmingly positive feedback was received. 

Principals Renewal Leave Program

Fourteen principals were approved for national and overseas renewal experiences and seven principals and one CEO senior leader were supported for tertiary study.  All overseas renewal experiences were cancelled/deferred due to COVID restrictions.

Deputy Principals Study Support and Renewal Leave Program

Nine deputy principals were approved in 2020 for national and overseas renewal experiences.   Only three were able to undertake their planned leave, the remainder cancelled or deferred to 2021. Nine applicants were supported for tertiary study support.

CESA ACU Theology and Leadership Education Program (CATLEP)

As a result of collaboration between the CESA Leadership Development section, the CESA Religious Education team and personnel from the Australian Catholic University (ACU), an initiative was introduced in 2014 to encourage and support CESA staff to pursue study in Masters Courses with the ACU.  The CESA ACU Theology and Leadership Education Program (CATLEP) is in addition to and complements the support provided via the Study Incentive Program (SIP).

CATLEP supported existing and new students financially to enrol in prescribed units in the following ACU Master courses: Master of Theological Studies; Master of Educational Leadership; Master of Religious Education and Master of Professional Studies in Theology. Upon being granted CATLEP funding, a student can claim for unit fee reimbursement (up to a maximum of $2,000) upon successful completion of the unit within the semester of the course.  A total of 31 applicants received CATLEP funding in 2020 in support of their Masters study through ACU.

Study Incentive Program

The Study Incentive Program (SIP) fosters professional development and study for all CESA staff by providing funding to assist with fees for tertiary and role-related study. In 2020, a total of 181 applicants were funded. $109,385 was contributed from the program to assist in funding 131 applicants seeking support to complete the Graduate Certificate in Catholic Studies.

Living Learning Leading and Leadership Standards

The CESA Living Learning Leading Standard and Leadership Standard were distributed to Principals in 2020.  Work commenced on drafting a Leadership Standard Evidence Guide which will be a support document to the Leadership Standard and provide a streamlined process for principals to assess their performance against the Leadership Standard.

Workforce Development Plan

A reference group of principals was constituted to support the development of a system-wide workforce development plan which aligns with the CESA strategic pillars.  The aim of the plan is to identify and prioritise the strategies to address capacity, capability and human capital issues in order to reposition our workforce to meet our strategic priorities now and into the future. Key components focussed on workplace culture, workplace sustainability and the workforce development cycle: recruit, develop, recognise, renew and retain.  Once the plan is finalised in 2021, it will be utilised to support regions, school, and other system leaders in developing all facets of CESA’s workforce.