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Report to the Archdiocese of Sydney
on the Catholic Education Office,
Sydney and the Sydney
Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board
from the External Review Panel
September 2004
Members of the External Review Panel
Ian Gamble, Chairman of the External Review Panel, is one of Her
Majesty's Chief Inspectors of Education in Scotland, with particular
responsibility for quality assurance and inspection of all 32 Education
Authorities in Scotland. Since 2000, all Education Authorities in Scotland
have been subject to regular external reviews. Before joining the Scottish
Inspectorate in 1989, Ian was Principal of Methwold High School, Norfolk,
Dona Stannard has been the Chief Executive of the Catholic Education
Services for England and Wales since 1999. The Catholic Education
Service is the advisory body to the Bishops' Conference on all matters
affecting Catholic education. From 1988 to 1999 Oona served as an Her
Majesty's Inspector and in this capacity inspected both schools and Local
Education Authorities.
Dr Anne Benjamin joined the rapidly developing Diocese of Parramatta in
1990 and was appointed Executive Director of Schools in 1997. Anne is
also a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Western
Sydney and a member of the Interim Committee for the NSW Institute of
Teachers. Prior to joining the Catholic Education Office, Parramatta, Anne
lectured in Religious Education in both Undergraduate and Postgraduate
programs, both here and overseas. Earlier, Anne taught in both Primary and
Secondary schools.
Professor Terry Burke was employed by the NSW Department of School
Education and Training until 2000, having served as teacher, Principal,
District Inspector, Deputy Director and Relieving Director-General of
Education. In 2000, Terry was appointed Professor at the University of
Wollongong. He is involved with the Educational Leadership Program in
the Faculty of Education.
10 External Review Panel, 2004
Printed and distributed by the Catholic Education Office, Sydney
38 Renwick Street, PO Box 217, Leichhardt NSW 2040, Australia
Phone: +61 29569 6111 Fax: +61 2 9550 0052
First published September 2004
Printed in Australia
Publication no. 1739
Executive Summary
The aims, nature and scope of the Review
The operational context of the CEO, Sydney
and the SACS Board
1. Strategic Leadership and Management
2. Catholic Identity and Religious Education
3. Students and their Learning
4. Human Resources
5. Financial Services 31
6. Partnership, ConSUltation and Communication 37
7. Charter of the SACS Board and the CEO, Sydney 43
8. Key Strengths of the CEO, Sydney and the SACS Board 47
9. Main Points for Action 49
1 Reporting of Review Outcomes 54
2 External Review Panel Methodology and Timetable 56
3 Key Documentation 59
4 Meetings conducted by Review Panel 61
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Executive Summary
The Catholic Education Office (CEO), Sydney, through its highly committed
staff at all levels, adds significant value to the work of systemic schools and
to the Religious Education and wider learning of young people. The
organisation is characterised by a very strong Catholic and educational
Vision and Mission. The CEO, Sydney is proudly and unapologetically
Catholic and consistently and strongly committed to improving the
opportunities for teachers and young people in its schools.
The quality of leadership is of a very high order in the CEO, Sydney. The
Executive Director of Schools provides very astute and effective leadership,
which demonstrates a keen awareness of the wider context within which the
CEO, Sydney operates and helps to maintain a high public profile for
Catholic education. The Team of Directors works well collectively and each
member demonstrates clear and effective leadership in his or her area of
delegated responsibility. The senior team of the CEO, Sydney demonstrate a
strong shared commitment to meeting the needs of schools and to driving
forward further improvement. These characteristics of strong leadership,
commitment and teamwork are also clearly exemplified in the three
Regional Offices.
There is a lively and very strong sense of Catholic identity throughout the
CEO's offices and the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic school system. The
mission of the Church in education is given pride of place and the Vision
and Mission of systemic schools are public and known. Significant, very
high-quality development has been undertaken in respect of Religious
Education materials and associated staff development. The writing,
publication and implementation of this project is a substantial achievement
for the Archdiocese and results from student tests indicate that the
development is having impact in schools. The serious commitment to
ongoing professional learning by Religious Education teachers is strongly
commended. The work of the CEO, Sydney-and schools is exemplified by a
strong underpiuning sense of witness and pastoral care at all levels.
The CEO, Sydney has developed a commendably strong framework of
strategic planning, school evaluation and review. The procedures which
have been established provide high levels of accountability and are well
accepted throughout the system. Each systemic school undergoes a formal
process of educational audit, school review and planning which leads to the
development of a strategic plan which focuses on improvement. These
established arrangements are a considerable strength to the work of the CEO
and the systemic schools. Further consideration now needs to be given to
refming the systems, which have been in place for some time, with a view to
streamlining the procedures and founding the audit and review arrangements
on more objective criteria. Care needs to be taken that the established
procedures do not become ends in themselves. Particular emphasis should be
given to focusing more clearly on how school development can focus more
on bringing improved leaming outcomes for students. The CEO, Sydney is
now well placed to undertake these refinements and to develop further the
culture of school improvement from an already very strong base.
Each Region initiates a range of successful developments, and strong teams
of Regional Consultants and advisory staff provide schools with very good
support. The challenge role of these staff now needs to be further developed.
The workload of these key officers needs to be kept under review to ensure
that their efforts are strongly focused on school improvement and teaching
and learning. Some care needs to be taken, however, to ensure that there is
appropriate sharing of best practice between the three Regions so that any
differences do not reduce the overall corporate approach of the CEO, Sydney.
The CEO, Sydney has successfully developed a number of strategies to
promote more effective leadership in schools. These steps have done much
to strengthen the awareness of the importance of leadership, to build ""lJ"""
across the system and to develop succession planning. Some successful ste]Jli;t
have been taken to strengthen the leadership focus of Principals upon
teaching and learning. However, Principals still spend considerable
of time on largely routine administrative tasks, and this needs to be
if the intended focus on teaching and learning is to be increased.
Students and their learning are central to the work of the CEO, Sydney,
consequently there are a large number of activities designed to support
schools in their quest for quality outcomes. Of particular importance in
support has been the promotion of the concept of the Principal as
leader, the provision of a very effective network of advisory services and
provision of a comprehensive program of professional development. A
of devices has been employed to monitor the perfo=ance of students and
promote continuous improvement. There has been a steady improvement
student results in the Basic Skills tests, English Language and Literacy
Assessment (ELLA), Secondary Numeracy Assessment Program (SNAP),
School Certificate and Higher School Certificate Examinations.
Improvements in literacy and numeracy have been based upon the
implementation of well considered and well resourced strategies, which have
included the setting of targets and the subsequent focusing of interventions
to meet areas of greatest need. Some support is offered to schools in all Key
Learning Areas (KLAs).
There have been a number of commendable initiatives for students with
diverse learning needs; but there remains a need to increase the emphasis on
lifting the performance of students who are underachieving and ensure
appropriate provision for students with challenging behaviours. Support for
Information and Communication Technology (lCT) - both technological
support and support for technology assisted learning - has been an area of
some concern. Good plans are now in place to address the key issues and
much has been achieved reCently. Overall, a great deal has been achieved
by the CEO, Sydney in the area of students and their learning. A well-
considered Archdiocesan-wide initiative to promote 'productive pedagogy'
or a similar program would now link and enhance key developments.
The Human Resources functions of the CEO, Sydney have been carefully
and successfully developed over a period of time to ensure that they reflect
the mission and social justice teaching of the Church. The high overall
quality of the people working in the CEO, Sydney was much appreciated by
all associated with the Archdiocesan community. Efforts to maintain this
quality through a number of well-considered initiatives were continuing to
be successful. These initiatives include a range of recruitment devices, a
comprehensive professional development prograrn and a Personnel
Performance Planning and Review (PPPR) process, all of which are
positively impacting upon the quality and motivation of staff. The
Succession Planning Strategy, the Catholic Schools Leadership Program and
the contract renewal process are similarly impacting very effectively upon
the quality of leadership in schools.
The devolution of significant authority to schools to select staff has helped
to ensure that appropriate people are selected to meet particular needs. The
Human Resources area has established very satisfactory relations with
schools and the Independent Education Union NSW/ACT (IEU) in regard to
employment and industrial matters, child protection, and workplace health
and safety. Human Resources functions have been fully integrated with the
salaries functions to maximise services to employees. Facilities at each
Regional Office and the Central Office are of the highest order and add much
to the professional image of the CEO, Sydney.
The CEO, Sydney provides good quality financial services across schools. In
a number of aspects services are very good. Prudent management and
careful resource allocation have resulted in a number of benefits to schools
over recent years. Staffing allocations of teachers and support staff have
improved steadily. Much has been done to plan future provision and to
address matters of school rationalisation as necessary. Clear guidelines are in
place for financial arrangements in schools and the frequency of audit has
been increased, although the levels of audit compliance in some schools
needs to be improved. Financial procedures in the CEO, Sydney are
generally thorough and result in some additional resources being provided for
small schools and those with less advantaged socio-economic circumstances.
There now remains a need to make aspects of resource allocations to schools
more transparent and more responsive to the increasing diversity of student
needs and school contexts.
The CEO, Sydney has tracked and responded well to changing population
and enrolment patterns across the system. A carefully-considered program of, '
school amalgamations and closures has been allied with siguificantly
upgraded and new provision in many schools. The CEO, Sydney is
commended for the efforts taken in school upgradings, and for the
improvements in the overall building estate. This process needs to continue,
and there remains further scope for rationalisation to provide improved
learning and working environments. Some further consideration needs to be'
given to supporting Principals with regard to buildings, property
maintenance, and the management of building projects. Overall, the CEO,
Sydney has sustained a very good record in balancing the often difficult
conflicting demands for resources. The task now is to build on these <trlono', ,
foundations and to introduce further improvements and refinements to
resource allocation which recognise that the student population is becOluillg'
increasingly diverse in character and needs.
The CEO, Sydney communicates very extensively with its stakeholders,
keeping them generally well informed. The quality of its many pulbli(;atioll,S
and its website is very high. These not only support teachers in their c1inect
work with pupils but also promote the work of the CEO and good public
relations. The CEO, Sydney is markedly successful in its networking and
creating a high public profile for Catholic education. The impact of this

evident in the standing of Catholic schools and the conditions which have
been negotiated for them.
Whilst stakeholders are generally very well satisfied with the flow of
information to them, some seek a more active partnership in consultation.
There has been extensive surveying of opinions and people have welcomed
receiving information; but parents, in particular, seek to be able to engage
and be involved more effectively.
The Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools (SACS) Board is a significant
and prestigious body within the governance and administration of Catholic
schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney. The CEO's Directors and staff
provide highly-regarded service to the Board and Committees through the
preparation and presentation of highly-professional Board documentation.
Their contribution to informed Board discussions are valued. Strong
sentiments of respect and appreciation were also expressed for the work of
the long-term (and recently retired) Chairman of the SACS Board.
It is now timely to review the structure and operation of the SACS Board
and to revise its Charter as necessary. The Panel recommends that the
review would include, at least, considerations of the SACS Board and
Committees with respect to:
role and function, including the relationship with Congregational schools;
membership, including the balance between the CEO, Sydney officers
and external stakeholders;
the Board's Committees; and
operation and culture of the Board, including consideration of ways to
enhance a culture of engagement with strategic educational issues and to
improve the Board's effectiveness.
The Panel congratulates the CEO, Sydney on the quality of Board
documentation and welcomes the stated intention to proceed with a review
of the SACS Board at this time.
Overall the CEO, Sydney is a highly effective and well-led organisation,
characterised by the high commitment of staff at all levels. Its strong
Catholic and educational mission adds significantly to the work of systemic
schools and to the educational experiences and learning of young people.
Commendably, the CEO, Sydney has a particularly strong commitment to
self-evaluation and further improvement, promoted over many years by the
Executive Director of Schools and his senior colleagues. As a result, the
organisation has many strengths and is very well placed to make further
improvements and achievements over the period of the next 5-year Strategic
The.aims, nature and scope of the Review
The purpose of the External Review 2004 was to examine and report on the
way in which the CEO, Sydney and the SACS Board have performed their
functions, with particular reference to:
the implementation of the Sydney Catholic Schools 'Towards 2005'
Strategic Management Plan, which was launched by the Archbishop of
Sydney in August 1995 and was an outcome of the previous External
Review in 1994

the contribution to school improvement and student achievement.
the contribution to the educational mission of the Catholic Church in the
Archdiocese of Sydney.
The Review focused on the effects of the CEO, Sydney's monitoring,
challenge, interaction and support in schools.
The previous External Review of the CEO, Sydney and the SACS Board
undertaken in 1994. The process involved five separate, but interrelated,
research projects and culminated in the publication of 'Looking Back,
Looking Forward: A Catholic School System in Action' (February 1995).
outcome of this Review was the publication of the Sydney Catholic SCllOO!S!'
'Towards 2005' Strategic Management Plan: Mark 2 (August 1995). A
Review ofthis ten-year plan was announced when 'Towards 2005' was
launched in August 1995. The Review was a key part of the CEO, Sy(iney:
logical development of the accountability processes which have been
introduced including benchmarking, target-setting, literacy and numeracy
testing, school reviews, educational audits of schools' performance, and
personnel appraisal. The External Review framework for the CEO,
and the SACS Board sits alongside the extensive self-evaluation
already in operation.
I Catholic Education Office, Sydney, 'Towards 2005: Review of the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board and the
Catholic Education Office, Sydney for the period 1987-1994 with recommendations for the period 19962005', July
The External Review 2004 was a key part of the accountability procedures
set in place by the CEO, Sydney and the SACS Board. A framework for this
Review was adopted by the SACS Board in 2003 and endorsed by the
Archbishop of Sydney, who accepted the advice of the SACS Board that
four educators, external to the Archdiocese, be invited to carry out the
Review. All four accepted the invitation and in January 2004 the brief for
the Review (Bulletin 69) was signed off by the Chairman of the Review
PaneL Bulletin 69' was distributed to schools and other stakeholders and
arrangements made with four external researchers to gather data from
Principals, clergy, leaders of Religious Congregations and CEO, Sydney
staff. Data gathered from a doctoral research dissertation was also available
to the PaneL
The Panel spent ten days in July 2004 visiting schools, meeting Principals
and other stakeholders and meeting the Directors and staff of the CEO,
Sydney at the Central Office and the three Regional Offices. The Panel also
met the Chairman and members of the SACS Board. A summary of the
Review activities is given at Appendix 2.
The External Review 2004 therefore formed a key part of the accountability
procedures for the CEO, Sydney and the SACS Board. The Review sits
within the regular cycle of self-review and external scrutiny set up by the
CEO, Sydney as part of its ongoing quality improvement procedures.
Review Framework
The Review encompassed the major structural aspects of the system of
schools within the CEO, Sydney and the operations of the Central Office
(Leichhardt) and the three Regions (Eastern, Inner Western and Southern).
The focus of the Review was on the appropriateness, quality and
effectiveness of services to the system of schools, informed by the Vision
and Mission Statements and arising specifically from the planning, policies
and related strategies and actions.
The framework for the 2004 Review had the following key characteristics.
The Review Panel:
comprised persons external to the CEO, Sydney and sought to provide
validation of the annual self-reviews and the 2004 self-evaluation
document prepared by the CEO's Team of Directors;
2. External Review of the Catholic Education Office and the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board, (Bulletin 69), February
2004. .
considered the self-review and evaluation process based on the annual
Archdiocesan Schools Agenda and the Annual Team Achievement Plans in
the context of 'Towards 2005';
had full access to extensive documentation for the period 1996-2004;
considered an extensive profile of the Sydney Archdiocesan school
system, including key policy papers;
based its evaluations on the scales outlined in Appendix 1 - the same scale
as used by the CEO, Sydney in its self-evaluation - and
scrutinised the CEO, Sydney's Annual Report 2003 as a key primary self-
evaluation document.
As a result of the 2004 External Review, the CEO, Sydney undertook to
prepare an Action Plan to respond to the main recommendations. It is
anticipated that this process will lead to the development of a new Strategic
Management Plan for the Sydney Archdiocesan school system for the period
The broad structure of the External Review 2004 was an adaptation of that
contained in the 'Resource Manual for School Review and Development
1999-2003' (CEO, Sydney 1999) and also used key aspects of current
approaches of the Review of Local Education Authorities (LEAs) in England
and Scotland. The key question to be addressed by the Review Panel was:
What difference does the CEO, Sydney make to quality of Catholic
education? What is the evidence?
Related to this overall question the Panel also considered:
How rigorous and effective is the CEO, Sydney's monitoring
- school 'action plans', following a formal review process undertaken
the school and by the CEO,
- recommendations to Principals following the contract renewal
individual school performance against national, State and ArchdiocesaltA
benchmarks? 'I
What is the contribution of the CEO, Sydney to raising standards and
strengthening the schools as instruments of evangelisation, and how is
contribution evaluated? How responsive is the CEO,
Sydney m provldmg assistance for those schools most m need?
"' "",,,,

A number of further contributory questions were also identified for the
attention of the Review Panel:
Is the work of CEO staff members clearly focused on the quality of
teaching and learning in classrooms?
Is the CEO, Sydney providing religious leadership?
Is the modus operandi of the CEO, Sydney in harmony with the mission
to evangelise?
Is there evidence in the CEO'S planning of clarity, consistency, coherence
and feasibility as well as responsiveness to unanticipated issues?
What steps are being taken to make sure that teachers are competent to
teach the Archdiocesan Religious Education Program?
What evidence is there tha,t the teaching of Religious Education is being
done well?
To what extent is the CEO, Sydney promoting self-evaluation to develop
the capabilities of schools to look at themselves in a constructively
critical way?
What strategies are in place to assist schools with target setting and the
achievement of national literacy and numeracy benchmarks?
How effective is the CEO, Sydney's strategy for assisting schools with
self-evaluation, the collection and analysis of test and other data, and the
targeting of students with'special assistance?
How flexible and adaptable is resource allocation to meet these needs?
To what extent do poorly performing schools receive a higher level of
support and intervention?
To what extent is the CEO, Sydney ensuring that schools are effectively
utilising technology to track student performance from year to year and
from school to school?
Are the needs of students always placed above those of school and the
CEO, Sydney staff?
The Review Panel also sought to assess other services provided by the CEO,
Sydney, which included the range of services listed in the 'Guide to
Educational Services 2004'. The Panel also considered papers of the SACS
Board and its four Committees, the CEO, Sydney and its various
Committees (both Regional and Central), and documents relating to the
provision of professional development as well as meetings with Principals.
The Panel had a range of survey data to inform its evaluations, including the
data-gathering exercise in the Learning Organisation Questionnaire
administered by Mark Turkington' to all Principals of Sydney Catholic
systemic schools and a number of senior CEO, Sydney personnel in March
2003. With a high response rate from respondents (90.6%) this report sought
to identify what school Principals saw as the key strengths and weaknesses of
the support they received from the CEO, Sydney across a number of areas.
Extensive data analysis was also collected for the Panel through a range of
further questionnaires:
Principals: Survey of Opinion (June 2004)4
CEO Staff: Survey of Opinion (Jnne 2004)5
Leaders of Religious Institutes: Survey of Opinion (June 2004)6
Clergy: Survey of Opinion (June 2004)7
Some key benchmark criteria were identified for the Review Panel to judge
the performance of the CEO, Sydney. These key criteria included the extent
to which there was:
a clearly defined, contemporary Vision and Mission;
a clearly defined medium-term strategy which set out priorities;
clearly defined actions in support of these priorities, with targets set in
appropriate areas;
equitable and transparent resource distribution related to these priorities;
and "

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a focus on the needs and priorities of students and school communities as .j
the basis of the CEO's intervention in

These criteria were encompassed in the seven key areas for evaluation,
form the main chapters of this report. For each of these key areas of . . :

. 1 :J

3 Turkington Dr M, 'The Catholic Education Office, Sydney as a learning organisation and its perceived impact on raising
Doctoral Dissertation, Australian Catholic University, April 2004, p 2I8.
o M
4 Sanber Dr Shukri, 'Principals: Survey of Opinion', Australian Catholic University, Stratbfield, June
5 Mok Dr Magdalena, 'CEO Staff: Survey of Opinion', The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, June 2004. .:":3['.
6 Johnston Dr Kristin, rsj, 'Leaders of Religious Institutes: Survey of Opinion', National Centre for Religious, Annandale, JUne ..2 ..004 ..... .......
7 Lynch Dr Peter, 'Clergy: Survey of Opinion', Catholic Institute of Sydney, Strathfield, June 2004. .
i f._

evaluation the Review Panel gave values for achievement alongside the
CEO, Sydney's self-evaluation of these criteria. The complete list of
evaluation criteria and the values of the CEO's self-evaluation and those of
the Review Panel is provided at Appendix 1.
The methodology and timetable for the Review are set out in Appendix 2.
The Panel considered a range of internal self-evaluation documentation,
profiles, reports, data on student performance, survey questionnaires from
Principals, Clergy (Deans only) and Leaders of Religious Institutes. In
addition, the Panel undertook a range of meetings with CEO, Sydney
personnel in the Central and Regional offices. The Panel considered a
presentation by the Executive Director of Schools for the CEO, Sydney
together with his senior colleagues. A list of the main documentation
considered by the Panel is set out in Appendix 3. The list of the meetings
and visits undertaken by the Panel is set out in Appendix 4.
The operational context of the CEO, Sydney
and the SACS Board
The boundaries of the Archdiocese of Sydney were adjusted in 1986 when
the new Dioceses of Parramatia and Broken Bay were established. Currently
in the Archdiocese there are 148 Parish Primary and Regional Secondary
systemic Catholic schools, educating about 62,000 students, and 20 schools
owned and operated by Religious Institutes with an enrolment of about 17,000.
The Archdiocese is now characterised by an area of relatively stable school-
age popUlation. The growth in the south-west is balanced by declines in
parts of the eastern and inner western suburbs of Sydney. The overall
proportion of Catholics in the population of Sydney is currently about 30%,
and 21.5% of 4-18 year-olds attend Catholic schools.
The CEO, Sydney is responsible for the leadership, development, support
and supervision of a network of 148 Parish Primary and Regional Secondary
schools (known as the system of schools) in the Archdiocese of Sydney.
The system employs a combined staff of 8,800 and has an annual budget of
over $400 million. It is the second largest non-government education
system in Australia, and is the approved authority for Sydney Catholic
schools under the NSW Education'Act (1990) Part 7: 39-40.
Under the Act, the CEO, Sydney monitors compliance with requirements for
Registration and Accreditation using the ' NSW Board of Studies' Manual for
Non-Government Schools'. Systemic schools are registered and accredited,
for a period of five years, by the NSW Minister for Education and Training at
the request of the CEO, Sydney.
The CEO, Sydney's 'Resources Manual for School Review and
Development', which includes the process for Educational Audit, provides
practical support for the implementation of strategic leadership and
management processes. This manual includes a set of process notes,
templates and other resources for each of the linked processes of School
Review and Development (SRD) and the Annual Implementation Cycle.
The Catholic systemic schools are all comprehensive and are representative
of the Socio-Economic Status (SES) range for Sydney: 86% of the student
enrolment is Catholic, with about 52% of students from Non English
Speaking Backgrounds (NESB), and 4.2% are classified as Students With
Disabilities (SWD).
The Executive Director of Schools is the employer of all staff in systemic
schools and is accountable to the Archbishop of Sydney and the Chairman of
the SACS Board.
The SACS Board was established by the Archbishop of Sydney to advise and
assist him on educational matters pertaining to all Catholic schools in the
Archdiocese, whether those schools were the direct responsibility of the
Archdiocese or operated by Religious Institutes. The Board was set up to
provide, on behalf of the Archbishop, leadership and overall direction for .
Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney so as to ensure the existence
of an 'effective system of education at all levels which contributes to the total
educational needs of young people in Catholic schools'.
The SACS Board is required to observe all policies determined by the
Archbishop and is empowered to formulate any other such policies necessary;
to carry out its responsibility. It is mandated to devise whatever procedures .'!
are required to maintain the overall direction of the system. The Chairmano(
the SACS Board is responsible for the leadership and operation of the Board)!
and reports regularly to the Archbishop. .
8 The Calholic School, Rome, 1977, p 9.
: ..

The Executive Director of Schools serves as the Executive Officer of the
Board. He is charged with the implementation and management of Board
policies and procedures, and is responsible to the Board for the quality of
that implementation. The Executive Director is assisted in this task by the
Director of Religious Education and Curriculum, the Director of Human
Resources, the Director of Financial Services and three Regional Directors.
The SACS Board accounts for its responsibility to the Archbishop, the
various funding bodies and the community as a whole.
The leadership and overall direction provided by the SACS Board is carried
through to the schools and the wider community by its administrative arm,
the CEO, Sydney. The role of the CEO is to provide leadership and service
to Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney, thereby seeking to
enhance the quality of the education of the students enrolled in Catholic
schools. In discharging this mandate from the Board the CEO, through the
Executive Director of Schools, accepts the delegated authority and
responsibility appropriate for the implementation and management of Board
policies and priorities. The full terms and powers of the Board and the specific
functions of the CEO, Sydney are set out in the document 'Role, Functions
and Charter of the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board and the
Catholic Education Office Sydney', published in 1989 and revised in 1995.
Board of Studies
Catholic schools use the syllabuses published by the NSW Board of Studies
and students are presented for the School Certificate (Year 10) and the Higher
School Certificate (Year 12). The Board of Studies monitors the processes
used by the CEO, Sydney in relation to Registration and Accreditation.
Income from State and Commonwealth
Income from State and Commonwealth government grants, and tuition fees
from parents, are paid into a single Archdiocesan school account from which
all teachers and support staff salaries are paid. The official staffing level for
each school is established by the CEO, Sydney when the enrolments are
known. Principals have the delegated responsibility to engage staff.
The SACS Board publishes the tuition fee schedule and guidelines for
school building levies. Loans for approved building projects are taken out
through the (Archdiocesan) Catho,lic Development Fund. Loan repayments
are the responsibility of the local school and parish.
Report on the Catholic Education Office, Sydney
and the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic
Schools Board
1. Strategic Leadership and Management
The Executive Director of Schools provides very astute and effective
leadership to the CEO, Sydney. He has a keen awareness of educational
developments within the State, country and internationally, and liaises very
well with an extensive network within the Catholic Church, government and
more widely. His regular contributions to educational debate within the
national media do much to ensure that Catholic education enjoys a strong
public profile. His work is very highly regarded in schools and throughout
the CEO, Sydney itself. As a result, his stewardship of the CEO since 1986,
and during the period since the formulation of the 1995 'Towards 2005'
Strategic Management Plan, has ensured that the organisation has developed
very high levels of accountability and staff commitment, and a strongly
shared sense of mission and purpose at all levels. These key characteristics,
systematically promoted by the Executive Director over a number of years,
are particularly well demonstrated in the establishment of an overall
framework for self-evaluation, planning, audit, and review across all schools
and the CEO. Taken together, these arrangements and substantial effective
leadership have done much to establish the CEO as a learning organisation.
The Executive Director of Schools is ably supported by a further six
Directors. Three of these Directors, based at the Central Office, are
responsible for Human Resources, Financial Services, and Religious
Education and Curriculum. A further three Regional Directors take
responsibility for the work in the Eastern, Inner Western, and Southern
Regional Offices. The overall quality of leadership provided by these six
Directors is very high. Taken together, the Executive Director of Schools and
his senior colleagues form a very effective management team which
collectively provides very good and considered leadership across the system
and demonstrates a strong commitment to ongoing improvement. The Team
of Directors (ToD) works well together as a group, but each Director also
retains a clear awareness of their a r ~ a s of delegated responsibility.
The three Regional Offices are well led, operate efficiently and demonstrate
very good levels of teamwork amongst those who work in them. Each
Region can point to a number of areas and educational initiatives where it
has been innovative and successful. Regional Directors have high levels of
delegated responsibility and autonomy, but discuss developments
collectively at ToD meetings and undertake their responsibilities very well.
Care needs to be taken that suitable regional initiatives are developed into
Archdiocesan policies whenever this is appropriate and that regional
differences of approach do not multiply to the detriment of the corporate
approach of the CEO, Sydoey.
Within the three Regional Offices the key leadership and management
interface between the CEO, Sydney and the systemic schools rests with a
team of Regional Consultants and Adyisers. There are twelve Regional
Consultants overall. One Secondary and three Primary Consultants operate
from each of the three Regional Offices and provide advice, support and
challenge to Principals in school planning and improvement as well as a
wide range of input on day-to-day matters of school operations. These
officers are highly committed and demonstrate a very good knowledge of
the schools in their Region. However, the workloads of these Regional
Consultants is considerable, expanding and not always evenly distributed.
There is, therefore, a risk that the CEO, Sydney's key aim that Regional
Consultants' work should focus primarily on assisting improvements in
schools and teaching and learning to the benefit of students could not at
present be consistently met due to the many administrative tasks competing '
for their time. It is recommended that the current demands on Regional
Consultants should be reviewed, with a view to strengthening their focus on
school improvement and teaching and learning. The challenge role of
Consultants needs to be developed further alongside their already strongly-
established support functions.
A team of Advisers is attached to each of the Regional Offices and provides '. :
impressive support to Principals, Curriculum Co-ordinators and teachers, ..
across a wide range of curricular and specialist areas, both within
and through the provision of professional development courses to teachers.; .j:;;
Advisers consistently demonstrate strong levels of commitment to their
and to the of the variou.s initiatives they are
to develop III schools. Overall, the adVISOry team provIdes a strong resource;.;)
for schools to call upon to assist improvement. Although Advisers generally.!tl
liaise widely with other colleagues their work is, for the most part, focused ,i.it.


within their own Region, to which many demonstrate a strong sense of
loyalty. Consideration should now be given to developing more strategies for
cross-regional working to share specialist adviser expertise and identifY best
practice in schools more widely and consistently across the Archdiocese.
Over the past 15 years the CEO, Sydney has taken clear steps to develop a
cycle of school review and evaluation. The approach has been innovative
and systematic, and has taken close account of international comparators.
Procedures are based upon systematic self-evaluation and external audit and
review by teams throughout the CEO, Sydney and its systemic schools. The
overall framework for strategic leadership and management also includes
well-established procedures for the development of Strategic Management
Plans, Annual School Development Plans and Annual Reports to parents and
the wider community. In addition, more recently a performance management
scheme (PPPR) has been introduced for the CEO officers, administrative
staff, Principals and teachers from systemic schools. Overall, these
developments provide a strong culture of accountability and improvement
across the CEO's offices and in systemic schools. It is considerably to the
credit ofthe CEO, Sydney that its strategic Vision of development of the
service has included a long-term commitment to school improvement, to the
procedures of self-evaluation and external audit, and to clear arrangements
for strategic leadership and management development.
Each systemic school undergoes a formal process of Educational Audit,
school review, and planning which leads to the development and publication
of the school's Strategic Plan. These audit, review and planning procedures
are generally well regarded at all levels within the system. Principals of
Primary and Secondary schools responding to the surveys acknowledge that
the arrangements which have been put in place provide a strong framework
for school development, accountability and improvement. A clear cycle of
school planning and review has been established and reinforced over the
years. The procedure starts with a review of the school's previous Strategic
Management Plan. An Educational Audit Team involving Regional
Consultants, the Principal and a number of external nominees is established
at each school to begin work upon completion of the internal school review
of the previous plan. The audit team visiting the school reports on the
progress with implementation of the recommendations of the previous report,
on the school's own self-review document, and on aspects of compliance
with the NSW Education Act (1990). In turn, the audit report contains a
number of specific recommendations for improved school effectiveness, and
is shared with the wider school community. Generally, these audit and
review arrangements are a considerable strength of the school improvement
procedures within the CEO, Sydney, and have gained wide acceptance
among Principals and school staff in both Primary and Secondary sectors.
The Principal has oversight of the school review process, which includes
extensive consultation with staff, parents, clergy and students.
Recommendations arising from the process of audit and review are
incorporated into the school's next 5-year Strategic Management Plan and
progress in overtaking these recommendations is managed by the Principal
and monitored by the Regional Consultant. The school's 5-year Strategic
Management Plan includes its Mission Statement, response to
recommendations in the external audit team report, areas for development
and improvement, and associated goals and outcomes. Overall, this
procedure works well throughout systemic schools and ensures that they
address a number of key priorities across the Archdiocese in addition to
those specific to the school itself. In recent times school Strategic
Management Plans have given particular attention to the religious and
spiritual dimension, curriculum development and teaching practice, students'
learning, progress and attainment, pastoral care, parents and the wider
community, facilities, and resources and budgeting.
Each systemic school also develops and publishes an Annual School
Development Plan, which identifies goals selected from the school's 5-year
Strategic Management Plan. School Annual Development Plans clearly
identify those staff who are responsible for the implementation of various
strategies. There is, however, less explicit focus on how the various
developments are likely to benefit students' learning and how success will
be measured. The Panel strongly recommends that plans should focus more
specifically on how any intended developments will impact on students'
learning. The school's progress with the implementation of the Annual
Development Plan becomes a focus for the ongoing monitoring role of the
Regional Consultant. The Annual Development Plan is published and made
available to the wider school community.
These well-established arrangements for school review and development,;
planning provide a clear focus for school improvement across the CEO and,!
the systemic schools. Further consideration requires to be given to refining ,;
, the systems, which have now been in place for some time. In particular, it ~
recommended that the school review procedures should be more firmly
based upon agreed criteria and quality indicators so as to promote greater
consistency and limit the scope for subjectivity. Consideration should also be
given to streamlining the audit and review arrangements and increasing their
focus upon outcomes for students. There would also be considerable merit in
bringing the audit and review procedures more closely together as one
Significant effort is made across the system in the construction and use of
schools' Annual Development Plans. However, there remains too much
variation across the 148 schools in the nature and presentation of Annual
Development Plans and the extent to which they clearly identify impact on
students' learning rather than developmental procedures. Current plans tend
to emphasise developmental activities which teachers will undertake, rather
than the benefits which will accrue to students' learning. Further refinement
and streamlining of the development planning process should focus upon
identifying more clearly the expected benefits for students' learning, which it
is anticipated that development projects in schools will secure.
Commendably, all systemic schools now provide an Annual Report to parents
and the wider school community on progress with the Annual Development
Plan, overall school performance, initiatives, developments and
achievements. These reports are increasingly being written to a common
pattern across the system. The Panel recommends that further consideration
should be given to the purpose and intended audience for these reports,
including how parents may be best assisted in making full use of the
information provided. Whilst retaining a focus on the key information,
which should be consistently provided to parents across systemic schools, it
is recommended that sufficient scope should be retained for schools to
include some further information which they consider relevant to their own
parent and community audiences and contexts. School Annual Reports to the
wider community should also be more consistently validated by Regional
Offices before publication.
The strategic leadership and management cycle, which has been developed
by the CEO, Sydney over the past 15 years, now provides a strong basis upon
which to further develop the culture of school improvement. The wide
acceptance of the framework is a marked strength of the work of the CEO,
Sydney and provides a measure of consistency of engagement between the
CEO and the systemic schools across all three Regions. It focuses the work
of Regional Consultants, Principals, 'Advisers and school staff towards
identified and agreed priorities. The arrangements enjoy a high measure of
support among Principals and among school staff. Over 96% of Principals
responding to recent surveys agreed that they had a clear understanding of
the Strategic Leadership and Management Framework and processes, and
that this framework contributed strongly towards assisting schools to
improve the quality of teaching and learning. Care needs to be taken to
ensure that the framework established and its associated procedures do not
become ends in themselves. The framework should be based more clearly
on agreed quality indicators and criteria, which form a shared basis for
consistent evaluations both within schools and from external reviewers. It
is, therefore, recommended that the external audit, school review and school
development planning procedures should now be more streamlined and
directly focused on the anticipated improvements which are envisaged for
students' learning. Development tasks within each school's Annual
Development Plan should have more specific and measurable criteria
showing how improved outcomes for students might be identified.
The CEO, Sydney has successfully developed a number of strategies to
promote more effective leadership in schools. There has been a keen and
long-standing awareness, from the Executive Director of Schools to school
level, of the need to promote and develop leadership capacity and succession',
within the system. Taken together, the initiatives by the CEO, Sydney to
promote leadership development and succession have done much to
strengthen the awareness of the importance of leadership and to build
capacity across the system. The leadership and management cycle is
therefore well supported by the Catholic Schools Leadership Framework
(CSLP) which consists of six foundation dimensions ofleadership: religious;
leadership for learning, strategic, human resources, organisational and
personal. In 2001, the CEO, Sydney published the 'Catholic Schools
Leadership Framework: Core Competencies and Key Elements'9 document
which provided a comprehensive analysis of core competencies associated
with effective leadership in Catholic schools. A number of well-regarded
leadership development programs for Principals, Assistant Principals and
middle managers are provided regularly and relate directly to the Leadership
Framework which has been established. These professional leadership c o u r s ~ s
are very well supported fmancially and have a high profile across systemic.
Some successful steps have been taken by the CEO, Sydney to strengthen
9 Catholic Schools Leadership Framework: Core Competencies and Key Elements, CEO. Sydney, April 2001.
the leadership focus of Principals upon teaching and learning. Although the
CEO clearly intends that Principals should focus their activities upon the core
teaching and learning processes in school, there remains considerable
evidence that Principals continue to need to devote considerable amounts of
their time to other administrative and management tasks. Whilst a number of
these tasks are clearly important, some are very routine. Care needs to be
taken to ensure that systems are sufficiently robust and effective to enable
Principals to undertake management tasks without undue bureaucratic
burden. It is recommended that further steps should be taken to refocus the
leadership activities of Principals more closely upon key strategies to
improve the quality of teaching and learning in their schools and on the
general improvement of student achievement. The Panel recommends that a
policy group, including Principals from both the Primary and Secondary
sectors, should be set up to explore how the future development of leadership
within the CEO, Sydney arid systemic schools can focus more directly and
consistently on teaching and learning, and how a complementary reduction in
the amount of time spent upon administrative duties can be achieved. The
core leadership of Principals on teaching and learning would benefit from the
exploration of wider and innovative support strategies to assist with business
management on their school sites.
Overall, CEO, Sydney officers, Principals and school staff are strongly
committed to the Strategic Leadership and Management Framework. The
CEO should be commended for the achievement of establishing a Strategic
Leadership and Management Framework to which so many of its officers,
Principals and staff in schools subscribe. This framework has done much to
strengthen accountability and to promote school improvement through the
. procedures of school audits, reviews, and strategic and annual development
planning. The overall quality ofleadership and management established
across the organisation has been recognised by the achievement of an
Australian Business Excellence Award. The task of the CEO, Sydney now is
to build upon these strong leadership and management foundations to enable
the framework established to be streamlined and more explicitly focused on
improving the intended outcomes for learners.
2. Catholic Identity and Religious Education
The CEO, Sydney is proudly and unapologetically Catholic. There is a
vibrant and very strong sense of Catholic identity throughout the Sydney
Archdiocesan Catholic school system, which is easily evidenced across the
Central Office, the Regional Offices and the schools which the Panel visited.
The physical environment of offices and schools is characterised by an
ordered, welcoming ambiance with religious symbols, religious art and
images of children, teachers and schools. The tradition and history of
Catholic education in Sydney is likewise honoured in the decor of the
Central and Regional Offices. It is evident that prayer is a regular part of
the program in the Central and Regional Offices, with attention being given
to careful and imaginative preparation of prayer with staff.
This provides the context in which the Mission of the Church in education is
given pride of place in the planning and rhetoric of the whole system. The
Vision and Mission of Sydney systemic Catholic schools are public and well
integrated into policies affecting all aspects of the organisation's operation
and in the large range of CEO and SACS Board publications. Responses
from the surveys of priests, Principals, Congregational leaders, the CEO
staff and their self-evaluation clearly emphasise the high priority given to
the Catholic identity of schools. In the survey completed by 89.2% of
Principals for this Review, Principals ranked 'Catholic Identity and Culture'
and 'Implementation of the Religious Education curriculum' as their top
most positive responses. These are, not surprisingly, named as top priorities
in school Strategic Plans and Annual Reports, which highlight the
importance of the Catholic Mission. A 2003 stndy showed that in the
strategic planning cycle, Religious Education and faith development of
stndents was a priority for all staff. 10
The language of the school and office personnel interviewed during the
Review reflected an inspiring ethos of service and of care for stndents and
for staff colleagues as part of a faith priority. This was particularly evi.dellt:-
in Principals' statements of concern for stndents with special needs and, as
particular example, the needs of refugee children.
The commitment of resources to support the Catholic identity and ethos of
schools is highly commendable. The CEO, Sydney has developed ext,ens.iY!
resources and programs which are devoted to supporting leaders and to
addressing the needs of leadership succession. Of special note is the
Catholic Schools Leadership Program. The establishment of a fivle-IIlemlb(jr
Spiritnality Team in 2002 is a serious commitment to promoting the Camo.ll
ethos of the system into the futnre. Some of the discourse among senior
10. Turkington, Dr M, op cit, pp 149-150.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ - - - - - - -
CEO staff recognises the challenges of working with teachers who are part of
a social context very different from that of previous decades. The Spirituality
Team works to meet this contemporary, often quite secular, context, with
flexibility and creativity. Such discourse recognises the considerable
development by lay Principals of a culture in their schools which honours the
charism of founding Principals who have often been members of Religious
Congregations. As the CEO, Sydney faces the coming five years, support for
the spiritual development of teachers and support staff presently in Catholic
schools will appropriately seek out new pathways which build on these
traditions in a ways which are faithful to the mission of lay people within the
contemporary society and church. The Panel congratulates the CEO, Sydney
on the number of opportunities which are created for retreats and reflection
days for staff, either in the CEO, Sydney or in specialist roles.
Survey responses from pastors indicated some unease with their role in
Secondary schools and with the religious character of Secondary schools.
This is not a new concern, having been raised in the previous Review in
1994, and is not unique to the CEO, Sydney. This reflects, in part, one of the
most significant challenges for contemporary religious education - namely
the decline in regular religious observance generally in the community. The
students, families and staff in Catholic schools are immersed in this same
enviroument, even though there are indicators, such as in recent Church Life
Surveys, that their observance is above the norm. Principals in Secondary
schools strive to promote and develop the ethos of their schools with a
diverse teaching faculty. Their students are contemporary adolescents, who,
as part of their own healthy development, are quite often in the throes of
'testing' the ideas, beliefs and values of their elders in order to develop their
own adult set of integrated set of values. The persistent invitation to staff in
Sydney Catholic schools to engage in spiritual formation and theological
development must be commended and encouraged in this context. The CEO,
Sydney may also wish to give consideration to inviting parents to join staff in
these programs, when appropriate, in order to capitalise on schools being
truly 'ecc1esial connnunities', and to maximise the potential for impacting on
students' Religious Education.
A number of commendable initiatives have been undertaken involving
pastoral ministry and youth ministry. The Panel commends the CEO's
support and liaison with such groups and suggests that they might offer a
vehicle to further explore creative endeavours in linking young people more
with parish. Pastors and Principals' also have both commented positively on
the current explorations with 'Advisory Councils' or 'Forums' of Pastors and
Principals across Primary and Secondary schools. The Panel notes that it is
not always assumed that parents are members of such councils, an
assumption which needs to be critiqued. These emerging Advisory
Councils, which bring together priests, parents, Principals and potentially
students in localised clusters, are useful forums in which to explore creative
responses to the pastoral realities of young people.
Some further work is required to strengthen partnerships with
Congregational schools. Positive steps have already been taken. In recent
years Principals of Congregational schools have responded increasingly to
invitations to be part of a total Archdiocesan network of schools. Many now
attend Regional Principals' meetings, conferences and social gatherings.
Considerable use is made of the professional development programs
sponsored by the CEO, Sydney, and some Congregational schools have
involved the CEO staff in School Review and Development processes. By
and large, with a few exceptions, Congregational schools responded to the
Archbishop of Sydney's expectation that they adopt the new Religious
Education Curriculum, and so there has been an increased participation in
in-service and functions relating to the introduction of the new Religious
Education texts.
Large public ritual events playa powerful role in both celebrating and
strengthening the ethos and sense of shared identity for those in Catholic
schools. Notable, in recent years, have been the launch of the Vision
Statement at Darling Harbour in 1995, the Jubilee celebrations at the
Olympic Stadium in 2000, and the launch of the Religious Education
Curriculum at St Mary's Cathedral in 2003. All of these very high-profile
events, involving large numbers of the schools' population, have been
powerful celebrations of the identity and culture of Catholic education. A
group of parents expressed strong appreciation for these public functions,
especially the Archdiocesan Confirmation in 2000 and the launch of the
Religious Education Curriculum, as powerful witness to the Catholic
identity of schools within the Church's life.
The annual Excellence Awards presented to select students each year by
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, also emphasise a faith and
religious element. It is pleasing to note that students from Congregational
Catholic schools in Sydney are also included in these ExcellenceAwards and
other celebrations.
A significant project which has been implemented over a number of years
strives to integrate values across the whole curriculum. The' Sense of the
Sacred' project is in its second cycle. It is planned to refine the document,
integrate ICT into it, in keeping with all the curriculum, and to explore
methodologies for classroom use. This project is another very good example
of the total commitment to Catholic identity within the Archdiocesan school
The Religious Art Exhibition for Secondary students has been held four
times. The panel congratulates the CEO for this initiative, which is just one
more way of enabling students and their Art teachers to explore human
experience creatively and in a spiritual medium.
At the heart of the Catholic school endeavour is the formal Religious
Education curriculum. The Religious Education curriculum developed and
implemented in the Archdiocese of Sydney in previous years includes both
Primary and Secondary schooling. There is clear evidence that there has
been ongoing review and development of Religious Education materials in
the CEO, Sydney, culminating in the launch of the revised Years 3-10
Religious Education curriculum and the associated student textbooks, 'To
Know, Worship and Love'. The Religious Education curriculum is derived
from the previous documents, 'Celebrating Our Journey' (Primary) and
'Faithful to God: Faithful to People' (Secondary). The Religious Education
textbooks have been developed to be the key student resource for the
Religious Education curricuhim. Principals and Regional Office staff are
very clear about the priority given to the introduction of the revised
curriculum and new student textbooks. It is the intention that student
materials will be taken home and offer an additional evangelising purpose
with parents as well as with students.
The rewriting, publication and implementation of this Religious Education
project is a most substantial achievement for the Archdiocese. The revision
and rewriting of the curriculum has involved collaboration with the
Archdiocese of Melbourne, from where the student textbooks originated, and
the dioceses of Armidale, Lismore and Wollongong. The project has
involved members of the Religious Education and Curriculum team,
Advisers, Religious Education Co-ordinators and classroom teachers. The in-
service for priests and school staff has been thorough and has earned praise
from those involved. While it was reported that some priests were not
always familiar with the current Religi'ous Education books and curriculum,
it appears that priests who attended the in-service valued it. The online
availability of the curriculum and resource material for Religious Educatic
(Religious Education Online) is highly valued. Conversations with a limit(
number of classroom teachers, as well as Principals and Regional Office
staff, indicate that teachers are working with the new curriculum with
increasing confidence.
However, the Panel notes that there is a statistically significant difference
the perceptions of Primary and Secondary Principals on the 'implementati
of Religious Education curriculum' and 'implementation of student
textbooks'. It would be useful for the relevant staff to be mindful of this f
to explore the reasons why the Primary Principals rated these less positive
than Secondary Principals. The Religious Education curriculum for Years
K-2 is currently under review.
It is unclear what explicit work has been done with parents around the
Religious Education curriculum, or what feedback has been sought from
them about its impact on their children's learning. This could be an area f
further consideration. It is interesting to note that in a 1999 survey of 'Wl
parents expect of a Catholic school', 80% of respondents (a massive 21 ,O(
requested more information about what is taught.
Staff in the CEO, Sydney and schools should draw great encouragement
from the responses to the clergy survey which indicated overall satisfactio
with the work of Religious Education in schools, although there was aver
small sample of clergy surveyed in this review (14 compared with 65 in tt
1994 Review). The initiative in the Iuner Western Region to convene a
meeting of pastors, Principals and RECs each year is very laudable. It is
unclear to the Panel why such a worthwhile initiative is not an Archdioces
priority for all three Regions, and the Panel would recommend considerati
of further exploring the potential of such a meeting.
Since 1998, the CEO, Sydney has developed a test in Religious Education
for Year 6 students to monitor the students' outcomes in religious
knowledge. The test carries the credibility of development and marking
which involve independent external expertise as well as in-house expertis(
Results from the Year 6 Religious Education Test for the first three years c
its implementation are consistent and positive. The Archdiocesan means f
the test are 68.1% (2001), 67.9% (2002 and including students from
Armidale diocese) and 70.0% (2003). The test was described by one
Primary Principal as being most effective as a 'snapshot in time', an insight
at a given time into the understanding of students in Religious Education.
CEO staff with responsibility for the test speak of its value as a diagnostic
tool in identifYing areas for professional development for Primary teachers.
One example given was of identifYing that many teachers were bringing a
very literal approach to Scripture. This in turn has impacted the work
available online for teachers in Scripture. There are some remaining issues
around the impact of the Religious Education Test upon children from
language backgrounds other than English. Conversation between key players
on this has commenced.
For the senior years of Religious Education, students in system schools
undertake courses determined or approved by the NSW Board of Studies.
Board-determined courses: Studies of Religion I
Studies of Religion II
Board-endorsed course: Catholic Studies
Results in the Higher School Certificate for Studies of Religion (I and II)
bear further monitoring. There are considerable variations between Regions
in their results in the top bands for Studies of Religion, and increased
attention should be given to identifYing the most useful benchmarks.
Congregational schools are mandated to teach Religious Education by the
Archbishop of Sydney. Students in these schools likewise study the Board-
determined or Board-endorsed courses as above, but data for Congregational
schools in Studies of Religion (I and II) are not included in the CEO, Sydney
The overall monitoring of the quality of the Religious Education curriculum
and the religious identity of schools is further ensured through the Schools
Leadership and Management cycle and the process of Educational Audit and
School Review. This is supported by Advisers who work directly with class-
room teachers as well as the Religious Education Co-ordinator in each school.
The strength of the Religious Education in the Sydney Archdiocesan schools
rests largely on the confidence and competence of the teachers of religion.
The Panel commends the very serious commitment to the ongoing
professionalleaming of Religious Education teachers by all in the system.
Since 1994 teachers of Religious Education in Sydney Catholic systemic
schools have been required to be, accredited. Requirements for accreditation
were reviewed in 2003. Teachers undertaking studies to satisfy accreditation
are assisted with financial support. In addition to these and to a substantial
range of online materials, there is a range of Adviser support available at
regional level for Religious Education Co-ordinators and classroom teachers.
The model varies from Region to Region. There is a comprehensive and
ongoing program of support and professional development for Religious
Education Co-ordinators.
The Vision which is promoted, the faith which is proclaimed and the values
which are taught are matched with a great congruence in the witness which
the CEO, Sydney and its schools give in so many ways. The Executive
Director leads the way in consistently living out a genuine pastoral care for
all staff and students. One teacher reported that 'Catholic employers are
being Christ to us'. The leadership in the system, both in the Central Office
and in Regional Offices, was praised for its genuine pastoral care for
Principals, staff and students. Principals recognise the exemplary leadership
of Directors and Regional Consultants and Advisers in their professional
service to those in schools. The extent to which those working at Regional
Offices and Principals both spoke of the Regional Offices pastoral care for
staff and their well-being was notable. Reference was also made to the
document 'Workplace Realities in Catholic Schools' which is seen as clearly
stating the Church's values on the dignity of the person and the richness of
life beyond work and employment. It was also very evident to the Review
Panel that Principals and other staff in the school system hold each other in
genuine regard and look to each other's wellbeing.
There are many wonderful examples of witness to their living out of their
faith which are given by the CEO, Sydney, its leadership and staff.
Commitment to social justice is indicated in many ways: for example, in
endeavouring to support Sudanese students, outreach to the Solomon
Islands, responding to a wide range of appeals, social justice programs and
partnerships, even some across the Archdiocese. There is a tension between
this desire to be of service and the constraints Principals reported relating to
the best provision for students with special needs, especially behavioural
needs. Some instances were cited of such students being declined enrolment
in a school on the grounds that Principals believed that the school did not
have the resources to deal appropriately with their needs. It is strongly
recommended that this tension be further examined, because it could be seen
to compromise schools in their reaching Qut to a particular group of students
who experience high levels of need.
The Panel connnends the interaction which exists between the Sydney
systemic schools and other Chnrch agencies within the Archdiocese, such as
the Litnrgical Office, Catholic Adult Education and the Confraternity of
Catholic Doctrine. The Panel encourages the CEO, Sydney to continue to
create opportunities to strengthen these links across the local Chnrch and to
give witness to the place of Catholic schools within the Archdiocesan
In sunnnary, the CEO, Sydney is exemplary in its expression of its identity
within the mission of the Sydney Catholic Chnrch. There is an abundance of
evidence to indicate that the CEO's leaders and staff are most diligent in their
promotion of quality Religious Education, in their sponsoring of a Catholic
culture and identity throughout the offices and schools, in their commitment
to the ongoing religious and spiritual development of their staff, and in
Christian witness. CEO staff members are cogniscent of the very real
challenges facing religion in our times. The Panel enconrages them to
continue their very positive initiatives to meet these challenges.
J. Students and their Learning
There is ample evidence that the CEO's Central and Regional Offices provide
significant support for teaching and learning, and regard quality teaching and
learning as being central to the development of the whole person and the
work of the CEO, Sydney. This support is appreciated by Principals and
teachers and is having an appreciable impact on educational outcomes for
students. The Panel noted that almost 80% of Principals rated the support of
the CEO, Sydney for teaching and learning as 'good', 'high' or 'very high'.
The promotion and implementation of the cycle of strategic leadership and
management incorporating strategic five-year planning; annual development
planning; defining of roles; team planning; PPPR; and reporting both at
system and school level have provided an invaluable framework to ensure
that the support for teaching and learning is focused.
The PPPR process is of particular significance in the promotion and support
of quality teaching and learning. The process has the agreement of the lEU,
and its implementation has been persistently pnrsued over a number of years.
It is intended that PPPR will be finally implemented with all staff within two
years. This is to be commended; but the Panel would reconnnend that the
process should be kept under review, in consultation with the key
stakeholders, to ensure that it retains its value.
The emphasis given by the CEO, Sydney to the notion of the Principal as
educational leader is commendable, but the Panel noted that in order for
Principals to fulfil this expectation there needs to be realistic balance in their
responsibilities between educational leadership and school management.
The Panel is aware that this balance has been the subject of review from
time to time and that 'Models of Principalship' are currently being explored.
The Panel is of the view that this needs to be kept under review to ensure
that the notion of the Principal as educational leader remains realistic and
achievable, and that Principals are given every support to actually visit
classrooms, know what teachers are achieving and lead the educational
program of schools as envisaged.
The provision of support for teaching and learning encompasses a range of
strategies. Advisory services are well established in both the Central and
Regional Offices. These services are staffed by high quality people,
working particularly in areas of designated priority and areas of greatest
need. The work of these staff members was impressive and Principals
expressed their appreciation of the quality of their work. The Panel noted
the impressive work done by Regional Consultants, Advisers and Education
Officers who were targeting particular subjects and schools and developing
appropriate intervention strategies for improvement. The Panel was
particularly impressed with this 'targeted intervention', but recognised that
there are limits to such activities because of the large workload already
undertaken by these people.
A number of Advisers emphasised the importance of their role not being one
of 'hawking materials' and this is supported. Nevertheless, the material
resources developed by a number of Advisers were regarded as being of a
world-class standard. The high-quality materials produced for the Creative
and Performing Arts, Literacy, and Religious Education were particularly
good examples.
Some Advisers are being required to work outside of their particular
expertise, particularly in Secondary, but budgetary considerations prevented
a more comprehensive subject-specific spread of advisory services. There
are some advantages associated with some advisory services being 'generic'
and not being segmented into individual subject areas, particularly when this
arrangement is accompanied by the selection of promising Subject Co-
ordinators to playa key role in the subject networking arrangements. It is,
however, important that Secondary subjects, such as Science, and other areas
identified as a priority, should have an appropriate person identified. Overall,
this mix of arrangements was regarded as very satisfactory, given budgetary
Advisers are well supported by the Regional Consultants and Central Office
staff; and the latter playa particularly significant role in the linking of the
CEO, Sydney to outside bodies such as the Board of Studies and providing
some cross-Regional informal co-ordination. Examples of the sharing across
Regions of advisory support services were considered by the Panel to be
particularly valuable. Consideration should be given to strategies to ensure
that sharing and integration of support services across Regions is maximised
to benefit schools. Collaboration between Regional Advisers and Central
Office staff should similarly seek to ensure that policies are always based on
best practice.
The CEO, Sydney has provided a comprehensive and systematic program of
professional development at both Central and Regional levels. Principals and
teachers expressed appreciation of both the quantity and quality of this
professional development. (See Section 4.) Principals expressed
appreciation of the support provided by Advisers and Regional Consultants in
the development and presentation of professional development activities at
school level.
The Literacy and Numeracy strategies developed by the CEO, Sydney have
detailed target setting, professional development, resource allocation and
system processes. Schools were expected to develop similar strategies for
Literacy and Numeracy across all years. Significant efforts have been made
to ensure that strategies had a strong research base and that the suggested
approaches used some of the best models from a number of sources. Overall,
teachers were encouraged to use explicit and systematic approaches to reflect
upon their practice and adopt action research methods to ensure that they
were meeting the needs of all students. These strategies are to be applauded.
The support of the CEO, Sydney in providing particular Literacy support
materials and programs, such as Reading Recovery, was favourably
commented upon by Principals and by a number of parents, as were the
programs for English as a Second Language (ESL) students and New
The setting of targets is a valuable component of the Literacy and Numeracy
strategies for the Basic Skills Test and for English, Mathematics and
Science, the School Certificate and selected subjects for the Higher School
Certificate. This approach has helped to ensure that resources have been
allocated appropriately, strategies have been varied to meet particular needs
and, above all, the strategies have been focused upon student outcomes. The
Panel suggests that this focus on setting student outcome targets could well
be extended to other areas to ensure that the main focus is always on
outcomes rather than processes.
The improvement in Literacy and Numeracy and results in the Primary
Writing component are commendable. There is no doubt that the concerted
effort related to the Literacy and Numeracy strategy has borne fruit.
However, it is noted that, as yet, Literacy. performance has been stronger
than Numeracy and there is the perception among Principals that, whilst the
Numeracy strategy has been successful to some extent, there is a need to
reconsider the strategy to ensure that it continues as a priority with a similar
amount of support. The Panel supports this view.
The Panel scrutinised evidence of a gradual increase in performance of
schools in the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate. Whilst
there is some variability, the data is indicative of some commendable trends.
Results in the Higher School Certificate indicated that schools generally
performed well in the upper middle bands (Bands 4 and 5). There were
relatively few students in the lower bands. However, fewer than expected
students were achieving awards at the top Band 6. The best performances
overall were in Legal Studies, Ancient History, Information Processes and
Technology, and in Software Design and Development. The poorest perfor-
mances were in Physics and Chemistry. It is strongly recommended that the
CEO gives priority to assisting schools to increase the numbers of students in
Band 6, and that Physics and Chemistry be provided with additional support.
The promotion of quality pedagogy has been the subject of attention in
advisory visits, Adviser demonstrations, Key Learning Area (KLA)
networking, staff development days and the sharing of best practice from
school to school. Activities relating to productive pedagogy, the
differentiated curriculum, and the thinking curriculum are particularly
commended. The Panel is of the view that this promotion of generic best
practice in teaching and learning across all KLAs should be given higher
priority in the future. This process might well begin with the development
of statements of best practice in both teaching and learning. This
development could involve a process of involvement and consultation with
key people and result in a document that might provide the basis of teacher
self-reflection, faculty and school reviews, the sharing of best practice across
schools, and the provision of professional development, particularly at school
level. Such a development would complement the planned study of best
practice in the teaching of subjects for the Higher School Certificate.
The CEO, Syduey has provided support in a number of other areas to ensure
that student learning encompasses all areas of the curriculum. Support for
Visual, Creative and Performing Arts and Primary Sport were particularly
noted. The work of the Catholic Schools Perfonning Arts (CaSPA) team and
co-ordinators is widely appreciated across the Archdiocese.
The CEO, Sydney has developed a comprehensive range of devices to
monitor performance and promote continuous improvement. Generally,
Principals were very positive in their survey responses to the question
relating to 'Performance Monitoring and Continuous Improvement', with
84% rating the support received as 'good', 'high' or 'very high'. The CEO,
Sydney has utilised the participation of schools in the Basic Skills Tests in
Years 3 and 5 and the ELLA, SNAP, School Certificate and Higher School
Certificate in Secondary schools as the basis of the monitoring of student
performance. Data from these test regimes is fed back to schools after being
extensively analysed at Central and Regional level. The CEO has committed
significant resources to assist schools to meaningfully analyse the data and to
use the data to set priorities, target particular areas of need, and complement
other school-based criterion assessmentS. Similarly, the analysis of the data
at Regional and Central level is used to assist in the setting of priorities and
the targeting of particular schools for assistance.
A feature of the data is the provision of trend information, and some value-
added measures. This extends from Years 3 to 5 Basic Skills Test results and
Years 10 to 12 results from the School Certificate to Higher School
Certificate. At least one Region is pioneering value-added measures from
Year 5 to Years 7 and 8 and progressively then to Years 10 and 12. The
Panel is of the view that such approaches have significant potential and
should be progressively expanded across all Regions, at least to those schools
where Literacy and Numeracy levels at Year 7 are of concern. Another
valuable, recent addition is the competitiveness versus learning gain graphs
and analysis for the Higher School Certificate results.
The CEO, Sydney also provides data relating to NESB and Indigenous
students and for schools in similar socio-economic status (SES) bands. The
data is provided with comparisons to State averages. Whilst accepting that it
might be difficult to obtain the data, the Panel suggests there would be merit
in providing a comparison of the CEO, Sydney's test data with non-Catholic
schools in the same geographical location. It is suggested that this
possibility should be explored.
Overall, the provision of the analysis of data is very commendable as it
provides invaluable information for tracking performance over time and the
targeting of resources to bring about improvement. The data is also used to
report performance to parents through the school's Annual Report. The
Panel noted some tracking of students from Primary to Secondary, and that
collaboration and co-operation between Primary a n ~ Secondary schools,
occurs in some parts of the Archdiocese. However, this is very 'patchy' and
the Panel recommends that greater emphasis be given to promoting the
importance of monitoring the continuity of students' learning outcomes
across the Primary/Secondary transition.
The Panel noted that there has been considerable emphasis given to
developing teachers' skills in assessing student progress using criterion
referencing approaches. The Panel supports a continuation of this
development and of efforts to assist parents to interpret such information in
student reports.
The CEO, Sydney has implemented a range of initiatives to support schools
in their efforts to cater for students with diverse learning needs. These
initiatives have been implemented in the context of an increase in the
number of students with disabilities - an increase from 1.75% of enrolments
in 1992 to 4.2% in 2003 - and the number of students currently enrolled
with a background other than English in Secondary being 50% and in
Primary 53%. These students have benefited from the Literacy and
Numeracy strategies and the New Arrivals Program. Results in Basic Skills
Tests in Literacy, Numeracy and the Primary Writing Assessment by
students with a language background other than English were commendable.
Similarly, the Literacy and Numeracy achievements of indigenous students,
as measured by the Basic Skills Tests, have indicated significant learning
Reading Recovery Programs have been well established in the Archdiocese
for some time and have been gradually expanded. This program has received
warm endorsement from Principals, teachers and parents. The integration of
students with a range _of disabilities into regular classrooms has been a
feature of the CEO's efforts to ensure provision for students with special
needs. These efforts, ably guided by Advisers, have largely been successful
and the Panel acknowledges some wonderful work being done in this area.
A discussion document has been developed relating to the education of gifted
and talented students. Each Region has a number of strategies for gifted and
talented students. The Certificate in Gifted Education (and the mini version)
are widely offered and a number of initiatives link the CEO, Sydney's
support to expertise at the University of New South Wales. Whilst some of
these strategies are relatively new, others are more established. The Panel
applauds these initiatives, but is of the view that Gifted and Talented
provisions should be given greater priority in the future.
The Archdiocese has developed a comprehensive program of Vocational
Education including Workplace Learning Programs, Sydney Enterprise
Education Program, Business Industry Partnerships, the provision of a variety
of work placement opportnnities, and a very active liaison with employers
and TAFE. These programs provide a vital component of the comprehensive
curriculum provision to meet the needs of all students.
Pastoral Care Co-ordinators have been actively supported by the CEO,
Sydney to ensure that they are equipped to handle Drug and Road Safety
Education as well as emerging issues, particnlarly Child Protection and
critical incidents. Parents, in meetings, have strongly endorsed the Pastoral
Care programs of the schools and there was general agreement from all
groups that this was one of the strongest features of the CEO, Sydney's work.
The Panel recommends that there should be more systematic collection and
monitoring of data relating to suspension and expulsion of students as a
useful indicator relating to Pastoral Care.
A recent development has been the provision of initiatives relating to Boys'
Education. These include the establishment of the Secondary and Primary
Boys' Education Network, a K-12 Boys' Education Day, and a Boys'
Education Newsletter. These initiatives are promising and should be continued
The CEO, Sydney has consistently supported all efforts to identifY and target
underachievers in both Primary and Secondary schools, and to provide
particular Advisory support to schools in the development of strategies to lift
the performance of those students who have been underachieving. There is
considerable evidence to indicate that there has been a great deal of success
in these activities. Whilst applauding these successes, the Panel emphasises
the importance of lifting the achievement of those students who should be
achieving Band 6 in the Higher School Certificate.
All Regions have implemented a variety of additional programs to cater for
the diverse needs of students, including:
provision for students who are categorised as Autistic;
the Restorative Justice Program;
the Students at Risk (STAR) Counselling Program;
the Healing Education Learning Progress (HELP) Behaviour
Management Program;
construction of Individual Behaviour Management Plans for particular
promotion of liaison with other professional groups working with
students with high support needs;
professional Development programs focusing on speech and language
deficiencies, integration, learning difficulties, etc;
utilisation of the Champagnat and Berne units for temporary placement of
the Sensory Impairment Program (SIP).
The Panel applauds the conscientious efforts of many people to provide for
students with a variety of needs. The Panel notes, however, that Principals
ranked this area as second last in their ranking of areas of support from the
CEO, Sydney. It also notes that in some aspects the provision of support is
unequal across Regions. These issues lead the Panel to the conclusion that it
is now timely for the CEO to review the support it currently provides for
students with diverse needs and, in particular, for students with challenging
The CEO, Sydney has made a commitment to utilise new technologies to
expand the learning opportunities of students. This is expressed in Outcome
7.1: "Students and teachers learning effectively using Information
Communications Technology (ICT) in media rich classrooms and other
learnIng environments as indicated in the CEO, Sydney document
'Technology in Teaching and Learning' and Board of Studies' syllabus
documents. "
Because of some major difficulties being experienced in this area, the CEO
in July 2002 commissioned the IT Consultancy firm Dante
Telecommunications Solutions to complete a review of ICT across the
organisation. As a result of that review, a detailed ICT Plan for the next three
years was developed. The plan has subsequently encompassed these major
the deployment of Myinternet as a school based intranet and learning
management system. Myinternet to replace SchoolsNet;
CEO, Sydney infrastructure and bandwidth to migrate to AAPT in 2005;
the tendering of bulk purchasing hardware for school and the CEO,
Sydney offices;
the establishment of the CEO, Sydney Helpdesk and the trialling of the
provision of four Local Area Network (LAN) technicians over a two year
the replacement of Office Automation School Information System
(OASIS) with School Administration System (SAS) 2000 to support
administration, library and finance;
the development of the CEO, Sydney Web Portal to service a number of
online provisions.
The CEO, Sydney has established a Central Office-based ICT team to
implement these new arrangements. This team, made up of three units - ICT,
Curriculum, and Infrastructure and Helpdesk Support - has done a great deal
in a short period of time to rectify the significant problems of the past. The
planning and implementation of this group is commended for bringing
improvements to ICT in recent times. The piloting of Myinternet, the
auditing of stock, the rollout of replacement hardware and the professional
development of staff have been of the highest order.
A number of challenges remain. It is important that the dissatisfaction
expressed by a number of Principals in regard to the lack of technical
assistance be addressed. The four LAN technicians and the Helpdesk have
provided part of the answer, but the CEO will need to continue to explore
other possibilities. An important starting point to finding this remedy might
well be for the CEO, Sydney, in consultation with Principals, to define the
responsibility of the school and the responsibility of the CEO for technical
The rollout and updating ofICT hardware will continue to be a challenge.
The replacement of hardware as it becomes obsolete is a particular concern
for schools in the less-advantaged areas, and increased the CEO support of
such schools will need to be considered in this respect.
The provision of leadership and strategic direction for the integration of ICT
into the teaching and learning process K-12 encompassing such things as the
development of online projects, e-Iearning projects for students with special
needs (eg gifted and talented), and the utilisation of CD-ROMS, will
continue to be a challenge. The professional development of staff, including
innovative approaches, online tutorials and within school activities, will also
need to be a challenge, as will access for all teachers so that technology
becomes a regular component of their resources.
There is no doubt that ICT utilisation and support has been considered by
Principals in this survey to be the area of least support. Comments by
Principals in meetings have reinforced this view that the CEO, Sydney needs
to provide better support in this area The Panel is of the view that whilst
ICT has been an area of some concern in the past, and will continue to be an
area of concern, much has been done to resolve the issues and some very
impressive work is now being done. The Panel would expect that many of
the expressed concerns of Principals will be addressed in a reasonable period
of time.
In summary, the CEO, Sydney is to be congratulated on the overall quality
of the support it provides to schools to ensure quality teaching and learning.
Whilst there is always more that can be done, budgets are not infinite. The
Panel is of the view that some very fine work has been done within the
resources available and there is much to celebrate and to build upon in
meeting some important further challenges in the years ahead.
4. Human Resources
The Human Resources functions of the CEO, Sydney have been skilfully
developed to ensure that they reflect the overall Vision and Mission of the
Church and the CEO, Sydney, and to ensure that the social justice teaching of
the Church is clearly evident in their operation. Human Resources has been
embedded as a credible and essential function of the organisation to assist the
organisation to achieve its goals.
The CEO, Sydney employs 3,935 General Teaching staff and employs
Support staff to the extent" of 37, I 09 hours per fortnight. The ratio of
students to teachers is 15:9. The age range of the teachers varies from an
average age of 36 in the south-west to 40 in the remainder of Sydney. The
nnmber of beginning teachers employed was 195 in 2003 and 212 in 2004.
While ensuring a consistent and co-ordinated approach, the CEO has
devolved some responsibility for the selection of staff to appropriate levels of
the organisation. The Panel endorses this devolution as sound management
practice to ensure that appropriate people are selected to particular positions
to meet specific needs. The process for the selection of Principals, Assistant
Principals and Religious Education Co-ordinators includes the involvement
of key stakeholders and recognises requirements relating to fair employment
The Panel notes the efforts of the CEO, Sydney to ensure that quality staff
were attracted to work in systemic schools. A range of initiatives including
the Early Employment Offer Program; Male Primary Teacher Scholarships;
James Carroll Scholarship Program; Australian Catholic University
Technology and Science Scholarship Program; a promotional video; the
establishment of links with Tertiary institutions; attendance at educational
expos; widespread advertising; and discussions with schools leavers are
commendable and many are innovative.
Principals, through survey responses and in discussions, indicated satisfaction
with the support received from the CEO, Sydney for the selection of staff.
They did, however, indicate their concerns in relation to the difficulty of
recruiting Secondary Science, TAS and Mathematics teachers. Attracting
numbers of appropriate people to apply for leadership positions also remains
a challenge, but this is not specific to the Sydney Archdiocese. The Panel
suggests that the addressing of these difficulties should incorporate further
consideration of incentives to attract teachers to these positions.
Clergy and parents expressed their general satisfaction with the quality of
staff being recruited to work in the schools. It should, however, be noted that
some parents and one priest expressed concern that they were not always
invited to participate in the shortlisting of applicants for the position of
Principal. It was noted that the Annual Evaluations of each panel following
the selection process does not reflect this view. The Panel, however,
believes that every effort should be made to ensure that parents and clergy
have the opportunity to participate as fully as possible in selection processes.
Principals were, in the main, loud in their praise of the quality of the people
recruited to work as Directors, Regional Consultants and Advisers. The
Panel strongly endorsed this view and became very aware of the high-
quality work done by these people, their busy workloads and how important
they are in the effective operation of the CEO, Sydney. Further
consideration should be given to maximising the support for these high-
quality people in the performance of their duties.
The Panel was made aware of the commendable efforts of the CEO, Sydney
in relation to Personal and Professional Development, and the widespread
appreciation of the support provided by the CEO in this area. The CEO,
Sydney, at Central, Regional and school level, provides a wide variety of
high quality professional development activities to support teaching and
learning and for leadership and management. These activities cover the
Secondary and Primary curriculum, with an emphasis on those activities that
have been determined as priorities. The Panel particularly noted the
activities relating to Religious Education; Gifted and Talented Education;
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL); Science;
Secondary English; Literacy and Numeracy; Boys' Education; Vocational
Education; ICT in relation to a whole range of subjects, and Special
Education; Board of Studies' syllabus changes; enrolment of students
with severe disabilities; management of severe behavioural disorders;
ESL; Leadership; Early Literacy; Middle Managers; Primary Co-
ordinators; Secondary Co-ordinators; and PPPR Leaders' Training,
among others.
The integrated approach of the Central and Regional Offices to address areas
designated as priorities was also noted. The flexibility associated with the
provision of discretionary days, the opportunity for Regions and schools to
initiate particular activities and the support provided to individuals to
nndertake particular activities are commended, as is the support of the CEO,
Sydney of teachers undertaking Tertiary courses. Of particular note were the
induction programs for beginning teachers and beginning Principals, which
--- ._------- -. -.- .. -.
were widely acclaimed. The further support of the CEO, Sydney of teachers'
learning needs in a technology-focused education environment is an area for
particular attention in the future.
The work of Regional Consultants, Education Officers and Advisers in the
provision of professional development activities, particularly their in-school
work and co-ordination of network meetings and professional development
days, was favourably commented upon by a significant number of Principals
and teachers. Principals indicated that they valued the quantity and quality of
the provision for professional development of both themselves and their staff.
They did, however, suggest that in the future there should be additional
emphasis given to the personal and professional development of Middle
Managers. The Panei supports this view.
The Catholic Schools Leadership Program (CSLP), which includes programs
for Principals, Assistant Principals, Religious Education Co-ordinators and
KLA Co-ordinators, was favourably commented upon. The Panel
particularly commends the concept of the School Leadership Framework and
the delivery of the CSLP and other programs designed to promote the
Principal as educational leader. Similarly, programs for Principals to provide
them with skills relating to the CEO, Sydney Strategic Management and
Leadership Framework were very well received. (See Section 1_)
Given the importance of providing quality leaders for all schools and the
difficulty of attracting satisfactory numbers of quality applicants for vacant
leadership positions in some locations, the CEO, Sydney is to be
congratulated on the close attention it gives to building the capacity for future
leadership. The policy document and strategy are based upon the premise
that it is a key responsibility of the CEO and current leaders to develop the
leadership capacity of others. Particular attention is given in the strategy to
the role of each Principal 'strategically, frequently and creatively to enhance
the capacity, confidence and enthusiasm of the next generation of leaders' _
Other executives in schools are invited to join with the Principals in this
This Succession Planning strategy encompasses a range of valuable
role of the Principal in building leadership capacity;
potential leaders ' own responsibility for development;
equal opportunity for women;
identification of potential leaders;
strategies for developing leadership capacity;
learning in the workplace;
career path management.
This initiative of the CEO, Sydney is acclaimed by the Panel. There is clear
evidence that this strategy is having a positive impact upon this area of need.
The Panel supports the intention of the CEO, Sydney to develop additional
strategies to assist leaders to build the leadership capacities of staff, and
suggests that particular attention be given to promoting 'distributive'
(parallel) leadership within schools, not only as an aspect relating to
succession planning, but more importantly as a strategy to promote
involvement in decision-making and to further promote positive school
The CEO, Sydney has progressively developed over an extended period of
time sophisticated policies relating to conditions of appointment and
employment for school leaders, including Principals, Assistant Principals
and Religious Education Co-ordinators. These policies detail the usual
components of Recruitment, Selection, Appointment, Induction, Leave
Entitlements, Resignation, Termination, Procedures for Addressing
Performance Related Matters and Professional Competence. Of particular
note is the inclusion of Personal and Professional Renewal Leave for
Principals, not as an entitlement nor a condition of employment, but rather
an opportunity for some Principals, under specified conditions and a
significant period of successful service, to undertake a period of individual
personal, spiritual and professional renewal. Such an innovation is
applauded by the Panel.
The CEO, Sydney has initiated an arrangement where Principals, Assistant
Principals and Religious Co-ordinators are appointed on contract, initially
for two years and subsequently for four years. The process of Contract
Renewal, which involves widespread consultation with parents, staff and
pastors is well established, well managed, and works well.
The development of the PPPR process as part of the Strategic Management
Cycle has been a very significant development that has great potential to
promote professional development and sustain quality education. The Panel
recognises the persistence of the CEO, Sydney in implementing it, and the
agreement of the lEU to support this implementation, and would conunend
the CEO, Sydney on the initiative and the on-going efforts to ensure that it is
fully established in all schools. (Further reference is made to PPPR in
Section 3.)
The Human Resources team has responsibility for the oversight of the School
Review and Development Cycles I and 2 and the compliance with the NSW
Education Act (1990) and NSW Board of Studies' requirements for
Registration and Accreditation. (Reference is made to this in Section 1.)
The CEO, Sydney has established very positive relations with schools in
regard to employment and industrial matters, child protection, workplace
health and safety. The intention ofthe CEO, Sydney to give priority to
develop a Risk Management Plan, incorporating the current Critical Incident
Plan, is strongly endorsed by the Panel.
Principals feel well supported and are grateful for the communications
received from the CEO, Sydney in regard to these matters. This relationship
with schools has been underpinned and made possible because of the CEO's
very proactive strategies to establish good working relationships with the
lEU and the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations. Officials from
the lEU indicated to the Panel that they appreciated the approach of the CEO,
Sydney to working with the union to support teachers, and that the CEO,
Sydney has endeavoured to work with the union when introducing new
initiatives and negotiating salaries' agreements. The negotiation of
arrangements for PPPR and the recent salaries agreement were given as
examples. The intention of the CEO, Sydney to give further attention to
supporting staff to understand and implement the requirements of the
(amended) Child Protection Legislation is commendable. Ninety percent of
Principals rated Employment Relations as either 'good', 'high' or 'very high'.
Principals indicated their appreciation of the efficient, personal and prompt
attention they received in regard to all matters relating to these aspects of
Human Resources. Ninety percent of Principals rated Personnel
Administration as 'good', 'high' or 'very high'. Similarly, they indicated
appreciation of the efforts of the CEO, Sydney to keep them informed by
reviewing its communication arrangements with schools. The School
Administration Online (SAO), the monthly 'Circular to Schools' and the
proposed Web Portal are examples of these efforts. The indication of the
CEO, Sydney that it will continue to further refine its conuuunications plan
is supported by the Panel.
The Panel was very impressed with the high quality facilities at each of the
four CEO sites. These facilities presented a very positive professional image
and provided excellent working conditions for staff. Similarly, the Panel
was very impressed with the quality of Hospitality and Reception services.
Again, this was of the highest order. It was also an area that Principals rated
highly with 98% rating it as 'good', 'high' or 'very high'.
The document 'Workplace Realities in the Catholic School' was noted by the
Panel and regarded as an excellent document which very effectively places
the Human Resources function into a spiritual and philosophical context. In
so doing the document seeks to: 'affmn those who work in Catholic
education and acknowledge their continued conuuitment to this special
ministry in the Church; articulate foundational beliefs and provide directions
for growth-promoting workplace relations in Catholic education; recognise
the realities and complexities of the contemporary workplace in the context
of the conuuitment and the Vision and Mission of Catholic schools'.l1 The
Panel supports the CEO's intention to further embed the spirit, values and
principles of this document across the organisation.
The CEO's staff survey results indicated a very high alignment of the staff
with the system's Vision and Mission, Priorities and Directions. Almost
100% indicated they were very clear about their professional
responsibilities, 98% said they enjoyed working at the CEO, Sydney, and
98% said they believed their work promoted the Vision of Catholic
education and the service provided to schools was effective. These are
extraordinarily positive responses which indicate a very sound approach to
the Human Resources functions and the health and morale of the
In sunuuary, the Human Resources function of the CEO in the Central and
the Regional Offices is one of the strengths of the organisation. It is highly
regarded by everyone as efficient, caring and progressive.
11 Workplace Realities in the Catholic School, a framework for those employed in Catholic Education, CEO, Sydney, 2002.
5. Financial Services
The Financial Services Team provides a wide range of professional and
administrative services to schools, within the overall context of the
Archdiocesan Vision and Mission of Catholic schools. The range of services
provided by the Financial Services Team includes:
financial management;
payroll services;
School Facilities and Planning;
Information Technology;
staffing and census;
New Schools and Rationalisation Committee.
The team provides key inputs into the annual budget cycle, including
oversight of the major funding streams coming into the CEO, Sydney and the
administration of the expenditure, both in Central and Regional services and
those devolved to school establishments. The overall team, therefore, has
responsibility for a recurrent annual budget of over $400 million per annum,
of which some 95% is devolved for use in schools and around 5% is used on
the provision of Central and Regional CEO services. This balance of
expenditure between CEO services and schools has been relatively static over
recent years, with the result that Central and Regional administration for a
system of 148 Catholic Parish Primary and Regional Secondary schools is
generally lean. The emphasis on devolved resources to schools provides a
commendably high proportion of funding to frontline teaching and learning,
but there is clear evidence that some management capacity at the CEO,
Sydney's Central and Regional Offices is becoming stretched. As a result,
the Panel recommends that the generally historic proportion of funding
retained for Central and Regional CEO services' should be reviewed to ensure
that sufficient resources are available to support and challenge schools
effectively throughout the system and to thereby promote ongoing continuous
Prudent financial stewardship has ensured that the overall financial position
of the CEO, Sydney has remained sound and has strengthened in recent
years. The CEO and a sample of systemic schools are audited each year by
external auditors, an,d audited accounts are presented to the SACS Board.
The CEO has some reserve investments to meet future contingencies. The
Finance Committee of the SACS Board approves an Investment Policy,
which provides clear investment guidelines and seeks to ensure the maximum
return on funds with the minimum risk. The policy does not allow for
speculative investments. External auditors audit investments against the
guidelines set on a quarterly basis. New investment management software is
being introduced to assist the management ofthe investment portfolio.
The CEO's budgeting.process begins in May each year with extensive
information gathered from schools and Regional Offices. A systemwide
budget is presented by the Finance Committee to the SACS Board for
approval in September. Careful modelling of demographic trends assists the
tracking and estimation of school enrolment patterns across the system and
informs estimates of the funding likely to be available from the
Commonwealth General Recurrent Grants, New South Wales State per
Capita grants and tuition fees collected from parents and families. Overall
these three sources represent about 94% of the total income available to the
CEO, Sydney.
Estimates prepared by Financial Services for the school year 2004
anticipated a budget for the Schools Operating Fund of around $409.5
million. About 87% of income for the Fund was expected from government
funding (approximately 63% from the Federal Government and 24% from
the State Government). Some 11 % of income was anticipated from collected
school fees. The CEO, Sydney has made clear efforts to try to maintain the
affordability of its schools for parents and families, but in some areas of
social disadvantage this remains a very considerable challenge. Over the
past five years the average tuition fee increase approved by the SACS Board
has been just over 3% per year - broadly in line with overall increases in
teachers' salaries and school operating costs.
About 80% of total expenditure is accounted for by salaries and associated
costs to employees within schools and the CEO, Sydney's Central and
Regional Offices. Basic staffing allocations to schools are derived from
established staffing formulae, which are closely related to the numbers and
ages of pupils enrolled. Over recent years the staffing allocations which the
CEO, Sydney has provided to schools have increased significantly, reflecting
its commendable overall aim of channelling as many resources to frontline
teaching as possible. The trend in student/general teacher ratios has
improved from 17.8 students per teacher in 1995 to 15.9 in 2004. Over the
Comprehensive accountability guidelines are issued by the CEO, Sydney to
schools in the Archdiocese and are available on the Intranet. All schools are
required to have a Finance Committee to assist the Principal in the discharge
of financial responsibilities. The 'Handbook for Systemic Schools' has a
chapter outlining school [mances and provides guidance on financial
responsibilities, income, expenditure, bUdgeting, internal controls and audit.
The Financial Management Unit also provides a 'Financial Procedures
Manual' to assist schools in the operation of the school infonnation system
(OASIS). Schools submit their fonnal annual budgets to the CEO, Sydney
forecasting their operating and capital income, estimated operating
expenditure, estimated capital expenditure and forecast balances. A revised
administrative software package (SAS 2000) is being introduced to provide
improved budgeting and administrative capabilities. The Panel recommends
that the CEO, Sydney gives this priority and develops, in consultation with
Principals, a more comprehensive and tailored school management and
administration package, with a view to further improving and assisting
management arrangements across all systemic schools.
Since 1997 all systemic schools have been audited by the CEO's audit
officers. All Secondary schools have been audited each year and each
Primary school every two years. From 2004 onwards all systemic schools
are being audited each year. The internal audit reports from the CEO,
Sydney provide support and guidance to school staff in relation to financial
management and overall audit ratings. These overall audit ratings for
schools have improved significantly since 1997, with increasing numbers
now evaluated in the positive' A: categories for audit compliance. Against
this generally improving trend some categories of audit compliance in
systemic schools require to be strengthened further, particularly with regard
to asset registers, income and receipting, and bookkeeping and returns. With
the now annual pattern of school audits, care will need to be taken to ensure
that the internal CEO audit team can sustain the increased frequency levels
alongside the need for further focus on audit areas or on schools where
lower overall compliance levels indicate potentially increased risk. It is
recommended that these recently revised internal audit arrangements are
monitored carefully and, if necessary, the internal audit team should be
From 1976 to 2001 the school-age population in the 27 Local Govemment
Areas (LGAs) covering the Archdiocese of Sydney declined by about 10%
of total enrolments. Against this overall trend, the enrolments in Catholic
same period, the provision of support staff hours relative to the overall
number of student enrolments has also improved significantly. Taken
together, these trends demonstrate significantly improved levels ofresource
provision to schools as a result of prudent management. Staffing allocations
to individual schools in the Archdiocese are considered by the Schools
Staffing Committee.
Whilst views were generally positive about resource allocation in the
Principals' survey, the overall ranking for this aspect of the CEO, Sydney's
work was relatively low. A number of Principals expressed concerns that the
current staffing formulae were not taking sufficient account of changing
patterns of curricular provision in schools and the increasingly diverse range
of students' needs. Although Financial Services do provide additional
resources for small schools and to those with less advantaged socio-
economic circumstances (SES bandings), the extent of these weightings is
not fully transparent to Principals or, in some cases, accepted as appropriate.
The Panel recommends that the CEO should review its arrangements for
resource allocation to schools, in full consultation with Principals, to arrive at
more transparent and updated criteria, which more fully reflect the increasing
diversity and challenge of the student population in some systemic schools.
All salaries and wages - about $325.4 million in 2003 - are administered
centrally by the CEO, Sydney. Principals are not responsible for the direct
payment of salaries and wages but are responsible, by delegated authority, for
the employment of all school staff and for authorising the payment of
teaching and ancillary staff on a fortnightly basis. The CEO provides a very
comprehensive and effective service in payroll processing to approximately
3,700 full-time and about 2,500 part-time or casual employees in the
Archdiocese. Principals are very satisfied with the levels of support they
receive in relation to both financial and payroll services, and perceive these
to be areas of major strength.
Improved accounting and fmance systems have been introduced steadily,
with the result that information handling and financial monitoring procedures
have been streamlined. As a result, a range of budget monitoring and special
purpose reports are prepared for the use of the CEO's Directors, the Finance
Committee and the SACS Board on a regular basis. Operating budget
proposals are presented to the SACS Board in September outlining financial
estimates and recommendations for the forthcoming year. Performance to
budget is monitored throughout the year on a monthly basis.
schools in the Archdiocese increased by about 4%. The overall proportion of
the school-age population attending Catholic schools in the Archdiocese has
thereby increased from 18.6% of students in 1976 to about 21.5%, and has
remained broadly stable at this level since 1986. Within this overall pattern
of enrolments the varying patterns of population across different areas of the
Archdiocese and varying levels of enrolments to individual schools continue
to present the CEO, Sydney with ongoing and significant challenges in
resource allocation and the overall management of school capacities. The
main areas of population growth and student enrolments have been in the
Southern Region, specifically in the south-west comer of the Archdiocese,
whilst some corresponding falls have been experienced in some areas of the
Inner Western and Eastern Regions.
The CEO, Sydney has tracked and responded well to these changing
population and enrolment patterns. In conjunction with the work of the
SACS Board's New Schools and Rationalisation Committee, a carefully-
considered program of school closures and amalgamations in some areas has
been allied to the provision of new and upgraded provision in others. Most
systemic Primary schools now have enrolment numbers between 100 and 600
students. Secondary school enrolments are mainly in the range between 400
and 1,000 students. However, some schools continue to have low enrolments
relative to their capacities. It will continue to be necessary to monitor excess
school capacity and the scope for future rationalisation carefully with regard
to achieving effective value for money alongside consideration of the
required provision to particular communities and the overall mission of the
Church. To date the CEO has undertaken this demanding task with
considerable sensitivity and effectiveness, but there remains further scope for
The changing pattern of school enrolments has been fully reflected in the
CEO,. Sydney's capital program for refurbishment of existing buildings and
the provision of new schools. Since 1987 over $379 million has been
committed to school capital expenditure across some 315 projects. The
School Facilities Committee reviews the need for providing capital assistance
to particular schools, such as capital grants, demountable facilities, bridging
fmance and debt servicing on an annual basis. Prudent forward planning has
ensured that the CEO, Sydney has acquired new building land and other
suitable sites, as they have become available, to provide for new schools and
to enhance existing provision. An armual program of grants is also made for
major repairs and mainfenance across systemic Secondary schools. Taken
together these steps have ensured that the quality of provision across the
buildings estate has improved significantly over recent years. Improvements
are reflected in the steady and ongoing development of office and school
facilities of increasingly high quality, which are providing better learning
and working environments. As a result there is considerable evidence across
the system of much improved levels of facilities and school provision which
reflect very favourably on the well-judged stewardship of the SACS Board
and the CEO, Sydney allied with the ongoing support of parishes. These
developments to facilities and provision have been much appreciated by
young people, their families and their teachers. The Panel recommends,
however, that further consideration should be given to how best to support
Principals with regard to buildings and property maintenance and the
management of building projects.
The varied pattern of school emolments and the differing areas served by
schools results in a wide range of payments made by parents and families in
respect of tuition fees, the School Building and Maintenance Levy and other
charges. In general it was a high priority for the CEO, Sydney that fees
should remain affordable and that parents in more disadvantaged
circumstances should be assisted where possible. Taking all contributions
together the range of Primary school per capita parental contributions ranged
widely from $324 to $2,072 in 2003. In Secondary schools it ranged from
$1,440 to $2,694. School Building and Maintenance Levies. alone ranged
from $171 to $522 for Primary schools and between $252 and $396 in
Secondary schools. In some schools there is evidence that Principals are
spending a considerable amount of time in aspects of fee collection and in
determining individual cases where some fee reduction might be appropriate
for individual parents. The Panel recommends that this process should be
reviewed and if possible simplified by developing more automatic
procedures for fee adjustment in schools serving more disadvantaged areas.
Similarly, work needs to continue with parishes and schools to clarifY
mutual financial responsibilities regarding property related costs.
Overall, the CEO, Sydney's Financial Services are of good quality. In a
number of aspects services are very good. Through prudent management
and careful resource allocation systemic schools have benefited from
increased levels of operational and capital resources over recent years. As a
result, there have been clear improvements in the levels of educational
provision and the quality oflearning environments now available to young
people and their teachers. Well-judged arrangements are in place for
forward planning and for managing school capacities and rationalisation.
Balanced consideration is given to the need to secure value for money
alongside the evident desire to do the best for young people and the diverse
communities across the Archdiocese. The CEO, Sydney has sustained a very
good record in balancing the often difficult and conflicting demands for
resources and, in so doing, has made a demonstrable difference to the work
of systemic schools and the learning experiences of students. The task now
is to build on these strong foundations and to introduce further improvements
and refinements to resource allocation which recognise that the student
population is becoming increasingly diverse in character and needs.
6. Partnership, Consultation and Communication
The CEO, Sydney communicates very effectively with many audiences and
is excellent at disseminating information. This applies both within and
beyond the Catholic sector. This is evident in, for example, the CEO's
successful negotiations on behalf of Catholic schools of the Archdiocese. It
is also apparent in the extent to which many partners know and subscribe to
the clear mission and strategic plans of the CEO, Sydney.
Goals of partnership have appeared in the CEO, Sydney's strategic planning.
Stakeholder views have been surveyed over time. Teachers and Principals
reported their high degree of satisfaction with the ways in which the
organisation keeps them informed on a very broad front. They frequently
indicated that they feel a close relationship with their Regional Offices. The
CEO, Sydney helps Principals and Co-ordinators feel professionally and
pastorally valued. This has engendered a mutual loyalty between school staff
and CEO staff. The friendly professionalism of CEO staffhas a very
beneficial impact on relationships. Small touches like knowing the names of
Regional Office staff and many staff in schools have also added to the sense
of oneness and partnership.
Various mechanisms exist for teachers and Principals to learn of the plans of
the CEO, Sydney. The majority are discussed through Regional Office
networks. There are also bi-annual Principals' conferences with the
Executive Director, to the planning of which Principals' consultative
committees contribute. Nevertheless, Principals would welcome more
opportunities for an open forum at this level where they could raise issues
and generate their ovyn suggestions to inform the CEO's planning and policy
Although Principals are very satisfied with the flow of information to them,
there is a clear desire to be more involved in true partnership working at
earlier stages. The flow of communication is still felt to be more
'downward' from the offices than 'upwards' from teachers and Principals.
Similarly, teachers and parents indicate that they want more scope to be
involved in the early stages of policy development, rather than receiving
final drafts to be piloted or implemented without their earlier invitation to
contribute and influence at the developmental stage.
The wider school community, and particularly parents, have a range of
partnership and consultation mechanisms open to them. There have, for
example, been parent opinion surveys, and parent views are invited as part
of the School Review and Development (SRD) process and in renewal of
Principals' contracts. Although parents are represented on the appointments
panel for Principals they, and pastors, wish to know the field of applicants
and to be involved in shortlisting. There is some criticism that involvement
in activities is often at the invitation of the Principal or the relevant CEO
Education Officer. This feeling of non-representation has led to some
dissatisfaction. Those parents invited to be on the SACS Board note that
they are not actually there as parent representatives. They bring diverse
expertise from their private professional roles at the same time as being
parents of children in Catholic schools.
Regions have a Parent Liaison Officer, or a Parent Community Educator. In
some cases, their role is to liaise with parents where there are concerns about
individual pupils, but they also support parents more widely, for example,
supporting Parents & Friends groups attached to schools. These groups are
long-standing but do not occur at every school, and some have disbanded
and alternative groups arisen. There is a central Federation on which
parents' groups can be represented, but by no means all seek partnership at
this formal level. Parents' groups have played a significant role in
fundraising and social activities. Some have organised talks for parents, for
example, on Numeracy or Literacy, supporting boys, and a talk by police on
risks to teenagers. The Federation is little used as a formal or representative
voice of parents by the CEO, Sydney. Parents more widely feel that the
parents' voice should inform the CEO more, and seek more opportunity for
dialogue and involvement.
In the last 3-5 years the CEO, Sydney has encouraged the setting up of some
further groups involving parents, usually called Advisory Councils or School
Councils. They are having a positive impact. The CEO, Sydney has
suggested terms of reference but the Councils essentially create clusters of
Primary and Secondary schools that are able to ease transition for pupils.
The clusters also work to establish pathways in Catholic education in a given
area and to create a sense of the community of Catholic schools. A
welcoming parish Mass at the start of Year 7 is an example of the success of
this in one area. Groups' activities have included the development of
spirituality, extending the life experiences of the children, and partnership to
support a school in a less advantaged area. Staff from the Regional Offices
support the Advisory/School Councils. However, the extent to which the
Councils engage with parents' issues, and the level and range of parent
involvement, remain unclear. Some parents report that the groups are
focused on issues of transfer from Primary to Secondary school.
The Panel, therefore, identifies considerable scope for further development of
partnership and consultation with parents, a need identified by the Regional
Offices in their local planning and in the self-evaluations of the CEO,
Sydney. It recommends that a stronger culture of engagement with parents
and the development of strategies for their involvement as partners in their
children's education should be developed. Schools are the first point of
development in this, but will need the support of Regional Offices and the
CEO. More targeted and focused partnership activities may be a way
forward. Some parents would welcome more opportnnities to provide
support in the classroom, and to have more of a year group focus to their
interest. SurVeys of parents provide useful information for the CEO, Sydney
but offer parents little scope for a more open response. They also
disadvantage those parents unable to respond to this medium. Discussion
groups with bilingual support, and outreach to parents in their local
environment, could offer them more opportunities to make suggestions for
consideration by school executives or Regional Offices. Parents could also
be a rich source of expertise for special projects, or initiatives, for example,
to support gifted and talented pupils. To avoid the marginalisation of some
groups, consideration should be given to ways of making all parents feel that
their involvement would be welcomed and that they have something to offer.
The CEO, Sydney is clearly student-focused, but its support to schools for
consultation involving students is less evident. At school level students are
active in fundraising. Students participate in electing school representatives
and captains, but these do not feed into wider Regional or central pupil
fOlUIlls. There are leadership development opportunities for
students, but more could be made of their voice to support students across
the Archdiocese and to promote Catholic education. A broader system of
School Councils, and student contributions to the CEO's magazine' About
Catholic Schools', are examples of how students could be more involved in
partnership working and how this could be nurtured through the CEO,
Partnerships with pastors and parishes are crucial to Catholic schools and the
mission of Catholic education. Some Sydney schools are blessed with
pastors who dedicate much of their time to working with their schools,
seeing this as a rich opportunity to nurture witness and evangelisation. Such
relationships have been characterised by mutual respect and high esteem.
One pastor, for example, had a systematic program for spending time in each
class, socialised with pupils and staff, prepared liturgies, and contributed to
the formation of staff and pupils. In these cases, pastors felt secure that they
could request support from the CEO, Sydney if needed. One pastor spoke of
asking to meet with CEO staff for a briefing and discussion before
beginning his new ministry with his schools. He reported that this was the
first time that such a request had been made and he found the event
invaluable. The CEO, Sydney now has plans for the systematic induction of
recently appointed parish priests and administrators. In the Inner Western
Region, pastors, Principals and Religious Education Co-ordinators all spoke
enthusiastically about the annual day held for all of them to come together.
Similar opportunities across all Regions would be welcome. Pastors would
welcome discussions with the CEO, Sydney about the support they would
like to receive. Although pastors generally spoke positively of the CEO,
Sydney, a harnessing of best practice in involving pastors across the three
Regions would be affirming and constructive.
Partnerships between the CEO, Sydney and Congregational schools are a
matter of some sensitivity and variation in practice. CEO staff members are
very conscious of the rights and relative independence of Congregational
schools. There is some evidence that Congregational schools leaders are
now more involved with their systemic school colleagues than at the time of
the last Review. Progressively their schools are becoming part of the family
of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney. These schools use,
according to need, the range of services provided by the CEO, Sydney. A
Congregational school Principal is a member of the SACS Board. There are
also a growing number of occasions when Principals from the systemic
schools have subsequently taken up Principalship in Congregational schools.
Some Religious Orders are staffing or running both systemic and
Congregational schools.
Whilst, therefore, there remains much that is different about the two school
systems, they are both part of the Church's mission in education and in this,
and certain other ways, they are partners. They also have the potential for
significant impact on the use of the CEO, Sydney's resources and on the
planning of school places and recruitment. The Panel therefore recommends
that roles and relationships between the CEO, Sydney and Congregational
schools should be explored further and clarified within Archdiocesan plans.
In times of challenge and change, there may be much to be gained from a
strong sense of a family of Catholic schools, respecting one another's
differences but supporting one another for the benefit of pupils.
The CEO, Sydney and schools work effectively with Catholic Youth Services
(CYS) to help them to take their mission into schools. The CEO, Sydney
partly funds this mission team of seven young people who provide a ministry
amongst teenagers, providing retreats and youth events, helping with sport
and creating partnership with parishes. This fulfils their aim of presenting a
young face of the Church. This partnership also enables CYS to benefit from
the guidance of a Regional Director who provides training for the CYS team.
The CYS team value their very positive relationship with the CEO, Sydney
and the support that it is provided.
Publications of very high quality are produced and marketed in high volume
through the CEO's Communications Unit. The excellent standard of
presentation and content creates a very favourable impression of Catholic
schools in the Archdiocese. Publications cover textbooks for pupils, factual
information, public relations, and teacher support materials amongst others.
The quarterly journal 'About Catholic Schools' is distributed to the family of
every pupil and widely within the Church community. The magazine is eye-
catching, relevant and well targeted. The March 2004 edition, for example,
covered items ranging from facts on government spending to information on
the Religious Education program, through to welcoming Sudanese students,
and celebrating the success of an award-winning teacher.
Getting the magazine to parents is reliant on take-home by pupils. It is
timely that the Communications Unit plan to survey parents about the
publication, but the intention to do this online may be an obstacle to effectively
reaching all parents and the team may wish to consider a more focused or
sampling approach. Some targeted discussions with parents across a broad
spectrum would be a useful consultative opportunity and might reasonably
form part of a more broadly-based consultation. As the CEO, Sydney seeks
to involve parents more, it may be helpful to stimulate these initiatives by
asking parents to write on these issues for' About Catholic Schools'.
Members of the Communications Unit have complementary, high-level
professional expertise which is well deployed. Skills in graphic design and
marketing are used to help schools in the production of brochures, enrolment
and public relations materials, and 'pathways' resources for the advisory
councils of schools. The materials have impact and have been well received.
The CEO, Sydney networks very successfully. It issues high-quality,
pertinent media releases to good effect. The work of the CEO is regularly
reported upon in the 'Catholic Weekly', and more widely. The CEO,
Sydney is outstanding in its placing of 'good news' stories and in
showcasing its work. Excellent use is made of photographic and other
visual media depicting the work of the CEO, Sydney and systemic schools.
Such media presentations uphold the student-centred focus of the CEO,
Sydney. Major events and celebrations contribute to the diverse
communications about the value of Catholic education and the work of the
CEO. The Jubilee 2000 celebrations at Olympic Park, the launch of the
CEO, Sydney's Strategic Management Plan at a public event in Darling
Harbour, and the celebration of the launch of 'To Know, Worship and Love'
at St Mary's Cathedral, offer three examples of events that involved
prestigious public figures from Church and governrnent. These events
served to successfully generate much pUblicity for Catholic schools, whilst
conveying important messages about their values and mission.
The CEO, Sydney hosts a very successful website. Those working in
schools, as well as those working from Regional Offices, consider the
website to be a source of up-to-date, authoritative advice and guidance. It is
frequently used as a 'first port of call'. In addition to factual materials and
access to the many CEO publications available online, it also offers a prayer
for each day. Teachers and Principals also report that the website gives them
an invaluable means of keeping in touch with developments in one another's
schools and supports effective networking. As with all other aspects of the
materials issued by the CEO, Sydney, the website offers a very credible
public face for Catholic education, conveying a highly professional image to
the rest of the community.
7. Charter of the SACS Board and the CEO, Sydney
For the purposes of this Review, the Review Panel has met with all members
of the SACS Board in attendance on 28 July 2004 and has studied Board
agenda papers and documents approved by the Board.
In the 1994 Review of the CEO, Sydney and the SACS Board,
recommendations were made across the following areas:
Operational Principles of the SACS Board
Non-systemic Schools
Future Committee Structure and Membership
Archdiocesan Agenda
Resource Allocation
Parental Involvement
Consequences of System Formation
Role and Functions
The present Charter of the SACS Board was approved in 1995. The Charter
clearly identifies the respective responsibilities of the SACS Board and of the
CEO, Sydney. A supplementary note documents authorities for appointment
and appraisal of the Executive Director and Directors, as well as indicating
operational principles for the Board. However, the Panel notes that the
parameters for membership of the SACS Board and its Committees are
absent from the Charter, other than by implication in operational principle
10.5 in the Supplementary Notes. Operational principle 10.5 states that the
SACS Board will operate in ways that 'ensure that decision-making
appropriate to the Archdiocesan school system is adequately informed by the
views of Principals, parents, clergy and CEO personnel, and that decision-
making appropriate to Regional and school level takes into account the views
of stakeholders.' There is no reference to how members will be appointed.
Current members other than ex-officio members have been recOlwnended to
the Archbishop by a subcommittee of the Board from nominations to the
Board and advertisements in the Catholic press.
The current membership of the SACS Board is as follows:
Chairman (Auxiliary Bishop, retired July 2004)
Executive Director of Schools (Executive Officer)
Ex-officio members
Director of Financial Services
Director of Human Resources
Director of RE and Curriculum
Regional Directors (3)
Appointed members
Independent educator (from ACU)
5 parents
1 Parish Priest
2 Principals from systemic schools
1 Principal from Congregational school
It is very evident that the outgoing Chairman of the SACS Board is held in
the deepest regard by members of the Board and respected for his firm and
independent direction of the Board, his wisdom in discernment, his
sensitivity to Board members and his unwavering support and affirmation of
Catholic education. The Chairman's interest in the matters before the Board
was paramount and his empathy for the 'privilege and challenge' of Catholic
education was valued. His understanding of the political and ecclesiastical
context in which the Board operates was seen as important. The obvious
positive professional relationship between the Chairman and the Executive
Officer has been critical in promoting the Board's effectiveness.
Feedback gained during the process of this current Review referred also to
the high quality and timeliness of Board papers and background preparation.
The CEO, Sydney's Central and Regional Directors were praised for the
calibre of their presentations to the Board and the level of information which
they provide. At the same time, their discipline in not dominating Board
discussion is respected and appreciated. Some Board members spoke of
their sense of being able to influence Board outcomes on particular agenda
items, and how their contribution has affected the direction taken by the
CEO. Occasional presentations to the Board by Principals have been
reported as useful. Other comments described Board work more passively
as receiving information from the CEO, Sydney and not contributing
significantly to decision-making or significantly influencing policy. Board
members stressed that the core business of the SACS Board is education, and
that this should remain a focus in future agenda. The Board was also urged
to assume a stronger role in critiquing the learning which is occurring in
schools. Considerable discussion occurred across a number of forums
regarding the extent to which parents were involved as key stakeholders in
the Board and the processes by which they are appointed. In other feedback,
the SACS Board and the CEO, Sydney were urged to focus on promoting a
culture of engagement with parents as being appropriate to their agenda as an
agency of Church.
Other matters raised included general appreciation for the annual Mass and
tour of the schools, desire for more in-depth induction and orientation
briefing, the value of having a regular evaluation of Board and Connnittee
process and functioning, and a request for greater representation of school
staff on the Board.
In the self-evaluation by the CEO, Sydney and SACS Board prepared for the
Review, it is indicated that a key area for development and new opportunities
is to 'review the Role and Charter of the SACS Board' prior to the
development of the next Strategic Management Plan. The Panel concurs that
a thorough review of the SACS Board and its Charter and Connnittees is
timely. The self-evaluation indicated that this review would occur prior to
the development of the next Strategic Management Plan. The Review Panel
does not wish to comment on the particular timing of any review of the
SACS Board, other than to recommend that it should occur in time to
maximise linkages with other recommendations.
In addition to the matters reported above, other questions raised with the
Panel could usefully inform the more formal review which the SACS Board
undertakes. These include, in no particular order:
Does the Board meet too often?
Is the agenda too crowded?
Is the effort expended in preparing for Board meetings giving sufficient
return: how can we get more value from the Board?
Should the Board playa greater role in monitoring significant areas of
legislative compliance?
How can the CEO, Sydney and the Board work in greater co-ordination
with the planning of the Archdiocese as a whole?
How does the agenda of the SACS Board and Committees relate to
Congregational schools?
The Panel recommends that a more detailed review of the SACS Board
should extend to both the structure and operation of the Board and that the
Charter of the SACS Board be revised accordingly. The Panel suggests that
the following areas should be included in the considerations which would
form part of such a review of the SACS Board:
Role and function - Within its overall function, it is important that the
responsibility of the SACS Board with respect to Congregational schools
in the Archdiocese be negotiated and clarified. At present there is
inconsistency between the operation and membership of the Board and its
Charter which refers to 'all Catholic schools, whether those schools are
the direct administrative responsibility of the Archdiocese or operated by
Religious Institutes'.
Membership - The current Charter is silent on the membership, tenure
and processes for appointment to the Board and the relationship of the
CEO, Sydney's officers (other than the Executive Officer) to the Board.
The Panel recommends that clear consideration be given to reducing the
representation of the CEO officers and increasing the representation and
involvement of stakeholders within the balance of skills and expertise
serving the Board's purposes. Consideration should be given to having
some provision for the election of some SACS Board representatives. In
particular, the Panel recommends that the review of membership give
consideration to the opportnnities presented by including senior Chancery
staff as ex-officio members, either of the Finance Committee or New
Schools and Rationalisation Committee, or of the SACS Board itself.
Committees - The Review of the SACS Board should embrace the
membership and functioning of the Board's four Committees, with
consideration being given to the breadth of stakeholder input and
expertise. If it does not already do so, the Board might consider
developing linkages between the SACS Board and its Committees by
appointing to each Committee a member of the Board who is not a CEO,
Sydney officer. (This link between Board and Committees mayor may
not be Chair of the Committee.) To further increase engagement of
Board members and to bring specialised expertise to bear on specific
agenda items, the Board might consider, from time to time as agenda
requires, the establishment of ad hoc task forces or short-term working
parties chaired by Board members who are not CEO officers.
Operation and Culture of the Board - The Panel recommends that the
operation and style of functioning of the SACS Board and its Committees
be reviewed with a view to increasing the culture of engagement of its
members and maintaining a culture of ongoing improvement in
effectiveness. Regular opportunities for feedback on Board operation
could be programmed on at least an armual basis.
Overall, the Panel congratulates the CEO, Sydney on the quality of Board
documentation and welcomes the stated intention to proceed with a review of
the structure and operation of the SACS Board at this time.
8. Key Strengths of the CEO, Sydney and the SACS Board
The Panel has identified many areas of strength across the work of the CEO,
Sydney including:
Strategic Leadership and Management
Strong articulation and embedding of the overall Vision and Mission
which is understood and implemented by all staff;
Highly developed strategic management and organisation systems;
The high-quality leadership of the Executive Director and his senior
Innovative and systematic development of an effective framework of
school development, planning, target setting, audit and review;
The effective implementation of the 'Towards 2005' Strategic
Management Plan;
Widespread recognition within schools of the value of the well-established
arrangements for promoting leadership and school development.
Catholic Identity and Religious Education
A strong and visible sense of Catholic identity throughout the system;
Very effective leadership and management of new Religious Education
program in both Primary and Secondary schools;
The standards of students' religious knowledge;
Witness and commitment to social justice is strongly embedded;
Strong commitment to involving clergy and Religious Congregations.
Students and Learning
Well developed Literacy and Numeracy strategies;
Improved student performance in examinations (eg Basic Skills Test,
School Certificate and Higher School Certificate);
Some well-developed and targeted programs to meet the diverse needs of
students (eg Reading Recovery, Sensory Impairment Program, New
Arrivals, ESL Programs);
Developing analysis of student performances in public examinations;
Vocation Education and Training;
Quality consultancy and advisory service to schools;
Recent developments to overcome problems relating to ICT.
Human Resources
Strong and consistent development ofleadership programs and succession
A range of strategies to attract well-qualified teachers into systemic
Extensive, well regarded and flexible professional development
opportunities for staff across the system;
Planned introduction of PPPR procedures after due consultative
Systematic and well considered processes for the renewal of Principals'
Very good industrial relations and pastoral care of staff;
Excellence of hospitality and reception at the CEO's Central and
Regional Offices.
Financial Services
Effective and well-judged stewardship of financial resources;
Consistently high priority given to disperse as much funding as possible to
Increased levels of staffing, other resources and capital provision to
Continuing emphasis on trying to ensure that Catholic schools are
relatively affordable for parents;
Emphasis on provision of quality office and school facilities, including
sustained program for the rationalisation, refurbishment and development
of new schools;
Effective Payroll Services well integrated with Human Resources.
Partnership, Consultation and Communication
Thorough and extensive flow of communications from the CEO, Sydney
to its many stakeholders, keeping people very well informed;
Considerable loyalty and trust amongst staff, characterised by excellent
Very high quality of publications and well-developed website;
Consistent attention to the promotion of Catholic education to a wider
national "and international audience, including effective networking and
high-profile public events, amongst many other strategies.
9. Main Points for Action
The Panel has identified a number of areas which it suggests should be given
priority in the next Strategic Plan ofthe CEO, Sydney:
1. The procedures for school development planning, audit and rtlview
should be streamlined and focus more explicitly on the impact on
students' learning.
2. The CEO, Sydney should continue implementation of the new Religious
Education curriculum and the 'To Know, Worship and Love' student
textbooks at a time when further developments will occur with K-2 and
Year 11-12 RE,curriculum.
3. The CEO, Sydney should continue to promote with all stakeholders its
fundamental mission to develop authentic Catholic schools which are
embedded within the evangelising mission of the Church and which
educate young people in faith.
4. A greater emphasis should be placed on promoting approaches to
pedagogy in schools. A major development should be launched to
promote innovative and more effective approaches to teaching and
S. The extent to which Regional Consultants and school leaders are
consistently engaged with improving teaching and learning and student
achievement should be increased. Further strategies should be
developed to support school administration.
6. Further steps should be taken to meet the needs of the increasingly
diverse range of students in systemic schools. Particular attention
should be given to students who are under-achieving, those who have
challenging behaviour, and those who are excluded from schools.
7. Best use should be made of resources through increased sharing across
Regions. Strengthened procedures would ensure that suitable regional
initiatives and best practice are developed on an Archdiocesan basis.
8. More comprehensive means should be developed across individual
schools, and the school system as a whole, to monitor and track the
performance of individual pupils from stage to stage, particularly from
Primary to Secondary, with a view to identifying learning gains and
needs more clearly.
9. Further steps should be taken to increase the level of challenge and
performance for more able students across K-12. The numbers of
students attaining Band 6 of the Higher School Certificate should be
10. Further consideration should be given to developing particular
strategies, including incentives, to assist in recruiting staff to hard-to-
staff schools and subject areas.
11. Further steps need to be taken to ensure that Principals, school staff,
and students are more systematically involved in the development of
CEO policy.
12. Continued steps should be taken by the CEO, Sydney, to promote the
development of positive school cultures, with particular priority given
to promoting concepts of distributive leadership to ensure more
meaningful involvement of all stakeholders in decision-making.
13. Further steps should be taken to involve a wider range of stakeholders,
including parents, clergy, local communities and students, in the
development of policies and the activities of the CEO, Sydney and
across the Sydney Catholic school system. Established policies should
be subject to regular review.
14. Further steps should be taken to extend the benefits of Catholic
education to a wider range of Catholic families
15. The proportion of the system budget provided for the CEO, Sydney
administration (Central and Regional Offices) should be reviewed to
ensure that sufficient management capacity is in place to focus on
promoting further improvements in teaching and learning.
16. The principles of staffing allocations to schools should be revised and
updated in consultation with Principals to be more transparent and more
broadly understood. The revision should also consider how system
funds could take further account of the increasing diversity of school
needs and contexts.
17. A review should be undertaken of the procedures for setting the tuition
fees paid by parents and the arrangements for assisting those in more
disadvantaged financial circumstances, with a view to simplifying the
arrangements for discounted fees.
18. School enrolments and capacities should be kept under close review and,
if found necessary, further rationalisation undertaken in relation to
meeting the mission of the Church, community needs, and delivering
improved value for money.
19. Further improvements should be made in arrangements for school and
facilities maintenance. Principals and Regional Consultants should be
given increased support in managing building projects.
20. The revised arrangements for school financial audit should be monitored
with a view to bringing each school to a high standard of compliance.
21. The arrangements for the building levy should be reviewed with a view
to improving equity for parishes and families, in consultation with key
. stakeholders including clergy, parents, Principals and Chancery.
22. The recently enhanced provision of ICT hardware in schools should be
complemented by further improvements to technical support to schools,
embedded in pedagogy and agreed approaches to teaching and learning.
Provision should be made for replacement of ICT hardware as it
becomes necessary.
23. The CEO should ensure that the computer-based system of school
administration currently being developed will assist Principals with
school administration and provide more consistent management
information and data analysis to Central and Regional Offices.
24. The CEO, Sydney should continue to build positive relationships with
schools owned and operated by Religious Institntes so as to enhance the
shared mission of Catholic schools within the Archdiocese.
25. The role, structure, operation and membership of the SACS Board,
including the participation of the CEO Directors, should be reviewed
with the intention of increasing stakeholder representation and overall
effectiveness of the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney.
I ~
Ian Gamble
Her Majesty's ChiefInspector
Directorate 5
H.M. Inspectorate of Education
10 September 2004
Appendix 1
Reporting of Review Outcomes
The Self-Evaluation and the External Review Panel used a seven-point
Likert-type scale to describe the CEO's achievement against published
priorities and outcomes listed in the Six Key Areas for Evaluation (and their
28 sub-areas). The achievement scale is as follows:
1 Very low level of achievement - unacceptable
2 Low level of achievement - major weaknesses
3 Fair level of achievement - some important weaknesses
4 Moderate level of achievement - strengths balanced by weaknesses
5 Good level of achievement - more strengths than weaknesses
6 High level of achievement - major strengths
7 Very high level of achievement - little scope for improvement.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
cow HIGH
1. Strategic Leadership and Management
1.1 'Towards 2005': Strategic Management Plan
Vision Statement Mission Statement and Priorities ....
1.2 Strategic Leadership and Management Cycles and Frameworks ....
1.3 Recommendations from Previous Reviews ....
1.4 Strategic approach to utilisation of resources ....
1.5 Leadership and Management Effectiveness ...

2. Catholic Identity and Religious Education
2.1 Catholic Identity and Culture
2.2 Religious Education Curriculum ....
2.3 'To Know, Worship and Love' student textbooks (3-10) ...

2.4 Witness ...

3. Students and their Learning
3.1 Support for Teaching and e a r n i n ~

3.2 Performance Monitoring and Continuous Imorovement
3.3 Diverse Needs of Students ....
3.4 Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

4. Human Resources
4.1 Staff Selection ....
4.2 Personal! Professional Development

4.3 Review and Planning (Co-ordination of Processes) ....
4.4 Employment Relations ....
4.5 Personnel Administration ....
4.6 Administrative Services ...

4.7 Hospitality and Reception Services

5. Financial Services
5.1 Financial Management

5.2 Resource Allocation to Schools

5.3 Payroll Services ....
5.4 Staffing and Census

5.5 School Facilities and Planning

6. Partnership, Consultation and Communication
6.1 Partnerships with Stakeholders

6.2 Mechanisms for Consultation

6.3 Mechanisms for Communication
... CEO, Sydney Self-evaluation Panel Evaluation
Appendix 2
External Review Panel Methodology and Timetable

Validation of the Review brief and decisions relating to data gathering
involving all 7 Directors, Chainnan of SACS Board and Chairperson of
Review Panel.

Budget for Review established.

Agreement as to timetable.
Appointment of Review Panel.

Public announcement on purpose and membership of Review
(January 2004)
Preliminary teleconference of Review Panel which:
Clarified the modus operandi for the Review

Detennined data collection procedures and timeline including items in
questionnaires to Principals, Clergy and CLRl.
Decided on consultancy brief to review student perfonnance in State-
EARLY 2004
wide tests.

Decided on any other pre-Review consultancy projects.

Considered particular areas of responsibility for each Panel member

Detennined fonnat for reporting Review fmdings
Data gathering from stakeholders commenced.
CEO, Sydney completed the following documentation:

Profile ofthe Sydney Archdiocesan school system, including key policies

Annual Report 2003

Self-evaluation, including:
Identification of key strengths
- Identification of key areas for improvement and assessment of
capacity for improvement

Data collection, including:
MAY 2004
Questionnaires to Principals, Clergy (Deans only) and CLRl (external -
- Analyses of student perfonnance data and achievement against targets
BST, ELLA, SNAP, SC, HSC (external consultant)
Key documentation to Panel by 18 June 2004.

Secretarial assistance for each Panel member organised before 19 July.
19 July
Monday Panel assembled at Catholic Education Office, Leichhardt at 4.30 pm.
Finalised Program Week I, dined with Directors at 6.00 pm
20 July
Presentation by the Executive Director with Directors
Leichhardt Examination of docnmentation/flexible time

Meetings with various CEO staff at Central Office
21 July
Meeting with Regional Director and Consultants at Regional Office,
Regiou Examination of documentation/flexible time
School visits: Bankstown, Holsworthy, Hoxton Park, Bonnyrigg Heights
Focus Groups of Principals at Good Samaritan College, Hinchinbrook
22 July
Meeting with Regional Director and Consultants at Regional Office,
Western Examination of documentation/ flexible time
School visits: Manickville, Lidcombe, Drummoyne, Lakemba
Focus Groups of Principals at Regional Office, Lidcombe
23 Jnly
Further consideration of documentation
Leichhardt Flexible time
Teleconference with Clergy members
Program for Week 2 confirmed
Fonnat of report determined
Meeting with Regional Director and Consultants at Regional Office,
26 July Monday
Eastern Examination of docnmentation/ flexible time
School visits: Randwick, Matraville, Kensington, Randwick
Focus Groups of Principals at Regional Office, Daceyville
27 July Tuesday
Meetings with Central Directors and Leichhardt Senior Staff
Leichhardt Flexible time
Teleconference with Leaders of Religious Institutes
Meetings with Executives of Human Resources, Financial Services,
Religious Education and Cuniculnm and Infonnation and
Communication Technology Teams
1 The three Regional Directors proposed a list of 12 schools to be visited by a panel member. They provided a cross-section of schools, including SOme
with recently appointed Principals
2 Principals of Primary and Secondary planning groups arranged these Focus Groups. Principals of the schools visited by Panel members were not
included in FOCtlS Groups.
Meeting with Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, at Cathedral House
28 July Wednesday
Meetings with Stakeholder Groups at Polding Centre:
Chancery of Archdiocese of Sydney, Catholic Education Conunission,
Catholic Connuission of Employment Relations, Catholic Weekly,
Catholic Connuunications, Federation ofP & F Executive, Independent
Education Union, Catholic Development Fund
Telephone interviews: Catholic Youth Services and Catholic Adult

Attended SACS Board Meeting at 3.00 pm, aud met individually with
Board Members
29 July Thursday
Drafting of Report

Presentation of preliminary working draft of Report to Executive
Director of Schools
30 July

Executive Director provided additional evidence to add to the Working
Draft Report

Completion of Draft Report, aud verbal presentation to Executive
Director, CEO, Sydney Directors and staff and SACS Board
representatives, 3.00 pm

Pauel Chairperson negotiated final draft with panel.
Report "signed off" by Panel by \0 September 2004 and distributed to
Full report is complemented by a summary document for distribution to
the wider Catholic school community
Within 10 weeks of the publication of the report the Executive Director of
PHASE 6 Schools will table for the consideration of the SACS Board a plan of action
that responds to the report's recommendations.
Appendix 3
Key Documentation for the evaluation of the contribution of the CEO,
Sydney and the SACS Board to Catholic schooling in Sydney 1995-2004
Sanber Dr Shukri, 'Principals: Survey of Opinion', Australian Catholic University,
Strathfield (June 2004).
Mok Dr Magdalena, 'CEO Staff: Survey of Opinion', The Hong Kong Institute of
Education, Hong Kong (June 2004).
Johnston Dr Kristin, rsj, 'Leaders of Religious Institutes : Survey of Opinion' ,
National Centre for Religious, Annandale (June 2004).
Lynch Dr Peter, 'Clergy: Survey of Opinion', Catholic Institute of Sydney,
Strathfield (June 2004).
Profile Part A - Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney (including statistical
Profile Part B - Strategic Leadership and Management across the system of Catholic
Schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney
Profile Part C - Regional Profiles (Eastern, Inner Western, Southern)
Australian Busiriess Excellence Framework Submission
Analysing School and System Student Performance Data, incorporating
Student Achievement in Basic Skills Tests, School Certificate and Higher School
Certificate: 2000 - 2003 (John Cook)
Development of the System of Schools 1987-2001 (Kelvin Canavan)
Self-Evaluation, Catholic Education Office Sydney and the Sydney Archdiocesan
Catholic Schools Board
'Towards 2005: Review of the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board and the
Catholic Education Office, Sydney for the period 1987-1994 with recommendations
for the period 1996-2005' (July 1994)
'Looking Back, Looking Forward - A Catholic School System in Action'.
Consolidated Report (FebrualY 1995)
Sydney Catholic Schools 'Towards 2005' Strategic Management Plan (August 1995)
Sydney Catholic Schools 'Towards 2005' Strategic Management Plan: Mark 2
(December 2000)
Annual 'Archdiocesan Schools Agenda' SACS Board and CEO, Sydney (1996-2003)
'Annual Reports' SACS Board and CEO, Sydney (1996-2003)
Annual 'Team Achievement Plans' (December Reports) CEO, Sydney (1996-2003)
Annual 'Guide to Educational Services' SACS Board and CEO, Sydney (1996-2003)
'From Strength to Strength - A Report on the School Review and Development Cycle
1 (1993-1998) and recommendations for Cycle 2' (1999-2004) (July 1998)
'Resources Manual for School Review and Development 1999-2003 and the Strategic
Leadership and Management Cycle for Primary and Seconda,ry Schools' (September
'SACS Board 150th Meeting (September 1999) and 190th Meeting (May 2004)
'Role, Functions and Charter of the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board and
the Catholic Education Office, Sydney' (August 1995)
Turkington, Dr Mark, 'The Catholic Education Office, Sydney as a learning
organisation and its perceived impact on raising standards': Doctoral Dissertation,
Australian Catholic University (April 2004)
'Workplace Realities in the Catholic School: A framework for those employed in
Catholic Education', CEO, Sydney (2002)
Appendix 4
Meetings conducted by Review Panel - July 2004
A wide range of interviews and discussion groups included the following:
Establishments visited
Cathedral House, Sydney
Polding Centre, Sydney
CEO, Sydney:
- Central Office, Leichhardt
- Regional Offices - Daceyville, Lidcombe, Revesby
Meetings attended
Focus Group meetings of Principals at the three regional locations, involving:
29 Primary Principals, 6 of whom were Members of the Executive of the Primary
Principals' Association
16 Secondary Principals, 3 of whom were Members of the Executive of the
Secondary Principals' Planning Group
SACS Board Meeting
Interviews or meetings with Board Members and CEO, Sydney Directors
Archbishop of Sydney
SACS Board Members:
- Retiring Chairman
- Parents
- Australian Catholic University Representative
Congregational School Principal, Glebe
- Primary Principal, Waverley
- Secondary Principal, Lakemba
- Assistant Executive Officer
- Executive Director of Schools, Leichhardt
- Financial Services, Leichhardt
- Human Resources, Leichhardt
- Information and Communications Technology, Leichhardt
- Religious Education and Curriculum, Leichhardt
- Director, Eastern Region, Daceyville
- Director, Inner Western Region, Lidcombe
- Director, Southern Region, Revesby
Interviews or meetings with other Stakeholder Groups
Archdiocesan Chancery: Chancellor; Business Manager
Catholic Commission for Employment Relations; Executive Director
Catholic Communications: Director
Catholic Development Fund: General Manager; Manager (Client Services)
Catholic Education Commission, NSW:
- Acting Executive Director
- Director (Administration)
Director (Education Policy & Programs)
- Director (School Resources)
- Co-ordinator (Equity, Policy & Programs)
- Education Officer (Technology)
Catholic Weekly: Managing Editor
Federation of Parents & Friends: President; Vice-President; Executive Officer
Independent Education Union: Acting General Secretary, Organiser
Interviews with CEO, Sydney staff
Financial Services Executive: Director's Assistant; Head, Financial Management Unit;
System Accountant
Human Resources Executive: Education and Professional Officers
Religious Education and Curriculum Executive: Head, Primary Curriculum; Head,
Secondary Curriculum; Head, Religious Education
Information and Communications Technology Executive: Chief Technology Officer
Communications Unit: Head
Regional Offices: Primary and Secondary Consultants; Primary and Secondary
Phone CallslTeleconference
Catholic Adult Education Centre: Director
Catholic Youth Services: Director
Good Samaritan Sisters, Five Dock: Nominee
Revesby: Parish Priest
Liverpool: Parish Priest
Christian Brothers, Balmain: Provincial
Ursuline Sisters, Croydon Park: Provincial
Schedule of School Visits by Review Panel
At each school a member of the Panel met with the Principal, representatives of the
teaching staff, students, parents and Church and community representatives.
Good Shepherd Primary, Hoxton Park
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Primary, Randwick
St Agnes' Primary, Matraville
St Brendan's Primary, Bankstown
St Brigid's Primary, Marrickville
St Christopher's Primary, Holsworthy
St Joachim's Primary, Lidcombe
St Mark's Primary, Drummoyne
Freeman Catholic College, Bonnyrigg Heights
Holy Spirit College, Lakemba
Marcellin College, Randwick
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College, Kensington
Good Samaritan College, Hinchinbrook was the venue for Focus Group meetings with
Principals in the Southern Region.
The following documents can be accessed on the CEO, Sydney website
www.ceo.syd.catholic.edu.au under 'External Review'.
1. Report
Report to the Archdiocese of Sydney on the Catholic Education Office,
Sydney and Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board from the
External Review Panel, September 2004.
2. Brief
External Review of the Catholic Education Office, Sydney and the Sydney
Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board 19-30 July 2004, Bulletin 69,
February 2004.
3. Rationale
'Who Inspects the Inspector?', The Evaluation of Catholic Education
Offices in Australia, Kelvin Canavan, January 2003. Also published in an
abbreviated format in 'The Australasian Catholic Record', Vol 81 No.1, pp
49-57, January 2004.