The history of School Boards in Queensland can be traced back to the Project Catholic School, a research project undertaken by the Queensland Catholic Education Commission in 1977. One key recommendation to emerge from this project was the need to make sure Catholic Schools had strong links to the local community; one way of doing this was to establish local School Boards.
The Diocese of Rockhampton was an enthusiastic early supporter of School Boards. The Catholic Education Office realised that for School Boards to succeed, a commitment was needed to support these new Boards spiritually and organisationally. The ‘Sharing Wisdom’ model of decision making that was based on the writings of Sister Mary Benet McKinney played a vital role in the development of Boards. This philosophy of ‘shared wisdom’ allowed Boards to develop a model that was more about ‘consultation’ rather than ‘decision making’ The philosophy has continued to be a feature of School Boards in the Rockhampton Diocese.
Another important initiative was to appoint people who had experience of School Boards, either in the role of parent or teacher, to the position of Regional Board Liaison Officer. The task of the RBLO is to support School Boards in their particular regions in developing their spirituality as well as supporting them with advice about Board meeting procedures and issues with their Board constitution.
Catholic schools in the Diocese of Rockhampton are fortunate to have School Boards to support and nurture them. They are ably supported by very experienced Board Liaison Officers and staff from CEO and are well placed to meet future challenges.
School and College Boards in the Diocese of Rockhampton are constituted to enable these collaborative practices to be employed:
- the ongoing development of the Catholic ethos of the school, which means promoting the school as a centre of evangelisation (in partnership, where appropriate, with a parish or other Church agencies) in fidelity to the teachings of the Church, diocesan authority, and the special spirituality that animates the school community;
- being consulted in relation to the appointment of a principal by the Catholic Education Office;
- supporting staff, especially the principal, who will have the day to day responsibility for maintaining and promoting the Catholic ethos of the school;
- exercising general oversight of the curriculum, but in accordance with any relevant requirements of Government and Catholic education authorities, and without trespassing upon areas of professional educational judgment;
- overseeing the prudent financial management of the school, particularly with a view to ensuring access to quality education for future generations, and including planning for the provision of future facilities;
- seeking to ensure that the school fulfils its potential as an option for the disadvantaged, including the poor;
- providing advice to the principal on any matters referred to it by the principal;
- developing policies on matters referred to it by the principal or by responsible Catholic education authorities; and
- facilitating the induction and preparation of board members, including ensuring that members understand the scope and extent of their role.
The Model Constitution for Catholic Education Boards in the Diocese of Rockhampton was completed in November 2006. This is a valuable resource which will enable Board Members to become familiar with the provisions of this revised Constitution
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