Leadership & Workforce Development

Selection of Diocesan Principals and Deputy Principals

Following a review of recruitment processes, a number of changes were enacted to improve, contemporise and streamline diocesan principal and deputy principal appointments.  Parish priests and school board chairs continue to be integral members of selection panels which make recommendations for appointment to the Archbishop and Bishop via the respective Directors.

Changes to the expression of interest process for inclusion on the CESA Acting Leadership Register and a more systematic and consistent approach to the creation of the Register, saw an exponential tenfold increase in potential candidates for acting principal and deputy principal positions.

Preservice Teachers

A strategy was mounted to strengthen partnerships with SA based universities and the Australian Catholic University.  The Early Career and Teacher Certification Advisors met regularly with personnel from all universities and also hosted a successful strategic planning and partnership meeting with SA based universities.  An online webinar for principals on the topic of preservice teacher professional placements was jointly facilitated by CEO and UniSA personnel.

Three scholarships were awarded in the 2022 SACCS Country Scholarship Program. One recipient will complete studies in mid-2023 and the remaining three will be supported via scholarship funding for two years.  Of note, all three recipients for 2023 reside at Aquinas College.  An alliance between CEO and Aquinas College continues to grow.

A range of targeted strategies were initiated to support schools in regional and rural settings to attract and retain teachers. Of note in 2022 the CEO worked with four Initial Teacher Education providers to offer a number of scholarships for final year preservice teachers to undertake final professional experience placements in a regional or remote CESA school. The scholarships will offset accommodation, travel and living expenses. 14 schools nominated capacity to host one or more preservice teachers. Thirty five $7,000 scholarships were offered for 2023 placements with 24 preservice teachers accepting. Two of the scholarship recipients have already gained special authority to teach in a neighbouring Catholic school.

Early Career Teachers

A database of over 500 teachers in 70 identified schools was used to track onboarding and induction activities as part of the Teacher Accreditation, Formation and Professional Learning for Catholic Identity and Mission Policy requirements. The 2020-2021 awareness raising campaign regarding accreditation resulted in a high numbers of teachers, including a significant number who had worked in CESA schools for several years, complete onboarding, induction and study requirements in 2022.

A coordinated approach to the production of essential onboarding and induction modules saw the creation of a number of self-paced, online modules to complement face-to-face induction sessions and online networks for early career teachers.

The Teacher Mentor Program continued to grow and develop with more than 30 teacher mentors from schools engaging in the workshops offered through the Early Career Teacher Program.  The target to have at least one nominated teacher mentor in each school to support early career teachers and preservice teachers remains.

Teacher Certification

Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher Certification (HALT) continues to be CESA’s prime means to formally recognise and reward expert teachers.  Through Certification, CESA’s best teachers achieve national recognition and are contributing to the quality of teaching and learning in every SA Catholic school.

We continue to aspire to have the highest proportion of HALT certified teachers in Australia by 2027, to support our best teachers to lead from the classroom and ensure students in Catholic schools excel in their learning.  The new Enterprise Agreement includes significant increases in HALT allowances: certified Highly Accomplished teachers receive an allowance of $7,000 per year (up from $3,652) and the Lead Teacher allowance has risen to $12,000 (up from $4,870).

Funding to release teachers to engage in the certification process was offered to CESA schools in 2022.  Over 120 teachers engaged in the Teacher Certification application process which usually takes 12 months to reach submission stage.  The SA Teacher Certification Committee, a cross-sector entity, endorses and approves certification submissions and advises the Teachers’ Registration Board of all certified teachers.

26 teachers were certified in 2022 and a further 2 HALT certified teachers successfully completed the renewal process (conducted after 5 years’ certification). 57 CESA teachers have been certified since the 2014 inception of the national certification process compared with 27 teachers in the Association of Independent Schools SA and 117 in the Department for Education. Since 2016, application fees have been waived for CESA teachers.

Teacher engagement in certification is expected to grow with the implementation of a new more flexible modular approach being trialled by all sectors in 2023.

The following table indicates certification trends across all three South Australian education sectors since 2014:

Professional Learning, Renewal Leave and Study Support

Professional learning programs offered by CESA were impacted in the first half of 2022 by COVID with a significant number of deferrals and cancellations. People, Leadership and Culture coordinated professional learning and programs included:

  • Aspiring Leaders Year 1 and 2
  • Cognitive Coaching
  • Cognitive Coaching Masterclass
  • Governance in Practice
  • Leadership Induction
  • Leading with Integrity for Excellence
  • Harvard Principals’ Academy
  • WLA – Executive Ready Program.

Working in collaboration with other CEO Teams, the creation of an online, live CESA calendar of professional learning programs and events was designed and coordinated for launch in 2023 to replace the annual Professional Learning Guide.

Once again, take-up of the Principals and Deputy Principals Renewal Leave Program was restricted by COVID in the first half of the year. Six applicants were able to proceed with their plans.  Five principals engaged in Australian-based self-organised experiences and one CEO employee completed post graduate studies. No deputy principals used Renewal Leave in 2022.

The CESA ACU Theology and Leadership Education Program (CATLEP) is in addition to, and complements the support provided via the Study Incentive Program (SIP).

CATLEP supported existing and new students financially to enrol in prescribed units in the following ACU Master courses: Master of Theological Studies; Master of Educational Leadership and Master of Religious Education. A total of 58 applicants received CATLEP funding in 2022 totalling $180,000 in support of their Masters study through ACU.

The Study Incentive Program (SIP) provided $294,972 to school and CEO employees to engage in formal study programs.  82 students completed Graduate Certificate in Catholic Education units costing a total of $106,165 in UniSA fees.

Workplace Culture and Innovation

Aquinas College

A changing and developing relationship between Aquinas College and Catholic Education South Australia was advanced in 2022. This included ensuring structures, processes and policies were well aligned and in place and there was ongoing clarification provided relating to all stakeholders understanding the lines of governance. An important part of this was to establish and implement communication and workflow procedures. John Mula (CEO Deputy Director), Sandra Hewson (Principal, St Mark’s College Port Pirie) and John Foley (Manager, Workplace Culture and Innovation) were all active members of the Aquinas College Council.

Another key piece of work was ensuring the successful transition of the new Rector, Sean Brito-Babapulle. In addition to his general induction to Aquinas College operations, it was important to on board Sean on governance and CESA partnership matters. Key personnel involved in the transition were the Council Chair, Chris Symes and Susan Young (CESA Assistant Director, People, Leadership and Culture). Sue was also instrumental in working with the council to undertake the Rector’s probationary review, which was successful. As Rector, Sean has also been invited to attend CESA Leaders’ Forums and has been allocated an ongoing CESA support person in Mark Corrigan (Manager, Schools Performance Leaders).

Workforce Health and Wellbeing

The two main elements of this work included an audit of current school staff wellbeing initiatives and the collaboration with principals on a Principal Health and Wellbeing Framework and Strategy (PHWFS).

A working group was formed to guide the development of a PHWFS to ensure that it: has thriving principals at the centre; is representative of CESA Mission, Vision, Values and Purpose; is well researched, evidenced based and collaboratively created; acknowledges the role of principal as critical to school and system success; comprises the key components of principal health and wellbeing; addresses what it is that helps or hinders the sustained success of principals; and highlights the roles and responsibilities of individuals and groups in enhancing principal health and wellbeing.

In 2022, the working group progressed a synthesis of key research, investigations and collated feedback, including: CESA Mission, Vision, Values and Purpose (Towards 2027); the Crucial Role of Principal (AITSL, Fullan); the data and evidence (Riley, CEWA, MacKillop Inst.); Workplace Health and Wellbeing research and models (Be you, Green, ASWF); Current Principal H&W models (Victoria, Queensland); CESA Principal and Leader feedback (Regional, SACPPA, APCSS, P & DP Conditions); and current and planned CESA initiatives, practices and programs. This work will continue into 2023, through collaborating and testing this synthesis of ideas with principals and hence moving to a workable framework and strategy to enhance and sustain principal health and wellbeing for CESA principals.