Catholic School Systems
The task of the Catholic school is fundamentally a synthesis of culture and faith, and a synthesis of faith and life; the first is reached by integrating all different aspects of human knowledge through the subjects taught, in the light of the Gospel; the second is the growth of the virtues characteristic of the Christian.
Whilst it is accountable to the community at large for the provision of quality education to young citizens, the Catholic school is also accountable to the Church community at large for providing this within the context of Christian Gospel values as espoused by the Catholic tradition. The Catholic school is more than an educative institution: it is a key part of the Church, an essential element in the Church's evangelising mission. Teachers in Catholic schools are more than employees: they minister gospel values in the name of the Church.
The Catholic school sector is often referred to as a `system'. The term `system' can be applied to all Catholic schools in a general way, in that they are all established by the Catholic church. However, within this `system’ there are a number of quite distinct groupings or authorities.
Parish primary schools are the traditional base of Catholic education in each parish. During the 1900s, they were staffed and run largely by religious orders and under the care of the respective parish. Whilst there have been changes since the 1960s and 70s, toward a predominantly lay administration and staff, the ownership of the school remains generally with the parish.
Management of the school, its facilities and curriculum varies from diocese to diocese. However, payment of teachers and distribution of Government funds handled by the diocesan Catholic education office, are common to all dioceses. In that respect, diocesan primary schools are treated as a system. Therefore, with the understanding that there exists a large degree of autonomy nurtured by the parish, these schools are referred to as `systemic' schools in each Queensland diocese.
Religious Institute Schools / Colleges
Whilst religious orders were responsible for administering and staffing all of our schools at one stage, they did not always own the property on which the school facilities were built. Many of these belonged to parishes.
However, many colleges and the properties on which they are built have been, and continue to be, owned by the religious order which operates the school. Most of these colleges are secondary, although a number have a primary department attached.
Religious orders teach in any school regardless of ownership. They are restricted in the main by inadequate numbers; religious personnel are spread across many vocations including health care, pastoral work, administration, as well as education.
Secondary Colleges Systemic
In each diocese, the Catholic education office has a varying degree of responsibility and control over secondary colleges not owned by religious orders.