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Melbourne CEO set for reorganisation

Some school services will be expanded and others reduced in the first sweeping restructure of Melbourne's Catholic education system for 71 years.

Many jobs will be reclassified and some made redundant in the overhaul, which will be announced today. Other staff have been reassigned and newly created positions will be advertised next Saturday.

The changes could also result in a reversal of the controversial move by former Melbourne Archbishop George Pell to shift control of religious education to the archbishop's office from the Catholic Education Office.

The office employs 330 staff, and is the fourth-largest education system in the country after the government systems of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

A comprehensive six-month review of its services to Melbourne's 390 Catholic schools commissioned by new director Susan Pascoe and Archbishop Denis Hart has resulted in 24 recommendations.

These include office staff undertaking school placements to ensure their credibility with teachers. The office will be overhauled and its focus changed from servicing teachers to being a support for principals and other school leaders.

Ms Pascoe told The Sunday Age that the office's change in direction was in keeping with Catholic social teaching that decision-making be made "as close as possible" to those affected by them.

"It makes far more sense for principals to be making decisions about the professional development of teachers in their school instead of us making assumptions about their needs," she said.

There would always be a leadership role for the office, and it would not "shirk" its responsibility in educational research and providing professional development around numeracy and literacy projects.

The office distributes government money to schools, and has traditionally offered advice and services to teachers.

It is not an employer of teachers, and has no authority over schools, except in ensuring their Catholic nature, and that guidelines for religious education are followed.

The Age

Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Melbourne)
New Director of schools takes charge (Kairos 9/2/03)

14 Jul 2003