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NSW diocese looking towards updated schools administration

After five months of consultation with key stakeholders, a panel representing various sectors of education in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese has delivered a Review Report that recommends a restructuring of its Schools Office to help it deliver "21st century" services to the schools.

The key recommendations of the Review Panel are to "develop a clear focus on the core business of schooling and how this should be delivered in the 21st century" and to "restructure its organisation to focus on the delivery of services to schools and support learning and teaching at the school level".

The Diocese operates a system of schools that educates around 17,000 students in 56 schools.

The key question addressed by the review was 'How does the performance of the Catholic Schools Office add value to Catholic schooling in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle?'

The panel's mandate was also to identify future priorities for Catholic schooling in the Diocese.

The External Review Report, released by Professor Jennifer Nicol, Mr Greg Whitby, Fr Chris Toms and Mr Barry Leacy affirms the efforts and professionalism of CSO staff and makes several recommendations for action towards improvement in response to the findings.

The Review Panel also recommends that the CSO:

build a contemporary employment relations division within the CSO which understands, co-ordinates and supports the development of staff in each school community;
develop a collaborative strategic planning framework which involves CSO leadership and the leadership teams of all schools;
strengthen accountability and reporting mechanisms for all CSO operations; and
enhance cooperative relationships with all diocesan agencies in the provision of services to schools and the wider Church.

Commenting on the Review Panel's findings, Dr Wayne Tinsey, Director of Catholic Schools said that. "When the review was announced in May this year, Bishop Michael Malone expressed his hope that a thoughtful and honest appraisal of our CSO would lead to a healthy realignment of its service to the diocesan community. I believe that this has happened. Our schools, parishes and families have spoken strongly and we now have clear direction and a solid platform for the future".

Results of Catholic Schools Office Review Announced (Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle 28/10/04)

Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

29 Oct 2004