for All Learners
Horizons of Hope: Leadership in a Catholic School, which complements the Horizons of Hope education framework, defines the depth and breadth of leadership in Catholic schools.
This Foundation Statement recognises the critical role of school leaders as educational, organisational, faith and community leaders.
Completed in 2019, Horizons of Hope: Leadership in a Catholic School defines the unique expectations of Catholic school leaders, and seeks to inspire and engage our current and future leaders in a process of capability-building.
We are committed to that process through To Serve and Lead, Catholic Education Melbourne’s Strategic Plan 2015–2019, which outlines two future directions related to developing and building capability in our school leadership:
2.2 Improved school leadership capability and teacher professional practice
a) Implement existing programs and develop new initiatives deriving from the Leadership Learning Plan to enhance school leadership capability.
b) Develop and implement a schools workforce strategy in collaboration with schools to support evidence-based planning for differentiated professional learning programs.
3.1 High-performing leaders across Catholic Education Melbourne
a) Develop and implement a Catholic Education Melbourne leadership and workforce strategy to strengthen our capability to better serve and lead schools.
To meet this commitment, in 2019 the Leadership Development team focused on improving principal wellbeing, supporting school leaders aspiring to principalship, improving teacher quality through the Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher Certification Program and supporting women in school leadership roles.
Principal Wellbeing Framework
Principals have significant responsibilities and accountabilities for the faith development, educational and organisational performance, and community engagement of their schools.
These responsibilities and accountabilities are complex and the Leadership Development team supported principals by developing tools for sustaining their wellbeing.
The first phase of the Principal Wellbeing Framework was delivered in 2019 to provide a proactive, integrated and holistic approach to enhancing principal wellbeing. Consultation sessions were held throughout the year to gather initial feedback from principals to inform the next steps in the process.
A second consultation phase is planned for 2020 to incorporate emerging needs, best practice and the voice of principals within the Catholic system.
The framework is underpinned by a strong research base and seeks to address key challenges experienced by principals as identified by comprehensive research, including the Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing survey and a commissioned report completed by Nous Group.
Aspiring to Principalship Program
In 2019, Catholic Education Melbourne worked in partnership with Atkinson Consulting to facilitate the Aspiring to Principalship Program.
The program comprised a series of workshops designed specifically to support the ongoing leadership development of aspirant principals in Catholic education. Aims of the program included:
- building an understanding of Catholic Education Melbourne’s Horizons of Hope: Leadership in a Catholic School and the key leadership capabilities embedded in the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Australian Professional Standard for Principals
- maximising a range of leadership styles to positively impact on schools’ performance and development work culture
- developing longer term, pragmatic action plans relevant to each participant’s school context
- using on-the-job experience to track and monitor improvement
- conducting a confidential 360° feedback survey.
Participants in this program included 24 aspirant principals – 18 from primary schools and six from secondary schools across the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
The Leadership Development team also commenced designing a phased approach to support school leaders in their formation, learning and wellbeing. The Pathway to Principalship Program (to be launched in 2020) will give teaching professionals targeted support as they progress through their career – from the earliest stage of their leadership to applying for principalship in a Catholic school.
Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher Certification Program
The Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (HALT) Certification Program pilot was launched in 2019 as a quality teaching initiative, recognising that exemplary teachers make an important contribution to quality teaching and leadership in schools. Catholic Education Melbourne is the first sector within Victoria to introduce this certification.
HALT certification contributes to an improvement in teacher quality by focusing on self-reflection and evidence of impact, and by providing external feedback to teachers on their professional practice.
Nationally recognised with the support of the AITSL, certification has been identified as delivering the following benefits to our teachers and schools:
- high-quality teaching that is recognised and valued
- promotion of reflection and evidence-informed teaching practices
- development of a professional growth culture
- enhancement of teacher effectiveness within and across schools through collaboration and mentoring
- support for career progression and alternative leadership opportunities
- strengthening of the leadership capabilities of teachers with a focus on instructional leadership
- creation of a high-quality professional learning opportunity.
School leaders and teachers have responded positively to the launch of the certification. To enable certification to begin in 2020, 48 leaders completed the rigorous professional learning required to be assessors. By the end of 2019, there were 50 expressions of interest from teachers to complete the applicant workshops as part of certification.
Women in leadership
Catholic Education Melbourne is committed to promoting and supporting women in leadership.
In 2019, Catholic Education Melbourne engaged the services of the National Excellence in School Leadership Institute (NESLI) to facilitate the Women’s Advanced Leadership and Women’s Middle Leadership programs in 2020.
The Women’s Advanced Leadership Program focuses on the interpersonal and behavioural dynamics associated with a senior leadership position. The program is customised to guide participants in building their capability to lead highly effective school communities.
A diverse range of learning methodologies is used in recognition of the diversity of learners and their school-based environments, which includes expert guidance, peer collaboration, self-analysis, experiential exercises and real-world applications of theory.
Middle leaders have a vital role to play in ensuring a harmonious connection between learning and faith, and connecting school leadership with learning. In recognition of this, the Women’s Middle Leadership Program aims to build capacity in leaders to take the step from self-managing to managing others, and to build more inclusive school communities.
Both of these programs align with a research project commissioned by Catholic Education Melbourne, to be conducted in 2020, to inform future directions in relation to female leaders in Catholic education.