Forums will take place during weeks two and three of Term 2 to unpack the Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) Statement of Mission and Working Together in Mission charter. Time will also be spent on the eleven sections of the Terms of Reference for School Advisory Councils issued by the MACS board for the purpose of supporting the work of the School Advisory Councils. This will involve examining how the Terms of Reference have been designed as a structure which each school will adapt to its local context.
Due to potential restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, these one-hour forums will be held online (via Zoom). Sessions will be conducted regionally and for interest groups to highlight the importance of working together to support the mission of the school. Face-to-face sessions may be scheduled later.
Structured to take into consideration the different needs of schools – where a board or council has operated for many years and other contexts where experience is limited – there will be three types of sessions:
- all primary schools
- all regional and diocesan colleges
- primary schools with no previous experience of running a council or board.
Available dates for registration are shown below.
While organised regionally, please choose a session convenient to you. Click on the link below to be taken to the Zoom page to register for the forum of your choice.
Primary schools (principals and parish priests):
- southern region – Tuesday 4 May at 12.30 pm for 1.00 pm Zoom start
- eastern region – Thursday 6 May at 11.00 am for 11.30 am Zoom start
- northern region – Friday 7 May at 11.00 am for 11.30 am Zoom start
- western region – Friday 7 May at 1.00 pm for 1.30 pm Zoom start
Primary schools (principals and parish priests) which have not had a School Advisory Council:
- all regions – Thursday 6 May at 1.30 pm for 2.00 pm Zoom start
Regional and diocesan colleges (principals and canonical administrators):
- all regions – Wednesday 5 May at 11.30 am for 12.00 pm Zoom start
Establishing a School Advisory Council
Consultation during the establishment of Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) affirmed that the School Advisory Council is a living expression of the principle of subsidiarity in action, and is informed by the theology and vision articulated in the Statement of Mission and Working Together in Mission charter. In this light, School Advisory Councils play such a crucial role in the governance framework of MACS that, by the end of 2021, every MACS school in the Archdiocese will have a functioning council.
The forums aim to articulate the important role that School Advisory Councils play by providing each school community with a critical space for parents and the wider parish to which the school belongs.
Parish priests and principals hold distinctive roles of leadership in their parish and school communities, and therefore it is essential that they work collaboratively to ensure that the relationship between parish and school is central to providing the religious leadership necessary for the success of the mission (Working Together in Mission, p. 1).
Discernment process for principals, parish priests and canonical administrators
A focus on the crucial role principals and priests (parish priests or canonical administrators) have in establishing and nurturing School Advisory Councils will be explored through engagement in a discernment process.
Prior to the forums, principals, parish priests and canonical administrators are encouraged to meet and work though, at a local level, the key issues in establishing a School Advisory Council as outlined in this list of conversation topics.
The discernment process will take into account the Terms of Reference for School Advisory Councils, which will replace constitutions of the previous school boards/councils in all MACS schools.
These discussions should consider issues such as bringing to a close the current school board and the transition to a School Advisory Council, as well as the impact this will have.