Details of Thesis

Title How is Religious Leadership Understood and Practised by Principals in Catholic Secondary Schools in South Australia?
Author McEvoy, Francis Joseph
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2006
Abstract This thesis explores the religious dimension of the role of the principal in the Catholic Secondary Schools of South Australia. The study is set in the context of a complex and changing environment. Society is becoming increasingly secular, and religious values are on the wane. The role of the principal has become progressively more encumbered by government regulation and policy and an increased level of accountability for a wide range of school outcomes, many of these outside the core purposes of the school (Fullan, 2003). In Catholic schools, the numbers of the professed religious men and women, traditionally the backbone of those schools, has declined dramatically in the last two decades and lay persons have taken over from members of religious congregations as principals in most Catholic Secondary Schools in South Australia This represents a paradigm shift in leadership in the Catholic schools. It has resulted in an increased focus from within both the Church and the Catholic Education System on the essential Catholic nature of those schools, and the role of the Principal in nurturing and managing this. The study found that principals had a deep sense of the importance of this dimension of their role, but that they felt a real need for more support and formation, especially in the scriptural and theological aspects of leadership. Most felt pressured by the ‘normal’ routine of principalship, and were looking for ways to ‘make time’ for reflection in order to better ground their actions and decisions in the core values of the schools, the System and the Church. As a result of this research, a series of recommendations are offered to Church and System authorities, to principals and to those aspiring to be principals in the Catholic Secondary Schools in South Australia. These relate to professional practice in such areas as defining the nature of the Catholic schools, and recognizing their particular charisms; developing leadership succession strategies and preparation courses for aspiring leaders; exploring alternative approaches to the principal selection process, and developing a mentoring program and professional support networks.
Thesis 01front.pdf  108KB
02whole.pdf 1,175KB

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