Catholic Identity…what is it? Well at St James Nar Nar Goon we have been exploring this very important aspect of our Catholic School. To help us understand what Catholic Identity is, our school undertook the challenge of surveying all stakeholders (parents, teachers and students) to complete a questionnaire about what and how Catholic identity is pursued at our school.
St James school achieved a very high rate of survey completion from stakeholders. So much so that the Leuven University in Belgium could complete a very accurate data set for our small school. This achievement, according to the Leuven University was exceptional. In fact, we are one of the top schools in the world to have achieved this high rate of completion for all stakeholders!! As a result of this, the Leuven University sent one of their data experts, Jan, to our school to look around and ask questions of the staff, students and parents.
The visitor from Leuven University incorporated a tour around the school, a visit to all classrooms, a religious lesson in the grade 5/6 room and interviews with all staff members and some parents of the school. The children in grade 6 were interviewed by Jan and three CEO staff. The children were asked many different questions about the teaching of Religious Education at St James and what makes St James a catholic school to them. We learned important information from students to let us know what they know and also what they want to know for their future. Jan was able to feedback to our school that we have a small but ideal country setting with a community of people who are genuinely happy with their Catholic school and the identity shows us that we are a welcoming community where the students learn about their faith in a contemporary way.
What does this mean? Well, we are able to decipher what our Catholic Identity looks like to our community, where we can improve our gospel values, what our parents and students think about our catholicity and what we want our Catholic Identity to look like in the future. Leuven University will be providing us with more details and ideas for us to work with next year. We are excited at St James to be paving the way to learn how and why Catholic Identity is important to us, and how we can keep Catholic Identity strong in our young people ready for the future.