Catholic Education Systems and Structures
Catholic education acts as a system of inter-connecting and inter-relating authorities and networks which includes the Pope, the Diocesan Bishop, Parish Priests, parishes, religious institutes and schools. Catholic life and organisation is fluid and dynamic with the principles of collegiality and subsidiarity informing and forming structures and relationships.
Catholic schools are supported and encouraged by a number of other organisations and networks, particularly at the Diocesan level. All Catholic schools are established under the authority of the Bishop of their Diocese. The Diocese, often referred as to being the “local church”, is the main organisational unit of the Church with each Bishop being primarily responsible for its religious education and pastoral needs. The major support for schools is therefore at the Diocesan level, through the Diocesan Education Council (DEC) which is a committee of the Bishop and its operational arm, the Townsville Catholic Education Office (TCEO). Within the Townsville Diocese, the focus of Catholic education as a ‘system’ is the Townsville Catholic Education Office for all primary schools, Prep to Year 12 schools and Diocesan secondary schools. The Executive Director is responsible for the school and is the employer of staff in each school. Appendix C lists the schools across the Diocese.
In 2013, the Council of Priests and TCEO prepared a document to enhance positive and collaborative relationships within the Diocese amongst all involved in parish ministry and the educational ministry of systemic Catholic schools. The document provides recommended practice to assist in the development of these important relationships.
Across Queensland and Australia, Dioceses and religious institutes also work together where appropriate to support schools on wider issues such as compliance with Australian and State government requirements. This co-operation includes the Queensland Catholic Education Commission (QCEC) representing the Dioceses of Brisbane, Townsville, Toowoomba, Cairns and Rockhampton, and all religious Institute schools and systems. At a national level, the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) represents the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC).
Blue: Public Juridical Persons
# Edmund Rice Education Australia and Mercy Partners have governance responsibility for St Patrick's College (Mercy) and Ignatius Park College (EREA). In matters relating to faith and religious education, schools operated by other PJP’s are accountable to the diocesan bishop; this is usually delegated to the Catholic Education Office who hold this same delegation for faith and religious education in other schools in the Diocese.
Green: Positions held by individual people
< >The Parish Priest is the spiritual leader of the school, and parish primary schools are located within the parish as a public juridical person.
Orange: Diocesan structures
** Structure required in every diocese by Canon Law Brown: TCEO structures
Two public juridical persons, Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and Mercy Partners are responsible for other secondary schools operating in the Townsville Diocese. Each of these authorities appoints a Principal to assist in leading, developing and managing their schools.