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This section deals with the requirements for staff positions specific to state integrated schools. These requirements apply to appointments as well as the requirements that state schools are obliged to observe (such as the State Sector Act, Education and Training Act, Employment Relations Act, Human Rights Act, etc.).
Board Responsibilities For Staff Appointments
The Board of Trustees is responsible for appointing all staff, whether teaching or non-teaching. The Board may delegate responsibility for selection to the Principal or an appointment committee.
Board Appointment Policy
Board policy should cover the appointments process, the procedure for making appointments, delegations for specific powers, the selection criteria, and so on, in the same way as any state school. However, there are additional requirements for appointments to state-integrated Catholic Schools; in particular, those relating to the criteria that uphold the school’s Catholic Character. These requirements are mandated by Schedule 6 of the Education and Training Act, and by the school’s own Integration Agreement between its Proprietor and the Crown, which may include requirements that are specific to the particular school.
Delegations To Appoint Staff
The appointments policy for each school should specify whether or not the authority to appoint staff has been delegated and if so the person/s to whom that authority is given, i.e. the Principal or an appointment committee. The Education and Training Act, Schedule 6, Cl 46 (2) requires that any committee set up by a Board which has the power to appoint teachers or recommend the appointment of teachers must contain at least one of the Proprietor Appointees on the Board – even if the only other member is the Principal. This is a legal requirement. All appointments must be ratified at a full Board of Trustees meeting.
Much can be delegated if the appointment policy sets out clearly how appointments are to be managed, what the requirements are, and the precise nature of the delegations for decision making.
Good practice guidelines are available from the New Zealand School Trustees Association.
Delegation to appoint to senior teaching positions
The Board’s policy determines which positions are senior. The appointments committee shortlists, interviews and appoints directly, or recommends an appointment to the Board for approval. Normally the Board will accept the recommendation. It may, however, refuse the recommendation and either refer the appointment back to the committee for another recommendation, resolve to re-advertise the position, or itself appoint some other applicant it considers more suitable.
Delegation to appoint to other teaching positions
For other permanent and long-term relieving teaching positions, it is usual for the appointments committee or the principal (together with a Proprietor’s appointee to the Board, in the case of tagged positions) to conduct inquiries and interviews, make the appointment and report it to the Board.
Delegation to appoint short-term relieving and day-relief teachers
The principal is empowered to appoint short-term relieving staff and reports the appointment to the Board.
Delegation to appoint non-teaching staff
The principal is empowered to appoint non-teaching staff and reports the appointments to the Board.
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Special Character Positions (Sch 6, Clause 47 and 50)
When a vacancy occurs the Board of Trustees must establish whether the position has a Special Character tag or a non Special Character one. There are two categories of “tagged” position.
Clause 47 positions: These positions require the applicant to be willing and able to take part in religious instruction appropriate to the Special Character of the school.
Clause 50 position: This position requires the applicant to be capable of maintaining programmes and activities that reflect the Catholic Special Character. It is not a condition of appointment that the applicant must be Catholic.
Before a Board makes an appointment to a special character tagged position,
- it is required by the legislation to consult the Proprietor and,
- may consider for appointment only those applicants who have been declared acceptable by the Proprietor.
Requirements of Clause 47 And 50 Positions
A teacher in a special character tagged position represents the Catholic community and is expected to be actively involved in building the Catholic Character of the school. In a primary school (but not always in a secondary school) this will probably include teaching Religious Education and will include supporting Catholic Character activities, helping in the preparation of liturgies or similar activities, assisting with staff development in the area of Catholic Character and will often include being part of the school’s Catholic Character Committee. (See further examples of the requirements for special character tagged positions.)
Expectations for staff of a Catholic school
Not all employees of a Catholic school have to be Catholic. However, every teacher (and every member of staff) is obliged to uphold and support the Catholic Character in all they do and must do nothing to damage or undermine it. This requirement applies to both staff members’ professional activities and their lives outside the school.
The Board needs to develop a policy to ensure that each teacher or staff member has a clear understanding of what they undertake when they accept a position at a Catholic school. Candidates can be asked if they are prepared to actively support the specific values that a Catholic School stands for, both in their teaching and in the behaviour they model. The Expectations of Staff Factsheet describes the expectations for staff of a Catholic school.
It is strongly recommended that this Factsheet is included in the application pack, and that the Board require candidates to sign this document to show that they have read it and understand what is expected of them. This may be done when the offer of employment is accepted, and the signed document may then be filed with the appointee’s records.
The Board’s policy document needs to specify what a special character tagged position requires in relation to Catholic Character.
Requirements of Special Character Positions (Cl 47 and 50)
A teacher in a tagged position represents the Catholic community and is expected to be actively involved in building the Catholic Character of the school. In a primary school (but not always in a secondary school) this will probably include teaching Religious Education and will include supporting Catholic Character activities, helping in the preparation of liturgies or similar activities, assisting with staff development in the area of Catholic Character and will often include being part of the school’s Catholic Character Committee. (See further examples of the requirements for tagged positions in the Resources section below.)
Requirements of Special Character (Cl 50) positions
A Cl 50 position (normally that of deputy principal) requires “particular capabilities on the part of the teacher holding it”, as prescribed by the school’s Integration Agreement. Therefore the requirements of the Integration Agreement of each school must be read alongside the requirements of Sch 6, Cl 50 of the Education and Training Act. Note that the Cl 50 tag is worded differently in primary and in secondary school Integration Agreements.
Deputy Principal (Cl 50 position)
Requirements of the position in primary schools
A primary school Integration Agreement normally specifies for the deputy principal that “capabilities to maintain programmes and activities that reflect the special character of the school shall be a condition of appointment”. This implies that the successful applicant needs to have a good understanding of the special character of the school, but does not necessarily have to be a Catholic. The Board cannot appoint an applicant who in the Board’s view fails to meet this requirement or is unwilling to fulfill it. The appointee must meet this requirement, not merely have the potential to do so.
If a primary school Integration Agreement specifies that the deputy principal or assistant principal have responsibility for supervising junior classes, the appointment will be tagged as a Cl 47 position, requiring “willingness and ability to take part in religious instruction” (Education and Training Act, Sch 6, Cl 47 (d)).
Requirements of the position in secondary schools
A secondary school Integration Agreement normally specifies for the deputy principal that “capabilities to assist in planning and organising the courses and programmes at the school to ensure they reflect the special character of the school shall be a condition of appointment”.
The Integration Agreement normally requires that the person appointed be able to assist in planning and organising the school’s courses and programmes so that they reflect the special character. This implies that the successful applicant needs to have a good understanding of the special character of the school. The Board cannot appoint any applicant who in the Board’s view fails to meet these requirements or is unwilling to fulfill them.
This position must be advertised with the appropriate Clause 50 tag. The deputy principal position cannot legally be tagged as both Clause 47 and Clause 50. If the school has two or more deputy principals, the Integration Agreement requires one deputy principal position to carry the Clause 50 tag.
Assistant principal (primary)
In some cases this may be a Clause 50 position.
A primary school Integration Agreement may require the position of assistant principal of a primary school to be tagged so that it requires “Capabilities to maintain programmes and activities that reflect the special character of the school shall be a condition of appointment” if the position has responsibility for supervising senior classes at that school (Education and Training Act, Sch 6, Cl 50 (2)). It must in that case be advertised as a Cl 50 position.
Special Character Position Form
Applicants for tagged positions are required to fill in a special character position form which is to accompany their application form. The special character position form asks the applicant to specify qualifications and experience related to Catholic Special Character and to nominate three character referees who may be consulted by the Proprietor’s Agent.
By law, the Board of Trustees of a primary school is legally bound to appoint only from a list of applicants acceptable to the Proprietor of the school acting in its statutory role. Special character position forms for all applicants are to be sent to the Catholic Schools’ Diocesan Office. Immediately after the referees have been consulted the Diocesan Office will meet to determine which applicants are acceptable in terms of Special Character. The Board of Trustees will be advised by official written confirmation of the outcome of the meeting regarding the acceptability of the applicants. This information is confidential to the Board of Trustees and should not be conveyed to the applicant.
For secondary school positions acceptability is established by the appointments committee which must include a Proprietor’s Appointee. It is the NZ Catholic Bishops strong recommendation that secondary school boards use the expertise provided by the Diocesan Office to determine acceptability and that role can be delegate to the office if the Board of Trustees agrees.
Once acceptability has been established, the Board of Trustees considers the information on the special character form together with the application in order to assess an applicant’s suitability for the position.
The Education and Training Act and the Integration Agreement for each school require certain wording related to conditions of appointment in advertisements for Special Character positions. See the section on Advertising for Special Character (Tagged) Positions.
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Process For Establishing Acceptability and Suitability
By law, the Board of Trustees of a primary school is legally bound to appoint only from a list of candidates acceptable to the Proprietor for appointment to special character positions (Cl 47 or Cl 50). Special character position forms for all applicants are to be sent to the Catholic Schools’ Diocesan Office for shortlisting. The Board may only consider those applicants who have been declared acceptable by the Proprietor for the position.
The Board then decides which of the acceptable applicants is the most suitable for the position, giving strong consideration to religious qualifications and experience.
When applications close, the principal sends the completed Cl47 or Cl 50 forms together with any other information provided by applicants that is relevant to the special character requirements of the advertisement to the Diocesan Education Office, which has guidelines on what constitutes acceptability under the special character provisions that outline the legal responsibility for the special character of the school.
The Diocesan Education Office consults the referees nominated by the applicants and asks for a confidential report (preferably be writing for the positions of DRS, deputy principal and principal). The director of the Diocesan Office, acting as the Proprietor’s agent, then reports back to the Board giving the names of the applicants who the Proprietor considers are acceptable for appointment.
The Proprietor does not have a right to determine the suitability of the applicants – that is the responsibility of the Board. However, any of the Proprietor’s appointees on the Board (including at a secondary school) may seek the Proprietor’s opinion of the suitability of any of the applicants. The Board may take this opinion into account when deciding the appointment.
In secondary schools, establishing acceptability is the responsibility of the Board or those delegated by the Board to make appointments. This must include at least one Proprietor’s appointee. It is the NZ Catholic Bishops strong recommendation that secondary school boards use the expertise provided by the Diocesan Office to determine acceptability and that role can be delegate to the office if the Board of Trustees agrees. (For details of what constitutes acceptability, see Clarifications for Catholic Schools Factsheet.)
Board’s Role in Establishing Suitability For Appointment
The Board shortlists the acceptable applicants, conducts interviews, consults educational referees and appoints the most suitable applicant. The appointment must conform to the Board’s appointment policy, to section 77J(4) of the State Sector Act, and to the relevant employment contract. If no applicant comes up to the standards required by the Board, the position should be re-advertised.
Application packs for special character positions should include a Cl 47 Form (a Cl 50 Form for a deputy principal and for a primary school assistant principal, if applicable). These forms, prepared by the diocesan offices, require applicants to specify their qualifications for a special character tagged position and to provide special character referees.
The special character position Cl 47 and Cl 50 forms are available from the Diocesan Education Office and can be downloaded from the NZCEO website and below Resource section.
Failure to Observe Prerequisites
If the Board or its appointments committee disregards the prerequisites for acceptability for a special character tagged position, it is in breach of the school’s Integration Agreement. It would then be possible for the Proprietor, any disaffected Board member, another applicant for the position, or the Minister of Education (as party to the Integration Agreement) to apply to the courts for a review of the appointment.
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Advertising for Tagged Positions
The Education and Training Act and the Integration Agreement for each school require certain wording related to conditions of appointment in advertisements for Special Character positions.
The State Sector Act 1988 requires that all permanent and long-term relieving vacancies must be advertised in such a way that all suitably qualified people can apply. Because of this requirement, teaching vacancies are advertised nationally in the Education Gazette. This does not exclude additional advertising.
Advertising tagged positions in the Education Gazette
The advertisement must satisfy all statutory requirements. Detailed information about the position is provided in the job description.
Advertising non-tagged positions.
This is not set out in legislation however Boards could include in advertisements that the successful applicant for a non tagged position will accept the condition to support, uphold and be positively involved in the special character of the school.
The advertisement must state that the school is a Catholic school. It must also state the organisation of the school – for example, a girls’ school for new entrants to Year 6. The school’s name is to be preceded by (I) for Integrated.
The minimum that can satisfy the “willingness and ability” tag in Sch 6, Cl 47 of the Act is:
Willingness and ability to participate in religious instruction appropriate to the special character of the school is a condition of appointment.
This exact wording of the Act must be used.
|For a secondary school deputy principal, the minimum that is usually required by the Integration Agreement is:
|Capabilities to assist in planning and organising the courses and programmes at the school to ensure they reflect the special character of the school shall be a condition of appointment.
|For a primary school deputy principal, the minimum usually is:
|Capabilities to maintain programmes and activities that reflect the special character of the school shall be a condition of appointment.
(Note that the particular Integration Agreement may require a Sch 6, Cl 47 rather than a Cl 50 tag.)
When the appointment is for a primary school assistant principal with responsibility for supervising senior classes, the Integration Agreement may require a Cl 47 tag.
As well as the need for the Cl 47 tag, appointments to DRS and principal positions have extra requirements:
- Integration Agreements usually require the DRS to “give guidance and provide effective leadership in religious education and observances throughout the school”. The Integration Agreement does not state that these words must be in the advertisement; they must, however, be contained in the job description.
- The requirement for the principal’s position is similar – the wording “The principal shall accept and recognise a responsibility to maintain and preserve the special character of the school” does not have to be stated in the advertisement, but must be contained in the job description.
Failure to observe advertising requirements for tagged positions
If the advertisement of any Sch 6, Cl 47 or Cl 50 position is not worded correctly, any appointment that is made could result in a legal challenge. If these guidelines are not followed, the Proprietor of the school could also seek a declaratory judgement in the High Court. On a few occasions in recent years an appointment has been declared null and void because Boards have not followed the legal process in appointing staff to tagged positions.
The Proprietors’ office (the Diocesan Catholic Education Office) can help word advertisements and prepare job descriptions and other documents relating to appointments. Its staff are also willing to assist a Board or its appointments committee as advisers while senior appointments are being made.
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Appointment of Staff
Board responsibilities for appointments
The special-character staffing provisions of the Integration Agreement and Schedule 6 of the Education and Training Act are fundamental to, and essential for, maintaining the Catholic Character of the school. The key responsibilities of the Board in relation to staff appointments are highlighted below:
- The Board’s appointments policy must ensure that the advertising of special character tagged positions (both Cl 47 and Cl 50), the selection criteria for tagged positions, and the resulting letters offering employment conform strictly to the requirements of the Integration Agreement, of Schedule 6 of the Education and Training Act, and the requirements of the Proprietor.
- The Board must ensure that the correct number and type of teaching positions are tagged, as given in the school’s Integration Agreement, and that appointments to tagged positions are recorded in a formal register.
- The Board must ensure that the job descriptions of the principal and the DRS include leadership in the Catholic Character of the school and engagement with the wider Catholic faith community.
- The Board will maintain confidence in its appointments by ensuring that its delegations for the appointment of staff are appropriate to the circumstances of the particular school.
- The Board’s appointments policy must include the following requirements:
- the appointment committee must include at least one Proprietor’s appointee
- the appointment process for all tagged positions must determine acceptability (first, before considering the applicant’s overall suitability for the position (in primary schools, acceptability is determined by the Proprietor)
- all staff are required to uphold the school’s Catholic Character.
It is recommended that as part of their regular governance review cycle Boards review how they carry out these key responsibilities.
Some appointment requirements are complex and the consequences of non-compliance can be severe. Boards are advised to consult the Diocesan Office or NZCEO for further clarification, or for general guidance and assistance.
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Conditions of Appointment to Special Character Positions (Cl 47)
It is the policy of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (October 2011) that the person holding a Sch 6, Cl 47 position “must be a baptised Catholic, active in a Catholic parish or Catholic Eucharistic community, and who is an authentic witness and role model for Catholic students”.
Only a committed Catholic can fulfil the requirement to be willing and able to take part in religious instruction appropriate to the special character of the school. Any exception to this requirement can be made only with the prior approval of the Bishop. (Note that Cl 50 appointees do not have to be Catholic and are not obliged to take part in religious instruction.)
Teachers in Special character (Cl 47) positions are not appointed simply to teach Religious Education, although this is the specialist task of some teachers holding these positions. They are appointed to contribute to the religious instruction of the students. The term ‘religious instruction’ in the Education and Training Act was chosen with care. It continues to be useful because it implies far more than Religious Education – it includes the school’s Catholic Character, all of which is designed to contribute to the religious instruction of the students. (See Clarifications for Catholic Schools Factsheet for more information.)
Special character (Cl 47) positions provide the legal safeguard, ensuring that the school can employ a sufficient number of Catholic teachers who understand and live by the special character so that the school is truly a Catholic community. Teachers create this community by everything they say and do. The principal and DRS need the support of other Catholic teachers in order to sustain the Catholic community of the school.
For the more senior Special character (Cl 47) tagged positions, especially that of principal, appointees are expected to be involved in their parish and have carried out some role within the Church community. (For the qualities sought, refer to “What is acceptability” in the Factsheet.)
Requirement to teach Religious Education
Schedule 6, Cl 49 of the Education and Training Act states that no teacher can be required to teach Religious Education unless the advertisement under which the teacher was appointed states that “a willingness and ability to take part in religious instruction appropriate to the special character of the school is a condition of appointment”.
Some Proprietors’ policy is that if a principal wishes to assign to a Religious Education class a teacher who does not hold a special character tagged position, the principal is required to contact the Diocesan Education Office for written approval to do so, supplying adequate details about the teacher’s abilities and suitability to teach Religious Education classes. However, a teacher who does not hold a Cl 47 position cannot be required to teach Religious Education unless they choose to do so.
Qualifications and certification
Certification is important for Religious Education teachers as it recognises appropriate study and experience of teaching the nationally mandated programme of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference. When making appointments particularly to tagged positions, Boards should take into account the RE qualifications and the level of certification (if any) of the various applicants.
See the Handbook for Certification, published by the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference and available from diocesan Religious Education offices or from NCRS.
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The Number of Special Character Positions (Cl 47)
The Integration Agreement requires that the positions of the principal and the DRS, plus a certain number of other positions must be advertised with the Sch 6, Cl 47 wording, “a willingness and ability to take part in religious instruction appropriate to the special character of the school shall be a condition of appointment.” The Board has a legal obligation to appoint to the correct number of special character tagged Cl 47 positions, and must ensure that a list is kept of all teachers holding tagged positions. This is one of the items to be attested annually to the Proprietor.
In primary schools
In Catholic primary schools the number of Cl 47 positions (other than the principal and the DRS) is set by the Fourth Schedule of the school’s Supplementary Integration Agreement of November 2000 (clause 2a and 2b). The wording is the same for all primary schools – it gives the Proprietor some flexibility in determining the exact number, which should normally be 60% of the total staffing entitlement minus 2, rounded to the nearest whole number. (The minus 2 is to deduct the principal and the DRS from the total staffing entitlement.) It is the Proprietor’s right to determine or to vary the number of ‘other’ Cl 47 positions from this general formula.
The Board can also ask the Proprietor to vary the number of ‘other’ Cl 47 positions, based on the roll based total staffing of the school, should this be lower than the total staffing entitlement.
In secondary schools
Secondary school example would be as follows:
|Staffing entitlement at integration (excluding principal and DRS)
|The number of other tagged Cl 47 positions at integration
So the ratio at integration equals the number of tagged positions divided by number of staff entitlement (excluding principal and DRS).
|So the ratio is:
Formula for calculating current entitlement for other Cl 47 tagged positions:
Number of other tagged positions equals the ratio at integration times the current core staffing (excluding principal and DRS) as follows:
|Current core staffing (excluding principal and DRS) =
|Ratio of other Cl 47 positions
|Total tagged positions
There should be 14 Cl 47 positions in the school. (Note: The deputy principal position is part of the remaining 18.36 staff)
In secondary school agreements, the number of these other tagged Cl 47 positions was originally set at about 40% of what was then the staffing entitlement of the school, excluding the principal and DRS positions. Most Integration Agreements also determined a ratio to be used with the current core staffing entitlement to calculate the number of tagged positions if the staffing level changed.
To find how many of these other positions must be tagged, take the ratio from the Integration Agreement and multiply by the staffing entitlement (excluding the principal and the DRS). The result, rounded to the nearest whole number, is the number of these other tagged positions. For more information about calculating the number of tagged positions please contact your Manager for Education.
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Principal (Sch 6, Cl 47 Position)
The appointment of a principal is arguably the most important decision a Board has to make. The whole Board or alternatively the appointments committee (excluding the incumbent principal) shortlists the applicants, conducts interviews and inquiries, and recommends an appointment to the Board. It is helpful to have a person from the Diocesan Catholic Education Office and a current principal (a Catholic principal, if available) as advisers and to seek advice from NZSTA. It is important that anyone involved declares any potential conflict of interest.
The Integration Agreement requires that the appointee:
- be willing to take part in religious instruction
- be able to do so
- accept these requirements as a condition of appointment.
The Integration Agreement also requires the appointee to “accept and recognise a responsibility to maintain and preserve the special character of the school”. This implies that the Board must also be satisfied that the person selected accepts the responsibility to uphold the special character and recognises what that responsibility entails.
The Education and Training Act (Sch 6, Cl 52) requires the principal of a primary school (being a Cl 47 position) to be “acceptable” to the Proprietor in terms of the special character of the school. In secondary schools, acceptability is ultimately the Board’s responsibility. It is the initial test that all candidates must meet (see Process for establishing acceptability). The Board’s decision may be subject to judicial review if acceptability is not properly established.
If in the Board’s view an applicant fails to meet any of these requirements and/or is unwilling to fulfill them, then the Board cannot appoint that applicant. The Board must consult the referees to test that all the requirements are met and must record the evidence obtained.
The principal takes up an important religious and pastoral responsibility in the Catholic community. The person appointed must therefore be a fully committed and active Catholic, committed to Catholic religious practices and to leadership of Catholic education.
In this context, the phrase “take part in religious instruction” means taking part at the level of principal. This implies being willing and having the necessary professional RE qualifications (or be committed to attaining such RE qualifications) and personal qualities to:
- assume leadership of the religious aspects of the school
- provide leadership in specific dimensions of Catholic Character development
- be ultimately responsible to the Board for the religious programme of the school and for its religious observances
- take Religious Education classes whenever the organisation of the school requires
- be a suitable role model and Gospel witness for staff, students and parents
- assume an appropriate leadership role in school and parish liturgies or prayer services.
The “religious instruction” referred to is that which is “appropriate to the special character of the school”. The Integration Agreement notes that the religious instruction and observances are laid down by the Bishop of the diocese. (Refer also to Bishops letter sent to each secondary schools in 2013 outlining requirements.)
It is recommended that the principal possesses leadership-level qualification and certification in Religious Education (see Certification in Religious Education). If an appointee does not have this level of certification, the Board can request (or make it a condition of appointment) that the appointee studies to gain the qualification within an agreed timeframe and may offer to assist.
Director Of Religious Studies (Cl 47 Position)
In each primary school that has five or more teachers, there must be a position designated as Director of Religious Studies. In primary schools with fewer than five teachers, the Board may designate a position as DRS.
The staffing schedules of Integration Agreements for primary schools (usually the fourth schedule) include the following provisions:
- If the staffing entitlement of the school is fewer than five teachers, the Board may appoint a DRS and may allocate one or more management units to the position.
- If the staffing entitlement is five or more teachers but fewer than eight, the Board must appoint a DRS and may allocate one or more management units to the position.
- If the staffing entitlement is eight or more teachers, the Board must appoint a DRS and must allocate one or more management units to the position.
The DRS position in secondary schools
The Integration Agreement of every Catholic secondary school requires the school to have a DRS position as a position of responsibility. The DRS is the leader of a key department or faculty in the school and has school-wide responsibilities. The Bishops expect this position to be suitably recognised with management units and be included in senior management if possible.
Some schools have a HOD Religious Studies, as well as a DRS; in this case both would be Cl 47 positions.
Requirements of the DRS position
The school’s integration agreement requires that the appointee:
- be willing to take part in religious instruction appropriate to the special character of the school
- be able to do so
- accept these requirements as conditions of appointment
- give guidance and provide effective leadership in religious instruction and observances throughout the school
- undertake such teaching duties as may be required by the principal.
The Board cannot appoint any applicant who in the Board’s view fails to meet any of these requirements or is unwilling to fulfill them. The Board should have evidence of the applicant’s formation and level of RE qualification and certification.
The DRS is responsible to the principal for the Religious Education curriculum. The DRS is obliged to abide by the policies set out by the Board in accordance with the goals of the religious curriculum and the objectives of the school plan.
Only a committed and active Catholic in good standing who has a sound knowledge of the curriculum prescribed by the Bishop of the diocese, and who has demonstrated teaching skills in Religious Education and the ability to lead a teaching team, should be appointed to this position.
The advertisement for the position must include (in addition to the Cl 47 wording) that the appointee has to “give guidance and provide effective leadership in Religious Education and observances throughout the school”, as stated in the school’s Integration Agreement.
Guidance Counsellor (May Or May Not Be Cl 47 Position)
The position of guidance counsellor is a sensitive one, particularly with regard to aspects of the school’s Catholic character because the counsellor will, among other responsibilities, deal with students who have special needs and personal problems. Some of these personal problems and special needs will have a religious and/or moral dimension.
If the position is not tagged as Cl 47, the Board must ensure not only that the person appointed is a competent counsellor but also that he or she is suitable for a Catholic school. The guidance counsellor must give advice and guidance in accordance with the principles of Catholic morality and follow the guidelines published by the Bishops of New Zealand.
The guidance counsellor is required to have a clear understanding and appreciation of:
- the Catholic Character of the school
- the moral teaching of the Catholic Church
- the support that the Church can give to those coping with such problems as guilt, pregnancy, bereavement, etc.
- the support available from various Church agencies
- the possible sensitivity of parents with strict religious ideals.
A Proprietor’s appointee should be on the appointment committee for this position.
The guidance counsellor cannot leave any student client with the impression that actions contrary to the Church’s moral teaching are approved by the school. The counsellor must work to the Board’s guidelines for the health services that a counsellor may deliver. If the Board does not have such guidelines, it can contact the Diocesan Catholic Education Office for assistance in establishing them.
Appointment of Teachers
When determining which applicant is best suited to a particular teaching position, the Board must balance the following requirements:
- the Board’s obligation to appoint teachers so that the school will reflect the Catholic Character in its teaching and conduct
- the need to have competent teachers to fulfil the educational objectives of the school and provide for the special needs of the students
- the need to be just and equitable to all who wish to apply for the position
- the gender and ethnic balance of the staff as well as the proportion of Catholic teachers to teachers of other faiths and beliefs already in the school.
The Board needs to ensure that it appoints teachers who can contribute actively to the school’s special character, or at least are sympathetic to the school’s objectives, as set out in the school charter or elsewhere.
Appointing to special character (tagged) positions internally
Special character tagged positions may be filled internally and schools sometimes appoint a person to an non-tagged position and later decide that person could hold a tagged position. In this situation the position must be re-advertised with the appropriate tag. It can be advertised as a regraded or redesignated position, with no actual vacancy. Such a position can be advertised nationally in the Education Gazette, or simply advertised within the school. All teaching staff need to be alerted to the availability of the tagged position, and the normal processes of assessing acceptability (based on information in the Special Character Form) must be followed.
The diocesan office (or the appointments committee, in the case of a secondary school) then determines acceptability in the usual way and after that the principal (or the Board committee in the case of a senior appointment) decides who is the most suitable applicant for the position. The appointment is announced to the staff in due course.
Even when there is only one potential applicant the process of filling in the Cl 47 form and determining acceptability still needs to be gone through. Whichever method is used, it is important to do the paperwork and file it appropriately.
Offers of Appointment
Letters of appointment need special care to ensure that all the requirements are correctly stated.
Templates of appointment letters and associated documents are available on the NZCEO website.
These templates are kept up to date. They should be used to ensure that appointments are legal.
Ongoing Responsibility of The Board
The Board’s responsibilities in relation to its employees continue after their appointment. The Board must stand by the terms of the employment contracts or agreements covering its employees. It should encourage employees to improve their skills and professional status, and provide opportunities for them to do so. In fact, Catholic teaching demands that the Board of a Catholic school be a good employer and a sound model of industrial relations.
Appraisal of staff performance
The Board should ensure that the job description for all staff in non-tagged positions, including non-teaching staff, includes some responsibility to actively support the Catholic Character culture of the school. The annual appraisal process should include a performance indicator that focuses on some dimension of the Catholic Character of the school.