The development process for Lighting The Way 2023+ was underpinned by four key principles.
For this strategic plan to inspire our people and drive real and lasting improvement for students, staff and school communities, it needed to be co-created, improvement focused, evidence based, and outward looking.
Listening with the ear of our heart
To ensure our strategy was co-created and outward looking, the development process began with a four-month listening phase in the first half of 2021.
First, we issued a survey to students, parents and carers, and school staff, inviting them to have their say on what they valued most about Catholic education, what could be improved, and what concerned them most about the future.
The major themes from the more than 2700 survey responses we received were further explored in 16 listening sessions, which were facilitated by principals, teachers and CEO staff and attended by 212 participants from schools across the diocese.
Through a range of other forums, we also engaged with and listened to the ideas of school and system leaders, partner agencies, and the clergy of our diocese.
Our strategic focus areas
The incredible stories, feedback and ideas shared by students, parents and carers, clergy and school staff were considered in light of our enduring mission, mandate and values, and resulted in five strategic focus areas for school and system improvement:
- Formation in the Catholic tradition
- Student learning and wellbeing
- Belonging in a connected community
- System support for the core work of teaching
- Ensuring Catholic schools continue to thrive
Towards the end of 2021, a cross-disciplinary team was established for each focus area, made up of experts from schools and the CEO, as well as representatives from the clergy, the Office of the Bishop and CatholicCare.
To deliver on our commitment to be improvement focused and evidence based, these teams undertook research, consultation and data analysis to validate the assumptions of each focus area. Then, drawing on the experience and expertise of the 51 team members and the many others they engaged, each group defined the improvement ambition for their focus area and the key results we expect to see.
In the first half of 2022, the work of the cross-disciplinary teams was reviewed and evaluated by a range of school and system leaders, as well as independent experts from outside our system.
An early version of the strategic plan was provided to principals and CEO leaders in mid-2022, six months before it was due to take effect, to ensure that every school could design their local plans with the system's strategic focus areas in mind.
The product of our 18-month development process is set out in this plan, which describes the improvement and growth we aim to deliver for our students, staff and school communities, and which will focus our collective energy, effort and investments in the coming years.