Supporting the Catholic identity and mission of the school is the most important responsibility of school advisory bodies such as boards, councils and parent associations. Working in conjunction with the principal and the parish priest, advisory bodies have a role to play in seeing that the school is not only faithful to its mission as a Catholic school but also flourishes in that role.

What guides our work?

The ecclesial nature of the catholic school is at the very heart of its identity. The fostering of this dimension should be the aim of all those who make up the educating community.

In its Guidelines for the Constitution of Catholic School Boards, the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) notes twelve 'general and binding principles for the governance of Catholic schools that should inform all our work.

Explore the principles

Quick Reflection: Click on each principle below and explore the questions:

  • What does each principle mean to you personally?
  • How is it reflected in your Catholic school community?
  • How is it or will it guide your work as an advisory body?

Download the individual principle disks.  These can be used at meetings to facilitate group discussion:   Principle Disks      

Explore further ...

Reflection Tool : Unpacking the Principles

Explore, Reflect, Respond

“It is from its Catholic identity that the school derives its original characteristics and its “structure” as a genuine instrument of the Church”.

The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium (1997)



Australian Catholic Schools

  • Why do Catholic schools exist?
  • What is distinctive about Catholic Schools?
  • What contribution do Catholic schools make?
Australian Catholic Schools: Why do we have them and what do they are aim to achieve?  NCEC Website

Catholic School Governance

In 2002 , the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) published “Catholic School Governance”. In speaking of “Catholic governance” - decision-making processes, lines of accountability and responsibility - the document assumes and implies that there are certain principles of Catholic teaching and practice that should infuse the governance of any Catholic institution.

NCEC Catholic School Governance Report (2002)

Reflection Tool

Unpacking the Principles

  • The Love of Christ

    The Love of Christ, which is the fundamental recognition that Catholic education is animated by and based upon the love of Christ for all people.

  • The Role of Parents

    The Role of Parents, as the primary educators of their children, in whose place ("in loco parentis") and with whose collaboration, Catholic schools fulfill their mission.

  • Faithfulness to the Mission of the Church

    Faithfulness to the Mission of the Church, which is the mission of the Christ, to preach the Good News, including fidelity to the teachings of the Church.

  • Church solidarity

    Church solidarity, which is the obligation of members and agencies of the Church to support other individuals and agencies of the Church in need, and to work for the good of the whole Church community.

  • Support for the common good

    Support for the common good, which is the general obligation on members of the Church not only to support the Church, its agencies and its members, but also to ensure that the work of the Church and its agencies contribute to the benefit of society as a whole

  • Embracing the poor

    Embracing the poor, which is the obligation on the Church community to continually assess its actions and policies to ensure that they empower the most disadvantaged and marginalized.

  • Educational Quality

    Educational Quality, which is the obligation upon all those in Catholic education to strive to provide the highest possible quality of education to those attending Catholic schools.

  • Participation

    Participation, which is the principle that powers and functions in any community are exercised, wherever possible, by the persons and bodies closest to and most accountable to those affected.

  • Inclusiveness

    Inclusiveness, which is the principle that Catholic education should be open to all those who wish to receive a Catholic education, and that all those engaged in Catholic education in whatever capacity will be welcomed and valued in the pursuit of the educational mission of the Church, to the extent that they support that mission.

  • Unity in Diversity

    Unity in Diversity, which is the recognition that the Holy Spirit inspires different communities in different ways, bestowing upon them diverse charisms, which provide inspiration for action, all for the same purpose of promoting the Kingdom.

  • Stewardship of resources

    Stewardship of resources, which is the obligation of all agencies of the Church to use financial and other resources responsibly, particularly with a view to ensuring the well-being of future generations.

  • Rule of Canon Law

    Rule of Canon Law, whereby every agency of the Church is constituted and operates in accordance with Canon Law.

SOURCE: NCECCatholic School Governance May 2002