The development and current principals' perceptions and expectations of the administration of a large Catholic education system

  • Geoffery Joy

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    This study traces the development of the system of Catholic systemic schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney from early colonial times to the present. and analyses the perceptions and expectations that a sample of secondary school principals in the System had of the systems level administration in 1985. The development of Catholic schools in the penal colony of New South Wales was extremely slow. The first Catholic school was opened in 1817, and from 1833 to the ‘free, secular, and compulsory’ education act in New South Wales in 1880, denominational schools received some government grants. When ‘state-aid’ was withdrawn in 1880, the wonder of education history in Australia was that a separate Catholic school ‘system’ emerged. This was brought about in large measure by the ability of the Bishops and Clergy to activate the Catholic community, which had been generally apathetic religiously and educationally. and by their recruiting teachers who were members of Religious Congregations both from abroad and locally. The Religious carried the Catholic Schools ‘system’ in Sydney for some seventy-five years (1880-1955). However, the recruiting of Religious teachers declined from the 1950s. This. together with rapid increases in school population, widening of the curriculum, decreased class sizes and lighter teaching loads brought on a crisis of survival for the Catholic schools. It was averted by the (vi) reintroduction of ‘State-Aid’ and the recruiting and training of lay teachers. Following the Karmel Report of 1973, Commonwealth Government grants and programs grew many fold. In order to cope with the new organisational complexities, including both financial .and educational accountability requirements of the government, many of the Catholic schools, which had previously been organised on an individual parish or Religious Congregation basis, joined together to form systems. These Catholic Education Office systems (or CEO systems) rapidly developed administrative bureaucracies. The Sydney CEO System is the largest in Australia with nearly 6000 teachers and over 110,000 pupils. In this process of building an organisational system, the vital role of the school principal is changing. This study examines the responses of twenty-four secondary school principals, in the interview situation, to questions on their perceptions and expectations of the systems level administration. The researcher has analysed the data in the light of some of the literature on motivation theory and theories about complex organisations and has suggested some facets of the systems level administration that need to be addressed if the system is to grow in effectiveness.
    Date of Award1986
    Original languageEnglish

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