Certification is for all Teachers in Catholic Schools

Under the terms of the Private Schools' Conditional Integration Act 1975, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops have a particular responsibility for determining the Special Character of Catholic Schools. Bishops and other Proprietors also have a responsibility to ensure that this Catholic Special Character is maintained and enhanced. Certification is a key element in ensuring the maintenance and development of this Catholic Special Character in our schools.

Today, more than ever, opportunities exist for staff members to undertake professional development and to improve their qualifications. In many instances Proprietors and Boards of Trustees support continuous training and development by fully or part funding staff to gain and improve academic and professional qualifications in areas relating to Religious Education and Special Character.

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Conference (NZCBZ) emphasises the importance of the requirement of qualifications and experience in the areas of Catholic Special Character and Religious Education. Staff in Catholic schools, if they are to fulfil adequately their role, require qualifications over and above their other professional qualifications. Certification is official recognition of the many efforts being made, by school staff and by others, to support and maintain the Catholic Special Character of Schools.

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops expect that all staff achieve appropriate standards of knowledge and understanding. It is essential that Boards of Trustees and Principals give highest priority to professional development relating to Catholic Special Character. Particular attention must be given to the level of Certification when making appointments.

Certification recognises that all members of staff have a role to play in building and maintaining the Christian community dimension that is central to the Catholic Special Character of a school. Therefore, the Certification system applies to all members of staff regardless of their position, or their religious affiliation or stance.

The Certification system also takes into account the fact that in practice staff members will have varying degrees of responsibility for, or involvement with, the different elements that contribute to Catholic Special Character. Thus while a secondary school teacher of Physics only, for example, may legitimately be expected to attain an understanding of what constitutes Catholic Special Character and what their role in contributing to its maintenance might be, they would not be expected to have the same depth of understanding of Scripture or Theology as a teacher of Religious Education.