Authorisation & Code of Conduct

AUTHORISATION PROCESS

The Authorisation Process and Code of Conduct clarifies the standards of behaviour that is expected of all employees, volunteers, religious and lay people working as SRE Teachers (Catechists) in the Diocese of Wollongong. SRE teachers are to endorse the principles of the current Child Protection Law and follow the Department of Education Religious Education Implementation Procedures as an essential responsibility.

As part of the Authorisation Process, the following steps are required:

  1. Obtain a Working With Children Check Clearance

  2. Complete a Teacher Engagement Form

  3. Complete Child Protection Training & Classroom Management

  4. Participate in Mandatory Training

  5. Adhere to the Code of Conduct

  6. Added to Notification to Schools document.

  7. Supplied with an Authorisation Card

  8. Supplied with an official Diocese of Wollongong Name Badge

TEACHER ENGAGEMENT FORM (TEF)

Teacher Engagement Form is to be completed and submitted to your Parish Coordinator. If accepted, the TEF, signed by the Parish Priest, is sent to the Diocesan Coordinator of CCD to be verified, and is then stored at the Office of the Bishop.

The following records are kept for each SRE teacher at the Diocese of Wollongong Office of the Bishop:

  1. Full name

  2. Contact details

  3. Date of Birth

  4. WWCC number

  5. Verification date

  6. Verification outcome

  7. Expiry date

  8. Record of Training

WORKING WITH CHILDREN CHECK CLEARANCE (WWCC)                

In accordance with the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012, all SRE teachers are required to apply for a WWCC and obtain a clearance number. The number and your date of birth must be provided for verification by the Diocese of Wollongong Coordinator of CCD. The WWCC involves a national criminal history check and a review of findings of workplace misconduct.

CHILD PROTECTION TRAINING

All SRE teachers have a responsibility to report risk of harm concerns about children and young people, within  their roles, and to provide support to children and young people.

It is a responsibility to ensure that all SRE teachers:

  • Have participated in an initial child protection induction

  • Are aware of the indicators of abuse and neglect of children and young people

  • Are aware of their obligation to advise the principal or workplace manager of concerns about the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people that arise during the course of their work

  • Are aware of their mandatory obligation to report suspected risk of significant harm and of the procedures for doing so.

The Catholic Conference of Religious Educators in State Schools (CCRESS) has developed training modules which includes Child Protection Training. It is an expectation that all Catechists complete this training initially and then participates in regular and ongoing Child Protection Training. The link to the CCRESS Online training modules can be found on the Catechists drop-down menu on this site.

MANDATORY TRAINING (CATECHIST LEVEL I TRAINING)

Once a person has been accepted as a new Catechist (SRE teacher), it is expected they will participate in the mandatory training required and agreed to by the Department of Education and the NSW/ACT Bishops Conference. These modules include:

  1. Child Protection Training

  2. The SRE Teacher in Parish and Schools

  3. Development of the Child and Adolescent

  4. Introduction to the Bible

  5. Using an Authorised Curriculum for Planning

  6. The Mission and Ministry of the Catechist

  7. Classroom Skills: Questioning

  8. The Teaching Authority of the Catholic Church

  9. Classroom Skills: Behaviour Management

The Wollongong Diocesan CCD Coordinators arranges for and facilitates Training, and maintains a record of training undertaken by Catechists.

CODE OF CONDUCT

All Catechists entering Public Schools as SRE teachers are representing their Parish, their Diocese, their Bishop and their Church. They are therefore expected to adhere to the Diocese of Wollongong CCD Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct gives guidance in areas where staff and volunteers need to make personal and ethical decisions.

The Diocese of Wollongong Code of Conduct is aligned with the Department of Education’s Code of Conduct, and SRE teachers are expected to be aware of and follow both. (Download Department of Education Code of Conduct)

The Diocese of Wollongong Code of Conduct is summarised on the Teacher Engagement Form and is as follows:

GENERAL CONDITIONS

I agree to carry out my tasks as a volunteer SRE Teacher. I agree to teach in accordance with the principles and values of the Catholic Church, Diocese of Wollongong. I undertake to exercise due care for the safety and behaviour of students when teaching or supervising them. I acknowledge that the teaching given to the students in the SRE classroom shall at all times be of the highest quality possible. I note that no remuneration is to be paid to me as a volunteer SRE Teacher. I also note that out-of-pocket expenses may be reimbursed by prior arrangement with my authorising agent.

VOLUNTEER TASKS (as outlined on Authorisation Card)

I commit myself to:

  • Value the dignity of each child;

  • Deepen my union with Christ and the Catholic Church;

  • Diligently prepare my lessons and attend classes regularly and punctually;

  • Teach SRE ONLY from the approved curriculum materials as directed by my authorising agent;

  • Participate in teacher development opportunities;

  • Cooperate with Church appointed SRE authorities.

VOLUNTEER STATEMENT

  • I acknowledge that the Catholic Church has special responsibilities to the students, their parents and carers, and to the school authorities because of the opportunities given to the Catholic Church, Diocese of Wollongong, to instruct students in Special Religious Education.

  • I agree to carry out those tasks in accordance with the general conditions set out above and any special conditions set out below.

  • I wish to volunteer my services on the above basis to the Catholic Church, Diocese of Wollongong, and I acknowledge I am responsible to the authorising agent of the parish which has responsibility for the school(s) in which I teach and his/her successors.

  • I commit to ongoing formation and development as an SRE Teacher via attendance at compulsory training and engagement with resource materials provided by CCD (for example, The CatechistNET magazine).

  • I understand that should I fail to meet my commitments as set out above I could be asked to withdraw from the ministry of SRE in State schools.

  • I am aware that if there are any changes in regard to my tasks, circumstances relating to the general conditions or other circumstances as deemed appropriate by the Parish Priest, this authorisation can be withdrawn.

DECLARATION

I have never been convicted for any criminal offence which involves:

  • An act of violence towards another person

  • Sexual Assault

  • Any offence against a person under the age of 18

  • Provision of prohibited drugs

  • Child pornography

If there are any changes in regard to the above, I will notify my authorising agent or Parish SRE Coordinator.

NOTIFICATION TO SCHOOLS

Once Authorised, the Catechist’s (SRE Teacher’s) name will be added to the Notification to Schools document which lists the name and date of birth of SRE teachers teaching in the school and a contact phone number for the Parish Coordinator.

AUTHORISATION CARD

Once Authorised, Catechists will receive an Authorisation Card at the beginning of each year, which is to be signed by the Catechist and their Parish Priest. The card also states the School/s in which they will be teaching.

The Authorisation Card is renewed each year. The Authorisation Card must be carried at all times the Catechist is on the school premises and must be shown upon request. 

OFFICIAL DIOCESAN NAME BADGE

The Name Badge must be worn at all times the Catechist is on the school premises.