How can we enhance the Directors of Religious Studies role in our Catholic Schools?

Mark 5:9

Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

This post will ask important questions of our Catholic Schools in New Zealand. I write these in order to open up robust discussion and the sharing of ideas for those operating, leading and interested in Catholic education. The reason why I will be asking questions rather than providing answers is summed up by E.E.Cummings – Always the beautiful answer I who asks a more beautiful question. 




We sometimes have cultures that tend to discourage questioning and inquiry in the form of ‘Why are we doing this?’ To highlight my point a recent study found that the average four year old child in the United Kingdom asks on average 390 questions per day! Questioning in this sense is an essential part of being human, like breathing, an acceptable part of life. Questions challenge established authority and disrupt traditional hierarchy. It encourages people to think about doing something differently. Rather than seeing questioning as a challenge, what if we looked at questioning of our current Catholic education system as an opportunity for our Catholic Schools to grow and develop?


What if all Directors of Religious Studies were required to be a member of the Senior Management team?


  • Would this see an increased number of well  trained and energetic teachers applying for Directors of Religious Studies positions?
  • How would this attract greater numbers of talented Catholic teachers?
  • Would Directors of Religious Studies be seen as an elite professional standing on par with the Principal within Catholic Schools?



What if New Zealand had a Directors of Religious Studies Graduate Programme?


  • What if we operated this Graduate Programme in a similar way to the Alliance for Catholic Education?
  • Would this provide a new leadership pathway for teachers, current pupils within our Catholic Schools and attract other professionals from sectors outside of Education who are passionate about their faith?
  • How would this increase the quality and range of individuals applying for DRS positions? Does it increase the standing of the Director’s of Religious Studies position within a Catholic School?



What if Directors of Religious Studies were offered scholarships to study Educational Leadership and Theology overseas?


  • How would this increase authentic Catholic leadership within our Catholic Schools?
  • What if teachers were offered opportunities to study Theology or Catholic Leadership?
  • Would this increase the number of encounters our students have with the person of Jesus Christ?



In New Zealand we will have some readers who think that we are too small in order to achieve some of these aspirational goals. They might say “we don’t have the population size,  we don’t have the financial resources, we don’t have the participants, we don’t have the resources”.

But there isn’t anyone else. We have the ability to answer these questions. The question is: Are we bold enough to do something about it?



Please share your thoughts and ideas around the questions presented. I look forward to your insights.


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