NZCEO home login contact
about schools early childhood events resources media teachers links


Catholic Schools Declaration

A Catholic School That Provides Catholic Education

A Catholic School That Strives for Educational Excellence

A Catholic School That Contributes to the Church's Mission

A Catholic School That Contributes to Society


A Catholic School That Provides Catholic Education

"Christ is the foundation of the whole enterprise in a Catholic school" 1.

"A Catholic school is understood to be one which ... is formally acknowledged as Catholic by ecclesiastical authority" 2.

"The formation and education in the Catholic religion provided in any school .... is subject to the authority of the Church" 3.

Catholic school education provides "a synthesis of culture and faith, and a synthesis of faith and life" 4. The Special Character of a Catholic school, as defined in the Integration Agreement, provides the framework within which all aspects of education are provided.

The Catholic school recognises and is appropriately sensitive to people within the school community that do not share our Catholic faith.

Return to top

A Catholic School That Strives for Educational Excellence

Catholic schools "reproduce the characteristic features of a school" 5. That is to say, the Catholic school provides a curriculum and other features which are not only in keeping with the teaching of the Church, but which are also in accordance with all that is common and desirable in effective schools, including high quality education and sound management systems.

"The formation given in Catholic schools is, in its academic standards, at least as outstanding as that in other schools in the area" 6. Academic is taken to include all aspects of the curriculum in its broadest sense.

"The Catholic school has as its aim the critical communication of human culture and the total formation of the individual" 7. Total formation of the individual is understood to mean taking a holistic approach, providing for the fulfilment of personal potential across all facets of human life and endeavour. This includes extending the most able students and supporting all those who require it.

Teachers who provide a Catholic school education are recognised and respected as professional people in a vital vocation. They conduct themselves accordingly.

Catholic school authorities support teachers in their continuing professional development, including Religious Education. Teachers take full advantage of that support.

Return to top

A Catholic School That Contributes to the Church's Mission

The Catholic school does not operate alone but works in partnership with the parish and the wider Church community. It collaborates particularly with parents whom it acknowledges as "the first and foremost educators of their children" 8.

The education provided in a Catholic school "offers an alternative which is in conformity with the wishes of the members of the community of the Church" 9 and "performs an essential and unique service for the Church herself" 10.

"The Catholic school is one of the Church's pastoral instruments" and, as such, is "ever more effective in proclaiming the Gospel and promoting total human formation" 11. It accepts a responsibility for the spiritual guidance of members of the school community.

"Formation and education in a Catholic school must be based on the principles of Catholic doctrine" 12.

The education provided in a New Zealand Catholic school is education with a Special Character as defined in the Integration Agreement for each school.

In helping to fulfil the mission of the Church, Catholic school education includes evangelisation but avoids proselytising 13.

In its teaching and in its practices the Catholic school develops students' ability to critique society and promotes social justice for all, especially for the poor, regardless of colour, race, creed, sex or socio-economic status, and in accordance with Church teaching.

Teachers and other adults in a Catholic school are models of Christianity for the students or pupils. "It is in this context that the witness of the lay teacher becomes especially important." 14 Students will see in the adult members of the school community Christian attitudes and behaviours which reflect explicitly the example and teaching of Jesus Christ.

A Catholic school education recognises and respects the uniqueness of every individual within the school community as made in the image and likeness of God, while also contributing to the formation of community, especially that community which gathers on the Lord's Day to be nurtured by Word and sacrament.

Return to top

A Catholic School That Contributes to Society

While recognising each person as a unique individual, a Catholic school also manifests the belief that "the person finds true significance only in relationship with others, encompassing both rights and responsibilities, freedom and accountability, self-fulfilment and self-discipline, self-expression and self-denial" 15.

A Catholic school, in being faithful to its own Special Character, reaches out to and serves the wider community, just as the Church serves the world 16, and establishes positive relationships with its others.

A Catholic school education recognises and affirms all cultures and ethnic groups, especially those represented within the school community.

A New Zealand Catholic school gives practical recognition to the special importance of the Treaty of Waitangi.

A Catholic school regards "education as preeminently a personal good which enriches the possessor, while also being a social good which brings advantages to the whole society" 17, and prepares its students to play a fully constructive role in that society.

A Catholic school teaches its students to "preserve the balance and integrity of the physical world for the Glory of God" 18.


  1. "The Catholic School" (Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, Rome, 1977), para. 34.
  2. "The Code of Canon Law", Can. 803, 1.
  3. ibid., Can. 804, 1.
  4. "The Catholic School", para. 37
  5. "The Catholic School", ibid, para. 25
  6. "The Code of Canon Law", Can. 806, 2.
  7. "The Catholic School" op. cit. para. 36
  8. "Declaration on Christian Education", (The Documents of Vatican II) para. 3
  9. "The Catholic School", op. cit., para. 20
  10. 1ibid., para. 15
  11. 1"The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School" (The Congregation for Catholic Education, Rome 1988) para. 31
  12. 1"The Code of Canon Law", Can. 803, 2.
  13. 1"The Catholic School", op. cit., paras. 7 and 19
  14. 1"Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith" (Sacred Congregation for Catholic Educatton, 1982) para 32
  15. "The Purpose of Education - A Christian Perspective" (Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops of New Zealand, 1992).
  16. "Ecclesiam Suam", 1964, passim (Pope Paul VI)
  17. "The Purpose of Education - A Christian Perspective", op. cit.
  18. ibid

Return to top

Latest Updates

NZCEO Annual Business Plan 2016 - End of Year Report [pdf 685kb]

Catholic Education Convention 2018 Date confirmed – June 13th to 15th – more information to come over the next few months.

Copyright for Liturgical Music – guidelines from the National Liturgy Office about the legal requirements for reproducing religious music in schools and parishes