Catholic Special

Character Evaluation


He rangi tā Matawhāiti, he rangi tā Matawhānui

The person with a narrow vision sees a narrow horizon,

The person with a wide vision sees a wide horizon


Catholic Special Character

The Education and Training Act 2020 defines education with a special character as “education within the framework of a particular or general religious or philosophical belief and associated with observances of traditions appropriate to that belief1 ”.

The more particular definition of special character is defined in each school’s Integration Agreement as: “The school is a Roman Catholic school in which the whole school community, through the general school programme and in its religious instructions and observances, exercises the right to live and teach the values of Jesus Christ. These values are as expressed in the Scriptures and in the practices, worship and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, as determined from time to time by the Roman Catholic Bishop of the diocese.2 ”

At the core of the school is its Catholic special character, which provides the encounter with God, who in Jesus Christ reveals the transforming love and truth of God3 .

This evangelisation is ineffective if it does not consider and include the identity, culture, language, and signs of all those it is focusing on4 .

Thus, bringing faith, culture and life into harmony which is a goal of the Catholic school, in Aotearoa New Zealand5 . Many factors contribute to the Catholic special character, including: the beliefs, values, traditions, and practices of the Catholic Church, and how they are expressed by both Katorika Māori and Katorika tauiwi, the religious content of its curriculum, the witness of people living their faith as disciples of Jesus.

It is the interaction of these that creates the Catholic identity of the school6 .

1 Education and Training Act 2020, Section 10.

2 New Zealand Catholic Education Office (NZCEO), Handbook for Boards of Trustees of New Zealand Catholic State Integrated Schools. Wellington: NZCEO, 2020.

3 Benedict XVI. Address to Catholic Educators of the United States. https://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2008/ april/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20080417_cath-univwashington.html

4 Pope Paul VI (1975). Evangelisation in the Modern World (1975). https://www.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/apost_exhortations/ documents/hf_p-vi_exh_19751208_evangelii-nuntiandi.html

5 NZCBC, Catholic Education of School Age Children.

6 Ibid.

Catholic Special Character External Evaluation for Development

Purpose of Catholic Special Character External Evaluation for Development

The Ministry of Education requires every school to maintain an ongoing programme of evaluation that evaluates student outcomes so the school can achieve equity and excellence in outcomes for all ākonga. For a Catholic school these outcomes are not only academic but also faith development outcomes. The purpose of the Catholic special character evaluation process is to examine the effect of what is being done to safeguard and strengthen Catholic special character, and to provide assurance to the proprietor and to the community that their schools are authentically Catholic and are meeting the goals of Catholic education. Under the Education and Training Act 2020 Schedule 6: Clause 1 (3) “The proprietor of a State Integrated School must, subject to the provisions of the integration agreement: continue to have the responsibility to supervise the maintenance and preservation of the education with a special character provided by the school: continue to have the right to determine what is necessary to preserve and safeguard the special character of the education provided by the school and described in the integration agreement.

The Aims of Catholic Special Character Evaluation for Development

Effective evaluation processes enable the school to understand how ākonga are developing in relation to valued outcomes, how improvement actions have impacted on ākonga, what needs to be changed and what further actions are required. Therefore, the Catholic special character evaluation process produces a focused picture of the impact of Catholic schooling and the effectiveness of its goals on the lives of all tamariki and rangatahi. The process seeks to determine whether they have encountered the living God revealed in Jesus Christ, grown in knowledge of Him and His Church, and as a result are forming a deep and lasting relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church. The process also evaluates how the whole school community engages in authentic Catholic Christian witness and evangelisation. The evaluation also investigates how the school is acting as kaitiaki of Catholic special character including meeting its statutory compliances. A collaborative external evaluation process between school and the evaluators helps the school see what it is doing well and identify next steps.

Evaluation model explained

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