Deputy Principal - Mission and Faith

Catholic Identity 2015 Survey – A Report to the Community

You may remember that back in April and May we asked all students, staff and parents to complete an online survey for the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (working with the Catholic University in Leuven Belgium) entitled, “Enhancing Catholic School identity”.  This survey was designed to gather data on our attitudes to religion, how Catholic schools are managing and defining their identity as well as identifying the way the school is operating within the surrounding culture.

 

This is very important to us as we say that we are a, “Faith Community committed to Excellence in Learning”.  In this context we aspire to be a vibrant Catholic school expressing our faith in God and our place in the Catholic Church with joy and enthusiasm.  Our Catholic Identity is at the core of who we are.  It shapes and challenges everything we are and do.  In reality, there is nothing more important for us than our students and their formation in faith.  As Don Bosco said, we wish our students to be “Good Christians and Honest Citizens”.

 

We are now starting to receive some of the raw data from this survey.  Let me share this with you beginning with some of the demographic data.  Out of a total of 1083 students, 550 boys and 483 girls completed the surveys.  In total, 235 adult respondents took part in the research, among whom there were 57 men and 177 women.  The average age for students was 12 if in Year 7 or 8, 14 if in Years 9 or 10 and 16 if in Years 11 or 12.  The average age of the adults was, 43 for staff respondents and 46 for parent respondents.

 

When asked to indicate their attitude to the Catholic Faith students said:

The Catholic faith deserves my full support -114/10.6%

I think the Catholic faith is ok, but I remain critical of some aspects - 463/43%

I neither have positive nor negative feelings about the Catholic faith - 362/33.6%

I dislike the Catholic faith - 90/8.4%

I don't know what 'Catholic faith' is - 47/4.4%

n-miss - 7/0.64%

Total:1076

 

Parents and staff, on the other hand said:

The Catholic faith deserves my full support - 61/26.5%

I think the Catholic faith is ok, but I remain critical of some aspects - 141/61.3%

I neither have positive nor negative feelings about the Catholic faith - 27/11.7%

I dislike the Catholic faith - 1/0.4%

I don't know what 'Catholic faith' is - 0

n-miss - 12/2.17%

Total:230

What we notice immediately is that while 88% of parents and staff indicated that they thought the Catholic Faith was “okay” or deserved their full support only 53% of students thought the same.  In fact 13% of students indicated that they either disliked the Catholic Faith or didn’t know what it is!  What is of great interest is that 33% of students indicated that they neither had positive or negative feelings about the Catholic Faith.  This, to me, gets to the heart of our work at the College.  For most young people this is their only interaction or connection with the Catholic Faith.  What an opportunity to present Jesus and the Gospel to them.  I can’t think of a more important thing we could be doing here at Rupertswood!  Let our presentation and living out of the Gospel open their hearts to Jesus.

 

To take this further let’s look at Mass attendance.  When asked, “When did you last attend a celebration of the Eucharist in your own time? Masses at school do NOT count.”  Students responded:

Less than a week ago - 68/6.3%

I regularly attend Mass - 9.6%

Less than two weeks ago - 36/3.3%

Less than a month ago - 76/7%

I sometimes attend Mass but not often - 27.1%

On a Christian holy day (like Christmas, Easter, ...) - 218/20.1%

On a special occasion (like a wedding, a funeral, a baptism, a memorial service, ...) - 308/28.4%

I rarely or never attend Mass - 62.6%

Long ago or never before -370/34.2%

n-miss - 7/0.6%

Total: 1083

 

Staff

Less than a week ago -41/17.4%

I regularly attend Mass - 23.8%

Less than two weeks ago - 15/6.4%

Less than a month ago - 35/14.9%

I sometimes attend Mass but not often - 32.3%

On a Christian holy day (like Christmas, Easter, ...) - 41/17.4%

On a special occasion (like a wedding, a funeral, a baptism, a memorial service, ...) - 73/31.1%

I rarely or never attend Mass - 41.7%

Long ago or never before - 25/10.6%

n-miss - 5/2.1%

Total :235

Again, note the difference, approximately 23.8% of staff and parents attend Mass regularly compared to 9.6% of students.  Or, to put it another way, 41% of staff and parents rarely or never attend Mass compared to 62.6%!  That’s two out of every three students never or rarely attend Mass.  This again stresses the importance of our Masses here and how important they are to our students understanding of the Catholic Church and the Gospel of Jesus.

To complete the picture was the question on each individual’s prayer life.  When asked how often they prayer students responded:

I pray on a daily basis - 58/5.4%

Active prayer life - 12.3%

I pray regularly. - 75/6.9%

I sometimes pray, but not regularly - 191/17.6%

Sometimes but not regularly - 46%

I only pray in times of great happiness or trouble. - 307/28.3%

Once I did pray, but not anymore - 210/19.4%

No prayer life - 41.1%

I have never prayed before - 235/21.7%

n-miss - 7/0.6%

Total: 1083

 

Staff and parents, on the other hand said:

I pray on a daily basis - 40/17%

Active prayer life - 40.4%

I pray regularly - 55/23.4%

I sometimes pray, but not regularly - 66/28.1%

Sometimes but not regularly - 37%

I only pray in times of great happiness or trouble - 21/8.9%

Once I did pray, but not anymore - 29/12.3%

No prayer life - 20.4%

I have never prayed before - 19/8.1%

n-miss - 5/2.1%

Total: 235

It would appear 40% of staff and parents indicated an active prayer life compared to 12% of students.  Again, what an opportunity to teach our students about prayer. Overall, it makes it clear how the example and role modelling of staff and student’s parents is vital for young people as they grow and develop.  This, for us here at Rupertswood, should be a priority.

Throughout Term 3 I will present more of the Catholic Identity Survey data through the Staff Exchange or a Staff Meeting.  I would love to engage in discussion with you at any time on these matters.  Next term I will present data from the “Doyle Questionnaire” which delves further into what students, parents and staff think about the Catholic Identity of Salesian College Rupertswood.