Family & Faith

The Family and Faith program is an initiative of Sydney Catholic
Schools, in response to the New Evangelisation agenda. By offering a variety of invitational events, information sessions and activities, the program provides opportunities that aim to:

  • strengthen the faith of parents
  • connect families with the religious life of the school and the parish
  • strengthen the relationships between the school, families and parish
  • provide further energy and support to families in the development of their child – spiritually, socially and educationally
Useful links and resources for Parents

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the role of the Family Educator?

The Family Educator supports the principal in leading and implementing the Family & Faith program within the school. The Family Educator role supports the evangelising mission of the Church and also assists in promoting the distinctive identity of Catholic schools.
The role plays a key part in responding to the New Evangelisation agenda and in the continuous improvement of our Catholic school system by supporting faith formation, evangelisation, and wellbeing of parents/families. The role of the Family Educator plays a crucial part in building and maintaining welcoming school environments and building sound, respectful relationships between school, parents/families and the parish. The myriad of quality initiatives, events and activities created and implemented by the Family Educator contribute to vibrant faith communities within our system of Catholic schools. These initiatives are planned in the following domains:

  • Developing/Enhancing the faith life of parents
  • Connecting/Reconnecting/Enhancing family engagement in the faith life of the school
  • Connecting/Reconnecting/Enhancing family engagement in the faith life of the Parish
  • Supporting family wellbeingWhat qualifications do you need to be a Family Educator?
    Applicants for the role of Family Educator must have suitable qualifications and/or experience in areas such as Education, Religious Education, Theology or Pastoral Ministry

What experience do you need to be a Family Educator?
The following experience is essential for application for the role:

  • Experience in working in religious education and/or experience in working in parish pastoral ministries (sacramental program, catechetical ministry, etc) and/or experience working with social outreach
  • Demonstrated effectiveness working with adults
  • Experience in leading/managing a program or project within Catholic Education, parish ministry or secular industry
  • Engagement in and contribution to the life and mission of the Catholic Church with evidence of regular practice in a worshipping faith community
  • A deep personal faithIs the Family Educator role a temporary or permanent position? Is it full-time or part-time?
    The Family Educator role is a contracted position for three years, with a contract renewal process in the middle of the third year. Family Educators work 5 days per fortnight, with some time often worked on weekends (eg assistance with Family Masses and Sacraments) and weeknights (eg, parent nights, guest speakers, etc).
Who does a Family Educator report to?

The Family Educator is appointed by the Sydney Catholic Schools Office and based in the school, therefore the Family Educator reports to the principal of the school and works closely with the parish priest. The Family Educator also works with the Sydney Catholic Schools Advisor: Family Educator Project.

With whom does the Family Educator need to build relationships?
Relationships are crucial in the role of the Family Educator. For the role to be effective, the Family Educator needs to engage and work in partnership with a variety of stakeholders, such as:

  • School Leadership Team, particularly Principal and Religious Education Coordinator
  • Parents and families in the School
    Parish Priests, Pastoral Associate, Parish Secretary, Sacramental Coordinator and other Parish groups
  • Family Educator Project Advisor, Sydney Catholic Schools Office
  • Family Educator Regional Mentor (FERM)
  • Church Agencies
  • Community Agencies (where appropriate)
What are some of the Family Educator initiatives?

As a significant contributor to the religious leadership of the school within the Catholic school system, the Family Educator is required to be adaptable, creative and able to customise their work to meet the specific needs of the community.
There are a myriad of quality initiatives, events and activities created and implemented by the Family Educator, which contribute to vibrant faith communities within our system of Catholic schools. Such initiatives include SPaR, Toddler Tales, Playgroups, Parent Pilgrimages and Retreats, outreach opportunities, Home Prayer Boxes and Prayer Bags, Wellbeing Projects for Gratitude and Kindness, Sacramental Art and Craft, Family Week activities, and the list goes on!

How are Family Educators supported in the role?

Apart from the support of the principal and the school executive, Sydney Catholic Schools Office provides support from the Advisor: Family Educator Project and regular term mentoring from the Family Educator Regional Mentors.
A Formation Program also exists to provide ongoing support and professional development in the form of regular archdiocesan and regional meetings. An annual spiritual retreat is also provided.

Do I have to be Catholic to be a Family Educator?

Yes. Only committed, practicing Catholics can apply for the role.

Why was the role of FE created?

The role was created in 2010 as a response from Sydney Catholic Schools to the New Evangelisation agenda.

How is the role of the Family Educator different to the role of the Religious Education Co-ordinator (REC)?

The Family Educator and REC work together to support the principal to build and promote Catholic life and culture within the school. The REC supports the principal in leading the Religious Education curriculum in the school. They are part of the school executive and work mainly with students and staff. The Family Educator supports the principals in leading the Family and Faith program in the school but is not part of the school executive (but do work closely with them). The Family Educator works mainly with the parents/families but at times, may work with the students if it is a means of engaging parents into the faith life of the school and parish.

How is the FE recruited?

The recruitment process begins with positions being advertised on the Sydney Catholic Schools website (employment), Teacher.net website and notices in parish bulletins.
Applications are then shortlisted by a panel (usually comprising of the school principal, parish priest and SCS Advisor: Family Educator Project). This is followed by an interview, with the most suitable person being appointed to the role.

Does the Family Educator lead the parish Sacramental Program?

No. The Family Educator works collaboratively with the Sacramental co-ordinator of the parish. This is done in a number of ways and varies according to each parish. The Family Educator is a significant link for the parents/families between the school and the parish.

Can a person work as a Family Educator in more than one school?

No. The role of the Family Educator requires commitment, focus and dedication to one school/parish community, especially during major annual liturgical and secular celebrations (eg, Holy Week, Mothers Day, etc.)

Can a person supplement the income from a Family Educator role with additional employment?

As a general principal of employment, no other employment can be undertaken without the expressed permission of the Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools or his delegate.
No permitted employment greater than 2 days per week is permitted without special permission from the Director of Religious Education & Evangelisation, Sydney Catholic Schools Office, as the role of the Family Educator requires flexibility around work days and hours.