Vision and Purpose
CSA describes its purpose, vision and current priorities in a diagram. The “purpose diagram” represents outcomes of extensive conversations involving members, councils and the executive over some 18 months leading up to CSA’s tenth anniversary in 2012.
Panel one: purpose
The purpose of Christian school education is the educational and spiritual development of each individual child. Spiritual formation is an essential component of a Christian school education.
In a Christian school, students are taught that we all are made in the image of God, who wants us to be fulfilled in life and work, in relationship with Him, with each other, and with the world he made for us to enjoy.
The brokenness around us is ample evidence that we fall short of God’s standards. Our society bears little resemblance to the Kingdom of God. In a Christian school students are encouraged to consider the implications of the Christian gospel: that despite our shortcomings, in the death of Jesus, God has offered forgiveness and reconciliation to everyone.
The hope is that in response, students will commit their lives, in faith, to follow Jesus and empowered by the Spirit, commit to serving others and the world.
Thus Christian schools aim to prepare students to live full, productive and purposeful lives, contributing to the wellbeing of their families, communities and as global citizens.
Our purpose (the big ‘why’ of Christian education) is to see students find their life’s purpose in Christ.
Panel two: vision
Christian schools are nurturing communities of parents, churches, teachers, other staff and community members.
The life of the Christian school community is centred on Jesus.
In a Christian school education, the development of the whole person includes spiritual development. Christian education does not separate faith from academic, social and physical development. Christian education is as much modelled as it is taught.
An essential aspect of the Christian school is that it is a work of Christ’s church, whether that be defined in distinct local terms (a single church) or in broader terms (the wider body of believers).
The hope of a Christian school is that students will find their purpose in Christ, in response committing to worship and serve Him. It follows that those who teach must also be models of such a life.
A CSA school, as depicted in our diagram, will also endeavour to be a model to others of Christian community. Its mission will have both an internal and external focus (represented by a permeable circle): to students and their families, to the community around the school and to the whole world, as a vital part of the body of Christ.
Panel three: Current priorities for CSA
The third panel depicts the current strategic priorities for the organisational wing of CSA: that is, the State and National Councils and Executive Officers who serve member schools.
This panel has its own subsidiary vision or aspirational statement:
CSA's vision is that Christian schooling will be accessible to every child in Australia who seeks it.
Three general areas for activity are described.
As an organisation we support and promote growth in the capacity of schools to serve Australian communities: whether as new campuses or existing schools, or as unique start-ups. The ‘growing schools’ priority also encompasses personal spiritual and professional growth, an essential element of the Christian life.
Growing teachers and leaders
CSA is committed to the spiritual and professional growth of staff in member schools. An ongoing current need is the development of teachers and leaders. An essential priority is to promote growth in the knowledge and understanding of Biblical principles and Christian beliefs as they apply to the practice of teaching and school leadership: in other words, the integration of Biblical principles with school education.
Quality curriculum and pedagogy
A priority for the CSA movement is for the collaborative development by members of curriculum and pedagogical resources to underpin quality teaching and learning, integrating Biblical principles and a Christ-centred worldview with the requirements of the Australian Curriculum.
In addition, two cross-movement priorities are identified.
CSA is committed to working efficiently and collaboratively with other organisations representing Christian Schools for the good of the whole movement. We actively pursue unity.
We actively promote public policy that will provide a favourable environment in which Christian schooling can flourish. Our work in this area includes effective advocacy, media and government relations.
The Whole Picture
The CSA Purpose Diagram was conceived as a whole picture which we think is best read from bottom up. CSA's priorities support the work of school communities, whose actions in turn are focussed on the student who, under Christ, is formed and educated to serve.
We acknowledge the wonderful work of Nick Ingram in designing this diagram, the result of months of facilitated conversations with CSA's executive staff, National and State Councils, and members.