Horizons of Hope

Horizons of Hope is the education framework for the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Horizons of Hope draws on evidence-based research to respond to the current challenges within our education context, including the introduction of new curriculum and the challenge of enhancing Catholic identity within our schools.

The Horizons of Hope framework supports Catholic school communities to engage in dialogue about the distinctive nature of learning and teaching, leading learning, and enhancing Catholic identity in our schools. The framework is a living document that will be added to over coming months and years with examples of practice from schools, as well as additional strategy statements in the areas of Leadership, Wellbeing, Diversity and the Religious Dimension of the Catholic School.

1. Vision – a succinct statement which outlines our vision for learners in our Catholic schools

2. Context – a mapping of the current educational landscape, drawing out the challenges and opportunities for learning and teaching in a Catholic context

3. Strategy – foundational statements that provide a shared way into tools, resources and materials, supporting the whole system in our work

4. Practice – school examples of practice that give life to the vision, context and strategy.

Religious Dimension of the Catholic School

The ‘religious dimension of the Catholic school’ is its identity and mission always founded in the person of Jesus Christ as if it comes to us through the Good News. In very explicit ways the religious dimension ensures a thorough integration of identity and mission into the whole of the educational experience of every learner.

How the members of the Catholic school pray, learn, celebrate, belong in community and reach out beyond that community are all expressions of its religious dimension.

For additional prayer content, click the following link for access to the CEVN Prayer Hub (must already be signed in to CEVN) https://cevn.cecv.catholic.edu.au/prayer-hub.aspx.


Prayer is key to a living faith, nourishing the soul and orienting each person to God. The Catholic school makes time to pray daily, keeping the presence of God at the forefront of each school day and connecting it to the church community and the wider world. In Melbourne’s multi-faith and diverse cultural context the school community respectfully invites all to prayer, enabling deep encounters between faith and contemporary life, while encouraging a lived response. Drawing from rich prayer traditions, a variety of ways of praying are encouraged: individual and communal, vocal and silent, informal and liturgical. Prayer engenders a way of being in the world and a perspective on life that, at times, can be challenging and counter-cultural. Through prayer, the sacred is acknowledged, assented to and celebrated. It marks the times when we affirm the presence of God and the sacredness of everyday life. Members of the Catholic school community embrace a prayerful attitude that is open to a personal encounter with God and nurturing of humility, reflection, and a rich inner life.


The joys and the hopes, the grief and the anxieties, as well as daily moments big and small, provide rich opportunities for the school community to celebrate the mystery of Christ truly present in its midst. The liturgical seasons and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, are woven through the school year, forming a pattern of celebrations where God is uniquely and richly encountered. Celebrations of liturgy and sacraments are part of the formal, public prayer and worship of the Church. Liturgy calls us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. The community grows in virtue and works for the coming of the Kingdom when it finds a home in its heart for the Word of God that is proclaimed in liturgy and broken open in preaching. The liturgical life of the school enables students to encounter the Holy Spirit at work in their families, their parish community and in the life of the wider Church and the world. The richness of the signs and symbols of Catholic faith celebrate in a unique way the community’s sharing in the life of God. Celebrations that invite active participation in the sacraments or ritualise the everyday form members as a religious school community and nourish faith. These celebrations mark the school community as ecclesial and as a sacramental people who actively seek out the sacred every day.


A sense of belonging is critical to forming a sense of self, connectedness and purpose. From a place of love and acceptance we can grow and expand our sense of who we are and how we can be in the world. Inspired by a God who reaches out to us in love, the Catholic school is called into community where inter-connectedness and quality relationships shape and affirm the identity of each person. The community encourages belonging in diversity by listening to and celebrating the narratives of each member, ensuring all voices are heard and engaging many perspectives in dialogue with Catholic beliefs and practices. The experience of belonging is promoted when the community searches for ways to strengthen, maintain and, where needed, rebuild right relationships with God and with others through reconciliation and forgiveness as well as through trust, inclusion and compassion. A focus on open invitation, table fellowship and hospitality creates a sense of belonging that is extended to all. Belonging in a Catholic school community anchors the individual and collective identity in God through the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Ever-sensitive to personal freedom and the mystery of the gift of faith, the community invites deeper connection with God and others through prayer, commitment to the faith community and contribution to the Common Good.

Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) – https://www.aare.edu.au/

Australian Catholic University (ACU) – https://www.acu.edu.au/

Catholic Theological College (CTC) – http://www.ctc.edu.au/

Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre (MMHC) – https://www.mmhc.org.au/

Amberley – https://www.amberley.org.au/

The Australian Institute of Theological Education (BBI) – https://www.bbi.catholic.edu.au/index.cfm?

Jewish Musuem of Australia – https://www.jewishmuseum.com.au/

Council of Christians and Jews Victoria (CCJVIC) – http://www.ccjvic.org.au/

De La Selle – https://www.delasalle.org.au/

Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (CAM) – http://www.cam.org.au/evangelisation

Caritas Australia – https://www.caritas.org.au/

St Joseph’s by the sea – https://www.sosj.org.au/our-centres/williamstown/st-josephs-by-the-sea/

Sisters of Mercy – https://mercy.org.au/

Temple Beth Israel (TBI) – https://www.tbi.org.au/

Trinity College – https://www.trinity.unimelb.edu.au/

Newman College – https://newman.unimelb.edu.au/

Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Astralia (JCMA) – http://jcma.org.au/jcmaschoolsworkshops/

Mary Glowrey Musuem – http://maryglowreymuseum.info/

Reaching Out

The Catholic school community is grounded in the belief that each person is made in the image and likeness of God. The dignity of the human person is the starting point for a vision for a just society – the Kingdom of God. From this vision, the Catholic school responds to a call to service, not just as a moral duty or obligation, but in a spirit of joyful loving that responds to the presence of God in each person encountered. In answering this call, the school reaches beyond itself to act for justice and the Common Good; standing in solidarity with the marginalised or as stewards of a beautiful, but at times beleaguered, earth. In reaching out, the school promotes participation, inclusion and equity by establishing policies and decision-making processes that respect the dignity of individuals and the principle of subsidiarity. Leadership engages all those affected by the practices to help develop the processes and policies and reflect on them. In reaching out, the school participates with the parish and wider community to reflect on justice issues and respond through political, economic, social or ecological actions that contribute to the common good. In this way it proposes a just society, clearly demonstrating its Catholic identity through actions of love, compassion and peace.


True to the mission of the Church, learning in a Catholic school seeks out the good in every person. A sense of who I am and how I can be in the world is nurtured in an environment of trust and intellectual inquiry, inspired by points of contact with the Catholic faith as a way of clarifying the important questions and issues that arise for teachers and students. Teachers and leaders in a Catholic school acknowledge a sacred aspect to teaching and learning across all disciplines in the school curriculum, finding God at work in the forming and transforming power of dialogue that is essential to learning. This approach opens moments of encounter where the human spirit is turned around or led out to meet a wider horizon or ultimate concern, moments of encounter with:

  • the Word of God, whose Spirit moves and transforms
  • a faith community that celebrates and lives out the ongoing presence of Christ in the world
  • diverse views that shake and shift perspective
  • creation that inspires awe and wonder
  • culture in all its many life-giving and rich forms
  • the other who calls for a response of love and compassion
  • a sometimes unjust world wherein God’s call to act for justice, love and joy may be heard.

Learning as encounter is a dialogical, relational and optimistic pedagogy, one that opens up horizons of hope for the future for the individual learner, their school, the Church and the wider community

Parents, students and staff work together as witnesses to the Good News in the way they shape the school community and enact a vision of the Kingdom of God. Here students are supported to grow, enlightened by faith, animated by love and leading to hope.

Religious Education as a particular curriculum area is critical to education in a Catholic school. It deliberately attends to the spiritual development of each person, acknowledging and celebrating the Holy Spirit at work, inviting relationship with God and a Christ-like stance towards others. At the same time it is a disciplined process of ‘faith seeking understanding’, where the questions of God, beliefs and life are articulated and explored in dialogue with the Catholic Tradition to develop students’ faith lives and stimulate a search for meaning and truth. It is interpretative by nature and deepens learning when students are invited to explore cross-curricular connections.