Bishop Michael Putney states that Catholic identity is ‘a far more complex and profound question than sometimes is realised.’ 

Such consideration is at the heart of many discussions about the purpose and mission of
Catholic education in the 21st century.

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This chapter explores the nature of the Catholic identity of schools in Sandhurst, its foundations, our aspirations and our practice. It includes:

‘The understanding of Catholic identity can vary according to a number of factors including our own understanding of our faith and our relationship with institutional Church. Putney quotes Schussler-Fiorenza ‘who reminds us that our quest to maintain our Catholic identity cannot focus only on doctrinal or institutional elements but must deal with the shape that such an identity gives to our way of life, our work and our mission’. 

Putney advises that ‘we need to look at our context and come to understand who we are dealing with in our mission, who is ‘other’ to us, and what should be our relationship with them. Only when we can name who we are before this will we be able to claim our identity fully for ourselves’. 

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Inspired believers living justly

In Sandhurst there is a long history of rich conversation about the nature and scope of the Catholic identity of our schools. This dialogue has been intentionally informed by contemporary research about Catholic faith and life; and the lived experience of those in our community and beyond.

All thinking and action about renewal and improvement in Sandhurst schools flow from the Sandhurst School Education Board vision for Catholic Identity:

This aspiration amplifies the Sandhurst values. While these values permeate all we do, in the context of school improvement they can be linked closely with particular dimensions.

Appendix 1 identifies the relationship each value has with the dimensions of school improvement.


The values

The values are on posters in every Sandhurst school and are as follows:

Generosity in the Service of Others

With Jesus as our model, we celebrate our vocation to develop each person’s potential, to be consciously transformational, serving God in the Church and in the world with a committed and practical concern for the poor.

Commitment and Faithfulness

We seek to enable students to find God in all things, to live out their vocation in life with joy in the service of others. We are committed to covenant relationships.

Understanding and Inclusion

We promote the God-given dignity of each person, honouring the cultures and faith traditions of all. We value the richness of diversity and difference.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

We seek to support one another, to deepen the bonds of community which unite us, by promoting mutual understanding and reconciliation.

Respect and Responsibility

We strive to build a community committed to personal and communal growth, founded on justice where we take responsibility for each other, and we are accountable for our own actions.

Integrity and Self Discipline

We value each person as being essentially good, with freedoms, rights and responsibilities. We are dedicated to students and value life-long learning. We provide opportunities for our students to be open to a personal relationship with God.

Love and Compassion

We seek to celebrate life as a gift from a loving God and, with Jesus as our model, to inspire the courage and confidence to serve others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves.

Reverence and Awe

We celebrate the presence of God in our midst in the wonder and gifts of each person, in the beauty and awe of God’s creation, in the daily events of our world. We strive to live in right relationship with the earth and all God’s creatures.

Joy, Optimism and Creativity

We rejoice in the creativity and gifts of the Spirit in each person. We believe God is present in each of us – in our working, our praying and our being together.

Peace, Justice and Honesty

We seek to make justice visible by living simply and justly, by being honest and fair and by building peace through relationships and care of each other.