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This paper reports on the opinions of teachers in Queensland Catholic schools regarding the identity, purposes and characteristics of Catholic schools. It draws on survey data from 2287 teachers in Catholic schools as well as semi-structured interviews with 20 teachers. Respondents were asked about their reasons for working in Catholic Education and the faith-based identity, purposes and characteristics of Catholic schools. The vast majority believe that Catholic schools are different or very different to other schools and that the faith-based identity of Catholic schools is important or very important. More than half the survey respondents gave the ‘environment of Catholic schools’ as their main reason for working in Catholic schools, followed by ‘commitment to the Catholic faith’. Providing a ‘safe and nurturing environment’ was also the most popular choice for the purpose of Catholic schools, ahead of more explicitly faith-based options, while ‘caring community’ was by far the most popular characteristic of Catholic schools. The implications of some of the key findings are considered, with particular reference to the future of Catholic education.

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