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  • Policy 2.8 

    Researchers in Catholic Schools and Access to Data on Catholic Schools 


    This policy provides information for individuals or organisations who are seeking:

    i. access to Catholic schools for the purpose of undertaking research; or
    ii. access to data related to Catholic schools held by Catholic Education Melbourne.

    It is expected that when researchers conduct research in Catholic schools, they do so on the basis that the findings may assist to improve student outcomes and increase school effectiveness. Research in areas beyond the immediate concerns of schools should be conducted only when it can be demonstrated that the findings may have a potential benefit for the participants themselves.

    The data held by Catholic Education Melbourne are collected from Catholic schools for accountability requirements of governments and for the purpose of providing leadership and support services to schools. Individuals and organisations seeking access to these data collections will need to demonstrate that release of the data will have potential benefit for students in Catholic schools.


    Capacity building
    Catholic Education Melbourne is a learning organisation which values the sharing of knowledge across the education sector in order to encourage creativity, innovation and collaboration.

    Adding value
    Research findings and access to information should provide a potential contribution to existing knowledge and a balance between short-term and long-term benefits.

    Maintaining propriety
    In order to protect the welfare and rights of individuals, access to information and exchange of knowledge must conform to legal and ethical requirements. This policy reflects the obligations of researchers outlined in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) documents: National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007 – updated May 2013) and Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007). The NHMRC statements can be viewed at www.nhmrc.gov.au.


    A. Seeking access to Catholic schools for the purpose of research

    Catholic Education Melbourne Approval
    All non school-based researchers, and school personnel wanting to conduct research related to their postgraduate studies, need to seek approval from Catholic Education Melbourne to conduct research in Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

    • Procedures for obtaining approval are outlined in Appendix 1.
    • Researchers need to complete an online application form through Catholic Education Melbourne’s Research Register.
    • Researchers need to register as a new user by following the on-screen prompts, or use their current log-in details if they are an existing user of the Research Register.
    • A PDF copy of the online application form is available for planning purposes only.

    Ethics Approval
    The NHMRC sets out guidelines for the review of research proposals by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). Since research conducted in schools falls within the requirements of the NHMRC, approval from an Ethics Committee is normally required. Appendix 1 – Procedures for Obtaining Approval to Conduct Research in a Catholic School provides details about the categories of researchers required to seek the approval of an Ethics Committee.

    School Approval
    As collection of data can be time consuming for schools and may divert attention away from higher priority tasks, the ultimate decision to allow the research to proceed within a particular school rests fully with the principal. Appendix 1 – Procedures for Obtaining Approval to Conduct Research in a Catholic School provides detail about the information to be provided to schools when seeking their participation.

    Attachments and link: 
    Appendix 1 – Procedures for Obtaining Approval to Conduct Research in a Catholic School 
    Appendix 2 – Requirements for Ethics Approval of Research Proposals 
    Appendix 3 – Research Register User Guide for RESEARCHERS
    Research Register (includes online application form). 

    For enquires related to research, please contact the Analysis, Policy and Research team on 03 9267 0228 or research@cem.edu.au.

    B. Seeking access to data related to Catholic schools held by Catholic Education Melbourne

    Requests for access to data held by Catholic Education Melbourne must be made by email and should specify what data are being sought and for what purpose.

    When considering requests for access to data, Catholic Education Melbourne will comply with confidentiality and privacy requirements and take into account other areas of sensitivity related to Catholic schools, Catholic Education Melbourne, and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV).

    Generally, access to data is provided to:

    • government departments and Catholic agencies for the purpose of accountability and provision of services;
    • Catholic schools to assist in their planning and reporting activities;
    • people engaged directly in education;
    • people undertaking research in education or other areas of community benefit;
    • non-profit organisations involved in activities likely to provide a benefit to schools and the wider community.

    Catholic Education Melbourne will not normally provide data to commercial or marketing organisations, including those offering educational services.

    In cases where the data are already publicly available, the person making the request will be referred to that location.

    If some or all of the requested data are not available, or where access is denied, the person making the request will be informed.

    Data are provided by Catholic Education Melbourne on the condition that it is used only for the purposes stated in the request for access.

    All requests for access to data held by Catholic Education Melbourne must be made in writing to the Executive Director by email:


    email:  apr@ceomelb.catholic.edu.au 
    post:  Executive Director
    Attention: Analysis, Policy & Research Unit (RC1)
    Catholic Education Melbourne
    PO Box 3

    Catholic Education Melbourne 2016 (Revised)