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Alarm for Non-Government Schools in Greens' Policy

The National Catholic Education Commission and Catholic School Parents Australia have warned that the Australian Greens’ education policy will create uncertainty for non-government schools, limit school choice for families and students, and could cause Catholic school fees to increase.

NCEC executive director Ross Fox said the Greens are using the final days of the campaign to promote their educational policy, but the policy creates conflict between the government and non-government sectors and could undermine the education Catholic schools provide to 765,000 students across Australia.

“The Greens’ education platform calls for funding for government schools to be prioritised ahead of non-government schools, irrespective of need,” Mr Fox said. “This position cannot be reconciled with the Greens’ stated commitment to needs-based, sector-blind funding.

Click here to read the full media release.

Parties Asked About Catholic Education Priorities

As the federal election approaches its final week, hundreds of thousands of families across Australia are being provided information about how the major political parties will support the education of students in the country’s 1,731 Catholic schools in the coming years.

Last month, Catholic education sent a series of seven questions to the Coalition and to the Australian Labor Party, asking about issues including needs-based school funding, capital funding, support for students with disability, religious freedom, and school and system autonomy.

The parties’ responses have been shared with Catholic schools and Catholic school families.

Click here to read the full media release.

Minister, Opposition Leader Address Catholic Educators

The joint hosts of the National Catholic Education Commission 2016 Conference have said the presence of Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at the gathering of 1,400 Catholic educators shows the value the politicians place on the role of Catholic schools in Australian society.

“With just 12 days until the federal election, Minister Birmingham and Mr Shorten have prioritised this event to explain their parties’ vision for Australian education and the important role that the 1,731 Catholic schools across Australia play in that educational enterprise,” NCEC executive director Ross Fox said.

Tim McDonald, executive director of Catholic Education Western Australia, said the visit “strengthens the already close bond that the 163 Catholic schools in Western Australia have with local and national political leaders in supporting the education of 78,000 students in all parts of the state”.

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Growing Pressure on School Places Needs Attention

As demand for places in all Australian schools continues to grow on the back of a recent spike in births and strong migration, Commonwealth, state and territory governments must consider how they support the provision of contemporary learning environments for new and expanding schools, the National Catholic Education Commission has said.

NCEC executive director Ross Fox says a 20 per cent increase in the birth rate between 2004 and 2008 – about 50,000 additional births per year – and the sustained high number of births in subsequent years is now putting pressure on primary schools.

“By 2019, primary schools will have had to increase capacity at all year levels by 20 per cent to accommodate the growth in student numbers,” Mr Fox explained, saying migration has also pushed up demand for school places.

Click here to read the full media release

Catholic Schools Committed to Care of All Students

National Catholic Education Commission executive director Ross Fox has underlined the national commitment to eliminating bullying in Catholic schools and to providing support and pastoral care for students who are bullied for any reason.

Mr Fox said despite a new journal article’s claims about how same-sex attracted and gender-diverse students are supported in Catholic schools, the human dignity of each student and the emphasis on pastoral care are part of Catholic education’s holistic approach to student welfare.

“The new article, which draws on 10-year-old information that relied on education policies dating back to 2001, makes assertions about how Catholic schools are currently responding to issues around bullying,” he explained.

Click here to read the full media release.

Setting the Record Straight on School Funding

A report from the Centre for Policy Development released today contains analysis of the Australian education system. National Catholic Education Commission executive director Ross Fox says the report contains flawed analysis and unsubstantiated claims.

The report’s authors claim that by 2020, Catholic schools will be receiving higher levels of funding from government sources than government schools. The methodology used to create those so-called projections is seriously flawed and not credible, Mr Fox said.

“The funding projections have been done using historical funding data, a ruler and a pencil,” Mr Fox said.

Click here to read the full media release.

Radical Funding Freeze Proposal Unjustified, Would Hurt Students

National Catholic Education Commission executive director Ross Fox says a proposal to freeze funding for Catholic schools would abandon the principle of needs-based funding and would be a serious blow to the education of students in non-government schools.

A new report from the Centre for Policy Development includes a recommendation to cancel important and necessary increases in government funding for Catholic and independent schools.

“To propose a freeze on the funding levels for 1.3 million students from all backgrounds is radical and unjustified. It would have dire consequences for the future of non-government schools and the education of those students,” Mr Fox said.

Click here to read the full media release.

Flawed Assumptions, Simplistic Comparisons Disappointing

National Catholic Education Commission executive director Ross Fox says Fairfax Media reports this morning use flawed assumptions and simplistic comparisons to create a misleading picture of how Australian schools are funded.

“Discussion on school funding should be driven by facts, not by cherry-picking of data and flawed assumptions. Flawed analysis does nothing to support teaching and learning in Australian schools,” Mr Fox said.

“Australian schools are funded based on the needs of the students in those schools. According to the latest available data, government schools, on average, receive $12,100 per student from government. Catholic schools receive $10,000 and independent schools $8,200 per student.”

Click here to read the full media release.

School Funding Diversion Ignores the Facts

National Catholic Education Commission executive director Ross Fox says the Australian Education Union’s diversion on school funding today ignores the reality of school enrolment and students’ needs.

“This apparent attempt to turn school funding discussions into a battle between school sectors will do nothing to support students or teachers,” Mr Fox said.

Mr Fox said today’s analysis and the subsequent media reports ignore the reality of school funding.

Click here to read the full media release.

Education Front and Centre as Election Campaign Nears

How government policy supports quality teaching and learning and how schools are funded will be a focus of the upcoming federal election campaign, National Catholic Education Commission executive director Ross Fox has said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the coming days is expected to ask Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove to dissolve Parliament and thereby start the countdown to a July 2 election.

“Over the next eight weeks, political parties and candidates will outline their vision for the future of Australia, and that future is dependent on how students and schools are supported,” Mr Fox said.

Click here to read the full media release.

Labor Underlines Its Commitment to School Education

The National Catholic Education Commission has welcomed Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s clear support for school education in his Budget-in-reply speech, reiterating the principles of the “Your Child. Our Future” policy announced in January.

Mr Shorten last night said he is committed to ensuring “every child, in every school, gets every opportunity for a great world-class education”.

NCEC executive director Ross Fox said Mr Shorten has laid the groundwork for school education to be a focus ahead of the election.

Click here to read the full media release.

Budget Delivers Indexation Certainty on School Funding

The National Catholic Education Commission says the additional recurrent funding confirmed in tonight’s federal Budget gives certainty on funding indexation to principals, school staff and families.

“Investment in schools to ensure quality teaching and learning is critical to the future of Australia,” NCEC executive director Ross Fox said.

The 2016-17 Commonwealth Budget confirmed there will be $1.2 billion in additional funding to support all Australian schools from 2018 to 2020. This reflects a commitment to indexation at 3.56 per cent for school funding beyond 2017. Over the forward estimates, funding for government schools will increase by 33 per cent, while funding for non-government schools, including Catholic schools, will increase by 22.7 per cent.

Click here to read the full media release.

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