Folder Media Releases


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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