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Schools funding squeeze boosts Sydney class sizes


Catholic schools have refused to follow the NSW Government's lead and cut class sizes for the early years, claiming they cannot afford the extra teachers or classrooms.

The decision means that Catholic schools in high-growth areas, such as Sydney's west and south-west, will have kindergarten classes of 30 students as public schools reduce classes to 20 from next year.

Br Kelvin Canavan, executive director of schools for the Sydney Archdiocese, said that reducing class sizes in kindergarten to year 2 would be "indordinately expensive".

He was not convinced of the educational benefits of the Government's "one size fits all" approach but would increase funding for support staff, such as teachers' aides or literacy teachers, so that large classes could be split for part of the day.

One-quarter of NSW Catholic systemic schools run by dioceses have more than 30 students in their classes.

The systemic schools account for the majority of the 586 Catholic schools in the state and charge annual fees of about $800 compared with the Catholic independent schools, which levy up to $15,000 a year but generally have smaller classes.

SOURCE
Sydney Morning Herald

LINKS
Catholic Education Office Sydney
"NSW Catholic Education Supplement in Sunday Telegraph - 4 May" (PDF)
Catholic Education Commission NSW

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26 May 2003