No policy change for Wollongong schools: CEO head

With non-Catholic enrolment in Wollongong Catholic schools varying from 10-15 per cent, diocesan Catholic education head, Peter Turner, says that the Church will maintain its current policy on admissions.

"We have had our current enrolment policy for a number of years and that policy won't change," Mr Turner told the Macarthur Advertiser.

"Catholic schools do take enrolments for children from Catholic families involved in the parish life first but where there is room our enrolment is open to other children."

The Macarthur region has eight Catholic primary schools and three Catholic high schools run by the Wollongong diocese, as well as three additional Catholic high schools not run by the diocese.

Non-Catholic enrolment in the diocese schools varies from 10-15 per cent.

The concern about enrolment came after bishops from NSW and the ACT, including Wollongong's Peter Ingham, produced a report on Catholic education titled Catholic Education at a Crossroads.

In that report, the bishops called for reflection on "the rising proportion of nominally Catholic and other-than-Catholic enrolments and of the under-participation of students from poorer backgrounds."

The report also included four main aims for Catholic education for the future. These were that Catholic schools "[be] truly Catholic in identity and life, are centres of the 'new evangelisation', enable our students to achieve high levels of Catholic religious life and practice and are led and staffed by people who will contribute to these goals."

Campbelltown Teachers Association representative Henry Rajendra said it was discriminatory to select students on religious grounds.

"What does concern me is the discriminatory way Catholic schools select students while at the same time getting huge amounts of government funding," he said.

The Federal Government provides between 68-70 per cent of Catholic school funding.

Catholic schools stoush (Macarthur Advertiser, 15/8/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Wollongong
Catholic Education Office, Wollongong

Teachers union backs Catholic identity review (CathNews, 10/8/07)
NSW to introduce Catholic pre-school (CathNews, 8/8/07)
Tas church presses for school anti-discrimination exemption (CathNews, 30/4/07)

16 Aug 2007