The work of the National Catholic Education Commission is to foster a thriving Catholic education sector that offers parents affordable access to, and a choice of, a faith-based education for their children.
Catholic education continues to advocate for fair and inclusive funding that sustains both public and faith-based school systems across Australia. Genuine choice relies on governments providing fair funding to ensure Catholic schools are affordable and accessible to families who desire a faith-based education for their children.
As one of our national strategic priorities, improving access to Catholic schools has involved researching the needs of families; advocating for a fairer government funding model to ensure greater affordability; presenting the case for government investment into school capital projects; and assisting Catholic school systems to deliver increased early childhood education services.
We are identifying how we can reduce or remove barriers to enrolment so we are more welcoming and inclusive, and better serve the needs of students and their families from all backgrounds, particularly those from regional, rural and remote areas, First Nations’ families, students with disability, those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and migrant and refugee families.
Through our national focus, and local state, territory and diocesan initiatives, such as financial hardship programs and scholarships, Catholic education is seeing increasing enrolments of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Since 2000, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Catholic schools has increased by 192.5 per cent; 41.9 per cent of Catholic school students are funded for socio-educational disadvantage, and students with disability make up 20.6 per cent of the students in our schools.
Nearly 40 per cent of Catholic schools are located in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia. We are advocating for the review of loadings (funding) for student need, small schools, and regional and remote schools to adequately respond to the additional needs and costs of students and schools from these backgrounds.
The NCEC has established a Resource Strategy Standing Committee to develop strategy and policy directions for the sustainable resourcing of Catholic education in Australia.