Education News

Catholic school enrolments top 800,000 students

Enrolments in Catholic schools continued to show steady growth with a record number of 804,618 students in 2023, up from 793,729 the previous year according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data.

National Catholic Education executive director Ms Jacinta Collins said the continued growth of Catholic education showed the commitment to a faith-based education by families.

“As the single largest provider of faith-based schooling in Australia, this growth shows the great importance Catholic school families place on choosing a school that meets the needs of their child, as well as one that reflects their values and beliefs,” Ms Collins said.

“The release of the Australian Law Reform Commission report is just around the corner, which will provide recommendations to the Albanese Government on changes to anti-discrimination laws impacting faith-based schools.

“We will continue to convey to the government that the right of parents to choose a school that aligns to their beliefs and values is critical to religious freedom, and this includes the employment of staff who are willing to teach and support the ethos of the school,” she said.

The start of the school year saw a new Catholic school opening in Victoria. St Teresa of Kolkata Catholic Primary School, Tarneit North in outer Melbourne opened this year with 142 students, which will eventually grow to 550 students.

Principal Ms Robyn Kelly said she was excited to be the foundation principal of Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools’ newest school community.

“I am especially excited to be the principal of a school that has been named after Mother Teresa who has always been someone I have greatly admired and respected,” Ms Kelly said.

“My vision for this new school is that it will be a reflection of all that Mother Teresa did during her life. It will be a school where everyone is welcome, where every voice will be heard and where every child will be nurtured in a safe and inclusive environment.”

Victorian Catholic Education Authority acting CEO Mr Bruce Phillips said Catholic schools continued to see strong demand in the state.

“We continue to see strong demand for enrolments in the fast-growing areas of outer suburban Melbourne, like Tarneit North, and in Geelong and parts of regional Victoria, which is reflected in plans to build more than 30 new schools in those areas over the next 10 years.”

Overall, Independent schools recorded the highest growth rate in enrolments for the seventh consecutive year at 3.9 per cent, followed by Catholic schools, up 1.4 per cent, and government schools, up 0.3 per cent.

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