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Want information and contact details of all Catholic schools in the Cairns region?
Do Catholic schools have catchment areas?
No, Catholic schools in the Cairns Diocese do not have catchment areas. Where a child or their family lives has no bearing on the Catholic schools where they can apply to enrol. There are no geographical boundaries to attending any of our 29 schools and colleges.
Is there a quota of Catholics and non-Catholics?
No, despite this long-standing myth, there has never been a defined percentage of non-Catholic students that a school must enrol. Each enrolment is assessed on its merits against the enrolment criteria. Many of our schools have large numbers of students from non-Catholic backgrounds.
Who can enrol?
Catholic school communities recognise and value the uniqueness and individuality of students and families, and the human dignity of each person. In their outreach role, our schools are welcoming to all and serve the needs of families who will benefit from their service. These include those from culturally diverse backgrounds including Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples, those who seek to deepen their faith in a Catholic context, those from backgrounds of marginalisation and disadvantage including the economically and spiritually poor, and those with disability. Enrolment positions are offered on a school-by-school basis, depending upon availability and application.
When should I apply?
Enrolment procedures can vary from school to school, as individual schools manage their own enrolments. Generally, enrolment offers for Prep are made in Term 2 or 3 for the following year, although applications are welcome at any time, subject to vacancies and interview. However, it is best to contact the schools you are interested in directly to find out when to apply to that school. You’ll find some school-specific enrolment information, and contact details, for all our Catholic schools and colleges under the ‘Our Schools’ tab on the Cairns Catholic Education website.
How do I apply?
Applying to enrol at a Catholic school in the Cairns Diocese has never been easier! Application to many of our schools can now be done online, from either the Cairns Catholic Education website or the individual school’s website. For those who prefer a more traditional method, hard copy forms can be obtained from each school office or downloaded from the school website. The enrolment procedure for each school can be found on that school’s website, with a link to online application, where available.
Does my child need to be Catholic?
No, your child does not need to be Catholic to enrol at a Catholic school. While preference is given to students of the Catholic faith, particularly those active in their parishes, students in our schools are from a variety of religious backgrounds. Catholic schools are welcoming to all who seek and support their values. For enrolment priority, visit www.cns.catholic.edu.au/enrolling/who-can-enrol
Do we need to be Catholic?
No, the parents or guardians of a student do not need to be Catholic for the student to attend a Catholic school.
If my child isn’t Catholic, will they feel left out?
Not at all. All religious education which includes the classroom teaching of religion and the religious life of the school, is respectful of all learners and is based on the foundational belief in the dignity of every person.
How much Religious Education is there?
It is a requirement that a minimum of 2.5 hours per week of religion teaching is provided in both primary and secondary schools from P-12. Hence there are 27.5 contact hours in a Catholic school compared to a government school which is required to have 25.
The Religion Curriculum P-12 enables students to progressively develop a deeper understanding of the Catholic Christian tradition and an empathetic understanding of the major world religions, as well as be respectful of how believers of various religions live out their religion’s teachings. The approach taken respects learners and promotes critical thinking, leading to a richer appreciation of self and others.
What can a Catholic school offer my child?
Catholic schools are known for their high standards, the quality, faith and values-based education they provide, and the broad range of academic and vocational outcomes available to secondary students. Catholic schools focus on a holistic education to provide an educational foundation for the full development of each student – intellectually, spiritually, socially, emotionally and physically. Our schools are welcoming, inclusive, and connected communities where respect for self and others is paramount. The resulting good behaviour is conducive to creating favourable environments where quality learning and teaching can take place. Catholic schools seek to provide a genuine, safe and caring experience for those who are part of their community. Students are encouraged to value diversity, develop a sense of social justice and become valued, contributing members of society.
What support is there for my child?
The inclusive philosophy of Catholic schools promotes the human dignity of each student. Catholic schools strive to provide collaborative, supportive and engaging educational environments where all students are given the opportunities to learn and achieve to their potential.
Various forms of support are available to all students to enhance their learning and promote their physical, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. This includes collaboration and partnership with parents, the provision of learning support, tailored learning plans, social and emotional learning programs, extension plans for gifted and talented, counselling and access to specialist services such as psychology, speech language pathology, occupational therapy, numeracy and literacy coaching.
Supported enrolments are available when a parent identifies that their child requires additional support in the educational environment, for example because of a disability, medical diagnosis, history of difficulty with learning, or concern with speech, hearing or vision.
Transition support occurs when a student moves from or into a new educational setting including into Prep, from one year level to another, from primary to secondary school, or to prepare for the most appropriate career pathway throughout life.
For students with a disability, required educational adjustments are identified to meet the learning and access needs of students, along with the resourcing necessary to meet the student’s support needs. For further information visit www.cns.catholic.edu.au/your-education/diverse-learners.
Are Catholic schools expensive?
Catholic schools remain an affordable option for most families, and Catholic schools in the Cairns Diocese are surprisingly more affordable than some may realise. Many of our families are pleasantly surprised to find that the cost of a Catholic school is much less than that of a private or independent school. In fact, if your family can afford kindergarten fees you can afford Catholic school fees. Fee discounts for siblings and country areas apply and we have options including generous, automatic fee concessions for those in genuine financial difficulty.
What value do you place on your child’s education? With nothing to lose and everything to gain, it is worth considering a Catholic school for your child. For more information on discounts available and current school fees, visit www.cns.catholic.edu.au/enrolling/fees-and-discounts/
What if I can’t afford it?
Catholic Schools offer options for those in genuine financial difficulty, including substantial, automatic fee discounts for holders of means-tested health care cards. New or existing parents who are experiencing financial difficulty but do not hold a concession card, are encouraged to discuss fee concessions with their school principal to apply for special consideration. This request will be treated with understanding, sensitivity and confidentiality. Catholic schools have always maintained an outreaching focus, with a traditional and often expressed preferential option for the poor. To enable this outreach, it is essential that parents who can afford to meet their financial obligation, do so.
How do Catholic schools differ from private and independent schools?
The mission and ethos of Catholic schools to live the Gospel values of Jesus Christ permeate all aspects of Catholic school life. Because of their outreaching focus and preferential option for the poor and disadvantaged, Catholic schools seek to keep fees as low as possible to allow access to a Catholic education for families who seek it. Fees are therefore significantly less than private and independent schools, particularly in the Diocese of Cairns in Far North Queensland. Because of this foundational core belief to welcome the poor and marginalised and accordingly their lower fees, Catholic schools see themselves as distinctly Catholic, and not private schools.
Why are there fees?
All students in Australia are entitled to a government supported education. By having the freedom to choose a Catholic school for their child, Catholic school parents are effectively helping the government to fund their child’s education, through the school fees and levies they pay. These fees and levies are necessary to make up for the shortfall in government funding that is provided for a child in a Catholic school, compared to funding for a child in a State school. The cost to the government of funding the education of a child in a Catholic school is therefore less than if that child were to attend a government school.
Catholic schools face the complexity of balancing the cost of providing the quality, faith-based education for which Catholic schools are known, with the need to keep fees as affordable as possible so that those who wish to choose a Catholic education for their child, can do so.
The core value of the Catholic Church to support the poor and disadvantaged means no child is refused a Catholic education because of genuine financial difficulty. Generous concessions are provided in those circumstances, however this outreach must be balanced with the need for those who can afford to contribute, to do so. As a result, Catholic school fees are significantly less than those of private schools, particularly in Far North Queensland.