Historically, Catholic schools existed predominantly to educate children from Catholic families. In more recent years though, Church documents including ‘The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium’ (1998) have advocated a more inclusive approach to Catholic education, and specifically, a more welcoming attitude toward those with special educational needs, those who are socio-economically disadvantaged, those from First Nations or multicultural backgrounds and those who have faiths other than Catholic. This growing ecumenical and inclusive outlook has prompted Catholic schools to be more open in their enrolment policies and practices.
Contemporary Catholic schools are places which welcome all who genuinely seek to be part of the life of the school and wish to share in a vibrant, well-resourced learning environment, based on Catholic faith and values.
In Far North Queensland, almost one in every four students is educated in a Catholic school. Half of those are Catholic and three quarters are of a Christian religion. Some don’t identify with any religion.
Research shows that families in Catholic schools place importance on the broad range of values associated with Catholic schools – social and emotional development, values framework, safety and respectful relationships, partnerships and a sense of belonging. Parents and guardians choose to entrust their children’s future to Catholic schools because of their explicit goals and acknowledged educational quality.
Enrolment policy strives to ensure schools engage in the essence of what it is to be Catholic, whilst, at the same time, are inclusive in nature and develop an evangelising role in addition to the catechetical role they have traditionally played as educators of Catholic children.
Consideration in enrolment priority is given, in order, to:
- Siblings of existing and former student members of the school community;
- Students in Catholic primary schools wishing to transition to Catholic secondary colleges. Similar consideration will be given to Catholic students transitioning from rural and remote areas not serviced by a Catholic school;
- Catholics who participate regularly in the celebration of the Eucharist;
- Catholics who commit to the values of the Catholic Church;
- Participating members of other Christian churches;
- Christians who commit to the values of the Catholic church;
- Those persons not affiliated with any Christian church, who commit to the values of the Catholic Church.
While at all times having regard for:
- Ensuring families in genuine financial hardship are not denied access to a Catholic Education;
- Ensuring Catholic school options are available for students with a disability;
- Encouraging the engagement of First Nations families in the life of the school;
- Opportunities for inter-faith understanding and dialogue within school communities;
- Having some flexibility for new enrolments during the course of the year (for example for new families moving into a school’s vicinity).
Enrolment policy is set against a background where many of our schools and colleges have waiting lists as a result of high demand for limited places. While every effort is made to accommodate enrolments that fulfil the policy criteria, there will be occasions where students who otherwise meet the criteria for enrolment may not be offered a place. This outcome is regretted but will continue to be a factor in determining enrolments until additional capacity can be achieved.
Our schools have a strong commitment to providing for the needs of all students in an inclusive, life-giving and supportive school community environment.
Further information is contained in the enrolment policy below.