Student enrolments in Cairns Catholic schools have topped the 12,000 mark for the first time.
Executive Director of Cairns Catholic Education, Bill Dixon, said the tally of 12,050 students across the 30 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Cairns represented an increase of 4.8 percent on the 2022 enrolment figures.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever enrolled more than 12,000 students, which is a reflection both of the strong demand for Catholic education and of the continuing population growth of Far North Queensland,” Mr Dixon said.
“Our newest school, Newman Catholic College at Smithfield, which opened in 2022, has doubled its size in one leap, while smaller increases have been recorded across the board in many other schools.
“It’s a strong vote of faith from parents in what we do in our Catholic schools, and of the many aspects which draw them to enrol their children with us.
“Parents tell us they like the Christian values which are evident in our schools, as well as the excellent teaching and learning programs we offer, coupled with a strong emphasis on the safety and wellbeing of each student,” he said.
As the population of Far North Queensland continues to grow, so does pressure on schools to be able to meet the demand for places at both primary and secondary levels.
Cairns Catholic Education has already announced a plan to open a new primary school at Kewarra Beach, on the site of the former Paradise Palms golf course. It is hoped that this school will open in 2025, pending funding and government approvals.
Towards the end of the decade, a new secondary college at Gordonvale is also on the agenda.
Mr Dixon said the strong results in enrolment growth in the Cairns Diocese – which stretches from Cardwell in the south to Waibeni (Thursday Island) in the north – were also being reflected in Catholic schools in other parts of Australia.
“Catholic education is the largest provider of faith-based schooling in the nation, showing that parents continue to want the ability to choose schools which meet the needs of their children and which reflect their values and beliefs,” he said.
“And in fact, over the past five years, there’s been a growth in student numbers in all faith-based non-government schools across Australia of 7.7 percent.
“We will continue to be responsive to the needs of our parents and students, and to plan for continuing growth in demand for a Catholic education in our region, which means continuing to expand our existing schools and to plan for new schools in the areas of population growth.
“We are also committed to attracting and developing the very best teachers possible here in the Far North, because our students deserve no less.”
Discover more about our 30 Catholic schools and colleges.