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Catholic education puts it case to parties

National

The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) and Catholic Education South Australia (CESA) have called on political parties to support Catholic schools.

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“Catholic schools are a vital part of Australia’s education landscape. We are the nation’s largest provider of education outside the government,” said CESA director Dr Neil McGoran.

“We seek a government that supports and adequately funds the education of all the nation’s students. In addition, there are a number of significant issues that are of importance to Catholic Education South Australia. These are shared by NCEC and Catholic schools around the nation.”

With the Commonwealth the predominant funder of non-government schools, CESA is seeking assurances that Catholic schools will receive adequate recurrent funding to ensure they remain affordable.

It also wants confirmation the recently introduced Choice and Affordability Fund will be supported to ensure low fee primary schools can continue to provide an affordable choice alongside each local, free government school.

In terms of capital funding, Dr McGoran stressed that Catholic school families funded 90 per cent of capital works.

“Catholic schools in South Australia receive only $5.5m per annum across 101 schools from the Federal Government to support capital works,” he said.

“CESA is seeking a significant increase in capital funding from the Commonwealth to support building new schools and upgrading facilities to meet current educational needs.

The NCEC and CESA say another issue for voters to consider is early childhood education.

They believe that funding for 15 hours per week of quality early learning for three and four year olds should be made available in ways that are accessible to families in the settings they choose.

Dr McGoran also pointed out that funding for students with disability had decreased since 2017 while the number of students with disability enrolled in Catholic schools had increased.

“In order to enable every student access to their full education entitlement in their parents’ choice of school, adequate funding needs to be provided to students with disability in Catholic schools.”

More information, including responses from the major political parties to specific questions regarding Catholic education, can be found online at: www.cesa.catholic.edu.au/news/federal-election-2019

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