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Why families choose a Catholic education


It was interesting reading a recent article in The Sunday Mail regarding Catholic schools and declining enrolments.

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The journalist compared Catholic, Government and Independent schools. The point of the article was to report that Catholic school numbers were down and other sectors were up. She used raw data over a period of four years and when you look at those numbers they could be alarming. Various reasons were stated such as affordability, academic achievement, NAPLAN results and facilities.

In the Southern Vales region our story is the complete opposite. Our numbers have increased and at Cardijn College alone there was a 26 per cent increase in total enrolment in 2019, the largest increase across all schools in SA. The landscape does not change for 2020 with an anticipated enrolment increase at Year 7 and 8 at 19 per cent at these year levels. If one wanted to compare academic achievement, NAPLAN scores and investment in capital development, one only needs to visit the website to compare schools in the region and see that Catholic schools are punching well above their weight in comparison to neighbouring schools.

At Cardijn alone our Year 12 results are amongst the best in the State; 99.1 per cent SACE completion, over 80 per cent of our technical students into apprenticeships (national average is 5 per cent), 20 per cent of students with ATAR scores over 90 and in the last three consecutive years, a student from Cardijn received the highest SACE Award – a Governor of South Australia Commendation (27 students awarded in the State in 2019).

So why are families choosing a Catholic school in the Southern Vales? Is it our academic success, our affordable fees, our special pastoral care or impressive facilities? I believe it is deeper than these factors. It is how we make each and every family feel special at Cardijn, our deep belief in why we exist as a Catholic school and how we communicate this with our future families.

We believe that every child matters and that we have been entrusted with their care and education. Parents know from word of mouth that children at Cardijn will thrive, be connected and feel that they belong. Parents know that the quality of learning is of a very high standard and where they feel satisfied that their child will receive extra help or be extended and inspired to be at their best.

Furthermore, they know that their children will be in an environment where they are challenged to see themselves as leaders in a greater community both locally and globally, where they are challenged to live for their community and work towards supporting those who are most marginalised. Catholic education in the Southern Vales from Reception to Year 12+ is an investment in the future of our children.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College.



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