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Opening the door to more students


As Catholic schools around the State celebrated another successful Open Week in September, Catholic Education SA confirmed that enrolments have surpassed 50,000 for the first time.

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CESA director Neil McGoran said it was very pleasing to see the growth in student numbers reflected in the August enrolment census.

“Our growth stems from a commitment to making Catholic education more affordable, inclusive, and accessible to all,” he said.

“We have introduced fee reductions across our schools and scholarships for young people in care. We have opened new campuses in Two Wells and Renmark and expanded schooling in a number of regional areas.

“We are connecting with young people who have not thrived in traditional schooling and giving them new opportunities to engage in learning.”

Dr McGoran said Catholic schools integrate faith and education and, in doing so, they provide an education of “the heart and mind”.

Initiatives underpinning the increase in enrolments included: introducing fee reductions and a fee freeze; a midyear intake (1299 students commenced Reception in Catholic Schools in July this year); scholarships for young people in care (278 students since the program was introduced in 2020); an increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Catholic schools; opening of the Compass Catholic Community for 17-24 year olds who have not thrived in mainstream schooling; and opening of new campuses and school expansions (five new campuses have opened since 2020).

Meanwhile, CESA has launched a temporary additional country teaching incentive program to cover three schools in regional and remote South Australia. In addition to its current country teaching incentives, the new program will provide extra incentives for teachers starting at St Barbara’s School, Roxby Downs; Caritas College, Port Augusta; and Samaritan College, Whyalla in 2023.

Successful candidates will be able to access a $20,000 incentive payment over a two-year period.

Samaritan College principal Damien Judd said as recent media coverage had identified, there are challenges in filling positions in a range of professions across the nation, including the education sector.

“Teaching is just one of many areas struggling for workers – which is exaggerated in the country areas,” Mr Judd said. “Given metro schools are also struggling it then means the field of teachers who may then apply for country schools is now much smaller.”

Mr Judd said there were many reasons why teachers who made the move to the country enjoyed the experience.

“There is a great feel to all country schools and it is an extremely collegiate and supportive environment,” he said.

“New staff here really get looked after as existing staff embrace them and support them. You learn so much in a country school but get supported in doing so.

“There are lots of chances to get to Adelaide for events or training and pretty much everyone who comes here, loves it.”

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