Catholic enrolments grow alongside other sectors

Enrolments in Catholic schools continue to grow, but enrolment growth has been observed most significantly in government schools over the past two years, new Australian Bureau of Statistics data has found.

According to the ABS Schools, Australia, 2016 report, Catholic schools continue to educate slightly more than one in five Australian students, at 20.2 per cent. Government schools enrol 65.4 per cent of students, with the independent sector educating the remaining 14.4 per cent.

National Catholic Education Commission acting executive director Danielle Cronin said families continue to choose Catholic schools in record numbers, although that growth was slower in 2016 than in previous years.

She said the fact 14 new Catholic schools opened in 2015, but just three in 2016 – including one in the middle of the year – could be a reason for the lower enrolment growth last year.

“In many parts of the country, Catholic school systems are struggling to keep up with the demand from the local community for a Catholic education,” she said. “We will continue to try to meet that demand through increasing the number of places available in Catholic schools across the country.”

Non-government schools have the greatest proportion of enrolments in the ACT, at just over 40 per cent, while in the Northern Territory, the proportion of students in non-government schools is slightly below 30 per cent.

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Ross Fox Image
Ross Fox

Ross Fox is the Executive Director for the National Catholic Education Commission.