144,000 Queensland Students Return to Catholic Schools Next Week


Around 144,000 or 1 in 5 Queensland students and more than 17,000 teachers and staff will begin the school year at one of 297 Catholic schools across the State next week.

One new Catholic school, St Brigid’s Primary School, Emerald will open this year, while a number of others will expand to cater for additional year levels and enrolments.

Queensland Catholic Education Commission Executive Director Mike Byrne said St Brigid’s is the first new Catholic school built with assistance from the Newman Government’s Building Our Future Schools Fund set up to assist the
schooling sectors to keep pace with increasing demand for enrolments, particularly in growth areas of the State.

“The State government has contributed $6.1 million to the development of St Brigid’s which has been strongly supported by families in Emerald,” Mr Byrne said.

Two new kindergarten services will also open on Catholic school sites at Gatton and Mango Hill this year as part of the State government’s commitment to provide universal access to kindergarten programs for all Queensland children. A new kindergarten has also been established by the Diocese of Rockhampton in Emerald.

Mr Byrne said the QCEC would continue to engage with a number of government policy issues on behalf of the Catholic sector in 2014 including the reviews of the Australian Curriculum and the Queensland senior assessment and tertiary entrance processes.

He said that while well advanced, Catholic sector preparations for the move of Year 7 to secondary school in 2015, would also gather momentum this year.

“Catholic schools strive to provide a high quality, faith-based and affordable educational option for Queensland families,” Mr Byrne said.

“I thank our families for their ongoing support for Catholic schools and offer best wishes to all Queensland school communities – Catholic, State and Independent – for a happy, safe and productive year ahead.”

Catholic schools educate about 18.5% of all Queensland students and almost 60% of students in non-government schools. Enrolments in Catholic schools have been increasing by 2-3% annually over the past decade.

Catholic Education Week in Queensland will be celebrated from 27 July – 2 August this year with the theme “Come, live life in all its fullness”.

Queensland’s Catholic schools are operated by five diocesan education authorities based in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Brisbane and 15 Religious
Institutes or other incorporated bodies.