Executive Director’s message: Sustainable, equitable future for Catholic education
29 April 2019
In just a few weeks Australia will decide who will govern our country for the next three years.
The impending Federal election presents a brief, but useful time to reflect on the matters most important to us as we are presented various blueprints for the nation’s future. As the second largest provider of education in WA, for Catholic Education Western Australia this is a period for discussion and collaboration with all sides of politics to ensure parents continue to have the freedom to choose the learning environment best-suited to their child.
Since the first Catholic school opened in Perth in 1837, Catholic schools in WA have been responsive to the needs of communities. We continue to play a vital role in the mission of the Catholic Church as our schools, colleges and centres offer a genuine educational choice.
Working with the National Catholic Education Commission, CEWA is resolute that Catholic education remain a key partner in the delivery of quality schooling in Australia along with the government and independent sectors.
The NCEC is keeping the Catholic education community informed of political news through its weekly newsletter, and has also created some very useful myth busting factsheets on school funding and other topics.
Funding has been a hot topic for education in recent years and CEWA, along with the NCEC welcomed last year’s National School Reform Agreement and commitment from the Australian Government of recurrent funding for Catholic, public and independent schools for 2019 to 2029. This was a step forward in ensuring the accessibility of quality, Christ-centred and affordable education for our current and future students. However, we must ensure funding for Catholic schools keeps pace with the schooling needs of WA’s diverse population beyond that period.
In the past 15 years CEWA has opened: six new primary schools; two new secondary schools; two new composite (K–12) schools; and one new early learning and care centre. However, by 2026, more than 12,000 additional students are expected to seek enrolment at Catholic schools in WA.
CEWA has identified five key priority areas to be addressed by both Federal and State Government to ensure the sustainable, long-term future of Catholic education in WA: capital funding to provide facilities for our diverse student population; funding towards the operating costs of boarding colleges for Aboriginal students; support for small, rural and remote school communities to accurately reflect operational costs; cross-sectoral collaboration to address the needs of students with disability; and commitment to early years’ education.
Further information on CEWA’s priorities can be found here.
As our letterboxes and inboxes fill with campaign material over the next few weeks, CEWA will remain focused on the educational and wellbeing needs of all students, and building the sustainable and equitable system where those needs will be met.
Dr Debra Sayce
Catholic Education Western Australia