There has been significant growth in enrolments in Catholic schools over the past 10 years. Throughout southeast Queensland, more than 90,000 students filled classrooms in Catholic schools at the beginning of 2017. There has been around 35 per cent growth over the past 10 years in the 139 Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) schools across the Brisbane archdiocese, which covers metropolitan Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine coasts, west to South Burnett and north to Childers.
BCE executive director Pam Betts said the significant growth in enrolments over the past 10 years indicate the value families place upon a faith-based, high quality, affordable education for their children. “Parents are attracted to the faith-based ethos of our schools and the feeling of being a part of this experience is a major motivator in parental selection of education for their sons and daughters,” she said.
Catholic schools now educate almost one in five Queensland children with every student given the opportunity to experience success and reach their full potential in all aspects of school life. Ms Betts said while growth in enrolments was gratifying, it was important the Catholic Church expanded its mission into growth areas of southeast Queensland. Two new schools opened in 2017 – St Clare’s Primary School at Yarrabilba, and McAuley College (secondary) at Beaudesert. Planning is also underway for other new schools which will service the growing population of southeast Queensland.
Whether it’s learning your ABCs or 123s, celebrating Catholic Education Week, entering science, math, writing or art competitions, or looking after the school sustainability garden, there is always something happening. Staff recognise primary school is about establishing strong foundations for success in life-long learning and empowering students to make transitions throughout their schooling and into the world of work.
Within Catholic schools, primary students take part in learning programs which are informed by the Australian Curriculum and the school’s own learning policy. The philosophy of the Early Years curriculum is founded on active, inquiry and play-based learning. Importantly, there is a strong emphasis on the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy. Primary students are provided with a holistic, outcomes-based curriculum that is responsive to each child’s diverse and unique spiritual, social, emotional learning and developmental needs and circumstances.
During the early years of schooling, students have access to continuity in their learning, which is enhanced through the establishment and maintenance of effective, collaborative partnerships within the learning community and learning experiences that are relevant and meaningful and activity based.
Catholic schools offer students a well-balanced education comprising academic, sporting, cultural and social aspects, presented in a rich and balanced curriculum with spiritual and faith dimensions.
Teachers use modern educational methods to deliver first-rate teaching and learning outcomes for all students. Students are seen as active participants in the learning process and their spiritual, physical, emotional, and social development is of equal importance with teachers aware of the wide variation within any one group of students in their development.
Students excel in a variety of cultural pursuits such as singing, instrumental music, choirs, bands, drama and sports. In the sporting arena, students achieve representation at state, national and international levels in numerous sports.
Social justice also plays an important role in every Catholic school with innovative activities and programs in place to raise awareness and funds for others less fortunate through official agencies of the Catholic Church such as Catholic Mission, Caritas Australia, St Vincent de Paul Society and other Archdiocesan appeals.
On the environmental front, BCE is tackling issues such as climate change head on, designing new school buildings that are environmentally friendly and teaching students to be aware of the world around them through water conservation, energy saving, recycling and local ecological and environmental projects.
Indigenous cultures are also explored through BCE’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies Centre, Ngutana-Lui. Working closely with parishes and communities, Catholic schools are the face of the Church to young families seeking support for their challenging work of parenting and educating in faith and values. Founded on Christ and firmly focused on the challenges of the 21st century, committed staff ensure all Catholic families, regardless of their financial situation, are welcome.
BCE Catholic schools are fundamental to bringing the presence of Christ and the Church into the lives of people, especially those who are marginalised or experience disadvantage. This reflects the great tradition of many of the religious orders and their founders, including Australia’s first saint - Mary MacKillop - and the ongoing commitment of Catholic Education in furthering the Brisbane archdiocesan vision of “Jesus Communion Mission” through the educational ministry of the Church.
As welcoming communities, those of different cultural backgrounds and faith traditions also are made to feel at home and every student is given the opportunity to experience success by reaching their full potential in all aspects of school life.
Pastoral care is a distinguishing feature in Catholic schools with students gaining a sense of identity, purpose, success and wellbeing within the context of a Catholic community. Healthy eating and physical activities also play an important role in Catholic schools with the school curriculum seeking to improve students’ understanding of good nutrition and helping them develop the skills to make positive health decisions.
For more information about a Catholic school near you or to obtain an enrolment pack visit www.brisbanecatholicschools.com.au or call 07 3033 7000.