The theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week is ‘I Belong. You Belong. We Belong.’
The Executive Director of Sydney Catholic schools, Dr Dan White, said that the theme reminds us that on top of the outstanding teaching and learning that take place in Catholic schools every day, Catholic schools champion a sense of belonging to the wider community by providing a helping hand to those most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
“This year’s theme ties in with the Church’s celebration of the Year of Mercy, which recognises that our Catholic values of forgiveness, compassion, strength and love sit at the heart of what Catholic schools are all about,” Dr White said.
“In this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis is calling on all Catholic communities to extend mercy to those most in need, and to particularly welcome into our communities, people seeking refuge from conflict and suffering.”
With a tradition of more than 196 years in Australia and record student numbers in Catholic schools across the nation, Dr Dan White, says that Catholic schools are about so much more than just good test scores.
“Catholic schools build young people into strong, confident learners who want to make a difference, and who believe that great things are possible for them. Our schools create strong leaders and adults of integrity and compassion, who reach out to all sections of society, especially the marginalised, to foster a sense of belonging,” Dr White added.
“Catholic schools have helped educate their share of Australia’s parents and politicians, teachers and authors, doctors and lawyers, technicians and builders, accountants and bureaucrats, media stars and sportspeople – and they continue to do so.”
This year, more than 265,000 students from across NSW and the ACT will be showcase the contribution Catholic schools play in educating young Australians.
620 Catholic schools will get involved in a state and ACT-wide event. Activities planned for the week include open days and open classrooms, school tours, musical performances, displays of students’ work, special literacy sessions, sporting demonstrations, reading programs and so much more!
DID YOU KNOW?
- Catholic schools have been in existence in Australia for 196 years, educating 1 in 5 students in Australia – more than 760,000 students.
- Demand for Catholic education remains strong. In the Sydney Catholic Schools system, enrolment figures are the highest ever with 70,236 students enrolled this year throughout its 150 schools, including 5,883 new Kindergarten students.
- Catholic schools teach the same curriculum as government schools, with the addition of Religious Education.
- Like government schools, Catholic schools cater for students with special needs, from diverse linguistic backgrounds, and from rural and remote regions.
- Catholic systemic schools do not receive more overall government funding than government schools. They receive only about 80% of the funding received by government schools. The gap is partly offset by modest fees, building levies and other charges paid by parents, as well as by support from parish communities.
- Across Australia, the number of students with disability in Catholic schools increased from 24,805 in 2009 to 33,669 in 2014 – a 36% rise.
- In Sydney Catholic schools, 46,915 students are from language backgrounds other than English (67%) and 1,119 students identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
For CSW events and open days at your local Catholic School, visit: