Almost a third of students at Catholic schools are non-Catholic

Demands from outsiders surging

Catholic schools are facing such a growing demand from non-Catholic families that 10,000 new classrooms are needed by 2025, with ­almost a third of students now from outside the faith, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The Church’s education chiefs are fast-tracking a huge expansion program expected to cost $3.4 billion over the next decade, and warned fees could rise unless more government funding was secured.

It comes at a time when concerned bishops have warned of a need to “reaffirm the Catholic identity of our schools”, with non-Catholic enrolments in some areas up to almost 50 percent.

Non-Catholic families flocking to enrol children in Catholic schools will make up a large chunk of the additional 180,000 students expected nationally­, with waiting lists continuing to grow.

“Outsiders” — increasing by about 1 percent a year — are attracted by the quality of academic programs on offer, along with Catholic values.

However, Catholic educators said places were allocated on a strict priority basis, giving first preference to Catholic families, followed by those families with siblings at a school, Christian families, other religions and non-Catholics.

Every family enrolling a child is asked to be supportive of the Catholic faith, its ethos and values and those identifying as Catholic need to show they are practising.

Bishops have warned ­Catholic schools are at “crossroads”, with educators told the Church does not want to see their education institutions ­regarded as “great secular schools with Catholic icing.”

Photo: Kindergarten students at Mother Teresa Primary School in Westmead, western Sydney, include, clockwise from top left, Jasmine Khouri, Jaycob Bainy, Anthony Hanna, Monique Douohiy and Arnav Prakash (Daily Telegraph)

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Catholic schools: Almost one third of students are from outside the faith

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