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Catholic Education Commission NSW Election 2015 Update

posted 4 Mar 2015, 19:48 by Krystina Szafraniec

Opposition Leader Luke Foley officially launched Labor’s election campaign on Sunday 1 March, promising to cut planning red tape for schools and allocate $1.3 billion in additional capital funding for schools and TAFE Colleges over the next decade.

On 27 February, Catholic Education Commission NSW Executive Director Brian Croke called on the next NSW Government to increase capital funding to all school sectors to accommodate the forecast 267,000 increase in NSW school enrolments by 2031. CECNSW’s media campaign started with a story on p7 of the Daily Telegraph and reports on breakfast radio bulletins. It was followed up by a media release, fact sheet and FAQs to metropolitan, regional and suburban media and also to Catholic media and stakeholders. The key messages we highlighted are worth repeating here:

Þ The NSW birth-rate is now 10,000 per year higher than it was in 2010. This means 500 more kindergarten classes than in 2010 are needed each year—which must then become 500 additional Year 1 classes the following year, then 500 Year 2 classes the year after that, and so on.

Þ The NSW Government predicts there will be 267,000 more school students in 2031 than there were in 2014. If the proportion of Catholic school students remains the same, Catholic schools will have to accommodate 58,000 additional students. This will require the construction of more than 2,300 extra classrooms, including perhaps 20 new schools.

Þ Catholic schools educate 21% of the state’s students, but receive just 2% of the capital funding allocated by the NSW Government to all schools.

Þ Last year, Catholic schools received just $7.6 million in capital funding from the NSW Government. NSW government schools receive $399.1 million for capital works in 2014-15.

Þ Expressed another way - government schools are allocated the equivalent of $524 per student and Catholic schools just $30 per student.

CECNSW applauds the NSW Government and Opposition for announcing several new government schools during this election campaign. But both sides know that the government sector alone cannot meet the forecast growth in enrolments.

The next NSW Government needs to help non-government schools grow so that they can continue to enrol their proportion of students into the future - otherwise, taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill for far more classrooms and teachers than they have currently envisaged.

 For more information you can read the full update here.