Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 March 2010) . . Page.. 894 ..
teachings and learning that takes place every day, while also drawing attention to the support given to the more vulnerable or disadvantaged members of our communities.
As a parent returning to the education market this year at the Catholic preschool at Holy Family school, Gowrie, it is of particularly big interest, as it always has been, to me.
I will give some of the examples of activities in Catholic Schools Week that happened in the ACT last year. Good Shepherd primary school in Amaroo had an awareness-raising session about the opening of the new school at Harrison, the Mother Teresa school. A challenge match was staged between representatives of the Brumbies, the Raiders and the Capitals and the students from Good Shepherd and Holy Spirit. The challenge involved some physical tasks followed by a quiz. St Francis Xavier College of Florey celebrated by members of that school writing a brief statement about the things they loved about being part of the Catholic school community, and these were read out during activities during the week.
What we can look forward to this year around various schools around the ACT are events like an open day at St Vincent’s primary school at Aranda and a community breakfast at Aranda as well. We will see things like Catholic Schools Week liturgy and Harmony Day themes. There will be community days at places like St Francis. St Joseph’s primary school is having a whole school trivia game and an open day. Some schools are even letting politicians visit, and I see listed on the website of St Thomas Aquinas primary school that Mr Doszpot visited yesterday, I understand. I am sure he will attempt to tell us what was achieved there.
Given that range of schools and that large population that we have in our Catholic schools, it is very important that we celebrate. With the entry last year of Catholic preschools into the ACT, it is possible now for a student to spend their entire education time in the Catholic system. My daughters, who are now well past school, spent their time at Saints Peter and Paul at Garran, at Holy Family at Gowrie and at St Clare’s. My stepson went to Marist and went to Lake Tuggeranong college. That transition that some parents make in and out of the system is also very important and it is important that we understand that effect as well.
It is important to also understand some of the history of this. There are quite a number of Catholic schools not just in the ACT but, for instance, around New South Wales. Again from the website, around 690,000 students attend a Catholic school in Australia. This is an increase of more than 110,000 students since 1985. Currently, there are 615 Catholic schools in New South Wales and the ACT, educating around 24,000 students. It then goes on to list them by archdiocese, so for instance in the Canberra and Goulburn archdiocese there are 55 systemic schools and three congregational schools educating just under 25,000 students.
The website also mentions some of the history, and I think it is very important to understand the history, particularly given that in the 60s it was a Menzies government that commenced state aid. Some of the things that the website does discuss are:
Since the 1960s both the Federal and State governments have been important providers of funding for the education of students in NSW and ACT Catholic schools.