Concern over school enrolments

Catholic Education director Ross Fox

Catholic schools are concerned about enrolment numbers for next year as unemployment and the financial toll from COVID-19 hit families hard.

Catholic Education director Ross Fox assured families that no child would miss out if parents could not afford school fees.

Speaking to an ACT government inquiry last week, Mr Fox said up to one in 10 Catholic school families were expected to seek fee relief and almost 200 families had already applied.

“We are doing everything we can to accommodate those families experiencing financial hardship,” Mr Fox told the ACT Legislative Assembly hearing.

“Our commitment is that no one will be excluded from a Catholic education because of their circumstances.”

More than 21,000 students attend the Archdiocese’s 56 schools.  There are 29 schools in Canberra and 27 in New South Wales.

According to a Canberra Times report, Mr Fox said the Catholic Education Office would foot the bill for fee relief meaning individual schools will not be out of pocket.

He said schools were anxious about enrolments for next year and principals had urged parents to speak with them about financial pressures.

“Schools have been very clear in their communication with parents,” Mr Fox said.  “[Schools have said] ‘Come to us and speak to us’.

“They do not want students to be withdrawn or leave the school because of the circumstances facing parents at this very challenging time.”

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