No decision to close St Bede’s
No decision has been made to close St Bede’s School Red Hill, director of Catholic Education Ross Fox says.
It is still early days in considering the school’s future.
His comments were made in response to a news report that the small primary school faced closure after Catholic Education’s decision to launch community consultations into its viability.
Consultations have been driven by the likelihood of reduced external funding for the school because of ACT Government funding cuts and changes to funding models at both federal and territory levels.
According to Catholic Education figures, the funding pie for St Bede’s is split three ways between the Commonwealth Government (70 per cent), ACT Government (13 per cent), and school fees/private sources (17 per cent).
“When we look at the funding projections, what they suggest is that significant fee increases are required over the next decade,” Ross said. “We’ve got to be open about that and work with the school community about what that means.
“Some of the fee increases can be offset by different things, whether it’s a larger school or alternative models. We’re open to all that. But there is a challenge that the status quo won’t work forever.”
Ross said the school was highly regarded and teaching staff had been doing a great job. Parents had been vocal in saying how much they valued the school.
Consultations are being conducted until the end of May and take in views provided online and via two “town hall” style community meetings on 20 April and 12 May.
“Anyone from the school or anyone with an interest in the school is welcome to attend [the community meetings] and express their views,” Ross said.
More than 100 online submissions have already been received.
St Bede’s has an enrolment of about 140 students and was established by the Good Samaritan Sisters in 1963.