By Dan McAloon
A meeting of Catholic school parent organisations held in Melbourne recently called for national representation of Catholic school
parent groups to give Catholic parents a say in school funding and other issues. These include how to maintain the Catholic character of Catholic schools.
The meeting resolved that the interests and aims of
Catholic parents would be strengthened if all states and territories were represented through their own school parenting bodies.
The need for national representation of state-wide Catholic parent groups was
underscored by the absence of such Catholic school parenting bodies from Victoria and the Northern Territory, said the convenor of the meeting, Don Rolls, Queensland president of the Federation of Parents and
Mr Rolls said statewide Catholic parent organisations needed to be represented at the national level where funding decisions about schools are made.
At present, the peak body
representing non-government schools, the Australian Parents Council (APC), has no representatives from Catholic parents in the populous states of either NSW or Victoria.
Mr Rolls said that while the APC was
“an extreme-ly effective representative voice” for parents, Catholic parents had “their own relevant issues in the contemporary Australian education scene and … a lot could be gained from a separate meeting of
Catholic school parents at the national level.”
Issues identified as unique to Catholic school parents include their involvement in religious education and the need to maintain the identity and ethos of
Catholic schools given increasing enrolments of students from other faith traditions and those with little or no religious belief.
For many parents, government funding of Catholic systemic schools remains a
Under the Federal Government’s new social economic status model of funding to schools some parents believe their schools are worse off because of the loss of an annual two per cent
Given this, Mr Rolls said there could be “a significant benefit” derived if Catholic parents entered into a dialogue with the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC).
be talking to the NCEC with a view to establishing a process which will enable Catholic school parents, the major stakeholders, to have some direct input into the deliberations of that body.
that parents have an understanding of the discussions between the Commission and the Federal Government,” Mr Rolls said.