Above: The Executives of the Principals and Parents Asssociations held an emergency meeting to consider the implications of the Commonwealth Funding Proposal
Catholic school principals have told Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham that they will resist his attempts to drive a wedge between Catholic school communities through his ironically named "Quality Schools" reforms.
In a letter sent to Minister Birmingham this week, Catholic Secondary Principals Australia and the Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association urged him and his colleagues to reconsider proposed changes that would disadvantage Catholic schools and Catholic school families.
"Catholic school principals stand united with the broader Catholic school community in the face of a deliberate strategy by the Government to undermine the system by pitting principal against principal, school against school," the letter said.
The principals said the Government's decision to go around Catholic school systems and write directly to principals, as well as the publication of the School Funding Estimator website, was a clear example of trying to create internal battles within the system of 1,737 Catholic schools across the country.
"CaSPA and ACPPA want to make it clear that the tactic will not work," the principals said.
"CaSPA and ACPPA can assure the Minister that Catholic education will stand together to ensure Catholic schools remain affordable and available for all families who seek them whether that be in a metropolitan city or Thursday Island.
"It is the co-responsibility that Catholic school communities share for each other that allows for schools in remote and disadvantaged communities to exist; for low-fee schools in otherwise high-SES communities to be an option for lower- and middle- income families.
"The richness and diversity of Catholic education would be lost without that fundamental commitment to each other."
The principals said while slow wage growth and other financial challenges have increased fee pressures on Catholic school families, the Government's new model actually assesses them as having a greater ability to pay fees.
The proposed changes also dismantle existing arrangements that could raise questions about the ongoing role of Catholic education in Australian society.
"Catholic schools have contributed to education in Australia for over 200 years and as principals we want to participate in a funding model that has equity and clarity of detail for all children and families in Australia," the principals wrote.
They called for politicians to work collaboratively with practitioners, peak associations and educational experts to "place students at the forefront and develop policy that provides a long-term investment in positive academic, social and personal development outcomes for all of the children of our nation".
|Tags: Catholic Parents Australia Catholic Secondary Principals Australia Funding|