Choosing Catholic Education

Why choose Catholic schools? Learn how Catholic education provides children with academic excellence enhanced with traditional Christian values.


Thank you for considering enrolling your child at a Catholic school in the Diocese of Parramatta. This guide will help you to choose a great local learning community to support your child's learning journey.

As well as answering some of your frequently asked questions, this website provides information about faith-based and affordable education, learning and teaching and extra-curricular activities.

 

 

 

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Transforming learning - Curiosity to clarity

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Facts and Figures


A Catholic education in the Diocese of Parramatta is innovative, personalised and relevant to the needs of today's learner. The individual child is the focus of the learning and teaching with a curriculum that caters for a wide range of interests and abilities.

The Diocese of Parramatta is located in one of the fastest growing areas of New South Wales. The Diocese is west of Sydney and reaches from Dundas Valley, west to Katoomba, south to Luddenham and north to Richmond.

80

CATHOLIC
SCHOOLS

25

CATHOLIC OUT OF
SCHOOL HOURS CARE CENTRES

5

CATHOLIC EARLY
LEARNING CENTRES

2

TRADE TRAINING
CENTRES

43,000+

STUDENTS

5,000+

TEACHERS
AND STAFF

 

 

Our Purpose


Catholic education is a work of love, for the full human development of students, grounded in the person of Jesus Christ and at the service of society. All staff share in the evangelising mission of the Church as they work to bring about a synthesis of faith, life and culture in their communities.

The system of schools in the Diocese of Parramatta is a work of the Church, under the leadership of our Bishop and in collaboration with priests, parents, students and staff, to realise the mission of bringing the person of Jesus Christ into the lives of the young people in our care and their families.

Our Strategic Intent

 

 

Learn about our amazing schools

 

Why-Academic

Academic Excellence

Catholic schools have a history of academic excellence and as providers of quality, Christ-centred and child-focused education, our schools and colleges enable students to gain confidence in their abilities and to achieve to their unique potential.

Why-Affordable

Affordable education

A quality Catholic education is affordable and accessible for every family! As a guide, the cost of a Catholic education is around $6-$8 a day for primary and $11-$18 a day a day for a child in Year 7*. Significant discounts apply for siblings.

Why-Parents

Parents as partners

We recognise the family as each child’s most influential educator and actively partner with parents and caregivers, encouraging open communications and supportive learning environments.

Why-Diversity

Diversity in learning

Catholic schools promote education for all – celebrating the diversity and achievements of every student and encouraging them to discover their abilities and reach their full potential.

Why-Goals

Our commitment to you

The ongoing commitment by every Catholic school in the Diocese of Parramatta is to provide quality Catholic schooling through improving learning outcomes for all students and promoting a professional and rewarding working life for teachers.

Why-Community

Part of your community

With 80 schools across Western Sydney, finding a Catholic school near you is simple.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Enrolment

Children whose fifth birthday occurs on or before 31 July are eligible for enrolment for Kindergarten that year. By law, all children must be enrolled in school by their sixth birthday.

A new Enrolment Policy for Parramatta Diocesan Catholic schools has been introduced which offers Catholic families greater choice by allowing them to apply for enrolment at a Catholic school anywhere in the Diocese.

Where places are limited, priority will be given in order to:

  • children of Catholic families in the local parish
  • children of Catholic families who live outside the parish geographic boundaries but regularly attend the school's local parish
  • children of Catholic families who are parishioners of another parish
  • children of families who actively participate in the life of the school and local parish community
  • children of Orthodox families
  • children whose families belong to other Christian churches who, with their parents, respect and agree to support the Catholic mission of the school including the faith education it offers for their children
  • children of non-Christian faiths who, with their parents, respect and agree to support the Catholic mission of the school including the faith education it offers for their children
  • children who, with their parents, respect and agree to support the Catholic mission of the school including the faith education it offers for their children provided that:
    • siblings of presently enrolled children will have preference over applicants who have no sibling in the school within each category in the priority list
    • a child who has completed primary education in a Catholic parish-based primary school will usually be offered continuity of enrolment in a Catholic secondary school.

Catholic schools have a strong religious dimension and people of other faiths who wish to enrol in Catholic schools should be willing to participate in the religious activities of the school. Check with the principal of the school you are applying to.

Siblings

Siblings of children already enrolled in the school are considered by the same criteria above. However, within each of these categories, a sibling of a child already enrolled will have preference over an applicant who does not have a sibling enrolled in the school.

What if my child already attends a Catholic primary school in the Diocese?

A child who has completed primary education in a Catholic parish-based primary school will usually be offered continuity of enrolment in a Catholic secondary school. If no places exist at the chosen school, Catholic Education's Director System Performance will assist families to enrol in another Catholic secondary school in the Diocese.

While Catholic schools accept enrolment applications at any time during the year (pending vacancies), the main enrolment period is from February to May for the following school year. Contact the school to check when enrolment applications are due.

Find a Catholic School    Enrolling in a Catholic School

Each primary and secondary Catholic school looks after its own enrolment process so it is best to contact the school you are interested in to find out what you need to do. Most schools conduct an enrolment interview.

Find a Catholic School    Enrolling in a Catholic School

The following documents are required as part of the enrolment application. A copy of the original documents must be provided with a completed enrolment form. The original documents will need to be sighted by the school at the enrolment interview or as arranged.

  • Passport size photograph of student
  • Proof of residential address (e.g. council rates notice, current driver’s licence)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Citizenship/Residency/Visa (country of birth other than Australia)
  • Parent and Child Passport and Visa (if student is not Australian)
  • Latest school report from previous school
  • NAPLAN results (Years 3, 5, 7, 9 only)
  • Sacrament certificates (Baptism and Confirmation if applicable)
  • Approved Immunisation Certificate
  • Special needs and assessments reports for speech, hearing, cognitive, occupational therapy or others (if applicable)
  • Medical Action Plan e.g. Asthma, Anaphylaxis (if applicable)
  • Medical Plan e.g. Mental Health plan, Medication plan (if applicable)
  • Family Court Orders / Parenting Agreements / AVO/DVO / other documents relevant to student (if applicable)

Secondary schools may also require:

  • school reports with academic records for (at least) the previous two years

The school will let you know what documentation is needed at the time of application.

Catholic schools welcome students with diverse needs and aim to provide appropriate educational opportunities and support for students with additional needs. Once the school has evaluated whether the prospective student meets the general enrolment criteria, the additional needs of the student and the school’s capacity to meet them must also be evaluated.

Additional needs are varied and sometimes complex to identify and evaluate. Close partnership with parents is important to support the prospective student in finding what may be their best interests. In some instances a school placement may not be available at the desired school or be in the best interests of the student. The Principal and Catholic Education's Director System Performance may seek a way forward by working with the family, if the family would like assistance.

Parents of children with additional needs are advised to approach the desired school more than a year in advance.

High Support Learning Needs Centres    Meeting Diverse Learning Needs    Enrolling in a Catholic School

Enrolments of non-Australian citizens may only be considered after implementation of the existing general enrolment policy for the Diocese and at no time will they be enrolled in preference to an eligible local student. Systemic schools in the Diocese of Parramatta are able to offer enrolment to non-Australian citizens providing that they have a valid visa (the exception being subclass 500) and:

  • capacity exists within the school in the relevant year group
  • preference in enrolment is given to overseas students from practising Catholic families over those from other families
  • non-Catholic students enrolled and their guardians make a commitment to accept the ethos of the Catholic school and to participation by the student in all aspects of the Religious education of the school
  • the student's language and academic needs can be catered for within the existing school structure, or if the school can otherwise provide the additional requirements
  • The Diocese of Parramatta is registered as a CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students) provider, No 03340M, to enrol overseas senior secondary school students who are on a subclass 500 visa in the following five schools only:
    • Bede Polding College South Windsor
    • Caroline Chisholm College Glenmore Park
    • Cerdon Colleg, Merrylands
    • Delany College, Granville
    • St Mark’s Catholic College Stanhope Gardens.

Currently the Diocese is NOT registered to enrol overseas primary students or junior secondary students who are on a subclass 500 visa.

Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta does not actively recruit students from overseas and does not enter into any arrangements with education agents or pay any commissions in relation to any prospective student enrolment.

Families will need to contact the school in which they are seeking enrolment directly to arrange an enrolment interview. They will also need to provide original documentation to the school to validate the student’s current visa status so that the fees payable can be determined.

Please note that the fees payable will depend on the visa subclass that has been issued by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and students holding a Bridging Visa are now required to pay fees at the level of Full Fee Paying Overseas Students.

Enrolment for students with visas granting temporary residency can only be offered until the expiry date of the current visa. Continuing enrolment will be dependent on evidence that a new visa subclass has been issued by DHA. Parents/carers of students who are not Australian citizens must ensure that the school is provided with evidence of any change to the student’s visa status throughout their enrolment period.

A child who has completed primary education in a Catholic Diocesan primary school will usually be offered continuity of enrolment in a Catholic Diocesan secondary school. If no places exist at the school of choice, contact other Catholic schools in your area or for further advice you could contact the Enterprise Service Desk on 9840 5600 and communityliaison@parra.catholic.edu.au.

Find a Catholic School    Contact Us

Yes, subject to the enrolment criteria and availability of places within each school.

A growing number of our schools provide before and after school care or are close to council or private before and after school care centres. Contact your local Catholic school to find out if before and after school care is available at the school or close by or search our available centres from the link below.

Find Catholic Before and After School Care    Find a Catholic School

Funding and School Fees

There are three levels of annual fees, billed in instalments during Terms 1, 2 and 3:

  • Annual Diocesan Tuition Fees set by Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
  • Diocesan Building Levy set by Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
  • School-based fees.

Annual tuition fees in Catholic systemic schools vary from Kindergarten to Year 12 but there are very significant discounts for your second and third child. In fact, there are no fees for your fourth and subsequent children.

In addition to the tuition fees, there is a Diocesan School Building Levy which is charged per family per year. There are also school-based fees which are set by each school. Contact your local Catholic school to find out what service fees are payable.

Find a Catholic School    School Feeas

If you have children in other Diocesan schools, please click on the Sibling Discount Applicable Schools Discount attachment to see if a discount will be automatically applied.

If any of your children attend a school listed where a sibling advice notice is required, please complete and return the Sibling Registration for Diocesan Tuition Fees form.

Please note that for automatic discounts to apply the residential address on each enrolment form must be the same. It is up to parents to advise schools of other siblings in order to receive the discount. Please note that discounts are not backdated.

No child will be refused enrolment from a Catholic school because of a family's inability to pay school fees

If your family can afford kindergarten fees you can afford Catholic school fees. Fee discounts for siblings are generous and parents unable to pay school fees because of financial hardship are invited to confidentially approach their principal who will respond to their situation with care and sensitivity. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by finding out for yourself, so why not arrange a visit to your local Catholic school to find out more about the Catholic school difference?

Find a Catholic School    School Fees    Scholarships    Byallawa co-contribution scheme

General School Information

The Diocese of Parramatta is located in one of the fastest growing areas of New South Wales. The diocese is west of Sydney and reaches from Dundas Valley, west to Katoomba, south to Luddenham, and north to Richmond.

There are 80 Catholic systemic schools in the diocese (56 primary and 24 secondary), 25 out of school hours care centres, 5 early learning centres and 2 trade training centres with 43,000 students and 4,500 staff.

The ongoing population shift to the west of Sydney continues to increase the demand for Catholic education in this diocese, with an average of one new school opening each year.

The final responsibility for Catholic schools in the Parramatta Diocese rests with the Bishop of the diocese, who delegates responsibilities to the Executive Director of Schools.

Our Story

Catholic schools provide a comprehensive education so all students experience an equally high standard of instruction in all subject areas. For this reason there are no selective Catholic schools in the Parramatta Diocese.

Where a child shows particular aptitude or talent, the school will seek to develop that talent through enrichment programs or acceleration where appropriate.

Education Programs    Extra-Curricular    CAPTIVATE Creative Arts Program

Our schools have well-equipped library/resource centres and utilise the latest technology to engage students in their learning. This includes access to computers, the internet, multimedia equipment and other tools for learning. Many of our schools use data projectors, interactive white boards and other teaching aids.

The Teacher Learning Resource Centre at Mt Druitt, incorporating information technology, professional development and library services, is a focal point for enhancing teaching and learning throughout the diocese.

Contact your local Catholic school for more information regarding their specific facilities and resources.

Find a Catholic School

Most schools in the Parramatta Diocese are easily reached by public transport.

Students in Kindergarten to Year 2 are automatically eligible for free public transport to and from school. Students in other years may be eligible depending on the distance from home to school. Details of public transport arrangements will be provided by the school at the time of enrolment.

Personal accident insurance is provided at no cost for all students enrolled in systemic Catholic schools in the Parramatta Diocese. The insurance policy, known as School Care, covers students while at school and includes travel between school and home, and any activities sponsored by the school (such as school organised excursions, sport and secondary work experience).

The cover is broad and includes up to $5000 towards medical and hospital costs not covered by Medicare, up to $1000 for emergency transport, up to $1000 for home tuition, and varying amounts for compensation of a range of serious injuries.

A copy of the insurance brochure is available from schools.

Catholic schools have a fine reputation for pastoral care and the positive discipline of students. Our schools believe that discipline works best when there is a partnership between parents, teachers and students.

Each school has a pastoral care policy which focuses on self-discipline. The policy sets out codes of behaviour, rights and responsibilities of students, and the consequences of inappropriate behaviour.

In addition, our schools have programs, like restorative practice, that encourage students to resolve conflict and problem solve in positive ways.

Parents as Partners   Policies and Procedures

On four (4) days each year schools have pupil-free days so staff can undertake essential whole-school planning and professional development. On these days students are asked not to attend school. The first day of school each year is nominated as a pupil-free day and three (3) other days throughout the year.

Check with your school to find out when these days have been scheduled.

Each school has an official school uniform that is agreed on by the school principal and parents.

Students are expected to wear the school uniform. Where this creates economic difficulty for parents, the parish will often assist by providing a uniform. Many schools also have 'uniform pools' where second-hand uniforms are provided at a reduced cost.

Contact your local Catholic school for more information.

Find a Catholic School

Catholic schools are extremely popular. In fact, they enrol about 20 per cent of Australian school students.

Many parents say they have made their educational choice for reasons such as:

Catholic schools are faith-based places that are grounded in Christian values

The Catholic faith is not just taught in Religious Education classes but is experienced within the total culture of the school. Christian values are up front and explicit. Catholic schools are intrinsically connected to the parish in which they reside and are an integral part of the mission and life of the Church.

Our Catholic Tradition    Religious Education

Catholic schools strive to achieve very high standards of education

Expectations of achievement and conduct are high. While there is a focus on the individual child, a broad curriculum caters for a wide range of interests and abilities.

Learning

They are safe yet challenging places

Relationships are warm and friendly. Parents, students, teachers and pastors see themselves as working in partnership. The children belong to a community that really cares about each one of them.

Parents as Partners    Wellbeing and Safety

School term dates and holidays are generally the same as government schools.

School term dates

Learning and Teaching

Catholic schools teach the same curriculum as government schools. Expectations of achievement and conduct are high. With a strong focus on the individual, a broad curriculum caters for a wide range of interests and abilities.

The curriculum covers:

  • Religious Education
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Technology and Applied Studies (TAS)
  • English
  • Human Society and its Environment (HSIE)
  • Creative and Practical Arts
  • Personal Development
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Languages other than English

Secondary schools also offer a range of vocational education courses, some of which have industry accreditation. These are delivered by specially trained teachers. Students also have access through their schools to TAFE delivered vocational programs, and in some cases, university courses.

Learning   Learning Pathways

Our teachers are highly qualified and trained. Most teachers in our schools are four-year trained and many have post-graduate qualifications. Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta considers the professional development of teachers to be very important and offers them more than 200 courses each year.

Careers    Professional Learning

Religion has a very important role in the life of a Catholic school and all primary and secondary students study Religious Education. The schools share in the mission of the Church which is based on a rich heritage of faith and tradition.

Teachers are specially trained and accredited to teach the diocesan Religious Education program. This comprehensive program was developed in the Parramatta Diocese and is approved by the Bishop. Senior secondary students (Years 11-12) can undertake either the Parramatta Diocese curriculum or Studies of Religion as a HSC subject.

All students in Catholic schools also take part in activities such as regular prayer, liturgy and retreat programs to develop their faith.

Our Catholic Tradition    Religious Education

Each school develops a homework policy in consultation with parents. Generally homework begins about halfway through Kindergarten when the children are given very simple and enjoyable activities that usually involve reading.

The amount of homework given, and level of difficulty, naturally increases with each year of schooling. In Years 11 and 12 students will have a more demanding homework schedule to assist them to achieve their personal best in the Higher School Certificate. Homework is most effective when parents take an active interest.

Catholic Schools Parramatta Aboriginal Education

Aboriginal education

Aboriginal education is incorporated into the curriculum from Kindergarten through to Year 12. Many schools also have special Aboriginal study units such as Aboriginal Languages and Aboriginal Cultural Experiences.

Jarara Indigenous Education Unit

 

Catholic Schools Parramatta Literacy

Literacy and numeracy

The schools in the Parramatta Diocese place particular emphasis on literacy and numeracy. Extra teachers, special reading programs and professional development courses for teachers ensure that the literacy and numeracy needs of the children receive constant attention.

Education Programs

 

Catholic Schools Parramatta Help With English

Help with English

English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are available for those children whose parents' first language is not English. 

 


Catholic Schools Parramatta Gifted and Talented

Gifted and Talented

Many schools have Gifted and Talented programs which provide students with the opportunity to extend themselves. 

 

Catholic Schools Parramatta High Support Needs

Children with high needs

All schools in the Parramatta Diocese strive to provide for students with high learning needs. If your child needs special consideration discuss this with the principal at the time of application for enrolment. All schools in the Parramatta diocese have Specialist Support Teams who are able to assist children with disabilities, whether visual, hearing, intellectual, physical, communication, learning or behavioural.

Meeting diverse learning needs    High Support Learning Centres

 

 

Compulsory Schooling FAQs

In NSW school attendance is compulsory for children over the age of six years until the minimum school leaving age of 17 years. Students must complete Year 10 and after Year 10, until they turn 17 years of age, students must be:

  • in school or registered for home schooling, or
  • in approved education or training (e.g. TAFE, traineeship, apprenticeship)
  • in full-time, paid employment (average 25 hours per week) or in a combination of work, education and/or training.

If your child has to be absent from school, you must tell the school and provide a reason for your child’s absence. To explain an absence parents and carers may:

  • send a note, fax or email to the school
  • telephone the school, or
  • visit the school

Your school will inform you of the required procedures for notifying them.

A small number of absences may be justified if your child has to:

  • go to a special religious ceremony
  • is required to attend to a serious and/or urgent family situation (e.g. a funeral)
  • is too sick to go to school or has an infectious illness

Children need to arrive on school and class on time. Lateness to school or leaving early from school must be recorded as a partial absence. Your school will inform you of the required procedures for late arrivals and early departures from school.

If you consider that it is in your child’s best interests to be exempted from the legal requirement to attend school for any length of time, you must apply to the principal for an exemption. The school will provide an Application for Exemption from Attendance at School form, and assist you to complete it, if necessary. The principal will consider your application and decide whether to grant a Certificate of Exemption from Attendance at School.

Principals help to ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of your child. They must also keep accurate records of student attendance. Principals are able to question requests for a child to be absent from school and are also responsible for deciding if the reason given for an absence is justified. Principals may request medical certificates or other documentation for long or frequent absences explained by parents as being due to illness.

When absences are unexplained by parents, or explanations are not accepted by the principal, the school will work with parents to identify the reasons for non-attendance and put in place strategies so the child can return to school. Principals may ask support staff or other agencies to assist.

It is important to understand that the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC), on behalf of the State Minister for Education, may take further action in cases where children of compulsory school age have recurring numbers of unexplained or unacceptable absences from school. The following actions may be taken in these cases:

Attendance meetings

Parents, and sometimes their child, can be asked to attend a meeting with school and Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) personnel and in some cases, DEC regional officers. The aim of the meeting is to help identify strategies to support the child and family and remove barriers to non-attendance. Other agencies may also be invited, if parents agree.

Compulsory attendance conferences

If school attendance does not improve, parents and sometimes their child, can be asked to attend a compulsory attendance conference. The conference, which will be run by a trained conference convenor, aims to help the school, parents and other agencies to further identify the issue impacting on a child’s attendance. The outcome of a compulsory attendance conference is for the parties to agree to undertake certain actions to improve the child’s attendance. These actions are agreed in writing.

Compulsory schooling order

If previous attempts to resolve the issue of a child’s attendance are not successful, legal compliance can be sought through an application to the Children’s Court for a Compulsory Schooling Order. The aim is to assist a family and/or child to address the issues preventing satisfactory school attendance. This has the added enforcement of a Court’s powers.

Prosecution

If all attempts by schools, CEDP and DEC regional support staff fail to improve a child’s attendance, action can be taken in the Local Court with the result of fines being imposed up to a maximum of $11,000.

Interpreting services are provided where possible for parents and carers who do not speak or understand English well and for Deaf parents and carers who use sign language. For more information on interpreter services contact your school or phone the Telephone Interpreter Service and have them contact the school. The telephone number to ring is 131 450. Ask for an interpreter in the required language and the interpreter will call the school and stay on the line to assist you with your conversation. You will not be charged for this service.