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Enrolment Policy

RATIONALE

“Our mission is to evangelise – to proclaim Christ, the Good News of God’s love for all. All our pastoral activities must, therefore, both flow from our personal response to Christ and be carried out in the spirit of the Gospel.” Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Pastoral Plan, Moving Forward Together, 2011 (Theological Principle 3.1)

Catholic schools centred on the person of Jesus Christ are called to live and proclaim the message of the Gospel. Supported by, and in collaboration with, the Catholic community of which they are a vital part, Catholic schools encourage staff, students and their families into a personal relationship with Jesus, challenging them to find, through Him, meaning and value in their lives.

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle are “an integral part of the evangelising mission of the Church.” Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Vision Statement for Catholic Schools (2002)

Catholic schools are established to support the local Church in providing an education enlivened by the spirit of the Gospel. As part of a long tradition of Catholic education provided in this Diocese, Catholic schools continually strive to be centres of educational excellence.

“The Catholic School is the principal educational arm of Catholic families, parishes and the wider church… It is there to assist parents and parishes in their educational, evangelical and catechetical mission as well as to help the wider community in its educational and civic service.” Catholic School at a Crossroads Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of NSW and the ACT (2007)

The school is an integral part of the Parish and Pastoral region’s programme of outreach to Catholic families. Enrolment in a Catholic school enables the local Catholic community to offer support to parents in the faith education of their children. In addition, Catholic schools contribute significantly to the Australian community by promoting quality education and a just and tolerant society.

It is recognised that some families have had little contact with the Church and little experience of Catholic discipleship. Enrolment allows for the evangelisation of families and a deepening of faith and involvement in Church life.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  1. Catholic schools, inspired by the person and teachings of Jesus Christ, strive to be centres of excellence and authentically Catholic.
  2. Catholic school communities work to create strong partnerships with the parish/parishes they serve.
  3. Catholic schools will ensure that the enrolment process is a welcoming manifestation of Gospel values.
  4. In choosing a Catholic school parents and guardians agree to respect and support the Catholic identity of the school, its role in the parish and to acknowledge the importance of Religious Education for their children.
  5. Catholic schools have a particular responsibility to provide a Catholic education to children baptised in the Catholic faith and to support parents in honouring the commitments that they made on behalf of their children at Baptism.
  6. The Catholic school, whilst established to educate children from Catholic families, will accept enrolments from families who are prepared to support Catholic ideals, principles and practices.
  7. Catholic schools recognise and accept the responsibility to welcome and support those who are poor, marginalised and whose need is the greatest.
  8. Catholic schools are committed to the inclusion of children with special needs through the processes set out in the Enrolment of Students with Special Needs policy.
  9. No child will be denied a Catholic education because of a family’s genuine inability to pay school fees.
  10. Our diocese aims to provide the choice of Catholic schooling to all those seeking a Catholic education for their children. Enrolment of a child into a Catholic school however cannot be guaranteed. A fair clear and transparent process to determine the priority of enrolment will be implemented.

AIMS

This Enrolment Policy has been devised in order to accommodate the needs of families seeking a Catholic education. It aims to:

  • Set direction for school procedures and practices for enrolling students into St Mary’s Primary School within the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
  • Establish a common, consistent approach in enrolment practices.
  • Provide schooling, where possible, for all Catholic children who seek enrolment
  • Cater for the individual needs of each child equitably within the constraints of the available teaching and material resources
  • Encourage parents enrolling their children in Catholic schools to give support to parish and school life, especially in education in faith.

IMPLEMENTATION

 

1. The school accepts all baptised Catholic children irrespective of family background and circumstances, according to the regulations and limitations of the Enrolment Policy of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. Catholic families are defined as:
“Families in which at least one parent/guardian is a Catholic. This presupposes that there will be no discrimination against Catholic children of marriages of mixed faiths or single supporting families, and poses a challenge to schools to take into account the particular needs of such children”.

2. While children from all families who are prepared to support the ideals and principles of the Catholic School may be considered for enrolment, priority in enrolment is given in the following order:

a) Catholic families of the Parish who are known and involved members of the Parish.

b) Catholic families of other Parishes who are known and involved members of their own Parish but who have particular needs, which can be best met in this school.

c) Catholic families of the Parish who participate irregularly in the life and worship of the Parish.

d) Families committed to a Christian denomination who want a Catholic education and who currently have or have had children within the Catholic system and were totally supportive of the school.

e) Catholic families who do not participate in Parish life.

f) Families of other Christian denominations who want a religious education for their children and who regularly participate in their own denominational life.

g) Families who nominally belong to other religious denominations and who are open to the possibilities offered by a Catholic school.

h) Families who have no religious affiliation but who are open to the possibilities offered by a Catholic school.

Note:

  • 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.
  • A higher priority should be given to applicants with the greatest need within each of these categories.

3. Children applying for enrolment in Kindergarten must turn five (5) years of age by May 31st in the year of enrolment, as per Diocesan Policy.

4. Families of new children to be enrolled at the school will be interviewed prior to enrolment.
The interview will include discussion and clarification of the nature and mission of the school with reference to the current School Mission Statement and Policy. It is vital that new parents become familiar with the vision of the school and are willing to support the values promoted by the school. Other issues discussed will be the schools relationship to the Parish, the primacy of the parents as their child’s educators and their relationship to the school, particular characteristics or needs of the child, the financial arrangements necessary to maintain a Catholic school and the parents’ ability to meet financial obligations and where this needs to be varied, discussions to any variation.

5. A non-refundable fee of $100 is required when lodging the enrolment form.

6. Students with Disabilities

Provided the school has adequate facilities and resources, no child will be denied Catholic schooling because of a disability. A Student Support Officer from the Catholic Schools Office will be contacted for advice during consideration of an enrolment application for students with special needs.

a) Principals must refer to the Disability Discrimination Act and the guidelines and the Enrolment Guidelines for Students with Disabilities (2010) -Flowchart Appendix 3

b) A Student Support Officer Student Services must be contacted for advice during consideration of an enrolment application for a student with disabilities.

7. Overseas Students

a) Given the current complex regulations which govern the conditions under which students holding visas may seek enrolment into Australian schools, Principals are to refer all applications to their Assistant Director. Enrolments must not be approved until this is done.

b) In making such referrals Principals must sight the applicant’s passport and visa and forward a copy identifying the visa status of the student concerned. The time period specified on a visa is critical and if the student is successfully enrolled the expiry date needs to be tagged on the school administrative system. When this period expires the student may no longer be eligible for education and/or State and Commonwealth recurrent funding. If a student’s visa expires the Principal should immediately contact their Assistant Director.

c) Students seeking enrolment that hold a Student visa (571 visa subclass) will not be offered education in a Maitland/Newcastle Diocesan school. These students are not eligible for State or Commonwealth recurrent funding and are liable for both local fees and for the recovery of government per capita grant subsidy as well as ESL tuition that may be required. Students holding this visa subclass come to Australia expressly to access education and not due to family relocation.

d) Principals may not guarantee to any person that enrolment of a student holding a visa will be effected upon following their taking up residence in Australia.

N.B. For ESL costs and or support to families contact ‘Teaching and Learning Services

8. Students with a history of violence

The Catholic Schools Office has a responsibility to assess and manage any risk of harm to its staff and students. Section 5A of the NSW Education Act places responsibility on Principals to ascertain whether there is anything in a student’s history or circumstances which might pose a risk to the student, other students or staff.

If there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the student has a history of behaviour that gives rise to a risk at school, Principals should ensure the Request for student background information and documents form is forwarded to any previous school. "Reasonable grounds" may include, among other things, responses provided on the application form or by the parents or student in discussion with the school, or information provided by reputable sources such as previous Principals, school counsellors, staff with previous experience of the student, or staff of other government agencies with first-hand knowledge of the student. From the information provided the Principal needs to ascertain if a Risk Management Assessment is needed. This is not intended for all students or an avenue to prevent a student from enrolling.

9.  The  school accepts  its  responsibility to promote  Catholicism in all its forms of expression and undertakes to provide children and their families with the opportunity for religious development, and to promote Parish Life through school activities. Parents of all children must accept that their children will be involved in all Catholic faith education programs and worship.

10.  Unsuccessful applicants will be notified and given reasons for the rejected application by the Principal and advised that they may appeal to the Diocesan Assistant Director of Catholic Schools.

SUPPORT DOCUMENT

Enrolment Policy February 2013 – Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

BUDGET

The school will fund any advertisements and promotional material.

EVALUATION

The process for evaluating this policy will be ongoing and adjusted according to the direction of the Catholic Schools office as the need arises. It is expected this policy will be formally reviewed in 2016.

Date: April, 2013