Catholic schools respond to NSW Budget cash splash

Catholic schools respond to NSW Budget cash splash

NSW Catholic schools say programs to address disadvantage should be provided to all students who need them, not just those in public schools. The call follows Tuesday’s 2019 State Budget, in which the NSW Government pledged $18.5bn towards the state’s schools.

The figure, up more than a billion on last year’s funding allocation, will include $600m on top of a $6bn capital spend to build or refurbish 190 schools, and $1.3bn towards clearing the maintenance backlog at public schools by 2020.

The funding will also see 4,600 new teachers, psychologists and social workers in every high school.

However, Catholic Schools NSW (CSNSW), which educate some 255,000 students and employ more 31,000 teachers and other staff, said the government must be careful to include sufficient support for disadvantaged students.

“It is not only government schools that have needy students; non-government schools educate one in three NSW students, the vast majority from low-and middle-income families where much of the disadvantage exists,” CSNSW CEO, Dallas McInerney, said.

“The principle of needs-based support demands that initiatives be available to all schools where student need exists.”

McInerney said the NSW Budget allocated $120m over four years to expand before and after school care, but only for parents with children in public primary schools.

“It also includes $88.4 million for 100 new school counsellors and 350 extra support officers to provide mental health and wellbeing support – but only for students in public high schools,” he said.

“This support is also needed by parents and students in many Catholic schools.”

The CSNSW is calling on the NSW Government to extend these and other targeted programs to all sectors so that needy students receive wherever they go to school.