Archdiocese's 150th Catholic School to Open in 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
1 Aug 2013

St Martha's Primary School Strathfield and two other Catholic primary schools in the area are near capacity

The Archdiocese of Sydney plans to open a new primary school at Strathfield bringing the city's total number of Catholic systemic primary and secondary schools to 150.

"Catholic schools have never been more popular with parents," says Dr Dan White, the Archdiocese's Executive Director of Schools explaining the new school, which will open in 2015 is designed to help meet the increasing number of families in the Homebush Bay area who are seeking a Catholic education for their children.

"This will be the fourth Catholic primary school for this growing area with enrolments in the neighbouring schools of Concord West's St Ambrose, St Margaret's at Strathfield and St Mary's at Concord are not only at capacity but overflowing," he says.

The new school will be created by converting the building on a parcel of land Sydney's Catholic Education Office (CEO) adjacent to The McDonald College, North Strathfield's well-known school of performing arts.

Dr Dan White and a young student at St Ambrose Catholic Primary School West Concord

Contracts were exchanged this morning between The McDonald College which owns the land and building and the Archdiocese's Catholic Education Office (CEO). Although the subdivision of the College's land remains subject to approval by the City of Canada Bay Council, problems on this front are not expected with the sale expected to go through and construction of the new primary school to begin within the next two to three months.

"We are delighted the CEO has decided to utilise the building and land for the development of a primary school," says Maxine Kohler, Principal of The McDonald College adding that once the primary school opens its doors they will be invited to join the College's community performing arts classes and will also have access to College facilities such as the assembly hall and multipurpose court.

The McDonald College where students Sydney's new primary school will have the chance to join the College's community performing arts classes

A student body of 500 is planned for the new primary school with enrolments coming from Homebush, Silverwater, Sydney Olympic Park, Newington, Rhodes, Liberty Grove, Wentworth Point and North Strathfield.

At present more than 1300 students are educated by the three Catholic primary schools already in the area. These are St Ambrose Primary at Concord West, St Martha's at Strathfield and St Mary's at Concord. But as Dr White points out the schools are either at capacity or will be by the 2015 school year when the new primary school is set to open.

"Enrolments in Sydney's Catholic systemic schools are at an all-time high with more than 68,700 students which is an increase of more than 7800 over the past 10 years which is testimony to the extraordinary vote of confidence parents have in the quality of educational outcomes provided by Catholic schools,"" he says.

Two young students from St Martha's Catholic Primary School, Straithfield

However he admits the surge in enrolments and increasing number of families with young children in Sydney's inner west means a fifth Catholic primary school in the region will be needed with plans for one at Mortlake already on the drawing board.

There is no doubt Sydney's Catholic school system is held in high regard by city communities for the high quality of their teachers, academic excellence of students, and as places where the Catholic ethos and culture are endorsed and celebrated.

In the Canada Bay local government area, which is one of the fastest growing areas in the State, 39.2 percent of residents are Catholic. This is 11 percent higher than the national average and another reason why Archdiocese and CEO education plans include two more primary schools to open in the area over the next two or three years.