We understand the importance of the decision you are making in choosing a Catholic school for your child’s education. To help make the process a little easier we have developed some frequently asked questions relating to a Catholic education in the Diocese of Toowoomba.
Information is arranged below by topic. Simply click on a question to see the answer expand.
Why choose a Catholic school?
Term Dates | 2018
Term 1 | Monday, 22 January – Thursday, 29 March | 10 weeks
Term 2 | Monday, 16 April – Friday, 29 June | 11 weeks
Term 3 | Monday, 16 July – Friday, 21 September | 10 weeks
Term 4 | Monday, 8 October – Friday, 7 December | 9 weeks
Year 10, 11 and 12 finishing dates for 2018
- Year 12 | 16 November
- Year 10 and 11 | 30 November
Professional development and planning days | 2018
In 2018, the designated Professional Development & Planning Days (previously Pupil Free Days) are:
- January 17, 18 and 19 (Wed, Thu & Fri)
- April 16 (Commonwealth Games Ministerial)
- October 22 (Mon)
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 whiteboards, i-Pads and other teaching aids.
As a schooling system we constantly review the latest technology to support learning and how we can implement this in our schools.
Contact your local Catholic school for more information regarding their specific facilities and resources.
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.
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 by demonstrating every day the values of inclusivity, kindness, forgiveness, love and compassion.
This care for all in the school community springs from our Catholic belief in the unique value of every person created in image and likeness of God.
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.
The Diocese of Toowoomba is located in Queensland. [link to map]
There are 31 Catholic systemic schools in the diocese with a total student population of around 9,000 students. There are also two congregational Catholic secondary schools (Downlands College and St Ursula’s College) that, while being independent, remain important members of the wider community of schools serving the Church.
The final responsibility for Catholic schools in the Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba rests with the Bishop of the diocese, who delegates responsibilities to the Executive Director: Catholic Schools.
The Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office acknowledges the financial hardship faced by many families, especially those in rural and remote locations where prolonged drought and a downturn in the mining industry has had a devastating effect.
We believe in parents’ right to choose the type of educational environment for their child. Our schools are sympathetic to the needs of families experiencing financial difficulties and have processes in place to offer a range of options to assist families in this regard.
Catholic schools are open and inclusive communities and no child will be refused a Catholic education because of financial hardship.
Talk confidentially to your local Catholic school principal for more information.
All schools in Australia – Catholic, government and independent – are recipients of funding from the Commonwealth, and from state and territory governments. How that funding is distributed varies between school sectors and within school sectors, according to learning needs.
Students in a Catholic school receive, on average, 17 per cent less government funding than a student in a government school. Of the government funding for Catholic schools, more than 75 per cent comes from the Commonwealth.
Government funding covers 71 per cent of the cost of educating a student in a Catholic schools. Parents pay the rest.
Catholic schools are part of the Non State Schools Transport Assistance Scheme (NSSTAS). It is a joint initiative of the Queensland Catholic Education Commission (QCEC) and Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ).
The Scheme is administered by QCEC on behalf of all non-state schools in Queensland and is funded by the State of Queensland with the assistance of the Department of Education and Training. To find out more please click here
When choosing one of our schools, think about your child's individual strengths. It may be useful to write a list of questions about schooling and facilities to help guide your discussions with school staff, other parents and community agencies.
Some questions you may like to ask are:
- what is the size of the school
- the physical location of the school
- when and how to enrol
- school hours
- Religious Education curriculum
- how to best support your child at the school
- communication between home and school
- what support is available
- strengths of the environment for your child
- availability of specialist staff to help your child
- technologies available to help your child
- any difficulties your child may have with access around the school
- parent support groups
- uniform policy
- fees and levies
- assessment and reporting procedures
- homework and assignment expectations
- available resources eg library, internet or computers
- extracurricular activities
- amenities eg tuckshop or out-of school-hours care
- parental involvement eg parents and friends associations, volunteering.
Teaching and learning
Our teachers are highly qualified and trained and must be registered with the Queensland College of Teachers to work in our schools. Through their registration, teachers must also engage in professional learning to maintain their registration and employment.
For our teachers to teach Religious Education in our schools they must be accredited.
Catholic schools teach the same national curriculum as government schools with the addition of Religious Education as a subject for study. 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
- Technologies (Digital and Design)
- Humanities and Social Sciences (History, Geography, Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business)
- The Arts (Music, Media, Drama, Dance, Visual Arts)
- Health and Physical Education
Secondary schools also offer a range of vocational education (VET) courses, some of which have industry accreditation. Visit Pathways to learn more.
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 and our SBA program.
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.
All students in Catholic schools also take part in activities such as regular prayer, liturgy and retreat programs to develop their faith.
Teachers are specially trained and accredited to teach the diocesan Religious Education program. This comprehensive program was developed by the Archdiocese of Brisbane and approved for use in our Diocese by the Bishop of Toowoomba.
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 procedure that focuses on self-discipline. The procedure sets out codes of behaviour, rights and responsibilities of students, and the consequences of inappropriate behaviour.
In addition, our schools have various programs, such as restorative practice, that encourage students to resolve conflict and problem solve in positive ways.
For further information contact your local Catholic school Principal.
The first day of Term 4 is usually the only pupil-free day that occurs in term time. All other days are taken during holiday periods.
One other exception is during Catholic Education Week (held during the last week of July) where students depending on their location will have one pupil free day during that week. This day coincides with our schooling systems Bishop's Inservice Days.
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.
Each school develops a homework policy in consultation with parents. Generally homework begins about halfway through Prep 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 Senior Certificate. Homework is most effective when parents take an active interest.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education is incorporated into the curriculum from Prep through to Year 12. Many schools also have special Aboriginal study units such as Aboriginal Languages and Aboriginal Cultural Experiences.
- Literacy and numeracy The schools in the Toowoomba Diocese place particular emphasis on literacy and numeracy. Teacher aides support reading programs for early years learning. Our teachers engage in professional development opportunities to ensure that the literacy and numeracy needs of the children receive constant attention.
- Help with English English as a Second Language (EALD) programs are available for those children whose first language is not English.
- Gifted and Talented Schools have Gifted and Talented programs that provide students with the opportunity to extend themselves.
- Children with special needs All schools in the Toowoomba Diocese strive to provide for students with special needs. If your child needs special consideration you must discuss this with the principal at the time of application for enrolment. Each school has a designated Learning Support Teacher who works with classroom teachers to support students with learning difficulties. These teachers also assist with children who may have other disabilities, whether it is visual, hearing, intellectual, physical, communication, learning or behavioural.
- Sustainability Schools provide the opportunity for students to develop an appreciation of the necessity of acting for a more sustainable future. This addresses the ongoing capacity of the earth to maintain all life and meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.