Children suffering financial hardship won’t be without education in catholic schools

By Alex Gretgrix

LEADERS of Catholic schools in Central and North-East Victoria reaffirmed their promise that no child will have to leave a Catholic school due to financial hardship, reflecting the longstanding policy of Catholic education in Victoria.

The Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst has a long and proud tradition in Catholic education across Central and North-East Victoria supported by a body of committed and caring staff, parents and carers.

“The community can be reassured that no child is ever expected to leave a Catholic school, primary or secondary, as a result of a family’s incapacity to pay,” Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst Bishop Shane Mackinlay said.

“We recognise that these are extraordinary times and people are experiencing high levels of confusion and disruption, with many having lost their employment or receiving diminished income due to the coronavirus crisis.

“The Catholic way is always to seek the common good and our community knows that, when times are tough, we support one another and certainly never penalise anyone who finds their finances have tightened,” he said.

“We have always been open to offering Fee Relief where it is needed. Such requests are not uncommon and we stand ready to assist families.”

Fee Relief is a discreet and compassionate process managed by the principals of local schools and assessed individually.

It is designed to reduce the pressure on families experiencing difficulty. In most cases, the children of families receiving Fee Relief are unaware of this in order to protect them from additional anxiety.

Fee Relief is not a blanket waiving of school fees, however, and those who can afford to keep their commitment need to pay their fees for the good of the community.

“In every case, I know Sandhurst Principals will endeavour to respond with sensitivity and kindness,” director of Catholic Education Sandhurst Paul Desmond said.

“School principals and parish priests want parents and carers to know that they understand the difficulties of these tumultuous days and are at your disposal to offer their practical support, prayers and compassion,” he said.