IT is not unheard of for parents to put unborn babies on waiting lists for child care, but if you are Catholic you might consider putting your unborn child on the waiting list for school too.
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School and Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School have no spaces left for kindergarten children for 2013, and have about 30 children on the waiting list.
The schools are taking enrolment applications for 2014 and 2015 because of the high demand.
Yet public schools and independent schools haven’t received the same influx of applicants.
Kinross Wolaroi School principal Brian Kennelly said Kinross had received more interest than previous years, but was not full.
A NSW Department of Education spokesperson said Orange public school enrolments appeared to be similar or slightly up on last year.
Bathurst diocesan education representative Father Paul Devitt said the unusually high demand for Catholic schools could be attributed to the fact that nearly a third of Orange’s population was Catholic.
The 2011 Census showed there were 1160 children aged four and five, up by 19.7 per cent from 2006.
Fr Devitt said he had never seen anywhere near this many enrolments.
“Even before Sacred Heart and St Joseph’s became Catherine McAuley we have never seen these sorts of numbers,” he said.
“A percentage of applicants were Sudanese and Indian, whose parents were working in the hospital, and there is a high percentage of Catholics in the Sudan, as well as India.
“Because of that, the unusual spike in enrolments is only going to rise.”
Fr Devitt believes there has been a change in the way parents choose their schools.
The principals of Catherine McAuley, St Mary’s, Orange Anglican Grammar and Kinross agree.
Catherine McAuley principal Michael Croke said parents no longer sent their children to the school around the corner.
“The saying used to be that people put more thought into buying a stove than choosing a school for their kids, but that’s certainly not the case now,” he said.
Orange Anglican Grammar principal Ann Brown said parents had become more discerning when it came to choosing schools.
“I just think they’re a little more educated on their options now and they certainly do the research,” she said.
Principals were unable to comment on how many non-Catholic children were wait-listed for the schools. Catholic children receive preference.