Herald on Sunday Mar 6, 2011
Parents are rushing to enrol their children in religious-based education – with one principal saying the Catholic brand is “very hot” at the moment. About 66,000 children were in Catholic education last year, up a quarter since 1996. Over the same period the number of children in integrated schools rose by a third to more than 86,000. Integrated schools are former private schools which get some Government funding if they keep their special character. Almost all the 338 in New Zealand have a religious and values focus. Rolls were increased last year at 10 state-integrated schools in Hornby, Lower Hutt, Marton, Queenstown, Timaru and throughout Auckland. The surge in interest comes despite long waiting lists and bills for “donations” sometimes running into the thousands. Chief executive of the Association of Integrated Schools, Pat Lynch, said there were several reasons for increased interest, including: More non-religious parents wanting their children to have a values-based education; A large increase in birth rates; The arrival of more migrants with religious roots; The academic records of integrated schools.