The Catholic primary and secondary schools in the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch are guided by an authentic Church mission that places an encounter with Jesus at the centre of their Catholic education ethos. Our schools embrace Gospel values, centered on the Eucharist, and are committed to forming faith, in education and in service.
A Catholic school is not just another school, the equivalent of a state school with the addition of a religious education programme. The Catholic school is an ecclesial entity, reflecting the “deepest nature” of the Church in its life, and participating fully in the Church’s mission by forming Christ in the lives of others. Catholic education in the Diocese of Christchurch is provided by 29 primary schools and 7 secondary schools
Catholic education and Catholic schools lie at the heart of the mission of the Catholic Church which, in every time and place, is to make known to all peoples the Good News of salvation made present and accessible to us through the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is why the "Special Character" of a Catholic School in New Zealand is described identically for each school in these words:
"This school is a Roman Catholic School in which the whole school community, through the general school programme and in its religious instructions and observances, exercises the right to live and teach the values of Jesus Christ. These values are as expressed in the Scriptures and in the practices, worship and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church."
The Catholic school's "community" importantly includes its parents, students and staff, but equally it includes the Bishop, priests and religious and the whole Diocese of Christchurch and the parish in which the school is located, or the parishes which contribute students to it. Together, we make up the family of the Church in this place.
The Catholic Education Office's influence on educational outcomes within Catholic schools and parishes is somewhat indirect. We are not a provider of education to students in classrooms or parish Sacramental/Religious Education programmes. We are, in the main, a provider of leadership & training, support & development, for those who are actively engaged leading Catholic schools and parishes and educating students in classrooms and parish Sacramental/Religious Education programmes.
The role of the CEO is based on three main areas of influence; providing:
Catholic primary and secondary schools are state integrated. State-integrated schools are permitted to give preference in enrolment to students who, either themselves or through their parents, identify with the school's special character. To establish preference, the school require parents to obtain a Preference Certificate from their Parish Priest.
Students whose families have an established religious connection with the Catholic Faith and Character of the school, Catholic themselves, receive a preferential place on the list of applicants for enrolment to a Catholic primary or secondary school.
Non preference, or non-Catholic enrolments, are restricted to five percent of the total roll which is dependent upon vacancies at the time of enrolment.
The Principal handles enrolment in a Catholic School. Each school will have their own procedures and you should check with the school you intend to enrol your child in.
If you wish your child to enrol as a preference student, you must obtain a signed preference certificate from your Parish Priest.
Please be aware that a signed preference certificate does not guarantee enrolment at a particular school. This may depend on enrolment schemes and school capacity.
Eligibility for preference or non-preference of enrolment using nationally set criteria are set out here, along with the preference certificate forms.