Anglican Snapshot

Stephanie Buckland CEO at Amana Living
The Reverend Peter Laurence OAM | CEO | Anglican Schools Commission

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Do you know how many children are educated in Anglican schools across Australia? Actually it’s about 155,000 students. That means it’s four in one hundred Australian children, or four per cent. In Years 11 and 12, the figure grows to five per cent, whilst unsurprisingly at the primary school level it is approximately three per cent. It’s interesting to consider the growth in Anglican schooling over the past 50 years. It’s staggering. Take a look at the approximate percentage of students Australia wide who went to Anglican schools over the past five decades: 1970 1%, 1980 1.25%, 1990 2%, 2000 3%, 2010 3.5% and today 4%.

The trend is a clear one. Over time, more and more families have chosen our faith-based schools for their daughters and sons. We have been blessed by generous government funding (both federal and state) which has enabled many new low-fee schools to be started by the Anglican Schools Commission. It has also enabled long-established schools to expand their facilities to accommodate greater enrolment demand. One of the discernible changes over the decades has been the growth in primary school enrolments. Until the 1970s, few children receive their primary education in an Anglican school. I was one who did, but I’m in the minority. The vast majority of pre-teens went to the local government primary school.

Today, about 50 per cent of Year 7 students in an Anglican school were educated in their primary section. Of course, this is not so for all schools, but it averages out across the nation.
From a missional perspective, this provides our schools with opportunities which were simply not there when I was a boy. With half of our secondary students entering in the Kindergarten or Pre-primary years, our schools are blessed with 12 to 14 years of a young person’s life, indeed after the zero to four year old period, we have them for the most formative years of their life. Today our schools spend much time and energy on ensuring that all aspects of the school’s life, curriculum, pastoral care, worship, service, co-curriculum and more are connected. More than ever, our principals talk of ‘one school’, K-12. Teachers work collaboratively, not only across classrooms but also year levels and sections. The curriculum demands it, no more so than in our Religious Studies curriculum, published by the Anglican Schools Commission. It’s written so that a child entering in Kindy or Pre-primary gets a comprehensive, sequential education in matters of the soul. Statistics aren’t for everyone. But they do tell a story. The story they tell ‘us Anglicans’ is a story of our schools being increasingly important missional opportunities. We ignore the implications of these statistics at our collective peril.

Article published in October 2018 Messenger magazine