August 2023 school census figures have revealed that demand for Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne continues to grow.

Enrolments across 296 Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) primary and secondary schools increased by 1329 students (1.2 per cent) this year to 114,407, up from 113,078 in 2022, representing around 20 per cent of all students.

MACS Executive Director Dr Edward Simons says it is pleasing that more families are seeking the distinctive ethos and values of Catholic schools for their children.

This enrolment growth is a credit to the hard work of our principals, teachers and staff in delivering a high-quality, faith-based and affordable education option for families in communities across the Archdiocese.

‘We are finding that parents are increasingly looking for a more holistic approach to education—one that is focussed on excellence and development of the “whole person”, and which will help their child succeed and be happy and confident in the world, no matter what path their future may follow.

‘This aligns strongly with the distinctive promise of Catholic schools to provide an education that is inclusive and tailored to each student’s individual needs.

‘Our research also shows that families value the emphasis Catholic schools place on the pastoral care and wellbeing of students, along with our focus on strong partnerships with parents.’

Dr Simons said one of the key challenges is delivering school infrastructure quickly enough to meet increasing demand.

‘Our modelling shows that demand for Catholic education is growing particularly strongly in Melbourne’s northern and western corridors, where MACS has opened 12 schools since 2018, now educating over 4,750 students. Seven new schools are also planned to open over the next three years in identified growth areas.

‘While we greatly appreciate the support of state and federal governments to deliver this community infrastructure, we would welcome increased capital funding to further assist us to keep pace with demand.

‘Our school and parish communities save government tens of millions of dollars every year through contributions to school fees and capital works.’

Dr Simons took the opportunity to thank and congratulate school communities for their ongoing good work when addressing principals at a forum in the Catholic Leadership Centre in East Melbourne on Wednesday 4 October.

New schools planned for 2024–26


  • Marymede Catholic College—Doreen Campus
  • St Teresa of Kolkata Catholic Primary School, Tarneit North


  • Carlo Acutis Primary School, Wollert West


  • Catholic Primary School, Mount Atkinson
  • Catholic Primary School, Mount Duneed
  • Catholic Primary School, Thornhill Park
  • Kolbe Catholic College—Mickleham Campus

Banner image: Students enjoy a concert in the park during Catholic Education Week 2022. (Photo courtesy of MACS.)