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Far North families need “certainty and support” as the region continues to weather the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, the head of Cairns Catholic Education says.

Executive Director Bill Dixon said the Far North seemed to have escaped the worst health effects of COVID-19. However, the economic impacts remained. “From the start of the COVID crisis, we took the view that our families wanted certainty that their children’s education would continue. We would find ways to make that happen. They also needed a sense that we would support our families if the financial impacts of the pandemic are affecting them,” he said.

“We put a number of measures in place. The key ones were to adapt our digital platforms to a learning from home experience, and to provide consistent tuition fee relief for families in difficult financial circumstances.”

Families affected by the crisis may be eligible for 100 percent tuition fee discounts if they hold the relevant concession card. For those without a card, but who are experiencing financial stress, principals can provide similar options with compassion and privacy assured. Concessions are also an option for families who wish to enrol at a Catholic school but cannot afford it. This does depend on vacancies.

“Last year’s challenges allowed our schools to grow and adapt like never before,” Mr Dixon said.

Catholic schools in the Far North have never been more ready to nurture the minds of the next generation.”

Local mum Gabrielle, whose daughter attends St Joseph’s School in Atherton, said she was “really impressed” by the response. “The online tools provided for at-home learning were exceptional,” she said. “The teachers went above and beyond to make things as easy as possible for parents. A lot of families commented on how well the school coped with the transition.”

It is quick and easy to apply to one or more Catholic schools in the Far North. The online application process is simple. Plus, you only need to complete it once, even if enrolling more than one child.

You can find the form on the Cairns Catholic Education website here, or at any school website. It can be saved and returned to as often as needed for up to 30 days before submitting.

For those who prefer a more traditional method, a printed application form can be collected from each school’s office.

Prospective families are encouraged to apply the year prior, to have the best opportunity to secure a spot. However, applications are welcome at any time and where vacancies exist, successful applicants will be offered a place.

Catholic schools in the Far North welcome students and families of all faiths, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds. There is no geographical catchment.