Christian Schools Buck Census Trend

Growth in faith-based schools shows laws must protect rights of schools to protect their values.


In contrast to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showing those who identify as Christians on the 2021 Census, enrolments in Christian schools continue to grow.

ABS data released earlier in the year showed that more children are enrolled in independent schools than ever, with enrolments growing by 3.6 per cent in 2021.

The growth in enrolments across member schools of Christian Schools Australia was 14% from 2021 to 2022, an increase on the already high 9% increase in 2021 from the previous year.

‘Parents are continuing to flock to schools providing a faith-based education’, said Christian Schools Australia Director of Public Policy, Mark Spencer, ‘with many Christian schools experiencing growth in complete contrast to the ABS Census data’.

‘We have heard reports from small regional Christian schools experiencing growth of more than 65% and larger metropolitan schools in growth corridors experiencing growth of more than 57%.’

‘There are certainly numerous Christian schools across Australia once again recording double-digit enrolment growth’, he said.

‘While those indicating they are Christians on Census Night might be declining, there is clearly a strong desire for education built on strong and explicit values and beliefs’, Mr Spencer said, ‘and that desire is continuing to grow’.

‘Parents are pulling out their own wallets and choosing a Christian school, a much more powerful indicator of commitment than ticking a box on a Census form.’

‘It will be disappointing for all these parents choosing Christian schools if the Parliament does not protect the ability of Christian schools to continue to operate in accordance with those beliefs and pass a strong Religious Discrimination Bill.’

‘Where will these parents have to send their children in the future if Christian and other faith-based schools were forced to close?’ he asked.

‘The continued rapid growth of Christian schools underlines the urgency of providing these protections’, Mr Spencer said.