Catholic Education FAQs

There are over 24,000 schools in England. Within the pluralistic state funded sector these schools can be community schools, voluntary aided schools, voluntary controlled schools, academies, free schools, and foundation and trust schools. All state-funded Catholic schools are either voluntary aided schools or academies.

How many Catholic schools are there?

There are 2142 Catholic schools in England and 89 Catholic schools in Wales. Catholic schools make up 10% of the national total of state funded schools. The Catholic Church is the largest provider of secondary education and the second largest provider of primary education.

How many pupils attend Catholic schools?

There are over 820,000 pupils in Catholic schools. These pupils are educated in a culture of inclusion, tolerance and mutual respect, providing pupils with a net of values that enable them to play a full part in British society in service of the common good.

Do Catholic schools use admissions to select children from affluent backgrounds?

Like all schools, Catholic schools have over-subscription criteria in order to fairly determine school places. Church teaching places a duty on Catholic schools to care for the poor and educate those who are socially, academically, physically or emotionally disadvantaged. This is reflected through the pupil populations in Catholic schools.

Catholic schools serve more diverse and disadvantaged communities reflecting the multicultural nature of Catholics in England, many of whom come from the new and old migrant communities. 18.8% of pupils at Catholic primary schools live in the most deprived areas compared with 13.5% nationally. 16.5% of pupils at Catholic secondary schools live in the most deprived areas compared with 11.3% nationally.

Do Catholic schools serve their local community?

On average Catholic schools have catchment areas which are ten times larger than community schools. This can mean that the pupil population does not directly mirror the local community immediately surrounding the school as the school draws pupils from a wider area. A larger catchment area increases social mixing and children from different communities and areas are brought together. 39.5% of pupils in Catholic primary schools are from ethnic minority backgrounds compared with 30% nationally. 35.3% of pupils in Catholic secondary schools are from ethnic minority backgrounds compared with 24.2% nationally.

Are Catholic schools only for Catholic children?

Catholic schools welcome children from families from a range of faith backgrounds. 36% of pupils at Catholic schools are of other faiths or none. Catholic schools have a track record of supporting minority religions as they integrate into the local community.

Do Catholic schools teach the national curriculum?

Yes. All Catholic voluntary aided schools have a duty to teach the national curriculum and Catholic academies are obliged by their funding agreement to provide a broad and balanced curriculum. This includes evolution and reproduction in science.

Do Catholic schools teach about other faiths?

Yes. Catholic schools are obliged to follow guidance from the Catholic Bishops' Conference which states that Religious Education must provide pupils with a basis of knowledge and theological understanding of the Catholic faith and an awareness of the faith and traditions of other religions in order to respect and understand them.

Do Catholic schools teach sex and relationship education?

In accordance with guidance from the Department for Education, Catholic schools teach Sex and Relationship Education in an age-appropriate way.

How are Catholic schools and academies accountable?

Catholic schools and academies have the same accountability to the local authority and Department for Education and Welsh Government as community schools. In addition to this, they are also subject to an additional inspection regime to provide accountability to the diocesan bishop that high academic standards and the Catholic life of the school are maintained.

Who funds Catholic schools?

The school buildings and land of Catholic schools are owned by the Catholic Church. The Church provides these premises, at no charge, to enable the state to fulfill its obligation to provide education for the population. The day to day running costs of Catholic schools are funded by the state in the same way that all schools are funded (either through local authority or DfE funding agreements). The Church covers 10% of the capital costs for the maintenance of the premises.

Do you have to be Catholic to teach in a Catholic school?

51% of teachers in Catholic schools are Catholic. Catholic schools value and respect all staff members regardless of backgrounds or beliefs and promote and support the vocation of teaching.

For certain leadership positions (eg. Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and Head of Religious Education) there is a requirement that the position be filled by a practising Catholic in order to maintain the Catholic ethos of the school.