By Catherine Bryan, Assistant Director, Catholic Education Service

It isn’t easy being a young person in 2018.  What with social media, mobile phones with unlimited access to the internet and the 24-hour celebrity news cycle, young people are faced with challenges even their slightly older contemporaries didn’t have to comprehend.

The question facing the Catholic Church now, is how we respond to and protect our young people from the potentially dangerous effects of these facts of modern life?  Do we bury our heads in the sand, or do we tackle the issue head on?  We must do the latter.

What’s more, this is an issue that will not go away.  The Department for Education and the Welsh Assembly have set a clear direction of travel, that this is an area which is going to receive more attention.  Indeed, we have seen recently, a clear commitment to compulsory Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) in Wales and we await the outcome of the DfE’s consultation response to their RSE agenda.

Throughout its long history, the Church, whilst always remaining true to the teachings of Christ, has also adapted its pastoral response to the needs of its flock.  Now, in the internet age, it needs to do so especially with regards to Relationship and Sex Education and our Catholic schools are best placed to support parents with this incredibly important task.

For those not involved in education, attention-grabbing headlines about RSE can lead to a false impression of what the subject is actually about.  Therefore, we need to set the record straight and debunk the myths around it, because ultimately, in an increasingly dangerous world, RSE is about keeping young people safe.

It is also about teaching young people what a healthy relationship looks like so that as they develop and grow they can make the right choices when faced with a range of challenges.  What RSE is not about is pushing a particular agenda or promoting secular attitudes over the teachings of the Church.  It is about dealing with the real-life issues young people face and providing practical and compassionate pastoral guidance.

Neither is it all about sex.

Sex education does play a role in preparing young people for adult life but unless it is situated within the broader context of relationship education, it is a fruitless exercise.  The model Catholic RSE curriculum recognises this and puts the formation of healthy and loving relationships at its core.  This has now been more widely recognised and acknowledged as the national focus has shifted from Sex and Relationship Education to Relationship and Sex Education.  A subtle difference, reinforcing the importance of healthy relationships in order to protect young people from potentially dangerous relationships.

People are often surprised when they hear that the Catholic school sector is the only one in the country with a comprehensive and age-appropriate RSE curriculum from 3yrs to 19yrs.  The reason for this?  Catholic education centres around the formation of the whole child, and teaching a young person how to build and maintain healthy relationships is an essential part of forming rounded individuals.

This is why, when the Government announced last year that it intended to make RSE statutory, the Catholic Education Service (CES) publicly welcomed this commitment to improve the quality and provision of RSE in all schools.  And we did so, because Catholic schools already recognise the importance of this and teach high quality RSE as part of the holistic education which seeks to form as well as inform young people in preparation for adult life.  We also welcomed it because the Government sought to protect parents’ rights, as well as the ability for Catholic schools to approach RSE within the context of Church teaching.

The CES has a strong relationship with the Department for Education and we have been working closely with them to ensure that any statutory requirements are appropriate for Catholic schools.  The first and most important being protection of the right of parents to be able to withdraw their child from sex education.  Parents have the primary responsibility of teaching their children how to form loving relationships and Catholic schools are there to assist them with this.  Therefore, if a parent feels best placed to deliver some of the more sensitive elements of sex education outside the classroom, they have the right to do so and this is something the Government remains committed to.

The reality is, however, that very few parents choose to do this because the vast majority of Catholic schools closely involve parents with the delivery of their RSE programmes.  The most recent Catholic schools census found that just 0.01% of parents with children in a Catholic school exercise their right of withdrawal.  Of more than 850,000 pupils in Catholic schools, that is the equivalent of just one pupil in every 7,800.

It is also important to note that schools with a religious character will still be able to teach RSE within the tenants and traditions of their respective faiths.  For Catholic schools, this means that we can remain faithful to the Church’s vision of human wholeness, whilst at the same time ensuring that young people are given the factual information and equipped to make informed life choices.

And they need to be able to make informed life choices because of the very real dangers out there.  Online grooming, inappropriate social media use, sexting and pornography are all examples or products of unhealthy relationships, and, unless we show children how to recognise the above as dangerous, we are failing them in the long term.  This must of course be done in an age appropriate way, but it is something which does need to start early on in a young person’s development.

Our Catholic values are grounded in forgiveness, compassion and mercy.  To deny young people an education in this area would be to deny these core values rooted in the Gospel and Church teaching, and leave them unprotected in an increasingly dangerous world.  This would be the greatest tragedy of all.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018 08:04

GDPR and the CES Census

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The annual CES Census is the source of all school data collected by the CES. No data on individual pupils is collected in the census. The name of the headteacher is collected, also a contact name and email address which are used solely for census communications the following year.

A document that describes the extent to which the CES census falls within the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can be downloaded below. This document addresses questions that the CES has received from schools that raised concerns about the CES census and privacy of schools data.

 

“In their General Election manifesto, the Conservative Party made a commitment to the Catholic community that the unfair rule effectively stopping the opening of new Catholic free schools would be lifted. Today the Government has broken this promise, dropped the pledge they made to our country’s six million Catholics and ignored the tens of thousands of Catholics who campaigned on this issue.

“This U-turn disregards the Government’s own data showing the 50% cap doesn’t create diversity, and sides with a vocal minority of campaigners who oppose the existence of Church schools. Catholic schools are popular with parents of all faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds, despite this we will remain barred from participating in the free school programme.

“The Catholic Church has had a long and positive relationship with the State in the provision of education and we see today’s decision as a regressive step in this historic partnership.

“We remain committed to our vision of education which consistently delivers high-quality schooling and contributes to the common good. Therefore we will continue to work with the Department for Education to address the urgent demand for new Catholic schools. This commitment means we will pursue the possibility of new Catholic voluntary aided schools despite the direction of travel for nearly a decade being towards academisation.

“Voluntary aided schools are an important part of the Catholic sector and it is significant that the Government has singled out Catholic education as an area to fund directly. This is rightly in recognition of the importance of Catholic schools to local communities and the contribution they make to the wellbeing of society.”

 

The Most Rev Malcolm McMahon OP

Archbishop of Liverpool and Chair of the Department for Education & Formation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Statement from the Church of England, Catholic Education Service, Methodist Church in Britain & The Board of Deputies of British Jews

We are the organisations that represent 99% of all schools with a religious character in England and our communities’ experience of providing education stretches back centuries.

Our schools embrace both excellence and academic rigour set within the wider framework of the formation of the whole child. This includes spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, moral and social development and enables children to flourish.

It is precisely because of our faith ethos that our schools remain exceptionally popular with parents.

Our schools are drivers of community cohesion, whether that is through educating children from all cultures, creeds and communities, or the impressive programmes they run to connect their pupils with children from other religions and beliefs.

As the representatives of the faith communities which actually run the vast majority of these schools, we reject the suggestion that they are divisive and are proud of what they achieve for their pupils and for our country as a whole.

Rev Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer, Church of England
Paul Barber, Director, Catholic Education Service
Barbara Easton, Director of Education, Methodist Church in Britain
Gillian Merron, Chief Executive, The Board of Deputies of British Jews

St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School in Garforth were very honoured to receive a visit from Theresa May, Prime Minister. The visit took place under high security in February as part of a school INSET day. The Prime Minister had a round the table discussion with senior leaders and teachers from the school. She was keen to understand the positives and challenges of the current primary education agenda. Staff took the opportunity to give examples of the challenges in the current system for all teachers as well as celebrate the strengths of St Benedict’s. The visit was a real recognition of the great community of St Benedict’s in its staff, governors, children, parents and the wider community.

No10 2018 042 Education Tour Day 440 1024x576

Monday, 08 January 2018 12:28

Catholic Schools Census Infographic

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In their November Plenary meeting, the Bishops of England and Wales reaffirmed their opposition to the 50% admissions cap.

Since 2010 the 50% cap has effectively banned the opening of any new Catholic Free Schools. This is because the Bishops couldn’t countenance the opening of Catholic school which turned away Catholic children because they were Catholic.

Their full resolution read:

Further to its resolution of November 2013, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales reiterates its position that the imposition of the 50% cap on the control of admissions is not a secure basis for the provision of Catholic education in England.

The provision of education is fundamental to the mission of the Church in England and Wales and, in line with their canonical responsibilities, Bishops will continue to strive to provide a Catholic school place for every Catholic child in their respective dioceses.

Prior to the June 2017 General Election, the Bishops’ Conference welcomed the Government’s commitment to remove the 50% admissions cap as set out in the Conservative Party manifesto.

The principle of parental choice is fundamental to both Catholic education and the current educational policy in England and Wales, and for more than 150 years Catholic parents have had the opportunity to choose a Catholic education for their children.

Therefor the Bishops’ Conference welcomes the supportive comments made by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Education about Catholic schools and their acknowledgement that the admissions cap is an issue which actively targets the Catholic community, as Catholic parents are the principle religious minority adversely affected by the admissions cap.

We therefore call on the Government to honour its Manifesto commitment.

The Bishops are now urging Catholics to write to the Secretary of State for Education urging her to keep the Government’s manifesto commitment.

You can write to the Secretary of State by clicking on this link: http://catholicnews.org.uk/education-cap  

Chaplaincy Documents

Available to download below is a series of documents for Schools Chaplains. These include the CES national standards as well as chaplaincy job descriptions for both primary and secondary phases.

 

CES National Standards for School Chaplains

CES School Chaplain Job Description Secondary

CES School Chaplain Job Description Primary

 

 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017 12:15

Application Forms

Wednesday, 30 August 2017 09:39

Higher and Further Education

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Sixth Form Colleges

There are 14 Catholic sixth form colleges across England and Wales, all of which deliver further education. More information about them may be found in our schools' directory. Many Catholic secondary schools also have sixth forms.

These Catholic sixth form colleges are collectively known as ACVIC (Association of Catholic Sixth Form Colleges). They are listed below:

• Aquinas College – Cheshire
• Cardinal Newman College – Preston
• Carmel College – St Helens
• Christ the King College – Lewisham
• Holy Cross College – Bury
• Loreto College – Manchester
• Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College – Leeds
• St Brendan's Sixth Form College, Bristol                                                                          
• St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College, London
• St David's Catholic College, Cardiff
• St Dominic's Sixth Form College, Middlesex
St Francis Xavier College – London
• St John Rigby College – Wigan
Xaverian College – Manchester                                                                      

Catholic Universities

There are four Catholic universities:

Ecclesiastical Faculties

The Ecclesiastical Faculties of Philosophy and Theology, formerly at Heythrop College, were transferred to St Mary’s University in 2019:

The Cathedrals Group

The Cathedrals Group (also know as The Council of Church Universities and Colleges (CCUC)) is an association of sixteen universities and university colleges with Church foundations.

Members share a common faith heritage and a strong commitment to values such as social justice, respect for the individual and promoting the public good through their work with communities and charities.

The CES is a partner of the Cathedrals Group. You can find out more about its work on its website: http://www.cathedralsgroup.ac.uk/

Institutions in membership of the Cathedrals Group which have Catholic connections are Leeds Trinity University, Liverpool Hope University, Newman University, St Mary's University Twickenham and the University of Roehampton.

Low res uni

Institutes of Higher Studies

There are a number of higher education institutes and study centres which have Catholic connections. These are listed below, with links to their websites. 

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