Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP KC*HS, Chairman of the Catholic Education Service said;

 

“Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) forms part of the mission of Catholic schools to educate the whole person. Our schools have a long track record of educating young people who are prepared for adult life as informed and engaged members of society, and high quality RSE plays an important part of this.

 

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to improving Relationship and Sex Education in all schools. Catholic schools already teach age-appropriate Relationship and Sex Education in both primary and secondary schools. This is supported by a Catholic model RSE curriculum which covers the RSE curriculum from nursery all the way through to sixth form.

 

“We additionally welcome the Government’s commitment to protect parental right of withdrawal and involve parents in all stages of the development and delivery of RSE in all schools. It is essential that parents fully support the school’s approach to these sensitive matters. The experience of Catholic schools is that parental involvement is the basis for providing consistent and high quality RSE at home and at school.

 

“We look forward to working closely with the Government to shape any new guidance to enable Catholic schools to continue to deliver outstanding RSE, in accordance with parents’ wishes and Church teaching.”

 

ENDS

 

St Anthonys 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To mark the centenary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero, schools in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle are this year focusing attention on the life and martyrdom of the Salvadorian Archbishop. As part of their commemorations St John’s Catholic Academy, Bishop Auckland, organised a programme of events for their Year 10 students, inspired by Romero’s words ‘Aspire not to have more, but to be more’.

Missio, the Catholic Church’s official charity for overseas mission, was asked along to St John’s to take part. Romero’s links with Missio and his time as the charity’s National Director in El Salvador, were highlighted through presentations and workshops. Highlighted also to pupils was the powerful example set by Romero; to observe the world around them and consider their role within it, inspired by the Gospel and strengthened by faith.

St John’s chaplain, Mrs Emma Ramsey said of the day, “We wanted to provide our students with the opportunity to reflect on the paths they take, the choices they make, and the qualities needed for themselves and others to lead a truly fulfilled life. The students gained a lot from Missio’s input. They heard about what the charity does to enable those less fortunate than ourselves to have access to the things we take for granted.”

Missio was also invited to take part in St Anthony’s Girl’s Catholic Academy, Step Up To Life Mission Week, led by the Diocesan Youth Ministry Team. Inspired by the week’s theme – forgiveness - Missio facilitated workshops which explored the importance of mercy and peace in our efforts to build God’s Kingdom at home and overseas. Pupils engaged readily in discussion and activities; considering practical ways in which they can become missionaries of God’s love and producing on occasion some impressive visual representations of God’s kingdom. Built with the help of Missio’s red boxes.

Missio would like to thank St John’s and St Anthony’s for their welcome and support. Their missionary efforts bring to mind more inspiring words from Blessed Oscar Romero:

“Let us not develop an education that creates in the mind of the student a hope of becoming rich and having the power to dominate. Let us form in the heart of a young person the idea of loving, of preparing oneself to serve and giving oneself to others.”

Over the next few weeks Missio will be visiting more schools in Hexham and Newcastle. If you would like to find out about arranging a visit to your school, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Angela Cox, Director of Education for the Diocese of Leeds is to be recognised in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List for Services to Education, becoming an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. 

Angela has been Director of Education for the Diocese for the past six years, overseeing the provision of Catholic education across eight local authority areas in the Diocese’s 93 schools. Having lived in the region since attending Leeds University, Angela previously worked on the education team at Leeds City Council, and is a parishioner at the church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in St John Mary Vianney Parish in North Leeds.

Angela, who will receive her OBE at a special ceremony to take place in the next few months, said: “It is a privilege to have this role in Catholic education. It is the nature of the awards that they are given to an individual but this is recognition of the team of colleagues in the Diocese and in our schools and colleges who do so much to benefit Catholic education and the children in their care.”

The Rt Rev Marcus Stock is Bishop of Leeds and is himself an educationalist. Upon learning of the honour for his Director of Education, the Bishop said:

‘Angela Cox has given outstanding service to the Diocese and continues to provide excellent advice on all matters relating to our Catholic schools. She has also been very supportive of the work of the Catholic Education Service nationally for England and Wales. I am very pleased that the contribution Angela has made to education, both regionally and nationally, has been recognised in the honour awarded by Her Majesty the Queen.’

The OBE is awarded to people who fulfil a major local role and whose work has brought them national recognition in their chosen area.

ENDS

Like most primary schools this time each year, thoughts turn to the Nativity play and the various stresses surrounding it. These include organising dozens of sheep, shepherds and angels, getting all the lines learnt and of course, deciding who’s going to play Mary.

At Catholic schools, the Nativity play is understandably a really important part of their year, but with over 60% of the pupils at St Mary’s and St Peter’s Catholic Primary school in Bradford being Muslim, you might think including everyone in this festival is a challenge. For them however, the truth is it simply isn’t.

Last year the school had children from different faiths and nationalities take part in their Nativity and this Christmas it will be no different.

By including children and families of different faiths, the school believes that they are not imposing Catholicism on them, but are sharing the gift of faith. At St Mary’s and St Peter’s , non-Catholic children are never forced to make the sign of the cross and when they pray it is made clear that children can pray to their own God.

Julie Holland, Head teacher at St Peter and St Mary’s believes that clarity with parents is by far and away the most important element of getting parental buy-in to the school’s ethos. Before children even start she sits down with prospective parents and is crystal clear about how the Catholic faith is fundamental to everything that is done by the school.

Julie commented: “For the vast majority of non-Catholic parents, this is perfectly acceptable, moreover it is the emphasis that we put on faith which makes our school such an attractive option for their child. Many think that to create religious tolerance you must remove it completely from the public sphere, but if anything we show that by being open about your own faith, parents of different religious convictions feel that their faith is respected. You don’t create religious tolerance by saying faith is something that should be kept behind closed doors.”

Julie believes that for a lot of parents, the popularity of a Catholic education among non-Catholic parents goes down to key basic principles, including, respect and good behaviour, attitudes which she considers are promoted by all religions. The values and expectations we set continue when the children are at home.

But what is the impact on the children? Looking at the experience of St Mary’s and St Peter’s, it is extremely positive. From an early age children interact with others of different religions. What’s more the school has fostered an atmosphere where children feel comfortable talking about religion and discussing the big questions about God and human dignity with those of other beliefs.

Julie concluded: “This year proud Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh parents will watch their child celebrate the birth of Christ in our Nativity. For both parents and pupils alike, this religious diversity is normal, something which I am proud to say has been achieved through an unapologetically Catholic education.” 

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 09:52

Catholic Schools' Census 2016

 

More than one in five black children now attend a Catholic school. That’s according to the latest research which shows the Catholic Church to be the most ethnically diverse provider of education in the country.

With roughly 10% of schools, the Catholic Church is the second largest provider of education in the country. However, this tenth of provision now educates more than fifth of all black pupils in the country.

The figures, which are part of the annual Catholic Education Service’s Schools Census, also reveal the extent the Catholic Church is helping to integrate Eastern European migrants with British society, as almost one in five pupils from minority white backgrounds go to a Catholic school.

Across the board, Catholic schools educate 21% more pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds compared to other schools.

Statistics also show that ethnic minority pupils in Catholic secondary schools perform better at GCSE than the national average.

Paul Barber, Director of the Catholic Education Service commented: “For another year running, Catholic schools are the most ethnically diverse in the country.

“What’s more, Catholic schools are not just more diverse but disproportionally more so. The fact that a tenth of all schools educates a fifth of certain ethnic minorities is an incredible achievement.

“With Catholicism being a largely immigrant faith in England, Catholic schools have a strong track record of taking in children from a wide range of ethnic minorities and producing well-educated, open minded, citizens.

“It is very easy for secularist campaigners to claim that religious ethos schools are divisive and segregate communities but the evidence for this simply doesn’t back this up.”

Notes to editors

There are more than 2200 Catholic Schools in England and Wales.

The Catholic sector is the second largest provider of education and currently educates 852,321 pupils.

There are a total of 307,663 ethnic minority pupils in Catholic schools (36.1% of pupils).

One in seven ethnic minority pupils in England and Wales attend a Catholic school

ENDS 

An overwhelming majority of parents support the continuation of collective acts of worship in the country’s Catholic schools, the latest research has found.

The data, revealed as part of the Catholic Schools Census, shows that 99.95% of non-Catholic parents support the provision of collective acts of worship in their child’s Catholic school.

Of the near 290,000 pupils in English and Welsh Catholic schools from other faiths or none, just 0.05% were withdrawn from collective acts of worship, such as prayers in assemblies, Nativity plays and Masses.

Over the last five years there has been an eight per cent increase in the number of pupils in Catholic schools in England and Wales with the current total sitting at 852,321. That is one in every ten pupils nationally.  

Paul Barber, Director of the Catholic Education Service commented: “Collective worship is one of the foundations upon which our schools are built.

“Although it is a statutory requirement for all schools, collective worship is an integral part of life in a Catholic school. It is crucial to the spiritual life of the school and to pupils’ moral and spiritual development.

“Throughout the year, Catholic school communities come together to celebrate important events in the Church’s calendar, as well as the start and end of the academic year. Through regular prayer and worship, including Mass, the rhythm of the Church’s year becomes a normal part of school life.

“Whilst it’s important that schools make it clear to parents that they’re able to withdraw their child from acts of collective worship, it is encouraging to see that the overwhelming majority of parents in Catholic schools don’t.

“Too often we are led to believe that there is no longer an appetite for collective acts of Christian worship in schools, but these figures vindicate the continued existence of these practices.”

Notes to Editors

There are more than 2200 Catholic Schools in England and Wales.

The Catholic sector is the second largest provider of education and currently educates 852,31 pupils.

ENDS

More than 26,000 Muslim pupils are now educated in Catholic schools across the country, according to the latest research.

The figures, which form part of the annual Catholic Schools’ Census, show that one in three pupils who attend the country’s Catholic schools are not of the Catholic faith.

For the first time, the Census has collected data on pupil religion other than Catholicism to get a better picture of the religious diversity in Catholic schools.

The data found that one of the biggest religious groupings was pupils with no religion. This group accounted for more than a fifth of the non-Catholic pupils.

The largest religious group were pupils from other Christian denominations. More than 148,000 of them are currently enrolled in Catholic schools and make up half of all non-Catholic pupils.

Once again, the figures from the Schools’ Census show that Catholic schools are the most ethnically diverse in the country with 21% more pupils coming from ethnic minority backgrounds than the national average.

Paul Barber, Director of the Catholic Education Service, which compiled the Census, commented: “It is great to see Catholic schools acting as beacons of diversity and integration up and down the country.

“Often, parents of different faiths and none value the distinctive and unapologetically Catholic ethos of the Church’s schools.

“It is precisely because we are open about our faith that parents of other religions feel comfortable with the all-inclusive ethos of Catholic schools.”

Notes to editors

There are more than 2200 Catholic Schools in England and Wales.

The Catholic sector is the second largest provider of education and currently educates 852,321 pupils.

There are 287,934 non Catholic pupils in Catholic schools with the breakdown as follows (alphabetical order):

Buddhist –  1,175 (0.41%)

Hindu – 5,855 (2.03%)

Jewish – 276 (0.10%)

Muslim – 26,264 (9.12%)

No religion – 63,062 (21.90%)

Other Christian – 148,018 (51.41%)

Other religion – 15,195 (5.28%)

Religion refused 2,407 (0.84%)

Religion not known – 22,181 (7.70%)

Sikh – 3,501 (1.22%)

ENDS 

Governance of a Catholic school

Nine in ten of the Capital’s Catholic schools pay the London Living Wage, according to the latest research. 

The study, which polled the Capital’s 330 Catholic schools, found that 90% of respondents paid the London Living Wage.

The London Living Wage is different from the national minimum wage and has this week been updated to £9.75 per hour. It is calculated as the minimum amount of money a person can live off in Greater London.

It is considerably higher than the minimum wage (£6.70) and the Government’s national living wage (£7.20) due to the higher cost of living in London.

This announcement coincides with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, reiterating the Catholic Church’s support of the Living Wage.

Cardinal Nichols said: “The Living Wage is the bedrock of a fair economy and a recognition of the worth of every individual. As such it is a fundamental part of Catholic Social Teaching.

 “For more than a century, the Catholic Church has championed the causes of just wages and dignity at work, so workers can not only support their family, but also lead a fulfilling life both in and outside the workplace.

 “The work done by the Living Wage foundation is important. In our society there are many who experience real financial difficulties yet work hard in their employment. They and their families will benefit from a true living wage and measures which bring them hope for their children.”

Paul Barber, Director of the Catholic Education Service, which itself is a Living Wage employer, commented: “It is fantastic to see so many Catholic schools in London paying the London Living Wage to all their staff.

“Not only is it basis of a just economy, it is important for young people to see how institutions respect everyone who works for them, right from support staff all the way up to school leadership. This is an essential part of the formation of the whole child.”

Notes to Editors

Catholic schools represent 10% of all state-maintained schools in London.

In total 148 schools responded to the Catholic Education Service’s Living Wage survey.

Respondents came from all 33 London boroughs.

Greater London is covered by three Catholic dioceses, the Archdiocese of Westminster, the Archdiocese of Southwark and the Diocese of Brentwood.

ENDS 

 

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