Welcome to the Department for Education of the Diocese of Salford. Our Catholic Schools are one of the greatest assets in our Diocese and where we see Jesus Christ as the Teacher and Educator who is at the centre of all our educational endeavours. There are 208 schools and colleges in this diocese and since the 1944 Education Act we have worked in partnership with the Government’s Department for Education, Local Authorities, the Catholic Education Service and others to ensure that our schools are the best they can be.
For the Church, our Catholic Schools are about evangelisation and the giving of support to parents in their God-given responsibility of educating their children in the faith. This concerns education in its widest sense because unless we recognise God as the source and destiny of all human life, any attempt at an education of the whole person is bound to fail. The spiritual elements of a person as well as the material elements need to be educated in harmony with each other if the whole person is to be fully educated.
I believe that in our Diocese we are blessed with an abundance of qualified and dedicated teachers, support staff and governors and that our schools and colleges are capable of giving our children and young people the quality education which they need in order to become the people whom God created them to be. With the support of parents, clergy and parishioners our children and young people can be nourished with the Word of God and with the wisdom of generations of people of faith in order to equip them not only for this life but also for eternal life.
Our motto in the Department for Education, which inspires our work, has long been the words of Jesus in St. John’s Gospel, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
This education for ‘life to the full’ is also part of our contribution to creating a loving and caring society where respect for every person is encouraged and where faith and freedom go hand in hand.
Canon Anthony McBride
Episcopal Vicar for Education
Promoting Catholic Education for Schools & Colleges
The Church has always promoted education. God created the world, and everything and everybody in it; and the more we understand the world, its history, and our place in it as human beings, the better equipped we are to increase our faith and hope in God, our love for God and our neighbour, and our love for the Church on earth, in and through which God invites us all to come to know, love and serve him.
As the Catechism says, “Parents are the principal and first educators of their children”. So all schools exist to help parents to fulfil this duty and privilege of providing education. A short answer to the question “Why have Catholic schools and colleges?” is, “So that Catholic parents can have the best opportunities for enabling their children to grow to responsible adulthood in the knowledge and love of God and neighbour”, or putting it another way, “the best opportunities for helping their children to develop a deeply-rooted and fully mature Catholic faith and life”.
Can. 806 §2 directs us to ensure that the quality of education in our Catholic Schools is “at least as academically distinguished as that in the other schools of the area.” This means that the schools and colleges must be the best they possibly can be – they must do their best to provide competent or even excellent teaching through a full and well-balanced curriculum, in a good atmosphere which encourages achievement. And they must be Catholic schools and colleges: not in theory or in name only, but by way of a readiness to promote understanding of and commitment to the fullness of Catholic truth and sacramental life, even in the face of the increasing rejection of Catholic values (which are truly human values, to be embraced by everybody, not only Catholics) by people with power and influence in today’s world. The Department for Education exists to support, advise and challenge our schools and colleges to achieve those ends.