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
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.
The Department for Education seeks to support its network of Catholic Schools and Colleges in all the work they do to provide the highest standards of Religious Education and faith formation. The Department’s team wishes to provide them with up to date information and advice about all the current national and international developments in these areas, including inviting nationally and internationally famous guest speakers to present their ideas in our Diocese.
The Department arranges high quality Continuing Professional Development for school leaders, teachers and support staff so that they can serve our children and young people in their knowledge and practice of and witness to their faith. We wish to ensure, also, that members of staff from across our family of Catholic schools can have opportunity to meet, share ideas and support each other. All courses can be viewed and booked through our website. We can also support individual schools and clusters who have identified a particular need in relation to their RE development, by leading training days or twilights.
For example, many of our primary schools have started to use the ‘Come and See’ scheme as their main teaching resource. We can offer training on the scheme if that is needed. We can also advise on RSE delivery and multi-faith teaching. We can respond to schools who need advice in the run up to Section 48 inspections also.
We have a team of Specialist Teachers of RE (SLREs) whom we can put schools in touch with for further individual support. Our main advisors for RE, however, are Anna Nuttall (High Schools) and Patty Ganley (Primary Schools). They can be contacted through the Education Department on 0161 817 2204. Finally overall responsibility for RE within the Diocese of Salford rests with the Deputy Director for School Support.
On 29 January 2016, Canon Anthony McBride, Episcopal Vicar for Education, issued a memorandum to the clergy, headteachers and chairs of governors in the Diocese of Salford regarding a decision made by the Diocesan Trustees that schools could begin to consider the option of converting to academy status. This decision by the Trustees recognised that there is a changing landscape in regard to educational provision and funding since the earlier decision (taken in December 2012) not to allow any of our schools to convert. The Trustees and the Diocesan Department for Education envisaged that some schools might convert and some might remain as they are, blending together in a “mixed economy” within our diocesan family of credible Catholic schools. These contrasting decisions by the Trustees are actually underpinned by the same principle, namely seeking to ensure that we preserve that diocesan family of schools and the rights we have as a Catholic community in regard to education under the dual system. This position is set out in the terms of reference for the Diocesan Trustees’ Schools Committee which has, as one of its responsibilities: “Overseeing, through a specific sub-committee to be known as the Diocesan Trustees Academy Committee, the establishment of Catholic Multi Academy Trusts and the conversion of schools to academy status in a manner and at a timing appropriate to local needs.”
- Rev Canon Michael Cooke VG, Chair of Diocesan Trustees Academy Committee
- Simon Smith, Director of Education
- Colin Mason, Academies Lead
For general or specific enquiries please email the Academies Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org