The history and distinctive nature of Catholic Schools

Voluntary schools were first formed in England in 1833 when the government of the time gave funding to charities to found Voluntary schools, the Catholic church joined the partnership in 1847 and ensured that the Church had control over governance, admissions and employment and ensured the oversight of the Bishop  – all of which are retained to this day.

Catholic Schools – an essential resource for the new evangelization

  • Schools are part of the Church’s mission in education, to place Christ and the teaching of the Catholic Church at the centre of peoples lives.  Pope Benedict XVI said in 2008 “Education is integral in the to the mission of the church to proclaim the Good News.  First and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth.”
  • Canon Law tells us that the Church has  “… in a special way the duty and the right of educating, for it has a divine mission of helping all to arrive at the fullness of Christian life.” Canon 794 
  • By putting Christ at the centre of our lives and our schools, it means that Catholic schools are more than just places of where pupils are equipped with learning and skills for the workplace and responsible citizenship.  Catholic schools are communities where the spiritual, cultural and personal worlds within which we all live are harmonised to form the roots from which we grow our values, motivation, aspirations and the moral imperatives that inform our choices and actions as persons.
  • Catholic schools as are important to assist parents, who are the primary educators of their children, in the education and religious formation of their children.  Canon Law tells us that “Among the means of advancing education , Christs’ faithful are to consider schools as of great importance, since they are the Principal means of helping parents to fulfil their role in education.” Canon 796
  • Our schools are also to be at the service of the local Church, that is the diocese, parish and home.  The partnership between Home, School and Parish is integral as the same values inspire all of them.  However, the school cannot be a substitute for the parish community and this partnership should be developed and fostered as this provides the schools ecclesial foundation – that is, its mission and communion within the Church.
  • Catholic schools are also to be a service to society, that is to contribute to the creation of a society that is highly educated, skilled and cultured.  The Church emphasises the contribution that Catholic schools make to the common good.  

“Catholic schools should place Christ at the centre of all it does.  This will mean integrating Gospel values and the teaching of the Catholic church into every aspect of learning, teaching and the totality of school life.”