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:

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.

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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. 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017 09:33

Catholic education in Wales

The Catholic Church in Wales

 The Catholic Church in Wales is divided into three dioceses; the Diocese of Wrexham, the Diocese of Menevia and the Archdiocese of Cardiff. Together they are referred to as the Catholic Provence of Cardiff and have an estimated Catholic population of 208,146.Province of Cardiff

The Diocese of Wrexham consists of the 6 Counties of North Wales and the district of Montgomery in the County of Powys in Mid-Wales. It has a Catholic population of 37,050.

The Diocese of Menevia covers Swansea, Carmarthen, Llandrindod wells, Haverfordwest and Port Talbot. It has a Catholic population of over 27,096

The Archdiocese of Cardiff has eight deaneries covering Cardiff, the Welsh valleys, Bridgend, Hereford, Newport, North Gwent and Pontypridd. It has a Catholic population of over 144,000.


Catholic schools in Wales 

The Catholic Church is one of the oldest providers of education in Wales. Together with the Church in Wales, they are the only providers of denominational education in the country.

There are 82 state-maintained Catholic schools in Wales (all Voluntary Aided) educating more than 28,000 pupils and employing over 1,600 members of staff.

This includes 68 Catholic primary schools, 14 Catholic secondary schools, and a Catholic sixth form college. 

Welsh Catholic schools are some of the most ethnically and religiously diverse in the country - just under half of pupils in Welsh Catholic schools are not Catholic.

Catholic schools remain extremely popular with parents of all faiths and none and therefore expand parental choice in education for Welsh families.

Click the links to find out more about Religious Education, Relationship and Sex Education, and Collective Worship in Welsh Catholic schools


Latest News from Welsh Catholic Schoolslow res wales

Welsh Government risks ‘losing the trust of the Catholic community’, CES tells Senedd 

Welsh Catholic school heads unite to oppose RE changes

Message from the Rt Rev Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds and Chairman of the Catholic Education Service

Catholic Education Service Criticises Welsh Government RSE Announcement



Stop the Welsh Government revoking parents' rights as the primary educators of their children: it is important that sensitive subjects like Relationship and Sex Education and Religious Education are taught in accordance with parents' views. Removing the rights of parents' to withdraw their children from these subjects will undermine their role as parents.


Welsh language strategy

As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting the Welsh langugage and Welsh Catholic heritage within the education sector, the CES has created a Welsh language strategy.


St Richard Gwyn

1200px Richard GwynSt Richard Gwyn was one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. Born in Montgomeryshire, he was a schoolteacher in Wrexham and is also believed to be one of a handful of Martyrs who was a fluent Welsh speaker. He is the Patron Saint of teachers in Wales

His feast day is 16 October and is an occasion where Catholic schools across Wales celebrate their members of staff. 

More information about St Richard Gwyn

The key outcomes of the 2017 A level results in England and Wales for Religious Education are as follows:

  • 23,856 RS A level entries were recorded, a small decrease of 4.0% on 2016.  Much of this decrease is explained by a decrease in the number of 18-year-olds in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland of 1.7%
  • Despite the decrease in entries for RS, there are still more than double the number in 2003 (11,132 entries were recorded in 2003)
  • The increase of 114% in the number of entries for RS A level since 2003 is greater than for any arts, humanity or social science subject (the nearest subject is Political Studies with an increase of 90%).  Among all subjects, only Further Maths has seen more rapid growth than RS
  • 23.3% of entries for RS A level were awarded an A or an A*
  • There were 16,308 entries for RS at AS level, a decrease of 54% on 2016; this reflects the decline across all subjects where the number of AS entries fell by 40% across England and Wales.  Despite the drop there are still more entries than in 2003 (15,482 entries were recorded in 2003)

The importance of RS A Level as a subject for Higher Education entry and for graduate recruiters is increasingly recognised by independent bodies. The Russell Group of top universities has made it clear that RS A level provides ‘suitable preparation for University generally’, and both Oxford and Cambridge University include Religious Studies in the top level list of ‘generally suitable Arts A levels’.

In fact, almost 21% of students admitted to Oxford University to study English and 13.5% admitted to study History in 2015 had an RS A level, more than those with Economics, Physics and Business Studies A levels.1

Employers are also recognising the value of religious literacy. For example, in February 2017, EY announced the creation of Religious Literacy for Organisations (RLO), a diversity and inclusion training programme designed to help organisations better understand religious inclusion and its positive impact on business process and performance.

Career prospects for those that take Religious Studies/Theology at degree level are also very bright, with 25% of 2015 graduates going on to work in the fields of legal, social and welfare, 11% choosing to become educational professionals and almost 5% managers.

The high number of pupils taking A level and AS level Religious Studies is all the more impressive for coming at a time when there is a shortfall in recruitment for teacher training in Religious Education.  Evidence collected by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) suggests that headteachers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit RE specialists.

Comment from Daniel Hugill, Chair, National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE)

"Congratulations to the many students receiving their Religious Studies results today.  Their results are the product of their hard work grappling with some of the most difficult questions to ever puzzle humankind. Congratulations to their teachers too who have worked tirelessly to ensure that their students can reach their full potential.  It is of little surprise to those of us who teach RS that it remains so popular amongst young people.  RS A-level is an excellent preparation for both further study and for entering the world of work.  RS is a subject that helps young people gain access to a wide range of degree courses including those at the most prestigious Universities.  Our most recent Freedom of Information request found that more than 1 in 10 students admitted to Oxford’s Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) and History courses had studied RS A-Level. This statistic increases to more than 1 in 5 for students admitted to study English.  The subject matter and approach of an RS A-level helps to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to succeed in modern Britain.”

Comment from Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, Chief Executive, Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC):

"It’s fantastic to see how popular Religious Studies A level remains.  This is a highly rated subject that offers pupils the opportunity to explore crucial questions in relation to beliefs, values and morality. In doing so it provides an excellent preparation for living in a multi-faith, multi-cultural world.  What’s more, Religious Studies is a rigorous, academic A-level that provides an excellent foundation for further study in a wide range of academic subjects, and remains a very attractive qualification to universities.  These results are really encouraging, but there’s still work to do.  I hope that the Government will want to work with us to turn enough of today’s keen A level pupils into tomorrow’s teachers to help meet the shortfall in appropriately qualified teachers of religious education that we currently face.”


Numbers of A level entries in arts, humanities and social sciences in England and Wales by selected subject area, 2003 to 2017


A level subject area










% change 2003 to 2017

Religious studies











Political studies













































































Notes: GCE A level results of A level candidates in England and Wales.

Source: Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)

Monday, 31 July 2017 09:55

Links to Catholic Organisations

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Below are a series of links to organisations which support the provision of Catholic education:


Catholic Agencies and Charities

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Catholic Educational Organisations   

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Codes of Conduct for Governors and Directors

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 09:51

Mission Animation Day in Clifton Diocese

missio low resIn June 80 children from seven schools in Swindon and Malmesbury, Clifton Diocese, gathered together in joyful celebration for a Mission Together Animation Day.  The morning was spent with children making friends with one another, engaging in group activities, and reflecting on their role as ‘children helping children’ with Mission Together, the Pope’s official children’s charity for overseas mission.

Through the day children learnt that even though they are all unique individuals, they can make a big difference to building God’s kingdom when they act together and support one another.  The Good News Bracelets made by the children, reminded them of the hope and love they bring to other young people around the world who are living in poverty when they pray and share- as Jesus taught.

The sessions were followed by an afternoon Liturgy led by Missio’s National Director, Fr Tony Chantry and Missio’s Diocesan Director for Clifton Diocese, Fr Gary Brassington.  The chaplaincy team from local secondary school, St Joseph’s Catholic College, Swindon helped the Liturgy to run smoothly with the addition of their prayers and reflections.

Many congratulations to all the pupils and students for their words of wisdom and thoughtfulness as they carried out their tasks. Thanks also to the staff - teachers and chaplains – who generously gave up their time to help organise the event and who provided inspiration for future Mission Together animation days.  Final thanks goes to Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, Swindon for hosting a wonderful day.

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Thursday, 11 May 2017 14:35

Praying the Rosary for Peace

St Marys 1At the start of May, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to pray the Rosary for peace. Around the same time Mission Together, the Holy Father’s official children’s charity for overseas mission, paid a timely visit to St Mary’s Primary School (Batley) to deliver a special assembly. St Mary’s has a long tradition of reciting the Rosary with its pupils in May, a practice fondly remembered by ex-pupil and Mission Together education team member, Claire Colleran.

Claire was delighted to have been invited into her old school at the start of Lent to speak to pupils about Mission Together and how, as children helping children through prayer and giving, they can share in the mission of the Church and deliver God’s love to all people, everywhere, just as Jesus taught us.

Following that assembly, St Mary’s had adopted Mission Together as their Lenten charity and helped raise funds by selling the charity’s Mission Rosaries. Although Mission Together was just one of a number of the school’s Lenten charities, St Mary’s still managed to raise a wonderful £350 to help children living in poverty overseas.

Claire was invited back in to St Mary’s to collect the cheque and to lead a Marian inspired Mission Rosary assembly. Parish priest Fr Eamonn Hegarty came along to bless the children for their efforts to share God’s love with others through their support of Mission Together.

RE Coordinator, Mrs Jennie Blanchfield, said of the visit; ‘The children fully embraced Mission Together and its concept of children helping children. They could see through their prayers and giving that they can make a small change to children's lives all around the world. They were totally committed to collecting as much loose change as possible to put in the Mission Together Boxes.’

Father Eamonn Hegarty added, "Once again the children of St Mary's have shown how generous they are."

Mission Together supports the physical, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing of children around the world. If you’ve been inspired by St Mary’s efforts and would also like to encourage children to help children, contact to arrange an assembly, or download user friendly assemblies (including the Rosary assembly delivered at St Mary’s) and other resources from our website. 

Monday, 08 May 2017 12:53

Pope Francis' Mega Youth Poll

In 2018, Pope Francis will meet Bishops and others to talk about Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment. At this gathering they will discuss how the Catholic Church can accompany all young people in their faith and help them to hear God’s call. Please can you encourage your students aged between 13-29 years old to use the Mega Youth Poll so that they can tell the Catholic Church in England and Wales what life is like for them, their thoughts on faith and how we can help them to hear God’s call by using this link or scanning this QR code with your phone.



Please encourage your students to share their thoughts rather than what they think we would like to hear. For a list of the questions asked  in the Mega Youth Poll, Click HERE

Right of Withdrawal from RE and Collective Worship

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