The CES has received queries from schools wanting advice on whether they can allow pupils to take part in fundraising activities for Comic Relief. These activities are often popular but concerns have been expressed that some of the fundraising may go towards providing services that ar contrary to Church teaching. The CES has raised these concerns recently with Comic Relief. Please see below the most recent response from Comic Relief on these matters.
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.”
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.”
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.