The Future Leaders programme is a fully funded leadership development programme for teachers who have the talent to become headteachers of challenging primary schools within two years through the belief every child can achieve, regardless of background. The attainment gap starts early and this needs to be addressed from the earliest possible moment, with our six year track record of training senior leaders in challenging secondary schools for 2013 we are expanding our flagship programme to include primary. It provides participants with the training and support to lead schools and make a measurable impact on the lives of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This year they are recruiting 25 committed and inspiring leaders from primary schools in London to join Cohort ’13 to start their individual journeys to headship. 

Through on-going expert training, coaching and a network of advice from talented senior leaders, the Future Leaders programme gives participants the support, skills and strategies to lead challenging schools and to make measurable impact on the lives of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Applicants should be qualified current or former teachers who have worked in a school in the last five years, with at least two years' proven management experience. See eligibility criteria


Benefits include:

•17 days of residential facilitated training (prior to the start of the school year) 

•Remain in your current school (participating schools must meet our criteria)

•Bespoke career support as you progress to headship 

•On-going coaching with a dedicated, experienced headteacher

•Frequent training from leading practitioners 

•A social and online network providing tailored support and best practice

•Visit exemplary schools across England


More information can be found on the Future Leaders website and in the materials below.  


You are invited to learn more about our leadership development programme, meet current participants and to meet like-minded peers at one of our information and networking evenings in London. 

Thursday 14th March: 6.00 to 7.30pm – Future Leaders Assessment Centre, Unit 2 Bridge Wharf, 156 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9UU

A second date is currently being scheduled; please check our website for the latest information.


To RSVP please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


For more information, to apply, or to nominate someone from your school, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 0800 009 4142 (open Monday - Friday, 8.30am - 6pm).

Applications close: 19th March 2013



Training to teach Religious Education in 2013:

Candidates can train to teach Religious Education (RE) through a PGCE course in 28 universities in England, 2 in Wales and 2 in Scotland. Although the government no longer provides a bursary for RE, there are other sources of support. For 2013-14, trainees in secondary RE could be eligible to apply to one of the Church College Trusts for a grant towards course expenses or living expenses. Candidates can check for details of the trusts and foundations to which they can apply. 

Friday, 14 December 2012 11:25

Ten Ten Theatre


Educating children and young people with a sound understanding of Church teaching on relationships, sexual morality, love, marriage and family life remains one of the most challenging issues for any Catholic school.  Problems arise:  How we do we speak to children in their own language and culture but avoid reinforcing it?  Beyond the rules and regulations, what exactly is the Church teaching?  How am I supposed to teach it if my own life and values don’t live up to the ideal?

It was within this environment six years ago that Ten Ten Theatre – an award-winning Catholic theatre company – began devising, writing and producing a programme of Catholic Sex and Relationship Education which has now been established in hundreds of primary schools, secondary schools and parishes throughout the UK.

We take our inspiration from Blessed John Paul II’s teaching known as The Theology of the Body.  It has been our task over the last few years to identify some of the core values of the teaching and write accessible, contemporary stories to explore these ideas.  Karol Wojtyla himself was a keen actor and dramatist who believed passionately in the power of story and character to examine the human person.  At Ten Ten we aim to do the same, encouraging our children and young people to reflect on their own lives and experiences in order to understand more deeply their Call to Love.

So, for example, the play “Chased” for the 13-14 age group follows the story of Scott and Carly who are so confused by the world they inhabit – pressure from friends, influence of the media, physical development – that they almost lose sight of their core dignity.  And yet through the story they begin to understand the deepest longings of the heart: to be honourable, to be cherished, to be loved and to love as Christ loves.  By taking the characters on this journey, and following it up with discussion, sharing, reflection and prayer, the young people understand what it means to be “in” the world but not “of” the world.

What about primary school children?  How can we promote these values without corrupting children with sexual imagery and inappropriate information?

One example is “The Gift”, a lovely play for 7-9 year-olds.  It tells the story of twins Harry and Kate who learn about the preciousness of gifts: Kate’s treasured musical box, given to her by her Auntie who passed away, is accidentally smashed to pieces by Harry.  Harry doesn’t understand why Kate is so upset. “After all,” he says, “you can get another one from the pound shop… for a pound!” Through the story, both Harry and Kate (and the children watching) learn about the true value of gifts, what it means to make a gift of yourself and the importance of forgiveness.  These are precisely the same values we promote through the play “Chased” but at an age-appropriate level.

In the follow-up workshop to “The Gift”, the actors ask the children to think more deeply about the best gift they have ever been given, who gave it to them and why is it so special.  Sometimes the responses are material: Playstations and puppies are always very popular.  Other responses tell of something deeper: my life or my baby brother.  However, a few weeks ago at a school in Merseyside, one particular response really touched us.

“What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?” we asked.

“My mum,” said the boy.

“And why is she so special?”

“Because she adopted me and without her I wouldn't have been brought up happy,” said the boy.

The boy’s mother, in fact, also taught at the school.  Later that day, when she was told what her adopted son had said, she crumbled into tears.  

I can understand why.  This woman has likely given her entire life as a gift to the boy, making a decision to love him, protect him and care for him with all of her heart.  Surely this is one of the greatest gifts that a person could choose to give.  And yet it is a gift that people throughout the world make moment after moment, day after day.  Now, as a result of the visit of Ten Ten, this particular mother knew that her seven-year-old adopted son valued and appreciated the great sacrifice she has made.

Martin O'Brien

Ten Ten Theatre run an 11-year programme in Catholic Relationship Education for primary schools, secondary schools and parishes.  Sessions for parents are included as part of the visit to all primary schools.


Wednesday, 05 December 2012 11:09

Collecting data on Catholic schools and colleges

Each year the Catholic Education Service conducts a Census of every Catholic school and college in England and Wales.  The data collected includes Catholicity and ethnicity of staff and pupils, staff qualifications, take-up of free school meals and data on RE teaching. In 2012 the response rate was nearly 98%, including both maintained and independent schools.

The majority of schools complete the Census using SIMS, a Management Information System (MIS). SIMS answers 80% of the Census questions automatically and therefore ensures a high degree of accuracy. Schools that do not use SIMS complete an Excel spreadsheet. The completed Census returns are processed by the CES who produce spreadsheet reports and raw data that are used by the CES the diocesan education offices. 

In 2007, in response to requests that the CES Census data be made more widely available, the first Digest of Census Data for Catholic Schools and Colleges was published. The digest contains most of the summary data that is sent to the dioceses, presented in tables and graphs. However, it goes much further, by providing comparisons with national data and also by including additional data not included in the Census, specifically graphs representing information from the Income Deprivation Affecting Children (IDACI) index. It is now possible to identify trends in the data since 2007 and each year the digest includes comparisons with figures from previous years.

In addition to the digest, the CES also produces a Key Facts card the size of a bookmark. This is popular with some politicians and journalists who need access to recent figures on Catholic education in an overview format. The 2012 Key Facts card shows that, on the 2012 Census day there were 2166 Catholic schools in England, educating 808,207 pupils and employing 45,607 teachers.  The CES Census data, when supplemented with other, value-added data, shows the quality of education that Catholic pupils are receiving. For example, 75% of English Catholic primary schools have Ofsted grades of good or outstanding, compared with 64% nationally. At GCSE, Catholic schools outperform the national average English and Maths SATs scores by 6%. 

The Census gives the CES the authority to work with the Department for Education and Catholic MPs, Peers and Welsh Assembly members, Unions and other organisations with vested interest in Catholic schools and colleges.  For example, to be able to quote figures from the 2012 Census which state that 34% of pupils in English Catholic maintained schools are from ethnic minority backgrounds, compared to 28% nationally, helps to argue against the charge that Catholic schools are ethnically selective. 

Despite the evidence of the data, it is sometimes unwise to quote the results without looking at the broader picture. For instance, figures for take-up of free school meals suggest that there are fewer pupils in Catholic schools who are in receipt of free school meals than there are in all schools nationally (free school meals are available to children from parents who are working under 16 hours a week or are earning less than £16,190 a year). However, there is evidence to suggest that, although they are entitled to free school meals, some ethnic groups with a large representation in Catholic schools, are unwilling to take up their entitlement. The CES is looking to conduct further research using IDACI data to obtain an accurate measure of hardship in Catholic schools.

Over the past three years there has been a very gradual decline in the percentage of Catholic pupils in Catholic schools, particularly in secondary schools.  Again, the reasons cannot be taken at face value and require further analysis. The rising pupil population in Catholic schools show that the quality of teaching and results in Catholic schools are attracting larger number of pupils from a range of faith and non-faith backgrounds, with raw figures of numbers of Catholic pupils remaining relatively constant.  However, this statistic will require constant monitoring in future Census analysis as the CES remains concerned over the withdrawal of free school transport by many local authorities and the financial implications for many Catholic parents who wish to send their children to Catholic schools.

Whatever interpretations may be put on the Census data, the key facts speak for themselves: more children are being educated in Catholic schools and are achieving results that compete with the best schools nationally.

The 2012 Census digest will be available on the CES website (

Robert Rushworth is the Data Manager and Census Coordinator for the Catholic Education Service

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