It has become a commonplace comment that Christians in the UK are facing persecution from an overbearing state, a seemingly hostile judiciary and a metropolitan elite with friends in the media. A quick trawl of news sites shows that Ann Widdecombe believes that ‘Christianity in Britain is under severe persecution and it will get worse’; David Simpson MP says that ‘we don’t have to go to other countries to see persecution, we simply look to our own back door’. Even the former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Rev Lord Carey, says that in Britain ‘Christians are vilified by the state... Christians are being driven underground’.
Change in the world of education has been rapid and will continue under the Coalition Government at a pace; one might speculate about the shape of the educational landscape in 2012. Already we see a world of academies, free schools, companies which provide education, competition, deregulation and closures. It is also a time of great demographic change in the Catholic population which is affecting dioceses in very different ways. The classroom has become ethnically very diverse. This offers a wonderful opportunity to understand the Catholic Church as the community of disciples in a much broader way.
Press Release –8 September 2014
The Catholic Education Service is delighted to announce the launch of a new document, revised and approved by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, celebrating the important impact that Catholic education has on our communities.
The document, which was approved at the Bishops' Conference Plenary meeting in May, outlines the distinctive nature of Catholic education, which is currently responsible for almost 800,000 pupils in England and Wales. It also explains the way in which Catholic schools work in partnership with the Government to provide outstanding academic standards, a diverse education and a cohesive and welcoming environment for all.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster said: “I welcome this document which highlights the distinctive nature of Catholic education to make Christ known, to assist parents in their role as primary educators of their children and to be of service to society. The high demand for places at Catholic schools is testament to the high regard of parents for the distinctive nature of Catholic schools and also the high standards achieved.
“I commend the staff, pupils and parents across all Catholic schools and offer my prayers for their continued endeavours.”
Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP, Chairman of the CES, said: “Supporting the education of our young people is not just a responsibility for the Church, but also a privilege. This new document outlines the fantastic contribution of Catholic education to our communities across England and Wales and I hope that it encourages people to celebrate and support the work of our Catholic schools and colleges.”
The Catholic Church is responsible for 10% of the total maintained education sector in England and Wales. It employs over 48,000 teachers and 38,000 education support staff.
The document is available to download below.
We are saddened and shocked to hear of the death of Jim Dobbin MP. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat and all of Jim's family. Parliament will be a poorer place for his passing for Jim was a brave voice, respected on all sides of the House. In many ways he was the outstanding Catholic parliamentarian of his generation and we will greatly miss his commitment to social justice combined with his gentle sense of humour.