Friday, 24 May 2024 10:00

Election 2024 - education

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:14-15

Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

Proverbs 4:13

The political community has a duty to honour the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially: … the freedom to profess one’s faith, to hand it on, and raise one’s children in it, with the necessary means and institutions…

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2211

Background

As a religious community we value our partnership with successive governments in England and Wales in the provision of Catholic education. Its fruit is the more than 2,100 nurseries, schools, special schools, independent schools, colleges, and universities which make the Catholic Church the second-largest provider of education in the country, and with the biggest network of academies.

Catholic schools exist to support parents as the primary educators of their children and welcome anyone who seeks a Catholic education for their child. Rapidly expanded in the 19th century to meet the needs of the growing urban population, today Catholic schools make up 9% of the state-funded sector and are considerably more ethnically diverse than the national average. They take in more pupils from the poorest households and outperform state schools by up to seven percentage points at GCSE English, Mathematics and Religious Education.

The Catholic community provides a significant financial contribution to the government in rent-free provision of land and buildings for schools, and by contributing to capital costs saves taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds.

This 177 years of partnership with the State has resulted in a legal foundation which protects the core principles of Catholic education. Amongst these are the ability to give priority in admissions to Catholic children; the right of bishops to appoint a majority of school governors; the right to reserve senior leadership posts for Catholics; and the legal right to teach, inspect and set the curriculum for Religious Education in Catholic schools.

Catholic education is popular with parents and successful in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. However, there are campaigns to get rid of schools with a religious character, and to change the curriculum so that our schools would no longer be Catholic.

Action

The sector is successful because of the hundreds of thousands of teachers, leaders, parents and volunteers but it still requires a Government to safeguard a Catholic approach:

  • The Government should support Catholic schools through policy and legislation which protects the legal foundations of this historic sector.
  • The Government should work closely with the Catholic sector to use best practice and ensure that the existing Catholic approach to governance, admissions, inspections, and the curriculum continues to flourish.
  • Whilst acknowledging the essential work of educational practitioners, the Government should recognise that parents are the first and primary educators of their children and ensure that this right permeates through all education policy.

What are your candidate’s views?

You may want to consider these questions when speaking to candidates seeking election.

  • Do they support the creation of new Catholic schools, including new Catholic Special Schools, through the removal of the cap on faith-based admissions?
  • Will they protect current admissions arrangements in Catholic schools?
  • Do they recognise the importance of Catholic leaders, teachers and governors in maintaining the Catholic school ethos?
  • What support will they give to raising the importance of Religious Education?
  • How will they safeguard parents’ rights as the primary educators including their right to withdraw their child from Relationships and Sex education and Religious Education?

Resources


Christ at the Centre – Why the Church Provides Catholic Schools


Catholic Education in England and Wales


Catholic Schools: Partners in Formation – Celebrating 175 Years of the Catholic Education Service


The Code of Canon Law: Catholic Education

“Catholic parents also have the duty and right of choosing those means and institutions through which they can provide more suitably for the Catholic education of their children, according to local circumstances.”

Code of Canon Law 1983, canon 793 §1

For further information on the election, please visit the Bishops' Conference website.

Eteach logoCatholic schools can now benefit from the latest application technology when attracting new staff, boosting their application rates without forgoing any of the data required as best practice.

The Catholic Education Service (CES) has worked hand-in-hand with Eteach, a leading provider of EdTech software and services, to deliver a new best-practice online application form for Catholic schools that is fully optimised for mobile.

Traditionally, Catholic schools have relied on downloadable forms, coupled with additional documents that must be uploaded separately. Recognising the need for a more efficient solution, Eteach embarked on a mission to simplify and enhance the application experience for both candidates and recruitment teams, while still meeting the unique data capture requirements of Catholic schools. The form has been developed in close collaboration with the CES and marks a significant advancement in streamlining the recruitment process for Catholic institutions.

“The CES has worked with Eteach to ensure that its application forms are suitable for use in Catholic schools,” said Paul Barber, Director of the CES. “We are also delighted that Churchmarketplace has included Eteach in its procurement framework for Catholic schools, to help support teacher and support staff recruitment.”

The partnership recently announced the launch of their groundbreaking new online application form as part of a host of new features Eteach is offering, tailored specifically for Catholic schools.

“We are delighted to introduce the latest product upgrade to our award-winning Applicant Tracking System (ATS) - our CES-approved online application form, specifically designed to meet the unique needs of Catholic schools,” said Paul Howells, Founder and CEO of Eteach.

“The whole initiative ensures a seamless journey for candidates, ultimately fostering a faster, more efficient application process. It’s clear that by using technology effectively, schools will lessen the impact of staff shortages and reduce costs.This is the culmination of many hours of work by the CES and Eteach, defining requirements and developing the system to make school recruitment more efficient, whilst keeping quality and safety at the top of their priorities.”

Key features of the new online application form include:

- Mobile optimisation, catering to the 70% of job seekers who apply via mobile devices.
- Customised fields to capture essential information specific to Catholic school roles, such as religious denomination and qualifications.
- Integration of required supporting documents within the form, eliminating the need for separate uploads.
- Built-in Equal Opportunities Monitoring form to uphold fairness and transparency in recruitment practices.
- Fully translated into Welsh to accommodate schools in Welsh-speaking communities.

Additional features within the Eteach product set are designed to improve the SEO performance of Catholic schools, enhance the candidate journey for applicants looking for roles in any faith-based school and to build a talent pool for Catholic educators UK wide.

Moreover, Eteach has joined forces with Churchmarketplace, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting products and services for Catholic institutions. As an official supplier of recruitment software, Eteach will offer the CES-approved online application form as part of their comprehensive annual licence package, available at exclusive rates for Catholic schools, colleges, and trusts.

“We are delighted to be working with Eteach to drive up applications for vacancies in our Catholic schools for teaching and support staff posts nationwide.” Said Jenny Booth, Director of Churchmarketplace.

Over 400 current Eteach partners are benefiting from the new online application form already. For the wider Catholic education community, the form will be accessible as part of an Eteach annual licence.

To learn more about Eteach's advertising and recruitment software for Catholic education, visit Eteach or Churchmarketplace.

The Right Reverend Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds and Chairman of the Catholic Education Service (CES), has welcomed the decision by the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, to lift the cap on new free schools in England.

The decision paves the way for Catholic free schools to open, having previously been excluded under the 50 percent cap or ‘rule’ which would have forced schools to turn away some Catholic pupils.

Bishop Stock said:“These proposals are welcome. Dioceses are well placed to respond to differing local educational demands around the country, including the provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities. Parents can welcome this also.

“Catholic education not only provides a high performing school sector and promotes the formation of children in values and virtues; it is more ethnically diverse than other schools, educates more pupils from the most deprived backgrounds, and builds social cohesion within our communities.”

The Department for Education also has plans to enable new faith-based academies for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The Catholic Church has a long history of SEND provision, and at present there are seven non-maintained Catholic SEND schools, three other independent Catholic SEND schools, and 16 other Catholic independent schools which are approved for SEND provision.

Find out about the work of St Rose’s, a SEND all-through school in Stroud, Clifton Diocese, and St Vincent’s, a school for visually impaired children in the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

Consultation

The decision is subject to a seven-week public consultation that closes on 20 June – take part in the consultation here.

The CES welcomes the very thorough and research-grounded subject report on Religious Education (RE) that Ofsted has published today (17 April).

The report includes a clear articulation of what good quality RE looks like in schools without a religious character but also offers some significant criticisms of RE and its teaching.

Catholic school RE results at GCSE are up to seven percentage points above the national average, with around a quarter of all those nationally taking RE GCSE being pupils in Catholic education.

By law, Catholic schools in England teach a Catholic RE curriculum which is inspected independently of Ofsted. A new Religious Education Directory and model curriculum were published last year.

Philip Robinson, Catholic Schools Inspectorate Chief Inspector, said: “We welcome this report – and the recent return of bursaries for RE teacher training. While the report does not speak to RE specifically in Catholic schools it is heartening that many of the criticisms of the quality of RE taught elsewhere are not typically true of Catholic education.

“We anticipate this progress will continue as schools implement the new Religious Education Directory and model curriculum.”

Read the report

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