CES News (130)

Monday, 08 September 2014 08:26

Jim Dobbin MP RIP

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.

When I first arrived at Oxford University I was thrilled to discover that there was a Catholic church – the Oxford Oratory – less than two hundred metres away from my college. Even the small city of Oxford can seem dauntingly large to a new student, and so the Oratory quickly became the church which I regularly attended. I enjoyed many wonderful masses at the Oratory; however, I couldn't help feeling that there was a distinct lack of a student community there, which, as a local parish church isn't really that surprising.

As I began to explore Oxford further, I occasionally went to other college masses, and my interest in the University's Catholic Chaplaincy grew. I gradually started to attend weekly talks there, but some part of me always felt that I had left it too late to become involved with the community itself. When I started my Master's degree last year, I was thrown into an experience of Oxford which I had not anticipated – most of my friends had left the city and I no longer lived in college, meaning that my nearby haven of the Oratory suddenly seemed a lot more distant. As with many unexpected or difficult situations, this was a blessing in disguise as it opened my mind to the large number of other churches in Oxford which had previously been second in line to the local Oratory.

As a result of being one of a small group from my college who stayed on in Oxford, the start of my Master's year was rather lonely, and I felt compelled towards the Chaplaincy. My reluctance to become involved during my undergraduate degree for fears of it being "too late" were immediately assuaged as I felt a sense of openness and acceptance, and I felt that I had finally found the sort of student community for which I had been searching over the last three years. Here was a group of like-minded students who were experiencing similar daily life in Oxford, but who also understood my commitment to the Catholic faith and the important role it plays in one's life as a student. I quickly became involved in helping with the weekly CAFOD soup lunches and met many wonderful people. As I started going to the chaplaincy more often, I realized how much I appreciated my experiences of the Oratory, and I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to alternate between churches and communities during my last year in Oxford.

One of the greatest privileges about experiencing this city as a Catholic student was the huge choice of churches and masses which were right on my doorstep. During the past four years, and especially over the last nine months, I have had such a wonderful experience of the Catholic communities in this city; and, be it the Oratory, the Chaplaincy, or college masses, I have always felt supported and able to speak to people in times of need, or just as a friend.


Stephanie has just completed a Masters in Musicology at the University of Oxford

Part-funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Remembering Srebrenica is a UK charity that seeks to raise public awareness of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, during which more than 8,000 mainly Muslim Bosnians were killed. Their project aim is to teach current and future generations about the consequences of hatred and intolerance in all communities. As part of their mission, they promote Srebrenica Memorial Day on 11th July with the aim to raise public awareness with the aim of promoting good community relations and rejecting hatred and its causes.


Press Statement – 10 June 2014

In light of the alleged "Trojan Horse" plot in Birmingham the Catholic Education Service has produced the following statement:

"Many people are confusing extremism with religion. It should be clarified that the alleged problems in Birmingham concern a number of community schools not faith schools. Catholic schools and other faith schools should not be penalised in response to these allegations.

"The Catholic Church welcomes the role of Ofsted in ensuring accountability and inclusive education for all, regardless of belief. Catholic schools are a place where pupils come together to learn about faith in an open and informative way to question and form their own understandings of their faith. Catholic schools exist to provide high academic standards and the formation of the whole person. They are not places of indoctrination or proselytisation.

"Catholic schools are an integrated part of local communities with more pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds and deprived areas than national averages."


Tuesday, 06 May 2014 10:51

MPs praise Catholic schools

6th May 2014 – For immediate release

In a debate in Parliament on Wednesday 30th April, MPs from all political parties and both front benches voiced their support for Catholic education.

The debate on 'Catholic Schools (Admissions)' was led by Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire, and focused around the contribution that Catholic schools make to the education sector as well as the role of faith-based admissions to meet parental demand.

In the debate Damian Hinds MP said "Catholic schools are a key part of the education landscape in this country, and have been for a long time. They are diverse—more diverse, in fact, than the average—and that diversity includes already having a substantial proportion of non-Catholic children. They also have something special about them, and that specialness comes at least partly as a direct result of their religious nature."

Kevin Brennan MP, Shadow Minster for Education, said "Catholic schools are extremely diverse, often with large numbers of people from immigrant backgrounds."

David Laws MP, Minister for Schools, said "Catholic schools in particular generally outperform other types of state school. Last year, at primary level, 81% of pupils in Catholic schools achieved level 4 and above in reading, writing and maths at key stage 2, compared with 75% of pupils at all state schools. At secondary level, 67% of students secured five good GCSEs, including English and maths, in contrast to 61% of students at all state schools in 2013."

Greg Pope, Deputy Director of CES, said "We welcome these comments in Parliament. The success of Catholic education is founded upon the hard work of staff and pupils and it is right that MPs should praise their ongoing achievements. The CES will continue to work closely with both the Government and the opposition to ensure that Catholic schools provide a high standard of education to all families who seek it."



A full copy of the debate can be found here in Hansard here

29 April 2014


Statement from the Chairman of the Catholic Education Service

Upon hearing of the tragedy in Corpus Christi Catholic College, Leeds, Archbishop-Elect Malcolm McMahon OP, Chairman of the Catholic Education Service, said:

'I was shocked and saddened to hear of Ann Maguire's death yesterday. My prayers, and those of every Catholic parish and school in England and Wales, will be with her family and friends, the staff and students of Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds, and all who have been affected in any way by this senseless tragedy. Ann gave her life to the College and Catholic education, and thousands of young people have benefitted from her kindness and hard work over many years. May she rest in peace.'



Marie Southall
Public Affairs Manager
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T. 020 7901 1914

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T. 020 7 901 4800

Monday, 28 April 2014 16:12

Corpus Christi Catholic College

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:

"We are aware of the serious incident at Corpus Christi Catholic College this morning and our thoughts are with all those concerned.

"We are working with the school to support pupils and staff at this very upsetting time. We wish to reassure people that this was an isolated incident and there is no ongoing risk to pupils or staff at the school.

"We are working closely with the police and helping with their investigation."


A spokesman for the Diocese of Leeds added:

"The thoughts of all of the Diocese are with the families involved – all is being done to give support to all those involved"


The Catholic Education Service said:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the community of Corpus Christi Catholic College at this sad time."


7th April 2014 

The Catholic Education Service is delighted to announce the new appointment of Dr Arthur Naylor MA MEd PhD MBA as CES Higher Education Adviser.

Paul Barber, Director of CES said "We are delighted to welcome Dr Arthur Naylor to our team at CES as our Higher Education Adviser from 1st September. As the current Vice-Chancellor of St Mary's University Twickenham Dr Naylor brings with him a wealth of expertise, knowledge and experience.

"I also want to place on record our deep thanks to Professor Clare Pickles who has been such a great support to us in this field. We are grateful to her for all she done for Catholic education and we wish her well as she moves on to new challenges."

Dr Naylor's academic and professional background prior to his appointment as Principal of St Mary's was in secondary education and teacher education in Scotland. His main research interest was in guidance and pastoral care structures and he worked for three years on part secondment to the Committee that published the first national statement on Guidance in Scottish schools.

As Principal, Dr Naylor oversaw considerable expansion in student numbers, range of programmes and campus development at St Mary's. He served on a range of national bodies in higher education and is a past Chair of the Church Universities and Colleges, now known as the Cathedrals Group. In January 2014 when University title was achieved he became the first Vice-Chancellor of St Mary's University.

Dr Naylor will take up the post in September for the start of the new academic year.


For further information please contct:

Marie Southall

Public Affairs Manager 

020 7901 1900

Press Release- 30th January 2014

The Catholic Education Service (CES) is encouraging schools and parishes to use Education Sunday 2014 as a time to come together and celebrate the success and achievements of Catholic education.

Education Sunday will take place on the 16th February following the theme 'Going Above and Beyond'. Education Sunday provides an opportunity to give thanks for all those in our communities who go 'above and beyond' to work so hard in and for Catholic schools and colleges across the country.

Paul Barber, Director of the CES said, "The Catholic Church is proud of its nationwide network of schools and the contribution they make to our communities. It is therefore important to pay tribute to the many teachers, leaders, support staff and governors, without whose dedicated commitment it would be impossible for us to provide such a service to society."

Education Sunday is also an opportunity to strengthen the links between schools and parishes, so that both are able to continually share in the success of Catholic Education.

Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP, Chairman of the CES said, "I hope and pray that, as we celebrate the work of our Catholic schools, our schools and the parishes which they serve will draw even closer together, since both are one family, called to give glory to God and work for the common good of the wider community."

The CES has produced a collection of resources, including prayer and worship ideas, to assist schools and parishes in their Education Sunday celebrations.
The resources are available to download from the CES website www.catholiceducation.org.uk and include: Mass and Liturgy booklets, a letter from Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP, Prayer cards and a Catholic education information leaflet.

For over a century Education Sunday has been part of an ecumenical initiative in which the Catholic Church participates. Education Sunday is a national day of celebration for all those involved in in the world of education and is held on the ninth Sunday before Easter.



For more information please contact:
Alexandra Jarvis
Public Affairs Officer
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0207 901 1904


Notes to Editor
• The Education Sunday 2014 theme was devised by an ecumenical steering group co-ordinated by the Churches Together in England.
• The Catholic Education Service (CES) is an agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW).
• Ecumenical resources are available to download from www.educationsunday.co.uk

• The Catholic Church is the largest provider of secondary schools, and second largest provider of primary schools (behind the Church of England) in the country.
• Catholic schools funded jointly by the State and the Church make up 10% of the total maintained sector in England and Wales.
• Catholic maintained schools in England employ 46,664 teachers, 37,263 support staff and educate 770, 83 pupils.

The most powerful storm ever to hit land has caused devastation on an unprecedented scale in the Philippines. 9.8 million people have had their lives torn apart. But we can still help them as they try to recover and rebuild their lives. CAFOD is working with its partners Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Philippines to provide urgently needed food, emergency shelter and essential household goods.

There is a short film for you to use in class or assembly to encourage your pupils to pray and fundraise for people affected by Typhoon Haiyan >>

Your support will help local Church partners throughout the region provide emergency shelter, food, clean water and essential household items such as blankets, clothes and cooking equipment to those who have been left with nothing.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference has expressed its full support for the CAFOD emergency appeal. Chris Bain, CAFOD Director says: "However distressing the images of devastation and stories of suffering caused by Typhoon Haiyan, we cannot waste time on despair or shock – not when there are still lives to be saved, and communities in such desperate need of help."

Thank you so much for your support.

"Sadly, there are many, many victims and the damage is huge. Let's try to provide concrete help." – Pope Francis

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