Press Release- Friday 7th November 2014
The Catholic Education Service (CES) has welcomed the Government’s proposals for a new academically rigorous Religious Education GCSE and Religious Education A Level. The proposals, which are out for public consultation, put forward a more academically rigorous GCSE which includes the teaching of two religions. The widely welcomed A Level reforms propose increased religious content to ensure the right breadth and depth of study to support students progressing to higher education.
The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP KC*HS, Archbishop of Liverpool, and Chairman of CES said: “Theologically rigorous RE is a core part of Catholic education. These reforms to GCSE RE and A Level RE provide us with an opportunity to ensure that Religious Education at GCSE and A Level in Catholic schools is academically and theologically rigorous in accordance with Canon Law.
“Catholic schools account for 25% of the entries at RE GCSE and 20% of the entries at RE A Level. As the single largest provider of entries to both RE GCSE and RE A Level, we have worked in partnership with the Government to ensure that these proposals are fit for purpose in Catholic schools. We welcome the assurances from the Secretary of State that these proposals do not undermine the autonomy of the Catholic Bishops to determine and inspect religious education in Catholic schools.
“All Catholic schools are required by Church teachings to raise pupils’ awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to understand and respect them. These new proposals will facilitate Catholic schools in this duty.”
RE must make up at least 10% of curriculum time in a Catholic school and is inspected separately under long-standing arrangements currently set out in the 2005 Education Act.
Notes to editors
The Catholic Education Service (CES) is an agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Catholic schools represent 10% of state maintained schools and currently make up 25% of all entries to GCSE RE and 20% of all entries to RE A Level. (Source: Department for Education ‘KS4 qualification and subject data’ KS5 qualification and subject data http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/download_data.html )
Church teaching on the requirement for all Catholic schools to teach interreligious-dialogue can be found in the following Vatican and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales documents:
- Congregation for Catholic Education (for Institutes of Study), Educating to Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools Living in Harmony for a Civilization of Love, Vatican City (2013)
- The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Meeting God in Friend and Stranger, CTS, London (2010)
- The Department of Catholic Education and Formation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Religious Education Curriculum Directory (RECD), 2012,
The Religious Education Curriculum Directory states the aims of Religious Education (p6):
- To present engagingly a comprehensive content which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith;
- To enable pupils continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;
- To present an authentic vision of the Church’s moral and social teaching so that pupils can make a critique of the underlying trends in contemporary culture and society;
- To raise pupils’ awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them;
- To develop the critical faculties of pupils so that they can relate their Catholic faith to daily life;
- To stimulate pupils’ imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;
- To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum;
- To bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture.
The outcome of excellent Religious Education is religiously literate and engaged young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills – appropriate to their age and capacity – to reflect spiritually, and think ethically and theologically, and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life.
5 November 2014
Press Release - For immediate release
The Church of England Education Division and Catholic Education Service have called for action on Religious Studies GCSE
The Church of England's Education Division and the Catholic Education Service (representing over 6,000 schools and 1.7 million pupils) have welcomed the Prime Minister's commitment to launch a new set of criteria for Religious Studies qualifications at GCSE and A-Level without delay.
The two religious bodies have worked closely with Department for Education officials to draft the new criteria, which ensures that Religious Studies offers pupils breadth, rigour and a rich understanding of systems of thought held by three quarters of the world's population.
The Church of England's Chief Education Officer, Rev'd Nigel Genders, said: "Looking at the world today, it is hard to overstate the importance of equipping the young people of this country with a challenging and rigorous education which includes religious literacy. This new set of criteria will provide qualifications which do exactly that, and I hope the government will act to launch them publically as soon as possible."
Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, Chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference Department of Education and Formation, said: "In Catholic schools, Religious Education forms the core of the curriculum which is why we have worked closely with the Department for Education in developing a rigorous set of criteria. We are therefore excited about the opportunities that these will give our schools in delivering an academic study of religious education which conforms with the Bishops' requirements, and look forward to the imminent launch of the consultation."
Press Release - May 2014
A group of pupils from Saint Paul's Catholic High School in Wythenshawe recently took part in a Big Car Wash where they washed cars in order to raise money for Henshaws Society for Blind People.
The Year 10 pupils wanted to support a local charity and chose Henshaws because of their work with the blind and the visually impaired in the local community.
The aims of Henshaws are to improve the eye health of people living in the UK and eliminate avoidable sight loss. They also deliver excellent support to people with sight loss and enhance the inclusion, participation and independence of the blind.
The fund raising was led by Year 10 pupil, Niamh McLoughlin, who had a great desire to help the visually impaired and demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in her organisation of the week-long event.
"Niamh wanted to offer her support to Henshaws whose vision is to enable people with sight loss and people with other disabilities to build the skills and independence they need, to achieve the future they want," explained Ms Claire Bowman of Saint Paul's.
"She was inspired by the charity and wanted to help those with sight loss to achieve their full potential in life, enabling them to live independent and fulfilling lives."
Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul's, said:
"We are all very proud of Niamh and the initiative she has shown in raising the profile of Henshaws Society for the Blind and the commitment of her time and energy. Fundraising by students is a regular activity at Saint Paul's, it involves fun activities that help others and build group cooperation. We encourage fund raising activities which deepen students' understanding and enhance their potential to become well-informed active citizens."
Press Release- May 2014
St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, the lead school in the Catholic Schools Partnership (CSP) Teaching School Alliance, has been selected by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) to become a national teaching school – an important role in raising standards.
Teaching Schools and Teaching School Alliances will take a leading role in recruiting and training new entrants to the profession, identifying leadership potential and providing support for other schools.
Introduced in 2011, teaching schools are all rated as "outstanding" and mark a shift towards school-centred training. They work with partner schools in an alliance, including at least one university, to ensure high quality school-led initial teacher training and professional development opportunities for teachers at all stages of their career.
They raise standards through school-to-school support, engage in research and development, and ensure that the most talented school leaders are spotted and supported to become successful head teachers.
Mary McAndrew head teacher of St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School and National Leader of Education said:
"The CSP Teaching Schools Alliance is a group of schools in Bradford and Keighley who are committed to raising standards within Bradford and beyond by offering our pupils learning opportunities of the highest possible quality, enhanced by our distinctive Catholic ethos."
"Combining the wealth of expertise from our Alliance Members, including primary and secondary schools, sixth form colleges, the Diocese of Leeds and Leeds Trinity University, we are able to offer professional development opportunities in a wide range of fields and bespoke school to school support, which will ensure that the CSP is at the forefront of improving outcomes for children."
"The greatest benefit of being part of the CSP alliance is that it is owned by all our schools, all working together ensuring that a distinctive Catholic element is woven throughout all our work. Our firm belief and guiding principle is: 'Not my school but our schools'."