Press Statement – 9th September 2016

Catholic Church welcomes Prime Minister’s removal of the cap on faith admissions

We warmly welcome the Government’s proposal to remove the cap on faith-based admissions for free schools and new academies. This will enable new Catholic schools to meet the current parental demand for thousands of new Catholic school places across the country.

Currently, the arbitrary cap on faith-based admissions prevents the Church from meeting the demand from Catholic parents for Catholic places and could cause schools to turn Catholic families away on the grounds that they are Catholics. To do so contravenes not only Canon Law but also common sense.

As the largest provider of secondary schools and the second largest provider of primary schools in England, we support the Government’s aim to increase parental choice through a diverse education system. Catholic schools and academies make up 10% of state based education and have higher numbers of pupils from ethnic minorities and deprived areas and a track record of integrating these groups into mainstream society.

Catholic schools are inclusive, educating pupils from all faiths and none. One third of our pupils are from non-Catholic families. Our schools are particularly popular with parents from the Muslim community, other Christian communities and with high proportions of those who have no faith.

We have a long history of providing outstanding education and look forward to working with the Government to deliver these new Catholic schools.

 

 

Notes to Editors

There are 2142 Catholic Schools in England.

There are over 450 Catholic academies.

Pupil Population

  • 819,069 pupils are educated in Catholic schools.
  • 37% of pupils in Catholic primary schools are from ethnic minority backgrounds (30% nationally).
  • 33% of pupils in Catholic secondary schools are from ethnic minority backgrounds (26% nationally).
  • 19% of pupils at Catholic primary schools live in the most deprived areas (14% nationally).
  • 17% of pupils at Catholic secondary schools live in the most deprived areas (12% nationally).

Performance Data

  • 83% of Catholic secondary schools have Ofsted grades of good or outstanding (74% nationally).
  • At age 11, Catholic schools outperform the national average English and Math SATs scores by 6% points.
  • At GCSE, Catholic schools outperform the national average by 5% points.
  • In Catholic schools, 64% of pupils for whom English is an additional language achieve grades A*-C in both English and mathematics GCSEs (59% nationally).
  • Catholic schools outperforms the national average by 4% points for disadvantaged pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate.

The Catholic Education Service for England and Wales (CES) has congratulated Barbara Coupar on her appointment as the new Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES).

Barbara, who is a member of the SCES executive board, will succeed outgoing SCES Director Michael McGrath, who has been Director since 2003.

The CES would like to pay tribute to the fantastic work Michael has done leading the SCES since its creation and wishes Barbara all the best in her new role.

 

 

Press Release 17 March 2016

This morning pupils at St Benedict's Catholic School, Garforth, Leeds had the opportunity to show the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne their sporting skills.

The Chancellor visited the school following his announcement in yesterday's budget to double the amount of funding dedicated to sport in every primary school. He watched demonstrations of netball and gymnastics by the children. He was able to chat with the Pupil Sports Council over a healthy breakfast.

Mr Kieron Flood, Headteacher of St Benedict's Catholic School said "Sport is an important part of the curriculum here at St Benedict's. We believe that promoting a healthy lifestyle through active participation in sport and PE will ensure that children will develop a life-long love of sport through their physical literacy. Our pupils look forward to joining in the wide variety of activities and are extremely proud of their own achievements and the achievements of other children in their school".
"We were pleased to welcome the Chancellor to St Benedict's as it provided the pupils with an opportunity to demonstrate their sporting skills and tell him personally about their success in a range of sporting competitions".

The academy encourages all pupils to have a healthy body and healthy mind so keeping fit through a wide variety of activities is important to the whole academy community including staff. The school is involved not only in the usual team sports, the highly competitive 'Skipping Festival' held between the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Leeds is a particular favourite of the children.

The academy uses the current sports premium funding to ensure that every child has the opportunity to join in sporting activities with a series of professional partners including Liz Jarosz, a PE teacher from St Wilfrid's Catholic High School and Sixth Form College, Featherstone, another academy in the trust.

The academy has achieved the Gold Activemark and is particularly proud of former pupils who have been selected to play for England All Age Wheelchair Rugby team and a visually impaired pupil who skateboards in national competitions – real success stories for those talented children.

Notes to Editors:

1) St Benedict's Catholic Primary School is a popular, oversubscribed Catholic academy in Garforth, a town on the outskirts of East Leeds in Leeds Local Authority.

2) The academy was a founding member of the Bishop Konstant Catholic Academy Trust that comprises 2 high schools and 10 primary schools. It was established in November 2012. http://www.bkcat.co.uk/

3) The Headteacher of St Benedict's is Kieron Flood who is a Local Leader of Education and has successfully supported a school in the trust that was a sponsored conversion to academy.

4) The funding enables the academy to provide continuous professional development for staff to improve the teaching of P.E. in school and in turn enhance the experience and learning opportunities for all pupils. Sports specialist teachers and coaches are working alongside class teachers in lessons and providing provision of sports for after school clubs. In this way, children are gaining new skills and experiences and teachers are learning new techniques and knowledge to aid their professional development in teaching sport and PE. This develops an understanding of the importance of a healthy lifestyle through active participation in Sport and PE. Children will develop a life-long love of sport through their physical literacy.

5) The school is one of 94 schools in the Diocese of Leeds, The Bishop of Leeds is The Right Reverend Bishop Marcus Stock

6) If any further information is required please contact the headteacher on 0113 2869819 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

In education, we are used to new initiatives. But occasionally, something comes along which has the potential to have a huge impact, long into the future. The launch of the College of Teaching presents us with one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments.

The college is the new independent chartered professional body for the teachers. Surgeons and solicitors, engineers and accountants, physicians and architects: all have had chartered bodies at the heart of their profession for a long time.  Recently, many other chartered professional bodies have been founded: for plumbers and ecologists, secretaries and payroll professionals. 

For a variety of complex reasons, the teaching profession alone has lacked a strong, independent professional body, led by teachers, responsible for promoting high standards and supporting professional development. With the launch of the College of Teaching, that is about to change.

In the past few years, a consensus has emerged that such a college is necessary and its time has come. A remarkable alliance, or coalition, has formed in the education world, including subject associations and national educational charities, teaching unions and learned societies in associated disciplines. The idea emerged spontaneously in 2012 at a residential conference run by the Prince’s Teaching Institute. The PTI established a commission, including a cross section of teacher. Following an overwhelmingly supportive consultation with 1200 responses, it published a blueprint for a College of Teaching. This led to the formation of the Claim your College Coalition, which published a start-up proposal at the beginning of 2015 and established a process to recruit an independent, teacher-led board of trustees.

What is the College of Teaching? It is easier to answer this question by way of what the college is not. It is not a regulatory body, and will not have a disciplinary role. That was the role played by the widely disliked General Teaching Council (GTC), which was imposed as on the profession without its consent and abolished in 2012. An example of this distinction in another profession would be between the Royal Medical Colleges (the professional bodies), and the General Medical Council (the statutory regulator).

What’s more, it will not be compulsory. Teachers had to pay to register with the GTC and were obliged to join. There will be a subscription payable to join the College of Teaching, but teachers can decide whether to do so. The college is not a commercial or political organisation. It is an educational charity, so any surpluses will be reinvested towards teachers’ continued professional development, and all activities will be for the good of education. Furthermore, it will be independent: in particular independent of government, driven only by sound educational research in the hands of the teaching profession.

The establishment of the college will ensure the profession has the status, aspiration and routes to promotion recognised by chartered bodies in other professions. Teachers will work in their early years towards a higher professional standard (‘chartered’ or ‘fellow’ status). This will demand rigorous, ongoing professional development and create expectations on employers and new entrants, which will match those in other professions. It will create a platform and structure for career‑long, continuous professional growth of each teacher. The development of the college has been carefully designed to benefit the profession as a whole.

As part of its contribution to the common good, the Church has been at the forefront of every major development in this country’s education system. The Churches created the first infrastructure for educating the vast majority of the poor in the early nineteenth century. We founded the first teacher training colleges, such as St Mary’s College (now St Mary’s University) in 1850 and Notre Dame College (now part of Liverpool Hope University) in 1856. We pioneered the formation and education of teachers, recognising how central this was to improving outcomes for pupils.

The Church, its schools and universities have remained at the cutting edge of the education system, marked by innovation and high standards, not just for the benefit of the Catholic community, but for society at large. That is why the Catholic Education Service was an early supporter of plans for a College of Teaching, and why Catholic teachers, schools and colleges should support its launch and ensure its success for the benefit of the whole education system.

The College of Teaching is now calling on teachers, schools and colleges from all phases and stages to put take part online in The Big Staff Meeting  before the end of this term. The Big Staff Meeting introduces the college’s place in the professional landscape of teaching in the UK.

The college needs to be shaped by teachers, and we want every teacher to be well informed on the developing plans and to share views on who should be part of it and what it should offer. All this will be vital part of shaping what the college looks like. By taking part in this national consultation, teachers can contribute their opinion on the scope and benefits of membership that will shape the future direction of the college. 

This is an enormous opportunity for the teaching profession to come together to set its own standards. All teachers are urged to share their views by the end of February via an online survey (www.research.net/r/N3L3KMC), talk about it with their colleagues, and get involved.

Page 1 of 8