The Director of the Catholic Education Service says that Catholic education is in a healthy place-but is asking for help.
Marking the celebration of Catholic Education Sunday on 10th September, Paul Barber is inviting Catholics to help institutes to thrive by becoming governors.
“Catholic education is by far the largest charitable activity of the Church in this country, but is now in need of your help,” Mr Barber told the Universe.
“Since the pandemic, the Catholic sector has experienced vacancies for foundation governors, and more are needed to sustain Catholic ethos and leadership. Find out more about this way to serve your community and live out your faith by contacting your diocese.”
The Director took the opportunity to highlight the Catholic Church as ‘the country’s largest provider of secondary schools and second-largest of primary schools, along with four universities.’
“Amid the disruption caused by reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), there is still much to celebrate,” he added.
“Catholic schools continue to be true to their mission in educating more pupils from the most deprived backgrounds, as well as routinely outperforming national averages in GCSE English, Maths and Religious Studies.”
The generosity of Catholic education was also highlighted, with nearly half of all 2,175 Catholic schools across England and Wales raising more than £610,000 for CAFOD, including for relief following flooding in Pakistan and earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
Mr Barber pointed out the academic achievements of Catholic higher education institutes. “Birmingham Newman University (was) rated number one nationally for student satisfaction and highest overall positivity in all categories in the most recent National Student Survey,” he said.
“St Mary’s University, in Twickenham, was ranked best in London for academic support, and in the top ten nationally for learning opportunities.
“Leeds Trinity University has introduced innovative nursing degrees designed to support the NHS, with a new, purpose-built health facility for teaching to open soon. The university also received positive feedback from the National Student Survey, with nine number one rankings across all subjects.”
He ended by calling on Catholics to continue the ‘success story’ of Catholic education.
“Catholic education is one of this country’s great success stories,” he said.
“Back in the mid and later Victorian era, parish congregations and their clergy prioritised the building of schools ahead even of that of churches. This is because they saw education as the principal means of handing on the faith and improving the lives of the growing number of children living in poverty in rapidly urbanising areas. It is up to us to continue to protect and to hand on this legacy to future generations.”