Schools and parishes celebrate Education Sunday

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Education Sunday is a national day of prayer and celebration for everyone involved in the world of education and will take place on Sunday 20 February this year.

Schools and parishes across England and Wales will be celebrating Education Sunday with special readings, prayers and hymns. Education Sunday, which forms part of the celebrations of the Year of Catholic Education, is the day when the Churches join to offer to God the work of education, in schools, in colleges and universities and in the Church. It is the time to celebrate the achievements of education, to recognise the challenges, and support and pray for all who are involved in education.

In his pastoral letter for Education Sunday, Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP, Chairman of CESEW, wrote:

“As the Gospel appointed for Education Sunday tells us, we must be prepared to ‘go the extra mile’. It is through the dedication and active faith of thousands of men and women — teachers, leaders, governors and staff, as well as the love and support of parents and the prayers of the whole community that our schools are able to serve so effectively communities throughout Britain.

“Our schools must always be places where faith, hope and love are fostered, and in this special Year of Celebration of Catholic Education I am full of hope for the future.”

This year the theme of Education Sunday is Firm Foundations: ‘By the grace God gave me, I succeeded as an architect and laid the foundations, on which someone else is doing the building. Everyone doing the building must work carefully. For the foundation, nobody can lay any other than the one which has already been laid, that is Jesus Christ.’ (1 Cor 3:10-11).

Mary Hawes, National Children’s Advisor for the Church of England, introduced the theme:

“Education Sunday offers an opportunity to celebrate the churches’ gift to the nation of education for all, alongside celebrating Christian educators in all places of learning, whose vocation, skills and care shape young lives in school, church and home. And it gives each of us the chance to look back in thankfulness for those who laid the foundations in our own lives, allowing us to grow in faith and understanding.”

Next year Education Sunday will be on 5 February 2012.


For further information please contact Naomi Brandon by emailing:

The Year of Catholic Education was announced by Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP at the Big Assembly at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham on Friday 17 September 2010 during the Papal Visit.

During the year we are celebrating the great contribution that Catholic education makes towards the common good. The theme of the Year of Catholic Education is: “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Since 1878 there has been an annual recognition of Education Sunday in England and Wales (traditionally on the ninth Sunday before Easter).

Education Sunday is promoted by an ecumenical steering group in association with the Churches’ Joint Education Policy Committee. The ecumenical steering group comprises representatives from the following eight organisations:

Association of Christian Teachers
Baptist Union
Roman Catholic Church
Church of England National Society
Methodist Church
Student Christian Movement
Salvation Army
United Reformed Church

Resources to download

Resources including prayers, homily notes, all-age worship ideas, song and hymn suggestions and school assemblies that are designed to help you prepare for your own celebration on or around Education Sunday are available on the Year of Catholic Education website: