Bishops’ Plenary Meeting – November 2013
Hinsley Hall, Diocese of Leeds
The Bishops’ Conference restates its commitment to Catholic schools and colleges and reaffirms the principles set out in its Autumn 1996 Statement, ‘Education in Catholic Schools and Colleges: Principles, Practices and Concerns’.
Education is central to the mission of the Catholic Church. Since 1850, the Church’s aim has been to provide a place in a Catholic school for every Catholic child. The Bishops’ Conference recognises that, in the circumstances prevailing in England and Wales, the conditions required to ensure a distinctive Catholic education remain the ownership of the school or college site, the appointment of the majority of governors, admissions arrangements, the RE curriculum and its inspection, worship, and the employment of staff.
Accordingly, the Bishops’ Conference takes the view that the imposition of a 50% cap on the control of admissions is not a secure basis for the provision of a Catholic school and urges dioceses to resist any pressure to establish a school on that basis.
The Bishops’ Conference mandates the Catholic Education Service to continue to press the government and politicians to modify this policy so that it no longer places a disproportionate disadvantage on the Catholic community.