CES News (106)


19 March 2013 

The Cathedrals Group* 2013 Conference and Choirs Festival was hosted in Birmingham by Newman University. 

The highlight of the 2013 Choirs Festival was a performance of the ‘German Requiem’ by Brahms, sung by a massed choir of 350 singers drawn from eleven Cathedrals Group universities. Conducted by Derek Wroughton, Choir Director at Newman University, and accompanied by the Birmingham Chamber Orchestra, the professional soloists were Mark Saberton (Baritone) and Caroline Lester (soprano). 

The Choirs Festival, held in Birmingham Symphony Hall on Saturday 9 March, also featured a variety of choral pieces performed by the individual choirs. Distinguished guests included James Macmillan CBE, the celebrated composer and conductor who is an honorary graduate of Newman University, and The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, who studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Photos of the Choirs Festival will be available shortly in the Feature Gallery of The Cathedrals Group website*.

This year’s residential conference for the Vice Chancellors and Principals of the 15 member institutions of The Cathedrals Group, focused on plans for collaborative projects and activities and how recent changes to the system of higher education created challenges and opportunities for member institutions, their staff and students. External speakers included Steve Egan, Deputy Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England; 


Dr Graeme Atherton, Head of AccessHE and Director of the National Education Opportunities Network; Revd Janina Ainsworth, Chief Education Officer for The Church of England; and Revd Stan Brown, Chaplaincy Officer – Education for The Methodist Church.

Professor Joy Carter, Chair of The Cathedrals Group and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester said: ‘The Choirs Festival has a long history. Professor Grenville Hancox MBE founded this event 25 years ago. In 1988 he came up with the inspirational idea to bring together the choirs from the different institutions to meet each other and share their love of choral music. Since that time the festival has been held in venues around the country and we are delighted to be in Birmingham this year for a very entertaining and inspiring evening.

‘The Cathedrals Group is a group of 15 universities who all share a strong commitment to values. The values of social justice, respect for the individual and promoting the public good. These values are embedded in our histories as Church Foundation institutions. But they are also part of our futures, as we equip new generations of public servants and responsible global citizens. At our conference today we agreed our strategic plan and we look forward to further developing and promoting higher education rooted in our values.’

The Cathedrals Group is an association of universities and university colleges in England and Wales with Church foundations, serving almost 100,000 students. It is the only grouping in the higher education landscape based on ethical beliefs and values and a registered charity under its official title (The Council of Church Universities and Colleges). 
A principal object of the Cathedrals Group is to contribute to the well-being of society. Member institutions share a strong commitment to values such as social justice, respect for the individual, and promoting the public good through work with communities and third sector organisations. 
The Cathedral Group members are: Bishop Grosseteste University; Canterbury Christ Church University; University of Chester; University of Chichester; University of Cumbria; University of Gloucestershire; University of St Mark & St John; Leeds Trinity University; Liverpool Hope University; Newman University; Roehampton University; St Mary’s University College, Twickenham; University of Wales Trinity St David; University of Winchester; and York St John University.
Information about The Cathedrals Group can be found on their website at: http://cathedralsgroup.ac.uk. 
For more information and comment, please contact:
Sue Boorman, General Secretary of The Cathedrals Group
Tel: 01438 814868 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Catholic Voices 2013 Speakers' Training Programme

Applications are now open for North West England Speakers' Training programme which will run from September to December 2013.

Interviews will be on 26th and 27th April in Manchester, and 29th April in London.

The three residential weekends, each lasting from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, will be: 20-22 September, 18-20 October, and 15-17 November.

For more information about Catholic Voices, their mission and the Speakers' Training Programme please see the Catholic Voices website.

Invitation to the North West England Speakers' Training Programme

Notes for Applicants 

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for an application form and further information

The deadline for applications is 28th March 2013

The Future Leaders programme is a fully funded leadership development programme for teachers who have the talent to become headteachers of challenging primary schools within two years through the belief every child can achieve, regardless of background. The attainment gap starts early and this needs to be addressed from the earliest possible moment, with our six year track record of training senior leaders in challenging secondary schools for 2013 we are expanding our flagship programme to include primary. It provides participants with the training and support to lead schools and make a measurable impact on the lives of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This year they are recruiting 25 committed and inspiring leaders from primary schools in London to join Cohort ’13 to start their individual journeys to headship. 

Through on-going expert training, coaching and a network of advice from talented senior leaders, the Future Leaders programme gives participants the support, skills and strategies to lead challenging schools and to make measurable impact on the lives of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Applicants should be qualified current or former teachers who have worked in a school in the last five years, with at least two years' proven management experience. See eligibility criteria


Benefits include:

•17 days of residential facilitated training (prior to the start of the school year) 

•Remain in your current school (participating schools must meet our criteria)

•Bespoke career support as you progress to headship 

•On-going coaching with a dedicated, experienced headteacher

•Frequent training from leading practitioners 

•A social and online network providing tailored support and best practice

•Visit exemplary schools across England


More information can be found on the Future Leaders website and in the materials below.  


You are invited to learn more about our leadership development programme, meet current participants and to meet like-minded peers at one of our information and networking evenings in London. 

Thursday 14th March: 6.00 to 7.30pm – Future Leaders Assessment Centre, Unit 2 Bridge Wharf, 156 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9UU

A second date is currently being scheduled; please check our website for the latest information.


To RSVP please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


For more information, to apply, or to nominate someone from your school, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 0800 009 4142 (open Monday - Friday, 8.30am - 6pm).

Applications close: 19th March 2013

Wednesday, 06 March 2013 10:14

John Paul II Foundation for Sport

John Paul II Foundation for Sport, launched October 2011, aims through sport to enable everyone,  in particular the young, to develop their full potential  across the PIES - the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects of their lives. This is guided by the principles identified by Pope John Paul II and set out in his declarations and writing. 

With this in mind, for the past 16 months the Foundation has been supporting the creation of new sports clubs in parishes and schools across the country. The dream is to free up numerous school sports facilities, particularly in the evenings, weekends and school holidays, to enable local young people to get off the streets to concentrate their energies and so turn ‘gangs into teams’.

The first such club, Sports Squared, opened its doors in September 2012. S2 uses the sports facilities at Sion-Manning School and St Charles VIth Form College, and offers sessions in basketball, dance, fitness, football and trampolining for local children and young adults on Friday evenings.

Sports Squared is making an enormous difference to the community in Ladbroke Grove, London and is living proof just how valuable the work JP2F4S is undertaking. 

For more information or if you would like to get involved, visit www.johnpaul2foundation4sport.org or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thursday, 14 February 2013 15:02

Religious Studies Teachers’ Conference

Wednesday 3rd – Friday 5th April

St John’s College, Durham

All Religious Studies / Theology / Philosophy of Religion teachers in secondary schools and colleges across the UK are welcome to register to attend.  

The free conference package will include:

•         engaging presentations on cutting-edge issues delivered by world-leading researchers and academics; 

•         formal and informal networking opportunities; 

•         a forum for sharing ideas about teaching and supporting your students; 

•         accurate and up-to-date admissions information so you can advise and support your students; 

•         all meals, refreshments, overnight accommodation for two evenings, and light entertainment. 


Registration is now open!  Due to the high volume of interest it is recommended that you book early to avoid disappointment.  


Find out more  

Book online  

Visit the teachers’ conferences website


For more information, please contact the conference team: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, 08 February 2013 09:34

Statement on Qualification Reform

We welcome the announcement today by the Secretary of State for Education concerning the reform of qualifications at 16. It is clear that the government’s own consultation regarding examination reform showed broad consensus, accepting the need for reform yet rejecting the initial proposals for that reform. That the Secretary of State proposes to reform exams ‘with the help of school and university leaders’ is particularly welcome. Working closely with education professionals will help ensure that any reform will enjoy the widest possible support and confidence.

We are, however, disappointed that Religious Education remains effectively relegated to outside the ‘core’ under these proposals when it is at the very heart of the curriculum in every one of our more than 2000 schools in England. GCSE RE is a valuable and worthwhile subject, but it could be better, and we hope to be able to work with Ofqual and Examination Boards to ensure that it becomes so.

It remains to be seen, of course, how examination reform will now proceed. We are therefore unable to comment further until the detail becomes clear.


Further information of the reforms can be found on the Department for Education’s website (www.education.gov.uk)

For 2013 Future Leaders are looking to recruit 75 secondary Future Leaders from our six regions as well as 25 primary Future Leaders from London for the first time. The Future Leaders programme is for current, qualified teachers, who have the talent and commitment to become headteachers of challenging schools in an accelerated time frame (four years secondary, two years primary). Successful applicants to the programme receive 17 days of residential facilitated training, bespoke career support as they progress to headship, on-going coaching from an experienced headteacher, regular training opportunities, an online social network providing tailored support and best practice and visits to exemplary schools across England. This programme gives participants the skills and resources to lead schools that improve the life chances of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Applications are open until 19th February for secondary and 19th March for primary.  To apply, or for more information visit the Future Leaders website or call 0800 009 4142

Thursday, 07 February 2013 10:46

Safer Internet Day 2013

The Catholic Education Service along with Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) is supporting Safer Internet Day 2013 (SID2013) on the 5th February. 

Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of online safety and the rights and responsibility that come with engaging with online content. For more information please see the SID website.

Education Sunday this year falls on Sunday 27th January and offers an opportunity for schools and parishes to work together to promote Catholic education in their community.

The relationship between parish and Catholic school has been central in preserving the Catholic ethos of the education. Following the re-establishment of the Catholic hierarchy in 1850 the building of schools was often prioritised over the building of Churches, a clear indication of the Church’s commitment to education and its role in the formation and development of the whole person. These schools were often used as the main place of worship with the whole Catholic community gathering together to support each other. 

There remain many opportunities throughout the year for schools and parishes to come together to celebrate the faith and ensure the longevity and strength of Catholic education, but Education Sunday shines a spotlight on schools. 

This is an opportunity, first of all, for parishioners to give financial, spiritual, practical and political support to our Catholic schools. There is a collection for Catholic education on the Sunday, and worship resources including homily notes and prayers are available from www.educationsunday.org.

But Education Sunday is also an opportunity for schools, their staff and pupils, to share their work, learning and experiences of Catholic education with parishes. 

There are many other ways in which all Catholics can get involved in Catholic education from supporting school fundraising events to becoming a school governor. 

In the ever changing education agenda, there is often need for parish support at a local political level. School transport remains a key issue in many areas with local authorities cutting provision, a move that disproportionately affects Catholic schools which have larger than average catchment areas. To find out more about home to school transport and how you can campaign in your local areas see www.catholiceducation.org.uk/index.php/campaigns/transport-toolkit

Free Schools Meals is another policy area which especially affects Catholic schools given our primary concern for the poor. The annual census data collected from all Catholic schools in England and Wales show that 20% of pupils at Catholic secondary schools in England live in the most deprived areas compared with 17% nationally. Free school meals are available to children from the lowest income families. They provide a hot meal at lunch which is important in providing both health and education benefits to the child and reducing financial burdens on the child’s family.

The CES remains concerned about the low take-up of Free School Meals in Catholic schools. Research from The Children Society show that of 1.5 million children in England who meet the eligibility criteria for Free School Meals, around 200,000 are not registered, and of those registered, a further 300,000 do not eat the meal. In addition to the health, educational and financial benefits to the child and their families, this also had a direct impact on the schools themselves. Changes in funding arrangements also mean that schools receive addition funding (£500 per pupil) based upon the number of children receiving Free School Meals.

The CES will be running a campaign this year to increase the take up of Free School Meals in Catholic schools and will be encouraging schools, parents and parishioners to spread the word on the role that Free School Meals have in ensuring the healthy development of children. Full details on how to claim Free School Meals and who is eligible can be found at www.catholiceducation.org.uk/campaigns/free-school-meals.

The CES together with CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) are also supporting The Children Society’s Fair and Square campaign, who are petitioning the government for all children living in poverty to receive Free School Meals. To find out more about the campaign see www.childrenssociety.org.uk/fairandsquare.

Education Sunday also remains an opportunity to thanks those in parishes and staff in schools whose work ensure high standards of Catholic Education we have in schools today.



Training to teach Religious Education in 2013:

Candidates can train to teach Religious Education (RE) through a PGCE course in 28 universities in England, 2 in Wales and 2 in Scotland. Although the government no longer provides a bursary for RE, there are other sources of support. For 2013-14, trainees in secondary RE could be eligible to apply to one of the Church College Trusts for a grant towards course expenses or living expenses. Candidates can check www.cstg.org.uk/acct for details of the trusts and foundations to which they can apply. 

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