Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Excellence of Catholic Schools

Zenit highlights a report on the excellence of our Catholic schools.
In terms of overall effectiveness, 73% of Catholic secondary schools were shown to be outstanding or good, compared to 60% of schools nationally. For primary schools, 74% of Catholic schools were judged outstanding or good compared to 66% nationally.

The report added that these results also reflect social diversity within Catholic schools, as these institutions have the same proportions of children eligible for free school meals as schools nationally.

As well, the Catholic schools showed more ethnic diversity than their national counterparts.

In the report's forward, Stannard stated that "perhaps the most revealing part of the survey is the short section exploring the value added by the schools."

"This clearly shows that our schools do exceptionally well both in terms of objective measures of attainment and when contextual factors such as levels of disadvantage are taken into account," she added.

Stannard continued: "Three findings of the survey are particularly encouraging and should motivate us to engage in a spirit of confident cooperation with our community neighbors.

"The first is the maintenance of high quality from the early years right through the secondary phase of education. The second is the good quality of all aspects of leadership.

"Perhaps most important of all, the third concerns our contribution to the community, which is consistently rated far above average in both primary and secondary phases."

Stannard asserted, "In facing the challenges of education in the 21st century we can confidently confirm that Catholic schools are part of the solution, not the problem."
There is always the danger of "triumphalism".
The problem is not whether our Catholic Schools fulfill the criteria set by the Government but whether they produce disciples of Christ: men and women who value prayer, the sacraments, attendance at Mass and the Word of God, who are capable of building effective families, of nurturing their own children in the faith, of building the Kingdom of God.

Links to the reports can be found here.


Jackie Parkes MJ said...

I posted on this. I have found my children have done well in Catholic schools & my husband & I as Catholic teachers have had many positive experiences. Out eldest, a doctor & product of Carholic schools has an outstanding faith & is to marry in April with the intention of raising a very large family... God willing.

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Sorry about spelling above! Not good for a teacher! Using my phone to post!

universal doctor said...

It is easy to be cynical about reports, especially educational ones. I am delighted however that the superb contribution which Catholic schools make (in general) to producing fine human beings is recognised. It is not for nothing that our schools are consistently over-subscribe, and are sought after even by parents of no faith.
There is often another side, not so rosy. As you say Fr, if these schools produce men and women who hold firm to Christ and are living and credible witnesses to the gospel then the schools have done their job. I suspect that the transmission of the faith in many institutions is a rather low priority.
I have been lucky to teach only in Catholic schools, 2 independent (one boarding) and one grant maintained. I was compelled to leave the grant maintained school because of the poverty of the faith that was being transmitted. I can't begin to number the abuses of the sacred liturgy (encouraged, wittingly or otherwise by the chaplain), and the entire atmosphere of the school was sterile regarding the faith. I know that it is difficult to recruit Catholic staff, but I witnessed how damaging to the community it was to have a majority of dissenters, liberals, and those of other/ no faith. All in the name of equality and non-discrimination of course. In fact I was disciplined twice for drawing to the attention of the bishop of the diocese to a number of grave liturgical abuses. Apparently I was putting the reputation of the school in danger by informing him of these matters.
I am extremely fortunate now to be in a school which has the visible presence of most holy and orthodox men among it. These priests provide an essential visible link with Christ. Certainly not all staff or students are Catholic, and among those who are i am sure that we have our fair share of liberals and dissenters, but the VISIBLE presence of these men ordained in the service of Christ and their witness of love and truth is incomparable.
I heard many stories of old pupils of the state school who had fallen away from the faith, and none of them surprise me. The seeds were sown in overgrown soil, the weeds grew up, the wind blew, there was nothing to nourish them. If our schools produce "nice" pupils who are "well-rounded", with a great sense of "community spirit", then they have failed.
They need to produce credible witnesses to Christ.

The father of one of my dearest friends attended the school I teach at at present. My friend is now 8 years ordained to the priesthood. You will kow them by their fruits.

Norah said...

Our Catholic high schools in Australia produce students who, by and large, abandon the Faith a couple of years out of school - other than that they are great!

SzukmV said...

Part of the solution? I always wondered why the last government attacked Catholic schools, since they were doing such a good job of turning out highly secularised model citizens. Maybe it was just a sham to placate the miltant atheists who couldn't see that these schools are very good at turning nominal Catholics into practical atheists, and undermining the faith of those who had some to start with.

SzukmV said...

Ask a school child at a Catholic school about over population; the AIDS crisis in Africa; the Catholic attitude to contraception and abortion; sex before marriage; the Catholic Church throughout history (a force for good or evil); the medieval period in general and monasteries in particular; their impressions of Catholic monarchs, especially in Tudor times etc. In history and English, are they given stories of heroic virtue and self sacrifice? Are they given something worthy to aspire to, or are they merely trained in narrow cynical dissection which only proves that there is no truth other than their own (ill-formed) opinions?

Mummymayhem said...

My children are home educated. Our local Catholic school will equip them with GCSEs and probably drive them away from the faith for good.
I firmly believe the CES are in league with the devil, as are too many of our Bishops.I can name you hundreds of catholic children I went to school with who now have no faith. Hundreds. Generations of catholic families screeching to a halt with my generation.

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