New direction and vision set out for Catholic schools in NI

This week, Catholic schools across Ireland are joining with their peers around the globe in celebration of Catholic Schools Week. The theme for this year is ‘Catholic Schools: Living Life to the full.’

In Northern Ireland, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) and the Catholic Schools’ Trustee Service (CSTS) have marked the occasion with the launch of the Catholic Schools’ Ethos Paper. This publication sets out the principles of Catholic Education and future vision for Catholic Schools.

Speaking at the launch Bishop Donal McKeown, who is chairperson of the CCMS and CSTS, said,

“I am very pleased to introduce this paper which articulates the future vision of Catholic education, its ethos, and values. Today’s children and young people are growing up in an increasingly complex world. The ministry and message of Christ is the foundation for all Catholic Schools.  Cardinal James Hickey of Washington (b.1920-d.2004) was quoted as saying ‘We educate communities, not because they are Catholic but because we are!’  Catholic schools contribute to the pursuit of excellence within education, whilst remaining faithful to their distinctive culture, vision, and approach.  They listen, encourage constructive dialogue, and support the development of mutual understanding; in so doing, they enhance local communities and provide the opportunity for holistic growth.”

In the North there are 469 Catholic Schools with 149,626 pupils in attendance – 1725 attending Nursery, 333 attending Special School, 81,995 attending Catholic Primary Schools and 65,513 pupils in attendance at Post Primary.

The timely paper will set out the future direction and vision for all schools within the Catholic managed sector.  In addition, it is intended to inform educators, parents, learners and the wider community of the philosophy at the heart of Catholic schools and the importance of their distinctive voice within the wider education landscape.

Bishop McKeown concluded, “Catholic schools continue to look forward and play a positive role in raising standards and in building respect, not only in the classroom, but throughout the community and wider society.”

To view the Ethos Paper – Catholic Schools delivering for all Communities visit or


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