Vicariate for Education


Welcome to the Diocesan Department for Education website

I am pleased to welcome you to the website of the Diocesan Department for Education (DDfE). On this website, you will find useful information about the work of the DDfE and the schools of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

Catherine Craig
Acting Director of Education

There are approximately 56,000 children and young people in the 156 Catholic schools of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. The Diocese consists of 136 first/infant/junior/primary schools and 20 secondary schools. The children and young people in our schools remain the absolute priority. We work to ensure that they will continue to receive the very best educational opportunities and life fulfilling experiences, within communities which have the teachings of Christ and his Church at the very centre.

“The mission of schools is to develop a sense of truth, of what is good and beautiful. And this occurs through a rich path made up of many ingredients.”

Pope Francis – Address to Italian School Teachers – 10 May 2014

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The DDfE supports schools to ensure that they are successful and act in accordance within the Trust Deed of the Diocese. This involves us in offering advice and direction on a broad range of educational matters such as, Religious Education and curriculum issues, Catholic life of a school, collective worship, staffing and recruitment, governance, admissions and capital developments. In order to do this, the team work closely with our four Catholic Education Trusts, local authorities, the Department for Education and the Regional Schools Commissioner.

Catholic schools evangelise culture because they address the deepest questions about what it is to be human and live in society. They open pupils’ minds to the transcendent dimension of life and the reality of God revealed in Jesus Christ. They teach a holistic understanding of the human person and society in which all are included so that humanity can flourish. The Catholic school enables each child to develop their God-given gifts in order to engage in building a better society which is characterised by justice, truth and love.

The document Christ at the Centre cites four reasons why the Church provides Catholic schools:

  • To assist in its mission of making Christ known to all people
  • To assist parents, who are the primary educators of their children, in the education and religious formation of their children
  • To be at the service of the local Church, the diocese, the parish and the Christian home
  • To be of service to society

“Christ is the foundation of the whole educational enterprise in a Catholic school.”

The Catholic School, 1977 – 34

“Catholic schools, which always strive to join their work of education with the explicit proclamation of the Gospel, are a most valuable resource for the evangelisation of culture.”

Pope Francis – Evangelii Gaudium, 2013 – 134

"This educational mission entails the ongoing development of the entire potential of every person. It seeks to promote the wellbeing and freedom of every person, which shape the daily life of a Catholic school as a community in which faith is expressed and shared through every aspect of its activity"

Statement from Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, May 2000

Education News

Department for Education

Read the Department for Education vision, and meet the team.

Schools Commission

The DDfE School Commission work includes Catholic School Inspection, leadership support and development, governance, school admissions, recruitment of Catholic leaders, staffing, oversight and monitoring of Catholic Education Trusts, and estates management.

Catholic Education

Catholic Education work includes Religious Education policy and support, Relationships, Sex and Health Education policy and support, Catholic life and mission, Prayer and Liturgy, and Catholic School Inspection.


The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle stretches from the River Tweed in the north to the River Tees in the south. There are 156 schools in the Diocese, 20 secondary schools and 136 infant, first, middle, junior, and primary schools. The schools are grouped within four Catholic Education Trusts.

Professional Development and Formation

Professional Development and Formation opportunities are crucial in ensuring that all school staff are fully equipped so that all children are able to fully develop as children of God.


Vacancies in the Diocesan Department for Education, in the Catholic Education Trusts central teams, and in our schools are listed here.


Useful links to support schools.