Catholic schools possess a unique and distinct character. They are places where Christ is at the centre, where the Catholic faith and the values that Jesus taught us is integral to all that is done. They are part of the evangelising Mission of the Church; a Mission through which the person of Jesus Christ is made known and loved. Catholic schools are committed to the formation of the whole person; a formation that encompasses the spiritual, intellectual, physical, social, moral, aesthetic, emotional and religious capacity of each child and young person.

Catholic Life and Mission

The DDfE 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.

These are the five core principles that underpin our Diocesan Catholic schools:

  • The search for excellence as an integral part of the spiritual quest.
  • The uniqueness of the individual made in God’s image and loved by him.
  • The education of the whole person based on the belief that the human and divine are inseparable.
  • The education of all with the particular duty to care for the poor and disadvantaged.
  • Moral principles put into practice within a Christian community.

Religious Education

At the heart of Catholic Education lies the Christian vision of the human person. This vision is explored in Religious Education (RE) making RE the core subject in a Catholic school. The specific contribution to the life of the Catholic school of curriculum RE is primarily educational. Its primary purpose is to draw pupils into a systematic study of Catholic Christianity and to explore the contribution of Christianity and other religions to culture, personal commitment, and action in everyday life.

The Religious Education Curriculum Directory (RECD 2012) makes the aims of Religious Education explicit:

  1. To present a comprehensive content which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith;
  2. To enable pupils continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;
  3. To present an authentic vision of the Church’s moral and social teaching so that pupils can make a critique of the underlying trends in contemporary culture and society;
  4. To raise pupils’ awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them;
  5. To develop the critical faculties of pupils so that they can relate their Catholic faith to daily life;
  6. To stimulate pupils’ imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;
  7. To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum;
  8. To bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture.

The outcome of excellent Religious Education is religiously literate and engaged young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills – appropriate to their age and capacity – to reflect spiritually, and think ethically and theologically, and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life (RECD 2012 p6).

"Religious Education is more than just one subject in the curriculum. In Catholic schools it is the core of the 'core curriculum'."

Pope St. John Paul II, 1988


Key resources for Primary RE.


Key resources for Secondary RE.

Prayer and Liturgy

Prayer and Liturgy in a Catholic school is concerned with giving glory, honour, praise and thanks to God. It is our loving response, in word and action, to God’s invitation to enter into friendship, made possible through Jesus, God’s Son, and the witness of the Holy Spirit. It is an integral part of the life of the Catholic school, putting Christ at the centre of education, helping to create and sustain the Catholic ethos, making it tangible.


Relationships and Sex Education

In the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, we aim for our schools to provide excellent teaching in Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education. Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education is part of the mission of Catholic schools to educate the whole person. It should be carried out as part of the holistic education which seeks to form as well as inform young people in preparation for adult life.

The CES provides the following guidance:

In order for Catholic relationships education, relationships and sex education and health education to be fully effective it needs to:

  • be faithful to the Church’s vision of human wholeness whilst recognising the contemporary context in which we live today;
  • involve parents as they are primary educators of their child;
  • provide a positive view of human sexuality and dignity of the human person;
  • equip young people with the ability to make practical judgments about the right thing to do in particular circumstances;
  • explore and promote virtues which are essential to promoting respect and dignity;
  • be delivered in an age appropriate way which reflects the development of the child;
  • be part of the cross-curricular work in both primary and secondary schools;
  • be sensitive to the needs of the individual pupil and recognise the mix of pupils with different sexual orientations, genders and family backgrounds in each class

Resources and guidance

School Chaplains

School Chaplains are called to be witnesses of the love and care of God and his Church for the school community. Our Catholic schools are a fundamental part of the mission of the Church and the vision of Chaplaincy held by the school must be rooted in Gospel values. The ministry of the Chaplain demands that he or she is a catalyst for action and reflection and will both enthuse and challenge the whole community to respond to God’s call to discipleship in a Catholic context. This is achieved by the witness of the Chaplain’s own life and also by his or her involvement in the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral life of the school and by being available to all members of the school community.

School Chaplaincy is a ministry of the Catholic Church, and those who work in it require a mandate from the Diocesan Bishop. School Chaplaincy personnel are appointed by, and are employees of the Governing Body. In the school, they work with the Headteacher and are ordinarily accountable to him/her. In their work, they are guided by the policies and decisions of the Governors and the Senior Management Team. However, their fundamental mandate comes from the Church and they are in this sense ‘ministers of the Church’.

Links to CES

CES National Standards for School Chaplains

CES School Chaplain Job Description Secondary

CES School Chaplain Job Description Primary

School Chaplaincy Contacts

Diocesan Co-ordinator of School Chaplains

Fr Shaun Purdy is the Diocesan Co-ordinator of School Chaplains and he can be contacted at:

St Joseph, Thorneyhome Terrace, Stanley DH9 0BL
Tel: 01207 299012.

Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust

  • Sacred Heart Catholic High School

Tel: (0191) 274 7373
Chaplain: Maria Vare

  • St Cuthbert’s High School

Tel: (0191) 274 4510
Chaplain: David Swindells

  • St Mary’s Catholic School

Tel: (0191) 215 3260
Chaplain: post vacant

  • St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School, Kenton

Tel: (0191) 286 0129
Chaplain: Donna Broxup

  • St Thomas More Catholic Academy

Tel: (0191) 258 8346
Chaplain: Michael Thompson

  • St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy

Tel: (01670) 822795
Chaplain: Bridget Duffy

Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust

Lead Chaplain: Andrew Gardner

Tel: (01325) 254525

  • Carmel College, A Catholic Academy

Tel: (01325) 254525
Chaplain: Andrew Gardner

  • English Martyrs’ School & Sixth Form College

Tel: (01429) 273790
Chaplain: Anne Marie Lavelle

  • Our Lady & St Bede’s Catholic Academy

Tel: (01642) 890800
Chaplain: Miss Elizabeth Welsh

  • St Gregory’s Catholic Academy

Tel: (01642) 672262
Chaplaincy Lead: Alyson Mash

  • St Bede’s Catholic Academy

Tel: (01642) 678071
Chaplain: Geraldine Powell

  • St Joseph’s Catholic Academy, Norton

Tel: (01642) 360401
Chaplains: Jane Collard-Gentle, Julie Wilson

  • St Michael’s Catholic Academy

Tel: (01642) 870003
Chaplain: post vacant

  • St John’s School & Sixth Form College –
    A Catholic Academy

Tel: (01388) 603246
Chaplain: Emma Ramsey

Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust

Lead Chaplain: Elizabeth Boylan

Tel: 07566778875

  • St Godric’s RC Primary

Tel: (0191) 384 7452
Chaplain: Julie Wilmore

  • St Bede’s & Byron College

Tel: (0191) 587 6220
Chaplain: Oonagh Balls

  • St Joseph’s Catholic Academy School

Tel: (0191) 428 2700
Chaplain: Adam Morales

  • St Wilfrid’s RC College

Tel: (0191) 456 9121
Chaplain: post vacant

  • St Aidan’s Catholic Academy

Tel: (0191) 553 6073
Chaplain: Katarzyna Szczepanska

  • St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy

Tel: (0191) 553 7700
Chaplain: David Harrison

Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust

Director of Ethos: Barbara Reilly-O’Donnell

Tel: 07984628779


  • St Leonard’s RC Comprehensive School

Tel: (0191) 3848575
Chaplain: post vacant

  • St Benet’s Catholic Primary School

Tel: (0191) 410 5857
Chaplain: Angela Sammut

  • St Bede’s Catholic School & Sixth Form

College Tel: (01207) 520424
Chaplain: post vacant

  • Cardinal Hume Catholic School

Tel: (0191) 487 7638
Chaplain: Josephine Proctor

  • St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School

Tel: (0191) 487 8641
Chaplain: Maria Wilson

  • St Peter’s RC Primary School

Tel: (0191) 487 8233
Chaplain: Ellen McConnell

  • St Philip Neri RC Primary School

Tel: (0191) 460 4378
Chaplain: Claire Wright

  • St Alban’s Catholic Primary School

Tel: (0191) 469 3251
Chaplain: Maria Robinson

  • St Thomas More Catholic School

Tel: (0191) 499 0111
Chaplain: Cody Kettner Tel: (0191) 499 5053, extension 281

  • St Robert of Newminster Catholic School & Sixth Form College

Tel: (0191) 561 3810
Chaplain: Jim Taylor

Sacramental Preparation

It is the role of the Catholic primary school to teach children to grow in knowledge and understanding of the mystery of God and the life and teaching of Jesus and his Church. Through the Diocesan Sacramental Education Programme Catholic primary schools in Hexham and Newcastle are required to:

  • deliver the diocesan programme of study relevant to the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, appropriate to the age and capacity of the child/young person, during the school day as curriculum Religious Education
  • provide parents/carers with clear information about their child’s progress in Religious Education
  • assist the parish in arranging and delivering a meeting for parents and carers before the children celebrate the sacraments for the first time

Resources for schools and parishes


Consent Form




Schools – Mrs Claire Hetherington, Schools Primary RE Adviser

Tel: 0191 243 3313 or by email.

Parishes – Amy Cameron, Coordinator for Faith and Mission

Tel: 0191 243 3316 or by email.