What is CatholicLinks?

CatholicLinks is an online resource repository to provide support to the governance and leadership of Catholic schools and academies, particularly those owned by English and Welsh Catholic dioceses.  The resources are provided within a framework of advice and guidance with due and proper respect for the primary relationship between the school and its diocese (or the religious order if owned by a religious order). 

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is united in pursuing the mission of Catholic education and promotes a vision based on: the person and teachings of Christ and his Church; shared principles; and a commitment to the common good in education.

Much of education law in England and Wales is the same, or when separate provisions are made, they share common features, particularly the emphasis on accountability, improving performance and raising standards.  However, the existence of the Welsh Assembly and the promotion of academies in England but not Wales means that increasingly some key aspects of provision are different and the outcomes in practice will be very different over time.

Outside the Church, the general direction of travel of education is to promote greater diversity in provision and to encourage local school-led responses and solutions to meet identified needs for sustainable improvement.  The provision of education increasingly reflects a market-driven ideology, with parents and children viewed as consumers. Consequently, the patterns of provision and the manner in which schools and academies are functioning and forming relationships is changing organically at a grass-roots level; the pace and pattern of change is increasingly different depending on local circumstances, policy and practice.

Whatever the changes, however schools form partnerships and alliances, the essential truths of Catholic education will remain constant; this is what makes education in the Catholic faith both valuable and distinctive.  At its heart Catholic education is about making Christ known, learning that he is the way, the truth and the life; we come to the Father though him, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  The teaching and formation in Catholic schools helps children and young people to: learn about, love and serve God; love their neighbour as themselves; and understand and value their dignity and vocation as a human person made in the image and likeness of God.

The core vision that underpins CatholicLinks is the commitment to support:

  • The canonical authority of the bishop in his diocese;
  • The best interests of Catholic education, both locally and nationally;
  • The provision of an outstanding Catholic education for children and young people served by Catholic schools and academies;
  • The Catholic Church’s understanding that parents are the primary educators of their children;
  • Effective collaborative practice between Catholic schools and academies, both within and between dioceses; and
  • The growth of a wider Catholic alliance, active locally and regionally to enable the wider Catholic community build sustainable capacity for improvement, in order to secure the future of Catholic education in a changing educational landscape.

CatholicLinks aims to:

  • Complement resources available from a variety of other sources for all schools or academies, irrespective of type;
  • Reflect and adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church;
  • Respect the canonical authority of each bishop in his diocese;
  • Support the policies of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales; and
  • Reflect and support the position of the Catholic Education Service on matters generally.

CatholicLinks does this by providing:

  • Core content and basic information about various aspects of Catholic education, schools and academies, drawing on key documents produced by the Vatican and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, where appropriate.
  • Practical information, support and guidance on the distinctive religious character of the provision and outcomes in Catholic schools and academies relating to, for example:
    • The governance of a Catholic voluntary aided school or a Catholic academy;
    • The leadership and management of a Catholic voluntary aided school or a Catholic academy;
    • Formation, training and development for Catholic leaders and leaders in Catholic schools or academies;
    • Succession planning for future leaders and those who exercise governance;
    • Information relating to stakeholders – pupils, staff, parents, parish, community;
    • Model documents, policies and proformae for use in Catholic schools or academies;
    • Training materials and resources for use in Catholic schools or academies, including programmes for leaders and governors, some with PowerPoint support, associated resources, reflective journals and facilitator notes;
    • Access to a suite of licensed programmes that are substantially resourced (including password protected websites and facilitator notes in some cases);
    • Other sources of information, including articles, publications and services, as well as details of sources of professional support and other links;
    • A mechanism for making requests to CatholicLinks regarding a variety of matters, for example asking questions, requesting materials for a training session or seeking support for the delivery of a programme.

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