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1 Alan Murphy, Teaching Fellow MA in Catholic School Leadership St Mary’s University College Keeping the Faith Alive.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Alan Murphy, Teaching Fellow MA in Catholic School Leadership St Mary’s University College Keeping the Faith Alive."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Alan Murphy, Teaching Fellow MA in Catholic School Leadership St Mary’s University College Keeping the Faith Alive

2 2 “ A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person. And a good Catholic school, over and above this, should help all its students to become saints. ” Pope Benedict XVI defines Catholic education when speaking at St Mary’s University College, 2010

3 3 Education of the Whole Person Each in God’s Image Primacy of RE Faith & Moral Principles League Tables Gifted & Talented English Baccalaureate Secular Society Contrary Forces

4 4 Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle him in his talk……. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax." And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Matthew 22: 15-21 Who do we serve?

5 5 Serving those 'who are strangers to the gift of faith' Pope Paul VI, in the Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis (1965), stated: or who are strangers to the gift of Faith. … first and foremost the Church offers its educational service to the poor and … entreats pastors and all the faithful to spare no sacrifice in helping Catholic schools fulfil their function in a continually more perfect way, and especially in caring for the needs of those who are poor in the goods of this world or who are deprived of the assistance and affection of a family or who are strangers to the gift of Faith.

6 6 Building 'Faith capital' within our staff Thomas Sergiovanni argues that the term 'capital' is not just an economic concept but can also be applied to the building of human capital within learning communities. 'At root, capital refers to the value of something that when properly invested produces more of that thing, which then increases overall value.' (Sergiovanni, 2001:47). How do we build the Faith capital within our schools and colleges so that we have at least a critical mass of colleagues who are committed to the Mission?

7 7 Appointment of new staff This is the main opportunity we have to invite into our community colleagues who provide evidence that they have the potential to become committed to the Mission. The reality is that we will not always be able to appoint 'practising' Catholics to every post - but we will often find that Christians of other traditions and members of other faiths may have the potential to be able to actively support the values we promote.

8 8 We have a teacher who is classed as one of our practising Catholic teachers, she is leading the sacramental year group but puts in little effort and I would have to question if Jesus is really at the heart of what she does and believes? Out of the two non -Catholic teachers we have, only one has her own class. Her teaching of RE is outstanding but she does not practise any faith. Therefore her pedagogical competence could not be questioned but as for her ability to contribute to and maintain the Catholicism of the school then surely this could be an issue. I know our parish priest who is also the chair of governors was reluctant to employ her but her teaching convinced him. I don’t think he would employ another non-Catholic teacher as he wants to keep the number of Catholic teachers high. However when you compare her outstanding teaching with the satisfactory teaching and questionable faith of the teacher I previously described I am not sure how one could take precedence over the other. Primary: Teaching Competence of Catholicity?

9 9 I am currently working as a Head of department for ICT or Leader of ICT based learning is my full title, it is only my second school and my first Catholic school. I currently sit on the senior managment team where I advise on ICT and its impacts on learning within the school. I have been at the school for 18 months now and I have been slightly let down by the school and its approach to catholicism/christianity there seems to be far more emphasis to the results that learners achieve first and foremost. I do not know if I came to the school with rose coloured glasses but as a practising Catholic I thought I was "coming home". Secondary: Results or Catholicity?

10 10 ‘Today young people do not listen seriously to teachers, but to witnesses; and if they do listen to teachers it is because they are witnesses’ Pope Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi, 1976:464

11 11 Continuing Professional Development AND Formation CPDF Appointment is only the start. Our next challenge is to ensure that there is ongoing Formation to ensure the potential shown on appointment is fully realised. "Teachers can never be neutral in support of the mission of the Catholic school – they either help to build it or they work against it." (Father Jim Gallagher SBD) An INSET day once every few years devoted to Mission renewal is not enough. Little and often is more effective

12 12 Renewal of ‘Mission’ Promises Within the Easter liturgy we renew our 'Baptismal Promises'. Why not also each year involve our staff in renewing their commitment to our distinctive Mission.

13 13 Helping students to make progress along their Faith Journey The reality today is that although there is great regional and phase variation, the % of children and young people in our schools who come from committed practising Catholic families is steadily declining. Many of the children entering our primary schools have little or no experience of church attendance. Some would argue that schools should be more rigorous in their admission procedures and admit only children from committed Catholic families.

14 14 Admission Policies: Opportunity or Barrier? From an, admittedly, extreme admissions form…

15 15 However, the statement in the 1965 Declaration of Education quoted above was confirmed by the Vatican in its 1988 publication The Catholic School: "First and foremost the Church offers its education service to … those who are far from the faith'. (1988: pp44-45). So it could also be argued that our admissions procedures should in fact favour children whose parents have not carried out their 'primary educator' duties.

16 16 Whatever the local context of our schools, we must all recognise that it is increasingly becoming the school's responsibility to bring the values of the Gospel to many of our students, including those supported by a Baptismal certificate. Pupils are evangelised simply by living among people whose lives are deeply affected by the values of the gospel and who endeavour to let these values permeate the structures that hold their lives together. Evangelisation is a life-long process; before catechesis can be given to individuals they must at least desire to have the mind of Christ. Many teachers give catechesis before they have really attempted to face the pagan reality of their pupil's lives. (Purnell, 1985:128)

17 17 So what strategies can we adopt to keep the Faith alive for our students? A few suggestions: Build Communities with Jesus at the Heart Enrich our Assemblies Ensure Morning Prayer involves the students Consider an Acclamation at the start of each lesson Ensure Mass is a true Eucharistic Celebration Build Chaplaincy teams

18 18 ‘Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words. St Francis of Assisi

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