Within the Diocese of Menevia, there are 15 Primary schools, 1 infant school, and 3 Comprehensive Schools. These schools cater for pupils aged 4 – 18 years of age. In addition, there are active Catholic Chaplaincies in each of the three secular Universities within the Diocese. Fr John Browne acts as co-ordinating chaplain to the Comprehensive Schools. Overall, there are 3191 pupils in the Primary sector of whom 2437 are Catholic and 754 are non-Catholic. In the Comprehensive sector, there are 2533 pupils of whom 1678 are Catholic.
The total number of teachers in the Primary sector is 152 of whom 124 are Catholic. In the Comprehensive sector, the teacher number is 138 of whom 72 are Catholic. Following Diocesan policy, the Governing Bodies of the schools make every effort to appoint Catholic teachers whenever a vacancy occurs.
All schools have Voluntary Aided status and are run in partnership with the Local Education Authority in whose area the school is situated. The Trustees of the Diocese appoint Foundation Governors who are always constitute a majority on the Governing Bodies. In the Diocese, good relationships exist between the representatives of the State, both locally with Diocesan Representatives serving on the Education Authorities and nationally with the National Welsh Assembly, the body responsible for education in Wales.
Religious Education is central to the life and mission of the schools. A strict allocation of 10% of the overall curriculum time is given to the teaching of Religious Education as requested by the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales. British law requires that all schools, Catholic and State, provide a moral and spiritual framework for all children within the school curriculum. Collective worship is a statutory requirement and a daily act of collective worship is an obligatory requirement in English civil law.
Over the past four years, most of our schools have undergone statutory Inspection under the terms of the Education Act 1996. Both the religious and secular education in the schools have been praised from the Inspectors.
The Schools Commission of the Diocese was established to give advice to schools on the management and administration of the schools, and normally meets three times a year. It also supports the Bishop in his oversight of all matters affecting the teaching and curriculum of our schools as required by the Code of Canon Law.
All of our schools have active parent associations who work hard for the benefit of the schools in a variety of activities. In all schools, close collaboration is encouraged with other Christian communities. Most of our schools admit Fellow Christian pupils. Indeed, many parents of non Catholic children apply for admission to our schools.
As a consequence of the rural nature of the Diocese, with many scattered and small communities, together with the problems of distances involved, many Catholic children are unable to attend our Catholic schools. Where this is the case, each parish is responsible for providing religious instruction for these children. Lay catechists assist the priests in the provision of religious programmes in each parish.