The six principles govern the way the trust operates
The Trust upholds certain core principles which underpin everything it does. As Communities within the Church, the Trust and academies look to the teaching of the Church for guidance: in particular, the principles draw heavily on Catholic social and moral teaching, which govern the way groups, societies and institutions should function.
‘Education is not and must never be considered as purely utilitarian. It is about forming the human person, equipping him or her to live life to the full – in short it is about imparting wisdom. And true wisdom is inseparable from knowledge of the Creator.’
(Pope Benedict XVI, address to teachers and religious, Twickenham, 2010)
‘God so loved the world that he gave his only son’ (St John 3:16)
To know Jesus is to know God. In Jesus, God takes on a human face’ (Pope Benedict XVI)
The Trust and each academy within the Trust are established ‘to be part of the Church’s mission, to place Christ and the teaching of the Catholic Church at the centre of people’s lives’ (Archdiocese of Birmingham, Christ at the Centre). Each academy is a missionary community withinin the wider community of the Trust. The Trust itself is part of a wider community of the Church, founded by Jesus Christ and manifested by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. As a Catholic community each academy ‘will have confidence and conviction to engage with the Church’s mission of evangelisation in the context of today’s world’ (Diocese of Leeds, Schools of Discipleship). In a Catholic Trust we share our mission with other churches and schools which also place Christ at the centre of all they do.
‘The Glory of God is a human being fully alive’ (St Irenaeus)
The Trust believes that each person is made in the image of God, that image which has been rstored in Christ Jesus. Consequently, the Trust upholds the dignity and unique value of every human person. In return each person within the Trust has the responsibility of upholding the dignity of God and the dignity of every human person. It is of particular concern within the Trust when the dignity of the human person is diminished by poverty (be that economic poverty, or poverty in terms of family stability, or poverty of religious and spiritual culture). The Trust, therefore, embraces policies, procedures and strategies which reflect a Preferential Option for the Poor. Furthermore, within the Trust each person (made in the image of God and acting as God’s steward on earth) has a special duty to care for and protect the whole of God’s creation.
‘If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze’ (St Catherine of Sienna)
The children and students occupy a privileged position within the Trust: It is for their sake that the Trust and the Academy exist. The Trust has a duty to provide a safe learning environment, and a rich and robust curriculum for the full human flourishing of its children and students. The Trust and the academies strive for excellence in education, seeking to provide opportunites for realising the potential of each person within their care. We regard education to be of the whole person – academic of course, but, pastoral, moral, social, spiritual and physical as well: Each person is ‘cherished for who they are, as much as for what they achieve’ (Schools of Discipleship). A Catholic trust has the duty to assist each person to grow in wisdom and skill, in virtue and through refreshment. Moreover, the Trust endeavours to help each child and each student discover their true calling, that is, their vocation in life under God.
Within the Trust we recognise that each person is connected to and dependent on every other human person; we are bound together in inter-dependence (‘a reflection of the intimate life of God, one God in three persons’, Blessed Pope John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 40). Each person and each academy within the Trust is called to work in solidarity, with a ‘firm and perservering determination to commit oneself to the Common Good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all responsible for all’ (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38). As the Body of Christ, we are called in solidarity to work in communion and to protect human life, human dignity and those who are most vulnerable.
‘God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another’ (Blessed John Henry Newman)
Each person within the Trustis called to be a servant, to place their gifts and talents:
at the service of God;
at the service of one another within the Academy and Trust;
at the service of the wider Catholic community in which the Academy and Trust are situated (of the home, where parents and carers are primary educators, and of the local Church, that is, of the Diocese of Leeds and of the local parishes);
at the service of society as a whole, a society which is a multi-cultural society.
In service we fulfil the new commandment of Christ who is himself Love and who manifested love by ‘laying down his life’ for us (St John 15:13). So, in service we are disciples of Jesus Christ who ’emptied himself’ in love to become a servant (St Paul, Letter to the Church in Philippi 2:7) and ‘came not to be served but to serve’ (St Mark 10:45).
‘Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies’ (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)
Subsidiarity is the principle of Catholic social teaching which states that a central authority should perform only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level, that ‘a larger and higher association (should not) arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller or lower societies (Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, 79). Within the Trust, the Trust itself should be regarded as the ‘higher association’, each academy as a ‘smaller society’. The principle of subsidiarity should govern the way the Trust and the academies work together and underpin specific policies, procedures and strategies adopted by the Trust. By subsidiarity, we show the value we place upon the distinct identity of each academy, and upon the uniqueness of every person within the Trust. Jesus called ordinary people to follow him. With St Therese of Lisieux we delight in how holiness is found and nurtured where it is often unnoticed, in the most unexpected of places and of people.
‘A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person. And a good Catholic school, over and above this, should help its students to become saints’
(Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Pupils, Twickenham, 2010)