St. Joseph's Catholic College

Ethos and Values

As a Catholic College we take the education of the whole person very seriously. We want our young people to develop academically, physically and spiritually in a nurturing environment.

The Catholic Education Service (CES) recently described the work of our schools as follows:  “Catholic schools are a place where pupils come together to learn about faith in an open and informative way, and to question and form their own understandings of their faith. Catholic schools exist to provide high academic standards and the formation of the whole person. They are not places of indoctrination or proselytization."

In this context, we have developed an approach to teaching values which is delivered through the formal curriculum, in tutor groups, collective worship and chaplaincy. In every subject, there are opportunities to explore wider meanings and values. Teachers are encouraged to allow time for these themes to be developed within lessons wherever possible. The curriculum time and status given to Religious Education is a statement of our commitment to educating young people in values.   We also have our daily assemblies/acts of worship and have allocated a half hour each day to tutor time. In this way we aim to support students in promoting their spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development in school and society. Above all, we have a duty to safeguard children by ensuring they are safe and feel safe.


Safeguarding can involve (Ofsted Inspecting safeguarding in maintained schools and academies July 2014):

  • Bullying, including cyberbullying (by text message, on social networking sites, and so on) and prejudice-based bullying    
  • Racist, disability, and homophobic or transphobic abuse    
  • Radicalisation and extremist behaviour    
  • Child exploitation    
  • Sexting   
  • Issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity and youth violence  
  • Particular issues affecting children including domestic violence, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation and forced marriages
  • Underpinning out assemblies/ acts of collective worship is a philosophical and theological approach which seeks to develop the common good.

In 1996, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales issued a document entitled The Common Good. They said, “In the spirit of good citizenship all members of the Catholic Church must accept their full share of responsibility for the welfare of society. We should regard the discharge of those responsibilities as no less important than fulfilling our religious duties and indeed as part of them".

In this context, our assemblies/acts of collective worship are informed by scripture, church teaching, respect for the rule of law and democracy in Britain. We make no apologies for explicitly expounding what some may call traditional values which call upon us as a community to Respect ourselves, Respect others and Respect our environment.

The Citizenship and Life skills programme of study delivered in tutor time helps to provide pupils with an understanding of the political, legal and economic function of an adult society and to develop a social and moral awareness. It is about enabling people to reflect critically on issues in society and have the knowledge to make a difference for themselves and their communities locally and globally.

Life skills incorporates the Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) programme of study that ensures that young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives, now and in the future. This will include work on anti bullying, keeping safe on the internet, sex and relationships education, drugs, physical and mental health, social and economic wellbeing, careers and community cohesion.

Citizenship and Life Skills will also incorporate:

  • Student Voice
  • House activities, competitions
  • Chaplaincy
  • Charity initiatives
  • Tutor responsibilities

Our chaplaincy team aims to be distinctive and inclusive. We will encourage students who are celebrating the joys and hopes of being young and foster their deepening sense of their own self-worth. An essential feature of Chaplaincy in St. Joseph’s is relationships based on gospel values, relationships that are built on respect for each person as being created by God, thus helping to build a "Witnessing Community".  Events such as retreats and religious services offer opportunities for us to focus on these values.

We want our students to leave our college with good academic qualifications, as resilient young people who are spirituality and morally responsible for the consequences of their decisions on the lives of others.

Paul Hughes