We’ve been asked why we aren’t leaving education to the “experts” and getting along to the open day of our nearest school. Why not indeed? Well, “expertise” is not everything and in many fundamental areas of life counts for little. In matters of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, in the values we embrace, in the relationships which frame our lives, in the choice of those to whose care we entrust our children, we have to make up our own minds and judge as best we can.
We wish to react in a constructive way to a range of disquiets about the educational prospects for our children. We look back with admiration to a period of greater confidence and greater consensus as to the bodies of knowledge, the skills, and the human and religious values that one generation should transmit to the next. We want our children to grow up be deeply rooted in their Catholic, English and European identities and cultural heritages. Our particular heroes are the great Jesuit educators of the Counter Reformation period, who beginning as a small band gathered around St. Ignatius Loyola and energised by the clarity, rigour and discipline that was the particular gift of the Council of Trent to our Faith, had by the middle of the 17th century established no fewer than 600 schools across Europe. The Ratio Studiorum, produced in 1599 after some 50 years of involvement with education, remains an inspiring beacon of good sense and realism in education.
Our own more modest ambition is to establish just one school under the patronage of St. Joseph that will give expression to our educational values and aspirations.
To that end, we intend to open in 2016 for Reception and Years 1 and 2. In each subsequent year, we will extend our remit to cater for increasingly older children.
We have put together a curriculum that is in accord with our philosophy. This owes much to a number of other curricula, notably the current National Curriculum and the Curriculum produced by Civitas, which we feel are in sympathy with our views and have been to a greater or lesser extent validated by experience and research.