Educating in Faith: A History of the English Catholic Public School


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Book Details

Format: Paperback (252 pages)

Publisher: Sacristy Press

Date of Publication:

ISBN: 978-1-78959-337-2

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Roman Catholic public schools in England emerged from the early 1800s as part of the wider educational mission of a Catholic church seeking to support a growing Catholic population.

Around a dozen such schools – male, boarding, upper class and staffed by priests, monks and brothers from the dioceses and religious orders – had emerged by the early twentieth century. Some – Ampleforth, Stonyhurst, St Edmund’s, Beaumont, the Oratory, Downside, or Prior Park – catered for an aristocratic clientele, whilst others – Douai, Mt St Mary, Ratcliffe or Cotton – sought more middle class pupils. Their objectives were similar: the creation of a new Catholic elite which might take its place in the Establishment.

By the mid-twentieth century, they were at their zenith, but at the millennium they faced the challenges of declining vocations to the religious life, a stagnant Catholic population, and a series of child sexual abuse cases.

Educating in Faith seeks to place a diverse set of school histories within the wider demographic, social and religious development of Roman Catholicism in England. It seeks to move beyond the finer detail of school histories to better understand the place of the public schools within the Catholic educational mission and the nature of the academic, cultural and spiritual character of these institutions. As co-education, increasing competition, the disappearance of a religious workforce in the schools and the child sexual abuse crises altered school environments, the book reflects on the contemporary relevance, place and character of these schools.

About the Author

Mark Cleary was a Professor of Geography at the University of Plymouth and Vice Chancellor at the University of Bradford. He has published widely in the fields of historical geography and development studies and has had a long-standing interest in Catholicism and social issues in France and Britain.

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