Catholic schools have a long tradition of serving the common good. The heart of the Christian faith is love of God and love of neighbour, so the Catholic school has always been committed to the worship and service of God but also to the service of the wider community, especially the most vulnerable.
The Declaration on Christian Education, proclaimed at the Second Vatican Council in 1965, said that the pupils in Catholic schools “should be so trained to take their part in social life that properly instructed in the necessary and opportune skills they can become actively involved in various community organisations, open to discourse with others and willing to do their best to promote the common good”. The Catholic School document, published by the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education in 1977, took up the same theme and urged all those responsible for Catholic education “to provide a service which is truly civic and apostolic”.
Most of our Catholic independent schools are charitable organisations and as such must only have charitable purposes for the public benefit. This “public benefit requirement” fits well with our tradition of commitment to the common good. The public benefit dimension of a Catholic independent school is therefore not some kind of token gesture but is central to our mission and the recent focus from government on strengthening the public benefit requirement from all independent schools has been welcomed by CISC.
CISC has evidenced key elements of its schools’ commitment to the public benefit in its recent work, published in collaboration with Reed Brand Communication, ‘Learning to Live and Love Like Jesus’ Catholic Independent Schools and the Common Good. This article elucidates how schools put into action the holistic nature of learning – academically, socially, physically, emotionally and spiritually- that is the hallmark of a Catholic education and the manner in which it is employed mission to serve the common good.
Furthermore, you will also find below additional specific examples from CISC schools of the wide variety of projects which meet the public benefit requirement and serve the common good.