Welcome to the website of the Catholic Principals Association of Northern Ireland.
The role of the Association is to support school leaders in their promoting the Catholic ethos of our schools, to promote a spirit of interdependence and solidarity among the Catholic Family of Schools, to provide a forum for resolving issues that may affect Catholic Schools and to provide a professional forum for sharing good practice and mutual support.
The Association promotes quality education for all and supports the establishment of a system of all-ability schools; as outlined by the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education. The Catholic Principals Association believes that all our young people are entitled to access the same high quality educational and pastoral experience. We want to remove all artificial barriers that are placed before our children. As a family of Catholic schools, we must work together to ensure a system of education that is fundamentally fair, educationally sound and which clearly reflects the Catholic ethos of our schools.
The Association is open to Principals of all Catholic schools in N. Ireland. It provides these leaders with guidance and training opportunities to assist in the development of the Catholic ethos. It also acts as a lobby group promoting the inclusive Catholic Vision.
As well as running seminars and conferences the Association has a Committee made up of Principal representatives from across each Diocese in N. Ireland. This committee meets regularly to promote the work of the Association.
The names of Diocesan reps are listed on the Contacts page of this website
Catholic Principals Association
Quality Education for All
Never before has the education system been under so much scrutiny. Politicians, parents, school leaders, teachers, professional bodies, the Church, all debate the merits and demerits of our school system. Many are concerned about putting our pupils first, others with preserving tradition at any cost.
There is no doubt that education reform is needed for a myriad of reasons, not least of all because our economic future is dependent on it.
The time for change is now. The Catholic Principals Association fully endorses the call of the Minister of Education, the Catholic Bishops, and many political leaders in their attempts to create a more socially just and equal education system.
As a family of Catholic schools we must work together to create a system of education that effectively meets the needs of all of our children. Every young person has the right to a high quality educational experience in a building that is not just fit for purpose but equips our young people effectively for the 21st century.
Our schools are at the centre of our communities. They are a microcosm of society. The world we are preparing our pupils for is a constantly changing arena. Our pupils should be prepared, not just to compete in the global market but lead it. Our pupils need to be taught in schools that respect every young person for the contribution they can make. We need to get the best from our young people by creating schools that not only expect the highest academic standards but promote the values of inclusivity, social justice and equality.
Preserving the status quo is not an option. Academic selection is not the issue, social selection is dividing our system. We must work together to ensure our most precious commodity- the education of our young people- is the best that it can possibly be.
Our current two tier system, based on an unregulated test at 11 is drawing to an end.
At our annual concurrence in October we heard from school leaders from Strabane, Armagh and and Carnlough who have made the move to all ability centres of excellence. Many more schools are ready to embrace the change and we look forward to more progress this year.
There is no debate, selection at 11 is wrong and has no place in our society.
The CPA will continue to act as a catalyst for change. We will support schools in this period of transition. We continue to challenge those who wish to preserve the past because it is comfortable.
The Catholic Principals' Association is convinced that academic excellence and high quality pastoral provision would be enriched and enhanced by the creation of high quality, all ability schools in Northern Ireland that would serve the 11-19 populations in our communities.
Immediate access to local, high quality, all-ability provision in a single school in the community, is a basic and inalienable right as well as an urgent need of all parents of all post-primary pupils in Northern Ireland.
I look forward to the year ahead and will endeavour to influence those in positions of power and change the hearts and minds of those who continue to clsoe their minds to change.