The Education Service

The Diocese of Lancaster Education Service, through the Board of Education and Formation, is committed to education and personal formation in the Faith as a lifelong process.  In partnership with parishes, individuals and schools, the Service aims to encourage understanding, community growth and spiritual development.


How the Service operates:

The Board of Education and Formation is a Commission of the Diocese of Lancaster and works on behalf of and is responsible to the Bishop and Trustees of the Diocese. As a diocesan Commission its work must be integral to and consistent with the educational mission of the Diocese, approved by the Bishop and Trustees.

The purpose of the Board of Education and Formation is to advise the Bishop and Trustees on strategies and policies relating to education and formation; agree action and oversee the management of the Education Service. (The Board of Education & Formation’s Terms of Reference)

Members:  Right Rev P Swarbrick (Bishop of Lancaster);   Rev M Docherty (chair); Mrs E. Boniface ; Mrs A Dodd ; Mr J. Fetherston ;  Professor R. Hannaford, Mr M. Merrick ( DSC) ; Mr A. Plasom Scott ; Mrs H Seddon ; Fr R Simmons.

Minutes Secretary: J Metcalf


Under the guidance of the Diocesan Board of Education and Formation the Education Service functions as an integrated unit with responsibilities for all aspects of the Diocesan educational mission in:
• 73parishes
• 70 primary schools
• 12 secondary schools
• 1 sixth form college

Mission Statement

The diocese seeks to proclaim, promote and witness to:
• the relevance of the Gospel
• education as a lifelong process
• the Church’s unity in Christ

The diocese seeks to promote education which encourages:
• adult understanding
• spiritual development
• personal maturity
• community growth
• respectful dialogue

In practice the Diocesan Education Service seeks to:
• provide encouragement, support, advice and practical assistance to those concerned with their own or other people’s educational needs;
• offer coherent, consistent and relevant advice informed by the teaching and tradition of the Church;
• develop and structure appropriate learning opportunities both locally and at The Education Centre, Lancaster.

What the Service provides for Schools

On behalf of the Bishop and Diocesan Trustees, the Education Service:

• receives, monitors, consults and responds to DfES initiatives;

• provides documentary guidance on ecclesial and statutory matters;

• delivers structured Catholic training for serving and aspiring senior leaders, R.E. teachers, and others;
-supports the Bishop in the fulfilment of canonical requirements relating to Catholic schools;
-supports and monitors provision for Religious Education;

In support of those directly responsible for schools, the Service:

• gives individual support to Headteachers, Clergy and Governors;
• plans and facilitates structured opportunities for consultation and policy development by the Diocese and Schools;

• consults, plans and provides an on-going programme of continuing professional development for:
–  Headteachers
–  Deputy Headteachers
–  Secondary R.E. Teachers
–  Primary R.E. Co-ordinators
–  Newly Qualified Teachers
–  Teachers new to Catholic schools
–  Governors
–  School Chaplains

In regard to meeting the Diocese’s statutory responsibilities, the Service:

• appoints Foundation Governors;
• provides on-going support and training for Governing Bodies;
• represents the interests of both the Diocese and schools by professional liaison with Local Authorities;
• represents the Diocese to DcSF, OFSTED and HMI in procedures to recover schools from Special Measures or Serious Weaknesses;
• manages, administers and monitors ‘Section 48’ Inspections on behalf of Governing Bodies and the Diocese;
• facilitates the work of the Diocesan Schools Building Committee.

Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation: The Very Rev. Michael Docherty


Assistant to Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation: Rev. John Millar



Diocesan Schools Commissioner:  Mr Michael Merrick


Deputy Diocesan School Commissioner:  Mrs Julie Jones


CSI Inspection co-ordinators: Heather Watts / Julie Jones




Heather Watts


Address: The Education Centre, Balmoral Road, Lancaster , LA1 3BT

Tel: 01524 841190

Education service Website:

Online Learning:

School Buildings:

School Buildings Committee Terms of Reference

Schools Buildings Surveyor: Paul Lovell

Tel: 01524 841190


Chair of School building committee:

Dr Andrew Johnson