Broadening educational opportunities

The Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ) will be exploring educational initiatives which support young people, families and schools, in a Seminar at Heythrop College, University of London, this week. ‘Stepping Stones to a More Equal Society will take as its starting point the CARJ publication of the same name, which investigated what individuals and groups are doing and could do to offer higher quality education to young people from a broad variety of backgrounds. Speakers will include representatives from schools and other groups that work with young people and the event will be open to teachers, parents, governors and anyone interested in the issues, including young people themselves.

The inspiration for the Review came from the Cristo Rey Network of schools in the USA and from the individuals and organisations involved in educational initiatives. The Cristo Rey movement began in Chicago in 1996 when the Jesuits opened Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in the city.  The Jesuits found a way for students with limited means to pay for private, Catholic education: each of them had to work an entry-level job to earn a significant portion of the cost of his or her education. The original school in Chicago became so successful that others around the country sought to replicate it and today, the Cristo Rey Network is made up of 28 high schools that provide a quality, Catholic, college preparatory education to more than 9,000 urban young people who live in low-income, urban communities with limited educational options.

“Offering high quality education to every young person is a universal aspiration, and for centuries the Catholic community has been part of the worldwide effort to realise that aspiration,” says Yogi Sutton, the Chair of the CARJ Trustees. “The success of Cristo Rey schools in the United States has been part of that effort and was part of the inspiration for the ‘Stepping Stones’ Review. Despite serious efforts to overcome poverty and inequality, we remain a divided and unequal society, and too often young people from marginalised communities have to struggle to realise their full potential. The effort to support them has been partially successful. Nonetheless, there remains an important challenge to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to flourish. CARJ is committed to work with others to address this challenge.”

The seminar ‘Stepping Stones to a More Equal Society’ will be held from 11.30am to 4pm on Thursday 9 October 2014 at Heythrop College, Kensington Square, London W8 5HN. To book or for more details, phone 020 8802 8080 or email info@carj.org.uk