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What We Do
Inspire and Educate

Mission statement

ATCRE aims to support and represent teachers of Catholic religious education by:

  • facilitating dialogue amongst teachers of Catholic religious education

  • providing a voice at a national level for teachers of Catholic religious education 

  • celebrating and sharing excellent practice of Catholic religious education.

Statement of principles

ATCRE seeks to promote:

  • the mission of Catholic education as determined by the Bishops’ Conference  

  • excellence in the teaching of Catholic religious education

  • collaboration between teachers of Catholic religious education in different types of schools (primary, secondary, sixth form college, special, independent, voluntary aided, academies, free schools)  

  • collaboration with other organisations within Catholic education 

  • links with international Catholic organisations

  • links with organisations that promote religious education in schools.

Statement of intent

ATCRE will endeavour to:

  • organise an Annual General Meeting (AGM)

  • promote the vocation of the teacher of Catholic religious education

  • organise events for teachers of Catholic religious education

  • communicate and disseminate news relevant to teachers of Catholic religious education

  • produce publications to support teachers of Catholic religious education.


Pope Francis on Lay Associations 

Dear brothers and sisters, I want to add a word about the value of being and making an association. It is a value not to be taken for granted, but always to be cultivated... Do not be afraid of differences and also of the conflicts that normally exist in lay associations; it is normal for them to exist, it is normal. Do not hide them, but face them with an evangelical style, in the search for the true good of the association, evaluated on the basis of statutory principles. Being an association is a value and a responsibility, that is entrusted to you right now. With the help of God and the pastors of the Church, you are called to make this talent that has been placed in your hands bear fruit. 

Address by Pope Francis to members of the Italian Catholic Primary School Teachers’ Association on  5th January 2018

Religious Education in Catholic schools

Religious Education, as set out by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in their Religious Education Curriculum Directory (2012), is unique because it is the core curriculum subject in all of the 2,245 Catholic schools in England and Wales comprising at least 10% of the curriculum.


It is also the most widely used religious education framework in the country, as it is taught in 10% of all primary and secondary schools. It alone accounts for 25% of RE GCSE entries and 20% of A-level Religious Studies entries nationwide.


Religious education in Catholic schools is based on the founding principle that the subject should be a deep academic and theological engagement with faith. Teaching religious education in Catholic schools well requires specialist theological knowledge and the best pedagogical practice. 


We seek to preserve and develop the special way it is taught in the Church’s schools. As an organisation we aim to support professional development for religious education teachers in Catholic schools so it continues to be taught to a high standard.


Religious education in Catholic schools also seeks to present an authentic vision of the Church’s teachings, traditions and 2000-year-old history enabling pupils to continually deepen their understanding of the faith and be able to communicate it effectively.


If taught well, religious education in Catholic schools should produce religiously literate and engaged young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills to reflect spiritually about their own faith and the faith of others.

ATCRE and Canon Law

ATCRE is a lay association within the Catholic Church. In accordance with Canon Law, ATCRE has the consent of the Bishops of England and Wales.  Our episcopal liaison is Bishop Alan Williams, Bishop of Brentwood.  Bishop Alan gave a stimulating keynote lecture at our inaugural conference. 

ATCRE follows the norms laid down in The Code of Canon Law (1983), specifically from the section on the obligations and rights of all the Christian faithful (sections 208 - 223):

  • The Christian faithful, even in their own manner of acting, are always obliged to maintain communion with the Church (Can. 209 §1).

  • The Christian faithful are at liberty freely to found and direct associations for purposes of charity or piety or for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world and to hold meetings for the common pursuit of these purposes (Can. 215). 

  • Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority (Can. 216). 

  • In exercising their rights, the Christian faithful, both as individuals and gathered together in associations, must take into account the common good of the Church, the rights of others, and their own duties toward others (Can. 223 §1).

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