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What is different about Catholic Schools?

What is different about Catholic Schools?

When you walk into a school you immediately get a ‘feel’ about the place - it could be the way the school looks, the way you are welcomed or the friendliness of the learners. This is called the Ethos of the school.

Ethos defines and displays the core beliefs of the school, and is closely linked to its value system. This ethos should be reflected in the school’s mission statement, which is the beacon for all school activities. It is the school’s way of ‘being in the world.’

The school’s ethos should be a lived experience for the whole school community and is realised by the daily interactions in the school. However, this needs to be actively understood and promoted in practical ways.

Key characteristics of a Catholic School:


  • Everyone is welcome. No-one is excluded. There is no discrimination because all human beings are created in the image of God and are therefore good. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity.
  • Catholic schools have a strong value system based on Gospel values with Christ as the centre of the school.
  • It is a faith community that fosters positive relationships among learners, teachers and parents.
  • Catholic schools believe in the formation of the whole child.
  • Worship and prayer are integral and central to school life.
  • A sense of social responsibility based on Gospel values is fostered. This helps learners to become citizens who will hopefully make a difference in society. 


CIE supports poor Catholic schools in South Africa who have many desperate needs. We strive to give every child in our schools the education they deserve.