Catholic Ethos

The word ethos comes from the Greek word for `character’. It describes the character of a community and what its shared beliefs are. The distinctive nature of Cardinal Hume Catholic School is illustrated through its Catholic ethos which is placed at the very heart of the school. It is that which permeates all aspects of school life. It stems from gospel values  and the teaching of the Catholic Church as outlined in our Mission statement below:

“The Mission of Cardinal Hume Catholic School is to develop each member of the school community in a way that allows all to achieve their full potential in the light of the teaching of Christ and the values portrayed in the Gospels”

The primary aim of the ethos of Cardinal Hume Catholic School is to ensure that all in its care achieve and maximise their full potential. This is not only through academic success but through the development of the whole person. We, at Cardinal Hume Catholic School, believe that we have a duty to nourish the development of all our young people as God’s creations, thus enabling those in our care to have a hugely positive impact in school and in the areas they enter into outside school, through their outstanding academic achievement alongside positive faith and character formation. The Catholic ethos is what glues our school together and seeks to develop all in fulfilling  their potential as part of Cardinal Hume Catholic School and the broader community which supports the school.

Moving Forward Together In Hope

Cardinal Hume Catholic School felt privileged to host the launch of diocesan initiative `Moving Forward Together In Hope ’ outlined by Bishop Seamus on July 16th 2014. The Church, particularly in Western Europe, is now entering a period of change in which we are called as Church to think and act positively in support of how we adapt to the various and inevitable challenges heading in our direction. An aging clergy and shortage of priests is high on the list of challenges we face but as the living embodiment of `Christ on Earth’ we as clergy and laity must not only adapt to these changes but use them as a positive vehicle in which to step into the future together.

Cardinal Hume Catholic School sees itself very much committed to this diocesan initiative and is constantly seeking new ways to deepen the spiritual formation of the young people in our care and support the work of broader Church in this process – work you can see, from reading our website, has already begun. As a Catholic educational institution we fully realise the importance of our role in supporting the faith journey of our young people and will seek to develop this further in line with Church as we continue `Moving Forward Together In Hope.’

The school is already supporting a number of initiatives that support the Church and local community. One initiative of note has been the successful Confirmation programme currently run every two years. Supporting Gateshead deanery in offering this area of Sacramental development has been very rewarding and our young people have been very grateful for all the work that has gone into supporting them during their Confirmation preparation. Areas like this are just one way the school seeks to support the broader Church and diocese as we step together into the future.

Other areas are being developed such as our Justice and Peace Group and the upcoming John Paul II Award being launched throughout the diocese in October 2015. Please watch this space for further developments.

The Chapel

On entering the main reception of the school you walk under the school Chapel which immediately offers solace from the unique climate conundrum that is the British weather. This external protection symbolises the deeper spiritual sanctuary our Chapel affords to all who enter and are part of Cardinal Hume Catholic School community.

The Chapel is dedicated to St Edmund Campion, one of the great English martyred saints whose display of the virtues `wisdom in judgement’ saw him bring many souls into God’s kingdom. He is also the saint attached to our outstanding 6th Form.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have the Blessed Sacrament present in our Chapel throughout the year thanks to the support of the deanery clergy. This is something that nourishes the Chapel and all who enter to worship. All staff and students are fully aware of the importance of what having the Blessed Sacrament present means and it is treated with the greatest of reverence by all people of all faith backgrounds. Having the Blessed Sacrament present means we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity  to offer Benediction at varying times of the school year, something we are very thankful for in its provision of spiritual sustenance.

The Chapel is the centre point for enabling the spiritual dimension of the school community to develop. It is where Mass is celebrated at varying times throughout the year with an opportunity for all staff and pupils to attend. It is where our Chaplain celebrates liturgy with all KS3 students as a way that enables pupils to learn how to respect and care for one other, adults and the wider community; and to learn how to treasure and sustain the natural environment and appreciate the spiritual journey we are all on as part of God’s creation regardless of which faith background we belong to.

The Chapel is open to students at varying times of each school day as a way of supporting their life journey and is available to all staff in our school community whenever they wish to use it. As a space, the Chapel is perfectly placed to provide a sense of calm and stillness that taps into the very fabric of our human spirituality. It allows us to have space for reflection during the busy day to day life that is modern education.

Above all, its presence is a statement that the School recognises the need to remind ourselves of another dimension in our lives and a place to which pupils and staff of all faiths or of none can come to experience peace and quiet, a special place in which to reflect on their own thoughts and, possibly, to find something they are seeking.

Spiritual life

The spiritual life of the school is of the highest importance in enabling all to achieve their full potential, from staff to students. From prayer life to fundraising, all awaken an understanding of a greater call that brings us strength and nourishment in light of the teachings of Christ in the Gospels.

Our Religious Education is a compulsory programme of study for all students in all year groups and makes up one the four core subjects that must be taken at GCSE level. There is an option to take it as an A level and all students take one lesson of General RE a week and one cycle of a ‘Religion and the Media’ course. The Religious Education we offer to our young people combine the rigour of the academic in achieving GCSE and A level grades, while at the same time encouraging the faith development of our young people during this part of their lives. The subject also finds itself as one of the key areas that promotes the importance of community cohesion and extending a way of thought and understanding that creates a respectful and tolerant world view.

We are an inclusive school as a Catholic school and seek to nourish the development of all regardless of faith backgrounds. We seek to stir the numinous in all in our care and encourage all to be nourished by their respectful spiritual understanding of the world and those around them. However, we fully recognise the right of parents to withdraw their child from the act of collective worship if they wish. Though we would hope as a school that all our young people would be able to attend all our school events and not feel excluded in any way.

Prayer life

All students, from Year 7 to Year 13 begin each morning with tutor prayer. This, we believe, is a hugely important time of shared experience through prayer and sets a focus for reflection and petition that allows both students and staff to prepare in the best possible way for each day. The Head Teacher, Heads of House and Chaplain also begin or end assemblies with our school prayer to highlight the importance of prayer in daily life and achievement. It is the belief at Cardinal Hume Catholic School that a community that prays together stays strong and is successful in all aspects of school life. Prayer has a depth that surpasses the sounding of words and it is this prayer connection we seek to develop with all in our school community.


Assemblies run throughout the academic year for all Year groups. They run in cycles of 3, with Head Teacher assemblies first, followed by Heads of House assemblies and then Year assemblies. The assembly programme is an important part of school life as it enables all students to come together to understand their role as part of a positive school environment.

Collective Worship

Collective worship is something we enjoy celebrating as a school community in a number of ways.

We have a class liturgy programme that runs from Year 7 to 9. This is organised by the Chaplain and run through the RE Department. It runs on themes provided by the Chaplain which seeks to include all in an area of collective worship that nourishes the spiritual dimension of the young person. This is a programme that we are seeking to develop across the whole school in all year groups eventually.

There are services at the end of each term. These services are a time of celebration and a shared sense of community that allow all students to appreciate their sense of purpose within the school environment and celebrate their achievements. They are also a time of reflection for all in the school, a time to offer thanks to God and also ask for his inspiration in all that we do at Cardinal Hume Catholic School. These events are particularly enjoyed by our Year 11 and Year 13 as leaver celebrations.

Ethos in symbol:

Cardinal Hume Logo (spot) copy

Our school and house crests, with associated virtues, give a wholesome understanding of the importance of developing positive character traits in all within the school community.

This states the Latin: fide, labore, caritate meaning “In faith, hard work and kindness” A wonderful expression of key values in understanding how all at Cardinal Hume Catholic School can fulfil their potential. The image on the crest is the Cardinal Hume rose, a flower named in honour of the great man. A progressive thinker in the Catholic Church, Cardinal Hume always lived by the Benedictine rule “He must hate faults but love brothers.” Trained in Ampleforth he was considered the most “Papabile” Englishman since Cardinal Pole in the 16TH century. It was Pope John Paul II who summed up Cardinal Hume, describing him as a “shepherd of great spiritual and moral character.’  A description of character our school ethos seeks to instil in all its students.

The school crest also has the image of a Paschal sunrise with the cross as its centrepoint. This illustrates the most important aspect of our school in its Catholic tradition; the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, the promise of salvation for all through faith and following the teachings of Christ.

Sixth Form

The crest of our outstanding Sixth Form is the Bible on top of which stand the scales of justice. This image links to the motto for our sixth form: “Wisdom in Judgement.” The idea being that the virtue of wisdom is perhaps the most important of all virtues. It enables us to make the correct judgements in our lives and ultimately if wisdom permeates our daily life, or indeed the search for it, we will forever be happy as true wisdom links us directly to God and as such will always inform correct judgement in life. This motto and crest are aligned to the sixth form saint: St Edmund Campion. St Edmund Campion was one of the great English martyrs. He showed great wisdom as a young boy illustrated by his intellectual ability when in August 1553, he was chosen to make a ceremonial address to Queen Mary as she passed through London. Campion was able academically and went to St John’s College, Oxford, at the age of 15 (which was not unusual in those days). He was awarded his degree in 1564 and became a Fellow of the University. In 1566, he was again chosen to make a formal speech of welcome before the new Queen, Elizabeth I, when she visited Oxford.

His great judgement was shown in his composition of his “Ten Reasons” which, during a time when it was difficult to be a Catholic in England, he outlined why the Catholic tradition was the one true faith in his eyes and why people should be free to worship in the Catholic tradition.  Martyred at Tyburn in 1581, he was one of England’s great saints.

It is this wisdom in judgement that St Edmund Campion displayed throughout his life that we seek to nourish in our sixth form students. They are on the final stages of their school life and must seek to show wisdom in how they are approaching the changes that are about to happen when they leave school, as well as having the wisdom in judgement to apply themselves fully to the work they need to do to in order make the right choices for their future. Key to using this wisdom and making the right choices are using the right sources as an aid to doing this. This support comes from home, school and most importantly God as shown in the sixth form crest.

 St Oswald House

St Oswald

The crest for Oswald house is the crown that is the symbol of King Oswald. The motto reads “Charity In Action” which reflects the character of St Oswald who on his conversion to Christianity illustrated the virtue of charity especially among the poor and strangers. Indeed his actions have led the excellent local charity of St Oswald’s to be named after him. This life and example of St Oswald and the virtue of charity are hugely important to all at Cardinal Hume Catholic School; there are annual fundraising events for many different Catholic charities through a variety of programmes and groups. It gives our young people a sense of responsibility through getting involved with and contributing to fundraising. This extols the virtue of charity in each and enables the full development of the young person to occur in a positive way.

St Aidan House

St Aidan

The crest for Aidan House is the staff behind which a road disappears amongst a pastoral landscape. This reflects how Aidan walked all over Northumbria converting people to Christianity. An Irishman invited by St Oswald to the region, he was a man of just and gentle temperament. He is seen now as `the apostle to the English’ and the beginning of the strong link between Ireland and Catholicism in England that is still strong today. The motto for St Aidan House is “Justice In Work” which fits with the just character of the saint and extolls the virtue of justice. This virtue is something we seek to establish in the character of all students at Cardinal Hume Catholic School so that in all their work, both in school and beyond, a sense of justice and achievement underlies all that they do.

St Bede HouseSt Bede

The crest for Bede House is a book, this illustrates the great knowledge and learning that St Bede was famous for throughout the Christian world. The motto for Bede House is “Knowledge In Learning” which reflects the character of St Bede perfectly. The virtue of the pursuit of knowledge through learning is a high priority for all at Cardinal Hume Catholic School. It is our duty we believe through the process of teaching and learning to embed as much of the wonder of knowledge in all our students so that they reach their full potential and positively influence all they come into contact with.

St Cuthbert House

St Cuthbert

The crest for St Cuthbert House is `St Cuthbert’s Cross’. The Pectoral cross was found deep in the robes on the breast of St Cuthbert when they opened his coffin on 17th May 1827. St Cuthbert is our diocesan saint. The motto for Cuthbert House is “Faith In God” which reflects the intrinsic character of all that St Cuthbert said and did. It was the virtue of faith that led him from his solitary meditation on isle of farne to evangelisation throughout the North East. Inspired by his vision of seeing the soul of St Aidan being carried to heaven, his faith has been an inspiration to all Christians in the North East and far beyond. Faith in God is the key to outstanding success and achievement both in Cardinal Hume Catholic School and beyond it. We have a firm belief that to trust in God enables the positive aspects of all at Cardinal Hume Catholic School to flourish and that this faith naturally leads to a faith in each other which encourages everybody in the school to do their very best in all aspects of school life.


As a Catholic school fundraising is a fundamental way of raising awareness of the responsibilities that every student has a duty to help those in need as illustrated by the life and teachings of Christ in the Gospels. The school has an annual fundraising calendar which creates a balance throughout the year to fundraising that goes on in school. The school supports charities such as CAFOD, SVP, St Cuthbert’s Care, Mc Millan Nurses, Children In Need and is developing close community links with other types of fundraising. The aim of all our fundraising at Cardinal Hume Catholic School is to promote justice through charity.


Cardinal Hume has a yearly retreat programme with the YMT at the Youth Village in Consett. The aim of our Year 8 retreat is to allow students to engage with the spiritual dimension of their human nature. It is an overnight retreat that focuses on choices young people have to make and discusses the value of sacramental development for young people. Staff who attend the retreat programme have also thoroughly enjoyed connecting with students in a spiritual way that the pressures of daily school life cannot allow.

The school also provides a Year 13 retreat. The main aim of the retreat is to awaken the spiritual dimension in the young person and allow them to de-stress in what is the most important and pressurised school year they have encountered. In enabling the young people to connect with God it allows them to realise there is a way taking pressure of themselves by handing things over to God. Young people are directed towards the understanding that through hard work, prayer and the correct focus, all things are possible. If they do their best, God will do the rest!

The school also supports the outstanding diocesan festivals organised by the Youth Ministry Team and the Catholic Education Service. The festivals are run in a way that encourages young people to think and deepen their understanding of the importance of a relationship with God and how this connection with God has a huge positive impact on their lives when nourished properly through prayer and Church.


As a Catholic school Cardinal Hume sees itself as central in the development of the Catholic faith to those in its care, to the deanery, the parishes and the local community. As more young people than ever are not attending Mass regularly or taking the sacraments, the school realises that it has a hugely important part in getting the message of Christ to young people.

Part of this understanding has manifested itself in the Confirmation Programme which has seen the school link with the deanery in a way that encourages young people from the deanery and school to attend 8 sessions as part of their sacramental development. It is led by the deanery and supported by school in the process.

In addition the Gateshead Deanery Youth Ministry Group has been founded. Born out of our last outstanding YMT school mission, a group of school staff, parishioners and clergy meet throughout the academic year supporting and creating initiatives that can support and develop the faith formation of young people in the school and broader deanery.

Cardinal’s Virtues Newsletter

In forging strong links with the local community the school sends out a newsletter twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, which highlights all the great work that is generated by the school ethos, sporting and academic achievement. The newsletter includes articles by students, staff and parishes. Each student is given a copy to bring home to their parents/carers; copies are sent to all feeder primaries and every parish in East Gateshead are sent copies. This means all parents/carers/ parishioners in the local community have the opportunity to know and contribute to all the great work going on at Cardinal Hume Catholic School.

Ethos Group

The Head Teacher invites staff to be part of the `ethos group’ which meets once every half term. The idea behind the group is to make staff aware of what Catholic ethos is and open up a forum for discussion and deliberation as to what can be offered to build on or support the great ethos already in place within the school.

Student Ethos Group

As welcome as any support of our Catholic school ethos is, one area we are seeking to develop with a firm eye on the future is the impact students themselves can have on developing the school ethos. This aspect of school ethos asks our young people to shape the future of our Catholic ethos to reflect their  understanding of faith and Church. Nothing would speak more highly of a Catholic school environment than an ethos that is understood and developed by the young people in it, guided by school leaders and staff.

Part of this development has been the formation of a Justice and Peace Group, at Cardinal Hume Catholic School. What has been revealed in the students wish for such a group is that young people `hunger and thirst’ for an understanding of the importance of justice and peace issues. They are awakening to their own understanding of their God given potential in an academic sense and also as a person on the planet who has the ability to make an impact that lies far deeper than any materialistic vision of life. Such youthful energy and insight needs to be encouraged in many ways, the Justice and Peace Group being a student led group that does such a thing.

John Paul II Award

The school supports the diocesan initiative that was launched in the 2015/2016 academic year. The award, born in the Diocese of Derry, has already proved a great success in Ireland in re-engaging young people with a new understanding of Church and parish that has helped them develop as young people and deepen their faith journey with God. The award comprises of Gold, Silver and Bronze awards set on encouraging young people to voluntarily give up their time in support of their parish and local community. We look forward to our young people being part of this worthwhile initiative.