The diocese supports the Diocese of Lancaster Education Service as a resource to serve the educational needs of people of the diocese. The overall cost of the Service is about the same as for a primary school of around 200 pupils.
There are three main cost headings: staffing, operational and travel. Advisory staff are appointed on the basis of their qualifications, experience and an exemplary professional track-record to ensure their professional credibility among those with whom they work. Salaries are based on the teachers’ Leadership Pay Spine, reflecting the level reached before joining the Service. Operational costs include the administrative, maintenance and communication costs of the Education Centre. The geography of the diocese requires staff to undertake extensive travel in the course of their work.
How are the costs met?
The Service operates as an agency of Lancaster Roman Catholic Diocesan Trustees – Registered Charity No. 234331.
In its early years, the diocese met the full cost of operating the Service. The demands of the 1992 Charities Act and increasing financial pressure on the diocese require the Service to make its work as cost-effective and financially self-supporting as possible. The Service has therefore increasingly taken responsibility for offsetting its rising costs by charging for some of the services it provides. However, key principles established and maintained by the Commission for Education and Formation are that:
- income received from the Service’s work in parishes is not used to subsidise its work in schools, nor vice versa;
- standard travel costs are built into charges, so that parishes and schools at greater distance from the Education Centre in Lancaster are not penalised financially.
Since April 1995, the diocese has also operated a voluntary School Contribution Scheme.
Through the scheme, schools are currently asked to make a contribution of £67 per teacher plus £200 per school to enable the Education Service to maintain its range of services to schools and support for school governors. The level of contribution remained unchanged through the first five years of the scheme’s operation and currently all the diocese’s schools contribute to the scheme.