Diocesan Canonical Inspection


All people by virtue of their dignity as human persons have the right to education, that is the right to achieve their potential in life. Those who are baptised members of the Church have a right to a Christian education. (cf. Gravissimum Educationis 1, 2).

Catholic schools, as part of the mission of the Church, are challenged by the Gospel to affirm their pupils' basic goodness, to promote their dignity and to develop their gifts to the full. Schools are challenged to educate people to live responsibly for the fullness of life that God wills for each of us.

As works of the apostolate, all Catholic schools are subject to the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop, even those that are not in diocesan trusteeship. Canon 806§1 states that the diocesan bishop has the right of supervision, visitation and inspection of Catholic schools in his diocese, even those established or directed by members of religious orders. He also has the right to issue directives concerning the general regulation of Catholic schools.

Diocesan canonical inspections enable the Church to assess systematically the work of Catholic schools. They also provide an opportunity to support, challenge, evaluate and promote this vital work in the mission of the Church.

The Catholic community recognises the importance of school self-evaluation as a continuous process that is complemented from time to time by external inspection. Self-evaluation makes an important contribution to inspections. It provides the school and the inspectors with a means of ensuring that inspection covers matters of potential significance to the school. The purpose of inspection is to assist the school in its continuing work of self-evaluation through the identification of particular strengths, of areas requiring further improvement, and of progress made since the last inspection.

The diocesan canonical inspection evaluation schedule and accompanying inspection handbook set out the requirements which will enable a full evaluation of the school's Catholic Life, Collective Worship and its provision, work and achievements in the field of Religious Education to be carried out . This procedure will ensure that each school is treated in the same manner and that there is comparability between inspections with a common approach to reporting.