Frequently Asked Questions
Governors, teachers and the Church community together contribute to the Catholic character of our schools. The School, in collaboration with the home and the parish, has a privileged opportunity and responsibility to help our pupils grow in their faith. To achieve this, we need to help teachers in our schools to share the vision and have an adult understanding of their faith. They also need to be well informed about the ideals and the aims of the Catholic school.
The Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies is a qualification which seeks to ensure that teachers have at least a basic understanding of the central beliefs of the Catholic Faith. It is more exacting than its predecessors, the Catholic Teachers’ Certificate and the Certificate in Religious Education. For those involved in Catholic Education, Curriculum RE, and the Parish Catechesis this Certificate provides a basis for further study.
The Certificate (C.C.R.S) is awarded by the Board of Religious Studies of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Some Questions and Answers about the Certificate (C.C.R.S)
1. What are the aims of the Course?
To give an understanding of the central truths of our Faith;
To develop an appreciation of the principles of Catholic Education;
To highlight the role and function of RE within the whole school.
2. How is the Course structured?
There are eight modules:
six core modules
two specialist modules
Each module requires ten hours of Course time and an assignment;
The certificate is normally awarded after two years’ study, with a maximum of five years’ to complete from the start of the first module (only exceptional pastoral reasons are acceptable for studying beyond five years). Without a good reason for exemption the modules will cease to be valid. The five year period starts from when you first start your studies with the centre and not from when you are registered with the National CCRS Database. If you dispute the maximum five years’ study with the centre they will need to have any extension of study agreed with the CCRS Regional group first.
3. What is the content of the Course?
The core modules explore such areas as the Scriptures, the Person of Jesus, the Church and its sacramental life, moral understanding;
The specialist modules relate either to the teacher’s work in the school or to pastoral and other work.
4. Who should have the Certificate?
It is hoped that all Catholic teachers in our schools would have the Certificate;
Some will already have it; some will be working towards it – and all have the opportunity to obtain it;
There is at least one accredited centre in every diocese and it can also be acquired through distance learning.
5. What about newly qualified teachers?
Those who have done all their training in a Catholic College of Higher Education could be expected to have completed the C.C.R.S.
Those who have obtained their P.G.C.E in a Catholic College will usually have some modules, but need to complete the C.C.R.S elsewhere;
Some students not in Catholic Colleges may have been able to complete some modules during their studies;
If teachers come to our schools from University or other Colleges of Higher Education where this provision was not available, Governors could ask them to register for the Certificate Course provided by accredited centres;
Applicants must supply Governing Bodies with either the completed Certificate or Module Certificates.
6. Does the Certificate equip a teacher to teach Religious Education?
This is a basic qualification;
It is hard to think of a Primary teacher being able to handle a contemporary RE programme without the basic theology this Certificate offers;
While the Certificate can help a teacher as part of an RE team in a Secondary school, it does not give the necessary expertise needed to be a specialist RE teacher.
7. Does the Certificate say anything about the religious commitment of the teacher?
No. All the Certificate can do is to say that a teacher has satisfactorily completed the required Course.
It cannot and does not attempt to vouch for personal beliefs, qualities or attributes.
8. Is the C.C.R.S only available to Catholics?
No. Some students who are not Catholics choose to study in a Catholic College or accredited centre and follow up the C.C.R.S Course. The Certificate is awarded to all students who complete the Course satisfactorily.
9. Is the C.C.R.S only available to teachers?
No. The Certificate is designed for people who are engaged in communication of their Catholic Faith, whether directly or indirectly. It is open to catechists, people involved in liturgical work and other interested adults. In some dioceses, it forms part of the diaconate training programme. It is also a useful programme for the Governors of Catholic schools.
10. Is there an Advanced Certificate?
As with any qualification and study, there is a need to keep up to date. It is planned to have an Advanced Certificate to enable people to continue their studies.
11. Does the CCRS make me a Catholic?
No. Anyone interested in becoming a Catholic should contact their local Catholic parish. Information is available from the Bishops' Conference website.
12. What further steps are there after completing the course?
Your local CCRS Centre will be able to provide information about available courses for further study on the successful completion of the CCRS.
13. Does the CCRS prepare an Anglican to become a Catholic?
No. An Anglican or a person of another Christian or other faith tradition who wishes to become a Catholic is prepared within their local Catholic parish.
14. Does the CCRS prepare an Anglican to join the Ordinariate?
No. An Anglican who wishes to become a Catholic within the Ordinariate would do so by contacting the Ordinariate directly. Suitable preparation would then follow within the Ordinariate itself.
15. Will my CCRS qualification be accepted when I seek employment as a teacher in Scotland or Ireland?
We have written confirmation from the responsible Bishop in Northern Ireland to confirm that CCRS is a recognised qualification for teachers seeking to work in a Catholic school in Northern Ireland.
Please refer to the Irish Bishops' Conference website for the statement regarding CCRS in the Republic of Ireland.
There are many teachers with CCRS working within Catholic schools in Ireland and Scotland but we would encourage teachers planning to work in these countries to check back with their own Bishops' Conference or the Director for Education for confirmation of current practice and ongoing acceptability of CCRS:
Mgr Jim Cassin
Education Commission of the Irish Catholic Episcopal Conference
Scottish Catholic Education Service
16. How do I enrol on the CCRS course?
To enrol on the course please contact the centre where you would like to study the CCRS course. Contact details can be found on the Course Centres page. http://www.brs-ccrs.org.uk/index.php/course-centres
17. How much does the CCRS course cost and what are the start dates?
Start dates and fees differ from centre to centre - please contact the centre where you would like to study the course.
18. I've lost my certificate, how do I get a new one?
19. Can I get Approved Prior Learning (APL) for CCRS modules if I have an RE qualifications?
Participants who have previously completed a degree in Theology or Religious Studies may be eligible for exemption from some of the core modules. This process relates to prior learning up to a maximum of three core modules (not Specialist Modules). It does not apply to 'concurrent' or 'prospective' learning. Please complete the Application for Accreditation of Prior Learning.
20. Can I get an extension if I exceed the maximum term of five years’ to complete? What is the maximum duration of an extension?
An extension to the five years may be granted for very exceptional pastoral reasons. Participants need to apply to their local CCRS Centre for a decision. The maximum extension is twelve months.