St. Pancras Catholic Primary School exists because God the Father loves us, because he sent his only son, Jesus, to teach us and to save us and because, through the Holy Spirit, Christ has remained with us, guiding the Church of which the school is a part, and is present among us today . . . Thus the school is an expression of faith in the Trinitarian God, standing firmly beneath the Sign of the Cross and looking to the risen Christ, who sits at the right hand of the Father, for its life and purpose.
“The essence of Christianity is a person: Jesus Christ himself. That which is essential is the one who is essential. To become truly real means to come to know Jesus Christ and to learn from him what it means to be human.” 
This section is presented in four parts:
- The school belongs to the Church
- The school in the context of Catholic education in England and Wales
- Who was St. Pancras?
- The school is a part of the parish of St. Mary Magdalen and its local community
The school belongs to the Church
St. Pancras Catholic Primary School is part of the universal Catholic Church. Catholic means ‘universal.’ The Church – and, therefore, the school – is catholic because Christ, as a light to all peoples, founded her and is present within her. The Church – and, thus, the school – is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole human race. 
“All men are called to this Catholic unity of the People of God . . . and to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered; the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind.” 
“Within creation, the sign and object of God’s love, God chose to create human beings in God’s own image and likeness. We are in relationship, in a dialogue of love, with God. We believe that creation speaks of God, that human relationships are redeemed by Christ’s saving death and resurrection, and that true human advancement and achievement witness to the Holy Spirit at work in humanity, enabling everyone to grow and develop. God is at work in the world and can be discovered in our daily living, drawing us [to Him] in love. We are invited to enter more deeply into relationship with God as the perfect fulfilment of our lives. Despite our sinfulness and weakness, every person’s life is charged with God’s presence and every human experience presents us with the opportunity to deepen our knowledge and love of God.
“The Church sees education as an integral part of its mission to proclaim God as the Creator, Christ as Redeemer and the Holy Spirit as inspirer of all that is good in human living. Everything connected with human living, and the means by which we understand and come to terms with it, is part of the process of God’s self-revelation to humanity, whether those engaged in it are conscious of it or not. It is in God’s plan that we grow through our exploration and enquiry. The people of God have always looked to Christ as teacher, and teaching forms an integral part of God’s redemptive work in Christ. Therefore, the process of education is holy, and since the world in which we live belongs to God, all teaching and learning are related to God in some way. ‘Catholic education is based on the belief that the human and the divine are inseparable.’’’ 
The school exists for Catholic families and for those who are not Catholic. It is not exclusive but seeks to be inclusive, as Jesus was inclusive. Where this may cause tension, the school takes recourse to the following guidance:
“The religious freedom and the personal conscience of individual students and their families must be respected, and this freedom is explicitly recognised by the Church. On the other hand, a Catholic school cannot relinquish its own freedom to proclaim the gospel and to offer a formation based on the values to be found in a Christian education; that is its right and its duty.” 
It was in this historical and religious context that St. Pancras School was founded; it is in the context of the person of Jesus Christ that it continues to exist.
The school in the context of Catholic education in England and Wales
The school is one of over 2,300 Catholic schools in England and Wales, roughly 10% of the national total.
The Catholic Church was arguably the first provider of schools and universities in England. Following the Reformation in the 16th century, the Church’s role as a provider of public education went largely underground until the 1800s. After the re-establishment of the Catholic hierarchy in England in 1850, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales were able to publicly practice and celebrate their faith and openly establish schools. As the Church has always viewed education as vital to the formation and development of the whole person, it put the setting up of Catholic schools for the Catholic community ahead of building churches, often using its schools in those early days as the place of worship for the parish.
Service to those who are amongst the most disadvantaged and underprivileged in our society has also always been central to the mission of Catholic education and continues to be so today. Many Catholic schools were established in the 19th Century to meet the needs of poor Catholic immigrants from Ireland and that mission remains strong today, with Catholic schools receiving proportionately more disadvantaged pupils from new immigrant groups from across the world.
Catholic dioceses today remain conscious of their responsibility to meet the needs of established local Catholic families, Catholic traveller children and Catholic immigrants from other parts of the world, especially Eastern Europe and parts of Africa and Latin America. This living out of the universality of Catholic schools makes them the most ethnically diverse of all maintained schools in England.
Who was St. Pancras?
These are the main facts:
- He was born around AD290
- As a young boy he was brought to Rome by his uncle
- He converted to Christianity
- In around 304 – when he was just 14 years old – he was martyred by beheading for believing in Jesus Christ
- He was martyred along with Saints Nereus, Achilleus and Domitilla, probably during the persecutions carried out under the Roman Emperor, Diocletian
- He was buried on the Via Aurelia in Rome
- Pope Vitalian sent his relics from the cemetery of Calepodius to England to help in the evangelisation of England. Relics were often put in the altars of new churches
- Saint Augustine of Canterbury dedicated the first church in England to Pancras
- Pope Symmachus built a church over his tomb in Rome
- A famous painting by Guercino in 1615 features the Virgin Mary on a throne between Saints Pancras and Monaca
- There are several churches in England – and a famous railway station in London – named after St Pancras
- The feast day of St Pancras is the 12th May
The school is a part of the parish of St. Mary Magdalen and its local community
Historically, the school is associated with the parish of St. Pancras in central Ipswich. Geographically, it has been located in the parish of St. Mary Magdalen for over half a century.
Ties with St. Pancras parish remain, through some of the school’s families and the school’s name. Ever since its move out of town, however, there have been stronger links with St. Mary Magdalen. The school is connected with the parish through many families, governance, preparation for the sacraments and, most importantly, the celebration of mass.
The school has traditionally admitted from the local community a relatively high number of pupils who are not Catholics. This has been a characteristic of the school; some may argue that it has been a strength of the school. However, it incorporates an ongoing challenge, namely that of providing for a Catholic education for significant numbers of pupils who are not Catholics without compromising the essential catholicity of its provision for those who are Catholics.
“All schools should be able to articulate their understanding of their position in terms of the balance between providing a Catholic education for Catholic children, and responding to Christ’s call to proclaim the gospel to all.” 
- Benedict XVI, quoted in Guardini on Christ in Our Century
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 2, Chapter 3, Article 9, Paragraph 3, Part 3, 830-831
- Lumen Gentium 13
- Principles, Practices and Concerns, CES, London, 1996:3, quoted in Evaluating the Distinctive Nature of a Catholic School, Catholic Education Service, London, Revised1999
- The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic school, para 6
- Evaluating the Distinctive Nature of a Catholic School, Catholic Education Service, London, Revised 1999
Our St Pancras School Values
These were adopted at the time of the London 2012 Olympic Games. They reflect the some of values championed at that wonderful event, together with some of our Christian values. The values were selected as qualities that pupils might readily demonstrate at school and which would naturally lend themselves to the ethos of the school. They are:
Courage Creativiity Joy Perserverance Humility Genorosity Forgiveness Stewardship
The eight values are closely related to the incentives and reward elements of our class-based approaches to behaviour management. They are also linked closely with our house points system (See Home Page).
Our Saints... The Inspiration For Our Houses
We have named our school houses after saints. The four saints in question were carefully selected to be readily meaningful to primary-age children. They are:
St Oscar Romero
St Jean Paul
St Teresa of Calcutta
St Josephine Bakhita