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 three parts:
- 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 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 Creativity 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