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Mission Statement

Christ Achieved through Endeavour
As Catholics we endeavour to achieve,
in the name of Christ
to help all to grow in
respect and knowledge about God,
ourselves and others.

The Catholic Life of the School

Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School supports parents in nurturing the faith of their children. We enable our students to grow in the love of God, to deepen their understanding of creation, and to pray and celebrate the sacraments. We provide opportunities to explore values and beliefs, to recognise the rights of others and respect those who have different beliefs.

We encourage questioning, reflection and growth in self-awareness and prepare students to think spiritually, ethically and theologically to develop their awareness of the benefits and challenges of religious commitment in daily life.

The existence of our own chapel demonstrates the commitment Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School has in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to grow in their faith.

Assemblies are an integral part of school life where the community joins together to pray and celebrate publicly the individual achievements of the students.

History of Our School

In the early part of the twentieth century, Archbishop Edward Ilsley built the first church in the village of Acocks Green. The foundation stone was taken from the battlefields of Ypres, in Belgium. Two years later, a school was built, for children aged five to 14 years. In 1955, building began on what is now our school, and it opened in 1957. As Acocks Green expanded, so did the school. Drawing largely, but not exclusively, from immigrant Catholic families who came to find work in the post-war reconstruction of Birmingham, the School became, and remains, an important focal point of the community. It's a long way from the West Coast of Ireland, but that's where many of our students have their roots. . .

Archbishop Edward Ilsley...

Archbishop Ilsley was born in May 1838. He was archbishop of Birmingham from 1911 to 1921 when he retired. He died in 1926.

In the October 1873, St. Bernard's diocesan Seminary was opened at Olton, Warwickshire, of which the first rector was the Rev. Edward Ilsley, successively canon and bishop-auxiliary (December 4, 1879).

On 17 February, 1888, Dr. Ilsley became the second Bishop of Birmingham, and at once took in hand the difficult task of protecting and rescuing the destitute Catholic children of the diocese. St. Edward's Home for homeless boys was opened at Coleshill (Warwickshire), 6 November, 1906, with branch houses for boys and girls, similarly situated, in various centres, besides a Home for Working Boys and a Night Refuge, both in Birmingham.

In July, 1889, Oscott College was closed to lay students and reopened as a Central Seminary for ecclesiastics only. In accord with the movement promoted by the early provincial synods of Westminster, Bishop Ullathorne established in 1872 the Birmingham diocesan seminary at Olton, a few miles south of Birmingham. He placed the Rev. Edward Ilsley (now bishop of the diocese) over it as rector, while he himself personally directed its spirit. The institution flourished, though the number of students averaged but twenty. Meanwhile Oscott maintained its own school of philosophers and theologians. Oscott, like Olton, suffered from financial strain. With a bold stroke Bishop Ilsley closed Oscott as a mixed college, sold the seminary buildings and estate, and gathered all his seminarists and teaching staff into the one greater seminary of St. Mary's, Oscott. The new institution began with thirty-six students in September, 1889, under the rectorship of the bishop.

The history of Roman Catholicism in Birmingham since Ullathorne's death is mainly one of expansion. One notable and controversial change of policy was made by Edward Ilsley almost immediately after he succeeded Ullathorne. Ilsley closed both the public school at Oscott and the diocesan seminary which his predecessor had established at Olton in 1867, and restricted Oscott to theological students from the diocese. He was deeply interested in Oscott and remained rector for several years after he became bishop. In 1911 Birmingham became an archbishop, with subordinate sees at Clifton, Newport, Plymouth, and Shrewsbury. Ilsley was the first archbishop.

From: 'Religious History: Roman Catholicism', A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7: The City of Birmingham (1964), pp. 397-402. URL: Date accessed: 14 June 2006.