Vicariate for Education

Welcome to the Portsmouth Diocese Vicariate for Education page. Here you can find a directory of our Catholic Schools, information about the priests and people who support Catholic Education in our area, and information about our Diocesan Education Strategy. 

The Diocese of Portsmouth is home to 71 Catholic Schools across several sectors; 44 Voluntary Aided Schools, 12 Academies, and 15 Independent Schools, which together provide education and faith formation for almost 32,000 pupils from age 5 to 18. More information on our Schools can be found on our dedicated website for the Catholic Academies and Schools Office (CASO) here.

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Education and The New Evangelisation

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I came that they may have life, and have it to the full

John 10:10

Catholic Education Team


Rev Fr PJ Smith

Fr PJ is the Bishop's Episcopal Vicar for Education. He is responsible for overseeing the work of CASO.

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Catherine Hobbs

Catherine Hobbs is the our diocesan Director of Education, the senior layperson with responsibility for our Catholic Schools and Academies. She line-manages the CASO team.


John Paul II Award

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The Pope John Paul II Award is a faith achievement award for young people between the age of 16 and 18. It is non-competitive, inclusive, flexible and voluntary.

The Award enables participants to take an active part in the life of their Church – in the life of their community and society. It enables young people become more aware of the teaching and role of the Catholic Church in the world and to engage at a deep level with Christ.


The Award was created to commemorate the late Pope Saint John Paul II who was so committed to young people and who had such belief and confidence in them. The Award was launched by the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, His Excellency Most Rev Dr Giuseppe Lazzarotto on 7th November 2006 in the Diocese of Derry, Ireland, and during the Autumn of 2020 to the Diocese of Portsmouth.


In Portsmouth we have an ambition to bring people closer to Jesus Christ through his Church, this award can help us in our efforts to realise this ambition.  It can support young people as they discover more about their faith by engaging in the practical activities that surround our liturgies and service to the community. It will also enable young people through their actions to be missionaries and witnesses to other young people, to make their voices heard.

The Award

The award is non-competitive, flexible and voluntary and requires an ongoing commitment. Awards are earned by taking part in parish and social activities – 1 hour per week over 8, 14 or 20 weeks. There are 3 Awards – Gold, Silver & Bronze. Those that have completed the Gold Award have a further option of completing the Papal Cross Award.


Bronze Award


Silver Award


Gold Award


Papal Cross