Our Ethos & Values

The school’s Catholic ethos and ASPIRE values underpin all that we do. We are a member of the Aquinas Trust of Catholic Schools in Waltham Forest and work closely with our partner primary schools to provide the best possible Catholic education for all our young people. We aim to educate the whole person, to develop each student’s academic potential as well as nurturing their creativity, spirituality, character and resilience. We seek to instil in each of our students the belief that they should have a strong concern for others and that they should seek to do good, both in their school, and in their wider community.

The majority of our students remain with us for seven years, leaving our Sixth Form as confident young adults keen to use their gifts and talents to make the world a better place. 

As Headteacher I expect the very highest standards from all members of our school community 

The school has very close partnerships with our parishes and with parents all of which helps to reinforce our Catholic ethos and sense of community. In school there is a very great emphasis on extra-curricular activities and all students are offered every opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills through after school clubs in an array of different fields including sport, music, art and drama, STEM Club, debating society and a very popular Duke of Edinburgh programme.

The achievements of our students and staff were highly praised in our most recent Ofsted report and the school has won numerous awards for the quality of academic outcomes we achieve. The following extract from that report summarises the main points in our Ofsted report of 2018:

“Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, built upon a Catholic ethos, is at the heart of school life”.

“Pupils spoken to by inspectors were clear that they had a person to go to if they had a problem, and it would be dealt with. One said, “Form tutors are like parents to us in this school.”

“Leaders are focused on achieving positive outcomes for students and have high aspirations for them. They have created a nurturing climate where students can excel.”

We are fortunate to have a thriving sixth form housed in its own specialist accommodation. We accept applications to our sixth form from our own year 11 students and also from students from other schools across the borough and beyond, who would like to experience their sixth form education in a school based sixth form with a Catholic ethos. Further details about sixth form admissions can be found in the sixth form section of the website.

During the past three years the school has undergone a major building programme providing both new and refurbished facilities including many new classroom spaces, two new Learning Resource Centres and a new Sports Hall. These have given us a range of first-class facilities for many generations of future students.

We hope you find our website both informative and interesting. If you have any questions about our school then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Mrs Carolyn Laws

Our Mission Statement

Holy Family is a Catholic community, embracing the clear Christian values of respect, service and justice.

We are a family of many cultures sharing one faith. We exist to educate all young people towards excellence in all dimensions of their lives, recognising the uniqueness of each and the equality of all.

Diocese of Brentwood

Holy Family is a Catholic school governed by the Diocese of Brentwood. You can find out more about the Diocese of Brentwood Education Department by following the link below:


“An ethos is a way of living, behaving and doing things by people, though diverse, follow common values and are united by a shared vision of life.” (Monsignor Stack 2013)
We are a Catholic school and daily prayer and worship are integral to all that we do. We provide a range of opportunities for this. Staff briefings every morning begin with a prayer/reflection. Registration includes a prayer and every lesson is expected to begin or end with a prayer.

We offer staff and students the opportunity to attend Mass weekly on each site. At other times of the year we celebrate Mass in school, at the Our Lady and St George’s church. Once a year the entire school community gathers together at the Assembly Hall, the only time all 1,250 members of the school community can be in one pace together.

There are opportunities for students to receive the sacrament of reconciliation during Advent and Lent. Clergy from the local deanery and beyond make themselves available to hear confessions and on occasions we have had ten priests in the hall administering the sacrament.

It is important to note that the ethos permeates all aspects of school life; “The curriculum as a whole, and every part of it, is religious, since there is nothing which does not ultimately relate to God.”(Evaluating the Distinctive Nature of the Catholic school)

We are called after the ‘The Holy Family’ for a reason. The family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph greatly influence our school ideals. We are a place where people are made feel welcome and cared for. We live in communion with each other and with God. A place where young people can be themselves. Where the Gospel is lived out in the everyday experience. A place of refuge and absence of fear.

With all families, there will be good times and difficult times. The important thing is to be there for each other. By helping others we are enhancing our own self worth and in loving others we are also loving God.
We are one family, there are no outsiders. We must look out for the vulnerable, the lonely, the lost and the disturbed among us. We must be a place where young people can share their problems and we can offer a listening ear.

At Holy Family we exist to guide young people in their learning, their faith and the right way to do things. To offer advice, share our experience, avoid pitfalls and help them succeed. To be a school where students develop their critical thinking skills and discover their God given talents and vocation. A place where the young and not so young can all be a people of change, challenge and transformation.


In May 2019 we had our diocesan RE inspection which went really well. We see many examples of our Catholic ethos in action daily at Holy Family.

This includes House celebrations of Mass, retreats in school and at Aylesford Friary and charitable work including our annual Student Community Action Day where sixth formers spend a day helping others in the community.

To read the full inspection report click the link below: 

Diocesan Report May 2019


The Aquinas Trust 

The Catholic schools in Waltham Forest have worked closely together for many years. In June 2015 we formally created a soft federation including Holy Family Catholic School, Our Lady and St George’s Primary School, St Joseph’s Infants, St Joseph’s Juniors and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School. In 2017 this expanded to become known as the Aquinas Trust after St Thomas Aquinas, the great scholar and patron saint of students.

The Headteachers of the Aquinas Trust schools meet every half-term and we produce an annual joint development plan focused on the ways in which we can work together for our mutual benefit. Recent activities include an annual Mass for representatives of the pupils/students of each school, an annual start of academic year staff Mass, joint training events, Headteacher reviews of the provision in each school, the annual inter-primary school Sports Day and opportunities for primary age pupils to visit Holy Family and experience lessons in specialist areas such as science and technology.