Skip to content ↓
I Am Known: I Am More

Our Founder

Saint John Henry Newman

Saint John Henry Newman, born in 1801, was one of the foremost churchmen and theologians of his day.

He studied and then taught at Oxford University, and became the Vicar of St Mary the Virgin, the University Church; he was known for his intellect, his pastoral care, and his preaching.

A leading light of the Oxford Movement, which was seeking to move the Church of England in a Catholic direction, Newman left his considerable prospects and many friends behind when he converted to Catholicism in 1845, at a time when there was still widespread prejudice against Catholics in Britain.

Founding the first Oratorian community of priests in Birmingham in the late 1840s, he continued to write major works of theology and philosophy as a Catholic. 

He founded a university for Catholics in Ireland and, in 1859, The Oratory School in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

The Oratory School came into being on 2nd May 1859. It was founded by Newman, at the request of a group of eminent Catholic laymen of the time, in order to provide a boarding school for boys run on English public school principles for the small English Catholic community.

He was made a Cardinal in 1879 and he died in 1890.

Pope Benedict XVI beatified him in 2010. 

Pope Francis canonised John Henry Newman on 13th October 2019.

Saint John Henry Newman is the first English person who has lived since the 17th century officially recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Oratory School

We embody and practise today our Founder’s spiritual, moral, and educational principles, which are just as relevant at the beginning of the Twenty-First Century as they were when he imbued his School with them.

Each individual is to be valued for his own sake; the system should be there to support the needs of the individual, not vice versa. In this way a person’s dignity and sense of self-worth are respected in the way that they should be; as a result they will be more at ease in the society in which they find themselves and more willing to accept the necessary constraints of that society. Furthermore if each individual is regarded as special, then his special needs and gifts will be given proper respect and attention.

The pastoral welfare of the pupils in the School, the relationships with their families, the continuing contact with past pupils – all these, therefore, are central to the ethos of Newman’s educational vision.

We are proud to have as our founder a great Christian thinker, but we are even more proud to be entrusted with his vision for the education of Christian young people to prepare them for the modern world.

Explore more of our school

Contact Us

The Oratory School

Tel: +44 (0)1491 683500