Bishops back Christian influence

7th February 2003 at 00:00
Churchgoers will increasingly be seen as a minority fringe sect if non-denominational schools finally ditch a Christian influence in religious observance, the Roman Catholic Church has told the Scottish Executive's working group on observance.

The Church is pressing strongly for the Executive to retain a Christian dimension to school assemblies, presently enshrined in law, although many non-Catholic schools have quietly dropped traditional services because of their multi-faith and no-faith communities.

However, the Catholic Education Commission insists it is a matter of national significance.

John Oates, its field officer, said: "We would be very disappointed if the impact of Christianity on all schools was diminished. There are many Catholic pupils in non-denominational schools, particularly in rural areas.

"We feel that when we talk about inclusiveness that Christians should be included. Inclusiveness is often a concept that relates to small minorities but it affects everyone."

The commission believes schools will need help on developing the shared values they are being asked to celebrate through observance and assemblies.

It also denies that the creation of a national Catholic Education Service based in Glasgow is a response to the recent row about sectarianism and the Executive's support for legislation to outlaw it.

Mr Oates said the proposal for a national office had "been around for several years" but was only now coming to fruition with a new commission in place. Bishops approved the strategy more than a year ago.

A similar service with a full-time director already exists in London. The Scottish director, on a salary at least equivalent to the headteacher of a large secondary, is expected to be in post for the start of the new session in August. The director will establish the national office and will become "the public face of Catholic education".

Funding will come from the Catholic community, which is being asked to give generously during Catholic Education Week (February 16-23). Churchgoers will receive leaflets spelling out the benefits of Catholic schools.

Mr Oates, a former secondary head, will shadow the new director before bowing out.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now