Give jobs to believers, Catholic chief says

11th November 2005 at 00:00
Practising Catholics should be given preferential treatment for all teaching jobs in Roman Catholic schools, according to a report endorsed by the Church's head of education.

Religious leaders say committed church-going teachers are essential if Catholic schools are to maintain their distinct ethos.

The Church already insists that all heads, deputy heads and heads of RE should be practising Catholics. But the report, produced by the diocese of Birmingham, with a foreword by Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham and chairman of the Bishops' Conference department of education, appears to go further by saying that "preferential consideration" should be given to a Catholic applying for any teaching post.

It says that Catholic children should always be given priority over those from other faiths. This is a long-held view within the church, although many religious leaders champion the tradition of admitting high numbers of pupils from other religions and none.

However, the Church, which controls more than 2,000 state primary and secondary schools, emphasised that control over admissions has not cut the number of poorer children. Statistics show the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is close to the national average.

But critics say staffing schools mainly with Catholic teachers could affect standards, particularly if a more able teacher from another faith is rejected.

A report in September by Professor John Howson, recruitment analyst, said Catholic schools and those in London already face a shortage of heads. Four out of 10 failed to appoint a head in the past year, compared to a fifth nationally. Professor Howson said: "Are governing bodies going to appoint the best person, or the best Catholic? And if you start giving preferential treatment to Catholic teachers are you going to be able to find enough to fill the posts?"

The report, Christ at the Centre, by Father Marcus Stock, diocesan schools'

commissioner for Birmingham, also says that Catholic symbols and icons should be "manifest externally and internally on the school premises".

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