Press Release – Dismay at the Scottish Government’s plans to increase funding for Catholic education.

Posted by on 6 June, 2018 | 0 comments

On June 2nd Nicola Sturgeon revealed plans to multiply by a factor of almost 5 the amount of public money being spent on preparing trainee teachers for the Catholic Teaching Certificate (CTC), a requirement for teaching in Catholic schools but for no other purpose. Although the absolute sums involved are not large, this is public money, raised through taxation levied on a population of which now only one in eight is Catholic, while the majority has no religious affiliation whatsoever.

This investment is particularly troubling in the context of the recent report published by the Accounts Commission which found that Scottish local authority funding has been cut by 9.6% in real terms between 2010/11 and 2018/19. We find it unacceptable that Catholic Schooling is being given a privileged status at a time when funding for state schooling has been under a prolonged squeeze.

If the hierarchy in charge of Catholic education really believes that this additional training is necessary in order to prepare teachers for employment in the schools that it controls, it ought to be willing to fund the extra expense involved through their Church’s own resources, or by appeal to the Catholic parents whose children will be the beneficiaries, if that is the correct description, of the CTC requirement.

This additional funding is emblematic of a greater problem which is the special status of Catholic schooling and, more generally, religious privilege in Scottish society. Such special status inhibits true freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The Scottish government should be working against such privilege not reinforcing it against the interest of the population as a whole.

John Duncan, Vice Chair

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