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Catholic schools seeking end to 'unjust' treatment by State


Primary school children (stock photo)

Primary school children (stock photo)

Primary school children (stock photo)

Catholic secondary schools are seeking an end to “unjust” treatment by the State as part of a new campaign to redefine their future.

The Catholic Schools Partnership (CSP) today kickstarted a process to reshape the relationship of  their schools, both with the State and with their own communities.

The Catholic second-level school sector has felt under pressure for some years in the face of the growth of other school types.

Schools with a Catholic ethos remain the single biggest grouping in second-level education, but the proportion has dropped significantly in the past 30 years.

The spread of  the community and comprehensive sector, community colleges, and this year, the roll-out of Educate Together at second-level,  has reduced the dominance of the Catholic sector.

Catholic schools, now account for fewer  than half of all second-level schools,  344 out of 723 , or 48pc,   in the 2013/14 school year.  Catholic schools are in what is known as the voluntary  sector, covering 52pcof school, catering for 57pc of students..

One of the core message of the campaign will be the need for more funding for schools in the voluntary sector.

A paper presented by CSP chairperson Fr Michael Drumm  said that Catholic secondary schools were  severely disadvantaged in terms of  finance in comparison with community/comprehensive schools and . schools under the umbrella of Education and Training Boards (ETBs), formerly Vocational Education Committees (VECs)

The basis on which the State provides money to Catholic schools is different from that applying to the other sectors and  Fr Drumm said Catholic  schools receive “significantly less funding”.

According to a paper presented by Fr Drumm, the patronage structure that supports Catholic schools received no State funding, which was “clearly unjust”.

As well as seeking to redefine the relationship with Government, the CSP paper also says the schools must “reimagine their  founding visions” and invite various member of the school community, including parents and their founding organisation, to be part of that analysis.

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