ATTENTION NEWS PLANNING DESKS
Invitation to press launch of the Catholic Church's "Charter for Catholic Schools" to take place at Turnbull High School, 2 St. Mary's Road, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow on Tuesday 15 June 2004 at 11am.
You are invited to send a reporter/photographer to the launch of a "Charter for Catholic Schools" published by the Scottish Catholic Education Service on behalf of the Bishops Conference of Scotland to describe the distinctive educational provision offered by Catholic schools in Scotland.
The document will be launched by Bishop Joseph Devine, President of the Catholic Education Commission and Mr Michael McGrath, Director of the Catholic Education Service. Copies of the document have been sent to all 428 Catholic schools in Scotland, all Directors of Education and all teaching unions.
During the launch, Bishop Devine will present a poster-size version of the charter to a group of pupils. Following the launch, Bishop Devine will write later this week to Scotland's 129 MSP's sending them copies of the document and commending it to them.
Commenting on the Charter, Michael McGrath said;
"The Charter embodies the essential elements of the Catholic Church s philosophy of education which is based on its understanding of each human person created in the image of God, uniquely gifted for life and worthy of the utmost respect and nurturing. The Charter stresses the Catholic school s role as a community of faith and learning with a responsibility to provide an integrated approach to learning and formation, based on explicit values which are shared and celebrated, and promoting the importance of service to the common good."
Bishop Joseph Devine described the Charter as a very significant statement from the Bishops of Scotland, offered in recognition of the vital contribution made by Catholic schools in Scottish society. The Charter demonstrates, he added, that Catholic schools are both integral to mainstream educational provision in Scotland, yet purpose-built to offer a distinctive approach for all who wish to avail themselves of it.
Mr Neil Roarty (Head teacher of Turnbull High School) welcomed the Charter as providing, for the first time in Scotland, an explicit statement by the Bishops of what each Catholic school is offering to its local community and to Scottish society at large. He suggested that the document provides a useful bridge between national and local community priorities. He added: Much of the language used in the Charter will be familiar to anyone engaged in the discourse of Scottish education today. Hopefully, this will serve to make the aims of Catholic education clearer to those outwith the Catholic community, as well as providing a national framework for all within.
Michael McGrath added that the Catholic head teacher associations had welcomed the development of the Charter as the first explicit statement of the defining features of Catholic schools in Scotland. It has been developed to support schools by offering them a statement bearing the authority of the Bishops and designed to complement each school s mission statement. He suggested that schools might use the Charter as one of the tools available to evaluate the quality of the provision they offer. The Charter demonstrates that any school which exhibits these features is providing a valuable approach to learning and formation which is based on an explicit values framework, an inclusive ethos which honours all people, the promotion of a commitment to social justice and many other commitments which enhance the well-being of Scottish society.
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
0141 221 1168
 SCES was established in August 2004 by the Catholic Education Commission on behalf of the Bishops Conference of Scotland.
 The text of The Charter is reproduced below:
A CHARTER for CATHOLIC SCHOOLS in SCOTLAND The mission of the Catholic school is to develop as a community of faith and learning, providing the highest quality of education, and offering formation through the promotion of Gospel values, through celebration and worship, and through service to the common good. All Catholic schools in Scotland, in honouring Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life, will feature the following characteristics:
a commitment to the integrated education and formation of the whole person, in close partnership with parents as the first educators of their children;
an inclusive ethos which aims to honour the life, dignity and voice of each person, made in the image of God;
a commitment to the search for wisdom in life and to the pursuit of excellence, through the development of each person s unique God-given talents;
a commitment to the spiritual formation of the school community, through the shared experience of prayer and liturgy, and in partnership with local parishes;
the provision of religious education programmes which will enable young people to develop their understanding of Gospel values and of how to apply them to life;
a commitment to uphold the moral teaching, faith tradition and sacramental life of the Catholic Church;
a commitment to communicate Catholic social teaching and thereby to promote social justice and opportunity for all;
a commitment to ecumenical action and the unity of Christians;
the promotion of respect for different beliefs and cultures and for inter-faith dialogue;
a commitment to support the continuing professional and spiritual development of staff.
All staff appointed to a Catholic school are expected to support and promote the aims, mission, values and ethos of the school, as illustrated in this Charter.