scmo_banner_news.jpg


2 May 2014

Diocese of Motherwell expresses ˜significant concerns over North Lanarkshire s schools proposals

In an extensive submission to North Lanarkshire Council s recent consultation on school provision, the newly appointed Bishop of Motherwell, Bishop Joseph Toal, has raised significant concerns about the Council s commitment to provide Catholic schooling and promised to stand together with the Catholic community in opposing proposals which would dramatically reduce the number of Catholic schools in the diocese.

In a letter to the Council which accompanies a lengthy submission delivered to the Chief Executive today (Friday, 2 May 2014), Bishop Toal says that proposals to alter the school estate provision have been carefully considered, together with the consequences that these might have for the pupils, teachers, families and communities involved . The Bishop adds: In the past few weeks the Diocese has met representatives from schools, parishes and the local communities and I have listened to their views on the matter. The formal response from the Diocese of Motherwell then lists a series of significant concerns about what some of these proposals might suggest about the Council s commitment to provide Catholic schooling on an equitable basis within this Diocese.

The submission points out that at public meetings NLC officers claimed that larger secondary schools are necessary to ensure adequate curriculum provision.   Yet, they are content to have non-denominational schools with rolls as small as 414 in one case and fewer than 700 in 4 other cases.  Across the authority Catholic secondary school rolls would be on average one third larger than non-denominational schools.   This is highlighted by the Diocese, as inequitable treatment of pupils attending Catholic schools.

In asking for   a reconsideration of their proposals, the Bishop assures the council, that the Diocese will always be keen to work in partnership with the Council to ensure the best provision of services to the community.

ENDS

Peter Kearney

Director

Catholic Media Office

5 St. Vincent Place

Glasgow

G1 2DH

0141 221 1168

07968 122291

mail@scmo.org

www.scmo.org

 

Notes to Editors:

1. Bishop Toal, was appointed by Pope Francis on Tuesday 29 April 2014 as Bishop of Motherwell;  he has been Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Motherwell which has been vacant since 31 May 2013.

2.The Diocese opposes three proposals:

I - Shared Campus involving St Stephen s Primary School, Coatbridge

·  The Diocese is opposed to NLC s determination to push shared campus schools at every turn.   At this rate only 0.8% of Catholic schools in NLC would be discrete building as opposed to 26% non-denom. schools.

II - Shared campus in Airdrie involving the merger of St Dominic s Primary School & St Edward s Primary School and a non-denominational school.  

·  Diocese was told that this was intended as a merger of 2 Catholic schools and then the Education Convenor announced at committee that a non-denom. school would be added to make it a shared campus.

·  There are safety concerns about proposed site for a campus which would have a combined roll of 900 pupils.  

·Diocese can see argument for 2 merged schools but not for shared campus.

III - Merger of Taylor HS and Our Lady s HS in Motherwell on Ravenscraig site.

·  Figures show inequitable provision. NLC insists that large secondary schools are necessary to provide for curriculum but are content that some non-denominational schools are significantly smaller than Catholic schools.   This suggests that non-denominational secondary school provision is being resourced more than Catholic provision. Proposal would leave 3 Catholic secondary schools serving the areas of Bellshill, Motherwell and Wishaw with an average roll of 1230 pupils.   Within the same geographical area there are 7 non denominational schools with an average school roll of 670.

·  Concerns about Council neglect of rural communities in determination to provide large schools (primary & secondary)

· Very strong concerns have been expressed by parents and others over the proposed location of a school on a contaminated site which will be built to accommodate up to 2150 pupils.   This is a matter of grave concern to parents, pupils, the local community and one which the Diocese shares.   These concerns need to be fully investigated.

3. It is the policy of the Diocese of Motherwell to support all the Catholic schools which operate within the boundaries of the Diocese.   These Catholic schools have a proven record of serving their local communities and meeting the educational, social and pastoral needs of children and young people. The Diocese supports the building and re-development of Catholic schools in discrete buildings where the head teacher is able to manage and operate all aspects of the daily routine of the Catholic school without compromise to ethos, identity and practice.  

4. It is clear that, as a result of school planning decisions taken over the last ten years in defiance of the wishes of the Diocese of Motherwell, there are significant concerns about the Council s commitment to support Catholic education appropriately.   The Catholic community fears that it is suffering from discrimination due to the Council s determination to impose shared campus schools in every instance where a Catholic primary school comes under review.  

5. Compared to some other Councils, North Lanarkshire Council appears to favour the development of very large primary schools at the expense of smaller schools set in local rural communities.   Moreover, the Catholic community is seriously concerned by the Council s failure to re-build or refurbish Catholic secondary schools on an equitable basis with non-denominational schools, requiring Catholic secondary schools to have much larger rolls than non-denominational secondary schools.  

The Council has built only one discrete Catholic primary school in the past ten years - in Viewpark. This policy in unique in Scotland among all 29 Councils where Catholic schools are provided.

6. If North Lanarkshire Council persists with its policy of building shared campus schools on each occasion where a Catholic school is due to be rebuilt or refurbished, it will result in approximately 26% of non-denominational primary school provision being located in discrete school building, compared with only 0.8% of Catholic primary schools being available as discrete schools.   This would clearly demonstrate a grossly inequitable provision of Catholic schools when compared with non-denominational school provision.  The trend to systematically remove discrete Catholic schools but to continue to build and refurbish stand-alone non denominational schools suggests indirect discrimination by the Council towards the Catholic community.

7. The Diocese recognises that, at times of financial constraint, it is necessary for Councils to ensure the best use of resources.   It acknowledges that, in those cases where the number of Catholic children would not justify a stand-alone Catholic school, shared campus Catholic school provision is preferable to no Catholic school provision being available locally.   But the Diocese expects such provision to be the exception rather than the norm. Shared campus schools are not an aspiration of the Church and we question the assertion that they are of educational benefit to either school community involved. Shared campus schools serve economic constraints, not educational benefits.

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 158 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Bishops' Conference appoints new General Secretary

| 5 days ago | Blogging

10 December 2018     The Bishops of Scotland have appointed Fr Jim Grant to be the new General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference. Fr Grant is currently Parish Priest of Holy Family Parish in Mossend, Bellshill in the Diocese of Motherwell. He succeeds Mgr Hugh Bradley who was appointed in 2012.     Commenting on the appointment, Bishop Joe Toal, Bishop of Motherwell said:     “I am happy that Fr Grant has accepted the Bishops’ request to succeed Mgr Hugh Bradley as General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. I am sure he will carry out his duties as General Secretary very well and will bring his long experience as a Parish Priest to assist wisely the Bishops and all who work for the Conference in the time ahead. Of course, we will miss his ministry in Motherwell Diocese but we are happy to contribute generously to the National Church in allowing Fr Grant to serve as General Secretary.  He will still be resident in the Diocese and will continue to have an active role where possible. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide him as he accepts this new challenge.”     Reacting to his appointment, Fr Grant said:     “It came as quite a shock to me to be asked to undertake this role. I never sought nor expected to be anything but a parish priest. It is the everyday pastoral work in a parish setting which energises me and where I have found great fulfilment and it is with a very heavy heart that I will leave parish ministry albeit for even a short time. I shall miss enormously being part of a parish community. This new role will be something completely different, however, I do see a pastoral element in the role of General Secretary to the Bishops’ Conference which is to support, encourage and affirm all the different agencies and individuals who do such great work for the Bishops’ Conference and indeed for Catholic Church in Scotland. In a sense, these people will become my new ‘parishioners’.”     Fr Grant added;     “I will find it hard to leave the wonderful Parish community of Holy Family, Mossend where I have spent over 23 years as Parish Priest.  I shall treasure my years there and as I move on to new pastures, I would hope to use the pastoral experience gained over the last 35 years in parish life in my new role.”     ENDS     Note to Editors: Fr Grant’s appointment will take effect from 31 January 2019     Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org...

IRG Press Release

| 03rd December 2018 | Blogging

Monday 3 December 2018     The Independent Review Group (IRG) established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland held a meeting today, (3 December 2018), with stakeholders from throughout the Catholic Church to announce and prepare for a professional audit of safeguarding in two Dioceses in Scotland to be conducted by Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Children in Scotland (CIS).     The Dioceses randomly chosen from the 8 in Scotland are the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and the Diocese of Galloway. The outcome of this detailed work is intended to ensure full implementation of the McLellan Commission’s recommendations and put in place a robust system of safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults that can be measured against the best international standards.     Helen Liddell, Chair of the IRG commented: -     "We cannot eliminate the pain of those who experienced abuse in the past, but we can put in place not just procedures but a culture that both supports them and protects all those who most need our care and compassion in future".     “I chair a group of outstanding and experienced professionals who are committed to making sure children and vulnerable adults come to no harm when in the care of the Church. They have reviewed in considerable detail the self-administered audits of all the Scottish Dioceses and that knowledge, together with the professional audits announced today, will form the basis for putting in place procedures that meet the requirements of the McLellan Commission recommendations and that can stand up to the most rigorous analysis.”     “I am grateful that the Bishops Conference of Scotland have recognised the independence of the Review Group and have agreed to these procedures. The results of the audits will be made public at the same time as they are released to BCOS”.     ENDS     Note to Editors:     For further information, contact Richard Riley rileyofnorthiam@aol.com- 07817 540144   The Social Care Institute for Excellence is an independent charitywhich advises on; Safeguarding, social care, health, housing and support to children and adults.https://www.scie.org.uk   IRG Members Biographical details:   Helen Liddell (Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke) Chair, is a former Member of Parliament and Secretary of State for Scotland. She is a member of the House of Lords.    Bartolomeo Biagini is an educational consultant with extensive experience of leadership of children’s services, inspection and review.  He was formerly a lead HM inspector of education with responsibility for inclusion and was involved in child protection inspections.    Gordon Jeyes OBE was the UK's first Director of Children's Services and retired recently as the first Chief Executive of Ireland's Child and Family Agency (Tusla).     Roisin McGoldrick is a former member of the McLellan Commission. She is a registered social worker and is currently employed as a teaching fellow in the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Strathclyde University.     Lesley Ann Russell is an experienced charity trustee and manager, specialising in organisation change, management of risk and safeguarding.      Donald Urquhart is the National Safeguarding Adviser to the Scottish Episcopal Church.  He is a retired police officer and has worked as both a lead officer and an independent chair of child protection committees in Scotland.     Lisa Markham is a safeguarding professional with extensive experience including work within the Church.     McLellan Commission’s 8 principal recommendations:     Support for the survivors of abuse must be an absolute priority for the Catholic Church in Scotland in the field of safeguarding. The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland should make a public apology to all survivors of abuse within the Church.     The ...

Minister backs ‘enormous contribution’ of Catholic Church to life in Scotland

| 27th November 2018 | Blogging

Tuesday 27 November 2018     This evening (Tuesday 27 November, 6pm) the Catholic Bishops of Scotland will join members of Parliament at a special exhibition in Holyrood to mark the significant contribution of the Church to Scottish society and beyond.     The event highlights the extensive work carried out by agencies and commissions of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and its associated organisations.     Speaking ahead of the event, Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government who will welcome the exhibition said:     “I am delighted to be able to help celebrate the enormous contribution the Catholic Church makes to life in Scotland, and further afield. The Church has a hugely positive impact on the lives of so many people, including supporting many of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, and we greatly value our relationships with the Catholic community. I am looking forward to meeting and working with the new President of the Bishop’s Conference, Bishop Gilbert, as well as representatives from the diverse range of organisations attending.”     Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office said:     “When you talk about the Catholic Church you don’t often think of the innumerable instances of selfless charity that go unnoticed each and every day. Feeding the poor, tending to the sick and the lonely, standing up for the vulnerable and the defenceless.      “Day in day out the Church is doing this great work and is making a significant and positive contribution to Scottish society. And it’s all out of love. This event, highlighting some of that work to our parliamentarians is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the continuing influence of Christ in our society.”     ENDS     Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to editors:     You are invited to send a reporter/photographer/camera crew to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 27 November at 6pm.   The relics of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, will also be welcomed to the Scottish Parliament for the evening from the National shrine of St Andrew, St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh.   Students from Holyrood Secondary School, Edinburgh will provide musical entertainment on the night.   All of Scotland’s eight Catholic Bishops will be in attendance.   Images will be available from the Scottish Catholic Media Office at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/albums/with/72157666531058155   A full list of exhibitors is available at: https://www.scmo.org/index.php?page=news-releases&perma=1543241700&article=church-highlights-vital-work-at-holyrood-exhibitio ...

Church highlights vital work at Holyrood exhibition

| 26th November 2018 | Blogging

Monday 26 November 2018     CALL NOTICE     Tomorrow evening (Tuesday 27 November) the Catholic Bishops of Scotland will join members of Parliament at a special exhibition in Holyrood to mark the significant contribution of the Church to Scottish society and beyond.     The event, sponsored by Elaine Smith MSP, highlights the extensive work carried out by agencies and commissions of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and its associated organisations.     Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops Conference of Scotland said:     “The bishops of Scotland are very grateful to Elaine Smith, MSP, for sponsoring this event and to Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, for her support. The Church in Scotland welcomes this opportunity to showcase at least something of what we do. The Church is a world-wide, complex and many-faceted institution but in the end, it is people; names, faces, bodies and souls. It is people helping people, not just from cradle to grave, but from before birth to after death, and everything in between. What we could never do as individuals we can do together from prayer to food banks, from the kind word to the very hands-on practical, from here to places in the world hit by disaster or oppression. It’s often parallel or complementary to the social provision of Government and the many agencies of civil society and the good works of our fellow-Christians of other denominations.”     Bishop Gilbert added;     “The word ‘Catholic’ means universal. And I think all of what will be on display at the special exhibition in Holyrood reflects our desire to reach out and create unity. At our best, all we want to be is at the service of each and every human being, created in the image and likeness of God, endowed with an innate dignity and inalienable rights, which neither we nor the law nor government create, but which we can strive to recognise and serve.”     Elaine Smith, MSP, said;     “Having hosted the first ever mass at the Scottish Parliament this year during Holy Week, I am now delighted to sponsor this prestigious event, showcasing the vital charitable and valuable community work undertaken by the Catholic Church.”     Agencies in attendance include Blairs Museum which houses a collection of church textiles, sacred silver and paintings belonging to the Church and Missio Scotland which provides financial support to communities in mission countries.     Other lay catholic organisations such as The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP), which seeks to combat poverty and promote social justice, will also be present. In 2015/16, its 2,000 members carried out 53,493 home visits, 12,261 hospital visits and financially assisted 6,196 families across Scotland’s eight Catholic dioceses.     ENDS     Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 1168 07968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to editors:     You are invited to send a reporter/photographer/camera crew to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 27 November at 6pm.   The relics of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, will also be welcomed to the Scottish Parliament for the evening from the National shrine of St Andrew, St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh.   Students from Holy Rood Secondary School, Edinburgh will provide musical entertainment on the night.   All of Scotland’s eight Catholic Bishops will be in attendance.   Images will be available from the Scottish Catholic Media Office at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/albums/with/72157666531058155     A full list of exhibitors is shown below:   The Anscombe Bioethics Centre - The Anscombe Bioethics Centre (www.bioethics.org.uk) is a Catholic academic institute that engages with the moral questions arising in health care and medical research.    Blairs Museum - House...