Catholic Bishops reject Education Administration proposals

My previous post wasn’t timed to tie-in with this one, but sometimes stories just collide. The nine Northern Ireland Catholic bishops have responded to proposals on Education under the Review of Public Administration.. and presumably, at least in part, to the Bain Report recommendations

“On this occasion, however, we feel compelled to say that we cannot in conscience commend these proposals to parents, teachers and all involved in Catholic education.”

From the BBC report

The bishops were responding to detailed documents on how the new structures of administration will work.

The changes include removing powers from the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools.

The bishops were considering draft policy papers on the creation of new structures under the Review of Public Administration (RPA).

They said they could not accept proposals which “pose a serious threat to the right of parents to choose a Catholic education.”

“The proposals will radically undermine a long-cherished Catholic education system which has been recognised for the strength of its distinctiveness and the richness of its tradition and diversity as contributing to the raising of school standards and the promotion of a culture of tolerance and understanding,” they said.

The bishops said their power to influence their own schools would be diminished with all powers handed to a new Education and Skills Authority and the Department of Education.

“We are satisfied that we have made every effort to engage positively with government and the Department of Education to develop arrangements in the best interests of all the educational partners, and which would provide quality education for all the children of Northern Ireland.

“On this occasion, however, we feel compelled to say that we cannot in conscience commend these proposals to parents, teachers and all involved in Catholic education.”

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools has yet to respond to the recommendations.