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.

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  • jeremy

    Just the same old story of unionists trying to get the croppies to lie down.

    Those days are over. Never again will nationalists accept unionist proposals to tramp on their culture.

  • Elvis Parker

    Your welcome to your culture mate and if you want to bus your kids miles to the nearest Catholic school feel free – and I’ll feel free to resent the hospital treatments that people cant get because they have to pay for your ‘right’

  • dpef

    They are asking the wrong questions.

    Given the fact these schools were built on land provided by the church, land owned by the church, supported by parental donations and church money while receiving only partial government support for decades, expanded and improved with church money…..if you want to take them over…. give us our cash back….now your bill…

    The government didn’t pay to create this thriving sector. It only recently gave it parity in funding.

    If you want to take it over we’ll have our personal investment back, every brick we bought in raffles while other schools got 100% funding back, thank you.

  • willowfield

    That seems fair enough, dpef, but the report isn’t advocating the ending of RC schools. The report’s recommendations are rather modest.

  • USA

    Firstly let me say I believe religion has no place in school.
    But lets say all kids were expected to attend “state” schools (as Nigel Dodds believes). Given the segregation in the “wee six”, surely most kids would continue to attend local schools with an overwhelming majority of co-religionists.
    There would still be Catholic and Protestant schools.
    Catholics are naturally very wary of such proposals, but on this matter I have some sympathy for the “state schools” arguement.
    It makes sense financially and for integration which I am also in favour of.
    But the “state schools” camp should be very sensative to the “cultural” aspect of this matter, consequently the curriculum would be key.
    It is not a matter of denying choice as Catholics could still choose to send their kids to Catholic schools, its just that everyone else would not be paying for it anymore. Why pay taxes for two school systems when one would suffice?

  • USA

    Just read you post and you make valid points. I would think those schools etc are now church assets and the church can dispose of them as they see fit.
    I agree if the state wants to use Church assets then they should rent/buy them, anything less would not do. I’m sure you will be very successful in your efforts to get your money back from the church.

  • BeardyBoy

    ha ha – Bish bashed – slap it up them – they will not get their evil secular British morals into our children this easy, as for paying for it – we pay their taxes and we will educate our children our way – why? because there are too many of us.

  • Alan

    This is a wholly disproportionate and crudely self-interested response by the Bishops.

    We are talking about the possible closure of a small number of schools when you consider local educational needs. There will still be catholic schools.

    What I don’t understand is why the Bishops have suddenly made an issue of the closure of CCMS. That is an RPA issue, not a Bain issue. They’ve known what was coming for a long time.

    There is a perfectly good example of how the state sector can work well with another ethos. They have run controlled integrated schools for years, bringing together catholic and protestant and ( let’s not forget) non-christian children. Forge Integrated was one of the first.

  • mnob

    we’ve been lectured for a long time on this site from nationalists (which in the context of Northern Ireland mainly come from the Roman Catholic community) about the economic position of ‘the North’. Suddenly when a proposal comes along to streamline the state which impacts on them all bets are off.

    What next – when the civil service is streamlined are only Protestants to be laid off ?

  • Pete

    mnob – you’re right.

    For years nationalists have poked and prodded the folly of failed statelet subvention; now it would seem that subvention revenues are dropping and schools are now earmarked for closure.

  • Reader

    Beardy Boy: ha ha – Bish bashed – slap it up them
    The recognised term, of course, is ‘a belt with a crozier’ – as for instance in the career of Noel Browne:

  • lib2016

    I’ve seen no posts where anyone calls for the closure of state schools and lots of posts where terribly reasonable people call for the abolition of state funding for Catholic schools.

    Remind me again – where is the intolerance coming from?

  • Pete

    Lib2016 – I’ll think you’ll find that integrated schools facilitate both religions, non-religions and all other religions on an equitable basis, promoting recognition and practice of religions in such schools.

    I don’t think anyone is advocating closing any schools but there is a need to reform and where possible look at other progressive options in areas with falling enrolments.

    Tell me, what is so intolerant about working, playing and learning together, should this result in closures of single-faith schools where tolerance is, at best, taught but never put to the test.

  • Jerome

    “Just the same old story of unionists trying to get the croppies to lie down. ”

    Jeremy – lie down u croppie !!! lol

    [Play the ball – edited moderator]

    PS why shud i pay tax to fund a segregated school system ?

    END SEGREGATION NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – DISBAND THE CCMS !!!!!!!

  • Pete Baker


    The bishops appear to be responding, in particular, to specific policy papers linked in the original post.

    These policy papers, detailing the high level proposals for the implementation of the Review of Public Administration (RPA) in Education, were issued to stakeholder organisations on 28 November 2006 as part of the ongoing RPA consultation process.

  • Pete Baker

    Just to add.

    There is also the possibility that they were waiting to see how firmly Bain would state his recommendations before responding.

  • BeardyBoy

    Kinda liked bish bashed