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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
'Tsar' to promote church schools
Classroom generic
The church wants to ensure a positive image
The Catholic Church in Scotland has appointed a leading educationalist to promote its faith schools.

Michael McGrath, 50, a headteacher in Cumbernauld, will be the church's new director of education.

The move to recruit a "tsar" to promote Catholic education came after negative publicity associated with politicians' attempts to combat sectarianism in Scotland.

Some commentators have argued that separate schooling for Catholic children contributes to the problem, a charge strongly denied by the church.

No doubt, various challenges lie ahead in future discussions at a national level with politicians and officials on matters relating to Catholic education in Scotland
Michael McGrath
In February, BBC Scotland revealed that the Catholic Church had decided to appoint an education director to target that negative perception.

At that time, Mr McGrath, chairman of the Catholic Education Commission, said it was time to put forward the "positive case for Catholic education".

Church officials have now announced that Mr McGrath, who is headteacher at Our Lady's High School, in Cumbernauld, will take up the post.

Mr McGrath will be responsible for the development of the religious curriculum in schools, negotiating directly with the Scottish Executive and stressing the benefits of Catholic schools.

'Good working relationships'

Mr McGrath said: "My first task as director will be to establish the Scottish Catholic Education Service as a support service for teachers and schools.

"No doubt, various challenges lie ahead in future discussions at a national level with politicians and officials on matters relating to Catholic education in Scotland.

"I am very keen to establish good working relationships with all the major stakeholders in Scottish education."

Earlier this year, about a quarter of a million leaflets laying out the benefits of Catholic schools were distributed at churches throughout Scotland.

At the same time, churchgoers were asked to contribute to the cost of the new appointment.


SEE ALSO:
Church plans education tsar
04 Feb 03  |  Scotland
Faith schools: Your views
04 Feb 03  |  Talking Point
Scrap Catholic schools, says poll
13 Jan 03  |  Scotland
Church leader's cloning fears
12 Jan 03  |  Scotland
Bishop admits sectarian problem
22 Sep 02  |  Scotland
Kirk urged to open own schools
21 Jun 02  |  Scotland


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