Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Perfect Illustration Of Why State Catholic Schooling In Scotland Should Be Abolished


"Scottish Borders Council has approved plans to appoint a single head teacher to oversee all four of its Roman Catholic schools.

Concerns have been raised about the proposal but the authority said it was necessary to tackle recruitment issues.

Some parents have suggested that the job would be "too big" for one person to take on.

The Roman Catholic Church has backed the single head teacher arrangement, but only on a pilot basis."

The kamikazes were only ever recruited on a pilot basis, and look how they ended up. 

In this case, the priority appears to be keeping all four schools open, rather than that each of them have their own headteacher. This is madness. A more rational solution would surely be to close all four schools and amalgamate the pupil populations with those of other schools in their areas, ensuring that they learn in environments which can be guaranteed to have all appropriate grades of staff on site. Instead, four Catholic schools will be kept open even when it might not have been possible to find suitably qualified people to lead them all. This is just nuts. 

Having recently gained some experience of being on the sharp end of our rancid religious divisions, one of the thoughts that that episode has liberated one to express is whether or not having had a separate system of Catholic education might have kept the country's level of educational attainment back through bad leadership on the ground. It's probably unknowable, yet it also strikes me as being quite possible that teachers who might not have been deemed qualified to become heads in a fully non-denominational system might have become suitable for consideration once their faith had been taken into account; in other words, people who wouldn't have been considered for promotion on merit in a universal system might have become worthy of consideration merely because they were Catholics (disclaimer - before his retirement my father was the headteacher of a Catholic school, and under his leadership it received a glowing report from our universally impartial inspectorate). 

This is a troubling thought, one which some Scottish Catholics might remain too intellectually segregated, indeed perhaps even too civically immature, to care to reflect upon. Yet it's also one which is amplified by reports such as this. Is it better for pupils to attend  a school which has its own headteacher, or for one headteacher to work between four schools? If you think the latter option is the better option if it would enable a Catholic school to stay open merely because it's a Catholic school, I'd have to disagree with you.

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