Catholic schools are capital idea
Publication Date: 2013-02-22
So many parents opt for Catholic education that Edinburgh primaries are oversubscribed
Edinburgh’s Catholic primary schools are facing unprecedented demand for places, with nearly every school in the capital faced with turning away pupils starting Primary 1 in August.
The number of catchment and out-of-catchment registrations currently exceeds places available at 12 of the capital’s 15 Catholic primary schools. Catholic education in the city is so attractive to parents that primary schools are also attracting increasing numbers of non-Catholics.
One such school is St John’s Primary, Portobello, where head teacher Barbara Service said it was the special atmosphere of Catholic schools that appealed to and attracted parents.
“What I hear from parents is that it is the Catholic ethos that draws them in,” she said. “I’m expecting two classes of 25 children in primary one next year and significantly greater numbers than that have enrolled.”
Ms Service said St John’s had always faced an issue meeting demand but that the situation had grown more pronounced lately.
Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said the news proved the appeal of and need for Catholic education.
“This is good news, it certainly counters the myth that Catholic education is not popular,” he said. “It is a mark of the success of Catholic schools, and the remarkable ethos is why parents want their children there. However I think the council does have to make sure there are enough places for everyone.”
Pupils who do not receive a place requested in one of the Catholic schools will be offered a place in their local non-denominational school, or a placing request for elsewhere. Edinburgh City Council guidelines state that in the case of Catholic schools, where applications from those living within the catchment area exceed the number of places available, priority is given to those ‘ who declare an affinity with the religious beliefs of the school.’
— Pic: Paul McSherry
– This story was reported in full in the February 22 print edition of the SCO.