BY Ian Dunn | May 31 2013 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Official seeks apology from health board over Catholic schools comments

A senior official has condemned as ‘sinister’ and ‘misleading’ claims made by Scotland’s largest health board over Catholic education.

In a submission to a Scottish Parliament inquiry, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde claim that young Catholics are being ‘disadvantaged’ because the health board is not allowed to control sexual health education in Catholic schools.

Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES), said the health board’s claims could not be substantiated and he has written to the Scottish Parliament’s health and culture committee to express his ‘gravest concerns’ at the health board’s seemingly hostile attitude towards Catholic schools.

“To claim that children in Catholic schools are disadvantaged because Catholic schools are failing to impart information is simply misleading to parliamentarians,” Mr McGrath said. “Provision of relationship and sex education in all schools is governed by Education Circular 2/2001. This states unequivocally that the headteacher of a school is responsible for the content and delivery of such programmes. It also recognises that, in Catholic schools, Church authorities have a right to provide guidance on the content of such programmes, ensuring that they are appropriate to the ethos and values of the Catholic school.”

He also said that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had made the submission without any engagement or consultation with Church or local education authorities.

“The lack of communication is quite worrying, quite sinister and has led to them being totally inaccurate,” he said. “We dispute the misleading claims and question the evidence base for them.”

Mr McGrath added that, together with the recent midwives’ case, suggested a worrying trend within Scotland’s largest heath board.

In their controversial evidence to the inquiry into teenage pregnancy, Nicky Coia, the board’s principal health improvement officer, said NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde wanted to know what was being taught in Catholic schools.  “From our own staff that routinely work with schools, we have an understanding that they can be routinely denied access to denominational schools, or can do so only if key issues, especially matters to do with sexual health and relationships, are not discussed with children and young people,” he claimed.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde recently lost a long running court case after it attempted to force to Scottish Catholic midwives to oversee abortions.

As the SCO went to press, it was still unclear whether the health board would decide to appeal against last month’s decision at the Court of Session in Edinburgh that ruled it could not force two Catholic midwives to oversee abortions. A decision on an appeal was required by today.




— This story ran in full in the May 31 print edition of the SCO


Leave a Reply

previous lead stories

St Thérèse’s relics tour of Scotland concludes with Mass for prisoners in HMP Barlinnie

September 20th, 2019 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Prisoner says St Thérèse lifts his spirits as relics of...

Priests call for more action to combat funeral poverty in Scotland

September 13th, 2019 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Families are struggling to afford funerals, priests say as new...

Scottish priest who served in Amazon calls on Church to lead on climate change

September 6th, 2019 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Fr Clarke said: “We are facing an international scandal which...

High hopes to revive Faithful as relics of St Therese tour in Scotland begins

August 30th, 2019 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

The relics of St Thérèse arrive in Scotland today and...

Social media

Latest edition

Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 11.02.33

exclusively in the paper

  • Exclusive coverage of the tour of the Little Flower’s relics
  • Marches could be limited by law after disorder, justice secretary says
  • Catholics hear urgent call on climate change
  • Teaching union calls for health screening at St Ambrose High School
  • The priest looking for signs of alien life, by Carol Glatz

Previous editions

Previous editions of the Scottish Catholic Observer newspaper are only available to subscribed Members. To download previous editions of the paper, please subscribe.

note: registered members only.

Read the SCO