BY Daniel Harkins | February 5 2016 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Our Catholic schools need you

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia urges Catholic teachers to seek positions in Catholic schools

The urgent need for more Catholic teachers in Scotland will have ‘significant consequences’ if left unanswered, according to the Archbishop of Glasgow.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia has appealed not only for more young people to consider teaching as a career but also for Catholics teaching in non-denominational schools to consider transferring to a Catholic school.

As Catholic Education Week drew to a close, Archbishop Tartaglia, president of the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES), repeatedly drew attention to the ‘acute’ problem as schools struggle to fill vacancies with qualified Catholic teachers. Teacher shortages are an issue nationally, with rural areas and particular STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects particularly badly hit. Catholic schools are facing their own problem recruiting qualified Catholic teachers.

“At this time last year, I appealed to young people to come forward to become teachers,” the archbishop writes in his education week letter.

“Given the current shortages of teachers and headteachers, I also want to appeal to Catholic teachers who are not currently working in Catholic schools. My request is this: Please seek an appointment in a Catholic school.”

Scotland’s bishops have appealed to Scottish Government ministers to ensure that sufficient teachers are being educated to work in Catholic schools, Archbishop Tartaglia added.

“We are working hard with the University of Glasgow and others to improve the supply of teachers,” he said. “I must stress that this is a critical issue that may have significant consequences if we cannot produce more teachers soon.”

The St Andrew’s Foundation for Catholic teacher education at Glasgow University recently began a series of talks aimed at school pupils in an effort to increase teacher numbers. Michael McGrath, director of SCES, said councils have been contacted in an effort to make it easier for Catholic teachers to transfer to Catholic schools within council areas when vacancies arise.

“There is a general shortage of teachers across the country but very particularly councils are finding it hard to recruit teachers for Catholic schools who have got a qualification for religious education and are available to do those jobs,” he said.

A number of issues are contributing to the shortage he said, including low salaries for teachers and supply teachers, and a boom of retiring teachers who came into the profession in the 1970s. Having teachers of the Catholic Faith in Catholic schools, he added, is important.

“How can you deliver the Catholic education that you are expected to, that parents want you to, if you don’t have people who understand that and are committed to it and are able to deliver it?” he asked.

Mr McGrath added that the Catholic community has to work to resolve the problem.


—This story ran in full in the FEBRUARY 5 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.

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