BY Amanda Connelly | August 10 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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MP’s comments on Catholic education ‘very disappointing’

The director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service has described comments made last week by MP Mhairi Black on Catholic schools are ‘very disappointing.’

Barbara Coupar, SCES director, spoke following a report by the Sunday Herald, which claimed the SNP MP had said there should be a debate on the future of Catholic schools in Scotland.

The Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP, who herself attended a Catholic school, reportedly made the comments in a interview at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and offered a ‘personal’ view on the subject.

When asked if she and the SNP believed it was good for the future of Scotland to have children educated along religious lines, she said debate was needed, the Sunday Herald reported.

“Just when I am thinking of some of the damage that was done to me in an LGBT sense, growing up, [that] is something that I wouldn’t want any other child to ever have to suffer, ever again,” she said. “That’s a debate that has to happen.

“What the answer to that debate is I honestly don’t know.”

Ms Black shared her views during an ‘in conversation’ event at the Fringe on August 4 with journalist Graham Speirs, at which she discussed a number of other subjects including her scepticism on having another EU referendum.

Her comments come two months after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon publicly voiced her support for Scotland’s Catholic schools, in what is the centenary year for the provision Catholic state education in Scotland.

Mrs Coupar has expressed her disappointment with Ms Black’s remarks.

She said: “The comments which MP Mhairi Black reportedly made on Catholic schools are very disappointing and I’m sure that Catholics within her Paisley constituency will also be upset by them.

“Her views seem to be a stark contrast to that of her boss, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who only a few months ago gave a very public backing of Catholic schools when she delivered the Cardinal Winning Lecture at Glasgow University.

“We have always felt very supported by the Scottish Government, especially this year when we marked 100 years of the Catholic Education Act.

“Therefore, it is somewhat perplexing that Ms Black would make such comments which show complete contradiction to the SNP public stance on the place of Catholic schools in Scotland and their ongoing, excellent contribution to Scottish society.”

Delivering the Cardinal Winning Lecture at Glasgow University in June this year, the First Minister spoke of how state-funded Catholic schools helped to ‘shape modern Scotland for the better,’ praising the 1918 Education (Scotland) Act as a ‘national success story’ and a ‘very courageous and far-sighted compromise’ between the Church and state ‘with very few parallels elsewhere.’

“When you consider the immense contribution the Catholic community as a whole has made to Scotland in the last century, it seems to me to be inarguable that the settlement arrived at in 1918 is one which brought benefits, not just to the Catholic Faith, but to all of us,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“The Scottish Government is an unequivocal supporter of Catholic schools. We value the contribution that Catholic schools make to modern Scotland. We want that contribution to continue in the years ahead.”

She said that celebrating the centenary of the Act was important because ‘100 years on, you are an important and valued part of Scottish life.’ “As we do so, we should celebrate the progress the legislation enabled. We should appreciate the contribution Catholic education makes to modern Scotland. And we should endeavour to work even harder to raise standards in Catholic schools and all schools.”

 

 

 

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