BY Ryan McDougall | November 16 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

7-ICON-LANARKSHIRE

More than 100 years of Catholic schools celebrated in Lanarkshire

We should be aware that Catholic schools have existed since the 19th century in Scotland, the bishop of Motherwell said as two local authorities celebrated the 1918 Education Act.

On November 8, North and South Lanarkshire councils came together in recognition of the state funding of Catholic schools.

The joint-council led event took place in Motherwell’s Civic Centre, and saw pupils and teachers from all across the area attend to celebrate the achievements of Catholic Education over the last 100 years.

Present was Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell Diocese, Gerard McLaughlin, head of education for North Lanarkshire Council, Provost Jean Jones of North Lanarkshire Council, and Provost Ian McAllan of South Lanarkshire Council.

School choirs sang during the civic centre event to the applause of the audience, and each of the speakers spoke positively about Catholic education in the country.

Bishop Toal spoke of how although the centenary celebrations are important and deserve to be recognised, Catholic schooling in Scotland has existed for much longer.

“We’re very conscious and it’s been highlighted for us in celebrating this year that we had Catholic schools before that,” he said.

“In fact, if you went along to the cathedral at the moment you’ll see there is a display up on the pillars of the cathedral showing a bit about the history and timeline of each of the schools, and the earliest one I think is from 1853.”

Explaining to all present the history of Catholic state schools, he added that many of those who built the initial Catholic schools had come over from Ireland or the north of Scotland, many of whom built churches and eventually the schools too.

“In the early years they were paid for by the people themselves,” he said, referring the Catholic schools before the Education Act.

In a video of the event by Sancta Familia Media, Bishop Toal said that during the ‘turmoil of the First World War,’ the government decided to ‘provide for Catholics the same funding and opportunities in their schools as other people enjoyed.’

The event was met with praise from the various council representatives and headteachers.

Provost Jean Jones said: “Catholic Education is alive and well in Lanarkshire.

“Each day, thousands of pupils benefit from the positive ethos which exists in the 86 Catholic schools within Lanarkshire, all of which are making a very positive contribution to local communities as well as in supporting charities overseas.”

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