Catholic Church Kilsyth

The Legislative History of Catholic Schools in Scotland

1872 Education Act

The 1872 Education Act created state schools which were designated non-denominational. The Act also made education compulsory for all children aged 5-13. Before this time it had not been compulsory for children to be educated though the state had legislated to establish schools, provided funds for them, inspected them and required that their teachers be trained to certain standards. Prior to 1872 charities, faith groups and private tutors had provided education. In 1872, the dominant agencies which the state had chosen to run the school system in Scotland, namely the Presbyterian religious institutions, were changed. The state now set up school boards, as it deemed the board system was more efficient than the old parish system, but essentially the public goals of state provision remained the same. This made the 1872 Act fundamentally different in significance from the Education Act of 1870 in England and Wales, which marked the true beginning of public schooling in the UK and in which Catholic schools were involved.

Some religious denominations saw the 1872 Act as the beginning of the secularisation of the Scottish education system. However, many Presbyterian churches assumed that after the Act, schools would continue to be, in reality, Presbyterian schools and for a very long time they were in fact correct.

Before the 1872 Act, the Catholic communities in Scotland set up their own schools. Catholic schools were set up largely as a response to the discrimination against the Irish and Irish Catholic communities and an inability to teach openly Catholic values to children. It was a way in which the Church could provide education for people in poverty who were largely excluded from the mainstream of the communities in which they were now resident. However, the Argyll Commission of the 1860's did find examples of Catholic children being educated in the parish schools. Here in Kilsyth there we many examples of Catholic children, where for the want of a Catholic school, attended Kilsyth Primary School for their secular education and Sunday School for R.E.

The Catholic hierarchy chose not to join the state system in Scotland established in 1872, despite state encouragement to do so, since there were concerns about state schools being defacto Presbyterian Schools and continuing the Presbyterian tradions from which they has arisen. Many schools joined the state system having been previously Parish Schools run by the Church or Free Church of Scotland. It was felt by the Scottish Catholic Hierarchy that for their childrens’ Relious Education (R.E.) and Religious Observance (R.O.) there should be a specifically Catholic capability to teach and the ability to observe the liturgical callendar undiluted by the State or secular concerns.

In the late 19th Century there was still much mutual suspicion between the State and the Catholic Hierarchy and the Catholic community at large, for good reason. It was within living memory that need for the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 has been required to repeel many formalised anti-Catholic mechanisms of State prejudice such as the Act of Uniformity, the Test Act and the Penal Laws (Education Act 1695, Disarming Act 1695, Marriage Act 1697, Banishment Act 1697, Registration Act 1704, Popery Act 1704 and 1709, Occasional Conformity Act 1711 and the Disenfranchising Act 1728.) Together this legislation required Catholics to abjure the temporal and spiritual authority of the Pope, renounce transubstantiation and financially support the Anglican Church in England, a significant burden on freedom of religious expression to say the least! A slowly paced succession of reforms were introduced over the 19th Centrury allowing Catholics freedom of worship, freedom of association and freedom of employment in the civil service, leaving only the Act of Settlement 1701 as one of the few legal provisions which still to this day discriminates against Roman Catholics in the mechanisms of the highest offices of State. It should therefor come as no surprise that the Catholic community wanted to retain their newly found freedom of religious expression and decline State involvement in Church run schools at that time.

The Episcopalian Church and the Catholic Church also had further concerns about the secularisation aspects of the 1872 Education Act and so both Catholic and Episcopalian denominational schools remained outwith the state system until 1918.
1918 Education (Scotland) Act.

Education Act 1918, often known as the Fisher Act, is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (8 & 9 Geo. V c. 39). It was drawn up by Herbert Fisher. Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher OM (21 March 1865 – 18 April 1940) was an English historian, educator, and Liberal politician.

This Act raised the school leaving age to fourteen and planned to expand tertiary education. Other features of the 1918 Education Act included funding for Catholic state schools in Scotland, the provision of ancillary services (medical inspection, nursery schools, centres for pupils with special needs, class sizes of no more than 30 and many other reforms.

By the 1920s, the education of young children was of growing interest and concern to politicians, as well as to educationalists. As a result of this rising level of public debate, the Government of the day created a series of commissions of enquiry, headed by Sir William Henry Hadow. Altogether the Hadow Committee published three very important reports - 1926, 1931 and 1933.

These reports led to major changes in the structure of primary education. In particular, they resulted in separate and distinctive educational practise for children aged 5-7 (infants) and those aged 7-11 (juniors).

By 1918 had become clear that the attainment gap between Catholic and state schools had widened significantly, with children in Catholic Schools performing less well than those in state schools.

State support for Catholic schools was therefore seen by the government as a necessity in order to achieve equality of provision for all pupils in Scotland. Catholic schools had been unable to financially afford the level or range of education required to ensure that their pupils achieved parity with state school pupils.

The Government therefore proposed to bring Catholic schools into the state sector within the 1918 Education (Scotland) Act, and to provide them with full state funding. As part of the move to bring Catholic schools into the state education system the Act guaranteed the following rights for the Catholic community:
• Catholic schools were to be fully funded by the state. They would be open to inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectors;
• As public schools, Catholic schools were to be open to all, but provided primarily to serve the needs of the Catholic community;
• The Church was expected to approve all teachers in Catholic schools as to their 'religious belief and character'; the local education authority was to appoint, with the approval of the church, a supervisor for religious education in Catholic schools.

This move enabled Catholic schools to have financial security whilst retaining their individual identity. Catholic schools themselves saw state support as extremely helpful because it removed the burden of self-financing and maintenance. The Education Act of 1918 was however largely acknowledged by all quarters to be pluralistic in intent and nature. It was on the whole amicably implemented but it wasn’t entirely uncontroversial even within the Catholic community. Eventually, those that resisted the Act succumbed only because they could not afford to build a proper secondary system without the funding that came only with full education authority control and funding.

It should be noted however that in 1918 act the Catholic schools in Scotland were not offered the option of being voluntary providers sanctioned and financed by the state as in England and Wales and Ireland. They HAD to accept transfer to the education authorities if they were to continue to receive public money.

The Education (Scotland) Act 1980

The Education (Scotland) Act 1980 requires education authorities and schools to make provision for religious education (RE) and religious observance (RO) with opportunities for parents to withdraw their children if they wish.

National advice on the provision of RE and RO was provided in the Scottish Office Education Department Circular 6/91. For primary schools this stated that a minimum of 10% of curriculum time be spent on religious and moral education and that religious observance be held not less than once a week. For secondary schools, the Circular stated that a minimum of 5% of curricular time in S1/S2 and 80 hours over S3/S4 be spent on RME, and that it should be a continuing element in the curriculum of S5/S6 pupils. On RO in secondary schools it stated that this should be held at least once a month, preferably with greater frequency.

Guidance on RE is also provided in the National Guidelines on RME 5-14 (1992), that outline the aims of RE, designed to help pupils to develop a knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other world religions. It also states the need to recognise religion as an important expression of human experience; to appreciate moral values such as honesty, liberty, justice, fairness and concern for others; to investigate and understand the questions and answers that religions can offer about the nature and meaning of life and develop their own beliefs, attitudes, moral values and practices through a process of personal search, discovery and critical evaluation. A separate document (Religious Education 5-14 Roman Catholic Schools) was issued in 1994 in recognition of the right of church authorities to determine the religious education curriculum in Catholic schools. While this document also aims to encourage an understanding of other world religions and other Christian traditions its main purpose is to 'help Catholic pupils to develop a knowledge and understanding of their own faith and to support their faith formation.'

Catholic schools are now fully funded by the Scottish Government and administered by the Education and Lifelong Learning Directorate. There are specific legal provisions to ensure the promotion of a Catholic ethos in these schools: applicants for positions in the areas of Religious Education, Guidance or Senior Management must be approved by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, which also appoints a chaplain to each of its schools.

From the St Patrick's School Web Site:

St Patrick's primary was an established school in Stirlingshire serving the pupils of the community and parish of St Patrick's from Kilsyth, Queenzieburn, Banton and St Luke's, Banknock. When the school moved to its present location in the early sixties it was a primary and junior secondary.

After a few years the area was regionalised and responsibility for the school passed to the Dunbarton division of Strathclyde Region.

As part of this regional restructure it was designated a high school, taking pupils from primary one through to fourth year, successfully presenting many pupils for "O" levels, until the mid seventies when the secondary department was moved to the newly opened St Maurice’s High School school. The area was again involved in the regionalisation process in the early nineties and is now under the auspices of North Lanarkshire Council.

And from the St Maurice’s Web site:

The name of St Maurice was chosen since he is the patron saint of the town of Brom in France, the "twin-town" for Cumbernauld. St Maurice was a Christian commander of a Roman Legion in the 3rd century A.D. who was martyred with most of his men for refusing to offer a sacrifice to pagan idols in south eastern Gaul. The school crest and badge reflect the life of St Maurice and the principles for which he died. Our motto is "ad Deum" - "to God".

The main building was opened in 1975 and an extension building was opened in 1981 to cope with the rising roll. Phase one of the school which came into use in August 1976, contains the school administrative offices, teaching rooms, assembly hall, dining room, and staff accommodation at ground level with two landscaped internal courtyards. Above this is a two-storey block for science, home economics, business studies and music. The "open-plan" design of the home economics suite is a feature to be noted. A separate block, to which access is gained directly from the main block, houses the gymnasium, drama studio, swimming pool, games hall and changing rooms.

Phase two was completed in August 1981, contains additional classrooms, staff-room and offices, including a conference room, an "open-plan" art department and project area. Apart from the buildings themselves the site has been used to provide two association football pitches, a hockey pitch, and a rugby pitch. Car parking is provided at the northern end of the school and two janitors' houses are located overlooking this area. A lift, ramps and specially designed toilet accommodation have been provided to make possible the admission to the school of physically handicapped and those pupils in wheel chairs. A lift, ramps and specially designed toilet accommodation have been provided to make possible the admission to the school of physically disabled and those pupils in wheel chairs.

It is most important that pupils do not confine their energies to the classroom. They are encouraged to join school societies, take part in educational visits, make full use of the school library, and enjoy a full list of sporting activities, including school football teams; five-a-side competitions; girls football; badminton; basketball; skiing and snowboarding; professional golf lessons; swimming; gymnastic club; cinema, theatre and concert trips; school trips at home and abroad; debating; school band and choir; quiz teams and book clubs. As part of North Lanarkshire's strategy for raising achievement a number of pupils from S4 are invited to go on an Outward Bound course each year at Loch Eil, Fort William at no cost to the pupils. During this week they undertake a range of exciting, challenging and motivating activities designed to help them develop a greater understanding of themselves and their true capabilities. We normally send around 36 pupils from this school, and many of them return to school with more positive and determined attitudes which, in turn, is reflected in their schoolwork and performance in exams.

Over the past few years Out of School Learning Activities have expanded considerably in St Maurice's. As well as traditional exam revision supported study offered in the second term, St Maurice's offers a large number of activities designed to raise achievement and self esteem as well as encouraging lifelong learning and citizenship. We currently offer a summer school, a programme for new S1 entrants designed to aid transition to the secondary school where pupils are encouraged to get to know their staff and fellow pupils and become familiar with the school surroundings before the session starts. Team building skills are encouraged and pupils take part in a number of outdoor activities at Strathclyde Country Park. Pupils then construct web pages which describe their experiences and make t-shirt as a memento of their time at summer school. There is a S1 homework club for S1 pupils every Tuesday after school where staff are available to help pupils with their assignments as well as providing the opportunity for some physical activities in the PE department. S1 and S2 lunchtime reading club is also available to promote reading and literacy in S1 and S2 through personal reading, discussion and writing about novels of pupils' choice. There is a dance club once a week for pupils of all age ranges.

St Maurice's sees itself as a focal point of the local community. It is therefore, a priority of the school to develop and strengthen links with the local community. These links include working together with industry, Glencryan School local interest groups etc. Community involvement of our pupils is encouraged. The school building itself is a fully used resource for the social and educational activity in the locality.

St Maurice's High School has excellent relations with its associated primary schools which are Holy Cross Primary, St Francis of Assisi Primary, St Helen's Primary, St Patrick's Primary Kilsyth and St Michael's Primary.

The School Roll for 2006/07 was:
S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 Total
219 207 202 266 149 89 1132

God BlessYou!