CRONEM University of Roehampton June 2006 Catholic Schools in Scotland Religious, cultural and social identifiers for a minority community Stephen J. McKinney Faculty of Education University of Glasgow Introduction This paper presents a strand of the findings of Research for a PhD The focus of PhD research is the debate concerning the contemporary position and the continued existence of Catholic schools in Scotland Methodology Review of Literature Expert Interviews Review of Literature The stated rationale and purpose of Catholic schools The wider debate concerning Catholic schools and faith-based schools in England and Wales The inter-related histories of the Catholic community and Catholic schools in Scotland – including the issue of sectarianism. Expert Interviews Sixteen experts interviewed: Reflecting focus of study Using semi-structured interviews Locations throughout Scotland All interviews full transcribed Now in process of being presented and analysed Interviewees 2 academics in Sociology 2 academics in Theology 1 academic in Scottish History 1 academic in Philosophy 2 academics in Education 1 anonymous academic 2 academics in Catholic Education 2 senior Catholic clergymen 2 Catholic Educationalists 1 prominent Catholic layperson Context Public and academic debate concerning faith-based schools in England and Wales has intensified in the last five years. Prompted by a number of key factors: Labour government support for the continuation and extension of faith-based schooling, Increase in popularity of faith-based schools Variety of religious groups seeking new faith-based schooling (including Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Greek Orthodox). Faith-Based School Debate Labour Government Support for Faith-Based Schooling Roots in Thatcherism - part of market economy model that began to drive education. Labour government – motivated by ideologies of social capitol and promotion of academic excellence. Facilitated parental choice. Appeared to be successful in school league tables. Major change: Labour traditionally opposed to faith-based schooling. (Parker Jones et al, 2005, Gardner, 2005) Labour Government Support for Faith-Based Schooling Contested by many, including labour back benchers. Claims that faith-based schools are: selective divisive anti-rational antithetical to social cohesion. (Gardner, 2005) Some opponents, question the legitimacy of state funding for this form of ‘mission’ based schooling and call for a truly ‘secularised’ society. (Brighouse, 2005) Faith-Based Schooling Key Questions in England and Wales: Should the state fund faith-based schools? Are faith-based schools divisive? Are faith-based schools selective (and on grounds other than religion)? Do faith-based schools impede social cohesion? Do faith-based Schools preclude the growth and development of rational autonomy in children? Deeper Questions • In what sense is ‘selective’ being used? • What is meant by ‘divisive’ • What is meant by ‘rational’? • How is ‘social cohesion’ perceived? • Why does the government fund this type of schooling? • What are the limits? (McKinney, 2006) And Deeper! Faith based schools for some religious minorities (especially more recent minorities): Opportunity to express and celebrate cultural religious identity? Minority can be free from debilitating effects of prejudice? Key to economic and social mobility? (McKinney, 2006) Catholic Schools in Scotland Ultimately only form of faith-based schooling (Kelly, 2004) Origins and growth as result of Irish Catholic immigration in 19th century (O’Hagan, 2006) Impoverished Immigrants to dangerously over crowded industrial cities and towns (O’Tuathaigh, 1985) Colonial immigrants – culture of blame towards colonists (Foster, 1988) Catholic Schools in Scotland Immigrants to ‘Presbyterian’ country that identified Presbyterian Christianity as surrogate for lost national identity (Robbins, 2000) Irish Catholics an ‘affront’ to ‘self image of Scots as Protestant people’ (Gallagher, 1991, Robbins, 2000) Catholic schools established to preserve Catholic identity and culture. (Handley, 1945, Kenneth, 1972) Catholic Schools in Scotland Perceived to be route to social mobility Other routes denied due to discrimination and sectarianism (perceived and real?) Post WW II years bring enormous changes Multinationals; Shortage of tradesmen; opportunities in Higher education (Devine, 1999, Gallagher, 1987, Maver, 1996) Late 20th century dramatic fall in practice rate in Scottish Catholic community (Brown, 1997) Faith-based schools/ Catholic schools in Scotland Opportunity to express Catholic schools and celebrate cultural established to preserve religious identity Catholic identity and Minority can be free culture. from debilitating Perceived to be route to effects of prejudice social mobility Key to economic and Other routes denied due to social mobility? discrimination and sectarianism 21st Century Catholic community Catholic community in Scotland –three strand categorisation. 1. Practicing Catholics 2. Some residue of belief and practice 3. Un-churched (adapted from Bradley, 2005) 21st century Catholic schools Vast majority of Catholics in all three categories send their children to Catholic schools. Why and what do they hope to gain? Themes concerning types of Catholic identity emerge from Engagement with these questions Catholic School Part of mission of Catholic Church Partnership and collaboration with parents Discipleship and faith formation Christ centred Christian community Successful school (Christian Education, 1965, Catholic Schools, 1977, Catechesis in our Time, 1979) Group 1 Partnership and collaboration Support in faith formation Support in identification in Christian community Successful education Group 2 Less confident in partnership Less confident in faith formation Less confident in support in identification in Christian community Look more to school to provide these three Other forms of Catholic identity can be more prominent Successful education Group 3 Interest in partnership? Interest in faith formation? Interest in Christian community? Look to school to provide these? Other forms of Catholic identity are prominent Do these draw them to Catholic school rather then other schools? Successful education Emergent Theme Catholic identity? Spectrums: Religious to secular Community to tribalism Catholic Christian to ‘not Protestant’ Catholic Identity Identity of alienation? Irish-ness? Immigrant? Outsider? History interpreted through these lenses Are these aspects of this identity of alienation real or perceived? Are they sociological or psychological? (Bruce, 2004, McKinney, 2005) Catholic Identity and Catholic school Catholic school is only real focus for all forms of Catholic identity Advantages: Able to share religious values and vision? These values can counter some darker aspects of other forms of identity (eg sectarianism)? Catholic Identity and Catholic school Disadvantages: Catholic school sometimes struggles, and will further struggle, to retain religious integrity in face of competing Catholic identities? Catholic schools seen as focus and attempts to rationalise schools can be perceived to be attack on Catholic community?
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