Catholic school

Catholic school

:"This article is about Catholic schools in general, for specific schools named "Catholic High School", see Catholic High School (disambiguation)."

Catholic schools are education ministries of the Roman Catholic Church. These schools aim to develop their students through participation in the sacramental life of the Church, study of religion and theology, a full curriculum in secular subjects, and a variety of extracurricular activities. Catholic schools are found in almost every country of the world and have often been the only schools in some parts of the world.

Religion is included in the learning experience, and school uniforms are often a requirement for students. While it is common for Catholic schools to require non-Catholic students to take Catholic religion classes and attend the various religious exercises of the school (except in Muslim nations where this is prohibited by law), a requirement that the student must be Catholic to attend a Catholic school is rare.Fact|date=January 2008


In Canada, publicly funded Catholic schools are referred to as 'separate schools'. While historically Catholic schools received public funding in many provinces, currently seven of the thirteen provinces and territories still fund faith based schools [ [ Public Funding of Religious Schools in Ontario mired in controversy] ] . A UN committee has accused the Ontario Ministry of Education of discriminating against non-Catholics by funding Catholic separate schools, but not funding other separate schools. For more information see Education in Canada.

Public schools in Québec

Public schools in the province of Québec were organized along confessional lines until amendments to the Education Act took effect on July 1, 1998. Thus there existed parallel Catholic and Protestant school boards, financed and controlled by the province, that assured public education. Before 1998, most non-Catholics attended Protestant schools because they did not overly emphasize religious devotion, perhaps due to the variety of beliefs in Protestantism. Catholic schools, on the other hand, incorporated preparatory courses for the Sacraments into the curriculum, celebrated Mass on major feast days, organized retreats and promoted prayer at the beginning of the school day and before meals. Until the changes of 1998, the law required all religion teachers in Catholic schools to be practicing Catholics. Religion courses at the time, while dealing with Theology and Church history, were more pastoral in nature, especially in elementary schools. It was thus assumed that a non-believer could not properly instruct children in the Catholic Faith.

The reforms of 1998 organized school boards along linguistic lines — English and French — and reduced their number, among other things. Masses are no longer celebrated in former Catholic schools and teachers may lead children in prayer only when it is inclusive. Religion courses are still offered in schools, though students can choose to follow moral education classes instead. Furthermore, while schools in multicultural neighborhoods removed their crucifixes and requested name changes (most Catholic schools had been named after saints), those in Catholic or immigrant neighborhoods tended to passively resist the changes. For example, crucifixes still hang on classroom walls in many schools in the east end of Montreal, which is predominantly French and Italian.

Before the reforms of 1998, each Catholic and Protestant school board had an English and a French sector. The importance of either sector varied from region to region and board to board.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, Catholic schools are termed 'integrated schools' for the purposes of funding. Effectively, this means that teachers' salaries and learning materials are publicly funded, but school property is not. New Zealand's Catholic schools are built on land owned by the diocese; if the government were to fund Catholic school property it would be transferring wealth to the bishop, breaking the separation of church and state.

England and Wales

In England and Wales, Catholic schools are either independent or Voluntary aided, with funding shared between the state and the Catholic Education Service. The service provides education for around 840,000 pupils each year through its 2,300 schools. In addition, some 130 independent schools have a Catholic character.Cite web|url=|title=Catholic Schools and Colleges|accessdate=2007-08-02|publisher=The Catholic Church in England and Wales|year=2007|work=The Catholic Church in England and Wales website] Cite web|url=|title=Catholic Statistics 2003|accessdate=2007-08-02|publisher=The Catholic Church in England and Wales|year=2003|work=The Catholic Church in England and Wales website]


Catholic schools in Scotland were not absorbed into the state system until 1918, much later than in the rest of Britain. Apart from those institutions which are independent of the state system, Catholic schools all fully funded by the Scottish Government. There are legal provisions (missing in England & Wales) to ensure the Catholicity of such schools within the system e.g. applicants for positions in the areas of Religion, Guidance or Senior Management must be approved by the local Diocese, and are invariably Catholic.

Northern Ireland

There are 547 Catholic managed schools in Northern Ireland. According to the latest figures from Department of Education, N.I. Statistics Branch 2006/2007, the number of pupils registered at school in Northern Ireland is 329,583.The number of pupils attending Catholic managed schools is 148,225. Approximately 45% of children in Northern Ireland are educated in Catholic managed schools.

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) is the advocate for the Catholic Maintained Schools sector in Northern Ireland. CCMS represents Trustees, schools and Governors on issues such as raising and maintaining standards, the school estate and teacher employment. As the largest employer of teachers in Northern Ireland (8500 teachers), CCMS plays a central role in supporting teachers whether through its welfare service or, for example, in working parties such as the Independent Inquiry into Teacher Pay and Conditions of Service.

CCMS supports Trustees in the provision of school buildings and Governors and Principals in the effective management and control of schools. CCMS also has a wider role within the Northern Ireland education sector and contributes with education partners to policy on a wide range of issues such as curriculum review, selection, pre-school education, pastoral care and leadership.

There are 36 Council members who oversee and authorise the strategic and operational policies and practices of CCMS. Council members are appointed for the duration of each Council period for four years. Membership to the Council is by appointment and recommendation. Council members receive payment for travelling and incurred costs only. There are four categories of Council members

Department of Education Representatives - Membership is advertised through the press for these positions. Trustee Representatives - Members are recommended by the Northern Bishops. Parents Representatives - Members are drawn from local community on a voluntary basis. Teachers Representatives - Members are drawn from teaching community on a voluntary basis. Established under the auspices of 1989 Education Reform (Northern Ireland) Order, the Council’s primary purpose is the provision of an upper tier of management for the Catholic Maintained Sector with the primary objective of raising standards in Catholic Maintained Schools.

The seminal activities of the Council are set out in Articles 142-146 and Schedule 8 of the 1989 Education Reform (NI) Order and are as follows:

to employ all such teachers as are required on the staffs of Catholic Maintained schools; to advise the Department or a board on such matters relating to Catholic Maintained Schools as the Department or board may refer to the Council or as the Council may see fit; to promote and co-ordinate, in consultation with the Trustees of Catholic Maintained Schools, the planning of the effective provision of such schools; to promote the effective management and control of Catholic Maintained Schools by the Boards of Governors of such schools; to provide or secure, with the approval of the Department, the provision of such advice and information to the Trustees, Boards of Governors, principal and staff of Catholic Maintained Schools as appears to the Council to be appropriate in connection with the Council’s duty; to exercise such other functions as are conferred on it by the Education Orders. The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools continues to promote the philosophy and vision articulated in Building Peace Shaping the Future and is committed to ensuring that through a process of managing through influence, there is a healthy respect for diversity throughout the Catholic maintained school system.

United States

In the United States, Catholic schools are accredited by independent and/or state agencies, and teachers are generally certified. Catholic elementary and secondary schools receive virtually no government funding (though state-funded classroom equipment such as overhead projectors have been provided in some areas, but restricted from use in Catholic religion classesFact|date=May 2007) Schools are supported through tuition payments, and fund raising.

Most Catholic elementary schools are operated by a local parish community, while secondary schools are usually operated by a diocese or archdiocese, or a religious order, and often those in major cities are also attached to a Catholic university.

Many Catholic schools in the United States accept students of all religions, ethnic backgrounds, and ability; however, some only accept Catholics, and some will accept Catholics along with Episcopalian and/or Eastern Orthodox students. More competitive Catholic secondary schools tend to have tighter religious requirements in addition to tighter academic requirements and/or an entrance exam. It is a common expectation that non-Catholic students take religion classes and participate in the spiritual exercises of the school. Many schools have a policy (sometimes written) banning proselytizing in any form. Some schools (normally elementaries) are owned by a particular parish while high schools are often owned by a group of parishes (more common in the South), a religious order (more common in Northeast), or a diocese. In the West, a mixture of schools operated by dioceses and religious orders is common, with the older schools generally run by orders. Except in the case of independent schools, local Catholic priests are invariably members of the school board, and often at secondary schools are found among the teaching staff as well. In some dioceses the bishop holds the title of superintendent, while others have delegated this responsibility to the head of the Office of Catholic Schools. In terms of practicality, it is often the local priests who fulfill this function.

Most Catholic elementary schools tend to be smaller than their public counterparts, and it is not unusual for such schools to have only one teacher and classroom per grade level. Additionally, grade levels often separated between grammar and middle schools (in the public schools) are generally not separated in Catholic schools; thus a student may attend the same school from kindergarten or first grade through eighth grade. One other major difference is that in most parts of the country, public schools provide bus service to their students, while Catholic schools almost never do.

In the United States, the term "parochial school" is commonly used to refer to Catholic schools, to distinguish it from "private school" (which can refer to either a non-sectarian school or a Protestant church-based school).Fact|date=January 2008

Other Countries

Catholic schools exist in almost every country in the world sometimes comprising a significant part of a country's educational system as in most Latin American countries and India.

In the Philippines, three of the four Major Universities ("i.e" Ateneo de Manila University, University of Sto. Tomas and De La Salle University) are catholic schools (the University of the Philippines being the other.


The United States had 7,498 Catholic schools in 2006-07, including 6,288 elementary schools and 1,210 secondary schools. In total there were 2,320,651 students, including 1,682,412 students in the elementary/middle schools and 638,239 in high schools. [ [ Annual Data Report - National Catholic Educational Association ] ]


ee also

*Christian school
*Boarding school
*Liberal arts college
*Parochial school
*Private school
*Public school
*Public school (England)
*Marist School - Marikina

External links

* [ National Catholic Educational Association] – more information on Catholic schools in the United States
* [ Catholic Colleges and Universities in the United States]
* [ Catholic Schools] List of Catholic schools in Australia

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