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Crisis in Scotland due to shortage of Catholic teachers

Archbishop Tartaglia expressing concern over shortage of Catholic teachers. Picture: Getty Images
Archbishop Tartaglia has also expressed concern over the shortage of Catholic teachers. Picture: Getty Images

A CRISIS is looming in Scotland over the shortage of Catholic teachers, the director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES) has said.

“There is a general shortage of teachers across the country but very particularly councils are finding it hard to recruit teachers for Catholic schools who have got a qualification for religious education and are available to do those jobs,” Michael McGrath added.

Mr McGrath’s concerns have been echoed by Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia, president of SCES, who has issued an urgent plea to Catholic teachers working in non-denominational schools to return to the Catholic sector.

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Mr McGrath confirmed that councils have been contacted in an effort to make it easier for Catholic teachers to transfer to Catholic schools within council areas when vacancies arise.

The problem has two sources — that not enough teachers from a Catholic background are being recruited and trained in Scotland, and that the selection process can be unpredictable at Catholic schools.

One controversial requirement for teachers at Catholic schools, according to Herald Scotland, is that they must be vetted by a priest before being offered a post.

Critics believe different schools operate different policies and the uncertainty over this puts off teachers from applying.

Another contributing factor may be that the convulsions in the Catholic Church in Scotland after Cardinal Keith O’Brien was forced to resign are still being felt.

Many believe that the Church has not fully recovered from the affair, and some believe this may have had a knock on effect in the teaching profession.

Candidates, it is argued, may now prefer to opt for the non-denominational education sector.

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Mal Rogers
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Mal Rogers is a columnist and reporter with The Irish Post

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