Scottish bishops celebrate centenary of Catholic education in Edinburgh

Archbishop Tartaglia and Deputy First Minister Swinney.  Pictures by Bill Heaney

By Liam Hay

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, John Swinney celebrated the centenary of the 1918 Education Act together with the Catholic bishops tonight at a reception in Edinburgh Castle.

The event marks the beginning of the week that leads up to the date the Act was signed, bringing Catholic schools into the state sector, 21st November 1918, and is the culmination of a year of special celebration and reflection.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Scottish Catholic Education Commission, said: “The Scottish Government’s support for Catholic schools is greatly appreciated, I welcome the fact that events like this recognise the contribution which Catholic schools make to education in Scotland and to wider Scottish society.”

Barbara Coupar, Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said:  “We are delighted that members of the Scottish Catholic Education community have been invited, along with representatives of the other Denominational bodies that have schools within Scotland (Episcopalian and Jewish communities), to celebrate this historic occasion.

“It is fitting that the Deputy First Minister should mark the centenary of the 1918 Act, an Act which saw Scotland move ahead of other countries in supporting the right of parents to educate their children according to their faith, as denominational schools are yet another area within education where Scotland remains sector leading.

“This event shows the ongoing partnership between the Government and the Church and highlights the support that denominational education has from our elected members.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney added:  “I am delighted to celebrate that, for 100 years now, Catholic schools have been part of the fabric of the Scottish education system.

“The 1918 Education Act recognised the significant contribution that faith-based schools make to Scotland and the Scottish Government maintains that outlook today.

“Every child in Scotland should have an equal chance to fulfil their potential. We welcome the continued contribution of Catholic schools in helping to achieve that ambition by fostering an environment where children can follow their faith, learn successfully and become confident individuals.”

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