The Challenge of serving non Catholic children in a Catholic School One important challenge facing school principals is the provision of inclusion in a denominational school which will serve todays pluralist society but which does not undermine the School Ethos...the school in question is a large inner city (DEIS band 1) primary School with 310 children on the roll. The last 15 years have seen a huge change in the local student population namely the arrival of immigrant /newcomer children. The school has children of 28 different nationalities currently enrolled .Muslims represent over one third of the school population.
The School is a Catholic School under the patronage of the Archbishop of Dublin and trusteeship of a Religious Order. All matters must be examined against the backdrop of the Catholic School Ethos which is defined as a Schedule which states that
“A Catholic school is a school that provides an education based on a living faith together tradition. Together, the Board, the principal and the staff, working with the Patron, the parents and the local parish, model a living humanreligiousChristian educational tradition, to nurture the faith of Catholic pupils in a manner that is welcoming to and inclusive of the presence in that Catholic school, of pupils committed to other religious traditions. The Catholic school is primarily for those who value an education for their child in a faith school with a Catholic educational tradition. The Catholic school provides Religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Catholic Faith. Including the reception of the Sacraments of Penance, First Communion and Confirmation.”
The Schedule does not state that a Catholic school is a school only for Catholic pupils. Neither does it state that the Catholic school provides what may be called a ‘common’ or ‘multidenominational’...
Bibliography: Irish Statute Book,””Teaching Council Act, 2001
INTO The Inclusive School January 2004
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