Catholic Interference in Education

I was asked this week to provide a reference “to testify to [a person’s] religious belief and character”. I refuse to do this, not least because I can’t testify to anyone’s religious anything but also because I am not comfortable encouraging the interference of any church group in education, in particular the Catholic Church, infamous for interfering with children.

The Scottish Catholic Education Service website has this:

The relevant legislation on the management of denominational schools in Scotland states: “A teacher appointed to any post on the staff of any such school by the education authority. . . shall be required to be approved as regards religious belief and character by representatives of the church or denominational body in whose interest the school has been conducted.”

My difficulty with this is that is goes directly against what we are trying to do in education. Indeed, lawyers advise that it is…

unlawful to discriminate against an employee on the basis of age, sex, race, disability, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, and religion or belief

It is clear that employers have no right to discriminate on the basis of religion and that if asked, teachers should refuse to provide this information. The anachronism of church interference in education needs to end now.