Firstly, let us tell you why you have been directed here.
In the Education Act (Scotland) 1918, Catholic schools were brought into the state sector.
Previously, they had been built, financed, and staffed by the Catholic Church. Among the other provisions of the Act, the Catholic Church was given the right under law to have a definitive say
in the final appointment of staff to Catholic schools. This is known as approval.
You can read the appropriate excerpts of the legislation here.
We hope you will find the following advice helpful.
Teaching in Catholic Schools Guide
In Scotland, the laws that pertain to the management of denominational schools require that any teacher who is hired by an education authority for a staff position at such a school must be approved by representatives of the church or denominational body that operates the school. This approval process takes into account the teacher's religious beliefs and character.
You will have noticed above the phrase ‘appropriate post’. What do we mean?
A Catholic school is, in many respects, like every other school. There are different types of teaching staff with differing duties and responsibilities. While all are called to help create and nurture the school community, some have a leadership role within the school and thus a direct responsibility for helping
to form a Catholic educational community.
Others, again, especially most primary school teachers, teach religious education (RE) to young people. Teaching RE is more than imparting information, it is witnessing to Christ and being part of the Catholic Church.
It might be perfectly reasonable for a chemistry teacher in a secondary school to be simply asked
to help support the Catholic values upheld in a school, but not necessarily be a practicing Catholic themselves.
On the other hand, for a person to take a leadership role in a Catholic school at the level
of management, it is essential that person be a member of the community they are trying to help form.
In fact head teachers and deputy head teachers in a Catholic Schools must be Catholics.
All teaching staff, whether they be permanent, temporary,
newly qualified, promoted or filling newly created posts within schools in which they already teach, are required by law to seek approval.
What do I do?
The first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the ‘Charter for Catholic Schools’.
A copy can be downloaded here.
This gives a summary of the vision that the Church has for Catholic schools.
Then, you are asked to download two forms. They are conveniently labelled Approval Form A
and Approval Form B.
Form A is the ‘Teacher’s Application’.
You are asked to fill in the details required, offer the names of two referees and make
a supporting statement as to your religious belief and character, and why you think these would fit in with the ethos
of a Catholic school.
Once filled in, please send this form
to the church representative,
who grants approval on behalf
of the Bishop of Dunkeld.
Their contact details are given at the end.
Form B should be given to your referees along with a copy
of the ‘Charter for Catholic Schools.’
A referee is someone who you think can give some testimony as to your religious belief and character.
The referee is asked to fill this form in accordingly and to send it to the relevant church representative as soon as possible.
Who can be your referee?
If you are a practising Catholic, the principal referee must be your parish priest, i.e. the priest
of the parish in which you reside, or the priest of the church which you regularly attend.
If you are a non-practicing Catholic, you may wish to have a conversation with your Church Representative. However a suitable professional person (usually in the same category as those eligible to sign
a passport form) who knows you well enough to attest to your character and religious beliefs can be approached as a referee.
If you are not a Catholic, again the referee should be a professional person able to give some evidence
of your moral and religious outlook. Wherever possible, candidates are encouraged to seek a referee other than their head teacher, though this may not always be possible. All personal information is kept secure and in accordance with the Diocese of Dunkeld’s data protection policy (see Diocesan Website
Guidance for your referee can be read here.
Normally, and if possible, the church representative will notify you informally by email or telephone call, if you are likely to be granted approval. They will also notify the relevant officials in the council
in which lies the school to which you have applied.
After being nominated by the interview panel as the ‘preferred candidate’ for the position,
final approval will always be given in writing. Should you be refused approval, this too will be given
in writing along with the reasons for not granting approbation. You may appeal if approval is not given.
Normally, this appeal is heard by Mrs Barbara Coupar, Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference. She can be contacted here.
When approval is sought again
Approval must be sought for each new post or each change
in the nature of the post.
For example, if the person has been approved for a limited time in the case of a temporary appointment,
and is applying for the post on a permanent basis, approval must be sought again in the manner described above.
When the teaching post for which the candidate has applied involves teaching religious education, the candidate should have a Catholic teaching certificate (CTC).
In the case of certain promoted posts, head teacher,
principal teacher in a Primary school, or a deputy
in either a primary or secondary school,
there is a requirement that
the candidate be a practicing Catholic and either possess
or be in the process of attaining a CTC.
The document describing 'The Requirements of the Bishops of Scotland with regards to the Appointment of Senior Leaders and Teachers of Religious Education within Catholic Schools' can be viewed here.
You can obtain details on how to obtain your CTC here.