Monday, December 04, 2006

Parochial school

A parochial school (also known as a faith school or a sect school) is a type of school which engages in religious education in addition to conventional education. Parochial schools are typically grammar schools or high schools run by churches or parishes.

In the United States this is a type of private school, and is used to distinguish a school operated by a Catholic church from one operated by a Protestant church.(dubious; discuss)

Protestant, Anglican, and Catholic private schools are all called "parochial schools."

United Kingdom

In British education, parish schools from the established church of the relevant constituent country formed the basis of the state funded education system, and many schools retain a church connection while essentially providing secular education in accordance with standards set by the government of the country concerned. These are often primary schools, and may be designated as name C.E. School or name C.E. (Aided) School, depending on whether they are wholly or partly funded by the church (the latter is more common). The Roman Catholic church also maintains schools.

English education includes many schools linked to the Church of England which sets the ethos of the school and can influence selection of pupils where there is competition for places. These form a large proportion of the 6,955 Christian faith schools in England. There are also 36 Jewish, seven Muslim and two Sikh faith schools. Faith schools follow the same national curriculum as state schools. Religious education in Church of England schools is monitored by the local Diocese, but does not typically take up much more of the timetable than in secular schools.

The recent introduction of city academies has led to a controversial situation where Peter Vardy, through sponsoring schools via the Emmanuel Schools Foundation, has introduced the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in 2–7 city academies. Despite protests by scientists, bishops and politicians, the government has so far not prohibited the teaching of creationism or intelligent design as long as National Curriculum guidelines on teaching evolution are met. There is a debate over the question of whether faith schools should get government funding, with an ICM poll in August 2005 finding 64% of the public believe that "the government should not be funding faith schools of any kind". It also found a significant part of the population against faith based schools being legal at all, citing potential damages to a multicultural society as their main reason.

Public education in Scotland was pioneered by the Church of Scotland, which handed over their parish schools to the state in 1872. Charitably funded Roman Catholic schools were brought into the state system by the Education (Scotland) Act 1918, introducing state funding of Catholic schools which kept their distinct religious education, access to schools by priests and requirement that school staff be acceptable to the Church. The Catholic schools remain as faith schools, but the other schools are effectively secular and are known as "non-denominational" schools.