Allowing anyone of any faith to head up a Catholic school DOES contravene human rights legislation, declares Guernsey parliament

Plans to allow anyone of any faith to become deputy head or headteacher at religious schools have been thrown out by the States of Guernsey.

The anti-discrimination legislation involved getting rid of the rule that allows only Catholics to be hired at faith schools.

The Catholic church threatened that if the plans succeeded, the island’s three faith schools would close.

The initial legislation proposal came from Employment and Social Security.

Backing the plans, president of employment and social security, Peter Roffey, said: “We think it is morally unjustifiable when two of the schools are States schools.

“Here it is the States of Guernsey that is the employer, so it is very much the States ourselves that is doing the discrimination.”

St Mary and St Michael and Notre Dame Primary Schools are run by the States and operated out of buildings owned by the church.

Blanchelande, the island’s only Catholic Secondary School, is entirely private.

Vice-president of education, sport and culture, Bob Murray, led the motion against the proposals.

He said the move would “risk contravention of human rights legislation”.

He said: “It risks the closure of three schools. It could even put us at odds with established UK legislation.”

Commenting as the news broke, Joseph Kelly of www.thecatholicnetwork.co.uk said that the decision could have wider and very positive implications.

“The Catholic Church has been arguing for a long time now that states imposing rules on who heads up our schools is a form of discrimination.  It’s good to see that common sense has prevailed in this decision. Let’s hope it sets a precedent for this argument when it arises elsewhere.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.