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Catholic schools are education ministries of the Catholic Church. Currently, the Church operates the world's largest non-governmental school system.


The first school in Canada was established in 1620 by the Catholic Recollet Order in Québec. The first school in Alberta was also a Catholic one, at Lac Ste.-Anne in 1842.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, Catholic schools are termed 'integrated schools' for the purposes of funding. Effectively, this means that teachers' salaries and learning materials are publicly funded, but school property is not. New Zealand's Catholic schools are built on land owned by the diocese; if the government were to fund Catholic school property it would be transferring wealth to the bishop, breaking the separation of church and state. At the Primary school level, 60% of the teaching staff must be practicing Catholics, at the Secondary level this drops to 40%. The teaching positions which must be held by Catholic teachers are referred to as "tagged".

United Kingdom

England and Wales

In England and Wales, Catholic schools are either independent or Voluntary aided, with funding shared between the state and the Catholic Education Service. The service provides education for around 840,000 pupils each year through its 2,300 schools. In addition, some 130 independent schools have a Catholic character.

In England in 2009, Catholic schools comprised two-thirds of all religious secondary schools.


Catholic schools in Scotland were not absorbed into the state system until 1918, much later than in the rest of Britain. Apart from those institutions which are independent of the state system, Catholic schools are fully funded by the Scottish Government. There are legal provisions (unlike in England & Wales) to ensure the Catholicity of such schools within the system e.g. applicants for positions in the areas of Religion, Guidance or Senior Management must be approved by the local Diocese, and are invariably Catholic.

Northern Ireland

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) is the advocate for the Catholic Maintained Schools sector in Northern Ireland. CCMS represents Trustees, schools and Governors on issues such as raising and maintaining standards, the school estate and teacher employment. As the largest employer of teachers in Northern Ireland (8500 teachers), CCMS plays a central role in supporting teachers whether through its welfare service or, for example, in working parties such as the Independent Inquiry into Teacher Pay and Conditions of Service.

United States

In the United States, Catholic schools are accredited by independent and/or state agencies, and teachers are generally certified. Schools are supported through tuition payments, and fund raising. There are scholarships funded by the private sector and vouchers granted to poor children by the government, especially when public schools in the inner city exhibit low performance levels. Federally-funded programs provide Counseling, Reading, Math, and English as a Foreign/Second Language help to low-performing students under the poverty line in private schools of all denominations and departments of education also provide resources for children with special needs.

The Philippines

In the Philippines, the education system has been run by the Catholic Church since the time of Spanish colonisation. Three of the country's educational institutions (the Ateneo de Manila Universitymarker, the De La Salle Universitymarker, and the University of Santo Tomasmarker) are run by religious orders.

See also


  1. Ontario Ministry of Education
  2. Government of Alberta
  3. The Tablet. "New research targets Catholic schools", page 42, 25 April 2009

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