No easy fix for sectarianism

ENDING denominational schools now would make no difference to sectarianism in Scotland say the academics leading the Government's anti-bigotry drive.

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Dr Duncan Morrow and Dr Michael Rose, of the Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland, appeared before the Scottish Parliament Equalities Committee to answer questions on their advice to the Government.

They said rather than discussing whether Catholic schools were the cause or part of the problem, it is more important to use schools to help tackle sectarianism than to argue about the type of schools we have.

Dr Rose said: "When you raise the issue of schools you light the blue touch paper. People rush to defensive positions.

"There is a sense of people looking for culprits. Who is responsible for it? Many people will point to Catholic schools as an institution of difference.

"You could get rid of denominational schools now and it wouldn't make any difference to the problem we face.

"Regardless of denomination or non-denominational, we should be encouraging them to come together in the community."

However, he said a positive discussion about the role of schools in sectarianism is far too difficult to achieve.

Dr Morrow said the problem has to be looked at in a far wider sense.

He said: "It is not to do with schools, you would have to shut other institutions as well if you were to shut schools.

"Rather than focus on that, can we encourage people to tackle sectarianism as a reality?

"The question is not what type of school but what are you doing. We would like to see support in curriculum to deal with it.

"This isn't going to be resolved by shutting schools and forcing people into something else."

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Education

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