Atheist teacher at Catholic school was 'second-class citizen'
AN ATHEIST teacher at a Roman Catholic high school yesterday claimed he was barred from promotion because of religious discrimination.
David McNab, 53, a maths teacher at St Paul's High School in the Pollok area of Glasgow, told an employment tribunal how he was made to feel like a "second-class citizen" when his headteacher told him he could not be considered for the post of principal teacher of pastoral care because the job required Catholic Church approval.
Glasgow City Council argues that it was an occupational requirement for the post and denies discrimination on the grounds of religion or religious belief.
Mr McNab told the tribunal, yesterday how he had taught at the school for 15 years, but, although it was a Catholic school, he was an atheist.
Asked by Brian Napier, QC, representing him, how he had coped, he replied: "Very well. I have had one or two moral crises due to my atheist religion. I have got over them. It has not caused any problems to my teaching."
Mr McNab told how he had applied for promoted posts on numerous occasions.
He said he was aware the guidance teacher post required Catholic accreditation, but, following reorganisation at the school, this post was replaced by the post of pastoral care teacher, which also covered learning support.
Mr McNab said he told Robert O'Donnell, the head, that he intended to apply when a principal pastoral care teaching post became available in September last year. He said the notice advertising the job did not mention Catholic accreditation.
But he added: "Mr O'Donnell told me he would not interview me as I was non-Catholic."
He said they discussed the other candidate, a colleague of Mr McNab, who was a Catholic, and had been promoted on a number of occasions. "He told me, and it rather insulted me, that it was a very important job and it had to be filled quickly. My feelings had been very badly hurt. I was made to feel like a second-class citizen."
Mr McNab said he considered only about 10 per cent of the school roll of more than 600 were from homes where Catholicism was practised. McNab would have received a pay rise of about 8,000 a year if promoted.
Under cross-examination by Ian Truscott, QC, for Glasgow City Council, Mr McNab disagreed that a non-Catholic pastoral care teacher could have difficulties promoting the school's ethos in areas where the Church held a certain view, revealing he was pro-life and anti-abortionist, and "a very moral person".
He also denied telling Mr O'Donnell he was applying to "challenge the system". The hearing continues.
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