Protestant to take charge of Catholic school for first time
A PROTESTANT teacher has been appointed to lead a Scottish Roman Catholic school for the first time.
Usually, a practising Catholic is employed, but a shortage of headteachers led to the temporary appointment until a permanent replacement can be found.
Morag McCreadie is a member of the Church of Scotland and regularly attends Teviot Parish Church in Hawick, Roxburghshire.
She will be known as a "manager of learning" following negotiations between senior Catholic church leaders and Scottish Borders Council.
The 37-year-old, currently depute headteacher at Drumlanrig Primary in Hawick, will head both St Joseph's in Selkirk and St Margaret's in Hawick, 12 miles away.
She will be supported by a principal teacher at each school who will be responsible for supervising religion on the curriculum.
It is the first time a non-Catholic has been put in charge since the denominational schools were absorbed into the state system 90 years ago.
The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has never had a non-Catholic as head at any of its schools, which number almost 400, but Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of Scotland's 800,000 Catholics, has given his personal blessing to the move.
The appointment of Mrs McCreadie is being described as a temporary measure for just one year.
St Margaret's Primary has already had three headteachers in three years and shares the current incumbent with three other schools.
David Parker, Scottish Borders Council leader, said: "Personally, I don't think religious background, just like race or gender, should have anything to do with these issues as long as the schools get the right person."
Mrs McCreadie said she was looking forward to taking up the post. She added: "I will enjoy the summer with my family and prepare for the exciting challenges ahead."
Catholic schools in Scotland were brought into mainstream education under the Education (Scotland) Act 1918. There are 392 Catholic schools north of the Border, teaching around 125,000 pupils.
Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, which promotes Catholic education in Scotland, said he had never heard of a similar appointment.
He said: "The important thing is that the community supports the schools."
"We are obviously keen to ensure a Catholic education," he added, "and I am sure the archdiocese will have taken that into account."
But Gillian MacDonald, chairwoman of St Margaret's Primary School Parent Teachers Association, warned: "My worry is that it may open the floodgates. I feel it is important to protect the identity of a Catholic education."
Two years ago, maths teacher David McNab won an employment tribunal against Glasgow City Council after being denied promotion at a Catholic school for being an atheist.
The teacher at St Paul's in Glasgow was told he would need approval from the Catholic Church to apply for a job as principal teacher of pastoral care.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North