SCHOOL CHAMP FOR CATHOLICS; Church to Appoint Education Supremo

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Byline: DAVE KING

THE Catholic Church are to appoint an education supremo in Scotland to champion their schools.

The move, announced yesterday, follows recent attacks which linked denominational schools with sectarianism.

The Church will also distribute 250,000 leaflets backing the benefits of Catholic education.

Spokesman Peter Kearney said: "The education director will promote the values of Catholic education to the wider community.

"We are acutely aware the morale of some people has been lowered by the negative comments made about Catholic education.

"The leaflets will stress the achievements and many strengths of the Catholic schools."

The leaflet includes a defence of denominational education from Tony Blair. It quotes him as saying: "I think there is a strong case for faith schools."

First Minister Jack McConnell recently advocated shared campuses as an effective way to rid Scotland of sectarianism.

Other commentators then expressed concern about the segregation of education on religious grounds.

Yesterday, SNP education spokesman Mike Russell said the Church's reaction was "understandable given the recent unjustifiable criticism".

He attacked McConnell, saying: "His decision to discuss sectarianism in the same breath as Catholic schools led directly to the attacks made upon schools. …