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R.C. FURY; MP wants to axe separate schools.

A labour MP has backed a Tory peer's call to axe separate Catholic schooling in Scotland.

John Maxton spoke out just days after the plea from former Scottish Education Minister Lord Mackay.

And his comments sparked new fury from the Catholic Church.

A Church spokesman in Scotland stormed: "We trusted politicians when we gave up our schools to become part of the state system.

"We were given the right to Catholic schools and it is a right we hold dear.

"Education is more than the teaching of academic subjects. The majority of parents, where there is provision for Catholic schools, vote in support of that system by sending their children to those."

Maxton, MP for Glasgow Cathcart, says he doesn't care if his views upset the Catholic Church.

He told the Sunday Mail: "It is time we looked very seriously at Catholic schools within the Scottish education system.

"We have declining school rolls and local authorities with a lot of financial problems, and we are having to run two school systems side by side.

"If you have two schools with 600 pupils each, you have all the costs of two separate buildings and separate administration and teachers.

"If you have one school, you would be reducing the cost and that extra money would be spent on educating children."

He added: "I am not at all sure there is as much opposition to getting rid of Catholic schools as people pretend.

" I don't see that saying this and calling for a debate is making an offensive remark.

"Someone has to put their head above the parapet.

"I would hope this is a matter that the new Scottish Parliament should take up. I think the new parliament should get rid of Catholic schools."

Last week, Lord Mackay claimed the abolition of Catholic schools in Scotland would help to end sectarianism.

He told the House of Lords that, as a teacher in Glasgow, he had seen how " divisive" schooling led to bigotry.

But his comments were labelled "a disgrace" by Catholic spokesmen.
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 8, 1998
Words:339
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