Parochial school is one term used to describe a school that engages in religious education in addition to conventional education. In a narrow sense, parochial schools are Christian grammar schools or high schools run by parishes, but this distinction is not universally made.
In British education, parish schools from the established church of the relevant constituent country formed the basis of the state-funded education system, and many schools retain a church connection while essentially providing secular education in accordance with standards set by the government of the country concerned. These are often primary schools, and may be designated as name C.E. School or name C.E. (Aided) School, depending on whether they are wholly or partly funded by the church (the latter is more common).
In 2002, Frank Dobson proposed an amendment to the Education Bill (for England & Wales) which would limit the selection rights of faith schools by requiring them to offer at least a quarter of places to children of another or no religion, in order to increase inclusivity and lessening social division. The proposal was defeated in Parliament.
In 2005, David Bell, the head of the Office for Standards in Education said "Faith should not be blind. I worry that many young people are being educated in faith-based schools, with little appreciation of their wider responsibilities and obligations to British society. This growth in faith schools needs to be carefully but sensitively monitored by government to ensure that pupils receive an understanding of not only their own faith but of other faiths and the wider tenets of British society". He criticised Islamic schools in particular, calling them a "threat to national identity".
In October 2006, Bishop Kenneth Stevenson, speaking on behalf of the Church of England, said "I want to make a specific commitment that all new Church of England schools should have at least 25% of places available to children with no requirement that they be from practising Christian families." This commitment applies only to new schools, not existing ones.
In September 2007, attempts to create the first secular school in Britain were blocked. Dr Paul Kelley, head of Monkseaton High School in Tyneside, proposed plans to eliminate the daily act of Christian worship, and "a fundamental change in the relationship with the school and the established religion of the country". The Blair administration "accepted it would be popular but said it was politically impossible". Kelley has argued against faith schools, stating that they "directly or indirectly influence children into a belief that a particular faith is preferable either to other faiths or to a lack of faith".
In November 2007, the Krishna-Avanti Hindu school in north-west London became the first school in the United Kingdom to make vegetarianism a condition of entry. Additionally, parents of pupils are expected to abstain from alcohol to prove they are followers of the faith.
In January 2008 the Commons children, schools and families select committee raised concerns about the government's plans for expanding faith schooling. The general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Dr. Mary Bousted, said "Unless there are crucial changes in the way many faith schools run we fear divisions in society will be exacerbated. In our increasingly multi-faith and secular society it is hard to see why our taxes should be used to fund schools which discriminate against the majority of children and potential staff because they are not of the same faith".
Voluntary aided schools such as Church of England and Catholic schools are not allowed to discriminate against staff of other faiths except in the appointment of religious education teachers. They are only asked to be sympathetic of the particular religious ethos. It is not unusual to find atheists teaching in church schools. Church schools also may often have pupils from other faiths depending on the local population.
English education includes many schools linked to the Church of England which sets the ethos of the school and can influence selection of pupils where there is competition for places. These form a large proportion of the 6,955 Christian faith schools in England. The Roman Catholic church also maintains schools. In addition, there are 36 Jewish, seven Muslim and two Sikh faith schools. Faith schools follow the same national curriculum as state schools. Religious education in Church of England schools is monitored by the local diocese, but does not typically take up much more of the timetable than in secular schools. Although not state schools, there are around 700 unregulated madrassas in Britain, attended by approximately 100,000 Muslim children. Doctor Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, the leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, has called for them to be subject to government inspection following publication of a 2006 report which highlighted widespread physical and sexual abuse.
There is a debate over the question of whether faith schools should receive government funding, with an ICM poll in August 2005 finding 64% of the public believe that "the government should not be funding faith schools of any kind". It also found a significant part of the population against faith based schools being legal at all, citing potential damages to a multicultural society as their main reason.
Scotland has its own educational system, distinct from that of England and Wales. Although schools existed in Scotland prior to the Reformation widespread public education in Scotland was pioneered by the Church of Scotland, which handed over its parish schools to the state in 1872. Charitably funded Roman Catholic schools were brought into the state system by the Education (Scotland) Act 1918. This introduced state funding of Catholic schools which kept their distinct religious education, access to schools by Catholic clergy and requirement that school staff be acceptable to the Church. The Catholic schools remain as "faith schools." The others are effectively secular and are known as "non-denominational" schools. The subject of religious education continues to be taught in these non-denominational institutions, as is required by Scots Law.
In Scottish Catholic schools employment of non-Catholics can be restricted by the Church; often, one of the requirements for Catholic applicants is to possess a certificate which has been signed by their parish priest, although each diocese has its own variation on the method of approval. Non-Catholic applicants are not required to provide any religious documentation. Certain positions, such as headteachers, deputy heads, religious education teachers and guidance teachers are invariably Roman Catholic. Unlike in England and Wales, Scottish schools do not normally have the practice of school-wide daily assembly/worship; this applies even to denominational schools. Whilst maintaining a strong Catholic ethos, Scottish Catholic schools have long welcomed pupils from other faith backgrounds, though they tend to give precedence to non-Catholics who come from families of faith.
Historically, most American non-public schools have been Catholic schools, often elementary schools attached to a local parish church; however, in recent years many non-Catholic religious schools have been founded, particularly among Protestant churches, and there have always been a number of non-religious private schools.
As "parochial" literally means "belonging to a parish," the term usually refers to schools attached to Roman Catholic or Episcopalian (Anglican) parishes or dioceses. However in recent years "parochial" has acquired a secondary meaning of "religious-affiliated," and is sometimes applied to Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, and other schools, even though they are not connected to a parish.
In American usage, Catholic parochial schools are commonly distinguished from private schools. Catholic private schools are independently established and operated, may be run either by lay trustees or a religious order, and can be either boarding or day; parochial schools conversely are always administered as part of a parochial and diocesan school system. While private schools can draw their students from distant regions, parochial schools are nearly always day schools serving their immediate locale.
Potential pupils are not subject to a religious test.
As a rule, parochial schools are open to all children in the parish. Thus parochial school systems function as quasi-public educational networks, in parallel to the state-school systems, the key difference being that parochial systems are largely supported by donations to the parish while state schools are funded by taxes. Costs of attending a parochial school are usually much greater than an equivalent public school. Although, it costs parents much more for their children to attend, teachers are generally paid much less than at an equivalent public school.
Parochial schools are generally not required by law to operate under the same standards as a public (government-operated) school; however, the differences of law vary from state to state. Most schools, although not required, do operate under, and even exceed, public school standards, as a way of preparing their students adequately for further education. Religious instruction is usually added to the subjects taught in a public school.
Parochial schools are generally smaller than public schools, often having only one teacher and classroom per grade level. Many students attend parochial schools only through the end of the eighth grade, completing their final four years of school in a public or diocesan high school. Catholic high schools, rather than being attached to a specific parish (whose population would be too small to support it), tend to be administered by local dioceses or (in the case of private schools) by religious orders. They are sometimes attached to Catholic universities.
The Catholic parochial school system developed in the early-to-mid-nineteenth century partly in response to what was seen as anti-Catholic bias in American public schools. The recent wave of newly established Protestant schools is sometimes similarly attributed to the teaching of evolution (as opposed to creationism) in public schools.
Heavily Protestant in the 19th century, most states passed a constitutional amendment, called "Blaine Amendments," forbidding tax money be used to fund parochial schools, a possible outcome of heavy immigration from Catholic Ireland after the 1840s. In 2002, the United States Supreme Court partially vacated these amendments, in theory, when they ruled that vouchers were constitutional if tax dollars followed a child to a school, even if it were religious. However, no state school system had, by 2009, changed its laws to allow this.
Since the time of the Spaniards, schools have been traditionally run by the church and the different religious orders. In 2009, (Ateneo de Manila University is run by the Jesuits, the De La Salle University is run by the La Salle Brothers and the University of Santo Tomas is run by the Dominicans). Other colleges are run by different religious orderss. The one remaining college, the University of the Philippines, is a state university.
In the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila and its suffragan dioceses, the parochial schools are being supervised by the Manila Archdiocesan Parochial Schools Association and its affiliates like the Diocese of Cubao Educational System or and the Parochial Schools Association of Novaliches. These organisations are overseeh by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines through the Episcopal Commission on Catechism and Christian Education.