Roman Catholic denominational schools in Scotland: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. Number of overall teaching posts within Catholic denominational schools in Scotland.

2. Number of current teachers with Catholic Teaching Certificate for Primary schools in Scotland.

3. Numbers of non-denominational teachers currently working in Catholic primary schools in Scotland.

4. Confirmation that it is a legal requirement to be baptised Catholic to work in a Catholic school and the legislation to support/deny this claim.


1. At the time of the 2020 teacher census there were 8,761 full-time equivalent teachers working in Roman Catholic Schools. This may differ from the number of full time equivalent posts as some posts may have been vacant at the time of the census in September 2020.

2. Information not held

3. Information not held (More information on what we do collect in our teacher census is noted below).

4. Section 21 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 (LINK) states that: “A teacher appointed to any post on the staff of any such school by the education authority shall satisfy the Secretary of State as to qualification, and shall be required to be approved as regards [their] religious belief and character by representatives of the church or denominational body in whose interest the school has been conducted."

The school staff census requires information on Roman Catholic approval for every post a teacher holds. Processes for seeking approval vary between local authorities. Some local authorities require approval from the dioceses before teachers can apply for a post within a Roman Catholic school, for others this is part of the pre-employment checks conducted after application. There are several reasons that teachers currently posted in Roman Catholic schools may be reported as not having Roman Catholic approval in the school staff census, such as:

  • The teacher was in post before the legislation came into effect
  • The school management information system has not been updated or the information has been mis-recorded
  • The school management information system from which the school staff census data is drawn is not used by the local authority to keep a record of Roman Catholic approval.

Quality assurance checks carried out on the data have established that the reasons outlined above affect the data collected in the school staff census to the extent that it doesn’t provide an accurate representation of the number of teachers with Roman Catholic approval. This data is published as management information and not as national statistics, we would therefore advise against relying solely on this data to provide an accurate picture of Roman Catholic approval. Management information on the full-time equivalent of teachers in Roman Catholic denominational schools with Roman Catholic approval can be found here: Teacher Roman Catholic approval management information - (

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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